Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Percolated Recap: Numb3rs: The Fifth Man (Eppesode 520)

Warning: Fedcakes were harmed in the creation of this recap. The recapper would like it noted that she was not responsible. Blame Don McGill. Considering he is both a producer and a writer of many eppesodes, he had to know the wrath he would incur from the rabid fangirls for seriously injuring the chief Fedcake. Clearly, the man is suicidal. I hope someone is getting him help.
Cal Sci: Charlie is moving offices. The actual plot justification is that some guy named Bederman retired and Charlie's inherited it. I'm guessing he was some serious bigwig and now Charlie is the BMOC, but I don't really think that's the reason Charlie's left his office of the last couple of seasons. No, I think there's a whole other agenda going on.
Oh yes, and since the show has developed this habit of telling us where the regular players are when not featured in an eppesode, Charlie informs us Larry's at an astrophysics conference at Berkeley. That certain sounds a whole lot nicer than getting all hot and heavy with Lorna.

As Charlie reminisces about his first day (direct quote, "Are you the boy wonder genius that everyone says you are?") and all the greats that have inhabited this dark hobbithole office before him. Alan hopes that all the "great minds" that once lived in that office will rub off on his youngest son, giving Charlie a moment of insight.
It's all about historical nerual networks that will explain why once group of academics can do wonderous things, or how others fizzle. Feel free to come up with your own Saturday Night Live in the 80s joke here. Also, it gives Charlie and excuse to use his boxes as blackboards and send Alan and Amita out to bring him the rest of his cardboard blackboards.
After a montage of moving, we learn two things. The first, is that Charlie worked through the night on his neural networking theory. The second is that from the way Charlie is handling the boxes, I think he forgot to put all that stuff he was supposed to move, in them. Oh well, he's adorkable so I forgive him.

Alan and Nikki are the ones to interrupt the boy man wonder genius, as Nikki is expecting to get some math on the home invasion (7 houses in 7 days) case the Fedcakes are working on with the LAPD. She expects math on the MO, patterns, the habit of making false 911 calls and anything else Charlie can come up with and what does Charlie have?
Charlie promises to throw something together, which includes the all important number of baddies in the crew. To be honest, it's clearly not as important as the neural networking and I have proof. Do you think I would make such a statement -- that Charlie's putting his theory ahead of Don's case -- without proof?
Stakeout: Don is clearly not amused by Charlie's "screwing around for two days." It's Nikki who defends Charlie's math. She's confident they're looking for 4 guys who are probably kids from the smash-and-grab style of the robberies. She then distracts Don (and me) further by not only being 100% on board with Charlie, but also being a fan of Tom Petty, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

While this conversation may seem a wee bit forced, it does get something out of the way pretty early, the dreaded (a word which here means, probably no one notices I do this) NPALTM, "What, you pegged me for Beyonce and Jay-z?" Why does Nikki win the award for the week. By stereotyping Don to stereotype her, she just winds up sounding like a smug ass instead of someone with eclectic music tastes.

Thus, I only have one question when it comes to Nikki's musical tastes: is it Young while with Crosby, Stills, and Nash or just Young on his own? Seriously, this is exactly the type of character tidbit I stupidly obsess over love.

Don makes a readio call handing over the power to David. More importantly, David, who now has back his proper co-pilot! Yes, Guildenstern has returned to his Rosencrantz but not before his absence gave the slashers quite a bit upon which to chew!
All Colby can do is mock David a bit because the promotion does not mean that their car is upgraded, as their sitting in a Crown Vic. Oh, Colby, on one of my other favourite shows, a character that could even kick your ass, loves them, so don't be so hard on the car.

A call comes in and the Fedcakes are sent to 4430 Duncan Street, an address that will live in infamy in the Numb3rs fandom.

4430 Duncan: David sends Nikki and Don around back, while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take the front. In the bedroom, the first pair rescue the wife, and find out that her husband's been taken to the guest house. The latter pair find the home invader robbing the fridge. They identify themselves as Fedcakes but I think they need to add a little something else to their warning.
What Rosencrantz and Guildenstern didn't count on is the guy with the machine gun. All hell breaks lose as we cut back and forth between the team leader and his partner, and the chief Fedcake with Nikki. I would describe it in detail, but the only lights are that from the firing guns, and the weird blue glow of the pool. What's intersting is that no Fedcakes were injured in the shootout. Just like stereotypical badguys, after 2309483 shots (actual number), no one is even grazed.

The problem is that in order not to resemble Swiss cheese, the Fedcakes had to stay covered, unable to actually arrest the baddies, so they escape in the van while blowing up the Crow Vic. Hey, that's what happened in the other show I referenced earlier! Okay, maybe it isn't exactly the same since Casey's Crown Vic was blown up by a missile, whereas the Fedcakes' is blown up by a grenade.
David calls in the van, while Don and Nikki check on the husband. Rightly, yet still stating the obvious, Nikki points out that home invaders with uzis, Kevlar and hand grenades aren't exactly your garden-variety shit heads. Of course, none of this matters now.

Warning: Don's fangirls should look away now. Anyone traumatized by what I am about to discuss, has clearly dismissed my warning, thus, I am not responsible.

I'm serious.

Really, I'm not joking.

Please note, I will not pay for your therapy.

Out of fucking nowhere, comes some guy, armed with a knife, knocks Nikki aside, and stabs Don under his vest. And no, no one needs to see a screencap of that.

I would like to point out that there are many things that many people in the fandom would like about under Don's vest. A gaping chest wound is not one of them.

Title Flash.

St. Loren's Hospital: In about the amount of time (the commercial) it takes for a good portion of the unspoiled fandom to have a heart attack (they will be missed) Don's not only been taken into surgery, but also his family's arrived, wanting answers. Charmita wants to know what's happened and David explains about the title character of this eppesode.

This sends Charlie into a wirlpool of guilt, since his math didn't take into account some data, such as the title. Thus, Charlie wants to help make up for it by helping clarify the smudged fingerprint found at the scene.

