Of course that love was only increased 300 fold when I got spoiled earlier this week about something that made me -- wait, if I say it, I'll spoil you. You wouldn't want to be spoiled? Of course not! Therefore, do not click here!
IHOF: We begin with Charlie-vision. Have we ever started with a Charlie-vision before? I don't think we've had, and to be honest, it was a trick that made me sit up and take notice from the start, so I can't fault it.
Anyway, it's all about Monet's series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral, and how they're the same, yet different -- like a car engine. Sorry, but I think this will be the only time the works of Monet and car engine will be mentioned in the same sentence, even though they both involve oil.
Questionable Science Point 1 (QSP1): The whole point of the Charlie-vision is that each car has a unique sound (which I can buy) which the Fedcakes can use to track a particular vehicle - a vehicle containing a woman, Anne Flynn, who kidnapped her daughter, CJ. I don't know how the hell that will work in any practical way unless one is standing right next to said vehicle at the time. Then it wouldn't be so much about identifying the sound, as it would be arresting the woman who is probably in the car at the time.
Sure, Amita tries to convince me that many traffic cameras have an audio component, but I'm going to wonder on that one, since Anne has crossed multiple states with her daughter. I'm pretty sure there are better things for the states to spend money on (like say, H1N1 vaccine) than making sure traffic cameras have sound, never mind sound quality good enough to differentiate vehicles!
What makes this slightly (a phrase which here means, doesn't make me laugh) believable, is Charlie's comment about the other 11 999 999 cars and how they'll have to be filtered out before finding the vehicle in question. I may think FBI Techie Boy (official title), Matt Li may be awesome, but I don't think he's that good.
Something immediately arouses my suspicious about the father's fitness as a parent. Perhaps it's the fact he's a smoker, which, on TV, usually indicates a not-so great parent. (Before anyone gets upset and flames me, that's TV morality, which, as we all know, is not IRL morality. If TV morality and IRL morality were the same, well, just being on a CW show would give you an STD.) Perhaps it's because his hard-luck story of the "mistake" with Anne, and how he so nobly supported her, only to have her be a total nutjob, is just way too neat.
Since we've jumped right into the middle of the plot, developments that would usually be at the 20 minute mark, are still at 2 minute mark. Anne's car has been located in Encino, thanks to QSP1.
Encino: It's partner mix-up time, as Liz is with Colby, investigating an abandoned house in Encino, where Anne was squatting with her daughter. They bust in, and while they take their time searching the house, only to find it empty, the audience finds a truly unflattering camera angle for Fedcakes.
From across the road, a shadowy man in a goatee, observes them.
IHOF: Charlie's all chuffed that QSP1 was a success, even though Don's still stuck telling Rudy (whose name is Bramon, technically) his little girl is still missing. Well, Don would have to tell him, if the father hadn't taken off, suspiciously, without informing the Fedcakes.
When David and Don find Rudy in the lobby, he runs like the suspiciously, suspicious man of suspicion that he is. Just as Rudy gets into his car, Don and David catch up with him, only to be confronted by shadowy goatee man.
Shadowy Goatee Man is actually Jeremiah Miller, a private security goon for the phamaceutical company Rudy works for, and jsut wants to make sure Rudy doesn't start spilling national secrets "above all our pay grades."
He thinks the secrets are above everyone in the IHOF? Will, Miller needs to met my adorkable fictional academic boyfriend. Besides, the Fedcakes, who have way more experience with kidnap and recovery, will always have one thing over any private security man.
Miller spins some yarn about being in "active negotiations" with Anne, because all she wants is money, yet his story about why she brings CJ to California, sort of negates that (something about wimpy custody laws). No matter what the custody laws are in California, I'm pretty sure they don't support 1) kidnapping or 2) extortion, unless a movie studio is involved with the latter.
Anyway, Miller provides the Fedcakes with one useful lead, Anne's Californian attorney, Carla Reed. Yes, she's a crazy woman on the run, yet she took the time to get an attorney in California.
