The Practice
Germ Warfare

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Germ Warfare

Hellenor's (tm deborah). A satin-dressing-gown-clad Helen Gamble enters the kitchen, doing her best impression of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest and wondering if Ellenor's ready for her day. As Helen pours herself a cup of coffee, her roommate wonders if she's planning on going into the office. "Yeah. Just moving slow." Ellenor looks concerned: "You okay, Helen?" Helen perks up for a minute, puts on her bratty hat, and smirks, "Yeah! Don't I look fabulous." The joke here being that she's supposed to not look fabulous, but you know everyone in television land wears their make-up to bed, in the shower, and, well, just about every damn place they go, so you know she really does look great. Which is the truth. Except for the great part. Maybe her hair's a bit messy, but her make-up could still have been applied by my two-year-old nephew using watercolours. Helen's blue because, well, it "must be a mid-life thing. I promised myself if I wasn't rich and famous by the time I was thirty I'd at least be sleeping with someone who was." Because happiness in the land of Emperor Rod is found by being rich and famous. That's the mettle of the devil, ladies and gentlemen -- oops, did I say "devil"? I meant to say that's the mettle of DEK. Yeah, Helen's really growing a conscience, and quickly -- not.

The Firm. Emperor Rod is chasing Rebecca around the room, encouraging her to work faster. Imploring her to get Jimmy to help even though he's the third chair on Lindsay and Ellenor's toxic swing-set trial. He complains about people sitting on their hands, ironic for a man who can't seem to keep his still for longer than a nanosecond. "Nobody is sitting on their hands," Rebecca says, "especially me." (In fact, her hands are filled up with heavy law books -- she's very busy, this Rebecca.) Eugene emerges from his office to greet the Emperor: "Bobby?" Rod turns to look at his friend as he continues, "You are going to let him in on everything he has to appeal, right?" There is a painful, pregnant pause as the Emperor sends forth a gigantic stink-eye meant to catapult his nation into action and to remind them never to criticize their leader.

Courthouse. Dr. Tillotson is on the stand, explaining the nature of neurological difficulties. Ellenor is asking her pointed questions about the nature of arsenic poisoning and its effects on children. They explain how the wood used to make the play gym was treated with a fungicide called CCA, which is a carcinogen. Over time, the children, while playing on and around the gym, ingest the toxin, which causes their neuropathy. The Anti-Bobby stands pompously at his podium and attacks: "You can't prove that this play equipment caused these problems, can you, Doctor?" The gentle doctor shakes her head and agrees that she can't prove it was the play gym which made the children ill. The Anti-Bobby continues along these lines for a minute, trying to establish reasonable doubt. Dr. Tillotson says that while they may not know for sure, there is certainly enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that CCA is, in fact, the cause. "But you can't prove it, right, Doctor?" Each time the Anti-Bobby says "Doctor," he sounds out both syllables placing his emphasis on the second syllable, making the word sound like "dock turd." Blah de blah. Ellenor and Lindsay look a bit frustrated as the defense continues to hammer the point home that there is no scientific proof of the neurological effects of CCA.

Courthouse. Helen's dressed, but she still looks like Joan Crawford. Except that Joan Crawford had breasts. Yes, Helen looks like Joan Crawford without the shoulder pads and the breasts. Mr. Barrett calls over toward her, and they greet each other rather coolly. Stone Cold thanks him for coming by and invites him to have a nice seat on the hard wooden bench. The camera tightens up on their two faces as she explains that the defense is going to appeal Scott's guilty verdict: "My feeling is one of the grounds they'll be raising is the veracity of your testimony. I think we could best head that off at the pass by offering polygraph results. You can take the test in my office and we'll be done in an hour." Barrett's not falling for her wily ways: "I thought they weren't ever admissible." Helen concedes this, but explains that, for witnesses, sometimes the results can carry some weight. He's not convinced and refuses to take the test. She says it would be a big help to her if he did. He refuses again. They play a game of verbal volleyball. Helen serves one right over his head, and the music slides in to suggest her duplicity. He restates his opposition to the test. The DA poises to stare him down: "Why is that, Mr. Barrett? Did you not tell the truth?" Helen looks as if she wore her make-up to Woodstock two years ago and never took it off. She threatens him by explaining she'll go to the judge if he doesn't give her the polygraph results. Because it's so legal for the DA's office to participate in blackmail and all: "You could be facing perjury, Mr. Barrett. Have your lawyer pay me a visit. Today." With that, she stands up and slithers away with the music.

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