Tue
Jan 20 2009 1:48pm
Eleventh Hour: “H2O”

Jellicle Cats come out tonight,
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball!

Technically, this week’s Eleventh Hour was about PCP-contaminated water causing violent behavior and hallucinations. (For those of you keeping track at home, please add “water” to the list of things this show insists are not safe, right under “fruit,” “having a young child,” and “cryogenically freezing your own head.”)

However, since the plot is the sort of mystery Ms. Bolanger’s sixth-grade class could solve, and they reduced the science part to two quick CSI-style montages, the episode offers three things to keep us watching:

1. Rufus Sewell plugging six rounds into a cardboard poodle;
2. Rufus Sewell tripping on PCP, which involves waving furniture around and slapping his own head;
3. Close-ups of skin being blowtorched by random drug lords.

After the obligatory sudden-violent-outburst open, we get the second-best scene of the week, with Dr. Rufus attempting target practice. He refuses to shoot the thuggish silhouette (“Could have been a misguided kid. Bad home life, not a lot of options. Why didn’t anyone try talking to him?”), and instead empties his gun into the poodle on the Old Lady silhouette. “Who doesn’t hate poodles?” he argues, convincingly.

Sadly, they get interrupted by a mission: Rufus and Agent Young must head to Texas and figure out how two dozen people could come down with sudden-violent-outburst-itis, when they have nothing in common except that they live in the same small geographic region where water pipes have recently been replaced. Whatever could the matter be?

They will figure it out—in forty minutes. In the meantime, they guess rabies and encephalitis, they witness the local fuzz impale his car on a Bobcat and suffer ketchup-stain death, and they insist on their obligatory national recall; this week it’s the sunscreen / bug-repellent Sun’n’Shoo.

Science Alert: Don’t buy lime-green sunscreen called Sun’n’Shoo. What are you, six?

Glacially slowly, Dr. Rufus begins to suspect that it might be the tap water. (Science!) He uses his My First Chemist set and his Star Trek: TNG laptop readouts for a while before he decides that the tap water is perfectly safe after all, and he should just take a shower and go to bed.

Science Alert: Never shower. You’ll hallucinate and make a fool out of yourself.

Which is exactly what Rufus does. I’ve included the video below; it’s too good to miss. Check out his Flashdance tee, and be sure to stick it out until he slaps his own head, cops a feel of Agent Young, and then passes out. I smell an Emmy!

Once Dr. Rufus is himself again, they realize that the water pipes are laced with PCP, and follow the grocery-walloping municipal-plumber dad to the warehouse where he’s being tortured via a blowtorch on the hand. They give you lingering close-ups as the skin blisters and blackens. Thanks, CBS.

Luckily, the warehouse was pre–stocked with chlorine tablets and a janitorial bucket, perfect for creating chemical smoke. Then Rufus tears Agent Young’s jacket off (speaking of copping a feel) and pours antifreeze on it for her to breathe through. It will counteract the chlorine, because it’s constructed of “propylene glycol, a non-toxic humectant,” and means that huffing antifreeze is perfectly safe. Um, science?

Fortified by their non-toxic humectants, Dr. Rufus and Agent Young bust through the chlorine smoke and manage to subdue a gang of vicious drug lords and drag a 200-pound guy safely out of the warehouse in under a minute. Antifreeze: the Gatorade of ill-conceived rescue attempts!

Naturally our violently-outbursting municipal plumber friend is fine, and naturally his wife will take him back (nothing this show hates more than a single mother). That leaves time for a word of wisdom that sums up the theme of the dangers of modern living, right?

Or, you know, a snotty comparison between cops and FBI: “[FBI agents] don’t get paid overtime,” Agent Young says. “And we’re special…agents, of course.”

That’s the actual line. I think maybe everyone in the writers’ room was testing that antifreeze idea while they were writing this script this week. (Science!)

1 comment
Amal El-Mohtar
1. Amal El-Mohtar
Antifreeze: the Gatorade of ill-conceived rescue attempts!

BWAHAHAHA! *goes to make icons*

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