So last week Joe had it pretty rough. He lost his job and his best friend, and got poisoned by his girlfriend’s psycho ex-con girlfriend. What more can happen to him this week? How about getting tossed in jail, threatened at gunpoint, smacked around and fried in the Smokey fence? At the beginning of the season I’d be all for it, but I’ve kinda come around on old Joe.
Dude needs a shave, though.
Anyone out there on Team Erika? A commenter mentioned a theory floating around that Crazy Eyes might be Joe’s replacement, given how effectively she turned everyone against him. She’s up to more tricks this week, don’t worry. Hide and watch.
Joe’s trying to get back in Janet’s good graces by going around her room pointing out the hidden cameras and spraying over them. He insists he didn’t know where they all were, that he’s not a creepy perv and that “precautions are taken to avoid prurient surveillance”. She asks if they saw her screaming at the camera. Unfortunately, no one will ever be able to unsee that, and in case anyone missed it, she Just. Keeps. Doing It. Joe swears he’s not really One Of Them, that he was kidnapped just like all the rest of them, and that everyone in The Program has really good intentions so that makes it all OK.
This stuff is too juicy not to share, and unlike Lost, these people actually talk to each other about important things, so they call a conference in the lobby. Here’s the good stuff. Ready? The Program is fifty years old. It’s like a think tank. They put certain people in here, people who have the potential to be influencers of some kind, and then they make… bets? based on what happens. Somehow this information is used for The Good Of Humanity.
It sounds, in a half-assed “some writer did five minutes of Wikipedia research” way, like it’s based on prediction markets. You pick a question, like “Who’s going to win the Super Bowl?” and you buy shares of Yes or shares of No, and the price goes up or down based on what everyone is buying, and it’s actually pretty accurate. Just remember that it’s used for entertainment purposes only and you’ll probably blow all your money. Anyway, Joe doesn’t come out and say this, but I get the feeling they have a bunch of these little ant farms scattered all over the world, zapping them with their giant magnifying glasses and hey, the security fence makes a lot more sense now, huh? This all adds up to a great excuse for Bill to fling himself at Joe and start pummeling. At least he didn’t bring his sledgehammer this time.
1 for 7! Bill finally wins one!
After getting Bill off him, Joe sneaks down through the steam tunnels to sulk in Tom’s Lair. Tom’s sticking with The Program and from now on Joe is damaged goods, so this is goodbye. Joe complains that everyone on both sides hates him and he’s off to go eat worms. Tom points out that Joe has no one to blame but himself and that worms taste pretty good when marinated in soy sauce and sauteed up with some chow mein noodles. Btw, take a good look at your dinner tonight, bro. Just sayin.
Up in the bar, Bill suggests they take Joe hostage and torture him until The Powers That Be let everyone go. Yes, just like he tried to do with the manager that one time. Janet brings this up and it earns her a patented Gary Coleman look from Crazy Eyes. “Whoz syde u on?” she asks? Sorry, I have the urge to transcribe all of Erika’s dialogue into Gangsta. It’s the imitation accent. You just know the actor playing her is from like Riverside or Westchester. (Correction: she’s from South Africa by way of Vancouver. And was in a bunch of Battlestar Galactica episodes. I rest my case.)
After his clandestine farewell meeting with Tom, next on Joe’s schedule is a clandestine meeting with Charlie. Charlie’s waiting in a booth over at Chen’s with a plate of worms noodles and a promise to make Joe’s wildest dreams come true. Girls, money, cars, a razor. Maybe even a tribal tattoo and a new Red Sox hat. All Joe has to do is get them both out of Crazy Town. Excuse me, but has none of these geniuses put two and two together? Joe’s obviously been compromised. There’s no way he’s going to be busting anyone out. No one said we were dealing with geniuses, I guess. Charlie is worth 80 mil, btw. That buys a lot of feather pillows. Joe doesn’t bite.
Um. “Pillow” and “bite” should probably not be used so close together. I mean Joe doesn’t accept Charlie’s offer.
Next we check in with Markat, reminiscing about the good old days last episode when they were getting shot at and breaking into government offices and dressing up as clergy. Kat was kinda digging it. Mark wipes espresso out of the crack in his butt-chin.
The chin, the jean jacket, the hair: it’s the second coming of Michael Landon!
They decide to pay a visit to The Italian (the captions say his name is Stefano, if you care) and show him the Photoshopped pic of Tori and Joenet they found in the ambassador’s office. The Italian thinks Tori is still alive, and you know, I can’t disagree with him. Kat has a list of people who disappeared the same day as Janet and Tori. That’s some serious legwork right there. It’s not like they have Amber Alerts for grownups, you know. They’re about to go through the whole list looking for Joe, when those goofy-sounding European sirens interrupt. Seems the cops have been looking for our Italian friend. Stefano sneaks Kat a rolled-up… something, and advises they andiamo, pronto. Wait, pronto is Mexican, not Italian, huh?
