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Angels and Devils (note: not Demons)

After approximately 1,072 hours of work (random estimate), and less than a month after it aired (hurrah!), I have finished my master's thesis thoughts on the season 5 finale of Numb3rs. Which most of you don't watch and therefore will not read. Probably this is a good thing; I feel like I got fairly loopy towards the end. But, um, I enjoyed the process and that's what counts? Incidentally, this is my new favorite episode of the entire series, which is why I can perhaps be forgiven for saying several thousand words about it.

In retrospect, it probably would have been easier just to do a straight-up picspam. Why didn't I consider that a viable possibility?

Because it amuses me and I don't want to delete it, observe a brief schedule of what my night looked like back on Friday, May 15:

6:00 PM: Finish YouTube binging of Numb3rs vids - including two minutes from the opening scene of the premiere, with the van explosion - and start an official countdown to my show.
6:15: Start watching Grey's Anatomy finale to kill a chunk of time.
7:15: Dinner
7:35: Resume Grey's
8:00: Finish & relinquish computer to Mom, OH GOD, WHY IS THERE STILL AN HOUR TO GO.
8:45: Have been flipping channels and halfheartedly writing blog posts for a really long time. How come the one Friday night I'm finally bored enough to sit through Dollhouse, the season is over?
8:59: OMG SQUEE YAY, I AM SO GLAD I DON'T LIVE ON THE EAST COAST. Silence, everybody!
10:00: MY BRAIN IS BROKEN BUT I HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER IN MY LIFE.
10:22: Write flailing blog post of joy.
10:58: Why isn't it online yet so I can watch it again?!
12:01 AM: STILL NOT UP. -.-
12:25: OMG YAY IT'S UP. Fetching...fetching...
12:57: WOOHOO! JOY AND FLAILING AND STOMACH-CHURNING REDUX, HERE I COME!
2:39: Point at which I finish going through the episode and novelizing, in detail, every scene I loved
2:59: Point at which I FINALLY quit watching the proposal.
3:10 AM: Point at which I give up and go to bed, but ONLY because it's late and I plan on dreaming about all of this. I AM NOT DONE WATCHING IT.

Now. The hard part is writing about it. A large part of me wants to just turn you loose over in this post, which is everything I want to say, but better. Also in chronological order. And it has the bonus of being sort of recappy, whereas I'm just going to be like "AND THEN THIS WAS AWESOME FOR SOME REASON; OH, AND REMEMBER THAT TIME BACK AT THE BEGINNING??"

No, I can do this for myself. I totally can. [Just poke me if I left any sentences half-finished or said something twice.]

Numb3rs, 5x23, "Angels and Devils"
For at least two weeks prior to watching it, I had one line of spoilers running through my head - Charlie, breathless for a beat-seeing Amita in the lines of code. "She's so amazing" - and I figured at bare minimum I could be content with that. HAHAHAHAHA! That's, like, #95 on the ordered list of amazing content tonight. Which I will not necessarily be talking about in any semblance of order, because I still can't concentrate. Even though it might make the out-of-order screencaps a tad confusing. Maybe if I (at least attempt to) put in category subheaders?

Don/Charlie, Charlie angst
Let's see, where do I start...how about Charlie completely losing it. Seriously, all I could write down for at least the first quarter was how I'd never seen Charlie, or possibly anyone in the history of TV, anywhere near that upset. This went beyond shutting down; this was mentally imploding. Between the panic and terror and the breaky voice of despair, I almost had to stop watching before my head imploded, trying to process it all in real time without the sorely-needed aid of a pause button (had I had that at my disposal, this ep would have taken 3 hours to get through).

But, I mean, not gratuitous at all. Just...of course he's ready to throw himself into a flaming car to save her. Of course he's going to unreasonably demand "I wanted to see her! You should have let me s-see her!" (Right there, that hitch in his voice, is where I decided I was completely in love with David Krumholtz.)



And I so, so love Don standing guard over him, calmly being the voice of reason. "We don't know she was in the car for sure, Charlie. Come on, let's get you home."
"I'm not going home! I'm going to the FBI! I'm gonna find out what happened...if anyone out there is responsible, I'm gonna find them..." But since Charlie's voice is about an octave higher than normal and distinctly hysterical, Don is having none of that, and instead just wraps him in a hug. I simultaneously manage to explode, melt, and have a heart attack from squee all at once.




