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October 14, 2015

Numb3rs: When Worlds Collide (season finale) - VIDEO

by Jonathan Toomey, posted May 17th 2008 11:03AM

Don (Rob Morrow) and Charlie (David Krumholtz) find themselves conflicted over their differing beliefs as they investigate a case involving national security.
(S04E18) "I connected you to a dangerous terrorist in three links." - Charlie

I've got to say - four seasons into Numb3rs and I can't believe we got a story like this now. Brother vs. brother. As Alan said, it had to happen sooner or later. It's just such an obvious plot that I figured it would have been sooner. Better late than never I guess. That being said, I suppose we could have done without it. Blame the WGA strike, but this episode felt like a lot of stuff just randomly thrown together to make it sort of season finale-ish. Anti-climactic at best.

The basic plot? Terrorist cell. FBI swoops in and starts arresting people suspected of being involved with a supposed scheme to blow up some high schools with Russian rockets. One of those people happened to be a colleague of Charlie's. They recently co-authored a paper on DNA manipulation.

While Charlie's friend was ultimately cleared of any connection to the threat, he was still detained because he did e-mail sensitive documents regarding his classified research to other academics... in Pakistan. That's a no-no apparently and it led to the Eppes vs. Eppes stand-off I mentioned.

I could see where Charlie was coming from, serving the truth and not the FBI... but I really don't get why he did what he did. He e-mailed the rest of his colleague's research to the Pakistan scholars, trying to make the point that there was no harm intended and that there was no terrorist connection. It was about the science.

However, that kills the premise of the show for next season! Now Charlie has been stripped of his FBI security clearance which means he can't do any more work with Don and he can't work on any classified stuff at CalSci. Um... OK? If Charlie can't work his math skills, then Numb3rs becomes the one thing I've always said it isn't: just another cop show. The thing that's most ridiculous to me? Next season, I'm sure some loophole will be found, Charlie will get his FBI swipe card back, and all this will be forgotten. It just felt like a pointless plot that was tossed together for the sake of having some sort of cliff-hanger.

The other big development? Megan left the bureau. We knew it was coming. I guess I was just hoping for a bit more. She left and that was it - very flat scene when she exited. Going back to school in Washington, trying to find a new career. The one positive thing is that the door was left open for Diane Farr to return every now and then since Megan and Larry didn't break-up. The way Fleinhardt saw it, if they can survive him going into space, then they'll make it through this too.

A few more thoughts...

  • Great to see Zeljko Ivanek as the DC FBI agent. It's too bad that he won't be on Damages anymore.
  • No resolution for the greening of the Eppes house, huh? Was it even mentioned?
  • Same goes for Charlie and Amita. I was really hoping for something there after last week's meet n' greet with her folks. Guess we'll have to wait until next season for him to pop the question.

Another season done. What does everyone think? I know Diane Farr is the second person to leave the show, but Sabrina Lloyd wasn't really on it long enough to make an impact. Farr was. Do you think the show will be as good without her?

This week's numb3rs: 783,350,200 online research documents; 41,000 gene loci in rice; 112 designer viruses; 2 kidnapped men
This week's math: When Worlds Collide

What are you looking forward to in season five of Numb3rs?
Charlie and Amita getting engaged.94 (20.8%)
Finding out who's replacing Megan on the team.88 (19.5%)
Seeing the results of Alan's house "greening."9 (2.0%)
Finding out how Charlie get's his clearance back.261 (57.7%)

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June 15 2008 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think this is the end of Numbers as we know it. I think some big case will come up next season and Charlie will get his clearance back.


May 27 2008 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carole Clarke

Love the interplay between the brothers and especially the funny parts - Don trying Larry's lab ice cream by extending his tongue to the bit on his spoon and Don getting down on his knees to give Charlie an edge in their flailing horseplay - wish I'd had brothers like that. In the last episode each stood up for his viewpoint and Charlie paid the price for his.

All Don's girlfriends resemble his mother or are feminine versions of himself so I do think he has trust issues with women, probably because his mother was consumed with taking care of his genius brother and he felt ignored. They are all slim, dark haired/eyed, flatchested and pack a gun - must be like dating himself. He needs a nice moral girl, petite, buxom and full of fun who won't take squat off him. He's morose and drinks too much so she has a job ahead of her!

Love the Craftsman house - the original and also the set. It's educating everyone about how great the style is. I'd like to see them "green" the house next year.

May 26 2008 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually thought this was one of the better episodes thematically speaking.

I actually thought Numb3rs' treatment of the terrorist storyline was rather unique. There wasn't so much, "Oh look, all Muslims aren't terrorists," although there was some of that. It had more to do with the hindrance of scientific research. The government's restriction of the spread of knowledge, was what the episode was trying to go after, not so much the racial profiling, etc.