Considering one of his children is near death, Alan is a lot more coherent than I expected. He encourages Charlie and the Fedcakes to find whoever did this to Don. Now, I did say Alan was a lot more coherent, but since David was the guy in charge, I'm pretty sure, somewhere, in the back of his mind, is the thought that David broke a promise.

I would also like to point out that Robin is not at the hospital. If I hadn't seen her name on the guest stars list, I was prepared to pitch a fit and a half (no comments, please!) as if whining had just become the newest Olympic sport.

The next morning, as demonstrated by that sped up shot of the sun giving us light over the city of Los Angeles. Wow, I used light in a sentence and wasn't complaining about the lack of it. It's been so long that this show's been filmed practically in the dark I was starting to think everyone on this show were secret vampires or something.

IHOF: The victims of the home invasion know nothing. Initially, I thought this scene was superfluous, but now all I have to say is that they are the Big Liars from Liartown in Equivocatia. Since their less than truthful ways make finding the person who nearly killed Don more difficult, I have a right to be mad. Even if one of them, in real life, might be fairly close to the the actor who plays Don!
Cal Sci: The first few days in Charlie's new office are not setting the tone I'm sure he'd want. No matter how hard he looks at the math, he cannot see where he went wrong. The math says that the fifth man doesn't exist. To make sure we know he's really, really angry at himself, he knocks over a few of his empty boxes.

Now, I must take a minute and explain something to Charlie. It's something I often used in my literary studies. It's called synchronicity. Simply put, it's when events seem to have some connection, but really, don't. In this case, Charlie, your math, and the fifth man, have nothing to do with each other.
Really, it's a sweet way that Charlie's ego can often get the better of him. He would assume he got the math wrong because his world revolves around his math. He can't see that he isn't capable of protecting the Fedcakes completely. Sometimes, he thinks he's convinced himself that he can't control everything, but incidents like this prove him wrong.

Amita, who has to be the sensible one here, gives Charlie some practical advice.
St. Loren's Hospital: Just outside the front doors, Alan is pacing.


I'm sorry, it's automatic. It's definitely at the level of pavlovian now. I know that I shouldn't squee, but here's Robin, all upset, and somehow I'm more pleased with how she was able to make it from Portland in 5 hours, still look pretty awesome, and arrive only to get a hug of reassurance from her future father-in-law.

I do take in that Don's still in surgery and his situation is probably critical. Five hours in surgery means all sorts of nasty things were cut. I don't want to think about that.
IHOF: There's a weird close up on a baseball signed by Colby Granger. Liz is staring at it. This leads to a very inappropriate obvious question.
Artemas has news on the getaway van -- that's it's all clean and torched, not two things that are conducive to finding bad guys. Despite the info, which is just the excuse to have these two talk, the van is not the purpose of this scene. Nope, it's that Nikki feels responsible for what happened to Don. At that moment, he was her partner, and thinks if she hadn't been blindsided, Don would be fine.

To use an analogy appropriate of this week (I've made my Kentucky Derby picks, have you), Nikki and Charlie are going to be the War Admiral and Secretariat of guilt trip races this week.

Athena tries to comfort Artemas at first by stating the odds that with the number of dangerous situations the Fedcakes find themselves in, something like this was bound to happen. She then goes on to say how she was worried, during that dark time in my life when my OTP were on a very traumatic (for me) break, that Liz always thought she'd be responsible for Don being injured. She thinks that because she believed he'd be too worried about her to take care of himself.
Sure, it's deep, partner to partner sharing, but I'd like to point out what Liz's attempt at comfort actually translates to.

In the tech room, Charlie's algorithm's produced a result and the fingerprint belongs to Tom Kardum, 2007 teacher of the year. Okay, someone high up in TPTB must've had a crappy time at school because the teachers on this show, who don't have the title of professor and are not adorkable, are shit. Seriously, we all remember Crystal Hoyle, the blackmailed kindergarten teacher and Leonard. Why are most of the teachers on this show such, well, horrible or easily manipulated people?

That's a serious question BTW and no, the answer to that does not negate my shout out, world peace and pony wish, even if I do get an answer?

Charlie's not 100% confident on his math, but since Don's out of surgery so Charlie's headed back to the hospital, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are going to talk to the teacher of the year.

I on the other hand, roll my eyes at yet another slandered educator in the media, and choose to respond in my usual, mature fashion.
Football Field: In about 3 seconds, Kardum gives himself away. His alibi falls apart when he claims to have been taking a route on the freeway that was closed. Oops. This results in a sprint across the school property. We could all guess how that was going to end.
Okay, so maybe the pool part I wasn't expecting as I was thinking more along the lines of a classic Colby tackle. On the other hand, I would like to point out that even though Colby was tossed into a pool, we didn't get a single shot of Colby, wet. I can't possibly be the only one disappointed by that, can I?

St. Loren's Hospital: After a pitiful shot of Don hooked up to a bunch of tubes and machines, we pan out to the waiting area. In the waiting area is the worst doctor in television history. The number one rule of post-surgery treatment is not to say positive things about the patient until they are conscious and smiling. Why? The bloody second the doctor says she's "encouraged" for Don, the chief Fedcake goes into cardiac arrest, promptly causing the cardiac arrest of just about anyone watching this eppesode.

While Charmita, Alan and Robin all watch, Don is shocked, to no avail. Only after the heart monitor flatlines, does anyone in the room think to close the curtain around the bed so that the family doesn't have to watch in horror.
After the commercial break from hell, the doctor does the correct thing, and makes things sound grave. Don may not be dead, but he's certainly not anywhere near out of the woods yet. Anything positive she does say, she tempers with a lack of guarantee.

IHOF: Kardum's had a lot of contact with law enforcement lately, since he was a person of interest in the disappearance of a financial advisor, one Alessy. Another interesting piece of evidence is how all of the people who were victims of home invasions, were Alessy's clients.
David wants to figure out what's going on, but Colby isn't that patient. He wants his chance at Kardum and really doesn't care what the underlying motive is. How come Charlie, who didn't miss anything, is feeling guilty about missing something that isn't there, whereas Colby doesn't give a shit if it's there or not.

