This was another pretty good episode. It didn't seem as long as I would have liked it to be, but it did have quite a bit of new information, and things really are starting to come together. I'm going to take this review in the direction that Marvin usually does--going through each scene--because every part was important, and I want to make sure I don't forget to mention anything.
It's so good to have Jason back! He's one of my favorite characters, and Townsend Coleman does an amazing job with his voice. Just having Jason in an episode makes everything seem as if it was thrown into action/adventure/mystery mode. It's great to have someone on the inside whom Whit can talk to to get information about the counterfeiters.
If you haven't figured out that you shouldn't like Buck yet, this next scene should convince you. He is really bad at play-acting. "What's the password?" "I'm not going to tell you!" That's like the universally understood way to tell someone that you don't know the password. It's again like he's trying to make himself look as guilty as possible. And when Matthew and Eugene get too "nosy," he whines that he thought this town was all about "love and trust and friendship." He's really disappointed. :P But I love that the other guys finally start to see through it. Eugene came back at that with exactly what I wanted to say: "Love, trust, and friendship aren't the same as blind stupidity." :D But then the computer bleeps that it has found the password, and we finally get to see to whom it belongs! (Well, I guess we already know, but we can be excited for the characters who finally get to find out!)
Now we skip back to Jason and Whit for one of the most revealing scenes so far in the season. We learn that years ago, the real Stiletto was captured by the police, and the government decided to take advantage of the fact that no one knew who he was to turn it into an undercover operation. Jason discovered this while vacationing in Hong Kong, where he ran into a group of terrorists who wanted to destroy America through technological and financial attacks. He took the cover of the Stiletto, and used that cover to meet with the ringleader of that espionage group, Mr. Groat. Jason told him that he was bringing together a ring of counterfeiters across America and was going to distribute tons of fake money. He does that via Uncle Archie's Carnival, which travels all over the country, and on the last day in a city, it auctions off equipment, and then transports the money in the same trucks as the equipment.
Then we learn that Agent Tanner is trying to work on the inside, but she started late, doesn't know much, and just wants a piece of the fortune. However, Jason may think that she really is a rogue agent, but she might actually still be on the good side, but she's really good at faking it. Or she could be lying to Whit, and she really is just in for the money, and she's working against the good guys. But it turns out that both she and Monty were making Jason's job a lot harder, so he has put both of them out of the picture for now. Whit wonders how Jason keeps everything straight without getting "lost in this labyrinth of lies." But Jason argues that if he doesn't do it, who will? Whit says that they'll have to talk about that some other time. That made me smile. Whit is still Jason's dad, so he can tell him what to do. The chemistry between the two actors actually strikes me as pretty decent. I wouldn't have thought that Andre would have done that great of a job talking to Jason as his father, but he was actually pretty good. I look forward to seeing them together more in the episodes and seasons to come.
The next scene is one of the most disturbing of the season. First, Penny discusses meditation with Connie. She shows her how to look past things of an imperfect nature to the perfection beyond them (i.e. beyond the crack in the ceiling to the beautiful bird's nest outside). The subject of meditation is a touchy subject. While it's not necessarily wrong to meditate (a godly example is given to us in Psalm 19:17), it is usually associated with Eastern religions and mysticism such as Hinduism, Buddhism, or New Age. It is normally used to clear one's mind, to rid oneself of one's affections and/or desires in order to be filled with the spirit of whatever god you are thinking you want to be filled by, or to set your mind on whatever singular thing it needs to be set on. Yoga is the most common example of meditation that people use today. By definition, it is used to liberate oneself from the world and unite oneself with the supreme being. Meditation is a dangerous subject that is best not to be tampered with by Christians.
