Friday, February 2, 2007

Percolated Recap: Numb3rs: Take Out (Eppesode 314)

This recap has been brought to you by my ISP royally screwing up and putting me on dial-up access until Friday. Dial-up? It’s moving at about 5kb per second. That means one thing: I’ll have to keep some images to myself. (Actual estimated time to upload one screencap: 5.3 minutes. Feel free to contact my ISP to complain.)

Opening Grid: 3 Course Meal, 1 Restaurant, 4 Robbers, 1592 Death Squad Murders 1 recapper feeling like she’s living in the stone age.

Fancy Schmancy Restaurant: A lovely evening where people pay far too much for minuscule portions of organically grown tofu is ruined by two heavily accented robbers wearing ski masks.

Aha! The robbers are foiled by two cleverly concealed undercover cops. All is under control! Bring out the champagne!

Uhh, double aha! The cops who foiled the robbers are foiled by two other robbers undercover.

As much as I’m hoping the undercover robbers to be foiled by two under-undercover cops due to my whole super secret desire to see that whole cartoonish scenario play out like it would for the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, the two cops are shot instead. The robbers grab the casings and race out of the restaurant.

Cal Sci: At least, I think it’s Cal Sci. In fact, we might be at Harvard or, perhaps, even Timbuktu; I don’t care. I’m completely distracted.

Charlie’s in a tux. I’d love to share that with you right now but I’m on dial-up.

I think this scene has something to do with fund raising, or Millie drinking. Maybe it’s about fundraising and Millie drinking. There might also be talk of money and how Charlie is a fund-magnet. Well, if those funds get Charlie in a tux more often, where do I send my money? I’d really like to encourage more tux-wearing.

Now he’s getting a phone call. Maybe it’s from Don! Maybe Charlie, in a tux, will be asked to go to the crime scene, where Don will be. Maybe Don will also be wearing some really well-fitting jeans. After that, perhaps Colby might be wearing riot gear and then –

Okay, have to pull myself together. Besides, that could never happen. If it did, there’d be a rash of spontaneously-combusting televisions.

Fancy Schmancy Restaurant: Well, no jeans and riot gear so the fire hazard in my house can be lessened to a light smolder. Or that could just be the after effect of my computer speakers being on fire. I’m not making that last part up. See what I go through to bring you these recaps?

While Don isn’t wearing jeans, Colby’s certainly working the suit and looks, dare I say it, intelligent? Again, I’d show you but but I’m on dial-up. Feel free not to believe me; I’d require hard-evidence of Colby looking intelligent too.

Don and Colby are filled in by Officer Exposition, yet another pale imitation of David. We learn this crew’s hit at several restaurants in town and they never take cash, only credit cards and cell phones. The LAPD had set up a sting, but, much like in “Uncertainty Principle,” the back-up wasn’t expected. Well, maybe the LAPD should’ve read the opening grid which clearly stated that there were 4 robbers.

Charlie arrives, too formally dressed for a crime scene, but exactly how I would attire him if I were master of all things in the universe. After Colby disabuses the notion that Charlie’s adorkableness in a tux is comparable to that of James Bond, we have the hero moment of promising to solve the case.

Title Flash.

IHOF: Don and Megan pedaconference about the robbers and Megan’s hoping that, at some earlier point in the crime spree, they made a mistake. She’s completely right, other than the fact the robbers didn’t make a mistake. I guessing all we’re to get out of this is a new level of appreciation for the prop guys who continue to demonstrate their ability to hide Diane Farr’s ever growing baby-bump. The file folder they use though isn’t quite big enough. Again, I’d love to give you a cap with a crack about the size of the folder but I’m on dial-up.

Next, we get the story behind why the robbers take the credit cards and cell phones. After the robberies, they max out the credit cards on high price purchases eventually laundering the money overseas. The cell phones are taken to prevent the credit card holders from canceling the cars before they’re maxed out. The voice telling me all this sounds vaguely familiar. The face, I’ve seen it somewhere but not for far too long. It’s David! Is it possible to glomp all over the internet to hug a fictional character? It’s Rosencrantz to Colby’s Guildenstern. It’s the true voice of exposition and after a few weeks of him not being on the show, I don’t think I’ve been happier to see a character return.

During all of my waxing poetic about the return of David (really, if I went on anymore, I’d be typing in iambic pentameter) Don’s been distracted reading a letter. He is so distracted that he sends Colby and Megan off to investigate the restaurant without telling Colby that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. At least, there isn’t a free lunch on the FBI tab.