The interview does not go well. As soon as Colby confronts Kardum with every shred of evidence they have, Kardum lawyers up. Not exactly getting what he wanted, Colby channels Edgerton with Buck Winters, but only gets through saying what he wants to do, before David tells his partner to take a walk.
Colby even tries to justify his actions by saying it's been done "before." Yeah, well, two years later, that before came back to haunt everyone Colby, so let us not head down that path again.

"I'm not Don," is all David has to say, and considering how it turned out for Don last time, I think David's taking a better route.
St. Loren's Hospital: Another bonding scene between Alan and his future daughter-in-law gives us a tonne of those character tidbits. For instance, Don was born in St. Loren's Hospital after a long labour and difficult delivery. When Margaret was recovering, Alan was minding baby Don, and for a lack of lullabies to sing, he chose to sing the entire album of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
It's really Alan's way of saying that people have to deal with whatever they're given, whether it's an infant, or the call that your son is in the hospital.

As Robin tears up, so do I, a little.

Alessy's: In a scene strictly designed to provided some exposition and move the plot forward, Alessy's secretary explains to Nikki how there's only one hard drive with all the client info in the safe, and no one could get in. Also in the the safe was a safety deposit box key from a supersekrit client. Note the past tense there.

Cal Sci: Seriously, I'm expecting "Dueling Banjos" to play as Nikki and Charlie have a guilt-off.
Since Charlie was right about the teacher of the year because I think someone on TPTB hate all teachers Nikki gives him the hard drive to look through, hoping to find some interesting patterns with the data.

Outside IHOF: More exposition and this time, David is involved. Even though he's on the receiving end, it makes me feel a bit better because even as the temporary Chief Fedcake, some things will always remain consistent.

Many of the Alessy's clients were like the economy in the 1920's, whereas just six months previously, they were all like the economy in the 1930's. Why use the historical allusion? Well, watching a scene giving dry information about money laundering and why the Big Liars from Liartown in Equivocatia, won't say anything, means I have to find ways of entertaining myself.
Oh yes, and one of the suddenly Roaring Twenties clients, is due for a visit from our baddies, even though they're now down to three.

Cal Sci / Home Invasion: Charlie's still feeling lower than a squashed bug on the devil's shoe, because even though he's figured out the clients most likely to get a visit from the baddies, he can't quite figure out what the robbers are doing. Thus Amita wants to look at everything anew, and to start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start).

So Charlie goes over the MO of the robbers. As Charlie explains everything, we get, at first, what seems to be a Charlie-vision, only to realize it's actually a home invasion in progress. One robber zeroes in on the man in the shower, the other on the woman in the kitchen. Even though we're led to believe something terrible is about to happen, the woman at the sink seems really familiar.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern quickly take out the other two home invaders, but this just leads to more important questions. For instance, for reality's sake, why wasn't Colby in the shower? What? It's a valid question! Someone go ahead and disagree with me.

Back with Charmita, the female half of that name points out how there was one glaring departure from the MO when Don was hurt. The fifth man came out of the guest house, which had nothing in it other than a bunch of stuff that, in all honesty, the police should've realized mean HIDE OUT, complete with capslock.

As we watch the home invaders being taken away, Charmita finally realize that Charlie's math, which could not have predicted something they didn't have a shred of data on, was not wrong. The home invaders wanted the fifth man, because they didn't have a fifth man.

Oh yes, and I scream something at the TV, and, yet again, the Fedcakes clearly aren't listening to me!

IHOF: Artemas and Athena pedaconference on the identities of the home invaders: Boris, Ivan and Milan. Please, don't ever, ever, ask me to spell their last names. It might possibly break my brain.
They're all from a small town in Croatia called Brezko and they all immigrated 12 years ago. Also, they have good jobs and no criminal record. This was the moment all the alarms went off.

Unfortunately, my eureka moment is only seconds before Charlie arrives and is probably going to ruin my pride in figuring things out.

As if I didn't already have enough reasons to love the adorkable professor, he doesn't ruin my moment. All he does is explain the safe house theory (and how the clients would hide a person, as well as money) to the feminine portion of the Fedcakes. Therefore, before someone does spoil things for me, let me explain my logic.

Small Balkan town + four immigrants + the search for one man = war criminal! I may be no Charles Edward Eppes, but my math adds up.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern bury the hatchet from their earlier argument. Let me quote the scene.
Well, that's how I remember it.

Together, the partners interview Mr. and Mrs. Big Liar. Interview, a term which here means, briefly talk to the pair of spineless wimps who fold like cheap tents. They don't really tell us anything we didn't already know, except for the fifth man's name: Slobodan Radovic.

Let's just leave out the unpleasant details and let me just leave it with this, the allusion in the name is fairly apt. Alessy helped him get his money, out of Serbia. You know, the more I learn about Alessy, money laundering, intimidation, helping war criminals, I'm having a lot of difficulty being sad that he's dead.

They've got video footage of Alessy and Radovic doing something shady (not like that) but the Fedcakes aren't the only ones aware of the war criminal's presence in the US, so are the four men who commit home invasions. You know, since their village was ethnically cleansed, which is a really polite sounding term for something so horrific, I'm also having a lot of difficulty feeling for the people whose homes were invaded.

St. Loren's Hospital: Charlie's guilt trip comes to a head. He thinks his math, his inability to see what wasn't possible to know, resulted in Don being in critical condition. He thinks because he was working on the CI theory, it's all his fault.

Alan takes an entirely different tactic than I expected. He doesn't absolve Charlie of his guilt. He instead asks Charlie to decide where his priorities lie. I know Alan's upset and all, so I'll save explaining synchronicity to him until he's calmed down a little.
IHOF: Nikki and David talk to Kardum, who confesses to everything. It doesn't matter how hard he tried to make a life for himself in a new country, when he saw Alessy, he was taken back to the pain and horror of what happened. He thinks so little of Alessy, Kardum dismisses the questions about what happened to the financial advisor and where the body is. Despite the harshness, I'm still having real trouble seeing this guy as bad. Considering all he wanted to do after the massacre was die like his family, he's actually more pitiful than bad.

