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I love that Cheryl Heuton's Twitter is turning into one long stream of hints about the finale.  They are tiny and mysterious, yet awesome.  Or I'm just easily entertained, whatever.

* Notes from Ep 16 -- discussion of Numb3rs first three-way.

* Much advice is given. Some from people who often give it. Some from people who don't.

* Everyone in the regular cast is in 16, as well as three recurring actors. 
[One of whom is Edgerton.  I'm just throwing that in.]

* Someone reveals a special credential. Someone plans to move. Someone goes on a trip. Someone stays put.

* Oh, and somebody gets a monkey.

* I'm serious about the monkey.

* All will be revealed. Breakups, new couples, threesomes, monkeys. It's all there.

[RS interjects: What do you mean, "breakups"?  What do you mean, "new couples"?]

* @stace842: Yes, this is all about episode 16. New things happen, new arrangements are made, things get lost, things get found. And a monkey.

[All right!  She's now said 'monkey' enough times for me to be insanely curious.  I'm beginning to hope that Larry has acquired a Capuchin which he will stroll around with on his shoulder as part of a new exploration into the connection between human/animal consciousness. When this fails to happen, I will be disappointed.]

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As for the season 5 DVDs, which I tragically had to give back to the library today, I'm in love with them.  Not only is this my overall favorite season, I'm having a blast with the special features.

(Although, it's really quite painful watching everyone celebrate their 100th episode, and talk with all this optimism about how far they've come against the odds, and their plans for next season, and what a great, cohesive cast & crew they have, blissfully unaware that in six months' time, CBS will put the kibosh on all of that.  Or, like when Judd Hirsch says they could quite easily do 150 more.  "Hah!  THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK."  *curls up and weeps*)

Seriously.  There are like seven other shows that started in 04-05 which are still roaring along.  Why is this the one failing?!

...oh, what the hell.  Since I don't own the set and probably won't see it again for a very long time (YouTube has NOTHING!  The public library only has one copy and the queue's already backed up to 9!), I'm just going to write down everything I enjoyed for my own personal benefit.

+ Attractive packaging.  Lovely cover, lovelier discs - all shiny silver with the words engraved

+ Best menu screen ever.  Unlike The Office, which uses looping quotes that drive me INSANE, or the typically annoying theme you get with movies, this has quiet, unobtrusive elevator music. 

Jack of All Trades commentary: Meh.  At least half of it is spent just fawning over each other and/or praising their past work.  Occasionally, Stephen Gyllenhaal will swat them on the head and be like "HEY.  EMOTIONAL MOMENT HAPPENING IN THE PLOT HERE, PAY ATTENTION," but not nearly often enough.

Crunching Numb3rs, season 5: Screw the audio commentaries, apparently THIS is where the insights are at.  They skip around on chronology, aiming for themes, but all the important people are on camera (sometimes with hilarious outfits!  ROB.) and they touch on just about every episode at one point or another.  Some of this might have been from the "Celebrating 100" section too, but here are some of my favorite things:

+ Navi Rawat says all kinds of pretty things about how much her character has grown since the pilot, and I like that she makes specific mention of how it's not only professionally, but that she and Charlie went from stopping and starting all over the place to being solidly together for the last few years.  And then brings more fuzzy moments about how Alan has kind of taken Amita under his wing, and Judd's done the same for her.

+ Since it was originally episode 4, apparently Charlie's role in "Thirty-Six Hours" was actually written for Larry, and changed due to a last-minute family emergency.  SAY WHAT NOW?  Wow, no; it was a great story regardless, but it would not have been half so intense and visceral without Charlie sweating and stressing and getting in shouting matches with David.  No way. 

+ David Krumholtz: "You kind of get the sense that Don has brought up these issues [about religion] before, and Charlie's sort of given him an earful."  And then he says a few more things I like about how it's brave for a procedural to have the hard-edged cop character exploring religion, which is nice and possibly true, but I also can't help but notice he's really fond of  getting in digs at other crime shows. 

First it was snarking about scientists with guns, now this...look, yes, you're a special kind of procedural, but every procedural has something that makes it unique.  Yours is math & family.  Bones emphasizes humor.  Cold Case recreates the past.  Don't get cocky, a'right?  That's the kind of thing that gets you canceled after the fewest episodes.

+ Heeeee, Cherly & Nick.  "He's a hair actor.  He needs to face that."  "He needs a hair intervention."

+ Further on the all-important hair, from the man himself: "If you really like it, it's mostly my doing, and if you hate it, it's not my fault at all."  Hee!  Now let's take a moment for silent thanks that, contrary to certain wisely-unnamed fools who apparently that the TragiCut looked good and should be kept, that he "didn't really feel like Charlie." 

(You know, that is really the worst part about the idea of no more Numb3rs: he'll be free to cut off the curls again.  And while his eyes are pretty enough to almost compensate, it would still be tragedy to the highest degree.)

+ ...apparently I didn't jot down any notes from anyone else.  It's a long feature, okay!  All I know is that it was really fun to hear Lou Diamond Phillips, Rob, Dylan, Alimi, Aya, and Sophina talk about playing their respective characters.  Ooh, one quote from the latter, her favorite thing about Nikki: "She's always wrong.  She is strong, and wrong, all the time." 

