Numb3rs Returns: Black Swan

Family is whom ever you want to eat waffles with.

NUMB3RS Numb3rs is back and I couldn’t be happier. I think I actually forgot how much I love this show while it was on hiatus. But seriously, it is the only show I watch (Supernatural included) that pulls me ‘literally’ to the edge of my seat, has me holding my breath and then leaves me with a huge smile on my face.

You see, while many shows are written by master storytellers, Numb3rs is also a master of visual storytelling and that’s a rarity.

This week’s episode was Black Swan and as usual it applied in more ways than one. The title comes from the idea that long long ago, the Chinese thought that all swans were white. Then, with the expansion of the boundaries of the world, black swans were discovered on other continents making their original assumption totally wrong. The metaphor isn’t so much about being wrong, but about things that come at us that we couldn’t possibly have imagined because we have no prior knowledge to base it on.

For example, if my son cuts his head open while skateboarding, I have a prior set of circumstances in my head that will help me cope with the problem. If, however, my son is skateboarding and he turns into a dolphin — well, that would certainly be unexpected and I’d have no idea what to do in that case. It doesn’t make me stupid, it just is what it is.

Okay, so that’s how I interpreted the concept.

Going back to the brilliant visuals, the opening of the episode was the perfect montage after such a long break. It showed Don and his team taking down a drug lab, cut together with Charlie and his team briefing a new set of teaching assistants. As Charlie spoke of “watching each others backs”, Don covered the backs of his men. And then Charlie began to talk about intuition and there’s Don spotting something so normal that just niggles at the back of his brain until he can’t stand it anymore. The music ramps up, the intercuts come faster and faster and suddenly we’re chasing down a fleeing suspect. I swear, Numb3rs is the only show I watch that leaves me winded just watching! And when Colby and David tried to take down the suspect house. . . yeah, edge of seat time.

In addition to a nicely twisted plot, we were also handed a couple of under-rumblings that look like set-ups for the coming season finale. Megan’s displeasure with Don’s tactics, Charlie noticing that Don’s tactics have become more heavy-handed, Amita’s issues with her absent parents and finally Larry talking to Megan about quitting the force. I think there are some changes coming our way and I suspect people will get hurt in the process.

But for all the gun-play, explosions and math, Numb3rs is about family and that may seem like a strange statement to anyone who isn’t a fan. The episode ended with my favorite kind of scene, the family (by blood and extended) gathered around the Epps table for dinner. Alan worries, the boys banter and Charlie makes a grand gesture of waffles, which pleases no one but sweet Amita.

Lovely music, the sound of laughter and the warm surroundings that is the Epps home. Now that’s how I like to spend my Friday nights.

Photo Credit: “Black Swan” – Seated at the table, clockwise from top left: Colby Granger (Dylan Bruno), David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard), Don Eppes (Rob Morrow), Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch), Megan Reeves (Diane Farr), Larry Fleinhart (Peter MacNicol), and Amita Ramanujan (Navi Rawat) (off camera) are seated for a special waffle dinner served by Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz),on NUMB3RS, Friday, April 4, (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Michael Desmond/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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