He does add one new piece of information. The safety deposit box, whose key is missing, contains a fortune in diamonds. The box is located at some jewelry wholesaler's.

And this Eppesode isn't really giving me much to work with, funny-wise.

Nikki realizes there's no way Kardum is ever giving that key to the Fedcakes, but she also realizes something else. Radovic doesn't know his banker is dead, and thinks it's Alessy who is trying to kill him.

Alessy's: Nikki, David and Colby find the secretary brutally murdered, the office a wreck and the safe wide open. Nikki makes an odd comment about how a man that could kill the secretary so brutally isn't going to give up without a fight. Well, I think the whole ethnic cleansing might've been a bigger clue about how evil he is, but we can go with the tortured secretary too.
Okay, no we can't. Nikki's statement was just stupidly superfluous and I'm getting rather depressed with the topic of this eppesode. I want to go back to Liz staring at Colby's ball.

IHOF: The key is nowhere to be found but have no fear, guilty Charlie is here (after realizing his priorities lay with the Fedcakes -- even though I don't think that debate will be going away anytime soon)!

Looking at the digital video of the key, Charlie realizes something.
Using the same science that maps the ocean floor, Charlie's going to map the key and have it copied. There's a whole cool Charlie-vision to accompany this explanation, but honestly, I'm too distracted by how quickly Charlie's able to figure out where this safety deposit box might be.

Okay, I actually scoffed at that. I know we're getting to some more dramatic moments, but for half a second, suspension of disbelief was a little stretched.

Cal Sci: Amita present Charlie with a freshly minted key-key that was made made by Ray-Ray. Does anyone know what I would've given for an enthusiastic Ray-Ray all excited to try and copy a key? That's exactly what this eppesode could've used because Ray-Ray, like those guys on Top Gear, does not know when it's completely inappropriate to say something. I'm sure we'd get a "I've always wanted to pull my own bank job by copying keys like this. I wouldn't want the money, just to prove I could. I was always afraid of your brother coming after me though. Guess that wouldn't happen right now but -- uhhh, sorry dude."

Charlie's still doubting that whatever location he comes up with, might be incorrect. Well, I hate to point it out Charlie no I don't it's not like the Fedcakes are going to be hurt if you send them somewhere the evil war criminal isn't waiting.

It's clear that Charlie wants to check that he's right first, and Amita immediately picks up that it means actually going to the place where a war criminal might be waiting. I'm totally not cool with that idea so when Amita tells Charlie not to be a hero, I also tell Charlie something.
St. Loren's Hospital: We begin with a close up of the book Alan fell asleep reading. It sends me on a wild freaking goose chase to find out if that book a) exists and b) has deeper meaning, but no, just like Liz staring at Colby's ball (no that's not going to get old) it serves no purpose.
What it does do is give Don something to say. He awakens slowly, and gently touches his father's hand. "Good book?" He asks. I'm pretty sure it gives Alan a flashback to the Sgt. Pepper moment.
Cal Sci: Charlie's found A to Z Jewelry and goes to call the Fedcakes but hangs up instead. I start screaming my advice from earlier. Still, these characters don't listen to me!

A to Z Jewelry: As I continue yelling at the TV, Charlie has the safety deposit box opened. The jeweller promptly calls Radovic and I promptly want to smack Charlie in the head with something heavy, and no, damage to the curls wouldn't stop me.

Charlie wraps up all the diamonds and heads out.

Empty Freaking Courtyard That Might As Well Be Called Kill Me Place: All right, I admit, it took me about thirty seconds (and a lot of WTFs) before I realized that yes, Charlie is crazy enough to go to the jeweller's alone, but not wander through empty courtyards just after stealing from a war criminal.
What's weird is that, for a war criminal, Radovic is sort of stupid. Most people would just shoot Charlie, take the diamonds and run. Instead, Radovic not only talks to Charlie but also threatens him with brass knuckles. Not exactly the best tactic since this man thinks Alessy's been sending armed people after him.

Charlie tells Radovic about being Don's brother and then drops the diamonds. It's a move Charlie felt he needed to make, even if I'm sitting here thinking it's rather foolhardy. Plus, I see the red sights from the Fedcakes guns, which competely relieve all of my tension, since Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Artemas and Athena are not going to let Charlie get beaten in the head with brass knuckles.
Nikki threatens to shoot Radovic in the knee, if he doesn't surrender. Colby suggests she might miss and aim higher. That's hitting below the belt, literally.

As Radovic is taken away, Charlie thanks David for letting him play decoy. My wise BFFedcake would know that it was something Charlie needed to do, but would never let the adorkable professor be in any serious danger.
Now it's time for Charlie and David to play 52 diamond pick-up.

St. Loren's Hospital: Okay, from a character perspective, the wrongest of the wrong occurs in this scene. It's so horrific, I had to use capslock in my instacap.

Don sees it and goes, "Oh no, another one."

This awful image is trebled when Charlie also arrives in one. What is it that terrifies me so? What is it that makes me shrink back in terror? No, it's not another "accidental haircut." No, it's not being told that my OTP is taking another break (since Robin is right there in the room, and that would require it's own rant that might continue for several years). So, what is it that could make me cringe so much?
Luckily, Don has the great medicine available only to those people who are fictional, and will be back with the Fedcakes in a week, even if it is on limited duty -- Robin has that notorized.
Alan clears everyone in the room so that the brothers Eppes can have a talk. I'm disappointed because, even though this could be said about many Eppesodes, it's a particular sticking point with me with this one, there hasn't been enough of my OTP.

Oh yes, let me point out that Alan leaves Don a brisket. It's got to be better than hospital food.

Don smiles, yet still manages to call Charlie on playing decoy. He never wanted a life of danger for Charlie. Charlie, on the other hand, does want a life that involves eating brisket.

As Charlie goes to leave, Don says, "Seeyou at the office, Buddy."