Upstairs, Charmita is discussing why a woman who spent time in mental hospitals, who hasn't seen her daughter since birth, suddenly wants to be a mom. While I could go on about how mental illness doesn't mean a lack of love, since I don't buy the whole abandonment story, as Rudy was the one to tell it, I won't because this line of conversation leads into a conversation on Alan's potential grandchildren and this week's NPALTM.
Charlie's approached fatherhood in his own unique way -- statistical analysis. Amita's done something entirely different, and thought about socialization, and come up with the magic number of 3. "Well, I'm worried that 2 might create this weird social dynamic they'd be stuck with their entire lives."
Sure, there's a veneer of reasoning behind her statement, but what makes that line this week's NPALTM is Charlie's cut through the bullshit response, "Like me and Don?"
Fortunately, as Amita tries to pull her feet out of her mouth, talking around how in India, one marries the whole family, my BFFedcake saves me from having to cringe any further. "Somebody should tell Don."
David, I love you. I love you not only for making that painful conversation stop, but also for reminding me of the debate, way back in season one, if Don was actually going to wind up with Amita. (As this was pre-Robin, I was okay with the debate.)
In fact, if David hadn't shown up, the only thing about this conversation I'd want to remember is the cracking voice of surprise from Charlie when he was trying to come to grips with the number 3.
David, ever the wise man that he is suggests Charmita get a little experience at dealing with young people by joining a Big Brother / Big Sister program. Amita's thoughtfully enthusiastic, and Charlie says he's willing to go along with the idea.
Now that the public service announcement part of the eppesode is over, back to the case, and the all important question, does your company offer kidnap and recovery assistance as a part of it's employees' benefit plan?
Thanks to a Charlie-vision, and the magic of sports, Charmita would be able to assign probabilities as to why the drug company is so keen to help. Sure, it's going to be a useful tool for the Fedcakes, but I do find some amusement that the same technique used for the case, is what the government uses to determine the behaviour of terrorist organizations. Take from that, what you will.
Now, as we've dealt with evil drug companies before on this show, I'm fairly sure this isn't out of care and concern for the employees.
Encino: As a transition between the IHOF and Encino, we get a picture of the missing child -- who looks damn miserable in her normal life.
Not that the squat where the child was staying is much better. It's squalid, and she had to watch films like Role Models and Hellboy 2.
I can't really fault Anne the way Liz does. Anyone who has gone to a theatre in the last 20 years knows that there are very few parents who actually pay attention to the ratings. Raise your hand if you've seen 5 year-olds going into a theatre playing one of the Saw films. *raises hand* Although, what a sad comment on parenting, if I'm not horrified because CJ wasn't watching Saw?
When Liz picks up a one-eyed teddy bear (is it just me, or are 1-eyed bears creepy? Don't answer that), she gets inexplicably emotional, but tries to pass it off as just a general disgust when they work on cases involving kids. Sure, Colby may buy that, but a klaxon goes off in the back of my brain.
Don't try to distract me from the Liz backstory, with the bloody child's sweater, PTB! Sure, I note the sweater, am appropriately disgusted, yet am more interested in getting some more character info on a woman who has given us so little in the three years she's been on the show! Yes, she may love her boots, but really, what do we know about Liz Warner?
Lawyer's: Carla Reed's never met her client. Not as if that's a big surprise because her client's on the run from Virginia. She also confirms what I suspected -- that Anne isn't crazy. She's paranoid because someone is out to get her -- namely, Rudy.
Let's list all the things Rudy/drug company, lied about:
- Anne was a surrogate mother.
- Anne tried going to court but was ruled a "non-parent."
- The Patriot Act was used to make the case a national secret.
- The case is sealed so there's no way the Fedcakes would know about it.
- Rudy is not CJ's biological father.
In conclusion, as Carla puts it, "You're being played."
IHOF: With all the new information at hand, David can do two of the things he does best: research and exposition. He's learned that Anne was paid handsomely to carry CJ, with the intent of handing over the girl to Rudy when she was born. To be perfectly honest, I thought there was going to be some pervy motive behind it, which is why I was actually relieved with the real reason.
Colby, proving he has learned much from his partner and master of exposition, one-ups David, by delivering a bombshell: the blood on the sweater belongs to one Jordan Smith, a former employee of the drug company.
