This batch of episodes remind me of old Marvel comics. We see these teenagers have exciting sci-fi adventures, but in the end (OMG) they are normal teenagers with normal teenage problems and authentic situations as well as super-powered fun.
Episode Seven, A Human Work, serves as a bit of an epilogue to the first 6 episodes, which as I mentioned before, form a complete story. Shinji and Misato (who gets a much needed character spotlight in this episode) are faced with the challenge to stop the malfunctioning Jet Alone, a nuclear-powered robot created by a rival organization, from going critical and blowing up and stuff. Everything about Jet Alone is cliched; even it's creator looks bland. This plays interestingly in contrast with the organic look of the Evas and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's unique and iconic character designs. This episode also gives Misato a lot to do, and nice to finally see what really makes this character (who has so far been mostly a fanservice-bot) tick.
Starting with the next episode, the second phase of the series begins with the introduction of the last two main characters, Misato's ex-lover Kaji, and Second Child Asuka Langly Soryu, a red-headed German transfer student (she's in Shinji's class) whose self assured (and somewhat bratty) behavior is the complete opposite of Rei. It is at this point that Shinji really begins to come out of his shell. He and Asuka learn to work together and form an (uneasy) friendship, something that the Shinji we met in episode 1 could never do. A bit of an unofficial love triangle (or even square, if you count the obvious subtext with Misato) between Shinji, Rei, and Asuka begins to form. With Rei, Shinji has a kindred spirit, someone who understands his tortured past. But with Asuka, Shinji can forget that tortured past and enjoy life. There are also some big hints of the later story, that viewers may want to write down, because they will not be repeated.
I noted in my last review my fierce dislike of the English Dub. I would like to make a revision. I have a fierce dislike of the first six episodes of the English Dub. The VA's love of the series really shines through in these episodes, and Spike Spencer's performance as Shinji is downright impressive. However, I'll take Megumi Ogata over Spike Spencer any day, and really feel that the original Japanese actors' performances are so iconic that the dub is unnecessary.
Lastly I would like to mention that Asuka made "Baka" (Idiot) the most commonly used phase in my household for a good long time. Hasshin!