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Episode Notes and Observations by Gale Dumont

Meet the Dupes

This week: For everyone who's ever wanted to punch the Pod Squad, put those fists away; we've met the Dupes and they are *really* f**king annoying. Murder and sideburns and accents, oh my. Plus, Brody and Maria start down the path to twue luv (no, not really, but I wouldn't complain if they did); Liz gets her heart torn out and stomped on (good one, Max!); and Colin gets his court-mandated 7.32 minutes of airtime. Join us, won't you?

"They say that for every one of us, there exists a twin somewhere in the world." With sh*tty hair! Well, the boys, anyway.

The Olsen Twins? Servitors of the Dark One. I'm just sayin'.

Any of y'all catch Alien Nation: Millenium on the SciFi Channel this weekend? Man. I loved Alien Nation, but there's something about Jason's hair in that that just makes me hide behind a chair. Ow.

And how funny is it that they've got four people who *aren't* from New York -- New England, Minnesota, Winnipeg and Australia -- doing New York accents? That alone made me giggle. Good to know that there's at least one thing to bring me joy before Max goes under the Buick.

Memo to Barry Watson: You're not any cuter with short hair. No, really.

I never noticed before, but those twin boys on 7th Heaven look *exactly* like the kids from the John Carpenter remake of Village of The Damned.

Oh, and now the radio is playing Fuel's "Hemorrhage In My Hands". They're trying to kill me, aren't they? Mere, you've gotta stop calling Orlando radio stations and requesting songs five minutes before the ep starts.

Woo hoo! Brody! Oh, shut up. I like Brody.

Why is Maria the only human who's been in the granilith? How is this fair?

So if it's dirty, it must be New York.

Ladies and gentlemen: Quiet Riot! Or is it Ratt? I forget.

Rath has My Little Pony hair. Damn.

Hi, everyone? Your accents, on all three minutes of dialogue I've heard, suck ass. No, really. Just because you say "yo" a lot does not mean you have "street cred". Who wrote this dialogue? Because that person gets a beating, courtesy of me.

Zan looks a lot like Chris Kirkpatrick from N*Sync, what with the crappy facial hair. Oh my God. Jason, just -- No. Don't ever do that again. *Ever*. Darth, you listening?

"I'm the man." Yes. Yes, Jason, you are.

All of the gratuitious body piercings, and no shot of The Ear. Who filmed this, junior high students? Jesus. I can't check and see if they let Jason wear an earring if you don't show the right ear. Work with me here, people.

Emilie looks like a 12-year-old compared to the rest of them. It's not just the height, it's...damn. SlutBarbie, available at a Spencer's Gifts near you.

What? We're in class again?

Good Liz. Good. Max, no. Hug her. Talk to her. Have hot, sweaty sex with her, preferably in February, 'cause that would be the best 21st birthday present *ever*.

Hey, where'd Zan go? Yes, that will be important later.

It's not New York, it's a soundstage. Give it up, guys.

Lonnie. Sucks. Ass. Though Katie's pretty good. And her accent doesn't entirely suck, but her eyebrows probably have a life of their own.

"Why are you still living and breathing and riding in this car?" Hackneyed Dialogue, Twelve O'Clock! Duck and cover, people! This is not a drill!

Brody just kicks ass. And I love his earrings. See? They let *Brody* have earrings.

Since when does Michael work at the Crashdown again? Continuity, people, it's a word. Look it up.

Are we gonna hear Majandra sing again? Yay! Love that!

Brody is so cute around Maria. It's a little creepy, but not Grant-Isabel creepy. I can live with this kind of creepy. Dude, she's only 17.

"What do you think of our new President?" Ask me again when we have one.

You don't realize until you see the Dupes that we've lucked out with the Pod Squad -- well, not Tess. I like Ava much better than I like Tess, mainly because Ava wasn't trying to climb in Zan's pants. Points for that. Lonnie and Rath are assholes.

Aaagh! Dude! Doctored yearbook pictures! And why is every other guy in a tux? These people aren't seniors. Really, really fake. It's like they took a real yearbook and pasted a picture of Jason in. Damn, I should do that.

