Monday, March 30, 2009

Percolated Recap: Numb3rs: 12:01 AM (Eppesode 518)

If Eeyore were a living creature, and not something completely owned and controlled by Disney, this would be one of his favourite eppesodes. Yup, it would be right up there with "In Plain Sight," and "The Art of Reckoning" as one of the most depressing eppesodes, ever.

No, the basketball does not make up for it. In order to make up for it, I would've required the B plot to be entirely musical. Yes, I need Charlie and Amita singing "You Were Angling For Me With Your Isosceles." Feel free to write your own lyrics.
Oh you cliché of a fast moving clock to indicate how quickly time is passing. Let's throw in the quick day to night scenario, just in case we somehow missed the metaphor. Yes, there's never enough time and I'm sure the Romantic poets covered that in detail.

Prison: The aforementioned prisoner in the grid is being served his last meal. When the guard announces a double double, I do a double double take because to little Canadian me, that means, coffee. Thus, when he complains about not having ketchup, I'm confused, thinking it's some weird Californian thing. On the other hand, I know plenty of Canadians that would ask for a double double as a part of their last meal and they wouldn't give a crap about the ketchup.

Doctor's Office: One Dr. Henry Stanley, psychiatrist, makes a last minute phone call to the Fedcakes, that puts John Curtis's guilt into question.
Cal Sci: Apparently, when Alan was put in charge of the Cal Sci basketball team, Charlie and Larry also joined up as assistant coaches. Charlie's looking sharp, as a method of psychological encouragement, but all that could be undone by Larry, because if any of the players found out he was wearing an athletic support underneath his suit, they'd all be too weirded out to play.
Considering we find out that Larry once coached basketball, and pulled all the stereotypical angry coach behaviour. Larry thinks it's a cautionary tale. I, on the other hand, think it's proof that Larry's never known that he shouldn't wear an athletic support.
Charlie gives what has to be the worst pep talk in history. "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one breath. If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball. Never forget, you can't step in the same river twice." When the team clearly has no clue what he's saying, I decided to translate:

The journey of a thousand clichés begins with one mixed metaphor. If you meet Charlie in the lane, roll your eyeballs at him. Never forget, you can step in the same pile of shit twice just like you can earn the NPALTM two weeks in a row.
Larry's speech isn't much better. "We all learned to write in the second grade. Most of use go on to do better things. So get the hell out there and decide if you want to matriculate or be left behind." Well, at least he's talking to them like a bunch of valedictorians.

Streets of LA: SQUEE! My OTP is playfully bickering about how much Don should've left as a tip at the restaurant. Robin thinks he should've left more because it wasn't the waiter's fault the food was bad and that he should blame the chef. Don, on the other hand, thinks his 12% is just fine, since the chef has a bunch of sharp knives and he left his gun in the car. (That should be a metaphor for something dirty, shouldn't it?)
Their evening is interrupted by a phone call and how many flipping times do I need to tell Don to turn his damn phone off?

Dr. Stanley is patched through, while Robin rolls her eyes at another last ditch effort to stay an execution. She figures it's all one big hoax to keep Curtis breathing a while longer, and snarks at Don while he's on the phone because she's clearly seen this before. Plus, the man Curtis killed which resulted in his death sentence, was a friend of hers, another AUSA. She even had to help write his obit, and speaking from personal experience, that sucks. Thus, I forgive Robin for being snarky. Although, in this heavy eppesode, a little light snarkiness is appreciated.

When the phone call suddenly cuts out, Don sends David to investigate.

Doctor's Office: Guildenstern is on a fishing trip and boy, does Rosencrantz miss him. Artemas is certainly not a replacement when she mocks the partners "Which bad guy would you kill?" game. She refuses to pick between Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, because, as she has a time machine, she can just go back and forth changing world history. Oh, Artemas, in my universe, there's only room for one of those, and he's a whole other Doctor than the one you're off to see.
The killer's still in the building and David tries to catch him, only to find himself in a hail of bullets while the perp escapes. It also gets me thinking about the holiday I invented because here is my BFFedcake, in danger, yet again.
Title Flash.

Current Eeyore Scale of Depressing: Right now, Eeyore still has his tail, his house, and is quietly contemplating.

Don's got to bring Robin along to the crime scene where the Fedcakes are trying to figure out what was stolen from Dr. Stanley's office. Why the non-regenerating doctor might be a legitimate source is that he often worked for the city, treating ex-cons.

