Life on Mars

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Mr. Sobell: A- | Grade It Now!
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Tuesdays With Mopey

This not one of those Psych Wards filled with hell-raising individuals bent on revolting against the system and its maddening conformity, by the way. Most of the patients seem to be milling about docilely. One patient's in a wheel chair parked next to a guy in a lab coat who appears tied up -- let's save time and say that it's Dr. Schwan. We also see an orderly who seems to be seriously reconsidering his career choices. Oh, and there's a guy with a gun pointed at Sam's head. Michael H., I presume? He orders the orderly to shut the door and demands to know where that EEG machine he wanted is. Sam begins his spiel about how he's here to help work things out, but Michael H. interrupts him by slamming him into the cage door and screaming "Where's my machine?" So... you're just visiting the Psych Ward, you say? Anyhow, the machine is vital because the bound-and-gagged Dr. Schwan needs it to perform an operation on Michael H.'s kid brother. See, Brother H. was diagnosed with schizophrenia and, rather than be a burden to his big brother, went to Dr. Schwan for a consult. Dr. Schwan's diagnosis: There's nothing wrong with you, young man, that removing part of your brain won't fix. The end product of that operation is the vacant-eyed youth staring back at Sam in the wheel chair. "Four years he's been like this," Michael H. spits. But with the help of that EEG machine, Dr. Schwan has apparently told Michael H. that he'll be able to do an operation that will set things right. Presumably, that means Dr. Schwan plans to use the machine to beat Michael H. senseless so that all this talk of reversing lobotomies will cease.

Just then, the phone rings. It's Hunt, who'd like hostage negotiations from this point forward to proceed in a less bombastic manner. And to show he's serious, Hunt's going to send up that EEG machine tout de suite. That's all well and good, but Michael H. would also like a big bus in the parking lot behind the hospital ready to leave at 2 p.m. Hunt is very pessimistic about the chances of that happening, but just before Michael hangs up on him, he asks to talk to Sam -- "just to make sure he's all right." Once Sam gets on the line, Hunt is decidedly less concerned about Sam's well-being, considering that he opens the conversation by threatening to shove his fist in a very uncomfortable orifice. "Oh, I'm fine," Sam says brightly. "So are the other 12 patients and staff and Dr. Schwan. But it's getting kinda hot with the sun coming in." See, what Sam did there is covertly convey to Hunt how many hostages there are and that they're in an east-facing wing of the hospital. And you thought Sam was just a self-absorbed narcissist. Shame on you.

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Life on Mars

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