Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
Smothered, then fried

We begin the episode with...Gil beating the hell out of a mannequin's head with a golf club. Huh? How'd I come in at the end of the credits? I begin Tivo'ing this sucker at 8:58. I get three minutes of some booted loser yammering on about being a survivor, and then this?

Okay -- so I lied. We begin the episode with me having a hissyfit over KPIX's apparent inability to press the right button and keep the satellite feed going. Fortunately, nat-the-rat saves me by writing that I missed the following:

"Pre-credits: Construction scene. Guys drilling, hammering, et cetera. A guy drives up in a pick-up truck and stops, talking through his rolled-down window to the foreman (the black guy that Gil thought was the killer, whose name I can't remember). All of a sudden, a safety hat comes crashing down onto the windshield of the pickup, shattering it. Both guys look up, and then the camera looks up and we see a body falling straight down at us. It is a really cool shot. Then there is the expected squishy thump. Then it cuts to Gil arriving. He stands by the body and looks up. (He looks really cute in that shot -- kinda like a little kid, looking at the heavens in wonder. Forgive my hormones.) The Evil Sheriff is there with the foreman guy. They ask Gil why he's there, since it was obviously a suicide. Gil says something to the effect of 'don't be so sure 'til all the evidence has been examined.' The foreman guy talks about how depressed the dead guy had been lately. Gil says that, if the guy was suicidal, why would he bother coming in to work? Cue the Who."

Everyone, take a moment to thank nat-the-rat. And now, on with the recap.

Gil's riding in a big red elevator with a construction foreman and Evil Ike, who's explaining what the half-finished building will be used for: a jail. "Fourteen hundred beds means fourteen hundred criminals off the street. The old jail's maxed. The prison population's increased by ten percent in one year," Ike posits. I somehow doubt the women and men of the LVPD are weeping into their shift reports and wailing, "Oh, if only we had a couple hundred more jail cells! Then this town would be clean!" I also doubt Ike has ever really asked himself if jail overcrowding is the result of this country's misbegotten war on drugs vis a vis the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act and the 1988 Omnibus Anti-Drug Act. Those two pieces of legislation set up the architecture for mandatory-minimum sentencing, a breathtakingly ill-conceived practice that has contributed roughly 500,000 new long-term inmates to the American prison system and permitted it to reach such milestones as quintupling the number of female prisoners in less than twenty years. If you want to address prison overcrowding, look first at mandatory minimums, not Evil Ike's secondary career as a Las Vegas developer.

But I digress: if you people wanted the lowdown on the myriad ways the war on drugs has failed, you'd watch Traffic. You're here to watch Gil give Evil Ike the fish eye and say, "You look like the Sheriff, but you talk like the mayor." Heh. I like how Gil has no problem calling it like he sees it. He then turns to the foreperson-type man in the elevator and asks, "Mr. Harris, do you get a bonus for early completion?" "Twenty grand a day; I'm ten days ahead," Mr. Harris replies. Gil feigns guilelessness, saying, "Wow, two hundred thousand dollars. You must really work your guys pretty hard, huh?" Mr. Harris and Evil Ike share a disgusted look. Gil exits the elevator and asks, "Where, exactly, was Valenti's workstation?" I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Valenti's the guy who died. Mr. Harris explained that Valenti had the entire floor to himself, as he was the safety guy who drilled holes for the safety cables that ring the perimeter of every open floor.

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