As if that wasn't bad enough however, Dr. Trask presents to his art class for exploration and meditation a work by Salvador Dali called La Muerte (which means "death" in Spanish). It is described as being an evocative series of paintings he did as part of his "Tarot" collection. Salvador Dali is described on Wikipedia as being best known for the "striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work." He had "an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behavior." That doesn't seem like a guy whose paintings I'd explore and meditate upon in something like a Bible study. And then there's what Connie mentioned: Tarot--as in tarot cards. Tarot cards, again according to Wikipedia "are used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are largely unknown, tarot cards are now used primarily for divinatory purposes." But in the 18th and 19th century, the cards were adopted by the occult for use with mysticism and magic. Now, all this isn't to say that Dr. Trask is involved in Eastern religions or the occult, but he obviously easily tolerates them and the things they propagate, so he isn't someone I would put in the position of spiritual mentor. But he does say that God is in everything because He created everything. That is outright Pan-En-Theism. God is separate from His creation. And it doesn't help anything that Dr. Trask "appeals" to God only as "Oh Great Creator", and he says that God is "in us and through us and beyond us." If we are Christians, God is in us, He works through us, and He is far beyond us, but I doubt that's what Dr. Trask means.
Well, with that said, now we jump back to Whit, who's on the phone with Dr. Graham. He is somewhat frustrated that she won't let Monty out of the hospital, but she makes a good point that despite what movies seem to show us, a blow to the head that knocks someone out is very serious. She scolds him for making this mystery more important than the well-being of his grandson, and he secedes. I don't know about anyone else, but I really like the character of Lilly Graham. She has really good chemistry with other characters, especially Whit, and I just really like her voice. Hopefully she can become the new regular Odyssey doctor that Dr. Morton was.
Anyway, as soon as Whit's off the phone, Detective Polehaus barges in, and Whit gets to try to convince him of the disappearance of Agent Tanner like Jason told him to. I'll just go with an understatement and say that Whit doesn't do a good job. ("You haven't seen my sneer!") Whit tells him everything he knows (or knew before he met the Stiletto), and Polehaus tells him everything he and Eugene have found out about Buck. Then the detective tells Whit that he's off to another lead that he got saying that the main hideout of the counterfeiters is The Old Ross Compound near Trickle Lake. (Why have we never, ever heard of this place before?) Then Polehaus gets a call saying that a truck--"a big truck" has just pulled in to the compound. And he's off to catch the counterfeiters. But we know that since there are still three-and-a-half shows left, there's no way he's already going to be able to apprehend everybody.
Now we head back over to Whit's End where Katrina comes across Jay as he "watches the counter." He tells her that Buck is trying to get the phone from Eugene and Matthew in the basement, but that she shouldn't trust Buck any farther than Jay can throw him. But then Whit calls, and Katrina updates him. Whit therefore learns for the first time that Dirk Beggs's phone has been found, and then warns Katrina not to let Buck get anywhere with that phone.
Back down in the basement, Buck insists that they give him the AppleBerry. Eugene refuses because he won't tell them the password. Then Buck "admits" that he doesn't know it, but as soon as Matthew reports the computer's findings that it is "stiletto", he suddenly remembers that he named it that because of his knife collection. Sure, Buck, we believe you. (I would expect something more like a toothpick collection. When have we ever seen him with a knife?) I wonder how much Emily would like him if she knew he had a knife collection. :D Anyway, when Matthew has entered in the password, Buck tries to grab it from him. Just then, Katrina comes down to talk to him, but sees the fight. So she yells at the top of her lungs, stopping everyone in their tracks. I definitely would have stopped dead still because that didn't sound like Katrina to me at all. Connie sounded weird in Grandma's Christmas Visit with all her over-the-top yelling, but that was ridiculous! In any event, it stopped the commotion, and Katrina then tells Buck that she needs to make a citizen's arrest on him. Buck, who apparently has anger problems, throws the phone to the floor, making it shatter into several pieces. (Oh how badly I wish Emily was there to see that. She probably won't even believe Matthew when he tells her that Buck did that.) I totally wasn't expecting that, and it was a really good surprise. I guess we had already gotten enough information about Groat, Skint, Beggs, Tanner, and the Stiletto with Jason's help, so we didn't need it anymore and the writers decided to resolve it all that way.
Buck runs upstairs, and despite Jay's attempts to shoot him with an ice cream scoop, he makes a clean getaway...until he runs into Mr. Whittaker who doesn't let him go anywhere. Finally Buck gets what was coming to him, and Whit sends him to his office. I'm glad Emily wasn't at Whit's End at the time or she might have come to Buck's rescue and run away with him or something. Yeesh.