Cal Sci: Charlie is talking to himself when he’s surprised by Millie. She apologizes and explains her stealth comes from living in Antarctica which is like “a big library, with penguins.”

Charlie’s been talking to himself because the equation he used in “Uncertainty Principle” isn’t working for this set of robberies. Fortunately, Millie, who has totally usurped all things Larry, except Megan, has a suggestion. The DOD came up with a threat matrix that was published about a year ago in a magazine. Why, it’s happens to be the same magazine she’s holding in her hands! Those penguin librarians must’ve been excellent in order to have an obscure magazine with a DOD threat matrix delivered to the South Pole. I’ve always believed orangutans were the only acceptable non-human librarians. Now I’ll have to add Penguins to the list.

Millie also wants to thank Charlie for being a spectacular fundraiser. I guess I’m not the only one that fell victim to the tux. In order to get even more money, Macmillan Pharmaceuticals wants Charlie to head up their new Pharmco Kinetic Modeling project – no tux required. I guess they don’t agree that, for me, the tux would be the first stipulation. Charlie, who is feeling a deep sense of gratitude for Millie’s reliable penguin librarians, agrees. Somebody didn’t see The Constant Gardener.

IHOF: I’m thinking that some writer, somewhere, feels that the extreme lack of David recently needs to be rectified in one eppesode. He’s interviewing a parolee that used to commit similar crimes. The parolee thinks that the robbers must be their own special brand of cuckoo crazy because he thinks they killed the cops as a warning to other cops. The warning: they aren’t afraid and ready to kill anyone in their way.

Don is watching the interrogation when Colby and Megan come back from their free lunch investigation at the fancy-schmancy restaurant. They learned nothing, other than Colby will look a gift steak in the mouth by complaining when it’s overcooked. He should’ve ordered the tofu.

Megan’s behavioural analysis says that the robbers must’ve mastered their craft somewhere and Colby immediately disagrees. Oh Colby, don’t disagree with Megan, she can totally kick your ass. She can beat you at Junior Trivial Pursuit too.

In all seriousness, Colby thinks that they learned their craft from the best – the American military. Apparently, the American military often trains soldiers from central and South America. The USA training military operatives and then having it come back and bite them in the ass? Never happens.

What? I’m not implying anything.

While Colby’s sent to look into this new avenue of the investigation, Megan takes the opportunity to ask Don about the letter, which was from Trauma Recovery. She received a similar letter in regards to the “Spree” killings at the start of this season. Someone should tell her that the killing that would send Don to Trauma Recovery actually happened in “Two Daughters.” You think a woman would know which eppesode things happened in, especially as many of these events happened to her.

Don thinks therapy is a big load of crap and stomps off. The audience, on the other hand, is hoping for some big angsty scene involving the failed attempt at restraining strong feelings. And the recapper is hoping that Don will realize what a fool he was for letting Robin go.

Cal Sci: The analysis suggested by Millie and the penguins (which is so my new band name) is working better for Charlie than the other approach, but something is still missing. As for the other suggestion by Millie (sans the penguins, proving that people should never try for solo careers) regarding Charlie and Macmillan Pharmaceuticals, is totally not working for Amita. She’s heard Macmillan Pharmaceuticals often exploits third world countries.

Excuse me, I know this a tone I usually reserve for Colby but really Amita, Macmillan Pharmaceuticals is a drug company, of course they do! Would you like to tell us something else as revolutionary or is stating the obviously the only thing you learned at Colby U. (Colby having a higher learning institution – just ponder that idea for a moment.)

Charlie turns his focus back to the case because he can’t figure out the missing ingredient. He just can’t find the meat of the equation. He’s been kneading the problem, but it’s just not rising. To help, Amita suggests sustenance and BANG, Charlie has a Charlie-vision of a fridge.

You mean the robberies of restaurants have something to do with food? Who ever would of thought of that? Me, about ten minutes ago.

IHOF: David’s tracked down the money in an offshore account on the South Pacific island of Nauru. Sine the island’s entire economy is based on illicit banking practices, the island’s going to be less than forthcoming with the necessary information.

Colby’s look into the military side of things came up empty. There are so many out of country military units trained by the US, that finding just four people is impossible. In other words, this scene was essentially useless to the plot, other than the fact it’s hilarious listening to David and Colby say “Nauru.”