Ooh! Bob!

"Your only exercise used to be the escalator at the mall."

Isabel, don't get all pissy, okay? You should have told Max at the outset, but you didn't. Your fault; you get to deal with the mess.

Good job with the makeup. Isabel looked like she actually had circles under her eyes.

Brendan's sideburns will haunt me for, like, weeks. Those things could eat small towns.

How cool is it that Jim's laughing? He needs to do that a lot more.

"Word." Brendan, don't ever do that again.

Lonnie, if you're gonna lie, do it slower, okay? Damn. *I* don't talk that fast.

"You're the freakin' man." How much do I hate it that Lonnie's agreeing with me? He is, though. He so is.

I think it's really depressing that Jason and Shiri have become so good at "awkward" this season. Damn, Darth, you *so* owe me.

I understand that Max is hurting and all, but I want to whack him upside the head.

"I don't want you to hate me." Oh, God, almost a month later and I'm *still* having flashbacks. Sucks.

"No! I'd kill myself." Would you? Please?

Emilie, ease up on the eyeliner. Damn.

"This must be his bitch." Lonnie, c'mere. I can't hit you from that far away.

"She ain't got nothin' goin' on." Are we looking at the same girl? 'Cause I don't think we are.

"I'd do her." Try it and you lose a hand, Rath. Or, even better, a different body part altogether.

Phillip! How was Minnesota? Cold? Good to have you back. Say hi to Diane for me!

Phillip is such a dork. I love him, but he is. Of course, this is a man whose family plays *board* games, but hey.

If any gods up there still love me, Lonnie and Rath will be dead by the end of next week. Preferably in some horrible, violent fashion, and on-screen so I can watch it again and again and again.

"I mean, there's a head of hair." Love you, Brody. Love you lots.

Brody, I can't stress it enough: she's still a teenager. No. But you *are* cute, so...No! No! I can't! I want to, but I can't!

Whoever's writing Rath's dialogue needs to be beaten for a very, very long time.

It's nice to see that Liz and Michael can get along. Though she should have gigged to the fact that Michael has never, *ever* been that funny around her. Actually, I don't think Michael's ever been that funny, period.

Liz, honey, when a strange version of someone you dimly-on-a-good-day consider a friend plants one on you, the acceptable response is to deck him and run screaming to your ex-boyfriend. And then have sex with said ex-boyfriend, preferably so we can all watch.

Lonnie, you call Liz a bitch again and I'm so kicking your ass.

And Colin gets paid for this week. Good to know.

I never thought I'd say this, but I prefer Michael's hair. Anyone keeping track of how many signs of the Apocalypse that is so far? I think four. Maybe three. I don't feel like checking right now.

I actually feel bad for Ava. And don't *even* think that that's in any way due to Emilie.

Man, it's a good thing that my roommates have already gone home for the weekend. I've been yelling a lot of stuff this week, most of it expletives.

So where in New York were the pods hidden?

"We had a fourth." And we killed his sweet, sweet actor-raised-in-Minnesota ass.

"He died in a stupid accident." One that you arranged, Rath. Good job. High marks. Max, kick his ass!

"Something that's gonna affect all of us." Yeah, it's called sweeps. And every time it rolls around, hilarity ensues. No, wait, not hilarity. Sh*t. I get those confused all the time.

"So you guys are, like, defective." Oh, hell.

Max, you're gonna need higher shoes to wade through all the bullsh*t Rath's feeding you. *I'm* gonna need higher shoes, and I'm just watching.

Lonnie being short for Vilandra...which means, presumably, that Max's genetic template is Zan. Zan. Damn. "Queen Elizabeth and King Zan". Feels weird to type, but I'm gonna have to get used to it. Fanfic, here I come!

Isabel, don't smile. She's not funny. She's a bitch. Didn't you learn anything with Tess? You insult Alex, you start off with negative points.

"And there we are." Well, three of you. What with Zan being *dead* and all.

Okay, that's it. I'm locking the seven of you -- yes, *seven*; Tess, you're not invited -- in a room and not feeding you or letting you out until you're all getting along again.

