Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Forty-one - Numb3rs: Season 2, Episode 24, "I think I have a problem."

You know, I think it's pretty safe to say that Numb3rs is a guilty pleasure of mine now.

It's so cheesy how they spring a new math concept on you every week in the form of Charlie or Larry or Amita shipping a silly metaphor to the relative dunces of the FBI. I do like how Megan (Dianne Farr) is sharp enough to see where the explanation is going while Colby and Sinclair play the role of jock meatheads.

Still, the regular routine of math, metaphor, joke isn't the focus of this particular episode, it being the finale of the second season. No, the main thrust of the episode, aside from the rather throwaway murder mystery, is Charlie's fixation with a series of dreams he has concerning the possible loss of his father and the actual loss of his mother... who died before the series started.

Mrs.Eppes (played by JoBeth Williams) shows up as a possible manifestation of Charlie's unresolved guilt for depriving his brother Don of her company and support while she took the younger Eppes to college at Princeton during his teen years. She also happens to show up, no doubt at Charlie's instigation, in Alan's (Judd Hirsch) dreams to reconnect and assuage his own issues.

I'm not exactly the most spiritual of people, but I do find it nice that, while Larry and Charlie wrestle with the meaning of dreams and the dearly departed showing up in them, there's an immediate acceptance from Alan that doesn't question... and also leaves the idea open (albeit unsaid) that it really is the ghost of Margaret Eppes visiting her boys from beyond the grave.

For sure, I'm a rationalist... but I also live in a state of semi-wonder that likes to take a small measure of solace at the mere possibility, however remote, of an afterlife. Scientifically, there's no evidence that the light at the end of the tunnel is more than a phenomena of an oxygen deprived brain, but the romantic in me likes to believe there's something more, and this episode leaves that possibility unmolested.

Getting back to the mystery? Blah. The only interesting part was Don's near repeat of the climax scene from Silence of the Lambs (what is it with FBI agents not waiting for backup)? The serial killer videotaping himself and his reasons for going on his spree are annoyingly stereotypical in their creepyness. Even Megan voicing her distaste at his antics and her desire to see him get the chair are way too "Crime Drama 101."

It's weird how the episode makes me happy and mad at the same time, but not that surprising... and is probably the main reason why Numb3rs shall ever be just a guilty pleasure for me.

One last note... Olympia Dukakis is thoroughly underutilized in this episode. What a terrible guest role for her. Shame on you guys, Numb3rs casting director and her agent.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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