Later, Charlie is explaining how he’s come up with his list of potential targets. Except, even the audience vision doesn’t make that much sense to me – or Colby and David either. Therefore, Charlie has to simplify it further. The thieves are picking their targets out of Simon’s Food Guide. All the targets have a 93%, or higher, food rating. Of course, the higher the food rating, the trendier the establishment and the higher the credit card limits of its patrons. So, by using the attack by fictional-Zagat’s analysis, Charlie has predicted the next target.

Highly Rated Simon’s Food Guide Restaurant: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are undercover in the restaurant, awaiting the robbers. You can tell it’s a fancy restaurant as it’s lit in some really cool blue gels. (I’d show you but I’m on dial-up. Right now you’ll just have to believe me that they’re cool and blue.) I’m worried about their safety as we all saw what happened to the last two undercover authorities who tried to take this crew down.

The robbers pull up outside a restaurant called Isthmus, but we all know it’s not the same place as it’s lit entirely in warm yellow gels. Again, just trust me on the colour. I guess some art director was playing a symbolic game of hot and cold, and the Fedcakes are definitely cold, as the robbers not only rob the other restaurant, but shoot the innocent valet.

The NPAL™ of this eppesode also occurs in this scene but it’s not the traditional spoken line. Instead, it’s the translation caption of “que pasa” as “let’s go quickly.” What’s up with that? I would so give my eye teeth to show you that but I’m on dial-up.

Later, The Fedcakes examine the body and determine the Executed Valet (now that I have my band name, this will be the title of my farcical Edwardian Comedy. I need something to fill my time after the world’s suckiest announcement.) was a message about the robberies. Either the Fedcakes back off or expect more bodies. Don is confident the scare tactics won’t work.

On the other hand, Charlie is less than confident as the restaurant barely made the scale on his threat matrix. Despite the fact he got the date and the time right, his confidence is still shattered. Somebody needs to tell Charlie that mathematicians aren’t psychics and while they’re at it, somebody please tell all mathematicians that a rabbit isn’t a sphere.

IHOF: Megan is having as much fun saying “Nauru” as David and Colby did. Unfortunately, she’s also having as much success getting around their banking laws (Nauru’s, not David and Colby’s) as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were. At least this doesn’t become the second useless scene to make use of the word Nauru, because Megan has another chance to talk to Don about therapy. Insisting he doesn’t need help, Don tries to duck out of the conversation before he grabs and office chair and beats her over the head with it. Of course though, he doesn’t need therapy, right?

Cal Sci: Millie is reading Life of Pi. My inner nerd (“inner” a term which here means “blatantly obvious”) giggles at the math joke. Although, how will she get it back to the penguin librarians on time? Antarctica is a long way to go to return an overdue book.

Disappointed that the threat matrix didn’t entirely work (although, according to Meatloaf, “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”) Millie tries to avoid future disappointment by trying to allay Charlie’s fears about working for the Big Bad Drug Company. (That’s BBDC for short. Not the BDC but the BBDC. No, I’m not implying anything.) She insists that the BBDC is “relatively responsibly” but to both mathematicians and English majors, “relatively” doesn’t wash. Both Charlie and I want to know, relative to what?

Therapy: Don’s posturing for the shrink (not like that) by declaring that he doesn’t hate his father or women and he isn’t trigger happy. Yeah, you’re the man buddy, except, for once, you’re not. The shrink is no shrinking violet; he’s a former undercover narcotic detective straight out of Compton and he doesn’t believe Don’s tough guy act at all. He’d rather discuss why Don took the kill shot at Crystal Hoyle when Edgerton was on the scene. Both the shrink and I are extremely disappointed when Don couldn’t come up with an answer. I wanted some profound insight here and instead, we get some truly awesome acting from Rob Morrow who is totally selling me on the idea that Don’s mentally holding on by a thread.

Now that Don has thoroughly pissed off the shrink, we get a moment of honesty, from the shrink, not Don. “I’m hung-over and I’m hungry.” That shrink is now going to make emo!Don jump through hoops like a dolphin at Sea World.

Phone call interruptus disturbs the rest of the session and Don tries to reassert himself at the man by taking it, even though he tells the shrink he doesn’t need to. He’s now emo!rebellious!Don.

La Maison d’Eppes: Alan’s cleaning and talking with Charlie about his concerns with the BBDC. Somehow, the idea that Alan and Millie talk about Charlie actually amazes the genius for reasons beyond my understanding. Hell, he’s one of my favourite topics of conversation and I’m neither a) related b) his boss.