"This is my twin brother Bob." No, Bob's the Jeep. Jeez, Michael, read a webpage.

Good job, Maria! Way to work the feminine wiles *and* stick it to Michael!

Can I have breakfast with Brody? Please? If I can't have Max or Kyle, preferably in some sort of twisted sexual experience, I'll take him. Aw yeah. Love me some crazy British man.

Writers: You are *not* allowed to kill Brody. You are *not*.

Body piercings? Not synonymous with "edgy" and "hip" and "New York".

Not as many notes this time, because every couple of minutes I sit back and actually watch the show. This will, in the long run, be a mistake.

It's nice to see Max just sitting at his desk, drinking a soda. I do that all the time. I bet he's got a coaster under it. He's *got* to be an alien. He makes his bed, for chrissakes. And damn, son, you have enough CD's?

Max, it's time to put on the Bullsh*t Boots again. Lonnie's in da hizzouse.

"Shut up!" Woo hoo! Max is pissed! Though when I said I wanted to see him pissed off, I meant at Tess. And then he and Liz could go see Gomez a few dozen times before they passed out from exhaustion.

Uh, guys? A public street? Not the best place to have a screaming fight. That's why there's a dinner table, after all.

"All you care about is yourself. And Liz Parker, of course." And? Your problem being?

Oh. No. Michael and Isabel are really Rath and Lonnie. In no way did I see that coming. And from New York, of all places.

Darth, you're trying to kill me. And it's working.

Max, y'know, that *wasn't* Isabel. You don't have to take your sh*t out on Liz, okay? You don't. And every single word you say is *so* gonna get thrown back in your face during every argument you guys have for the next 50 years. "You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning!" "Well, *you* broke my heart like a twig more times than I can count and gave me my gifts back."

Oh, God, you're giving gifts back. That's just f**king *cold*.

So why is Tess going? Tess is going why? Max, you are disappointing me. Feel bad about that? You *should*.

Hey, Leader Boy? How does Liz know so much about the granilith if she hasn't been there? Think, Max, think...

I haven't felt this bad since EotW. No, that's not a compliment. They'd *so* better have sex at the end of this season.

And how do we explain this to Diane and Phillip? "Honey, where were you last week?" "In New York." "Oh. Pass the potatoes."

Points for Ava. Not Emilie, mind you, but Ava. Way to grow a backbone.

"Think I was gonna kill her?" Well, considering that you killed Zan, um, *yeah*.

"Word." Brendan, what did I say earlier?

For a minute, I thought that last song was Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself". Man, that would have been cool. A Billy Idol song about masturbation. Gotta love it.

And no badger commercial. Goddamit. I was looking forward to that.


Counting Grant and Brody, I have to do *sixteen* of these. So bear with me, okay?

Until we see Grant again, if ever, consider him MCS non grata. I refuse to waste space on Creepy Older Man...

...especially when I get to talk about Crazy British Man! Woo! Ahem. Sorry. Damn, but I love me some Brody. I still kinda miss Milton, yeah, but Brody's a hell of a lot more laidback than Milton ever was, and it's nice to see that Max doesn't *have* to wear the uniform anymore. Good thing, too; there isn't a man alive who looks good in yellow. And call me a traitor if you want, but he is so damn *cute* when he's flirting with Maria. He's not as old as Grant is (I don't think), and he's completely *not* Mr. Hi-I'm-Older-And-Suave; he's a bit of a geek, actually, and I respect that. Brody gets a cookie. And feel free to stick around, Actor Whose Name I've Yet To Learn.

Kyle? Who's that? Oh, right, *that* guy.

Jim has a whole lot of nothing to do in his one scene, but he does it well. Nice to know that he's still on their side, even though we don't get to see that side of him that much. Plus, we get to see him laugh, and the last time that happened was never. Bill gets a cookie, though. Damn, he's cute when he laughs. I'm just sayin'.

Colin, as usual, does his best with his court-mandated 7.32 minutes of screen time. But can Alex get a plot this year? *Please*? Cookie, Colin. And I'm sorry about the screen-time thing, honey. If I could do anything about it, I would.