Why is Ms. Smith a former employee? She's dead. There isn't much call for a zombie work force, except at this time of year.
Restaurant of Skeezebaggery: Don and Colby confront Miller with the zombie-employee, and Miller tries to smooth it over but because he's more oily than all the Monet paintings and engines mentioned at the beginning, the Fedcakes aren't buying his bullshit.
So now, Rudy's going to have to come up with a new story.
IHOF: Liz and David get some pretty important news from Charmita. Jordan Smith was Rudy's assitance, yet knew nothing about the pharmaceutical industry. Nope, instead, she was a personal chef. So, what was a personal chef doing working for an expert geneticist?
Questionable Science Point 2 (QSP2): Without getting into the science, because, seriously, I'm having difficulty believing it, CJ is a clone.
Cal Sci: The teaching staff at Cal Sci continues to offer us some of the most unique guest characters on prime time. I will always love-love Ray-Ray just not-not that way-way. Lorna was definitely interesting. Hell, even Millie grew on me.
Now we get someone who might actually compete for my love of Ray-Ray. Yes-yes, it's possible. So, let me introduce everyone to Professor Russell Lazlo.
Lazlo is watching a hydra kill something. Now, knowing the title of this eppesode, looking up what a hydra is, both scientific and mythic versions, I still do not understand the title of this eppesode.
Luckily, Lazlo distracts me from my confusion by asking Charlie to sit by the pair of replica Dollys, immediately referencing how the original Dolly was cloned from a mammary gland.
Lazlo has a bit of a problem with internal filters -- meaning, there isn't one between his mouth and his brain. Whatever is in his head comes directly out of his mouth. I could probably do an entire recap without thinking of any cracks myself, just letting Lazlo do it for me. For instance, his diatribe on Dolly Parton, had me giggling so much, I had to rewatch the scene.
Lazlo's office is a good symbol for his mind. It's cluttered, confusing, and, at first glance, rather random, but all focused on his area of expertise. I've picked out a couple of examples to make my point.
He then goes on to talk about all the moral implications of human cloning (the cost, the still births, a reason to justify Michael Bay's The Island), only to try (and fail, epically) at not looking disappointed when Charlie doesn't want to start up a human cloning program. He does try to justify QSP2, by saying it's totally possible. While I scoff at whether or not he's telling the truth, or just a convenient story-telling plot device, he's likable enough that I'll let him get away with it, this time. That is, I'll let him get away with it as long as he promises to come back, and soon
BTW, Lazlo's description of some who would try cloning a human is a "cold bastard."
IHOF: Colby and Liz confront Miller and Rudy with the evidence that CJ is a clone. The show Rudy the picture they have of Jordan Smith, and Rudy's excitement at the similarity gives the whole thing away, despite Miller's sad attempts at claiming the identification is a lab error.
Rudy spills the whole truth, claiming pride and fatherhood, despite the whole clone thing, but I can't believe him. I'm trying to think of a way to describe how I feel about Rudy, but can't quite come up with the right words.
Plus, there's the whole misappropriation of funds used to make CJ, that were derived from government contracts. I have to admit that I was a little surprised to find out from Colby that between stealing from the government and cloning a person, only one is a crime. Seriously? So stem cell research is a hot button government issue, but there isn't any legislation on cloning people? Sadly, the screwy ways governments think, I don't find as unbelievable as QSP1 and QSp2.
The interview is ended when Miller demands to talk to the "boss," which I hope means Don, because we can always use a little more Don in our lives.
Luckily, I have Don to distract me as Miller tries to justify hiding the truth of CJ's creation. (BTW, am I the only one who doesn't believe the child's name isn't really Cynthia Jane, and is really Clone Jordan?) He also distracts me as Miller goes on about how much Rudy loves his little
I think TPTB were trying to make Miller the most loathed super-evil villain in Numb3rs history, through his next tactic: trying to convince Don to leave the FBI. Uhh, no. I like Don where he has all sorts of access to Kevlar, and AUSAs, thanks.
