Despite all the insanity of the past few episodes, particularly in terms of Olivia's fractured psychological state and the hints of a war over the technology of the Pattern, the writers seem to think the best direction to take this time around is a relative stand-alone with few connections to those larger themes.
Olivia's cute sister is still around, as well as her niece, and her division is still under investigation by the most annoying auditor on the planet. Otherwise, this feels like a random episode outside of the larger tapestry. After all, this is just some bizarre personal revenge scheme (and one that doesn't particular add up all that well, either).
In a way, this reminded me of those first season "X-Files" episodes that, in retrospect, never quite fit. The kind of episode that looks good on paper, but ends up falling short of the mark and feeling, over time, like a way to push at the perceived boundaries of the premise. Will we be looking back, a couple of seasons from now, and wondering why they chose to put Olivia's niece in jeopardy right out of the gate? There are few storytelling cliches quite as annoying.
I think it's also safe to say that Olivia's sister was brought in for obvious and terribly derivative reasons. Yes, having family so close does serve to humanize Olivia and give her a reason to be a lot less depressed and dour (which means more smiling from Anna, which is much appreciated). But the niece is now the convenient target for anyone going after Olivia for her work, and the sister is a convenient love triangle candidate. Peter's already displaying interest, and the sister is practically jumping in his lap.
The bottom line is that this is the second episode in a row that failed to live up to the promise of the episodes that aired in the fall. Perhaps events will turn back towards a more cohesive approach with the February sweeps, but right now, this feels like a show still casting about for a definitive voice.