Turn Of The Screws

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C | 1 USERS: A+
Love Is Like A Roller Coaster Racing Across The Track...

We begin with a shot of the mighty Sphinx, if by "mighty," you mean "two stories tall, with a handy walkway between its paws," and you're also okay with its pert nose and Las Vegas location. The Sphinx is the entryway for a roller-coaster, and our next shot is of people riding the roller coaster in the lambent glow of late-afternoon sun.

We get a few more establishing shots so we know we're at an amusement park, i.e. a giant slide (lame), a Ferris wheel (also lame), and then everyone in the audience who gets sick on roller coasters doubles over on the couch because we get the you-are-there view of the coaster ascending its first big hill. Someone moans "I don't want to go." This is probably a conclusion they should have drawn earlier. We get a shot of some loathsome little monster unbuckling his seat belt to turn around and tell his mother and moaning sibling, "We're all going to die." Mom tells Joey to put his seatbelt back on, and unfortunately, he does, thus guaranteeing that he'll live through the first big drop and exit the ride to continue life as a low-grade irritant for all whom he encounters.

We get some fun you-are-there shots, which make me really want to ride on a roller coaster. We also get a shot of the wheel wobbling on the track, and of the car rolling around particularly tight curves, because the producers know we've all read the plot description for this week, and they're messing with our sense of anticipation. More fun roller coaster shots, and then this load of passengers pulls into the unloading area. The family gets off, and the next load of passengers gets on. The kid who puts them into the cars is dressed like…it's almost Caesar's-themed with the togas and the laurel wreath, except it's too gilt-y and campy even for a casino. The second roller coaster takes off as the mom from the first ride ushers her kid over to a booth, where a Roman Centurion is on break from extending the reach of Caesar's realm to flip some burgers. She orders some King Tut burgers and Nile teas. You know, having the Romans run things in the Egyptian theme park seems off: it's like going to Busch Gardens: The Old Country down in Williamsburg, Virginia, and discovering the French food court run by Vichy concessionaires while the Germans and Italian ride operators plot together to blitz the Loch Ness Monster ride.

And then, we stop pondering the appropriateness of geopolitical incongruities in theme parks because a roller coaster's just run off the rails. We get a truly idiotic shot of some blonde in the front seat turning back to grin at the panicky people before turning around and finally noticing they've run off the rails and are about to land nose-first in the parking lot. Oy. The car lands, mashing a car in the process.

In the next shot, Brass is standing there and looking at the car. It's dark. Night must have fallen when the roller coaster car did. Gil ducks under the police tape and notices the bodies strewn hither and yon among the wreckage. I'll skip the description, because all you need to know is that there probably won't be any open caskets at the wakes. Brass then asks Gil, "So, Dr. Thrillseeker, you ever been on this coaster?" Gil identifies it with, "Pharoah's Fever. Yeah. But my ride ended at the platform. Which is all ironical and such since the victim's rides did not." Or maybe he stops before hammering the subtext home. Gil asks Brass what he knows, then pulls up a chair, since he neglected to get specific since this could take a while. Brass tells him there are six people dead and a park full of witnesses who saw the roller coaster fly off the rails. He spits, "401B." Gil replies, "Accident with injury." That's a fun game, making up all those letter-and-number combinations. Do you suppose that on slow nights, Gil and Brass amuse themselves by shouting out combinations to taunt and confuse Nicky? "55F!" "Organizing a cockfight? Gris, when was the last time anyone was booked on that?" Gil more or less heaps fodder on my supposition by adding, "It's also a 418." Brass says, "A runaway?" Gil clarifies, "Runaway train."

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