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?


  1. spy- I just have to say, every time you mention Chuck, I just have to squee!

  2. Have to agree with Marin there. Glad to see during this ep I wasn't the only one who made the Chuck connections. Sorry about the lack of a wet Colby :D I'm so excited for the finale especially for the return of the one and only Ian Edgerton.

  3. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Hello FUCKING Kitty! *falls over laughing*

    I can't help it, every time I read that, I laugh.

  4. Enjoyed this recap muchly. And I loved the Hello Kitty - what a great way to torment Don. :P

  5. The lack of a wet and magically changing Colby was very disappointing.
    But a well-done episode, nonetheless. Even though Don *cries* was stabbed. :-/