"Yeah," Charlie replies, "you will."
Recapper's Note: Next week, with the 100th eppesode, we should all celebrate the little midseason replacement that could. Also, I am firmly expecting my shout out. What megalomania?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Poll the Second Results

The results on who has the best hair on television is in and the results are:

  • 58% of the voters thought Charlie Eppes, despite the accidental haircut, has the best hair on television.
  • 33% of voters believe Patrick Jane's sandy blond locks the best on TV.
  • 10% of voters love Sam Winchester's floppy-hair look.
  • Finally, only 5% think Ray Carling's hair, on the now defunct LoMUS, deserved the title.

Thanks for voting!

Now, the next poll is only a few days long and concerns the Numb3rs Fandom. In a week, we'll be seeing the 100th eppesode of the little midseason replacement that could. There have been hints that it'll be a fan reference extranvaganza (as in, fans will get the references, not be the references, even though I'm still holding out hope for a shout out). In fact, there will probably be so many references, I probably need help spotting them all. Thus, if I were to post a "HELP SPY" post next week, I'm wondering if I would get assistance. Thus, I'm having a poll.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Instacap: Numb3rs: The Fifth Man (Eppesode 520)

Charlie's moving offices? Is it because this one's darker? It is, isn't it?

Boxes=chalkboards. Well, I guess anything is math worthy for Charlie just like everything is Crayola worthy for a toddler.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are reunited.

Don? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I wasn't spoiled for the specifics so I was totally surprised he was stabbed, not shot.

For about 2 minutes, I thought Robin wasn't going to be in this eppesode. That would not have been good. Trust me, my future recap got a lot less whiny when I saw Michelle Nolden on the opening credits.

Charlie & Nikki: dueling guilt.

Again, with the bad teachers. Doesn't Numb3rs have an educational program? Seriously, stop picking on the teachers.

As soon as the doctor sounds hopeful, Don crashes?! Bad Doctor, do you not know the first rule of TV hospitals is never say the patient will be fine when he's hooked up to a heart monitor that can make a continuous beep?

Angry Colby is angry.

Alan singing St. Pepper's? I would pay to see that.

The fifth man is the target and living in safe houses? Huh?

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are bickering.

Oh, the motive is sort of valid. Note the sort of.

Hey hey, Ray-Ray made the key key!

What is Alan reading?

Don's awake? Where's Robin?

Dear Charlie, if you do the decoy thing your adorkableness will not make up for -- damn, apparently you really don't listen to my warnings.

At least Charlie brought along all the Fedcakes, with laser sights.

Hello Kitty? Hello Kitty? HELLO FUCKING KITTY?

I've just invented a new game. Throw the dart at the Hello Kitty balloon.

Okay, seriously not enough Robin for me. Yes, I'm biased.

No preview for the 100th eppesode? Bite me, Global.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Percolated Recap: Numb3rs: Animal Rites (Eppesode 519)

Dear Global Network,
Often, I complain about your airings, your weird timing, and even your inability to show the previews. This time, I would like to congratulate you on a whole new level of incompetence. What did you do that was such an epic failure, I feel the need to address you at the start of this recap? You took money to advertise the movie State of Play. Someone in the advertising department should've realized that advertising State of Play during an eppesode that features one of the actors from the original and infinitely superior on all levels, BBC miniseries, was a bad idea.
I don't care if the client insisted that the ads air during the eppesode. Someone in your advertising department should have told them that reminding people how good your product could've been is never a good plan.
To put it in mathematical terms: David Morrissey>Ben Affleck. If you still disbelieve me, let me say two words: John Simm. Finally, if you're still in doubt, I will bring up Bill Nighy, who chewed scenery/actors in that miniseries like it was the newest fad diet. I think James McAvoy got to keep a leg by the time Bill Nighy was done. Do not make me bring out Bill Nighy.
Random Spy Question: Travellingone and I were thinking of doing a review of the film State of Play just for the pure hilarity pitting it against the original series. Which is like pitting a poodle against a pitbull. This is a good idea? Y/N?

Cal Sci: There's a raid on an animal testing lab. It gives me a flashback to Dollhouse a few weeks back, except without the wonky drugs and no one gets shot.

Why does it remind me of the ill-fated raid. First, there are two people involved. Secondly, they're filming the animals in cages as if they're going to post it on YouTube. Clearly, they don't know that in order to be a hit on YouTube nowadays, you either have to have a shot of someone being kicked in the balls, be weirdly hilarious or that Scottish woman who surprised everyone on X Factor. YouTube is no longer the bastion of rebels it once was.

First, they release the dogs and then they release the mice. While I refuse to get dragged into the debate over animal testing, by either side, I will call these guys out for releasing them in that order. I don't know about you, but releasing the dogs first and the mice second, indicates that they don't know that dogs are just as likely to chase rodents as cats are. You don't want to see my house when someone says the word "squirrel." What you would see is a usually sweet pair of white fluffy dogs turn into vicious killing machines.

Oh, speaking of dogs, I should introduce you to one of the heroes of the eppesode.
After trashing the lab, obscuring the cameras and leaving some graffiti, the animal rites activists are interrupted by a fairly elderly man. Instead of getting out of running, because it's not like the old guy could catch them, they whack the man over the head with a beaker.

For the moment, all Fluffy McHero can do is watch and whimper.

La Maison d'Eppes: Artemis and Athena are playing poker against Larry, a serious student in the study of gambling, and Amita, another mathematician that I wouldn't underestimate. After a brief discussion on how many shuffles it takes to make a deck random (minimum 5, but 7 is better) Artemis totally plays everyone at the table. She pulls the old trick of whining about having a crappy hand, only to have 3 queens and clean up.
The poker game, and corresponding pizza and beer (as brought by the brothers Eppes) is interrupted by a very Zen ring tone from, can it be, Larry's phone? Sure, he carried one while he was waiting to go up into space, but to still be regularly carrying one and picking out personalized ringtones is definitely not a development in character I expected to see.