Back with the real counterfeiters, Mr. Skint and Mr. Dosh (who is, interestingly enough, played by Phil Lollar) have a short but sweet conversation about Martin, the policeman down the road watching. Mr. Dosh is concerned that he might compromise their operation. But Mr. Skint assures him that everything will be fine, and he'll send one of his guys to give him some "special coffee" because it's the neighborly thing to do. ;)
Then we get back to Connie and Penny. Penny tells Connie that she needs to ask her a question. Connie says she already knows what Penny's going to say, and then she goes off on a lengthy explanation for why she felt uncomfortable sitting through Dr. Trask's lecture that afternoon. And it was nearly exactly what I would have said! Yes, Connie actually did a good job for once! Well, not for once, but for the first time this season. Then Penny admits that all she wanted to know was if Connie wanted her french fries. Boy, she and Wooton really were made for each other--silliness in the midst of seriousness. I wouldn't be surprised if they are both diagnosed with ADHD someday. Then Penny assures Connie that they'll discuss these things tomorrow when they go on their hike. (I can't wait for that conversation!) And then the scene ends with Penny asking Connie if she's going to eat her pickles. *faceslap (to borrow Marvin's lingo)* Seriously!
Back at the compound, Polehaus takes a call from Whit informing him that Buck is in his office ready for questioning. He tells Whit to stay put until he can send someone over. After getting off the phone, he comes across Martin who has fallen prey to the effects of Mr. Skint's "special coffee." When Polehaus has shaken him awake, Martin tells what he knows about what's transpired so far. All he can really tell us is that a pickup truck drove in, and they gave him coffee. One of the guys from the compound came out and said that he knew how hard it is to stay awake on a stakeout, so he gave Martin some coffee, which Martin thought was a pretty nice thing to do. Honestly, Detective Polehaus, what kind of people do you have working for you?! Well, we can give him some credit; he took down the license plate number of the pickup, and after running it through headquarters, he found out that it belongs to Uncle Archie's Carnival. That does it for the detective, and he leaves to go have a talk with the people at the compound.
Meanwhile, at the edge of McAlister Park, Mr. Skint gets a call from Buck, who is wondering what he should do now that he's been caught and cornered in Whit's office. Skint tells him that "this is just like Detroit--just like it," that the people at Whit's End are trying to use Buck to lure him in. Therfore, he tells Buck goodbye and shuts the phone. We're left wondering what this means for Buck. Mr. Skint has abandoned him, so what can he do now? I can't see any other way he can go than to tell Whit the truth. What else can he say? But what will happen to him now that he no longer has a guardian? Hey, maybe Eugene and Katrina will eventually take him in! Now that's an interesting thought.
In the last scene, the Stiletto meets with Archie to "confirm the plan." I have to admit, Jason isn't going about this in a very convincing way. If he's the big boss that he's supposed to be, why does he need Archie to tell him the plan? Things have changed since Jason got the debrief from Mr. Groat. The benefactor (please tell me if you know who that's supposed to be) decided that the money will not be transported to the rigged winners of the auctioned equipment by truck, but Archie won't tell what the new plan is. The plan was changed because the benefactor caught wind of an undercover operation in Chicago--right in the Stiletto's area, and supposedly, Dirk Beggs was told the change of plans, and he was supposed to tell Jason. But he didn't. Nor did Jason know that Mr. Groat is actually in town. So Jason concludes that he's going to be in suspense until the next day, and he bids Uncle Archie goodnight. As soon as Jason leaves, Archie does exactly what I knew was going to happen--he calls somebody (probably the benefactor), and tells him that the Stiletto needs to be removed from the operation--no, better yet, removed altogether! Oh boy! So there's going to be an attempt at murder before the season is done? *rubs hands together in excitement and cackles*
Well that's my review. Sorry it got so long. I probably won't be doing that again. But I hope you read it. Please tell me anything you think about it, and let me know if you like my reviews better this way or the way I usually do them.
Thank you for taking the time to read the post! Come back next week as the events of Album 53 draw to a close!