Tuesday, October 18, 2005

CULT TV Blogging: Push, Nevada, Episode # 6: "...---..." (S.O.S.)

In the penultimate episode of the fall 2002 cult TV series from ABC, Push, Nevada, intrepid IRS agent Jim Prufrock (Derek Cecil) nears his final reckoning. ATF agent Dawn Mitchell (Liz Vassey) plans to use him as bait during a dangerous final showdown in the desert with the town's corrupt strongman, Dwight Sloman (Raymond Barry). Jim fears this encounter may just prove to be the death of him. Sloman is out for blood and Dawn, as Grace (Melora Walters) has learned from a background check, isn't exactly trustworthy. Her record proves she has recklessly endangered others before...

Jim spends much of the episode trying to get someone - anyone - to hear his message about the corruption and conspiracy going on in Push. When Ira Glassman, his superior at the IRS, refuses to send Jim's final e-mail, detailing how his life is endangered because of this criminal conduct, Jim tries a different avenue. He sends out an S.O.S. (hence the title of the episode in Morse code). He e-mails 2,000 people picked at random from the AARP mailing list and college campuses. This mass e-mail represents his evidence; the thing that could clear his name should he be killed in the desert in a few short hours.

The mass e-mail angers the conspiracy, who we learn in this episode is actually led by Jim's lawyer, the competent Jameson Jones! Why the anger? Well, 67% of the e-mails will be deleted immediately, but after some calculations, an underling realizes that at least 618 people will pay attention to Jim's missive. That's 618 new threats to the "secret" of Push, Nevada.

Jones realizes that Prufrock can't be intimidated or shamed or cowed into retreating. Killing him now will make him a martyr. So Jones orders a deep background search on him. "I want to know about conversations he may have heard in utero," he snaps.

And suddenly, some of Jim's background comes into focus for the first time. Born 8/24/73, Jim Prufrock was 12 years old when his father committed suicide. At that point,young Jim suspended his comic-book collections, quit the band but remained in the Math club. Apparently, Math gave him a sense of order; a sense that things occur for a reason. In 1987 - three years before he took the SAT, Jim began taking practice exams for two hours a night, every night. He scored a 780 in English/800 in math. He is the ultimate good guy - one who believes in law and order (Math!) will overcome disorder and crime. And now he's after Push's secrets...

Finally, the episode crescendoes in the desert. Sloman, Prufrock and Dawn Mitchell gather there for the potentially deadly transaction. If it goes well, Mitchell will arrest Sloman on the spot and Prufrock will be cleared. If it goes badly, Prufrock may die. The transaction - involving a bag full of winning tickets for the Nevada State Lottery - goes off poorly. And Dwight orders Dawn to kill Prufrock.

She tells him to run. And he does. She shoots him twice in the back as he's getting away, and Prufrock falls. Then Sloman says that there's nothing like a "nice, clean head shot," and prepares to finish off Jim Prufrock once and for all. Dawn offers to do it instead, and that's where the sixth episode of Push, Nevada, this bizarre but really involving cult TV series, signs off. Only one episode to go!

More tomorrow on the finale of Push, Nevada!

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