It is a question of some importance. Should scientific results be restricted if they could have negative results? It wasn't so much, in my mind, about the unfair detainment of political prisoners, etc.

I'll agree however, that this episode had way too much squeezed into it. While there have been hints about Megan leaving, her departure deserved way more screen time than it got.

I also don't think that Charlie losing his clearance is just "a pointless plot that was tossed together for the sake of having some sort of cliff-hanger." It offers a chance for Charlie and Don to work out some of their issues. While they have worked well together, they really still don't *get* each other's POVs. This could offer them a chance to do so.

However, I do agree that this episode had way too much crammed into it. I really think this should have been split up into at least two episodes. I personally think that the fake terrorist plotline should have had its own episode, in which Charlie is still upset about his friend's detainment, etc. Then in the season finale, they make up some other crime to solve, which doesn't have a guest star taking up so much space and doesn't have Charlie working on it, which allows more time to be devoted to Megan's send off. (While I agree that without the math, Numb3rs is just another procedural, it would be interesting to see where the team gets their breakthroughs from without Charlie's help, or for that matter to see them fail.) The B-plot of that episode could be Charlie discussing whether or not to send his work to Pakistan with Amita and Larry, ending with the same cliffhanger.

May 17 2008 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did not find this episode sucky at all. I think a lot more could have happened, but I was digging the idea of Eppes v. Eppes - the sentinel v. scientist. I am not a genius like Charlie and Pakistani dude, but I if I were, I imagine I would be just as affronted that my scientific work was being reduced to something wicked, and the truth taken out of it. And for once, Charlie the geek, who you'd never expect to stand in a fight with you, finished the fight, so to speak, and floored the competition, or not. I like that idea a lot though - a war of ideas.

That said, I don't think they should drag Charlie and Amita too much more. It would be cool to see Charlie move towards marriage - it would be cool, awkward and funny. God knows someday, somebody will peg Don down (I liked Liz a lot).

I know the story isn't original - heck, the stories have NEVER been original, but I am looking forward to Don and Charlie dancing around each other next year. No they are not going to resolve the thing in an original way, but it will be fun for me to watch.
I liked Numb3rs last night. And I actually liked Moonlight too! I wish both would come back together. I really enjoy both shows in a "I want to be braindead on a Friday night" kinda way.

May 17 2008 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't find the episode particularly preachy but I do have to say the Terrorist storyline is kind of played out.

I get that a lot of Hollywood writers want to make some kind of point about people being unfairly detained and I can understand that. But it's been done so many times at this point that you now know anyone being detained as a terrorist actually isn't one which sort of deflates the story. Having the characters debate whether its Islamic terrorists for a half hour when the viewer already knows it isn't becomes pretty mind numbing. This did go a little further by actually having it turn out to be an Irish guy in costume but it was still all pretty lame.

There were so many better ways to spend our time during this episode that the plot became almost insulting. I would have much rather spent the finale focusing on the emotional impact of Megan's departure or Don's relationship or Charlie and Amita or really anything with some kind of emotional resonance. Honestly, by the last 15 minutes they could have turned the thing over to Bill Nye and had a better episode than this.

As you can probably tell, I thought this episode stunk. From the generic plot to the cliffhanger that we all know is going to be resolved quickly next season there was just nothing redeeming here and honestly I kind of feel like Diane Farr got robbed of a decent send off.

May 17 2008 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ric Kaysen

Didn't they destroy another central characters career having him hauled off in cuffs as a spy? The writers resolved that one. I was glad they didn't clear it all up in one episode and explored some of the feelings of his co-workers who were duped. I started watching with low expectations but the writing is pretty darn good.

May 17 2008 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The episode sucked. The constant political preaching of the writers through the characters reached a new high. I most likely won't watch the show again.

May 17 2008 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was very disappointed in this as a season finale. It thought there would be more impact of Charlie going to jail. Thought that might cliffhanger. Looked like his friend was really guilty. I expected more.

Megan, I won't miss her - never was a favorite character. I'd rather see Liz in the spot. You are right that more should have been made of her leaving. We didn't even see her tell Don or say goodbye to Don. Very odd.

This felt like a two hour show that got condensed at the last minute.

May 17 2008 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Cynthia's comment
Blair M

You though his colleague looked guilty? Really?

May 17 2008 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE: the friend being guilty. I thought this would be the ultimate plot twist. The original terrorists turn out not to be terrorists but the guy who wasn't one, turns out he is.

There were somethings they said about him later in the episode and the way he pleaded with Charlie to send the rest of the research (cause who only sends HALF the research in the first place) all started to sound fishy to me.

May 17 2008 at 6:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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