He's received a phone call from Anne Collins, Polly Walker Lorna Ludlow about the attack in the lab. The old guy, Nelson Horowitz, was a biology professor.
Cal Sci: I admit, I was a little biased against Lorna Ludlow from the get go. First, the way she grabs on to Larry (which is not the way I grab on to coworkers, no matter how upset I am) just confirmed my suspicions of an event I'd rather not talk about.
Secondly, the actress was totally the weakest link of the original State of Play. Of course, that's like saying it's a lesser known work of Van Gogh, but still, these two things combined mean I may be a bit harsher on Lorna Ludlow than I should be. What jealousy over John Simm?

So, to be fair, Lorna is doing some very important work on avian flu before it wipes out humanity and she's afraid the loss of the animals will set things back for years.

Don's the one who finally enters the lab and makes a horrifying discover, of Nelson Horowitz's body, locked in a cage, with a cone around his neck. I'm thinking the loss of the professor might set things back , just as much as the loss of the animals.

Title Flash.

IHOF: Reviewing the facts of the case, the Fedcakes gives us some much needed exposition. Horowitz died of a heart attack or stroke, but since it was during a criminal act, it's still murder. Also, they activists were going to set off a home made gas bomb, but didn't which probably shows they didn't mean for the professor to die. Okay, so that last part is my conjecture, but I've known the Fedcakes long enough to feel that I can offer something to these round table discussions.
Instructions for making the gas bomb are on the ARR website. Despite the acronym, this is not a website for the followers of his Noodliness, the FSM, as it's not about pirates, but Animal Rights Rebels. This isn't exactly a group per say but the website is used more as a place to gather info and inspire other ecoterrorists.

Charlie arrives, and is so affected by the sight of Professor Horowitz on the screen that he asks for the crime scene photos to be taken down. At this point, Don decides that despite all assurances from Charlie that he's got some great math plan to help, perhaps a cup of coffee and a moment to calm down might be in order.
In the break room, Charlie calms down by talking about the one thing that he always turns to when upset P vs. NP, math and audience visions. He plans to use a program called PIR to catch ARR. Essentially, it looks for key terms on specific sites where ARRs hang out,

The audience vision compares it to searching for one of those rare copies of Bob Dylan's album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. You know, the ones that have those four extra songs, and assuming everyone else on the planet had never heard of how freaking expensive that album is or have parents who think a knowledge of 60s music is as important as reading. Essentially, a bunch of secret shoppers, get sent to buy out all the records, hoping to find a rare one. PIR to catch the ARR is like the secret shoppers -- all sent to look for something of which they don't understand its importance.

Essentially, Charlie wants to look for certain things by trolling thorugh everything, but only knowing what it is he's looking for. Okay, that statement hurt my brain.

"Is that legal?" Don asks.

"Uh, it's not illegal. Technology's ahead of the law." Charlie replies. Oh, anyone who has ever spent any time on the internet understands and treasures that statement.

Why Charlie's crossed into the moral quagmire and pit of fun that is the internets, is because of Horowitz. He reminded our adorkable professor a little of Alan. Aw.

Oh yes, and Charlie, your campus has been invaded by violence before, remember?

ARR: Actually, it's not really the ARR, it's a subsidiary of sane animal activists that work through non-violent means to try and get their point across. Because of this, (and the fact the activists at Cal Sci were amateurs) the genuine animal rights activist is willing to give the Fedcakes, Rosencrantz and Athena, an internet cafe where a lot of extremists hang out.

Cal Sci: Lorna Ludlow is explaining to Larry how important Horowitz's work was to the treatment of soldiers with PTSD. I think Numb3rs is sitting on the fence just like I am when it comes to the issue of animal testing, because Lorna Ludlow makes Horowitz sound one step below a martyr and praises the other uses of animal testing used to benefit the world, and not just make a better mascara.

Plus, Lorna may be in danger since her name is listed on the ARR website.
Cafe Hilarity: Artemis and Athena have been sent undercover at the coffee shop (where no animal products are served). The purpose of my name, will be made evident later, but for now, I will just show you a screencap of the barista, with one slight improvement to her hat.
Cal Sci: In this eppesode about animals, we get some surprising guest stars.
Yup, Lorna is the vessel to show both sides of the animal testing debate. She talks of rodents who mate for life and whether or not a rat's life is valuable as a human. I wanted to see if I could settle the debate by asking a white fluffy dog who is trying to nap on my couch. I believe the look I got in response was something along the lines of, "I was not born this cute not to rule all I see and yes, I am more important than you."

That's the problem when I debate with this dog, she only ever sees her side and then whacks me with a paw until she gets a treat. It's not really much of a debate since she has me too well trained.

Larry's impressed by her inquisitive mind. "Inquisitive mind" a phrase which here means he's actually a bit distracted by the really sexy, smart woman giving him the time of day, and who didn't move to the East Coast.
Lorna's also upset because the Fedcakes are keeping Nelson Horowitz's death a secret. Larry's response, even though he says he trust the Fedcakes' instincts is odd because it means he has to distrust his own. Um, Larry, isn't your first instinct to trust the Fedcakes? What are you saying here?

Hilarious Cafe: One of the radicals gets a text message and heads out quickly. In an attempt to look interested, Nikki asks the barista what's going on since it might be something "cool."

The barista's response, though perfectly logical, wins this week's NPALTM because of the squick factor. It's awkward for me to hear it, and it's got to be awkward for the barista to come to the conclusion she did because of Nikki's enthusiasm. Also, it's got to be awkward because you know Liz is definitely going to share this one for a laugh.

What is the line that manages to accomplish this level of awkward? "Really? He's like 17."

Cal Sci: Charmita is working on finding more sites to data mine blindly but Amita's distracted. She's creeped out by the security and it doesn't help that the useful data is coming from unexpected sources. For instance, she's shocked to find a video with "Cal Sci" in the title on some innocuous message board. Oh, Amita, if you think message boards are innocuous, you clearly haven't spent any time on the fandom's board.

I'd just like to note, that the mention of a message board would've been an excellent opportunity for my shout out also for my world peace and pony. Really PTB, there are opportunities everywhere. Do I really need to keep pointing them out.