Right now, the only clue they may have is the pad of paper that had pages torn off it by the killer, which gives us our excuse to involve Charlie.
Outside, Robin confirms that John Curtis is the lowest type of scum out there and she could clearly care less about whatever the not!The Doctor doctor has to say. Considering Curtis confessed to the killing and didn't ask for an appeal, she's got plenty of reasons not to care.

Don teases Robin about not wanting to work late, and Robin banters back that she doesn't like wasting her time. It's actually kind of cute, considering the circumstances.

Cal Sci: Liz takes the paper over to Charlie, who is more than willing to help since the techs couldn't get very far.

"I could put the number 13 on my t-shirt. Doesn't mean I'm Steve Nash." So, did Charlie just dis the tech guys? Seriously? I'm distracted by the underhanded insult, by a momentary thought I needed to share.
Once Liz makes it clear that time is a factor, Alan arrives with news that not matter how sucktastic the opposing team is, Cal Sci sees its sucktasticness and gives it a factor of 10. Yes, Cal Sci, where they have to be the best at everything, even if it is sucking.

Oh yes, and while Charlie's off potentially saving a man from execution, Alan has to stay and watch Larry to make sure there isn't a murder on the court tonight.

Prison: Don and Robin rarely agree on the big issues, do they? First, they disagree on the value of religion and now it's about the death penalty. I'm all for healthy debate between these two, but if there is friction, potentially resulting in me being traumatized because I've invested way too much into this OTP to leave it now (a phrase which here means, I whined for 525 days), I may need to settle in for a serious talk with TPTB.
The debate is interrupted when the metal detector goes off, resulting a scuffle and Don having to subdue Julien Curtis, John Curtis's son, who does not have a criminal record. In just a hint of the depression that will lurk throughout the rest of this eppesode, the detector went off because Julian has 3 inches of a knife stuck in him from when he was attacked when he was 12. He's also stressed because he's there to say goodbye to his father.

Cal Sci: As Charlie runs his algorithm, the basketball team is getting its "asteroids kicked." That pretty much says it all.

IHOF: Artemas and Rosencrantz discover that the only thing that the prosecution had against Curtis was a confession, since none of the physical evidence added up. Although, the confession is long, detailed, disgusting and depressing, so it is fairly easy to see why a jury would convict.

Cal Sci: Watching Alan, Larry and Charlie coach is vaguely reminiscent of the Three Stooges, if the Three Stooges knew mathematical terminology. Plus, it's pretty clear that despite Charlie's encouragement, things are looking extremely dire for the valedictorians.
It's so dire, that when Charlie hands off all the info he could get to Liz, he looks more worried about the game than the death row inmate.

Prison: Robin's all calm and collected when she's the target of catcalling in the prison, but Don's definitely perturbed. Considering what happened last time he was in a prison, I can understand his concern.

Curtis's welcoming is very Hannibal Lecter.
After the commercial, the little overlay time, tells us it's 9:34pm and Curtis tells us, indirectly, that he couldn't give a crap about being exonerated or Don's gut instinct. Plus, he confesses, again. I know we're supposed to know something's up, but really, when a bad guy admits to doing bad things, it's sort of hard, not to side with Robin, even if she wasn't one half of my OTP.

Current Eeyore Scale of Depressing: Right now, Eeyore still has his tail, his house, and is quietly making disparaging comments about the weather.

IHOF: OMG. Numb3rs has finally done it. They're actually fanning the flames that do not need any fanning. Seriously, at what point do they think slashers need encouragement? Thus when David reminisces about how Nikki doesn't give the same responses Colby would in a situation, when she responds, "You talk about him a lot. Don't you have a girl you should be talking about instead?" I figure something far more nefarious must be going on.
What's weird about the evidence Nikki was holding that inspired this exchange, is that the car racing away from the scene, was a cop car.

As for Liz, after giving the report on the game (abysmal), Artemas, Athena and David take a look at what Charlie was able to recover (almost as abysmal).
Cal Sci: Larry is yelling again at what I think was supposed to be an obvious foul, but was poorly done by the extra so it looks like the Italian Football way of playing basketball.

Oh yeah, and Larry is comparing the ref to a black hole.

IHOF: Artemas and Athena are working their way through the dead doctor's appointment book and client list. What they come up with is someone not on the client list, an LAPD detective Danielle Hill, aka Gina Gershon, and I immediately peg her as the bad guy -- uh, person. Considering David was shot at by someone in a cop car, and Gina Gershon also played the baddie, the same week this eppesode aired, on Life On Mars, I think my assumption is perfectly credible.
Prison: Yes, I am easily amused, as proven below.
We meet Curtis's lawyer who, despite being on retainer for anti-death penalty groups, thinks he's wasting his time. Plus, he's sure Curtis is guilty of the crime and the lawyer relates a story that requires a warning to any and all male viewers to look away now.

