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October 13, 2015

Numb3rs: Graphic

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 23rd 2007 11:59PM

TV Squad's own Wil Wheaton guest stars on Numb3rs.
(S04E09) "If you're good enough to fake a comic, you're good enough to be drawing your own." - Seth Marlowe

Numb3rs finally returned to form tonight with an episode that didn't quite make sense to me. When I think of the FBI tracking down a counterfeiting ring, currency comes to mind before comic books. Regardless, this was a great episode layered with an enjoyable and overly nerdy case, some mathematical explanation from Charlie (for once!), and some great sub-plots. It got even better though. Not only did Christopher "flux capacitor" Lloyd guest star, but the episode also saw a great turn from TV Squad's very own Wil Wheaton.

Wil, who writes hilarious Star Trek: The Next Generation episode reviews for us based on his own experiences on the show, guest starred as Miles Sklar -- an arrogant comic book artist and collector who many regarded as damaging to the industry since he had made so much money. Sklar was in ownership of the world's rarest comic: Ultraworld #1. That is, until it got stolen at an industry convention in a storm of bullets that got a security guard killed.

Wil was great as the successful know-it-all that everyone loves to hate and it was too bad that he was only in the episode at the very beginning and again in the middle for a few minutes. I was hoping we'd see more interaction between him and Don or Charlie.

The entire theft and subsequent forgery sales were set up by a fellow comic artist named Seth Marlowe. He hated Sklar and simply wanted to discredit him while at the same time devalue the lone copy of Ultraworld. As an economics major myself, I loved the conversations between Larry and Charlie as they talked about the risks and rewards and who benefits from flooding a market of genuine articles with fakes. It was one of those rare occasions on Numb3rs were I was able to say, "I know what they're talking about!"

I mentioned that Christopher Lloyd also guested. He played a renowned comic artist who had inspired the careers of many younger hopefuls. His character was nothing special. The only thing I really liked about it was the very end when he started doing sketches of everyone. How great was that drawing of Larry with a super-hero cape on?

The most enjoyable part of the episode was Charlie's fame. It's continued to grow thanks to his book. I'm glad this has been explored though, rather than just forgotten about. His classes are jam packed, presumably he's still making talk show appearances, and now Vanity Fair is following him around and interviewing everyone for an article.

I liked the way it turned out. Obviously, it was set up so that as Larry, Amita, and Alan were interviewed by the author, we thought he was going to pen a real negative piece that discredited Charlie. That wasn't how the finished piece turned out, but I almost wish it had. It would have been very interesting to see how Charlie managed damage control in light of a piece that would have essentially called him a fake for offering advice on friendship when he has barely any friends of his own.

The other big sub-plot was Don. We got to see how he's been after the break-up with Liz. The short answer is not good. She wasn't in this episode. So there weren't any awkward moments in the break room between the two of them, but Don was preoccupied and distant throughout most of the episode. Normally, he's the anchor of this team so it'll be interesting to see how everyone around him adjusts to his demeanor. On an unrelated note, Colby and David are definitely back to normal again. That scene with the guy in the bath towel was hilarious.

Oh and for those of you that are interested, Numb3rs has three more episodes in the can before they run dry because of the WGA Strike.

This week's numb3rs: 26 pages, 183 panels of graphic art, 1 rare ashcan edition, 14 fakes
This week's math: Graphic

Which do you think will affect the FBI team more?
Charlie's growing fame.46 (23.5%)
Don's emotional stress.150 (76.5%)

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Kathy Pearlman

When I first watched it, I thought Wil Wheaton was both the geeky Seth Marlowe and Miles Sklar. I rewatched the episode on http://www.cbs.com in the full episodes category, where, BTW, I paused it so I could find out who had done the art. I wish I could get a copy of the sketches of Larry and of Don and Charlie. I love Numb3rs. One of the few TV shows I'll watch, both online and off...

December 16 2007 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charity Froggenhall

Actually I think Wil would have played the Seth Marlowe part much better than the actor who did it. But I loved the suave suit and the, "A man DIED here"! (You could tell it was the first time in his LIFE the character could claim the moral high ground!)

December 03 2007 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How did I miss this episode? I knew about it in advance and everything! Here's hoping it shows in reruns on a night I'm home. I had a massive crush on Wesley Crusher in junior high, being one of maybe a dozen people who didn't hate that character on Star Trek: Next Generation.

November 26 2007 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It really hit home on how long it's been since I have seen Taxi. It didn't occur to me, until the scene with Hirsch and Lloyd that they were both on Taxi.I was like "Holy crap, How did I not realize this earlier?"

November 25 2007 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

The whole episode had the feel of an episode of "Columbo." Obviously we knew early on that Seth was responsible for the crime, and much of Charlie's interaction with the guy had a "somethings bothering me" feel to it. Interesting to see Charlie figure out that Seth had done it based on a hunch and then build his math around on that hunch, again not unlike a good "Columbo."

Comics fans could probably see a lot of similarities between characters in the episode and real comics creators - Wil Wheaton's "Myles Sklar" is pretty obviously a not too gentle swipe at Todd McFarlane, while Christopher Lloyd's Ross Moore reminded me mainly of Jack "King" Kirby. Marvel comics "lost" thousands of pages of his work over the years.

I have to confess the Judd Hirsch-Christopher Lloyd scene at the end didn't hit me until it was mentioned here. Maybe it's because Lloyd has changed so much since that time that I didn't make the connection. Or maybe it just went by while I was concentrating on something else.

November 25 2007 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce Kaskey Goring

Loved the comment on the final sketch of Larry as a super-hero. The actual artist of the final sketches on this episode was Trevor Goring (of graphic novel Waterloo Sunset and sketch books theBLVD I-III). He also designed Ultraworld (final rendering by comic artist Mike Vosburg) and Nanopunk (with inking and coloring by Bernard Chang of graphic novel "How to Make Money Like a Porn Star" and theBLVD sketchbooks). Lettering on both and the aging of Ultraworld was done by Jim Whelock.Trevor's work can be seen on www. electricspaghetticomics.com and theblvdstudios.com

I'll forward your article to all of them. Thanks!

November 24 2007 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was an enjoyable episode, even though the Seth storyline was telegraphed from the start. Did anyone pick up on him saying, "I'll round up the Usual Suspects" while he was in the room with the FBI? Keyser Soze indeed!

November 24 2007 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, I completely thought the same thing: it was nice that Joe Morton character wrote a nice piece on Charlie, and shows how greatly Charlie has grow, but boy oh boy, it would have been golden if it was a negative piece and they could extend that fallout into a few episodes. Either direction is interesting really.

November 24 2007 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was GREAT seeing Wil on TV again. I almost didn't recognize him, he has matured significantly even since the last Traveller episodes on TNG.

I was also excellent seeing Christopher Lloyd, although I'm surprised nobody mentioned his previous work with Judd Hirsch in the classic sitcom "Taxi".

I am a moderate Numb3rs fan, but this episode both made me laugh and did not cause me to throw popcorn at the screen in disgust at math stupidity.

November 24 2007 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought christopher lloyd was a perfect choice for his part,(I will truly miss seeing him in new roles) and I like joe morton a lot as well. I think morton's character will really develop quickly, and I think we may come to hate him. (cool, I need a new bad guy to hate) I would love to see the comic book(s) become a reality. (was it quantum avenger, or was that a 2nd idea?)
BTW, has anyone else heard that those were "real" as in, pulled out of studio closets, star trek costumes?

November 24 2007 at 7:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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