It's the same video we saw being filmed at the beginning and now Charmita's feeling even worse. I wonder if we can find something to entertain them. You know what always works? Monkeys! Monkeys, like ninjas, are always a good time, so bring on the monkeys!
Okay, so the monkeys are unavailable, so they're replaced with people acting like monkeys! It's all fun and games now!

You know that ninjas and monkeys always make for a good time? Well, while I'm highly amused by the group of people bouncing around like monkeys, the Cal Sci crew isn't. Charmita doesn't know what to make of it and Larry and Lorna are equally confused.
Until something blows up, and the camera catches two masked men, one carrying a camera, running from the building. Monkeys just became not fun.

As a shower of glass and mortar rains down on Charmita, for some reason I cannot explain because Amita is much smarter than her action here, she looks up -- in the direction of the falling glass and mortar.
After the commercial is the aftermath (pun not intended) of the explosion. The flash mob may have disappeared in a flash (pun intended) but that "like 17" year old from earlier didn't follow suit.

IHOF: He's not 17. He's 19 and named James Arthur. He's also unemployed and spends his days attending flash mobs that make him act like a primate. He insists he had nothing to do with the video, and gives Nikki the web address for LA Vegan's Forum. I don't hold out much hope that one of the posters will have my handle. I am, on the other hand, holding out hope for the 100th eppesode. If they're going to include a whole bunch of continuity in that, as all the spoilers indicate, maybe a loyal recapper might finally get what she whines for wants.

The story of the flash mob is the same for everyone, but Charlie's PIR (or Dylan thing as Don puts it) might have found something. After going through a variety of screen names --
-- Charmita makes a discovery. A pair of active participants are never online at the same time. Thus, Dogboy88 and MacroJL are the same person, probably. Amita uses the Clark Kent/Superman example to explain them, but Charlie uses a more technical term, "mighty suspicious."

Dogboy88's: David and Liz are sent to talk to Josh Skinner, aka Clark Kent/Superman. They learn a few important details about the suspect. The first, is that Josh is schizophrenic and is off his meds. The second is that his mother is well used to Josh's issues. The third is that Josh is a student at Cal Sci and finally, the Fedcakes meet one of the most important people in this eppesode.
Okay, mental illness or not, Josh is evil. He wants to release Fluffy McHero into the wild. Excuse me, something that cute deserves to be catered to at his every whim. He deserves treats, and love and long walks in the park and complete run of the entire household / yard.

Remember the dog that I mentioned earlier? Yeah, she's in total agreement with me on that one.
Cal Sci: It's a good thing the Fedcakes have an in with an adorkable professor Cal Sci so that they can easily get a hold of Josh's timetable. At this moment, Josh is in a history of science lecture.

Charlie feels sorry for the kid, because of their shared connection with math. Apparently, people who are better at abstract and higher level thinking are also more likely to suffer from mental illness. Cue the obligatory John Nash reference!

I would like to point out that the kid's major is in philosophy and clearly, it's the math ability that might point towards madness as there have never been any crazy philosophers.

Anyway, the lecture hall where Josh is attending class is in the building that explodeded the previous day and Charlie recommends they approach the kid, to use a technical term, very carefully.
In the history of science lecture, the professor is talking about Galileo and pure math, while Josh looks to be having a trip. I mean the type that involves substances not prescribed by a doctor. You've got to love how the entertainment medium always explains insanity in the same vein as it portrays being stoned.

Apparently, being crazy also heightens the spidy-senses as within moments of David and Liz walk in, Josh spots them, and tries to take off through the crowds of exiting students.

The crazy kid is also carrying a gun, which we learn when he knocks into the security guard. In order to escape, he fires the gun into the air causing everyone else to go in the opposite direction of the bullet, and drop to the floor.

There's a weird moment where Josh shoots some random guy in front of him, only to be told his friend, "stop shooting." Josh's friend promptly runs like he's Speedy Gonzales, so I'm not too sure what that dude's purpose is. If he's Josh's friend he's going to know he has issues and shouting at him probably isn't the best plan.

Once Josh, Josh's friend and the random professor with a bullet in him gets dragged into the lab that was defaced at the beginning, we discover that if Josh thinks someone is watching him, he's not paranoid.
Outside the lab, Liz and David take the stats about the lab (solid core double door, single key with a deadbolt lock) and the gun (4 shots left). David tries to talk to Josh, while Josh's friend does a quick check of the lab, including the worst sweep ever of Lorna's office.

While Josh is convinced the Fedcakes are going to kill him, Lorna sends a text message.

A short time later, the Fedcakes have set up a command post and donned their Kevlar.
The useless friend has a name, Cloud, so with a name like that, I'd be useless too.

Artemas and Athena are looking at blueprints and there's a place Athena can get in. It's a wet wall. What amazes me, is that Artemas feels the need to explain it.
David's job is to keep Josh talking, while the Fedcakes sneak in from behind. The talking part is easy as Josh wants to do it all, and doesn't want Cloud to talk for him. His first demand is a video camera with a live feed and sometimes, the screencap jokes just write themselves.

Charlie and Larry arrive with Larry practically glued to his cell phone, talking to Lorna. Now the Fedcakes have an advantage Josh doesn't know about, since Lorna can act as the eyes and ears for everyone. Also, she identifies the hostage, Prof. Sharad Varma, and the positions of the two students. The problem is, while that's all fine and dandy for the Fedcakes, the only other exit for Lorna, a vent in the floor, is bolted shut.

The stand off continues. Liz works at getting through the wet wall. David tries to keep Josh distracted (despite being an assassin trying to get into Josh's brain), and Charmita is trying to figure out how an insane person's mind works. David and Liz clearly got the easier jobs.

Nikki is not too pleased with the slow pace of things and wants a crack at Josh. Um, yeah, somehow, I don't think Nikki and her patience level of a toddler hyped up on sugar, would really be the best thing right now.

