Friday, February 6, 2009

Percolated Recap: Numb3rs: Trouble in Chinatown (Eppesode 513)

*looks around*

*pokes blog*


Well, I’ve done all the tests I know of to establish whether or not something is real or a figment of my imagination. The result of these scientific tests is that my most recent hypothesis, that this blog didn’t exist, is incorrect. Now, why did I think this blog didn’t exist? It’s really quite simple.

Sure, I’ve spent a couple of weeks getting myself back on my feet. Yes, the shutting down of TSTSNBN (that acronym’s explanation is here) sent me for a loop. Despite this, at no point did I disappear! I never stopped paying attention! Therefore, let me express my extreme displeasure at the events of the beginning of this eppesode.


If anything ever deserved a caps lock, that’s it. To help keep this man safe, I even created his own holiday, “Be Kind to David Day.” Nothing I do works! I’ve begged/pleaded/whined/snarked to keep David safe yet TPTB keep throwing him off buildings or shooting him, or just freaking me out that something terrible is going to befall my BFFedcake. What’s next? Icicles drop and kill him like in The Lovely Bones? Stephen Colbert Jr. will drop a shell on his head?

Now that my rant is over, let me rewind. We begin with Samuel Kraft (something else I’m not going to let TPTB get away with) drawing a picture of Chinese dragon. Remember Samuel Kraft? I do. In fact, I apparently remember him even better than the man himself. I’ll explain why later.

That dragon leads us to Chinatown where there are not only a whole bunch of women missing, but also where a white van can abduct a group of women off the street and no one notices. One of them even calls in her own abduction moments before she is taken. Amidst the noise of the car alarms and firecrackers, no one hears a damn thing.

On a happier note, I remember the last time we were in Chinatown where Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were chasing down a skateboard riding Oswald! Let’s all remember those happier times, shall we?

Speaking of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the pair has stopped for a bite to eat at the Silk Dragon – the same restaurant sporting the dragon mascot Samuel Kraft was drawing. David, doing what he does best, tells us why everything is so loud; it’s the year of the Ox so everyone is celebrating by making as much noise as humanly possible.

What are our innocent Fedcakes doing? They’re hungry. That means they want food, not to find themselves in the middle of a bloody (literally and figuratively) shootout!

In spite of the 359872 bullets the bad guys fire versus the 4 the Fedcakes fire, both partners come out unscathed. Not that this means I’m not caring about everyone else in the restaurant okay, so I’m not I’m just focusing on how happy I am that the Fedcakes are all right.

This does not mean I forgive TPTB. They obviously thought I wasn’t paying attention anymore. We established a long time ago I have neither issues with paranoia nor megalomania so why does everyone keep asking?

We get some more plot points like the shootout being over some girls (I think it’s safe to assume the ones that were abducted) and that the Silk Dragon is rather famous. I’m not sure what it’s famous for, but having once been visited by the little Eppes brothers is enough of an excuse for me to deign it noteworthy.

We really are leaping directly into the middle of the case as Deathstrike (yes, I associate all actors with their appearances in Hugh Jackman movies. What’s wrong with that?) aka Alice Chen, immigration control, arrives with the news that the woman who called in her own disappearance, was another agent. The problem is that the person suspected of the abductions was shot by the Fedcakes. Well, given a live suspect and dead Fedcake or vice-versa, I’m just fine with the way things turned out.

La Maison d’Eppes: Charlie is kind enough to make sure I don’t spend the entire eppesode wondering if Alan’s lurking around the house looking to start up hostilities again in the House War. Let’s face it; the House War is so season 2 and 3.

Alan is at his 50th high school reunion. This gives Amita the chance to tease her other half about his father snapping towels in the change room. Oh, Amita, there are a few things I don’t want to see. That is one of them.

Another thing I never thought I’d have to think about chases the thought of a naked towel-snapping Alan from my mind, as it’s an image I never thought I would see in the history of Numb3rs.

Charlie’s not as worried about the lighting finally disappearing from around the bowl, because Samuel Kraft is on his doorstep, looking for Don. Am I the only one who thought that Charlie missed an excellent opportunity in snarking the other man’s psychic abilities when he came to the wrong Eppes abode and found the wrong Eppes brother? Seriously, I know Charlie hates the man and all, but really, shouldn’t that make him more likely to remember to snark the hell out of Samuel Kraft?

Plus, Kraft is holding Charlie’s mail. (That sounds dirtier than it is.) Kraft’s even drawn all over it. (So does that.) I’m sure that’s got to be some sort of illegal offence. (This paragraph isn’t going to get any better, is it?) Thus, Charlie is so freaked out by it all, he calls Don. (Nope.)

