Works Of Mercy

Episode Report Card
Djb: D | 1 USERS: A+
The Love Pope

Fade up on Augustus "Congressional Filibuster" Hill, using the cumulative store of words with which he has at one time or another become acquainted throughout a lifetime's exposure to the English language, and manipulating the order of the entirety of said words to form a speech about the human inclination toward mercy. Teach us, oh ye breaker of fourth walls: "Mercy is the compassion we feel for someone else's misfortune. Mercy compels us to alleviate that misfortune. Mercy is the child of charity but the sister of justice because both are about the invisible link that exists between people." And while Hill continues to ponder the genealogy of charity's child and justice's sister, and how pity is the wacky neighbor who drops in three or four times a day to borrow a cup of flour, and altruism is that annoying cousin from Duluth who shows up uninvited with her six kids for what seems like the entire summer, I muse as to whether there isn't a heavy-handed thematic link to be drawn between this little homily and the plot-driven actions taking place within the episode itself. Ah, here's our answer now.

Over in a drab gray room with a guarded door and clouded glass on the single barred window (does that help narrow down the current setting for everyone? Good, then), Suited Lawyer Man brings Beecher, his parents, Sister Pete, and Ray up to date on the facts of his children's kidnapping. As Beecher's kids were on their way home from school, a man in a blue van drove up next to them and, with his best hey-little-kids-you-want-some-Pokémon-cards bravado, convinced them to get in the van and drive to some as-yet-undetermined death-acquiring locale. We learn from Suited Lawyer Man that "Gary was reluctant at first, but eventually the man persuaded him using [glacial, Dragnet-esque, dun-DUN-duuuuuuuuun pause here] Pokémon cards." As if the law-abiding, accountable, over-seven-years-old population of the planet Earth didn't already have enough reasons to blame the collective ills of our entire society on Pokémon. And I thought Beecher was in Oz for drunk driving. The court papers neglected to mention the far greater crime of spawning a child after 1990 and still, disturbingly, deciding to name him "Gary." No wonder things have been turning out the way they are, really. Sister Pete wants to know just what is being done to track the kids down, and Suited Lawyer Man shows no sympathy in telling them that all they can do is wait. Over in the Strasberg-esque improvisational exercise where the pacing and the furrowed brow and the biting of the lower lip means that he's right in the middle of that thing called ACTING, Beecher sarcastically suggests "milk cartons" as a tracking device before busting into a little tantrum beginning, "Come on, Schillinger did this!" Suited Lawyer Man suggests that the kidnapping is an unrelated ransom situation based on Beecher's wealthy family, causing Beecher's mini-tantrum to erupt into a full-scale raging assault on every inanimate object in the room. Beecher smashes, knocks over, rips, and mutilates every object he can get his hands on, unleashing his fury and wailing, "This printer kidnapped my kids! No, no, these books kidnapped my kids! Wait a sec, I think it was THIS TABLE!" Actually, he just screams, "Find my kids, find my goddamned kids" over and over and over again, but those books sure do look away with any number of guilty stares. The guards step lively to sequester Beecher, who continues to want us to "find [his] kids," just before he gets around to tearing the posters off the wall in an obvious indictment of the wall hangings and their own role in the conspiracy to abduct Beecher's children. Damn coy posters.

Cut to Suited Lawyer Man in conference with Schillinger, the latter offering his always convincing doe-eyed gaze of innocence (don't smile don't smile for the love of all things holy please don't smile again please) with the defense, "Beecher and I have one thing in common, too. We're both fathers. I lost a son. I know what he's going through." Slippery as his morality so frequently is, I'm going to leave out the lengthy diatribe I had prepared that the only similarity between the death of Schillinger's son and the disappearance of Beecher's kids is the fundamental role that Schillinger played in both of them. But he spared us the ghastly smile this time, so I'm willing to grant him temporary absolution, as he has done for us. No more smiling. My spine can't take it. It's been forced to ration its few remaining tingles for emergency situations only.

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