Lone Gunmen Review – “Maximum Byers”

Another week, another episode. I’m sure you have learned how to Read More by now. Do I even need to state the spoiler warning?


Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
Dean Haglund as Richard “Ringo” Langley
Steven Snedden as Jimmy Bond
Zuleikha Robinson as Yves Adele Harlowe
Darren Burrows as Donny Pfeiffer.
Kevin McNulty as Wash.
Badja Djola as
Robert LaSardo
as Lowry.


Written by Vince
& Frank Spotnitz.
Directed by Vincent Misiano

Original Airdate

Maximum Byers originally aired on Friday, April 13, 2001.


The episode opened on a cruise liner. It seemed that Langley believed
their resident Elvis impersonator was the real Elvis Presley. They
switched him with Jimmy, and checked his prints while Jimmy performed
Hound Dog. Frohike and Byers concluded that this wasn’t the real
Elvis, since this man was an African-American under heavy make-up, who
was wanted for some serious crimes. As soon as Hound Dog ended, Jimmy
was arrested.

After the teaser, all four gunmen were back at HQ, including Jimmy and
a very disappointed Langley. They were then paid a visit by
Mrs. Pfeiffer and her son’s lawyer, Mr. Wash (played by X-Files vet
Kevin McNulty.) Her son (played by X-Files vet Darren Burrows) was on death
row for murder, but she didn’t believe he did it, so she asked the
Gunmen for help.

With Byers’ help, Jimmy talked the others into helping the man by
disguising themselves as inmates and breaking into the prison. Once
in, they learned that Pfeiffer was in the infirmary, so Byers asked
Jimmy to beat him up so he could gain access. In the meantime, the
two inmates in the cells across from Jimmy and Byers were having a
dispute. Spike (XF vet Badja Djola) was caring for a cockroach, but
Lowry (XF vet Robert LaSardo) killed it.

While Byers and Jimmy were working on the inside, Frohike and Langley
were trying to prove Pfeiffer’s innocence from the outside. They were
trying to break into the scene of the crime, but were caught by a
local business owner. They explained why they were there, and learned
that this business owner was a witness to the crime, and could
identify Pfeiffer as the killer. The man they were trying to save was

Byers was escorted outside with Lowry for a workout. He took the
opportunity to antagonize Lowry into beating him up, sending him to
the infirmary. Jimmy was then taken to see his visitor, Yves. She
had been sent by Langley and Byers to get a communications device to
Jimmy, by using her “feminine wiles” and posing as his wife. She
snuck the headset to him in a bag of Cheetos, with the help of an
unaware (but horny) guard.

When Jimmy used it to talk to Frohike and Langley, he learned that
Pfeiffer was not only guilty of the crime he was convicted of, but he
was guilty of Spike’s crime as well. He also learned that the
mastermind was Pfeiffer’s lawyer, Wash. Wash had been trying to buy
the burger joint where the robbery occurred to put up a high rise, but
the owner wouldn’t sell. In return, large deposits in Wash’s name had
been placed in Mrs. Pfeiffer’s bank account, presumably without her

Jimmy slipped a note to another inmate and asked him to get it to
Byers. Byers had been trying to get Pfeiffer to change his plea back
to not guilty and get out of prison, but had met with no success.

Meanwhile, Wash stopped in on Frohike and Langley to check on their
progress. They lied through their teeth, forcing Yves to pretend she
was marrying Frohike when she showed up unexpectedly. He eavesdropped
on them after leaving their motel room, and overheard them telling
Yves all they’d learned. Wash then went to the prison to talk Lowry
into killing Pfeiffer before he went to death row.

Byers received the note from the other inmate, and learned that
Pfeiffer was guilty of the crimes. Despite this revelation, he still
acem to his rescue when Lowry attacked him with a knife, knocking out
the assailant with his bedpan.

Pfeiffer realized what kind of a man he was dealing with, and decided
to tell the truth, implicating Wash in the killings. Using a musical
montage, the viewers learn that, although Pfeiffer suffered the death
penalty, Wash was convicted and imprisoned, and Spike was released,
allowing him to start his cockroach clinic that he’d been dreaming about.

High Point

I was very amused by Jimmy’s visit with Yves, especially his request
for a conjugal visit.

Low Point

I must admit, I’m not impressed with comedies that end on a down
note. After the musical montage showing their victories, the director
and/or editor decided to show the scene that took place immediately
after Pfeiffer’s sentencing, where his mother slapped Byers. This was
not the kind of happy note I think comedies should end on, although it
was a realistic, effective and necessary scene. Had it been up to me,
I would have put that scene before the montage, especially since it
makes more sense chronologically, too. (The events in the montage
take place after Pfeiffer’s death.) This ending suited The
, but not The Lone Gunmen.

The Review

This episode had some original moments, but even the
writers confessed that the premise wasn’t original. (“That’s not how
they did it on The A-Team” was a close runner-up for my choice
of teh high point.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects in this episode are hard to judge, since the
only effect I can think of were the makeup effects on Elvis, and
making the sheet of paper stick to Frohike’s butt. Both were well
implemented, but not demanding. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story was well written. I am especially impressed
with the subtlety of Pfeiffer’s motive; the pay-off for the murder
went into his mother’s bank account, and he admits that he’d “do
anything for [his mother].” I give the story 5 out of 6.

The acting was up to par with the rest of the series, or
most other series’ on TV. Even Zuleikha Robinson seems to be getting
more comfortable in her role. (I’ve been asking for developments in
her character for a while. I’ve since heard that these developments
begin in the season finale and continue throughout season two, should
there be one.) Darren Burrows did a particularly good job as
Pfeiffer. I give the acting 5 out of 6.

I felt that this episode was effective in producing an emotional
. (If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have that gripe under the
Low Point, would I?) I felt sorry for Byers when he was slapped. I
was disappointed to learn that Pfeiffer was guilty, although I wasn’t
surprised. I give this episode 5 out of 6.

The production this week was good, for the most part.
The same scene that beefed up the score under “emotional response”
will reduce the score here. Although using the montage to lift the
viewers’ spirits before having Byers slapped was effective, I don’t
feel it was appropriate for a comedy. I think the slap was necessary,
but it should have preceeeded the montage, allowing the episode to end
on a high note. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this was a good episode, and worth the time to
watch. It was fast paced, with little or no wasted time. I give it 5
out of 6.

Totalling it al up, I see that Maximum Byers has received a
score of 32 out of 42.

Next Week

There will be no episode of The X-Files this Sunday, but it
returns on the 22nd. The Lone Gnmen return next Friday.
Although I can’t find a title for that episode, it does seem like it
will be the rumoured cross-over episode, guest starring Mitch Pileggi
as A.D. Skinner.

One Final Note

I didn’t have all the information about casting available to me
this week, but I did find an extremely informative site over here. Check it out. The
cast cross-referencing is very well done.

One reply

  1. Jimmy getting developed!
    I actually felt Jimmy got a lot of development in this episode. I mean, he was still dumb as a rock, but it put more emphasis on the fact that he actually cares what’s going on. And the low intelligence was just sort of “there”. I’m actually getting to like this character; usually the “dumb guy” in a show is taken to an extreme, spouting myriad non-sequiters and completely misinterpereting everything anyone says. Jimmy is a different sort of dumb guy, if you will.

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