Hold on, 200K plus perks? Unlike Don, I'm not held back by responsibility and hell, half the time, morality, so can I submit my application?
Cal Sci: Charmita is still working with QSP1 to track Anne. It's not going fast enough for them, causing Charlie to spout out some mathematical saying that sums up to "a watched pot never boils." I would record the other statement, but getting it word for word was hurting my brain.
It also isn't going fast enough to avoid another discussion on the number of children Charmita will have. Personally, I'm all for passing on those genetics, but if this eppesode is going to try and convince me cloning is possible, I say just clone Charlie and sell the clones like merchandising. I would totally forgo any shout out for my own, personal, Charlie.
Charlie's reading How To Cut A Cake, and using that as a argument against having three children. As for Amita, she's so freaked out about the amount of work, that even one is a daunting task. Thus, she thinks, if she can find a couple of hours a week, she wants to put a "toe in the water" and be a big sister. If this were a scientific principle, it would be QSP3, because I don't think this would qualify as a toenail (or even a Hydra) in the water of parenting, no mater how good it would be for the community.
Just like David saved me from finally banging my head against the wall with all this baby-having conversation, Lazlo saves me now. This only makes me like him more.
He's there not only to save me, but also to tell us about the other famous cloning incident, the Raelians and Eve. He also makes the whole, the exception proves the rule argument in the case of CJ -- since Rudy and company don't want her existence publicized, she must be a clone.
With all the reading material Lazlo dumps on the floor of Charlie's office there has to be something of interest to the case. It's Amita who finds the article on Dr. Rudy and his 100 hours a week at the lab. This means that the non-smiling CJ, must also spend 100 hours a week at the lab, getting tested and retested. Yeah, the cold bastard thing was true.
Finally, Lazlo, and his lack of filter, picks up the book on cake cutting, only to deliver one of the best lines (definitely in the top 5, if not the top 3) ever delivered by a guest star.
IHOF: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are going through the evidence taken from Encino while Colby espouses his incredulity at tracking a clone. He couldn't have imagined doing this, five years ago. Well, Colby, how about I list a few things that I wouldn't have believed 5 years ago.
Lawyer's: The evidence dig dug up the uniqueness of the one-eyed bear. It's a limited edition given to a shelter where Carla's a director. Thus, David confronts her with the whole "no contact with Anne" claim. He also shatters her belief that one person can win against a huge pharmaceutical company, particularly when the Patriot Act is involved. The only way she can have the proof she needs for her client, is the let the FBI independently test CJ.
He can't promise her a free ride for Anne, but it's certainly a fairer shot than anything Miller and his thugs are going to give her.
Carla, completely convinced by the honesty and integrity that is David Sinclair (please note that statement is meant without any of my usual sarcasm) gives away her client's location.
Cliff Junction: Liz and Colby are sent to track down Anne, only to find her hinting that she tossed CJ, off the, well, off the CJ.
IHOF: While Anne's refusing to talk about what she did with CJ, Rudy is telling Dn that he won't cry over a Petrie dish.
Cal Sci: Lazlo and his broken filter can't stop from poking holes in the developments in the case. It doesn't make sense for Anne to kill CJ if she wanted money. It also doesn't make sense for Anne to kill CJ if she loved the little girl. Plus, if the Fedcakes and Charlie believe Anne's crazy, only because Miller said so and Miller is untrustworthy, isn't that some flawed reasoning?
Plus, Anne got out after 72 hours, both times she was committed. It stands to reason that the shrinks would double-check their results when a person was admitted for a second time.
Thus, Lazlo makes a valid point.
IHOF: Liz has difficulty believing Anne's guilty of murder, but David has some really sad statistics about moms killing their children to back up his negativity. He's also astute enough to pick up there's something personal going on with Liz. I suddenly get a clue and cringe at the idea that Numb3rs is about to make a wrong turn into stereotypical land (I had a baby, gave her up, and now I'm sad because I need character development).