Curtis once put an ice pick through a man's penis. I know plenty of guys who would claim that was worthy of the death penalty.

Cal Sci: How many quick cuts do we have to have back to the basketball game before the editor realizes it's really not distracting me from the seriousness of this eppesode? BTW, sure, Alan cares about the team actually winning a game, but I'd like to point out a reason this might be a lost cause.
All the basketball montage does is prove that if Cal Sci's goal really is to be the most sucktastic team in history, they've succeeded.

David interrupts the on the court bloodbath and tries to get Charlie's help in the analysis of Curtis's confession to prove his innocence. Charlie's too busy shouting out mathematical terms, and showing his frustration that his team doesn't know the difference between pentagon and an equilateral triangle. Geez, the team really is in trouble if they're forgetting even the most basic geometric shapes.

David grabs a basketball, trying to get Charlie to focus on my BFFedcake by imagining David's a basketball player. It's effective, but I think how I would've dealt with it would've worked better.
Charlie wants Curtis's confession compared to other times the criminal has spoken, to test for inconsistencies with the speech pattern. There are three parts of the human voice, which, like a shot at the net done incorrectly, will break down when a person lies. The cognitive, emotional and physiological parts of the voice don't work in harmony and I'm starting to wonder if the Numb3rs people borrowed a concept that I'd expect to find on Lie to Me.
Gym: Just in case we were uncertain that Danny Hill is a bad ass, there she is, beating some innocent punching bag to death. She mistakes Artemas and Athena for marshals, but is promptly corrected. Considering some of the marshals we've had in the past, I can see why being mistaken for one would be offensive to a Fedcake.

When confronted with the tire track evidence, Danny admits to knowing one of the dead doctor's patients, Rollins, who she's been hassling since he got out on a technicality. Considering she's a big name guest star, I'm pretty secure in saying this is a red herring and we'll be back to Danny Hill. She must've taken the shot at David.

Rollins': The symbolic clock tells us time is quickly wasting away, as David, Artemas and Athena track down the fat man. Rollins is in bed, looking like he's filming porn, which in itself is wrong, when I witness something that is not only wrong, but also gives me a flashback to one of my favourite movies.
After Rollins takes out David and Nikki, Liz subdues him with the fire hose. Okay, the actual sequence of events is not half as weird as that sentence makes it sound.

IHOF: It's now 10:39pm and Rollins admits that he knows Curtis is innocent, because Rollins can give him an alibi. Now the only thing the Fedcakes have going for them, besides being generally awesome, is Charlie's idea to study to confession.

Cal Sci: Charlie makes it back to the gym, just as the buzzer rings for half time. Everyone looks dejected except Larry, who is leaving, but insisting he's not quitting. Although, in my world, leaving is quitting, but Larry usually does things a bit strangely.

I have to admit, this is the scene should've had me chuckling but of the look on Charlie's face, thinking Larry has abandonned him, is just too pitiful to laugh at.
Charlie's got work of his own to do, leaving Alan to coach the team. At first, Papa Eppes balks at the idea until Charlie guilts him into it by saying an innocent man might die unless Alan blows the whistle. Yeah, Charlie, I'm going to say two words here I want you to pay attention to: non sequitor.

Prison/ Cal Sci: Don is learning Curtis's confession is a false one as his brother, over the phone, explains the disharmony in the three parts of the voice. Don sounds disappointed as he explains this to Robin.

This leads to a small tiff between my OTP, as they argue more about each other's opinions as to whether or not things can be proven. Robin's right that it'll take more than Charlie's math to get a stay of execution, so why Don makes it sound like it's all personal is a little unfair. Of course, Robin rising to the bait and tossing it back at him, doesn't make her right either. I sigh, hoping they resolve this before I start threatening Nick and Cheryl with paying for my therapy bills again.

Plus, Curtis keeps insisting he killed the AUSA. He also says that he was willing to confess to give up his gangster life because, like a James Cagney film, there aren't any old gangsters. He would've been killed on the outside. In the end, Curtis's brutal streak come through. He can't actually hurt Robin, but he can leave her with the memory of her friend and coworker, begging and screaming while he was being killed.
I get more depressed when Robin responds by wishing Curtis some agony of his own. It always bothers me when people respond to cruelty in kind. I know she's reacting in anger and grief, and so does Don, who I have to give some serious credit for being an amazing boyfriend here. Instead of getting angry, he uses an event from his own life which I will now record for posterity for all fanfic writers.