Veni, vidi, vici. Better?
It’s storming back in Crazy Town, and the lights are flickering on and off just like… well, just like at my place. I think we have their location, folks. Except maybe it’s not the storm making the lights flicker. Someone’s screaming out there. Bill’s carrying out his threat to torture Joe by pushing him into the Smokey fence again and again. He’s yelling at Joe to turn the fence off. When Janet arrives on the scene, Bill gets the bright idea that tossing her into the fence instead might carry more weight with Joe. Crazy Eyes refuses to go along with this, of course, and tells Bright Eyes to stay out of they bidness. That nickname is kinda ruining Erika’s ghetto juice. Couldn’t she call her, I dunno, Shorty or something? Bright Eyes is just so… gay.
If the shoe fits…
Well, Joe hates to disappoint them, but he couldn’t turn off the fence if he wanted to. As proof, or maybe just because he has masochistic tendencies, he walks into the fence all on his own. Joe is starting to get a bit crispy by now, and Janet likes her jerk chicken medium rare, so she pulls him off the grill. He begs them for a chance to prove he’s telling the truth. “Yeah, we’ll give you a chance,” says Crazy Eyes. I must have missed when she got elected ringleader. Maybe it’s because she has lockup experience.
Or maybe it’s the Evil Eye.
Afterward, Joe is basting himself up in his room with honey BBQ sauce while Janet watches. “Everyone wants you dead,” she announces, like it’s a Fox News Alert, or like “JOE MUST DIE” just started trending on Twitter up there with Justin Bieber and #3wordsaftersex. (I’ve been trying to get “JOE MUST DIE” to trend for six weeks now, but that requires getting more than twelve people to care about this show.) There’s a long awkward pre-kiss gaze, then… “I don’t know why I saved you,” she says, and leaves him to finish self-basting. Women.
You just reminded me that I don’t like cheese pizza, is all.
Back in Rome, Markat is running from the cops, or from Them, or more likely both. “Running” might be a strong word. A brisk walk is closer to the truth. They bump into an old man in a wheelchair, who pulls a gun on them.
Oldest trick in the book.
It might be safe to say that Joe’s regretting his decision to go off the reservation chasing Janet. He wants his best buddy Tom back, but it’s too late. He yells at all the cameras, asking Tom not to “freeze him out”, but Mission Control is empty. Tom’s probably sitting in the lounge nursing a beer and his hurt pride, thinking Joe can cry him a river. Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and Tom has friends in low places. (Know what happens when you play a country song backwards? You get your wife back and you sober up.)
In despair, Joe leaves his room and goes to the elevator, probably to try the secret code again. As soon as he’s gone, Erika sneaks into his room to ransack it. Janet is close behind. “Hey, you’re wrecking his room!” Everyone drink up!
Janet says there’s no need to search Joe’s room, because she’s been through it already. There’s one thing she didn’t see before, though–a drawing of her, folded in the room’s Bible. Crazy Eyes steals the drawing.
You have any idea how many commandments you just broke?
So Markat gets turned loose after a ride through town in the back of a gelato truck. They’re told to walk away and don’t look back. Next thing you know the ambassador is whispering in their ears. This is the Deep Throat scene from every (non-porno) movie you’ve ever seen: the whistle-blower tells the hero that This Thing Is Bigger Than God and that Very Important People Will Kill Your Children And Puppies If You Don’t Walk Away Now. He got tangled up with Them at an early age, they made him successful, and everything was cool beans until They decided to off his sweet daughter. The really interesting sentence in his speech is this:
“We manufacture people and events that you report as news.”
I’m not sure that makes any sense at all, but it seems to mean that The Program is manipulating the world, not just predicting it. And… that’s all I got. This scene would not be complete without the Ambassador giving them The Secret That Will Bring This Whole Thing Down, and sure enough, he lets them know that only one person’s ever made it out of The Program alive:
Omar Epps. Everyone else’s career tanked. Well, I guess Halle Berry did ok.
Sorry, wrong Program. This one is a Dr. Angela Somebody who escaped and can be found in a hospital in South America. A mental hospital, no doubt. So the Ambassador sends them on their way and Kat asks the obvious question with the obvious answer: “What do we do now?”
We take a drink, of course.
People who aren’t escaping The Program any time soon: the Eyes Couple, currently tearing apart Joe’s room for clues. Bright Eyes finds a secret file drawer hidden in his nightstand. It contains–surprise–dossiers on everyone. Dental records, turnoffs, embarrassing high school haircuts, it’s all in there. Bill’s is probably pretty thin. Erika’s is too much for her.
”They know I have a PoliSci degree from Columbia! IMA SHANK YOU MUGS!”
Tom’s back behind the big desk watching. He has a memo from the Powers That Be. It says Joe is “due payment for services rendered”.
Judging from the signature, my 3-year-old is one of the PTB. This does not surprise me at all.