After Josh is done breaking all the set decoration, he gets into a conversation with Sharad, who, as a Hindu, is a vegetarian and takes good care of his lab animals. Josh sees this as an oxymoron. Lorna, on the other hand, sees this as an opportunity to play hero, because she has the distinct disadvantage of not knowing that all dogs have the last name McHero and is convinced that Josh is going to shoot Sharad, again.
Josh is so confused by Lorna's sudden arrival since his useless friend checked the office already, Josh actually has to have Cloud confirm that Lorna is real and not a hallucination. For some reason, I find that infinitely sad.

Larry keeps Don informed of Lorna's heroic but not exactly clever move, and they have to listen as Lorna gets tossed around by Josh. As for the useless friend, he's sent back upstairs to check the office again, in case he missed someone else, or a bunch of someone elses.
Josh threatens to torture Lorna the same way he thinks the professors torture animals and he tortured the dead professor. Well, Lorna would just like to make a correction on the state of Professor Horowitz, as in, the descriptor I used in the last sentence. Instead of being horrified, Josh insists Horowitz deserved it, just like Lorna. Um, yeah, crazy and psychopathic aren't exactly the best cocktail for, say, staying alive.

Yet, fear not! Liz is making her way through the wet wall!
Just as Josh is about to interrogate Lorna and the bleeding Sharad, Don calls in to tell the captor that he has a video camera and that the chief Fedcake can be trusted. Of course, we know that, but as Josh is crazy and psychopathic, he wants both the camera and the live feed. Thus, he hangs up on the chief Fedcake, sending Nikki into the stratosphere of frustration because she wanted Don to lie to Josh about the live feed.

Don tries to explain that lying to the hostage taker is never the right plan, to which Nikki responds, "Lying's always worked for me."
Larry wants to know the probabilities that the object of his lust everyone gets out with their lives. Don answers with, "Dammit Larry, I'm a Fedcake, not a mathematician!" Okay, so maybe he didn't say that but how cool would it have been if he did?

Since Larry can't get an answer out of Don, he heads off to see Charmita. This is a great segue to the couple, who spend the first half of the next scene praising Josh's mind, and the last little bit realizing that Josh's god is the animal kingdom.
Back in the lab, Cloud picks up Lorna's phone and realizes it was still on. Instead of infuriating Josh further, he just closes it. Wow, it's the first useful thing he's done.

As for Lorna, she tries to tell Josh that she does respect animals, citing her dog as an example. That's not proof for Josh as he thinks having a pet is like "destroying a soul." Somehow, I think the white fluffy dog on my couch would disagree, unless it's bath time.

Don calls back into the lab, insisting that the live feed won't happen unless Sharad gets the medical attention he needs. That's still not enough for Josh, as he won't let the bleeding professor go until he confesses to his crimes. Yeah, well, Cloud better hurry up and do some more not useless things, as leaving the crazy psychopath in charge is getting a bit tedious.

And Liz is still crawling through the wet wall.
The door is opened to pass the camera through, and Cloud does the best thing he's ever done -- surrender. This gives Don and Nikki a chance to enter the room but Josh, and Josh a chance to have another one of his flashes, this time calling Nikki "Sarah."

Once Don puts down the camera, he goes to leave, but Nikki isn't permitted the same luxury since "Sarah" has to say. Since Josh is using Lorna as a shield, or a future home for bullets, Nikki is not only willing to stay, but also may get the chance to kick Josh's ass, which is, quite clearly, what she's wanted to do all along.
Josh is all excited and asks "Sarah" who they should kill first. When "Sarah" suggests they don't kill anyone and put down their guns, Josh is not amused.

David informs Athena that Artemas is now stuck on the other side of the wet wall while Don plots out everyone's placement in the room.
I love how Don doesn't even want to give Nikki a chance. She's still relatively new to the team and considering the whole lying comment earlier, there's faith in one's team, and then there's stupid loyalty.

Don has a point. It's not as if talking down a hallucinating hostage-taker is the easiest of jobs.
Thus, Josh just thinks "Sarah" been turned by, well, whoever he thinks turns people. On the other hand, his other option is that "Sarah" isn't really there. Well, technically, he's right about "Sarah" not being there.

Out in the courtyard, the Math Triad discuss how, if Josh thinks animals are gods, then he must obey the animals. Um, he thinks the animals are talking to him? Somehow, I think that's a lot more harmful than say, Doctor Doolittle.

Just as Josh is about to shoot Lorna for not admitting that she cuts off their beaks (WTF?) the door opens and a dog enters the room.
It's enough of a distraction to allow the Fedcakes to gain the upper hand. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, pours into the room, to the point I think Colby will suddenly appear even though he's not in the rest of the eppesode.

On the way out the door, Josh insists the dog not be hurt. I'm sure he thinks the dog was sending him divine messages or something. I refuse to make comparisons with the other case of dogs giving people instructions.

If Nikki's thinking she's getting any congratulations, she isn't, since she broke the first rule of hostage negotiation -- no lying. If she hadn't pretended to be "Sarah," a person about whom she knew nothing, things might not have escalated so quickly. She may think improvising might've been a good idea, but she should really leave the improvising to Second City.

As for Lorna, she's gently petting the dog, as if thanking it for her life. Really, I should've named this dog Fluffy McHero, but it really didn't fit.

She wants to know who thought to send the dog into the room, and the answer is comes with two sets of puppy dog eyes, instead of just one.
La Maison d'Eppes: After a rough few days at work, everyone needs a little support.
Lorna and Amita are heading out to do something, athletic? Seriously? As for Larry, Alan and Charlie, they'll stay at home, eating, and ribbing Larry about his thoughts. For those of you thinking it, no the ribbing will not come from Larry's consideration of vegetarianism, because he's trying to rectify the events of the last few days. It may have something more to do with Lorna being a vegetarian.
Tennis Court: For some reason I cannot fathom, other than trying to shoehorn Lorna into Larry life, Amita and Lorna are playing a game of doubles tennis against Artemas and Athena.

This scene is full of impossible things, since Amita and Lorna are killing the female Fedcakes. Liz is equally shocked because she thought Nikki (who is going to be sent to hostage negotiation training) said she could play.
Since things are going so well, Amita suggests another set. I suggest quitting while ahead since Artemas and Athena have, just off the top of my head, guns.