Alan reminds his youngest that pragmatism when dealing with BBDCs is always necessary. While both Alan and I applaud Charlie’s ideals, I’m getting a little frustrated with this subplot as the anti-BBDC rant has already been done. It was called “Toxin.”

Finally, Alan mentions what is really upsetting him: La Maison d’Eppes is infested with spiders. Ew.

IHOF: Even spider infestations are handy on this show because it’s made Charlie realize that there were two crews at work in the robberies, not just one. He compares it to spiders who build overlapping webs. As easy as this concept is to understand, my suspension of disbelief is totally tested when not only does Charlie have a Jpeg of a spider’s web on his laptop but also has an animated slide of the second web being built over it.

Charlie’s going to untangle the webs meanwhile I go off in search of my ability to place reality aside for the benefit of an easy plot point.

Restaurant That Was Cold Before: The robbers hits the same place David and Colby were waiting at before. One robber takes out the valet but seconds after the team enters the restaurants, shots are fired. The team, led by David, has taken them down. As for the valet, it’s Colby in disguise. Colby as a valet? I would so love to show you a cap of Colby in uniform but I’m on dial-up. Oh the puns that can be made!

IHOF: Don and David are attempting to interview the suspects but getting nothing. Colby recognizes the suspects’ behaviour and realizes that they’re trained in counter-interrogation techniques. The fact Colby recognizes all of the signs of the training makes me wonder exactly what Colby did while he was with the army.

On second thought, I don’t want to know. I don’t want another eppesode like “The Mole.”

The Fedcakes have jack-all from the robbers, leaving Don, Megan and Charlie confused as to what to do next. Suddenly, that beacon of exposition, that pillar of plot development, David arrives with the answer. He’s found the house where the robbers were hiding out and a potential lead in former Mexican Colonel Bernardo Ifante, a neighbour of the robbers.

What is the former Colonel doing in Los Angeles? He’s an elementary school teacher. I shit you not. Do you see how hard this career is? People need military training in interrogation techniques and counter-interrogation techniques in order to survive it. (“Why? Why? Why?” constantly from five year-olds has been known to drive even the strongest insane.) You probably don’t even want to know the rigors the high school teachers are put through.

La Maison d’Eppes: Don and Alan sit down to have a nice father son dinner and chat, if Don was 15. His response to Alan’s query as to what’s bothering him? “Nothing.”

“Even for you this is taciturn,” Alan comments. No Alan, this is Don wearing his “OMG I’m so emo the world doesn’t understand I’m now going to put on eye-liner and listen to bands that understand me, like Simple Plan or All-American Rejects” whiny-pants which aren’t nearly as attractive as his usual attire.

Alan really does try to reach Don by sympathizing about all Don has given up for other people in his life. As a father, he’s concerned Don will only see his life as a bunch of dirty jobs. Emo!Don is not amused.

Ex-Military School: The Colonel is on yard duty. I can’t possibly think of a better use of military training then surviving the perils of yard duty. He’s approached by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are awfully assholish as they have no proof the man has done anything wrong. They even imply that he might be planning to hurt the kids. Come on producers, what’s with the hate-on for the teaching profession?

Besides, David and Colby should totally accept that this guy is way tougher than both of him. I guessing he even managed to survive both bus duty and parent-teacher night.

IHOF: The Colonel has some news for the Fedcakes. The term “robbers” is a misnomer. The suspects are former members of death squads. Just before coming to LA, the Colonel saw the ravages of the squads after reporting to a village that had been massacred, leaving only three small children behind. It’s because of those children the death squad is in LA; they want to kill the three remaining witnesses. The Colonel managed to smuggle them to the land of the free. All the thefts are just a way of funding their search because even killers need to eat. The Colonel then provides the Fedcakes with the names of lawyers who might’ve helps the squads launder money. This guy has been so helpful that I demand Colby and David apologize! Plus, I can’t find anything else remotely humourous about this series of events. The Colonel didn’t have to help. The Fedcakes could send him to Gitmo for all he cares; he survived yard duty at an elementary school. He can survive anything.

One of the names the Colonel gives is one Luis Salazar, who appears as the banker and lawyer for such esteemed clients as the drug cartels. Wow, I wish such an upstanding citizen would be my lawyer!

Salazar’s Apartment: Somebody took Shakespeare’s advice about first killing all the lawyers, as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find Salazar dead.