Bill leads the Townies out of the hotel, pitchforks and torches at the ready and Joe in tow. “Something the matter?” asks the manager. “We found a rat in the hotel.” “I’ll make a note of it.” Favorite character, hands down. They take Joe down the street to the police station and throw him in the tank. McNair plays Good Cop and tells Joe that none of this is necessary. True. It’s not like this is going to help in the least. McNair, of all people, should realize that Joe’s been kicked to the curb. Joe appeals to Janet using every ounce of his average-douche charm, but she’s not falling for it. I don’t really get their reaction. They already knew he was a plant, why is it a surprise that he has files on them all? Evs.
Speaking of the files, Erika stayed behind so she could snoop through them. She wants to talk to Bill about a little factoid in his file. Seems he ran a halfway house for parolees. Just as I’m about to thank the writers for giving Bill just a little depth, it turns out he blackmailed all his tenants. So never mind.
Since blackmail seems to be Bill’s M.O., Erika turns the tables and promises not to tell anyone as long as he doesn’t cross her. Crazy Eyes isn’t done stirring the pot either; she lets Moira know that McNair has been known to do the odd hired-killer work. This should surprise no one since he’s a total clone of Sayid from Lost. Meanwhile, Charlie goes to see Joe in prison and brings him some cherry cola from 1983 made with real cane sugar.
”Swiped this baby from the set of Ferris. John Hughes kept a minifridge full of ‘em. Been saving it for just the right occasion. Cheers.”
Charlie is right about one thing: Soda with real sugar is tons better than the corn syrupy swill they put out now. Life really was sweeter in the 80s. Joe tells Charlie that he never saw those files and that They planted them to discredit him. Again, I don’t see what difference it makes. He’s telling the truth though, because Tom makes a Tom face. Charlie believes him, or so he says. Then… my recording hangs. I guess it’s a miracle I’ve made it this far through the summer without a storm taking out my DVR. It jumps to another scene of Tom pointing a gun at Joe. WTF? No. This is a decent episode, too. I’m off to scour the Interwebs for a copy of this show that I can download for my own fair use. TVgasm’s crack legal team has got my back. Right?
OK, I’m back and no FBI agents have showed up at my door. Thank the aliens for Hulu. Here’s what I missed:
Thought about racking my brain for another Bueller joke. Decided they’re played out.
Now that I’m caught up, we’re back to the faceoff between the two former besties. Tom admits to planting the files in Joe’s room, and it goes something like this:
“What happened to you, Tommy? You used to bring me flowers. I don’t know you anymore!”
“Your sugar mama left you for another woman, Joey. Bros before hos, I told you. BROS BEFORE HOS!!!”
So Tom marches Joe off to Chen’s, without noticing Charlie following close behind. Next thing he knows, Charlie hits him in the back with a bottle and mayhem ensues. Tom shoots Charlie in the leg and turns the gun on Joe. While Joe makes a last tearful plea for Tom to at least write his poor old mother a letter (I’m not kidding), reinforcements arrive. Janet grabs a pot of boiling water and tosses it at Tom. If you’ve ever seen any O.J. Simpson scene in a Naked Gun movie, you get the idea of what happens next. Kind of a lot.
So long, Tom. I’ll miss your faces.
All of them but this one.
Whew! I need a break from all this nonstop action. Let’s get back to Rome. Mark and Kat are hopping a flight to some fictional place called San Nicasio.
But wait! The PTB have put them on Italy’s version of the no-fly list and they have to get strip-searched!
But wait! The Italian bribed airport security to get them all on the plane!
But wait! There’s a crying baby in the next seat!
But wait! I has booze! All’s well that ends well.
Things are more or less back to normal in Hotel California after Tom’s messy demise. The Townies’ bloodlust has been sated and they’re leaving Joe alone for awhile. McNair explains to Moira that he was sort of tricked into the assassin business, for 100 large and a shot at revenge, and then the guy he killed wasn’t the guy he thought he was killing. It’s a long and Sayid story, but we’ve pretty much heard it before. The important thing is Moira buys it. Similarly, Janet’s ready to welcome Joe back with open arms now that she knows 1) Tom set him up and 2) he went rogue for her. So Joe is once again hoping for some makeup sex, until Janet starts thinking about her kid. Blocked by a seven-year-old girl. Sucks. Believe me dude, I feel ya.
So Joe tries to get her revved up again by planting thoughts of escape in her mind, then decides to take a bath (no doubt hoping she’ll follow him). This is a great plan, except that Janet blacks out or something and the next thing she sees, there’s water running under the floor from the overflowing tub and Joe is nowhere to be found.
Shoulda got while the gettin’ was good.
So that’s it for this week! Seems like they’re finally getting some momentum going. What’s Joe’s escape plan? Is everyone invited? Who’s the mysterious doctor in South America and will she show up next week? Thoughts (but no spoilers!)? See you in a few!