Before I begin I should warn everyone, you may be distracted from the moral lesson by images of Don in Kevlar. One might also experience visions of Billy Cooper. Please, stay focussed.

When Don started with fugitive recovery, he caught the case of a lifer who'd killed a mother of three. When Don (who was the junior member of the team) caught up with the fugitive, the other agents hesitated when the fugitive took a hooker hostage. Don, on the other hand, shot the man twice in the head. He learned at that moment, that he had to be a Fedcake but that he could never be wrong when taking a life.

The purpose of this tale is --

Hold on. I'll wait.

*whistles*

*plays some free online games*

All right, are we all done thinking about Don in his fugitive recovery days?

The point is, despite all of Robin's anger and grief, he doesn't want her to see someone put to death if she isn't completely confident that the man is guilty. So let me get this straight. Don, our Don Eppes, told an extremely personal story to make an emotional point to Robin? No silences, watch-checking or inability to look at her during emotional moments?
It's with this tactic that Don finally gets Robin to at least accept the possiblity that all may not be as it seems.

Cal Sci: Alan's using some traditional basketball moves, like when CCNY won the NCAA and NIT in the same year. None of that means anything to me, so I recorded it as I heard it and looked it up on Wikipedia. What's weird is that Charlie responds with a crack about cheating, which is nowhere in the wiki info. Thus, I'm confused. Did cheating actually occur or was that just one boulder of foreshadowing that just bowled me over?

Charlie looks devastated, but it's not over Cal Sci's inevitable loss (unless cheating occurs), it's over Curtis's impending execution, even though it now looks like he's innocent.
Current Eeyore Scale of Depressing: Right now, Eeyore still has lost his tail, and his house is looking a little shaky.

After watching one of the Cal Sci players get knocked to the floor, Charlie has a flash of inspiration. I would like to point out that he doesn't check to make sure the player doesn't have a concussion before Charlie runs out.

IHOF: We're in the parking garage and it's 11:06pm, and Danny Hill has just stopped by to tell Liz that Curtis will die, not matter what the Fedcakes do about it. Well, that and confess she was having and affair with the AUSA before he was killed. Yes, she takes the law into her own hands and cheats on her then husband. What an upstanding character she, well, isn't.
Upstairs, David is giving the slashers even more to chew on, by leaving a "just checking in" message on Colby's phone. It also gives Nikki a chance to mock him some more.

BTW, she does have a reason for hanging around with David and it's not just to laugh at him because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern doesn't quite work when it's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's call answer service. That purpose is Charlie's found something.
Prison/ IHOF / Cal Sci: Charlie's found evidence that the AUSA's killer was freaking huge (technical term) whereas Curtis is sort of puny, in a scrapper sort of way. Also, the evidence indicates the killer favoured a side because of some trauma to his arm, or shoulder. DING DING DING! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a killer.

Unfortunately, it's too late. Julien Curtis has skipped out and it's 11:22pm.

While Don and Robin are still at the prison, the remaining Fedcakes find more evidence, in the form of Julien's phone bill, that ties him to the killing. The cell records indicate he was right near the spot the AUSA was killed. It's obvious that Curtis took the rap to avoid having his son be put to death.
Back at the Prison, Don confronts Curtis with all the evidence. The sketchy DNA from the original case was only a partial match because it was his son's. All I can say is that's so freaking obvious that I'm rather pissed at whoever investigated that years ago for being so bloody sloppy.

Curtis won't hear any of it, but Don uses Curtis's ploy, James Cagney movies, to prove his point. In Angels With Dirty Faces, Cagney's character proves a point with his death. Well, Don, I hate to be technical here, but he actually proves a point by making a point that he's actually a big chicken so that no one will want to be like him. Of course, that's only if you accept that interpretation of the film, which I do. I knew watching that movie in Pop Culture class was going to come in handy some day.

In essence, this entire eppesode is about what fathers and sons will do for each other. In a desperate attempt to make his father proud, Julien killed the AUSA. In response, Curtis took the blame to break the cycle of violence that has plagued generations of his family. It's like the basketball experiment. Charlie took it on, hoping to please his father, and here is Alan, left to coach and clean up the mess Charlie made with the experiment.
Curtis, to make sure he is put to death in the place of his son, makes one final confession. He is responsible for the deaths of 64 people.

