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Sobell: B+ | Grade It Now!
Fantastic Four

Vegas! All lighted and shiny and streaky and things! For those of you who are still drinking caffeinated beverages, no doubt this opening screen looks like the view from the Millennium Falcon's windshield right before they jump to light speed.

Anyway, we zip from the Strip-traffic-on-meth speed on down to a man-on-the-street scenario. Or, in this neighborhood, the hombre en la calle scenario. Some tired-looking casino employee finishes transacting his business at the corner taqueria, gets into the car, then heads down the street with a faceful of carne asada blocking his eyeline. This does not stop him from looking alarmed and slamming on the brakes. We see why as an out-of-control Hummer bears down on him. Well, of course Burrito Jones saw that coming: how can you miss seeing one of those earth-rapers? Within moments of impact, Burrito Jones is covered in both glass and carne asada. As if being trapped in his car isn't bad enough, now the poor guy's got nothing to snack on while he waits for the Jaws of Life to extract him.

And it's apparently a good meal he's missing, too. We flash to the next scene, where Gil's ducking under the crime scene tape as a uniform tells him, "This is the best taco I ever had." "I'm happy for you both," Gil shoots back. Rowr! As Gil heads over, Brass asks him blithely, "What, you piss off Ecklie again? This is a hit-and-run. I was expecting Grasshopper, Your Adopted Son Number Three." "We don't call him that anymore," Gil snaps, then continues, "We're slammed. Everybody's on a case." I will leave it to you to sift out the stuff I made up from the actual dialogue. Gil finally takes in the scene and asks incredulously of the car 'neath the Hummer's tires, "Is this a Fiero?" Brass confirms that it is, and adds, "Kind of makes you nostalgic for Members Only jackets." Gil gives him a look like, No, not really.

Brass explains, "The Hummer was going the wrong way on a one-way street. The guy in the Fiero is lucky to be alive. Nobody saw the driver get out." Gil points out that "people who drive $100,000 vehicles don't usually run away from them." They will after Greenpeace effects a coup. Brass passes up the chance to score environmental points and snorts, "Well, you obviously haven't met any paroled rappers." That's because there's a woeful lack of demand for entomologists in the posse racket. Gil's got his mind on his evidence: "Tread marks indicate acceleration. Pedal to the metal." We get the Osmont cam effect with the car, and it's not unlike taking a ride in Disney's Haunted Mansion. Brass suggests that it was a joyride, adding, "There's a red smear on the door. Somebody's got blood on their hands." Gil takes this in, as well as the exploded airbag, and quips, "Well, we know one thing about the driver: he's had a face-lift."

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