Written by: Glenn Gordon Caron
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Episode Number: 103
Original Broadcast Date: October 8, 1999
Guest Stars: Kim Chan (Eggman), Elisa Davis (Reporter), Stephen Kunken (Agent #1), Jack Koenig (Agent #2), Jason Kolotouros (Agent #3)
So, with a couple weeks to dwell on it, what can I say? "Over Easy" was not quite as wish-fulfilling for me as "On the Town" was, but most of that is personal preference and nitpicking. I'm going to list my points chronologically for a change.
I recall complaining about the music in "Origins" - with the exception of "I Am the Walrus" for the Eggman scenes - and again, there was some interesting use of music. This time, it really, really worked, especially in the teaser. While a number from West Side Story might not seem appropriate for the episode, it was a perfect backdrop for everything that happened in those first three minutes. One of the best teasers I've seen in years. :)
The presence of a television should have garnered more of a reaction from Michael after all the ribbing he gave Morris about it in "Origins." I suppose we just didn't see that - okay, someone who bought copies of the original scripts told me that scene was cut out. Darn it. Would have been better if they'd kept a hint of that in, because the lack of reaction was a bit out of character. But that's the fault of editing.
I did like the further character development in this ep - namely, Roger's development. Up until now, he's been just a cowardly and fairly gullible comic foil. But his last few lines to Lisa in the foyer were rather touching; you could tell he sincerely believed in his theory and that he really did care about Michael and Lisa. And he knows he's a coward. He does beat himself up over some of the things he lets happen. I just liked that.
Heather, however... for a change, she did have a few decent lines. Her definition of Michael as a "hottie" had me rolling - partially because I had to agree with her, partially because for heaven's sakes, that was her father she was talking about! And her reaction when she found out Michael kissed Lisa was priceless, and just what any normal teenager in her position would do. "Mom! You're a mom!" But I got the impression that like the TV bit, her dialogue was probably chopped as well. Heather Matarazzo seems stuck with very little to work with, and I'd like to see some more development. I mean, it's a rarity to actually have a teenage character who looks and acts like a real teenager - now let's build on that!
More than in "Origins," I loved the interaction between Michael and Dr. Morris in this episode. The whole "training" session with the grappling hook was hysterical. Morris' rendition of "Fly Me To the Moon" didn't seem quite as out of place on first viewing as "Close to You" did, and it was actually somewhat touching - the scientist sharing in his "creation's" delight. Of course, he was just asking for it when Michael pulled him along for the ride. Then there was the not-so-friendly interaction. His speech to Michael while they were waiting for the van to arrive falls into that category: "You are an experiment. My experiment. I will tell you when and what you can do." Ouch! Morris is a man of contradictions, and Haysbert does a marvelous job of smoothly sliding from the persona of the scientist exulting in his creation, the government employee ready to threaten if need be, and the man who under it all, does seem to sympathize with the fact that Michael is a human being, not a "prototype."
The plot this time was a bit more solid and easier to swallow, up to the final showdown of sorts - which I'll get to later. Had to love Kim Chan as the Eggman - he's been great in the snippets we've seen in the last two episodes, but it was even better to see him influence the main plot this time around. Just his aura of calm, even when pursued, made the villain even more chilling.
Getting back on track here: having the drop occur on a subway car was a stroke of genius. That is, it was pretty ironic considering what happened the last time Michael took the subway, and just added to Michael's general dread of the entire mission. Plus, as described by the agents, it's actually a clever place to make the drop; there's no way they could pack a random car with plainclothes cops during rush hour and not attract attention.
I had a bit of a problem with Michael's course of action in dealing with the Eggman... then I thought about it. To begin with, he was already a little irked that after all his training, his job is just to hand over the bag. And then his family popped up on the subway car, and we didn't see them actually move to the next, we just assume they did. So with Lisa, Heather and Roger possibly in jeopardy if the egg gets dropped, Michael probably would be even less amenable to just handing the man the money. There was no guarantee that he wouldn't just drop the egg there since he was wearing a mask - or that he wouldn't use it later, elsewhere.
Why would he ask Lisa to take the egg up? Because of all the strangers milling around there, she's the only familiar face he trusts - hey, I wouldn't entrust it to Roger either. I do think he should have given her the egg after he kissed her... but that's a bit minor.
Oh, my. Yes, the kiss. God forbid I go without saying a few words about that. It was another moment where I happily suspended my disbelief instead of screaming, "CATCH THE GUY!" at the television. It was one of those "sweep you off your feet" kisses that only seem to happen in Hollywood, and it was great to watch because of that - and I couldn't blame Lisa for not pulling away. Nice touches: Lisa's dazed "Okay, I won't" was hysterical, and the moment Michael took to brush her hair back from her face before taking off was touching. Besides, it provided some nice comic moments later - Heather's reaction was priceless.
The climax I wasn't sure about. It wasn't the swinging across the street, or the running after cars, or jumping on Lisa's car that bothered me. Actually, I was laughing my head off at that last one. But the stare-down in the taxi cab annoyed me. Bluffing? Bluffing? Oh, come on! Then again, it was pretty funny, and considering this is Michael's first assignment, I guess the villain had to screw up somewhere. Oh, well. Hope they bring him back.
The wrap-up was quite nice, though. Roger's complete confusion was a delight to watch, and it culminated perfectly when he saw his restored Mercedes at the curb. He looked at it, threw his coat over his shoulder, and walked home. Yep, that's what most of us would do after a night like that.
The bottom line: Not without its flaws, and the Eggman did make some stupid mistakes, but a great wrap-up to the introductory trilogy.
Notes of Interest:
- The song being played in the beginning is "Something's Comin'" from West Side Story. (Thanks to Cedric for reminding me where it came from!)
- I'm going to assume Heather's fifteen... she apparently isn't old enough to have her license yet. I stopped taking the bus to school as soon as I could drive myself or get a ride.
- Again, the song from the first two episodes - "Groovin'", by the Rascals, pops up again... this time, it's playing in Michael's head as he stares out the window of the van.
- Lisa commented that her daughter was doing homework in the backseat, but I'm surprised neither Roger nor Lisa touched upon the fact that an ordinary high schooler is doing homework without some prompting. Forget the surroundings, the fact that she was doing it indicates she was bored.
- The bug-exploding scene disturbed me, but for different reasons than the blood color: wouldn't the toxin have a different effect, if at all, on insects?
- No one even gave Michael and Lisa a second look during the prolonged kiss in the subway; yeah, this is New York, but there's always someone who stops and stares for a second.
- Heather's reading Jane Eyre! Yay! (I'm in the stage adaptation this semester, so I liked that...)
- Notice the "TOYS B FUN" truck that dropped off Roger's car? Same one Michael was dragged into last ep. Heh...
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