It's madness how the first five minutes of this episode provide half a season's worth of emotional gold. It's like I don't even need to find Amita alive** at this point; I could just watch this embrace forever. (**Speaking of which, have an excellent AU fanvid about that scenario.)

Seriously, the amount of Don support happening in this episode is phenomenal; possibly even enough for the slash shippers to be happy. Alan? Oh, he's around, but in subtle ways that vastly enhance my opinion of his character rather than annoying me by playing too big a role. Which is nice. And -- oh, look at that, I've already forgotten to mention that very first scene.

Once I finish snarking about Don's Horatio-like powers of speed - seriously, five minutes ago he was walking out of Charlie's office and yet now he's casually hanging out at the FBI? I don't know how else to explain the time inconsistency unless I cast suspicion on why Amita said they were running late to the restaurant - I can devote all my brainpower to thanking TPTB for picking up at the exact second 5x22 left off (actually, it backtracks a bit!), being amused and delighted by the decision to film in blurry camera + distorted sound, and just generally flailing at Don's immediate "Are you safe?!" Red Alert reaction to Charlie's voice.

Anyway, back to my time shifts. Tell me I am not the only one whose heart broke watching Charlie so overwhelmed that he couldn't even finish a complete sentence, never mind come up with one of his brilliant mathematical theories/analogies, growing visibly more upset by the second until he finally walked out of the room. And even before that, he'd lost all sense of perspective; they were coming to him with data in search of answers and all he had were pleading questions. "Why did she kidnap Amita?" Which is right up there with asking "Do you know who did it?" on the first day of a murder investigation, but his brain is sadly offline at the moment.

Which is, again, where Big Brother Don comes in to save the day. So much love for his calm explanation of "I'm keeping a clear head for you. And Amita. That's how we're gonna get her home," and hastening to take the pressure off of Charlie.


C: A head full of possibilities and I can't zero in on a single one.
D: So don't. Don't do it, you don't have to. Look, I've seen this happen to you over and over again; the stress gets too close to home and you don't see straight - you check out.
C: So what do I do now?

Wise Papa Eppes
I don't think I've ever loved him as much as I did when he intervened on Charlie's behalf to field an unnecessarily stressful phone call. Even before we got said call's significance, I was jotting happy exclamation points over the defensive gesture. And then the charges turned into an explanation for the title grid full of question marks (which, my initial response to those was 'Question marks?! What fuckery is this; I was actually going to pay attention to the numbers this time for hints! Don't try and pretend your finale is more secret than the last Harry Potter book!').

I subsequently may or may not have been on the floor, pantomiming a heart attack as Charlie rolled gifts off the tip of his tongue, trying desperately to jot them all down for purposes of fanfic situations I'll never write. Antique clock for her birthday! Snowboard & souvenir snow globe for/on a trip to Colorado! NEVER MIND that I'm supposed to be concentrating on the fact that Amita is speaking to him via coded messages, because when Amita is in danger and under pressure, her brain does not shut down but quadruples in power (making her the greatest lady in crime drama, bar none).

But I will save that for her section. For now, we'll just skip to the last scene with Don and Alan, where I suddenly have untold wells of respect for the latter. "I was just...doing what I do." And yet it kind of saved the day. Awww. (Of course, Don's speech about how people need him kind of stole the scene, particularly "Nikki always needs someone looking after her..." but I'll stop trampling over Alan's moments o' glory now)

Larry & The Fedcakes
Loved seeing him rise to the occasion and stand in the math-centric spotlight. You know, I'm pretty sure I could watch a spinoff in which Larry + Artemis + Athena solves crimes on their own, kind of like how Bones has a liaison partner in Booth. But failing that, I was more fond of him in this episode than I think I've been in months. From the moment he delivered the title analogy (which is also my favorite math analogy of all time, and not just because it reminded me of Doctor Who's "Blink") to the end of the case, he was just on fire.

This episode also did two things I thought were impossible: made me like Nikki, and made me like Edgerton. And not just because they went out for a drink together at the end - no, that was merely an unexpectedly convenient coincidence. I don't even know what to do with the idea of them together yet, because I'm too busy being dazzled by the fact that I like them. Both of them! And okay, in the former's case, it might have been largely because I love her "Uh...no" way of shooting down Liz's attempt to join them, but the latter's? From the moment he showed up like Batman behind Colby and David and then continued to pwn Larry's math with tracking skills, I was head over heels.

