Peeps, I have to apologize for the unusual lateness of this typically late recap. I wish I had an awesome story like how I went on a three-day bender in the middle of the week, woke up in Mexico with amnesia and had to hitchhike home. Actually, if you substitute “work” for “bender” and “two hours of sleep” for “amnesia” you won’t be far off. But it’s still a boring story and I refuse to excuse. So, wait no more.
It’s really windy in Crazy Town today. Joe’s walking down the street and hey, wait, the focus is all soft. I bet he’s dreaming. Sure enough, here’s Tom standing on the corner in a tux. Is someone getting married? Is this like the next-to-last scene in the last Harry Potter book? Is Joe dead? (no, that’s not a Harry Potter spoiler, I promise.) “I must be dreaming,” Joe says. Well, that didn’t take long. Everyone drink up!
Ghost Tom has the perfect response: “I know I am, but what are you?” Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said sometimes the dialogue sounds like it was written by preschoolers? No, you aren’t dead, says Ghost Tom, you’re being saved. For some reason, this is not what Not-Ghost Joe wants to hear.
And now we know why: he took the red pill.
At least he finally got a shave.
A female voice warns him over an intercom that he has a problem, it’s about to be fixed, and it’s gonna hurt. I have no idea what she’s doing–I think the technical term may be “zapping”–but it does indeed appear to hurt. Geez, Joe can’t catch a break lately.
Crazy Town is back to normal, because Janet is trashing another hotel room. Do we know what her occupation was in the Outside World? Because I’m thinking roadie for a punk band. Erika pokes her cornrowed head in and says Janet’s making too much noise, none of the grownups can sleep, and she needs to behave herself before she gets a timeout.
Irony, thy eyes are crazy.
Outside the Matrix, Joe isn’t getting to learn how to bend spoons and hook up with black-leather-clad hacker chicks, he’s just stuck there on that table.
Thanks for keeping the package all wrapped up, though.
How did he get so pale, I wonder? Are those anti-tanning lights? This voice he’s hearing sounds familiar. I think I know who it is, but I’ll hold my guess until after I find out if I’m right. That way no one will ever know if I cheated or not.
The voice reminds Joe that no one ever leaves The Program, so he has two options: 1) get re-Programmed and go back in, or 2) die trying. “Is there even an Option 3?” Joe asks. Did they brain-dump him a sense of humor already? It’s not quite as cool as learning kung fu, but it’s an improvement over the old Joe. He fades to flashback. Yay backstory!
Joe stands in the hotel hall with his old buddy Tom, watching as our Townies get wheeled into their rooms. “Why seven again?” Joe wants to know. Tom says something about statistics and how seven is the number of Townies that just works. Works for what? The manager comes in as well.
“Morning Sam.” “Morning Ralph.”
Joe checks into his own room. “Home sweet home… where I was reborn.” So I think we can assume that 1) Joe’s done a few shifts as the Man on the Inside and 2) he came in as a regular Townie just like the rest of them, lo however many years ago. “Ask me what your greatest obstacle will be this time,” says Tom. “My mind, obviously.” “No, your heart.”
Interesting. Is all this for Joe’s benefit? I assumed it was mostly for the other Townies. Did They bring Janet in just to test him, match up their psych profiles and all that good stuff? Because that explains a lot about the bee episode. Aaaaaaand if that’s true, then They have to have predicted his rebellion, or at least planned for it. The familiar voice of The Matrix asks him if Janet is worth all this trouble.
I would have to say… no.
Somewhere Fictional in South America
Our fearless reporters have arrived at the “hospital”, where the “doctor” they’re in search of is supposed to be found. Mark shakes his perfectly tangled head and sniffs. “Looks more like a gulag.” Three guesses where this is going. No, don’t even bother, because I called it last week. This is a mental hospital, and our doctor is a patient. She’s been there for two years, is criminally insane, etc. etc. Mark asks if she ever happens to mention vast criminal conspiracies or mysterious abductions. He’s never done this before, has he? I, on the other hand, saw Shutter Island and am thinking of all kinds of interesting new directions they could take this thing. But one step at a time. First they have to get in to see her. And apparently NO ONE GETS TO TALK TO THE DOCTOR.
