Secrets And Lies (1)

Episode Report Card
Chuck: D+ | Grade It Now!
L.A. Story

Grampy is holding the medal case now -- or, rather, it's propped against his belly, and Mr. V is really nervous and awkward, babbling about nothing. Mr. V makes an excuse and then motors, promising to come back in a few days, but as he's walking away from Grampy's room, he has a change of heart and turns around. The camera assumes Mr. V's perspective, and when he walks back into the room, Grampy's chair is empty! O, miracle of miracles! The camera pans to the left, and I'm gifted with the singular (I hope) sight of Grampy, medal case in hand, lurching toward the wall calendar, arm outstretched, pointing toward the little square that demarcates October 31, 2001. Mr. V lugs Grampy back to his chair, pointing finger still in action, plops him down, and tells him that he'll get a pen and circle today's date, and tomorrow's date, when he comes back, as he grows increasingly flustered and pretends to cry, while Grampy looks off into space like he's mesmerized by a really kick-ass episode of Jerry Springer. Give this man an Emmy. Hell, give 'em both Emmys. If they ever fucking happen.

Back in LA, Max drives on to the Paramount lot, past a lobster and a nun walking together (it's disgusting, really, to see lobsters and nuns fraternizing -- but, then, that's California). The camera zooms in on a water tower bearing the Paramount logo. That's Paramount. Yes, Paramount. P-A-R-A-M-O-U-N-T. Paramount. Did you get that? I said "Paramount." Max walks into a room and introduces himself to…Jonathan Frakes! Yippee! Behind and in front of the camera. What a bonanza for me. Can't give up that limelight, can ya, Johnny? Max, or Jason Behr, is auditioning, on the show Roswell, for another UPN show, Enterprise, for the man who actually directed this show, Roswell. This. Is. So. Smart. And. Complicated. My head spins. There's also an androgynous, Pat-like humanoid in the room, who turns out to be John Billingsley, er, Dr. Phlox, from Enterprise. An even more androgynous figure materializes to operate the camera; Phlox and Max begin doing lines. Of dialogue. Phlox says something pompous-sounding about needing Ritalin, which is really amusing coming from a hermaphrodite in a polo shirt, and Max delivers his response like he's been studying Shiri Appleby's technique with a fine-tooth comb. Frakeseybaby jumps in with some method tips -- "This character, Korgon, is an alien, he's an alien from another planet [like Mexico?]. And right now, I'm not feeling really like you're an alien." More irony. I'm transfixed. Max goes again, as badly as before. He leaves, and they all laugh. I laugh too. Ha ha ha. Titter, titter, fart.

Out on the lot, JayDub is schmoozing the extras, handing out cards willy nilly. Max appears, and JayDub gets all chummy and excited, telling Max that he got it, he got it. Max seems confused, and asks, "Really?" JayDub says he's sure he did, but even if he didn't, "there's still Buffy." I dig my fingernails into my hand really hard. Max says he'd like to snoop, er, look around for a while, since he's never been on a movie lot before, and JayDub says that's cool, don't lose that charming innocence, and anyway he's got some people to see, and then delivers more wacky hijinks as he hitches a ride on the back of a passing golf cart. Max turns a corner to find himself standing in front of the Paramount vaults, all seven doors of them. He marches right up to Door One, turns his hand red again, and slips inside. He's suddenly on the phone again with Liz, who states the obvious, telling him that the shape-shifter wants him out of LA. Max says he's close, and starts exploring the stored reels. She's nervous, and he finds the They Are Among Us reels, conveniently located on an easily accessible shelf. In the first room he tried. Max pulls out a reel, slips it onto a handy projector, and turns his hand into a light bulb. Images of an alien, sporting a blue satin jumpsuit and a tuber-like head, and tackling a woman in swirling red satin, appear on the wall. Suddenly, the nefarious clapperloader jumps into the frame; it's Cal Langley, producer extraordinaire, flashing a manic grin. Max tells Liz he knows who the guy is; he's the major movie producer Max saw at the restaurant (and now I'm thinking that JayDub is somehow in on this game). The cell phone signal cracks and fades, and the image on the wall burns and melts, as a priceless film archive is destroyed forever. Oh, the horror. Valuable movie artifacts, gone, just like that. No respect for the past. And here, suddenly, is JoeCal PantolianoLangley, bald, pudgy, and bespectacled, the other shape-shifter, congratulating Max for finding him. Max asks why he killed Ferrini, and JoeCal says that Joey figured out what he was, which really wasn't a good thing, him being a nasty alien and all. JoeCal raises his arm, which sends Max shooting back into the wall, toppling priceless shelves of shitty movies. As Max tumbles to the ground, JoeCal says, "I told you to stop looking for me," and uses his hand to start a fire, a la Barrymore. As Max lies prone, lit alluringly by the spreading flames, the screen fades to black, as those three maddening words, "To Be Continued" appear.

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