And yet...I don't know how that happened! There was no apparent reason for it. I'm sure I used to loathe him and generally hate Edgerton's every appearance. Didn't I? Didn't I complain, loudly, every time LDP's name appeared in the credits? But strangely, I cannot remember why. Why didn't I always consider him the greatest thing on the planet? Such is the power of "Angels and Devils." I got so caught up in the story that EVERYONE WAS AWESOME. So his super-sniper ways in taking out the psycho were just the icing on the cake.

*shivers with glee* I adore Ian Edgerton and will no longer consider Nikki Betancourt the bane of my Numb3rs existence! There is a reason I'm seriously debating naming this my new favorite show...

In this space, I should probably mention all the amazing and wonderful things involved in the plotty-type things. Colby's unintentionally hilarious remark about not always needing to run around doing heroic things, Don relentlessly studying the interview tapes, the David/Colby stakeout and interrogation of the remaining girlfriend, specific instances of Edgerton's newfound awesomeness, EVERY OTHER FLIPPIN' THING THAT HAPPENED...but my energy is already flagging. Ergo, I'll close on laughing myself into fits at the last scene, and Liz mocking Colby for turning an attractive shade of red after her "I always thought he had his eye on you."

Random Charlie Things
Just because I felt like there should be some space reserved for random thoughts like
a) he is actually rocking back and forth on the edge of table at one point before getting confirmation that she wasn't in the van explosion

b) I love him for indirectly bringing the otherwise absent Robin into this, all riled up and "If it was your girlfriend out there..."

c) And I <3 David a whole bunch for taking the tough love approach and goading irritable!Charlie into focusing on the numbers until they make sense.

d) How very fond I am of the aforementioned spoiler moment, and Charlie's voice breaking with relief and pride as he babbles "I don't know how she's doing this. But there's no way it's a coincidence. She's talking to me..." (bonus: Don's initial WTFPOLARBEAR?? face when Charlie bursts into the room)

Amita!
[Disclaimer: this was the last section I wrote, and as a result, even though she was a large part of what made me love this, I unfairly shortchange her as much as I did the FBI agents. With a list of highlights.]

+ Imagine an endless string of hearts representing my love for Navi Rawat and the similarly endless range of emotions she brings out. Even when Amita's wild-eyed, terrified and crying, there's an undercurrent of resentment that never really goes away, which I imagine is largely responsible for her ability to remain as clear-headed as she did.

+ Although there's really quite a lot of fear and trembling throughout, which I'm fond of.

+ So much love for "You will have to kill me before that ever happens." Which doesn't stop him from kissing her, and subsequently turning my stomach, but at least she has a chance to express her contempt first.

+ "So that glazed look on your face is just love?" Hee! And defiantly spitting the disgustingly hand-fed rice back in his face, double hee. Even if the latter action promptly gets her smacked across the face so hard that she doubles over, whimpering.

+ "They died for the message!"
"Yeah. The message...on T-Shirts." Snarky to the end.

Don/Amita
The fact that Don got to her first, Don was there to help her to her feet complete with "you okay, sweetie?" SLAYED ME DEAD. It is probably unhealthy how much I love interaction between the two of them, but that was one of my major wishlist items - and considering I was scared they'd end before she saw Charlie again (for example, the gunshot after "AMITA DUCK" would have been a prime place to roll credits, if you're CSI: NY), having it actually happen that way was just icing on the cake. Complete with brushing her hair back from her face as he steadies her. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that when he first enters her line of vision, he's got the holy heroic backlighting and everything. :P And somebody broke out the distorted sound/vision effects again. *applauds*


(Now, if only I could excise the last couple of seconds from this scene, because as much as I love the contempt with which Amita figuratively spits at her former captor as she exits, hearing it over and over again gets very tiresome and pretty soon you just want her to go out quietly.)

Charlie/Amita, Part I
Satiated on that count, my brain is then released and free to SQUEE LIKE A MAD THING over "the hug that sends all my girly bits into hyperactive overdrive," to quote a friend, and which I am definitively declaring as, I don't know, one of the top 25 TV reunions of all time. Perhaps because I have now watched it 7,297 times (best estimate), and am still as enchanted by it now as I was the first time. One of the main reasons this took so long to post is that I would get stuck watching this over and over until I was too tired to write and just wanted to fall asleep while replaying it on the backs of my eyelids.