Title Flash.

IHOF: We get the full story of the missing agent Kim and her undercover work in the Jade Boys’ sweatshop. Tag onto that the string of disappearances from Chinatown, a garbled phone call, the crappiest locator beacon ever, and Agent Deathstrike feeling personally responsible, we get the majority of our plot.

To round out the rest of the plot, the triad of math arrives, and Charlie presents Don with Kraft’s drawing. Don’s all impressed with Samuel Kraft’s remote viewing skillz, but Charlie thinks all Kraft did was sit around listening to the scanner. Wait a minute! I think I’m psychic too! I think that Charlie is never going to accept anything Kraft says and will always be suspicious while everyone else practically wets themselves in desperation to get a tarot card reading. Well, I’m either psychic or remembering the plot from the second season. If you replace missing Mexican illegals with missing Chinese illegals we’re pretty close, aren’t we thus far?

All parts of the triad of math are necessary, as Charlie and Larry will work on the phone message while Amita will try and decrypt the Silk Dragon’s hard drive. Geez, I know my local take out promises to protect my privacy, but this is ridiculous!

Oh yes, and because Samuel Kraft is an attention whore, he’s already come to the IHOF.

Sweatshop: All Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (and Alice) find at the sweatshop are the corpses of the Jade Boys’ foot soldiers, one live one trying to destroy evidence and a crate full of women. What they don’t find is the missing ICE agent.

IHOF: Don in interviewing Samuel Kraft about the mail delivery thing. Kraft is more than willing to help, as long as he gets something out of it. You see, the last time they worked together, Kraft sought some Fedcake recognition and now he wants something else from the FBI. Unfortunately, it’s phrased (and delivered) in such a way, that not only does it win this week’s NPAL™, but also makes me wish brain bleach was real.

All I could think is that they probably make a cream for that.

In truth, Kraft is pitching an internet reality show called Simon Says. It’s about a forensic psychic. He wants to film this case as a part of that show but Don won’t have any of it. Please, Kraft, they already have someone who is practically psychic on CSI Miami, well, that is, if you accept the theory that HoCaine’s sunglasses talk to him.

Just before he’s escorted out of the building and tossed on his ass, Kraft has a convenient vision of the faith vs. math debate that’s been going on for the past few weeks. When Don won’t have any of that either, Kraft pulls out a sketch of little dead girls, promising that there are more victims on the way.

Okay, Kraft, if you’re so brilliant, how about you explain to me why you don’t even know your own flipping name? After doing some very intense research by looking at a highly reliable source, I’ve confirmed that he was originally named Samuel. That is, unless someone wants to claim that Megan’s report on Samuel Kraft was wrong? I dare someone. Seriously, Megan may not be on the show anymore but I’m sure she could still kick anyone’s ass.

Therefore, Peter MacNicol, I may love you, but you do not get a cookie for retconning Kraft’s name when you wrote this script.

In the audio lab, Larry, Nikki and Charlie aren’t getting far with the recording.

In a side note, Nikki is taking a “Click by Numbers” class where she’s colouring in Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field With Crows.” This allows Charlie to give us a Charlie-vision involving how to properly copy a masterwork while cleaning up garbled messages.

As for Amita, she’s stuck staring at an unwinnable and unmoving Mahjong game on the Silk Dragon’s computer while Charlie and Larry are heading off to do something way more fun.

In interrogation, David and Agent Deathstrike interview the last surviving Jade Boy. Because he doesn’t have anyone left, he spills that the girls from the sweatshop were being sold to Harvey Joon, the restaurant owner, who then pimped them out. It’s long and convoluted, but it works out like this: dead Jade Boys got girls; live Jade Boy sold girls to dead restaurant owner, now live Jade Boy had to torch the evidence which is the women owned by the dead Jade Boys. I don’t know if a couple weeks off addled my brain but it took me three viewings before I understood what was going on.

In the bullpen, Don is doing some research using the same source I did, when Samuel Kraft was still Samuel, and when card games were proof of psychic ability. He’s not so sure all the evidence against Kraft’s abilities last time stands up anymore, all because his rabbi told him that doubt and darkness has a reason.

This inspires Charlie to say what I think is the wisest thing he’s said all season, “A reason to invent the light bulb?”

Chinatown: There’s been an accident when inside the belly of the dragon on a float, are the bodies of the two women abducted at the beginning. It’s just like Kraft’s drawing! Duh duh dun!

