An excellent return from hiatus, "Black Swan" did most of what
Numb3rs does best.
The opening montage, contrasting the FBI agents taking down a meth lab (probably not but possibly a slight nod to the most
Numb3rs-like of the new series to begin since the strike,
Breaking Bad) with the introductory lecture by the academics to a new class of teaching assistants, was typically clever and mutually reinforcing, even down the usual color-coding (blues for the FBI, sepias for academe).
When Don sees a possibly innocent bystander to the meth-lab bust as just a little to conveniently nearby, and has the agents take him into custody as well, the agents discover that he's part of a neo-Nazi group responsible for at least one IRS-building bombing. But, of course, being a determined enemy of the state, the would-be domestic terrorist isn't going to open up and tell what's being planned, nor who or where his confederates are. Happily for our team, searching his van turns up a cheap navigation device; unhappily, it features only his last several destinations. One of those turns out to be the safe house where the fellow radical rightists are holed up; the academics, in this case Charlie, Amita and Larry, work on a program and model that will, they hope, tell them about the intended target of the group from the few locations the device gave them. Meanwhile, Don, feeling frustrated at usually only being able to arrest criminals after the fact, worries Megan and the other agents, and Charlie, with his willingness to bend the rules regarding their suspect's Constitutional protections...not least because to some extent doing so actually strengthen's the terrorist's case, and his resolve. The title of the episode, referring to a process in which a certain worldview is taken for granted until new data forces revision--such as the discovery in Australia by Europeans that black swans exist along with the exclusivley white ones the Europeans were familiar with--comes into play particularly as the team realizes that the black swan in this case wasn't so much the appearance of neo-Nazis at a meth lab, but the arrest of the meth makers before the radicals could obtain bomb-making materials from them. The team determines that the probable target is a bank that partially foiled the radicals' activities in the past, and in the course of catching the last member of the group who'd escaped a raid on their safehouse, manage to convince that lone bomber that his ultimate goal of "propaganda by the deed" would be utterly overshadowed by the damage to innocents if he killed them, or utterly dismissed as just a lone nut's sacrifice if he merely allowed himself to die.
Counterpointed to this in the episode is Amita's disappointment at her Indian government-official parents' continuing delay of a second visit to her at the CalTech analog where the academics teach; Charlie eventually suggests that they try a visit to Delhi, instead, an offer she declines, but gratefully...like her parents, both she and Charlie are too wrapped up in their work to leave. Megan, troubled by several aspects of her work at the FBI, moots the possibility of finding other work with Larry, at his gentle suggestion. And Colby, still easing his way back into friendship with Sinclair, is also starting to pick up one some of the approaches to problem-solving the academics use.
Again, a fine episode to ease viewers back into the series, if not one of extraordinary distinction, so much as a good representative example of the series' strengths. Now, let's see if we can get by the threat of the actors' unions going on strike, as well...and if the uncharitable placement of the fine and intelligent NBC police drama
Life also on Fridays at 10p ET/PT next season will do more than force the use of recorders or other delayed views of both series.
An excellent return from hiatus Black Swan did most of what Numb3rs does bestThe opening montage contrasting the FBI agents taking down a meth lab probably not but possibly a slight nod to the most Numb3rs-like of the new series to begin since the strike Breaking Bad with the introductory lecture by the academics to a new class of teaching assistants was typically clever and mutually reinforcing even down the usual color-coding blues for the FBI sepias for academe When Don sees a possibly innocent bystander to the meth-lab bust as just a little to conveniently nearby and has the agents take him into custody as well the agents discover that hes part of a neo-Nazi group responsible for at least one IRS-building bombing But of course being a determined enemy of the state the would-be domestic terrorist isnt going to open up and tell whats being planned nor who or where his confederates are Happily for our team searching his van turns up a cheap navigation devi