Before I find out what's up with Liz, we inexplicably switch to the break room. It's an unnecessary, and yes, I will go there and say it -- wishy-washy moment, where Don sounds like he would consider a job about the FBI. He's musing about his brother getting married, and the diversity in Charlie's career, as if that's a) normal and b) something he'd want. Can you magine Don writing a book? What would he call it? 22 Ways to Wear Jeans? Kevlar God? Donnie Darko: the True Story?
In fact, I think the most truthful thing Don says here is that all he ever wanted was 30 years and a condo on a hillside. Sure, he's been reevaluating his life since he was stabbed, but really, I can only think of one addition to his life's wants.
Besides, I really, really want to get back to the Liz backstory.
In the interrogation room, Liz tries to bring Anne out of her shell, by asking what it felt like to kill CJ. Just as Liz suspected, Anne didn't hurt the girl, but feels too connected to her, to give her back to Rudy. Since Anne refers to CJ as "a part" of her, and Rudy calls CJ a "Petrie dish" I'm more likely to think Anne's the fit parent.
Also, Anne isn't going to be as easy to crack as Liz thinks, as Athena can't possibly understand what it's like to have momma bear feelings. If anything, Alan would be the best one to get through to Anne, but he's not in this eppesode.
I just have to add that Anne is really getting my sympathy here with the crying. It's the "I'm trying not to cry, yet the snot keeps running out of my nose" crying, which is a lot more realistic than when Visine is used to help the crocodile tears along.
Liz Backstory: Yes, it is important enough to get it's own tag. With David watching, Liz makes a confession to Anne about her own miscarriage while she was in college. In the midst of everyone congratulating her for not having her life ruined, Liz felt nothing but misery and despair. She then cut herself off from everyone and tried to move on. Well, that would certainly explain why Liz is so less than forthcoming about her personal life. When she went through a personal tragedy, no one supported her -- so why share?
As if to make a point of how little she plans on sharing, when she leaves the interrogation room, and David follows from observation, when she tells Colby that CJ is with Carla, there's barely a vocal quiver of what she just recalled. Liz, you've just impressed me.
Whether the story is real or not, Liz got the information. Anne gave CJ to Carla, who is supposed to give the girl to one of Anne's cousins at some truck-stop somewhere. While the Fedcakes don't know which truck-stop, they do know the route.
In fact, throughout the whole pedaconference, all Liz and David share, considering the emotional upheaval she brought out in the interrogation room, is a significant look.
Highway: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find Carla's car because some black SUV is trying to push her off the road. Well, I guess the whole subtle approach to get CJ back went out the window. Over and over again, the SUV rams into Carla's car, until Colby does his own fancy-schmancy driving.
Once the SUV is incapacitated, and the baddie driving arrested, Carla announces it's all for naught. There were two cars (as per the report the partners received but didn't comment on when they saw only 1 SUV) and the other one took CJ.
After the commercial, we find out that it's all Carla's fault. Even though she knew her phone was tapped, she didn't suspect the pharmaceutical company would tap Anne's cousin's phone. Honey, the Patriot Act was invoked. That means they can wiretap your freaking hairdresser and justify it!
Fortunately, in an attempt to stay under the radar, by doing everything by the book, the filing of a flight plan for the pharmaceutical company's private jet, lets the Fedcakes know where CJ is going to be.
Cal Sci: When I see it's Lazlo looking at the flight route, I know that somewhere, in the back of his brain, is a never to be implemented plan about trying to prove CJ is a clone. Okay, so he doesn't say it, as the character has demonstrated he might, but I think Charlie's talking actually prevents it.
Getting another line into te top en of best guest star lines, Lazlo comments on Charmita's FBI work. "When do you find time to teach? I've skipped like four classes since I met you guys." Hee! Lazlo's all meta. He has graduated, in one eppesode, to the level-level of Ray-Ray.
Charmita can't react to any meta right now as they've narrowed down the number of hotels where CJ could be kept by the baddies. This cnfuses Lazlo even more, but the couple justify their conclusions using QSP1, and the missing SUV.
Plus, Charmita and the Fedcakes, beside being a great tribute band name, have to stop Rudy and CJ before they get on the plane, because, technically, Rudy owns his Petrie dish. In other words, as the whole hotel probability and QSP1 issue was confusing Lazlo, they're trying to help Anne get CJ back. Now, Lazlo wants to know which hotel it is.