As for the missing ICE agent, she is nowhere to be found.

IHOF: The other sweatshop women are finally talking. One is concerned that Harvey Joon had her picture on a wall – even though she had no family here and obviously doesn’t understand the concept of a camera phone.

Later, the Fedcakes are finally going out in search of the missing ICE agent by following a search pattern developed by Charlie seasons ago, and hoping that the locator beacon is still working. Why they haven’t already tried wandering around Chinatown looking for the aforementioned beacon confuses me no end. Seriously, they are just thinking of this now?

As if that isn’t bad enough, Agent Deathstrike thinks a better way to find her missing agent is to both employ the help of the “I don’t even know my own name” Kraft and go over Don’s head for permission to do so. All right, Agent Deathstrike, you and I are through.

As Kraft and the Fedcakes head outside to start their search, they are startled by the sound of firecrackers – a phrase which here means that fun thing Charlie and Larry were heading out to do.

And in case you were wondering, Charlie and Larry are not sorry for scaring everyone while making another sound filter.

Chinatown: At the cultural centre, Joon’s brother is his name Benny? shows Agent Deathstrike and Nikki around the greatest hits of Chinese culture, including the Tai Chi, death rituals, and the exploitation of illegal immigrants. There’s a moment when a family pulls a photo off the wall, and we’re supposed to believe it’s an illegal family finding their daughter – but they don’t seem affected enough. Okay, Joon’s brother, Benny, you’re on my radar.

Fedcake SUV: Colby and Don are stuck driving around with Kraft. Nikki got the better deal.

IHOF: While Larry and Charlie are working on filters 239845 and 239846, Amita’s trying to trace down who Harvey Joon was sending all his stuff to. While it’s filler for time and shows us the continuing process of genius, it isn’t funny so let’s move back to something infinitely more hilarious.

Fedcake SUV: Don and Colby are trying not to pull over and push Kraft out of the car. It’s not like he’d see it coming considering he’s forgotten his own name. As if TPTB were trying it’s possible to make Kraft more unappealing, after telling of a vision he had of a rape in a high school, Don informs us Kraft was released from CIA service for sexual assault. Kraft blames his penchant for hugging. Dude, it’s not generally considered a hug when a penis in involved. You’d think a man of his years might be more knowledgeable about these things.

When Kraft’s eyes widen, I pray he’s having a seizure and dying. No such luck as he claims he’s having a vision and gives Don driving directions.

The directions lead them to a cemetery and a freshly dug grave. In a twist I didn’t think was possible, even though the missing ICE agent was buried under several feet of dirt, wrapped in a blanket, and placed on top of a coffin, she’s still alive. WTF? I think my suspension of disbelief just broke. I knew I should’ve taken that in for a check-up.

Colby notices that the agent is dressed the same way as the women digested by the dragon float, which leads to another discovery – another grave with another body or a woman dressed up only to be buried on top of another coffin.

Morgue: The commercial break was extremely productive for our Fedcakes as we’re up to four women found buried in the same manner. Fortunately, they also have some clues which include: weaver’s tag, Agent Deathstrike’s memory of her mother (not a call girl) in a similar dress, and a shellfish toxin. Speaking of fishy things, I’d like to point something out.

IHOF: Charlie’s off to record a van door slamming, but Don won’t be alone because Colby and Agent Deathstrike are there to provide some necessary exposition. For some reason, at this moment, I miss David in this scene.

The facts of the matter are these: the agent may wake up because she didn’t get a full dose of sea-snail poison. The graves where the women were buried all belong to Chinese men, and your recapper, still without her shout out, world peace and pony, is having a sudden flashback to an episode of Bones.

In the lobby, Charlie runs into Kraft and has to tolerate the name-changing psychic gloating over finding the missing ICE agent. Why Charlie doesn’t take the man’s camera and throw it against a wall, claiming it’s yet another noise filter, I don’t understand. I guess Charlie has more restraint than me.

Upstairs, Amita’s found some discrepancy in the accounting. The take out food orders equal up to 8 and all the wedding catering orders add up to 9 – since the number of this eppesode also equals 9, I’m going to assume that second column is more important. Plus, the wedding catering column gives me more evidence that my comparison to Bones is correct.

Once Amita hits the number 8 eight times and the number 9 nine times, she gets the answer to whose on take out and who is the wedding catering, the problem is, there’s an awful lot of women on both lists.