Orders from On High.
This being South America, it’s nothing a few Benjamins can’t fix, so off they go to the Doctor’s cell with Kat translating the Spanish. With all the languages she knows, these two should go on Amazing Race together. I guess that’s pretty much what they’re doing, huh? She learns that the Doctor is confined to a straitjacket because she has a thing for throwing poo at people. Right on cue, Mark wrinkles up his nose.
Torn between two Princess Bride quotes: “The Pit Of Despair!” or ”I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”
She babbles for a few minutes, as the Crazy-Or-Not Person does, asking to see their scars (the ones that Hotelguests get when they try to remove their homing devices?). They show her the photo of Joe and the girls. She in turn tells them she has a craving for churros from this one particular shop in town. Kat takes the hint and drags Mark, oblivious as usual, out the door. Don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much over Mark’s investigative reporter skills. The man couldn’t get to the bottom of a bowl of Rocky Road without Kat holding his spoon. Also, is it me, but does he have a bit of an accent this episode? Maybe I just haven’t noticed it before? Dunno.
Hey kids, remember that little deserted town where most of our main characters are being held prisoner? The one we haven’t seen much this whole episode? This exposé on The Program is fascinating stuff, but it might be good to check in on our Townies and see what they’re up to real quick. Charlie’s laid up in the lobby recovering from his gunshot wound and enjoying his favorite hobby, namely talking smack to Bill. Charlie wonders why Bill is even here, since Joe said They liked to kidnap people with potential. Bill has zero potential, or, as Charlie puts it:
Donut hole. Or maybe that’s a 6. Either way, not much.
Bill also has zero comebacks for this verbal thrashing, and stomps away in frustration. Anyone feeling sorry for Bill yet?
Moira is campaigning to be the Doctor’s roommate in South America.
You still have to drink if someone writes something obvious.
McNair drops by and complains that she hasn’t spoken to him since Joe was “eliminated”. The rest of this scene is straight out of your standard ‘90s emo song: Moira is the only one who really knows him, so he wanted to tell her everything, even the scary bits.
I won’t tell no one your name.
Now that Janet’s worked all her aggression out on Joe’s room, she’s ready to make up with Joe’s memory, so she gets the drawing of her out of the Bible. Wait, I thought Erika took that? Did she put it back after gazing longingly at it for awhile? Anyway, because Janet can’t maintain the same mood for more than two minutes, she also gazes longingly at it, then says “I trusted you” and crumples it up. Maybe we should add “anytime Janet has a mood swing” to the drinking game.
Back in Joe’s head, or purgatory or wherever he is right now, that voice keeps pestering him about going back in. The Program needs him, nay, the WHOLE WORLD needs him, and the way out is the way through. I thought there was no way out? I also thought I remembered Janet saying that. Right on cue, Janet appears by his side, tenderly wiping his brow. Joe declares his undying love and begs her to wait for him. Really. Like she’s on the verge of switching teams and running off with Erika because he broke her heart. Although I wouldn’t exactly put it past her. “You can’t go back like this,” Ghost Janet tells him. (We know it’s not the real Janet because the real Janet would start to kiss him, then change her mind and slap him instead.) “You have to accept.”
“She didn’t slap me! And I still don’t know kung fu!”
OK, so two possibilities. 1) Ghost Janet is his subconscious telling him what to do (pretend to be reprogrammed, go back in, be good and wait for a chance to escape) or B) They planted her there as part of the reprogramming. I don’t know that it makes a difference, but I’m leaning toward #1.
So you ready to find out who that voice belongs to?
Right again! Your boy is 2 for 2 this episode!
