Previously on The Nine: Um, uh, er, I don’t really remember.
It’s been a while, people. At first, when I heard ABC would be burning
off unaired episodes of this canceled show, I thought this was the one
about the master criminal; but nope, that was Smith. Then I thought, "Oh, this is the one about the kidnapped kid!" But nope, that’s Kidnapped.
Then I thought this was the one with Taye Diggs and the déjà vu
and … well, you get the picture. The Nine was one of many heavily-hyped
shows that fell off the radar during the course of the 2006-2007
television season. After a fantastic pilot, the show stumbled for a few
episodes, bled viewers, and by the time it finally found its narrative
footage, was pulled like Lindsey Lohan from an upcoming M.A.D.D.
Thing is, we should have seen this coming: this show was a Tim Daly
drama on ABC. And that combination never, ever works out well. His
private-eye show Eyes died a quick death in the 2005 season, and The Nine
suffered a similar fate. Tim Daly and ABC go together like Nathan
Fillion and Fox: poorly. (In short: don’t hold your breath for a full
season of the upcoming Private Practice.) For the few of us still there when The Nine
was pulled off the air, however, hopefully the burning off of the
unaired episodes will give us some closure as to what exactly happened
during the failed bank heist.
Tonight’s episode, the 8th in the series overall for the four of you at
home keeping score, was entitled "Turning Point," quite possibly made
the best case yet that this show would have been a fantastic
one-season, thirteen-episode series. A show like The Nine,
while high concept, simply doesn’t have enough story within said
concept to stretch across multiple years. Given how many shows get
canceled on a yearly basis (see the above, abbreviated list), why more
networks don’t pull the FX model out of the bag and give it a whirl is
In the pilot episode, we saw the very beginning and very end of a
failed heist. In between lies quite a bit of drama, but not four to
five seasons worth. The show seemed to know this, as the following
weeks showed a minute, maybe three of those in-between events,
frustrating viewers as we watched the survivors mope through their
lives with survivors’ guilt. The show’s strongest in those in-between
hours, and mercifully, "Turning Point" (referring to security guard
Tom’s death, the "turning point" of the hostage crisis in the eyes of
DA) was chock full of bank-y goodness.
The primary narrative thrust of the episode concerned the survivors
gathering in the DA’s office to answer to the lawsuit presented by
Judith, widow of Security Guard Tom. Poor Tom. A Vietnam vet, origami
expert, and receiver of blunt trauma to the head so forceful that it
eventually caused spinal fluid to leak out of his nose, Tom’s death
dovetailed with the ladies’ efforts to drug Randall’s coffee with
Franny’s ecstasy. Apparently, the women of The Nine were banking on the
fact that Randall had never been to Burning Man.
What followed was what I assumed would be a twist on Kurasowa’s famous
film "Rashomon," with the overlapping retelling of Tom’s death forming
an impossible-to-penetrate mosaic that would confound and frustrate.
But this was not to be. While Felicia can’t remember a darn thing about
the day, everyone else has perfect, consistent clarity about the events
surrounding Origami Tom’s death. Simply unbelievable. I don’t think my
fiancée and I could recreate our last trip to Dunkin Donuts as
seamlessly as these people recreated these all-important moments from
months ago. I mean, deciding between the glazed donut and the éclair is
stressful, to be sure, but not as stressful as being held at gunpoint
with S.W.A.T. about to come in guns a blazin’.
Randall shoots Tom in the bathroom, in order to stop him from
convulsing. As problem-solving goes, Randall kind of opts for the most
extreme option. I’m sure when Randall was in pre-school, when
confronted with a coloring book and a box of crayons, rather than
choose Burnt Sienna or Maize, he simply set the school on fire. That’s
the Randall Way. Officer Nick, Hero for Us All, Defender of Truth,
Justice, and Really Tight T-Shirts, correctly infers that the FBI will
be ready to storm the gates now that Randall’s gone all trigger happy.
This would be Very Bad For the Hostages, in that Randall could hide
behind the counters with the hostages shot in the cross-fire between
the FBI and Burnt Sienna Man.
The solution to the problem yielded an absolutely gorgeous visual
moment, as the hostages, in another turning point, held hands while
standing in front of the glass windows at the front of the bank. Shot
from the back, these people were silhouetted in the brightest of white
lights. While taking notes on the show, I typed in, "Oooh, very Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind,"
and as I typed that, I swear, the flood lights blinked on and off,
leading me to wonder if Richard Dreyfuss had been cast as the FBI
liaison. Their efforts to essentially stonewall the FBI secured their
length within the bank, but at least bought the hostages a few hours in
which to live. Well played, you Nine. Well played.
In the present time, two more turning points happened. The first
concerned Kathryn Hale, played by Hollywood’s favorite hostage victim,
Kim Raver. (Between this and her predicament in Season 6 of 24,
Ms. Raver has this wounded psyche thing down pat at this point.) Her
boyfriend/potential fiancée has been grooming himself for the position
of District Attorney for years, only to be undercut by the Mayor’s
desire to place Kathryn in the driver seat instead, due to her positive
public image in the wake of the hostage crisis. Did I say "potential
fiancée?" I meant "ex-boyfriend." That guy’s on Match.com as we speak,
I’m telling you. I just saw the headline on his profile: "Single
white prosecutor ISO woman who won’t steal dream job from under me
after years of passionless sex. Also? Must love dogs."
Speaking of ex-boyfriends, Lizzie found out her ex-boyfriend Jeremy is
now with Franny, aka, "The Future Mrs. Ryan McGee." I wanted to root
against Jeremy’s relationship with Franny, in that it conflicts with my
desire to marry her, move into a small starter home, and make a life
together, but once Lizzy pulled the "I know that I dumped you, but I’m still going to bust your balls about seeing someone else," I was firmly on Team Jeranny. Or Team Frannemy. (Man, why can’t they be named Ben and Jennifer, or Brad and Angelina? Those combos I can use.)
On principle alone, I have to stand with them now, even though I’m
singing Rick Springfield-esque tunes every time I watch this show. ("You know I wish that I had Scott Wolf’s girl/Why can’t I find a woman like that?")
The show itself ended ominously, with a new figure stating, "Kates and
Rios coming your way," and a mysterious van with the word "Castleton"
on the side trailing a few of the survivors on their way to the diner.
There were hints before the show’s demise that forces greater than we’d
seen were tied into the bank robbery, and now those forces are
potentially going to be revealed before the show leaves the airwaves
Are you happy to see this show back on the air? Would this show have
worked better as a miniseries/shortened season than as a "normally"
scheduled drama? And why did Tom die when there was a perfectly good
Egan Foote ready for the offing?