Amita wants to talk to Don while Larry wants to call a friend at the monastery who is Chinese and knows numbers – not the way Charlie does but instead he knows numbers and magic. Apparently he does know numbers and magic because otherwise why in a place of relative silence, would a monk have a phone?

As if in an attempt to distract me, I get a proper Rosencrantz and Guildenstern scene! They exchange information that moves the case forward. The material was sold to a shop in Chinatown and David’s got a bunch of mug shots. You see, this is what happens when the exposition pros are at work.

Chinatown: At the dress shop, the owner confirms that the live Jade Boy bought 12 red dresses from her. Also outside the dress shop is Kraft, filming away and looking like the greasy douchebag he is. I’m sorry, but I’m siding with Charlie on this one. He shows Nikki and Agent Deathstrike his new drawings, and asks them not to follow him.

IHOF: While Nikki is stuck following the old, creepy, doesn’t know his own name dude, Amita and Larry are explaining the significance of numbers in Chinese culture. He uses the Beijing Olympics on 8/8/08 as an example and says Harvey Joon was trying to bring good fortune to a despicable business by pricing all the girls with numbers adding up to 8.

9 is the most important number and is associated with weddings, even if the happy couple is dead. Yes, the Bones flashback was accurate because live Jade Boy was selling women to be killed and buried with bachelors. Earlier in this eppesode, Harvey Joon’s brother was burning models of things to send to Harvey in the afterlife. Wouldn’t burning a Barbie Doll be just as effective and less, say, deadly?

Between Agent Deathstrike finding out the picture of her mother in a red dress was the wedding photo (but I could’ve told her that, just from my extensive viewing of Firefly and the not so subtle scene earlier at the cultural centre, I wonder why all the Fedcakes are wondering who is left in the marriage trade.

In one of the rare moment when I don’t appreciate Charlie’s interruption, before they can turn to the painfully obvious suspect, Charlie distracts them all by finally being able to get the license plate off the tape.

Chinatown: Samuel Kraft, with his camera in tow, hears screaming. Somehow, he’s able to psychically figure out something is wrong and goes running in the direction of the wails. He’s so busy filming the abduction of a woman that he doesn’t get out of the way of the moving van.

Sometimes, puns are appropriate.

IHOF: The license plate is traced back to the cultural centre and the Fedcakes are now where I was half way through this eppesode. You see, there is an argument for watching more TV. How else would I have been able to predict what happened if I didn’t spend some random weeknight watching Bones and Booth and their very awkward UST?

Cultural Centre: Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Nikki are there in search of Joon’s brother, Benny. Even though I could make a crack that considering the age and size of Benny, he’s certainly not going to escape, I’m distracted by Colby’s walk when he gets out of the car. It’s a little “I pulled something in a game of football” tinged with “my foot is asleep.” Please don’t tell me I have to split my worry between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the future. To prove my point, while Nikki and David head inside, Colby, and some random dude he brought to do his running for him, find the body of Kraft outside.

Colby picks up Kraft’s camera and David spots an aquarium full of sea snails. Benny certainly doesn’t know how to hide the evidence, does he?

Once Colby shows the film footage to Nikki and David, my earlier suspicion about the elderly couple is confirmed.

Now that a life is in imminent danger, Nikki gets into Benny’s computer, locating the cemetery where the blessed event will occur that night.

Cemetery: Seriously? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me? After all this, and all Benny can come up with is a justification of tradition? He argues it’s a matter of honour to kidnap a woman and force her to die? I’m all for keeping up traditions but there are a few I’m quite happy have made it out of everyday life.

Thus, when Benny is shot, I can’t work up any sadness. It’s my own personal tradition at not being sad when fictional assholes bite the bullet, literally.

In memory of all the women who died, Agent Deathstrike burns the model of a home that was to be sent to the newly-wed newly-dead couple, so that all of the ghost brides will have a place of their own. That’s a tradition I can get behind.

La Maison d’Eppes: Charmita is reading the fortune cookies at the end of the meal. Charlie’s is “lead with your brain but follow your heart.” Amita’s is “You dreams can’t come true unless you wake up.” It’s a sweet moment, which is going to be overshadowed with SPY’S OVER-ANALYSIS OF DOOM!

Larry’s learned the marriage of the dead is meant to be between two corpses of complementary astrology and finds it poetic. Charlie finds it macabre, but Amita can relate to the idea of strangers locked in an eternal embrace. What does this really mean? Well, Larry compares this to the connections between everyone in the Astrophysics department. Thus, everyone in that department is locked in an eternal embrace, even if they are strangers. What does this all sum up to? How can this become some serious over-analysis?