Because of whatever They’ve done to Joe’s head, he can’t quite remember who she is. “You thought I was dead,” says Maybe-Ghost Tori. “But maybe you are and I’m supposed to remember you.” He has a point. Tori could still be dead, but I doubt it. She reminds him for only the 25th time that he can NEVER EVER LEAVE. Cue another flashback. Tom’s set up a meeting with The Oracle because Joe is showing a lot of potential. He may even be The One. This is really making me want to go watch The Matrix again. And no, before you ask, I haven’t seen Inception yet. So don’t spoil it.
So this woman he’s meeting with is someone really important in The Program, maybe even Number One. Tom calls her Director. She calls Joe–wait for it–Father Tucker.
Is there a Mother Tucker? I know. Sorry.
Don’t know about you, but out of all Joe’s possible day jobs, I never in a million years would’ve picked priest. Good on ya, writers, for sneaking one past the Copyhacker. “Tell me,” says Number One, “are you the ultimate team player?” Which sounds to me like they’re going to ask him to die for The Program. “You are the future,” she goes on, which kind of negates the possibility of dying. Or does it? DUN DUN DUN.
Downtown at the churro place, there’s a small problem: no churro place. Well, there was, but it’s been closed for years. Bet there’s something seekrit there she sent them to find. Mark moseys over to a missing-persons wall, like that one that went up after 9/11. Hey, that guy looks a little familiar…
But only a little. How did he recognize him? Eagle eyes, that one.
Sure enough, it’s Joe, all dressed in black, much dorkier, less douchier. They follow this lead to Father Joe’s former parish. Parish is the right word, right? Your boy is a deep-fried Southern Baptist. What do I know from parishes? The priest says Joe was hauled off by the government for helping “the rebels”. Oh, sure, if you find yourself in a third-world country, blame it on the rebels. Also. The Doctor has been in the funny farm for how long? And yet she knew that exact picture would be on the wall? Pretty thin, writers. And look at this! The priest has his own photo–of Father Joe being hauled off by some guys in blue. He guarantees that these blurry, Photoshoppy pics, taken years apart, are all of Joe. It’s a miracle! Like his eyesight.
This guy should have been a World Cup ref. That would have been a miracle.
Next we catch up with Bill in his home away from home away from home, the cozy Downtown Hotel Bar, where everybody knows your name… and your personal hygiene habits… and every bad business decision you ever made…. He finds a pack of cigarettes on the bar and announces to the camera that he doesn’t care if they were planted there or not, he’s gonna smoke ‘em. What happened to all the sledgehammery hostility from last week? This is not the same Bill. Exhibit B: Erika walks in and he asks her to join him. The old Bill would run screaming to Charlie at the sight of her. Regardless, she doesn’t feel like bellying up to the bar with Bill, because he’s of no use to her anymore. Was he ever? Except that time she stole his clothes, I mean? Her exact words are “boil on my ass.” Have fun getting that image out of your head! She’s looking more like a Program spy, considering how the camera’s watching them and how she knows exactly what buttons to push. “Would anyone here care if you died?” The smoke break hasn’t inspired Bill with any more snappy comebacks. He can only manage a “go to hell”.
Back to Dream Tori watching over Joe and explaining how it is that she’s not dead. Her dad recruited her into The Program, gave her a purpose, and now she is “whatever they need me to be”. That’s a nod to Dollhouse. Better late than never. Joe is mad that The Program took away his purpose, but Tori points out that five minutes ago he was ready to leave The Program for Janet and didn’t so much as mention the Church. Try again, Father. This triggers a flashback to Joe playing ball with some kids, then arguing with some guy and shooting him. Skip ahead a couple of hours, he’s taking his priest collar off, then he gets tazed by Tom. OK, sure hope they’re planning to explain that one. So. Was the shooting part of The Program, or was it before he was abducted? I’m getting Lost in flashback land.
Help me, Daniel Faraday, you’re my only hope.
Mark and Kat return to the Doctor’s cell, not with churros, but with a new photo of Father Joe to add to their collection. They explain that they’re looking for the women in the photo and that their search led them here. The Doctor goes nuts, babbling about how the doctors lied to her and said none of that was real, and that she was never part of “The Seven”. Sounds like her group of Hotelguests might have been more interesting than ours. She shoves Kat up against the wall and starts repeating “Find the town and you’ll find The Program.” Not much help there. They knew that already, right? Obvious statement. Drink ‘em if ya got ‘em!