+ Also!  I love "First Law" even more after hearing from a set designer that they dressed up the slick computer room with a cool trick: sticking transparent slides on clear shoeboxes to make it look like a bunch of working monitors.  All the blues and greens did look real.  ILU, set designer who has the best job ever!

Blooper reel: Underwhelming, other than proving to me that Charlie's hair should be kept in the "puppy cut" at all times.  And also, that said cut is slightly misnamed, as his hair much more closely resembled floppy spaniel ears in season 2, which they call "The Passion of Charlie."  Also, wow, David really does curse a blue streak when he messes up the lines, doesn't he?  I've read about that, and yet... and it's far more hilarious than it should be.

[Edit: But then I ended up watching it like three more times, so.  More highlights --

+ "And when you're done writing, you can get to know the P109!  ...that's the 904, which used to be known as the 109"

+ "He's got Brangelina on speed dial."
   "Get Brangelina's number for me?"

+ "So, what's the deal with Charlie & marriage?"
    "I think he's in love with Larry."

+ Aya dropping her gun

+ The puffy white Arctic parka/hat from the penguin-vision: even more hilarious off screen.  ("This is the whole gag reel, right here.")

+ The special blinky arrow on the final surfing scene, making sure you notice exactly how inept David Krumholtz is at working with a board]

Thirty-six Hours Commentary: Alimi Ballard is my new favorite, k?  In addition to being both articulate and enthusiastic, he laughs hysterically when Don bangs the bad guy's head into the side of the car, says things like "aw, that's sweet" upon the cut to a sleeping Amita at the end, or talks about how you almost never see Charlie as raw as he is on this case.  See, THAT is the kind of stuff I expect from these commentaries!  But even better, he's not the only one doing that.
 
Because these three stick close to the plot - even when they do start to ramble, as soon as the scene switches to a compelling moment, they'll cut themselves off in order to focus on it.  It's amazing.  Even the first time I saw it, I remember being impressed with the set design and direction, so when they opened up a whole world of backstory and additional information, I was hanging off every word. 

Thirty-Six Hours, Deleted Scenes: All worth it (particularly a bit more explanation for the awesome little robot cars), but we really only need to talk about the last one: the dialogue missing from the living room scene at the end.  I agree with the commentators - I do prefer the way it played it out on live airing solely because there is more focus on him stroking Amita's hair***, especially because it was a more powerful image to close on the cleanup crew at daybreak - but it's nice to have context for Don entering the room, and this lovely exchange about the fate of the security clearance.

Don: I told [McGowan] he had your back or I'm out of there.
Charlie: That's absolutely not okay with me.  This is getting out of control, how the hell did this happen?  I took a stand for a friend, and now...? No.  You know what, screw it.  I don't want the clearance.  I'm gonna take myself out of contention -
Don: Just -- stop, okay?  Here's the way I see it.  One, we need you.  I mean, I need you.  Two, I've been off the rails.  You know it, I know it, McGowan knows it.  I gotta figure some things out.  And being loyal to you, that's what I gotta do.  It's a step in the right direction, anyway.
Charlie: ...I don't know what to say.
Don: Don't say anything.

* = ah, so THAT explains the discrepancy that has always annoyed me - how she's missing the blanket on the first closeup.  Bad reshoots.

* = but with this, I get a new half second of him adjusting the blanket over her shoulder as Don comes in

* = also, deleted-scene version doesn't have the annoying background music!  Not that I begrudge them the right to use music, as according to my research just now they
picked a great one, I'm just saying.  When you rewind a tiny clip of a scene dozens upon dozens of times, the five seconds of broken-record lyrics that burn into your brain begin to drive you mad.  TURNS in-con-sistentlyyyy, ARCS in a symphony...

Jacked commentary: OK, didn't know that Fisher Stevens & Rob Morrow were best friends.  Still does not make up for how useless the former's character is, but it does make for much more entertaining commentary.  Especially when the latter talks about how it was fun to literally play cops & robbers (in the, like, one scene were they actually worked together, rather than on separate days). 

Episodes Themselves: Hey, look, an excuse to write a list!  Now that I've seen everything at least twice (or in the case of the first two, possibly into the double digits), I can rank the season in order from best to worst in an official capacity.  And then we will be done.

1. Angels and Devils
2. Thirty-Six Hours
3. The Fifth Man
4. Disturbed
5. Greatest Hits (in spite of The Fonz!  Not because!)
6. Conspiracy Theory
7. First Law
8. Cover Me
9. Animal Rites
10. Arrow of Time (*subject to re-evaluation if I ever actually retain things past the couch cuddling)
11. Magic Show
12. Scan Man
13. Decoy Effect
14. Frienemies
15. 12:01 AM
16. Trouble in Chinatown
17. Jack of All Trades
18. High Exposure
19. Blowback
20. Guilt Trip
21. Jacked
22. Charlie Don't Surf
23. Sneakerhead

Thank God there is a new episode tomorrow, as I am nearly out of my mind with the waiting - and it's only been a month.  Six more precious installments...

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