Dead Zone
The Combination

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Strega: C | Grade It Now!
The Combination

Dude, this show has an opening monologue? I love opening monologues! "How's this for a deep, dark secret? After the earth was used up, Ranger 3 was thrown out of its trajectory, and into the dangerous world of a man who travels through time to help history along, " And so on. This one has a good line, too: "I had the perfect life until I was in a coma for six years." Although he sounds pretty okay with it. I guess if you have a perfect life, maybe that's worth six years in a coma. Okay, okay, I'll get to the show.

Johnny's at the airport, trying some whimsy on for size by holding up a card that says "Lewis" like he's a hired driver. The impressive thing is that he had the card printed. ["Wow, Johnny really is rich if he can just throw money away on whimsy like that." -- Wing Chun] Bruce spots him from the escalator, chuckles slightly, and they go off to the car. I think Bruce should have made a bigger deal about the limo joke. Not that it's particularly funny, but Johnny seems like a pretty serious guy and maybe someone should encourage him to lighten up.

As they exit the airport, they spot a very small crowd gathered around someone. Bruce expositions that the center of attention is Danny Avila, a boxer scheduled for a big match with Darryl Tibbs. Bruce helped rehab his knee a while back. As they pass the crowd, Danny spots Bruce and hurries over for manly hugs and handclasps. He introduces his pregnant wife, Helena. Bruce introduces Johnny. A very nattily dressed reporter asks for a picture of Johnny and Danny. Danny merrily positions himself for photos, and mimes landing a punch on Johnny's chin. Johnny sees Danny getting pummeled in the ring. A final blow spins him around, and he collapses to the mat. Tibbs hops up and down triumphantly. Johnny stands over Danny as someone calls for paramedics. The vision ends, and Danny tells Bruce to come to the fight on Friday. As the Avilas get into their limo, Johnny tells Bruce, "He's gonna get killed." Bruce wonders why he didn't just plan on taking a cab home from the airport.

Credits. In Cinemascope. That's weird. I like the music, though. Hey, have you noticed how there are more and more shows about dead people, or people who in some way deal with dead people? What's up with that?

At Johnny's, Bruce holds up a newspaper with the headline "Johnny sees bright future for local boxer." Johnny says he doesn't want this to become "another media circus." He wants to talk to Danny privately. Bruce worries that Danny won't be happy to hear that he's going to die. Good guess, Bruce. Johnny says, "He doesn't have to like it; he's gotta believe it." That'll come up again later, although I'm still not sure what it means, really.

At a gym, men hit various padded objects. Sometimes they grunt as well. Johnny and Bruce enter and approach the ring, where Danny is sparring with someone while his coach watches. The coach tries to shoo them out, thinking they're reporters, but Danny intervenes. Shouldn't the coach know Bruce, if Bruce helped Danny after an injury? Maybe it was a long time ago. Johnny tells Danny that he needs to correct something about the newspaper story. Now that I think about it, maybe Johnny should have just had the paper print a retraction. So in a tiny box on page C-47 it would say, "By 'bright future,' we meant that Johnny saw Danny going into a bright light." Johnny tries to ease into the bad news, saying, "To be honest with you, Danny, I didn't see you winning." He adds that Danny got badly hurt in the vision. The coach scoffs, but Danny wants to know what Johnny saw. Johnny says that Danny's going to get killed. Bruce interjects that there's time to change what will happen. The Coach accuses them of working for Tibbs and trying to mess with Danny's head. He grabs Johnny's arm as a prelude to tossing him out. Vision time. Danny's pretty darn dead. Johnny's in the audience. He steps forward to peer over a judge's shoulder and determines that this is the twelfth round. The coach tells Johnny to leave. Danny sniffs at him. Well, he does. As Johnny reaches the door he calls back, "Twelfth round, Danny." Danny spits out some water in response. Danny isn't exactly a master of rhetoric. Johnny asks whether one fight is worth his life, and leaves with Bruce.

As they get back into Johnny's car, Bruce smirks, "That went well." Johnny insists that he's going to find some way to stop the fight.

Cut to the Maine Athletic Commission's boardroom. Johnny isn't having much luck convincing them to stop the fight. A physician reports that Danny has passed all of their exams. Suddenly, a flunky enters the room and holds the door open for Jimmy D. Not the sausage guy; he seems to be a boxing promoter, or Tibbs's agent, or possibly both. It's the show's version of Don King, I guess, although this guy is considerably less crazy-looking. Jimmy D. strides in and starts declaiming about "secret cabals" as he instructs the flunky, Andrew, to take a photo of the scene. As Andrew obliges, Johnny rolls his eyes a little. Heh. Jimmy D. says, "Please do not have the temerity to deny me the evidence of my own eyes." He asks if Johnny is trying to "undermine the legitimacy of a vigorously planned and vetted business enterprise -- to wit, this fight." Jimmy D. is fun. Although between Johnny, Jimmy, and Danny, I'd like it if there were a couple of characters with adult names. Thank goodness there's Bruce. Right, so Jimmy carries on for a while, and the board members finally explain what Johnny's worried about. Jimmy D. changes his tune, and apologizes to Johnny. Johnny says that if the fight happens, Danny will die. Jimmy D. looks contrite and says, "Then we're just going to have to make sure that doesn't happen."

Johnny and Bruce are sitting outside, waiting while Jimmy D. meets with the commission. Andrew suddenly appears and tells them that Jimmy D. is holding a press conference the next day, and wants Johnny to be there. Johnny asks if they're canceling the fight. Andrew enigmatically replies, "That's why he's calling the press conference."

Cut to the next morning. Jimmy D. is holding forth with Tibbs and Danny on either side of him. As Johnny enters, Jimmy D. points him out to the press. Danny smugs while Jimmy D. says that Johnny's "dire prediction will not dissuade this brave young man." Bruce hangs his head in shame. Well, dude, you didn't have to come along. Seriously, I know I'm coming in late and everything, but does Bruce live here, and Johnny just picked up up at the airport? Or is Bruce visiting Johnny? Because if he lives there, doesn't he have something better to do besides follow Johnny around all week? And if he's visiting, wow, sucky vacation. Jimmy D. tells the press about Johnny's vision, and asks Danny whether he's worried. Danny and Tibbs trade testosterone-laden banter. Jimmy D. winds things up: "Call it a grudge match, call it a death match, but whatever you call it, do not miss this bout on Friday." The reporters start asking Johnny what he saw. Johnny's too busy staring at Danny to answer. I wish Kim hadn't pointed out his inability to blink. Because now I notice it all the time. With a parting glare, Johnny and Bruce leave.

Commercials. I heard a radio interview with Anthony Michael Hall a few weeks ago. He was pretty amusing and had only nice things to say about everyone in the world except Ashton Kutcher. I just thought it was funny because Hall was all "this person's great, that person's wonderful, so-and-so is a delight to work with, and Ashton Kutcher is an asshole."

When we return, men are hitting each other. And city names are flashing past while jazzy music plays. Is this one of those apocalyptic visions I heard about? Then an ESPN2 logo appears, and apparently this is actually Friday Night Fights. Oh. Anchors appear and I have no idea whether they're actual ESPN2 people or not. Nor do I particularly care. They babble about Johnny's prediction for the upcoming "Pain in Maine" fight, although they don't call it that. They should, thou

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Dead Zone




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