They both look like/have been through hell and at the risk of sounding cheesy, I bet they've never seen a sight more beautiful. You know what I really like? The contrast to the end of "Primacy" (why yes, I was watching it again today. It's the one episode I can't delete) Don't get me wrong; the shouting and running and Amita crying her eyes out were all lovely and good, in their time. That was urgent, and this was urgent, but here they're both already so emotionally spent and exhausted, it's just sinking into relief. And Amita's kisses are almost claiming - there she was in need of comfort; here she's affirming for herself. Or something. I'm mostly just flaily about how ridiculously loving the whole display is.

And I didn't even notice the first time around - I thought it was just my obsession tuning things out - but I love how the sound of the world around them actually disappears and is replaced with soft piano; gorgeous direction. Normally I complain long and hard about lack of sound, but for something this pretty in which the only words would belong to other people anyway...excellent choice.

I would also normally complain about the camera moving of them for even a second, but I love all the shots of the agents/Larry moving off around them - in particular, I get this weird thrill of "Nikki looks so competent!" when she's in frame (I think it's the sunglasses) - so, thumbs up.


(^ still sighing in happy contentment. Oh, is there more??)

Charlie/Amita, Part II (which I have deemed too dark to make screencaps worthwhile and because I'm getting tired/lazy)

"AND NOW. They are...somewhere. Surely not Cal Sci at night, as that would be stupid. *catches sight of suspiciously academic-looking building doors* OH MY GOD, THEY ARE AT CAL SCI, AT NIGHT." Let's erase that detail and pretend they're on hospital grounds or something, which is also ill-advised, but at least makes me less rageful about unrealistic plot-contrivance settings. We already opened the episode with one of those.

*straightens out preliminary issues* Those aside, my heart was beating in triple-time as I waited on pins and needles for the proposal I've been waiting two years on. Sure enough -- "It all turns on a dime. And the things that matter..."
(He's tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and cupping her cheek. I'm making muted squeaking noises in the back of my throat, trying not to drown out the dialogue by screaming.)

-- you don't want to turn around and realize you've lost them...while you were waiting. You know I love you so much..."
Don't actually remember what I was doing at this point. Probably struggling to retain consciousness, due to having forgotten how to breathe.
"I love you too..."

So, okay, even before the internet decided to get in the business of harshing my buzz, I realize that her eyes are full of tears and she's not exactly screaming out acceptances. I was fine with and not at all bothered by either of these things until the internet started talking, and now I'm cranky and suspicious. This had BETTER just be because she's overwhelmed with emotion, TPTB! It had better not be on account of how she's going to pull a stupid-ass Cameron stunt and reject a proposal on the grounds of extenuating emotional circumstances! (I WILL BE DESTROYED. I WILL CEASE TO EXIST AS A PERSON EVEN IF THEY WED 3 EPISODES LATER).

"Amita...will you marry me?"
She doesn't say a word as the credits close in around their silhouettes to the strains of "No one's gonna love you more than I do..." But I stubbornly choose to believe the cliffhanger is only there to poke and prod and rile up our suspicions. She didn't let him get that far and wind up in such a vulnerable position, literally and figuratively, just to reject him for any reason. Right?

Besides, I'm pretty sure the ever-disgruntled fandom would actually RIP AMITA APART with rusty pitchforks and dull knife blades if she in any way rebuked this face:


In Conclusion
Hang on a tic; I've played the ending about 700 times, but only just tonight has that ending tune become an earworm, so I need another minute or twenty to obsessively play the aforementioned Band of Horses song. Okay --

Part of me feels like late September is still horribly far away and wants to stalk the internet for spoilers the second they come out, while the other part thinks that actually, I am so damned content right now that I could happily float in this bubble without even noticing the passage of time until the premiere is on top of me.

Regardless, I feel quite comfortable in saying that Numb3rs is not only the show whose return I am most looking forward to, it is flat-out my favorite of the pack right now. Anyone's guess how long that will last, but...even so. That is an impressive feat, my little crime show constant. *pats*

P.S. Seriously. Someone needs to take this song away from me. *is on repeat # 37 of the night*

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamingwriter
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly certain the overwhelming happiness in this post made my stress vanish. I'm feeling very float-y right now. This is enough for me to consider going back to Numb3rs and to watching it with my family, which is embarrassing because I squee about everything shippy. I'm thisclose because happy shippy love is so tempting.
rainbowstevie
Jun. 12th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
LOL, you're welcome. Also, yes, you should be watching as it is consistently one of the happiest, shippiest of all loves currently on TV. Now watch this statement backfire horribly on me next season. You've got reruns all summer! :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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