“In the entry in which it talks about dying of asphyxiation 30 seconds after being thrown out of a spaceship, it goes on to say that space being the size it is, the chances of being picked up by another craft within those seconds are two to the power of two hundred and sixty thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine to one against which, by a staggering coincidence, was also the phone number of an Islington flat where Arthur once went to a a very good party, where he ate some very good food, had some very good drinks with some very good friends and met a very nice girl whom he totally failed to get off with.”
– The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Why do I quote a line from H2G2? Moreso than any other episode so far episode 4, Kite Strings (although this actually should have been the ep titled 1+1=3), goes absolutly nuts over a particular number (and decimal variations), to the point where it gets a bit over the a top. Yes, our non-responsive kid has become a full living infinite improbability drive, sort of an Infinite Improbability Driver Jake as it were (also a good title to an animated series come to think of it.) So this ep 950, 9 and a half, 95 etc. follow the narrative like crazy (although, oddly enough, and disappointingly no clear reference to 9 1/2 weeks – I guess you can’t have everything.) While this may actually sound like it would make the ep rather goofy, it turns out to be quite effective. Why? We get the return of a couple characters from the pilot which provides us some more meat to the series’ narrative and we learn something quite important about Sarah. In fact much of the ep revolves around building up her former character and the ongoing depression of those she left behind.
Yep, we have fireman Randall (Titus Welliver again, at least when he’s not transforming into a steinadler), an would be comedian Abdul back here to for IID Jake to once weave again into his personal plotting. We also get to meet a friend of Sarah’s Bobby (Heroes’ Kiko Ellworth), who like Martin and Randall, is still emotionally tortured by the fact that they didn’t save her life. Randall runs into a directionless priest while still trying to figure out what to do with his lottery winnings, while Martin and Jake run into Bobby while visiting Sarah’s grave. thankfully, unlike in previous eps, Titus and Kiko do a fine job on their parts as they struggle with thier self-loathing at not being heroic enough to save Sarah from the collapse of the towers. Sure the ep teeters on the edge of exploitive, but the two men’s acting pulls it back. Keifer’s well, not so much.
The Iraq segment, like the one in the pilot is, like the part in the pilot, still rather weak, although we do get some development of character Abdul, and I will admit, the ambush of the Hummer’s was rather decently Hurt Locker-esque.
Still on the negative side is the fact that much of the ep had Keifer following his son around yelling Jake! Jake! Jake! as though the kid would ever actually respond. Although he managed to restrain himself from beating the crap out of Bobby when the man questions why Sarah wasn’t wearing her wedding ring the last time we saw her.
This ep also introduces as a rather incompetent priest that Randall runs into. He kind o sways into parody territory, but thankfully the writing pulls him back by the end. I’m not sure Josia Early ever quite figured out what his role actually was, but nonetheless wasn’t embarassing to the story.
It’s seeming more and more that it’s Keifer who’s the weak link in the show, not really being able to capture the depth of the character Martin Bohm should really be. I really think he miscast himself here, and is generally provided the weakest writing, but what can you do. At least the audience has a sense of humor about it, as I ran across the comment below:
“If there was a drinking game where you take a shot whenever Martin says, “Jake!!”, by the end of the episode you’ll have full blown alcohol poisoning.”
Seems to me with the revelation that none of Sarah’s remains were found will be kind of important in the future. Who knows, maybe she wasn’t a human being at all but actually a higher being come to earth to help create super-powered Jake. I wouldn’t put it past Tim. The show is still a bit of a coincidence heavy mess, but it at least hasn’t regressed from the awful second ep.
And With Kite Strings, we’ve also been provided an inkling that there may actually be something more to IID Jake’s string pulling. Whether it will amount to much more than, again, the global-grou-hug- that was noted by reviewers regarding the pilot, I don’t know. But if they continue to gets decent actors who can sell what the writer’s are peddling, I don’t think it will matter. yeah the show isn’t what I would call great, but it seems to be moving in the direction of good.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (+0.5 for Titus, man he is a solid isn’t he?)