The more I see Maria, the move I luuvv her. (And yes, that was an intentional typo.) She's still pissed off about Michael -- proof that most of her speech to Max in EotW was just he's-a-jerk-and-I-need-to-get-over-him bluster; if she didn't care, she wouldn't get hurt so easily. Points for taking Brody to breakfast -- she gets to hang out with a cool guy, get rid of him before he can start asking questions, *and* stick it to Michael. Gotta love a girl who can multi-task. Here, Majandra. Have a cookie.

Liz... Liz, remember "Wipeout!"? Remember? You were in the car, and saying that you have to tell Max the truth? *Remember*? Apparently not, because you haven't. It's good that you want to be friends, honey, but if you honestly thought Max was gonna go for that, you're on more drugs than the producers. Points for giggling at Rath, though -- who wasn't? -- and doing that "ew, ew, *ew*" dance in the hallway, but you should have slapped him. I'd be willing to pay to see that. And points for telling Max about the granilith, but only half; you should have told him *how* you knew about the granilith. I know, I know, then we would have had no dramatic tension -- but I watch Buffy, people. Farscape's finishing up its second season in January. I have dramatic tension coming out my ass; I don't need it here. Shiri gets a cookie; Liz gets a hug. Self-sacrifice sucks, doesn't it, sweetie?

The longer I watch this show, the more I start giggling about Michael's line waaay back in Missing, about " more reason to envy Max Evans." Dude, *why*? He's had his heart ripped out, he's being shoehorned into a position he *so* doesn't want (though, to his credit -- and a thin thrill of fear down my spine -- he's growing more comfortable in the role), he's been tortured, he's learned he's betrothed to a girl who, by my reckoning, is regularly outacted by *benches*, and his sister's keeping secrets from him. Oh, yeah. I'm gonna covet me some of that. Well, no, not really; I'm just glad to hear he's still in therapy. He needs it, especially if he's buying Lonnie and Rath's stories -- at one point, I found myself playing the world's saddest song on the world's smallest violin and yelling for him to "put on hipwaders; the bullsh*t's high today!" On the other hand, Isabel *has* been keeping things from him, Michael's really not doing his job in the Back Max Up Department, and he's still convinced that Kyle and Liz had sex. Not the best month on record. More than warrants a trip to New York, but in *my* head, he's going with Liz, they're staying at the Plaza, and they're having a lot of sex. I'll get sweeps how I can, thank you. As for the cookie...y'all know the rule.

Tess had pretty much nothing to do this week, save say her name and latch onto Max's side like a remora. Apparently, that's next week's plot, too. Oops! Was that a spoiler? Oh, no, that's Tess every week. My bad.

Isabel, before you get all pissy, let's get one thing straight: You found out about Vilandra waay back in "Surprise", all right? You *should* have gone home, told Max about the granilith, and then made him sit down while you told him about Vilandra. But you didn't. You didn't, and now you're getting all pissy because Max is asking questions. He's the *leader*, Isabel; he's *supposed* to ask questions. And how much prettier is Isabel than Lonnie? No, really. Good job, Katie. Cookie.

Well, hell. I actually don't have a whole lot to complain about on the Michael front this week, mainly because he was rivaling Alex for screen time (i.e., not very damn much). The only twinge of annoyance I felt was when he got all pissy that only Max was invited to the summit. Brendan...cookie, but it's grudging, what with Rath (more on him below).

(For the record, we're skipping cookie with the Dupes. I don't think they'd appreciate the gesture, and God knows what sort of diseases they're carrying around with them. Onward.)

And now, the Dupes.

Hear a drumroll there? No? Well, good. You weren't supposed to.

Actually, no, that's not the actors' faults. Writers? Saying "yo" and "word" *every other sentence* does not give you "street cred", all right? The accents were...okay, besides Katie's, they all kind of sucked. Which almost makes sense, because Katie's the only one who's from that part of the country; hell, she and Jason are the only ones who are from *this* country, period. And if I never see another lip bolt/nose ring/sh*tty haircut on this show, I will be a very happy fan. Ow. Sideburns to your chin? Not synonymous with "bad-ass". I have yet to be terrified of a man who cannot wash his chin. I liked Barbies when I was little, but not SlutBarbie.

