From an egregiously self-conscious close-up (an "EXTREME CLOSE-UP," if you will) and a studied lack of elegance in segueing into a dream sequence (something starting with Madonna and ending with the unfortunate "Look at the unit on that guy," I'm afraid), every trick in the Wayne's World Guide To Cinematography Tricks has been laid bare here. And we do indeed move into the blue-tinged past, the hand of a young mulleted boy we quickly guess is Young Jim Prufrock sitting in the passenger seat of his father's car, removing the cigarette lighter from the dashboard. The man next to him -- the father -- warns Jim in his best I'm-a-dad-when-dads-were-called-pappies-and-pappies-knew-best voice, "That's plenty hot. Don't get too close to the flame." Young Jim Prufrock touches his finger to the tip of the lighter anyway, discovering -- wait for it -- that it's hot! Jim Senior licks a handkerchief (all part of that same parental canon of entitlement, like my mother licking her thumb and rubbing it against a smudge on my face and for some reason deeming that "clean," or shoving her hand inside a new pair of suit pants in the middle of a crowded department store and announcing, "What do you mean? There's plenty of extra room in here!") and wraps it around Jim's finger, announcing, "You're a brave boy, son." No, he's an idiot. "We Prufrocks have always been able to handle the heat." Dude. If Jim is twenty-nine in 2002, this sequence would technically be happening sometime in the early '80s. So why does "the generic past" have to include Jim's father talking like "News on the March" and telling his foolhardy son that, consarnit, if he don't behave like a proper gentlemen, see, the whole country'll go to pot, the railroad'll never get out to the California Territories, the Whigs'll stop supporting the gold standard, and this radio show that's on about aliens attacking could just turn out to be the real McCoy after all! Anyway, the plotkerchief Jim's father wraps around his hand has the monogram "AMP" on it. And probably tons of snot as well.
A repeated we're-coming-out-the-dream-sequence-just-in-case-you-didn't-hear-me-click-my-heels-three-times-and-look-at-the-unit-on-that-guy echo of "handle the heat, handle the heat" brings us to the previously-seen previouslys of the four things that have happened up until now that warrant such a deliriously repeated set of previouslys: Fire. Taudrey. Bodnick telling Jim that the heat could kill a man in four hours. Bodnick repeating that. Faxes. Bodnick getting stabbed. Demonhead Flats. Serpent tattoo. Circling vultures sitting on a tree branch, waiting patiently to swoop down and pick over the rotting carcass of the whole idea of ABC's Thursday night line-up. And those birds look ready for it, too; you know you're in some trouble in the early going of an episode when the most believable lines of dialogue you've been able to foster so far are "caw" and "caw."