The second episode of The Lone Gunmen aired last night. Read on for spoilers and a review.

Cast:
Bruce Harwood and Byers
Tom Braidwood as Frohike
Dean Haglund as Langley
Steven Snedden as Jimmy Bond
Zuleikha Robinson as Yves Adele Harlowe

Crew
Written by Vince Gilligan, Frank Spotnitz, and John Shiban
Directed by Brian Spicer

Original Airdate: Sunday, March 11

Synopsis

The episode opens with a man tied to a chair, just coming around from being drugged. His interrogator informs him that he was kidnapped and taken to Osaka, and that he would pay for his whaling activities. Then, Forhike enters the room wearing a gi that looked like it was made from some bad upholstery. He has a Matrix-style fight with the eco-terrorist, emerging victorious, and then asks the captive (in Japanese) where his ships are and what they are named, claiming to be a police official trying to stop eco-terrorism. (In reality, the eco-terrorist and the Lone Gunmen are working together a la Mission: Impossible to stop the whaling.) Of course, the truth is revealed when the captured man frees himself and spots the wire that helped Frohike in the battle.

After the teaser, we learn that the boys are infinancial trouble. They can’t afford to publish the paper, or to deliver the previous issue. Then, Yves shows up to give them a bit of information about a murdered hacker. (Yes, he was a cracker, but they call themselves hackers, and so do the Gunmen, so that’s the term I’ll use.) They soon investigate his murder, after taking a small break to siphon gas for their van.

While investigating at the dead man’s house, they find a check for $1,000,000 in the man’s golf bag. (The bag was signed by every competitor in a PGA tour, but the signatures were washed off after Langley cleaned the interior. He threw up in it after swallowing some siphoned gasoline.) The boys start tracking the company whose name appears on the check.

The track it to P.O.E. Enterprises, whose entire holdings are in the name of one James Bond. The follow Bond, and discover that he’s the coach of a blind football team. Using their incredible powers of observation, they determine that Bond is simply too dumb to be involved in any conspiracy, and is being set up as the fall guy. While Byers and Frohike siphoned enough gas to pursue the case, Langley walked back to P.O.E. headquarters where he got himself hired as a hacker to do the victim’s job.

Naturally, his new employer ties him up with duct tape and dumps him in the trunk of a car to take him to a local foreign embassey. Harlowe witnesses this, and contacts Byers and Frohike to fill them in.

Yves tells them that the country is planning to buy large quantities of nerve gas. (Langley’s job is to steal the money to fund the endeavour by ripping off online stocks.)

Byers and Frohike tell Bond what’s happening, and convince him to help them recover Langley. Bond walked into the embassey, told his “partner” everything he knew about his plans, and promptly gets himself captured. Once inside, he passed Langley a communication device (through a new hole in the wall) so he could contact the others.

After a distraction is provided, Langely and Bond escape by jumping off of a balcony and running for it. While all this was taking place, Harlowe stole the money that Langley “stole” from the stocks. (They had simulated the theft from the stock market, effectively creating the $50,000,000 that Harlowe stole.)

The boys returned to their HQ, to find that someone had paid for their recent issue at the docks. It was Jimmy Bond, who has been looking for someone to fight the good fight in defense of the little guy. It seems he will become their benefactor and help them in their work, which would explain why he appears in the opening credits.

Review

There has been a lot of improvement since the Pilot. The plot seems to be continuous, rather than a set of grafted-on characters and circumstances. The humour has also improved, and is less dependant on pratfalls. The story was more plausible, and the characters had better definition.

The new characters are one of my two major concerns with this show. Jimmy Bond, so far, is the stock sitcom character who lacks intelligence. (Who remembers Woody Boyd on Cheers?) I hope he gets developed into something more than this.

Yves Adele Harlowe is a lesser concern for me. She is capable, a strong female character, and we already know that she’s lying about her identity. (There are also indications that she has a history with Frohike.) They can do a lot of great stuff with this character. My concern with her is the way she’ll be introduced. She can’t just keep showing up and stealing $50,000,000 every week. She needs to join the group fairly quickly, or run the risk of using tired plot devices to bring her on board.

My only other concern is some of the humour. Perhaps it’s just me, but I have never found humour in vomit, or any other bodily function. The blind football team didn’t amuse me either.

The music was wonderful. Mark Snow seems to be having as much fun with this as the actors are. The new opening title scroll is also well done.

High Point

The pre-credit teaser, with Frohike’s Matrix-style combat, complete with wires.

Low Point

The blind football team just wasn’t funny as far as I’m concerned.

The Scores

Originality: Jimmy Bond’s character was not original, but the rest of the episode was passable. I give it 4 out of 6.

Effects: The only real effects were the murder, and the Matrix-style fight. These were well done, right down to Frohike’s badly dubbed voice. 5 out of 6.

Story: It may not be a Pullitzer prize winner, but it’s better than most sitcoms. 4 out of 6.

Acting: I’m still not sure if I believe Zuleikha’s performance, but Steven Sneddan convinced me he was a moron. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: There wasn’t a whole lot to get emotional about. 2 out of 6.

Production: Mark Snow’s score was perfect, although sometimes it seemed to be a bit on the loud side. The directing was also done well. 5 out of 6.

Overall: If this is indicative of the upcoming quality, I’ll be happy to tune in every week I give it 4 out of 6 overall.

Total: 28 out of 42.

The next episode airs Friday, March 16, at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific time. This will eventually become its final timeslot. The only remaining Sunday episode airs March 18.