This was one of those
Numb3rs episodes that felt as if it had been cut down from perhaps a seventy-minute running time, or would've been more comfortable if it could've run a bit longer than 48 minutes or so. Everything was just a bit too compressed, giving most of the more intense moments a slightly over-the-top feeling, and even the more laid-back sequences could've used more room to breathe.
Synopsis: It begins with intercutting, between Don Eppes running down with his FBI team the known specifics of an apparent kidnapping of a television news reporter, and a television news interview with Charlie Eppes, wherein he allows that he tries to help his brother's FBI unit solve crimes, and lets slip a few more facts about the case than Don's bosses are comfortable with. Don chews Charlie out; Charlie, perhaps excessively miffed, showily takes off to his university office to do the academic work he isn't doing when consulting on FBI cases. As Charlie drives to the CalTech analog where he teaches, a pickup truck with floodlights above the cab tailgates him and otherwise seems to be at least trying to shake him up; Charlie takes a sharp turn and loses the pickup, but is sufficiently rattled to sleep in his office. Meanwhile, Ray Galuski (Chris Bauer, returning to the series), in the course of helping fix a koi pond pump in the Eppes's yard, makes some suggestions about modernizing the house that discomfit paterfamilias Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch).
Amita and Larry find Charlie in his office, and discover that he's in a jumpy mood, after the argument and the road incident; Charlie leaves abruptly, running late for a meeting at the FBI offices. From the offices, Charlie and the agents take on various tasks in the investigation of the probable kidnapping; Charlie offers to do some statistical analyses that might narrow the large field of suspects who might hold a criminal grudge against the reporter. Meanwhile, a visit to the reporter's television station doesn't turn up much, other than that among the stories she's been pursuing is one involving a local real estate developer and his underhanded business dealings, including a photograph of him with a tough-looking character. That night, Charlie is pursued again by the same pickup, which actually bumps his car off the road; at least one man, the one in the photograph with the real estate developer, emerges from the pickup and starts shooting at Charlie, who manages to scramble away, and scares his would-be assassins by remotely setting off his car alarm, drawing attention from other drivers and a nearby house. Charlie now tells Don and the other agents about being tailgated the previous evening by the same thugs; Amita starts demanding that Charlie get off the case, and Don starts to wonder if that isn't a good idea.
Don and Colby (Dylan Bruno) explore the reporter's apartment, where after a brief examination Don decides he's seen enough; Colby suggests that he'd like to do a more thorough search. Colby begins going through her papers and watching her raw-footage videotapes, and clearly becomes somewhat smitten with her. When two power company bills come in through the apartment's mailslot, one of them is for her office, away from her television station's campus. Colby calls the address in and goes to meet Don and the other agents there. Colby arrives first, to find the shooter and two accomplices stealing materials from the repoter's office; a gun battle leaves one of the thugs dead and one seriously wounded; he and the third get awayin the pickup.
A shaken Charlie has difficulty getting his mind to work on breaking the reporter's apparent code, while Colby, particularly, attempts to be helpful while also stressing how little time they might have to find the reporter alive. Having Sinclair (Alimi Ballard) assigned to Charlie as a bodyguard, while Don confronts the developer, does little to help rising tensions. Eventually, Colby gets Charlie to talk about his trauma, which helps the mathematician clear his head; with the help of Amita and Larry (and Colby at least standing by), they crack the codes, which turn out to describe lots the developer has purchased. The last surviving thug having been arrested but refusing to reveal where the reporter is being held, the team has to figure it out on their own...happily, the coded properties include three lots aside from the developement area, only one of which has a house on it. Colby is disappointed that the reporter, whom we've learned is rather a loner even when not traumatized, is ungracious when rescued. Finally, Don, who's been worrying throughout the episode that involving Charlie in FBI cases, even when not dangerous, might be a waste of his brother's precious time and intellectual energy, asks Charlie if he sees it that way. Charlie bluntly says no, he doesn't, and invites Don in for a beer.
At certain points, particularly early on, it seemed to me that Charlie's guilt and irritation, with himself and with Don, seemed too quickly wound up into more than pique; I also had to wonder how the thugs in the pickup were able to predict which road Charlie was going to be riding down the first night, and how they recognized his car. I certainly didn't buy Colby being as wrapped up in a woman he didn't know as he seemed to be, even if charmed by her demeanor in the unguarded moments on the unedited tapes, and even with his somewhat romantic (in every sense) notions of rescue and its rewards. Certainly, while referring to his own hostage experience in coaxing Charlie to spill his anxieties made sense, expecting the reporter to have the same reaction to rescue as he did made no sense; unlike Colby, she had no reason to assume that anyone would be working feverishly to find her. So, this episode had a lot of little bits and pieces that could've used a bit more foreshadowing or expansion, had there been time, even if the interaction between Larry and Ray, and Ray's assumption that Larry's relation with Megan could only be a joke (something skeptical viewers have suggested from time to time), was very well done. Some of David Krumholtz's slightly odd reactions as Charlie in this episode seem just right in a somewhat alienated former child prodigy; others, as noted, seem excessive (even given his disturbing experiences here). So, more than most episodes of the series, this one could've used another run-through. I have to wonder if the strike might've affected post-production. Still, a fun-enough episode, even with the flaws.
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This was one of those Numb3rs episodes that felt as if it had been cut down from perhaps a seventy-minute running time or wouldve been more comfortable if it couldve run a bit longer than 48 minutes or so Everything was just a bit too compressed giving most of the more intense moments a slightly over-the-top feeling and even the more laid-back sequences couldve used more room to breatheSynopsis It begins with intercutting between Don Eppes running down with his FBI team the known specifics of an apparent kidnapping of a television news reporter and a television news interview with Charlie Eppes wherein he allows that he tries to help his brothers FBI unit solve crimes and lets slip a few more facts about the case than Dons bosses are comfortable with Don chews Charlie out Charlie perhaps excessively miffed showily takes off to his university office to do the academic work he isnt doing when consulting on FBI cases As Charlie drives to the CalTech analog where