The debate turns to Kraft and Charlie and I scoff at any notion he was psychic. I can even answer Larry’s question as to how Kraft was led to the van at the moment the girl was kidnapped. It was because of a sign Larry, a really loud, screeching sign. In order to interpret this sign accordingly, one must have a rare gift called hearing.

For all of Larry’s analogies of history, and Charlie trying to be the bigger person by admitting it’s all right to have all the answers (although, I think he was just trying to get everyone to drop the subject without completely offending the dinner party), I think sometimes the answers are as obvious as Charlie says they are.


  1. Whee! Spy's BACK! \o/

    Great recap, as always. How I fixed the Samuel/Simon issue in MY head? Just kept calling him Lionel Luthor. Made everything better :-)

  2. Bravo, yet again! (btw, this is littlebit, I'm just too lazy to change my profile) It was well worth the wait! I totally laughed out loud for the Horatio comment, so THAT explains it!! Ok, I have a small suggestion. Maybe, just maybe, if you prioritize your wants, you'll get just one?? So, BFFedcake safe and sound, more lights, Claudia returns, a shoutout, a pony,or world peace. OR, you can continue with Tiny Tim's thought, if you can't have any why not ask for it all?? Just to show how unobservant I am, I didn't catch the Krafty change (which many, many others saw) nor did I see Colby's limp (which I just saw a posting about elsewhere). As for Kraft, it just shows you that insiders seem to miss the details that we "outsiders"/fans catch. One of the best episodes of a TV show I ever saw was written by a fan (QT). Thanks again for a great recap!

  3. SQUEE!!!!!!!! Spy is back and all is right with the world!!!

  4. So glad you're back with the snark! And I'm also glad I'm not the only one who had the Bones flashback in this eppesode!

    I say we start a postcard/photo campaign, sending the PTB pictures of lightbulbs and lights, in the hope they buy a clue (as it's far too dangerous to send *actual* lightbulbs through the mail!)

  5. Thanks for the awesome recap, I was totally thinking about Bones this whole episode too.

  6. Yay! So good to see your recaps back.

    I wish they hadn't brought UndefinedForename Kraft back. He's slimy. I'm with Charlie on this one, even if I think he expressed himself rather callously.

  7. Yay, Spy! It's good to see you back and recapping again.

    I noticed Kraft's name change but didn't catch Colby's limp. I did notice Charlie's magic disappearing sport coat during the confrontation with Kraft at the HOF, though.


  8. Squee! you made a recap! I don't care how late it is. And yes, I do think that Kraft was incredibly... um tact less? I mean, to want to profit off of his "gift"? Not cool.


  9. Thanks everyone! I'm still getting settled in and as of next week, I'll be both here and all full recaps will be x-posted to

  10. hey spy, whaddya think about Flashpoint? Comes right before Numb3rs in LA and its all Canadian, etc.

  11. Glad to see the recaps are continuing. To be completely fair to Chen if one of the fedcakes was missing I would want any help available as well. Although one thing that annoyed me about her and some of the other actors was the truly atrocious, completely impossible to understand mandarin. For my own sanity I just chalked it up to TVlands treatment of foreign languages as a sorta charlie-brownesque wah wah wah wah wah.

  12. Spy, it's great to have you back. I was afraid I'd have to watch an eppesode without your funny recaps to look forward to.

    I howled when Charlie snarked about whatever-his-name-is Kraft not seeing the van about to hit him -- especially since I thought the exact same thing when he got hit. The whole psychic thing seemed a little off in the episode, considering he was brought back, given a name change, then killed off.

    I'm like Charlie; I don't think Kraft was really psychic. The whole bit where he gave Don directions? Charlie gave a complicated explanation for what was really this simple: if you're travelling in a straight line, then make a left turn, two right turns, and another left turn... you're travelling in the same direction you started out travelling in BEFORE making all those turns.

    Anyway, great recap as usual, Spy. I can't wait to see your full -- er, percolated -- recap on "Sneakerhead"

  13. "I can even answer Larry’s question as to how Kraft was led to the van at the moment the girl was kidnapped. It was because of a sign Larry, a really loud, screeching sign. In order to interpret this sign accordingly, one must have a rare gift called hearing."

    But he was in the area in the first place, which is how he heard the screams. How did he find the area?

    "For all of Larry’s analogies of history, and Charlie trying to be the bigger person by admitting it’s all right to have all the answers"

    To NOT have all the answers. :)

  14. What's with the Chinese ghost brides? Isn't mail order brides bad enough? Now they want to take over the next world?