IHOF: Megan, Don and David pedaconference about how the death of Salazar and going through the lawyer’s accounts provided them the leverage they needed with Nauru. It’s also an opportunity for the wardrobe designers to hone in on the props guys’ action, as the way to disguise Diane Farr’s pregnancy in this scene is a big black coat. At least it’s not yet another file folder.

Cal Sci: Despite having all the evidence from Nauru, Charmita can’t find the specific transfers they need. There’s simply too much data. How then should they spend their time? How about a completely superfluous scene where Amita will declare she’s against the BBDC because obviously the adamant position of one newbie professor will have them shaking in their boots.

How about a scene where immediately after declaring Charlie will be his own man and make up his own mind about the BBDC, he gives Amita credit for being his Jiminy Cricket?

How about a scene where Amita uses the phrase “making out” then promptly demonstrates what that is with Charlie? Actually, I might’ve made you suffer through looking at that, so maybe you’re grateful I’m on dial-up.

How about a scene which totally makes me want to be sick?

Well, today’s your lucky day as we got all of the above. I’m going to try and recover by remembering the image of Charlie in a tux. I would totally show you the glory and wonder of that, but I’m on dial-up.

La Maison d’Eppes: Millie arrives with fresh hot pizza, as she doesn’t cook as well as Alan does. Let me get this straight. He cleans. He cooks. He even lets Millie bend his ear and acts all sympathetic while she complains about the politics of her jobs. Oh Alan, after the past two years of trying to get your youngest son’s attention, I realize the error of my ways.

Alan, will you marry me? You’re perfect.

Don inconveniently interrupts, followed quickly by Charlie, who is being his usually adorkable narcissistic self by thinking Millie is there to see him.

Watching Don correct Charlie is hilarious as he makes up some lie about something being broken and Charlie being the only one who can fix it. Fanfic writers everywhere are filling in the antecedent for “it.” Don then promptly escorts Charlie out onto the front porch.

I would also like to add that during this scene, the Eppes brothers are most aptly supported by the lime-green fluted bowl, which I’d love to show you a picture of but I’m on dial-up. I just wanted to make sure the bowl is fresh in everyone’s memory as I wouldn’t want it to get overlooked for the “Best Supporting Prop” Nummy Award.

On the porch, Charlie is having a moment of schadenfreude over disturbing Alan and Millie in vengeance for the number of times Alan interrupted Charmita. Don tries to laugh it off but makes the mistake of mentioning the shrink appointment, which then requires an explanation about the shooting.

“Which shooting?” Charlie asks, providing the exact moment when it’s clear, from the look on Don’s face, that he realizes he needs therapy.

IHOF: Charmita explains to Megan how most of the money from the robberies has been earmarked for the “Death Squad Retirement Plan.” (Are their tax benefits with that?) but after tracking the money needed to keep the death squad in beer back to LA, they were able to find out the name of the female suspect: Maria Campos.

This leads Megan to discover that Maria’s husband, Hector Campos, former Mexican Special Forces, is the leader of the other death squad and to their hide out in what looks to be a trailer park in East LA.

Trailer Park: As the momentary flash in the middle of the last scene indicated, the death squad has taken off, with plenty of ammo in tow. Colby and David realize that as the death squad had no qualms over taking out an entire Mexican village, the fact they have a map to the Colonel’s school doesn’t bode well.

Ex-Military School: As the death squad is pulling up to the Colonel’s school, the Fedcakes run into the vehicle. This alerts the Colonel, whose last heroic measure is to try and escort the children to safety, before he is shot in the back and killed. The Fedcakes arrest the second death squad but it is too late for the valiant Colonel.

Cal Sci: Millie’s found a around the BBDC. The deal is that all the data from the trials are run through Cal Sci and absolutely no skirting international laws. To make the pot sweeter for Charlie, 5% of the profits will be given to Charmita to donate to third world AIDS charities. After the terms of the deal are laid out, Millie looks smug, the drug rep looks ill and Charlie looks to be in awe of his boss. As for me, Millie finally and completely won me over.

Millie smirks that although Charlie makes her life more difficult, he’s also made it far more interesting.

If only the BDC was so easy to defeat.

Shrinks’: Don willingly seeks out help. In a nice balance with the previous shrink scene, the phone rings and Don doesn’t answer it. Don sits down, looking vulnerable and pensive. I’d love to show you because it’s also unspeakably hot but –

Well, you get the rest. See you for the next eppesode. Yes, I will be here next eppesode!

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