Fairtel Plaza/ IHOF: While Liz may want to help get CJ back, she's where she doesn't want to be -- alone in a car with David. Yet, David, because he is all levels of awesome, topped with awesomesauce, instead of digging for details which OMGIWANT, simply asks if she's okay.
Liz is okay, and more importantly, by not denying the story, confirms it.
At that moment, the Fedcakes' luck changes, as Rudy steps outside for a smoke. See, not only does it indicate bad parenting on prime time (although, calling your kid a Petrie dish is definitely worse), but also it gives the good guys a chance to screw you over! Ha!
At the IHOF, Miller can't talk his way out of this one. All he can do is disavow all knowledge of the attack on Carla. Hmm, how about we make him like one of those things in Mission Impossible, where it gives the mission, and then promptly self-destructs. I'm all for that.
No wonder the pharmaceutical company needed Miller. Their other employees have no concept of security. Colby literally strolls past Rudy into the hotel.
As the Fedcakes rush the hotel room where CJ is being kept, Miller tries to talk Don into a job and pulls out the old adage that possession is in 9/10 of the law. He then goes on to threaten Don, albeit subtly, by implying that if he makes a mistake, he'll find himself transferred to Fairbanks, Alaska.
"Fairbanks," Don muses, "Never been there."
As Liz finds CJ hiding behind a couch, all I can thing is suck it, Miller, because look whose got possession of Rudy's Petrie dish now!
The whole point of the interview with Miller was to keep hm distracted while the Fedcakes arranged for Anne to escape with CJ. It's great when the random fed gives Don the Thumbs up from outside interview, letting him know that he can tell Miller how he was bamboozled by people making about 1 1/2 times less than Miller.
As Miller has one last moment thinking he's hooked Don, he asks the chief Fedcake what he wants.
"A couple more years with my mom would be nice," Don replies. "You can't give me that, can you?" Aw. I would get all teary-eyed here, except there's one better answer to the offer of what someone wants in the history of entertainment.
Don did, on the other hand, give a few more years to one child with her mom.
Airport: Now, if this were scientific, I would say this was QSP4, because where the hell do the Fedcakes get a private plane on such short notice? Seriously. I mean, I know Colby was offered any favour he wanted at one point in season 3, but that's the only place I can think of where a private jet would be conveniently available. I know I will often forgive plot holes but this one is just so huge, that one could, say fly a plane through it.
IHOF: Sure, Miller tries to threaten Don, but what is he going to say? The Fedcakes stole my Petrie dish? Someone took my clone? Well, after misappropriating government funds to create a clone of a personal chef, the FBI arranged the clone to be abducted by her surrogate mother?
Really, that phone call would be just as unbelievable as QSP1 and QSP2, multiplied by 10.
Cal Sci: Charlie finds out that he's practically the only one who isn't a big brother. Don and David are both big brothers, and there's a joke in there about Charlie being a little brother, but damned if I can find it. Thus, he agrees, but again, like most things in Charlie's life, I think it's only because he wants his actual big brother to be proud of him.
Lazlo arrives with the "beer of professors," scoffing at Charlie's beer. Even though he may have the beer of professors, he also has the pain of disappointment, since no one will ever know if CJ is really a clone. Cue the unfiltered tirade of inappropriate things to say. Seriously, if we can't have Ray-Ray back-back this season-season, could we please have some more Lazlo. At least, when he doesn't have to work extra shits at the Buy More?
Charmita keeps bringing up how much trouble Don will be in, and no matter how much Don tries to brush it off, I can't help but think one thing.
The couple's persistence at insisting Don will be in trouble smells of a season -long subplot -- just as long as we don't have to see
When Don laughs at the idea of being in trouble and makes a comment about not being a lifer, someone's expression on the screen mirrors mine.
Again, Lazlo saves me from conversations I don't want to hear, by lamenting about the loss of the CJ for science. Realizing he sounds like a cold bastard, he admits he's happy CJ will have a happier life.
Even if she does grow up to be a stormtrooper.