Life on Mars

Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B+ | Grade It Now!
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Oedipus Wrecked

After Ma Tyler excuses herself, Sam gets up and longingly sniffs his father's jacket (Mmmmm -- smells like... abandonment) before noticing a basketball. A quick cut outside and Sam is busy shooting hoops. "Frazier brings up the ball," Sam says, looking around to make sure that nobody is hearing his sotto voce play-by-play. "Passes to DeBusschere. DeBusschere looks for Willis Reed, but Reed's being double-teamed, so Dave finds Phil Jackson. Jackson finds Sammy Tyler at the top of the key. Tyler shoots..." And fires a brick. "Nothing but net," an in-denial Sam declares. An interesting thing about Sam's little role-playing exercise here -- fans of the '73 Knicks will know that he's supplanted either Earl Monroe or Bill Bradley in the lineup, which is just wrong. Also, his scenario falls apart because Phil Jackson would have been back in the locker room trying to fashion a bong out of one of his sneakers. While this little passion play has been going on, Vic walks outside and notes that his son is also a big Knicks fan. Hmmm, your son seems to have a lot in common with this strange gentlemen who also shares his name along with many of his genetic characteristics.

"Sammy's in danger, isn't he?" Vic asks Sam. "Rose, also?" Sam vows to do what he can to protect them; Vic is understandably dubious. There's a lot of small talk about whether or not Sam has kids of his own -- he does not, as time-travel/comas cut into your parenting opportunities -- which gives Sam the opportunity to quiz his old man on just what he thinks of Li'l Sam. "He's busy up in the head," Vic says. "All that make-believe. Takes after his father." That... does not bode well for you, Sam. Anyhow, Vic talks a little about his hard life as a salesman, and when things are going bad he reminds himself that he's Sam's father. "And everything, every little thing, it's okay," Vic says. Awwwww... It's getting mighty dusty on that basketball court, based on Sam's expression. Father and son decide to deal with the shame of showing human emotion the way men have throughout the centuries -- by playing sports until all those pesky feelings go away. And so the Steely Dan-scored game of one-on-one commences, with Sam finally getting to bond with his father and showing him how to execute a high five four years before Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker invented the celebratory maneuver. All this belated father-son bonding is interrupted by the ringing of a telephone. The ominous music suggests that the Pignato Brothers have come a-calling.

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Life on Mars

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