Yes, our poor Bill is having an identity crisis. He tells the camera that they made a mistake, he’s got no potential, he’s indeed a donut hole and no one cares about him. Cue Radiohead. This has been a very ‘90s episode tonight. Next thing you know they’re all going to be sitting around the lobby watching Friends and sharing Atkins Diet tips. Anyway dude, you know you’ve got problems if a convicted felon can torpedo your self-worth that easily. Oh and he’s still a schmuck. Day late, dollar short and all that.
McNair comes out a hotel room door and for a minute it looks like he’s taking the Walk of Shame. Not so fast–he’s actually headed to Moira’s room. She’s trying to scrub the conspiracy-nut graffiti off her wall because “it only meant something when you thought I was important.” When did he stop thinking she was important? I must have missed that. He proves her importance by planting a wet one on her, but she breaks it off and sends him away. “If you only knew,” she says to his back.
Now this is the Walk of Shame.
Tori’s really turning up the juice now on the Reedumacation Of Father Joe Tucker. She begs, tells him he’s The One, that they don’t want to lose him, so on and so forth. Too bad for Tori she’s competing with Dream Janet flashbacks.
Why does the light blink red and green? What kind of traffic signal is that? Should I stay or should I go?
The gang hangs out in the lobby discussing how Charlie’s leg is almost healed (wow, that was fast) and who the next traitor might be. Erika? Bill? Not Bill, says Charlie, he’s too… nothing. Of course Bill happens to be standing right behind him, overhears, and walks out. He tries to light a cigarette, or maybe set himself on fire and end his misery, but the matches blow out of his hand. He chases them… all the way outside the sonic fence. Is this a test? He starts to take off, but stops at the top of the hill and looks back. “Where am I going? Nowhere.” He trudges back to town. Looks like They reeled him in.
Markat finds the Doctor’s cell empty. Well, almost empty.
Even chickens need a little therapy every now and then.
No one at the hospital seems to know what happened to her. Wonder why They let her stick around so long. Sure, she left, but she never really left, if They were watching her the whole time. You know? Mark wants to give up, go home and look after his daughter (as if he stands a chance getting her away from Psycho Grandma) but Kat urges him to keep on searching until they find Janet together. For Megan, and Mark, and Markat, and for the Scarecrow most of all. Hugs and butterflies all around.
Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of… a magical unicorn!
Bill’s back in his room, telling the cameras that he didn’t leave when he had the chance, so maybe he can be useful to Them. Stockholm Syndrome, I guess.
On the Great Operating Table in the Sky, Dream Tori is still trying to compete with Dream Janet for Joe’s heart. Suddenly, he screams Janet’s name and the medical gear goes berserk. Tori yells for help, which seems like a pretty good indication that she is in fact alive and not just a vision in his head. She gets out the paddles and zaps him good, as if he hasn’t been zapped enough times lately. “Do something! He’s dying!”
And we’re drinking.
Meanwhile, Joe’s spirit is back in Harry Potter limbo. Ghost Tom is there too, and tells him he gets to live if he chooses to go back to The Program. More wind, and Tom says they won’t see each other again. Guess old Joe decided to live. I am Joe’s complete lack of surprise.
Hug it out, bizatches.
There’s a white flash, just like you might expect to find in That Other Show that wrapped up back in the spring. “Can you hear me? asks Tori’s voice. A door slams. Fin.
About next week: looks like Joe’s going back to town, but they’ve wiped his brain. Just like in Dollhouse, he doesn’t seem to remember his first go-round there. This is ok, because while Joe figures out who he is, I’ll be at the beach and watching this show off the clock. Someone may fill in for me if you’re very lucky. If not, I’ll be back the week after and get us all up to speed on whatever I missed. So we’ll have a lot to talk about.
See you on the other side of vacay!