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April 17, 2014

Numb3rs: End Game - VIDEO

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Apr 26th 2008 4:45PM

Numb3rs: End Game
(S04E15) "I don't like a guy who thinks a purple heart gives him a free pass." - Colby

Well there's something you don't see too often on Numb3rs - resurrecting an old case from a previous episode. Usually, this show is pretty self-contained. Each week it's a wrap. Despite the fact that the last time we saw Clay Porter was when he escaped, his story still felt finished. But the writers took one small detail about his past and turned it into a pretty solid episode.

Now if you recall, Clay was wanted for the murder of the serial killer who had killed his girlfriend. Clay took the law into his own hands and got away with it. He fled to Mexico. That was it.

That one small detail? He was also an ex-Marine who blew the whistle on some guys in his battalion who had been torturing prisoners. Well, those guys are back and they kidnapped Clay's father and sisters. This is where it got interesting though. One of the prisoners in Iraq that had been tortured knew the location of a ton of hijacked military aid dollars. They never got the location out of his mouth. But the guy died under Clay's guard and the assumption was that maybe Clay knew the location of the money via a dying declaration. The whole plot was just really well done and I loved how that small detail from his past was expanded.

The rest of the episode had a lot of good stuff going on too. Don finally seems ready to take the next step with Robin, but it looks like there might be some tension between them since Liz is back on Don's team. He pulled her from narcotics since his team was short-handed. While I like Liz, I hope her return does lead to some friction as I mentioned. If not, I really don't see the point of bringing her back. It's not like she's going to replace Megan when Diane Farr leaves at the end of the season.

The funniest part of the episode was the little war going on between Charlie and Alan regarding the best way to make the Eppes residence more eco-friendly. Charlie wanted to build a windmill outside of his dad's bedroom window. Alan wanted to build a silo for corn pellet fuel outside of Charlie's. Plus, the feud resulted in the return of Bill Nye as Professor Waldie. He stopped by to offer advice and it looks like Charlie may win the battle. I'm glad this storyline wasn't dropped though. It's good to have Alan more involved.

The other interesting development worth mentioning was Larry's lack of faith in himself. He said he's starting to feel like a fraud regarding his work because he's searching for answers that he's not sure he really wants to find. It culminated in him sneaking beer into the monastery and getting in a fist fight with a monk. That was only mentioned in conversation though. I really wish we had seen that one. By the end, he made amends and ended up getting drunk with Brother Theo. Larry seems kind of iffy and I wonder if his disconnected attitude might be another impetus for Megan's impending departure?

Episodes like this are definitely what makes Numb3rs worth sticking with. Bringing back old characters, solid development from your main players, and wrapping up an old plot all in one hour - not bad. I've said it before, but this is definitely more than just another cop show. Keep 'em coming.

This week's numb3rs: 4 marines; 2 hostages; 1.5 million dollars; 1 war
This week's math: End Game

Which did you think was funnier?
Larry's drunken fight with a monk.57 (50.0%)
Charlie and Alan's windmill vs. silo argument.57 (50.0%)

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Jim

These unrealistic plots are really starting to annoy me. How could anyone choose Robin over Liz?

April 27 2008 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Johnson-Ott

At the beginning of "End Game" a song is played that repeatedly has the phrase "so sad." Does anyone know the name of the song or the performer?

Thanks!

April 26 2008 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Johnson-Ott

At the beginning of "End Game" there is a song played that includes the repeated use of the phrase "so sad." Anyone have an idea of the name of the song and the performer?

Thanks!

April 26 2008 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
billcarr178

whilst I like Numb3rs, the lame pseudo-philosophical bs is starting to get annoying. Case in point:

Sinclair:He finally stopped running...(away from his problems, not the FBI)
Granger:We all have to sometime. (whistful look, scene ends)

This dialogue is so contrived, a crappy attempt at depth and personality that feels so insincere. Ruined a solid ep for me.

April 26 2008 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to billcarr178's comment
Gordon Werner

the solution to all the bad writing by all the craptacular writers on TV is to drink heavily while watching the shows.

April 26 2008 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
btarlinian

Well, the phrase wasn't entirely based on pseudo-philosophical BS. It did have some relevance to the case, and to other parts of the show as well, such as Don finally attempting to make things work with someone, and Larry's acceptance of his work on the Higgs boson project.

As a geek myself (one who's at Caltech, admittedly), I like Numb3rs for its attention to detail. For example, Larry supposedly works for the D0 collaboration while working on the Higgs Boson project, which is in fact, one of the two main detectors at the Tevatron. Even the use of math in the show is somewhat realistic. While the timescales on which Charlie works out his problems is impossibly short, the show at least tries to avoid blatant mockery. That's actually where my main complaint with this episode lies. An OODA loop is part of basic military training, is in no way a mathematical model. Even if Charlie was brilliant enough to come up with a mathematical model for such a decision making process on such short notice, the process of observing, orienting, deciding and acting is far too general to draw conclusions from. Perhaps I'm being nitpicky, but compared to Charlie's usual work, it seemed extremely implausible. Perhaps the worst affront to reality was Charlie's endorsement of the installation of a *wind turbine* in his yard. There is no way that a wind turbine could be even close to usable anywhere in the LA area.

April 27 2008 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

Liz seemed pretty ok with Don and he with her in this episode ... they were talking like coworkers and not lovers ... so I don't forsee any problems. Is she, Liz, going to be the full time replacement for Megan?

April 26 2008 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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