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September 2, 2015

Numb3rs: Atomic No. 33 - VIDEO

by Jonathan Toomey, posted May 3rd 2008 2:20PM

Numb3rs: Atomic No. 33
(S04E16) "It's not Heat?" - Colby, amazed that the Pacino/De Niro classic isn't Don's favorite movie

I think it's a given that sooner or later, every cop show is going to have an episode about religious cults. They're just so easy to make into a bad guy, especially with all the crazy stuff you always hear on the evening news. That's part of the problem though; that it is too easy to turn into an hour episode and things can get stale fast. You've seen one, you've seen 'em all. Fortunately, the folks behind Numb3rs must have realized this because this episode was way more than, how did Colby put it? A bunch of religious "nut jobs."

While the episode started out as a cult whose members all unknowingly drank some arsenic (hence, the episode title) laced coffee, it turned into an elaborate long con headed by a grifter and his partner - an orphaned teenage boy. They posed as members of the cult, killed off the leader, took over, and then attempted to get the government to recognize them as an actual religion. That means tax exempt status. With all the money coming in from the cult's members (everyone donated 75% of their personal income), the con artists would have been set for life, skimming from the church coffers.

One of the best parts of the episode was seeing Larry so passionately against the ignorance the members of the cult all embraced. He's always so torn between personal meaning and scientific acceptance, so you could tell he was fired up. It was some of the best dialogue we've seen Larry spew in the life of this series.

Moving on, Don and Robin are still going strong. If this keeps up, I think we may have a Numb3rs marriage in the future. They tell each other secrets, Don buys candy, and they watch old Preston Sturgess movies together. We've never seen him get this intimate with a woman - especially someone he works with. After Liz, you would have thought that'd be a no-no for him. Guess not.

The funniest part of the episode was Charlie's experiment with non-Newtonian liquids - aka corn starch mixed in water. The exact definition? A non-Newtonian liquid is a fluid whose viscosity is variable based on applied stress. Hit it hard, acts like a solid. Move gently, acts like a liquid. Everyone made this stuff at some point in middle school science class. Charlie and Larry made a whole tub of it though, and if you moved fast enough, you could run right across it without sinking in. How come classes like that weren't available when I was in college?

A few more thoughts...

  • I loved Charlie's "Easy as π" tee-shirt. I want one.
  • When David was chasing the kid up the bell tower at the train station, he had a great line when he yelled "I'm pretty sure the top of this tower isn't in Mexico..." or something like that.
  • Why do Charlie's yellow dry-erase markers smell like urinal cakes?

With only two episodes left this season (18 total) there are still a few things I'm waiting on. Obviously, I want too see what's going to happen with Don and Robin, but I'm more interested in Megan. A few weeks ago, we found out she was unhappy with her job (Diane Farr is leaving the show). But what's actually going to make Megan leave the FBI? I'm assuming it's something big because it'll mean saying good-bye to Larry too.

This week's numb3rs: 1,137 members; 30 years; 2 families; 1 new religious movement (NRM)
This week's math: Atomic No. 33

Which Numb3rs marriage would you rather see?
Megan and Larry51 (28.7%)
Charlie and Amita98 (55.1%)
Don and Robin17 (9.6%)
Alan and Millie12 (6.7%)

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I found it funny that Don called Larry on his pronunciation of "cretins" about a minute after he made the moronic use of the word "anecdote" in place of "antidote."

May 05 2008 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't care less about Robin or Don's relationship with her. Call me shallow, but I like Liz much better.

May 04 2008 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I haven't looked, but I'll bet that thinkgeek has that tshirt. *Someone* must have it online somewhere...

May 04 2008 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@btarlinian - considering this was a show about a religious group.. Maybe Charlie was walking on water, you know like that Jesus chap??

May 04 2008 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

We did that corn-starch thing in my science class in 3rd or 4th grade

May 03 2008 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The non-Newtonian fluid thing was great, although it did seem a bit contrived. Usually, Charlie's Calsci activity of the week has some relationship, thematically speaking at least, to the rest of the show. But this was just wacky. However, it was the first scene I directly recognized from filming. In fact, I watched Charlie run across the fluid during filming, thinking how it could possibly relate to the show.

May 03 2008 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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