Of note in this week's Previouslies: Clarice is being challenged for the leadership of the STO by Barnabas, who is covertly advertising to the other cells to join up and start a holy army. If the leadership on Gemenon thinks the Clarice-Olaf-Nestor cell is out of control, then the whole Zoë apotheosis deal won't even matter. Much like Joe's sudden drug problem, Barnabas was introduced so late into the demiseason that we'll just have to adjust to the idea that this is now the story.
The hardest thing for a showrunner/EP to handle, and I know I say this all the time, is to make sure the big picture gets serviced in the midst of the work of the writers they've corralled. When you have a really good staff, you get into situations where everybody's writing their own version of the show, and these things can get overlooked. Or you get the other problem, which is repetitive placeholder scenes that come from sketching out the arc and saying, "From episode X to episode Y, this Character A is going to be gradually doing Z," which inevitably -- if you're not careful, and even if you are -- can turn into a weekly check-in with Character A in a holding pattern doing the same thing as last week until abruptly switching to his or her next dot on the graph. (Fat Lee, Fat Lee, Fat Lee, jumprope, Skinny Lee.)
Both of these happened this year on this show, but they happen on every show -- and the better the writers, the more often this happens -- so while I guess we could say this is a sad thing born of overlong scripts that didn't get edited together right from week-to-week, you could also just think of it as nine beautiful movies that are mostly connected, with infodump bits to sketch in the parts we didn't get to see and telling us to trust our instincts about gradual storylines. The problem with this particular episode is that the slowness that people have complained about/gotten used to/enjoyed (if you're me) gets reversed, and the whole thing is just thermonuclear death, death, death, plot, plot, plot.
Which, if you're going to do that, you need a poet to do it right, so it's only natural that Michael Taylor did this week and last week's scripts. Here, his personal go-to thing -- the juxtaposed timelines and enjambment (remember when I wouldn't quit with that?) -- is used less gracefully than usual, since it's a tick-tock on the main story and an ongoing car chase in the other: They don't really comment on each other in any meaningful way, because the car chase is one idea with no other content. But on the other hand, the last act is basically a silent movie set to an opera starring Alessandro "Felix Gaeta" Juliani, which should be more than enough poetry for everybody.