As we head into commercial, let's make another check on Eeyore.

Current Eeyore Scale of Depressing: Right now, Eeyore still has lost his tail, and his house fell down.

IHOF: Curtis may have given up on things, but the Fedcakes haven't. While the governor's people is reviewing the evidence, ballistics matched the gun used in the killing of the doctor. It was previously in LAPD lockup. The office who arrested the original owner -- one Danny Hill.

When Danny's pulled into interview, she's smug about what she's done, thinking Artemas and Athena have nothing. Well, that's not true, since they have one kick ass motive -- wanting the man who is ultimately responsible for her lover's murder, dead.
In what has to be the most unbelievable moment in the eppesode (yes, I am taking into consideration the one that's coming up) Danny confesses to everything. In that confession, she admits to knowing Julien was the murderer, but that she was willing to let him off, and get him a gun to stall the no dead doctor, until Julien's father was dead. The kid was a "symptom" not the disease. PLus, he loses his father so it's not like he gets off scott free.

She also pisses me off by making my earlier assumption about her shooting at my BFFedcake, wrong.

Cal Sci: The hoops slaughter continues until Larry shows up with two rays, let me clarify, two completely illegal rays of hope that will have any win Cal Sci achieves stricken from their record.
I would like to say I knew who these two are but, I did have to look it up. They're players for the LA Lakers, and I guess they can get away with playing in this game because it's not like anyone attending, whether it's the audience or the members of either team, actually know that much about basketball to call Cal Sci on having ineligible players.

Larry convinced the Pau Gasol and Jordan Farmar to play by making them his TAs. I'm pretty sure that isn't allowed at Cal Sci either. Also, Larry promised them a ride in the space shuttle, knowing they're way over the height limits set by NASA. I think Larry's found a new outlet for all that coaching rage he had earlier and it involves scheming and cheating. I'm not too sure I like this outlet any better.

Oh yes, and they both think all the math plays Charlie came up with are ridiculous. Thus, it's time for a new game plan: give the ball to the two people who actually know how to play, and let the rest work itself out.

Call Sci / Prison: While Cal Sci kicks ass with players who shouldn't have been within 10 feet of the court, the joviality of the faux win is overshadowed by the other parts of the montage to an extremely sad song.

As Nikki and David chase down Julien, Curtis changes for the execution and is given his last rights. Thus, the father is walking to his own death not knowing he isn't actually saving his son.

In the gallery are Don and Robin. Curtis gives her a wink, and moments later, the drugs are administered. The phone call comes just a few seconds too late. I know this is fiction and things really aren't that quick, nor that clean, but the message comes across anyway.

It isn't until early the next morning that Don and Robin leave the prison, as the clock continues turning. Sure, there's the whole symbolism that's obvious.
Except, it rings a bit hollow, given the events. Maybe, it's supposed to. Just like the lyrics of the song playing, "but I don't know / I don't think so."

Thus, this recapper isn't left with any closure and just feeling bereft. Therefore, let's do one last check in with Eeyore, to determine exactly how depressing this eppesode is.

Current Eeyore Scale of Depressing: Right now, Eeyore still has lost his tail, his house fell down and no one noticed him, either.

Yup. Right there with you, Eeyore old buddy.

6 comments:

  1. I feel one thing you could add is that Don was against the death penalty, and Robin was for it.
    But awesome recap. And the ending of the Eppesode alllllllllmost made me cry.
    Don is a heck of a guy in dealing with Robin. Go Don. Go Don and Robin.

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  2. Awesome recap. LOL, the Nikki and David scenes were hilarious and I knew plot buddies were being born. Those screen caps = absolutely awesomeness.

    And I have to say Don and Robin holding hands. Awww!!!

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  3. Awesome recap as always. About what a Double Double means to Californians. In-n-Out Burger has a burger called a Double Double that has two patties and two pieces of cheese. In-n-Out started in Southern California and is popular where I live (near San Francisco). I know they are in other states, but I think it's popularity is mostly a West Coast thing.

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  4. Love love the Eeyore metaphor. And the Princess Bride ref was a nice touch too!

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  5. I know how you feel about the phone call thing, on last night's CSI:NY the same thing happened to Flack and Angell while they were making out in his bed. She handcuffed him to the bedpost. Maybe Robin needs to take a page out of her book, you think? *laughs*

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  6. The song at the end of the episode is "Maybe Maybe" by Nico Stai

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