Ahem. Sorry. Rant. But damn, y'all, you've *got* to work on that.

To be fair, the Dupes -- and I hate typing that goddamn word; they're clones, too, Darth, just like our version -- do have this vaguely creepy, almost palpable sense of menace about them. You literally have no idea what they're going to do, which is nice. It almost makes up for the Facial Hair of Fear and Dialect of Doom. Almost. And where are *their* Fairy Godaliens? We know that in New Mexico, two died in the crash, one was captured by the government, and one (Nasedo) got away. So where are theirs? And why wouldn't I be surprised to learn that when the Dupes hit 16, they killed their aliens?

Okay, let's just say it: Zan, to the best I can remember, was the name of one of the Wonder Twins on the SuperFriends cartoon show. That colored my perception the entire episode; I could *not* move past that. And as far as leadership skills go...I bet he'd have a length of chain hidden somewhere, and he probably fought dirty, but make it a fair fight (which would never happen), and Max would kick his ass. Tattoos. *Ooh*. Bad. Um, no. And I was a little disappointed to see that Zan got all of three minutes of screen time...and hit by a *truck*? Come on, Darth. *I* could do better than that. I refuse to believe he's dead until I see a body -- and since he's a Dupe, not even then; I don't see any of these kids, even other-Max, having any real compunctions about murdering a homeless man and altering his physical features to resemble their own so that they could fake their own deaths.

Rath -- well, no compunctions here: I hate Rath. With a violent, bloody passion. He could be beaten to death by those dead-hockey-player kids from "Dogma" and then have his corpse gnawed on by jackals, and I'd just sit back and have some popcorn, maybe score the hockey kids on their performance. I do not see *one* redeeming value in him. Not. One. He clearly wants Max to go to the summit to save his own ass, and has no real problem damaging Max's relationships with Michael and Isabel to do so. He seems bent on sucking Liz's face off for no good reason other than she's Max's ex-girlfriend (Hey! Rath! Is your name Max? No? Then lay off!), and is so ready to hurt Ava when she actually speaks up. Wow. Hate him. Hate him lots. Want him dead.

Lonnie -- see most of Rath's comments, but with a few differences. She's at least as bad as Rath, and for once, I can see Katie and Brendan's characters sucking face. Fine. The two of them deserve each other. I still want to know how she found out about Vilandra -- and did anyone else notice that she didn't seem too torn up about betraying her brother and their people for the sake of some ass? And I'm sorry, but no one who repeatedly calls Liz Parker a bitch is *ever* gonna get points in my book. Hate her too. Hate her lots. Want her dead, but Rath first, simply because I hate him just a little bit more.

Ava... Okay, don't hate me, but I didn't hate Ava. Believe me, no one's more surprised about that than me. Something about her, though...she puts up with all the sh*t Rath and Lonnie pile on her, keeps quiet about Zan's murder, and generally tries to slink down in the background in every scene she's in for fear of being noticed. Ow. Plus, from the all of three minutes we saw of them together, she wasn't trying to climb in Zan's points. You could learn something from her, Your Royal Crapness. I'm glad she stayed behind. I kind of want to see more of her next week. Hey, maybe Tess'll get killed, and Ava can stay with *our* Pod -- nah, it'd never happen. Nice dream, though. Mmn. Dead Tess. That's good pie.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5, subtracting points for characterization via crappy facial hair and bad accents, and extra points for eeeevil. Subtle character shadings these ain't, people. And for the record, if I have an evil twin, I hope she's from Minnesota or something.

Next week: Liz gets to deal with the rumor-riffic aspect of pretending to sleep with your ex-boyfriend, while Max, The Skank, and the Evilest Evil Twins Ever head to the Big Apple in search, other aliens. And bad special effects. All of this, plus stock footage, next week in "Max in the City".