CULT TV Blogging: Push, Nevada, Episode # 4: "Storybook Hero"

The fourth episode of the 2002 cult-tv series Push, Nevada finds our noirish hero, Jim Prufrock (Derek Cecil) in some hot water. The town sheriff and his mysterious deputy, Dawn (Liz Vassey) have just arrested him for the murder of Oswald Wilkes - the assassin with a serpent tattoo emblazoned on his arm. Even worse, his dependable girl-Friday back in Carson City, Grace (Melora Walters) has been suspended from her duties at the IRS for her illicit 7C search of IRS records on the town of Push, and his bail is set at nearly a million dollars. Complicating Jim's situation further, his lawyer - Push's public defender - isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

Fortunately, these matters start to clear up a little as the episode continues. Grace turns out to be a tough cookie (unlike her replacement, Myrna), and agrees to help Jim unofficially by finding out who posted his bail. The trail leads to Reno and a mysterious man named Phineas Cobb. And before long, the IRS sends Jim a decent lawyer in the person of the erudite Jameson Jones, a very bright fellow who begins asking some of the important questions that we viewers need answered. Including: who sent that erroneous fax to the IRS in the first place? I mean, think about it...wasn't it a strange coincidence that a fax should mistakenly be sent to the IRS, the worst of all possible places? Someone, somewhere, is on Jim's side...

There's a great noir-style conversation in "Storybook Hero" as Mary, the town's femme fatale - is called on the carpet to confront Sloman, our hissable villain. This reptilian fellow engages in "an exercise" about "empathy and perspective" to get her to spill the beans about the location of the missing (and all-important...) Bible. When that doesn't work, he breaks down and resorts to threats. "My heart is blacker than ash. My soul...an insatiable black hole," he warns, and given Raymond Barry's exquisite, icy delivery, we believe him.

New character: Push, Nevada introduces another new eccentric in this fourth episode, Eunice Blackwell (played by Nan Martin). She's the town coroner/funeral director, and this martini-drinking, cigarette smoking old broad talks to the dead, including Oswald Wilkes. When Jim meets her, she reveals that 1984 was a big year for Push...and dead people. Seems that eight copycat suicides occurred in one week. And there was a rash of oddball, so-called accidents. Just so happens that this "banner year" for deaths was also the very year that the Versailles Casino opened. Hmmm...

I'm still trying to discern some clues about the location and amount of the money stolen in the first episode (the contest gimmick of the series...) I think some of the clues this week include the number 2215 (the time that Jim was in the casino; military time), the chess moves shouted out by the inmates in a prison van, and the amount of the theft: 1 million, 45 thousand dollars. I guess I'll find out some answers soon (or not). Only three episodes left...

In the fourth week of Push, Nevada, written by Tom Garrigus and directed by John Patterson, the mysteries are still deepening. We see more "flash cuts" of Jim's childhood trauma (a spell in the trunk of a car...) and this installment ends on a cliffhanger, with a gun pointed at Prufrock's skull. I don't know how many people were watching this series when it aired in 2002, but I imagine it was pretty-much a nail-biter. And frustrating when it was cancelled so quickly...

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