Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Adrift (Part I) - 134

[A major "relationship" episode used as a cliffhanger] Mac and Brumby have their wedding rehearsal and dinner this week and she was upset to find out that Harm had his six-month flight qualifications on the Patrick Henry and would miss the dinner, even though he said he'd be back for the wedding. He said that he "didn't consider missing it a risk," and she retorted "no, you didn't consider it important." He told her that the quals had been scheduled long before they set the date and, frankly, "if you need me at your wedding to make it work maybe you should reconsider who you are marrying." Skates was his RIO and Captain Ingles had "sort of" forgiven him for interrogating him on the stand. Commander Stacy Loftness, airlant LSO, however was rude, abusive and claimed H must have "pulled favors" to get back in the air and he "didn't need a Washington Weenie wasting my time." Skates defended H. During Hs first landing the auto-throttle went bad so he had to fly it manually. He set up a little high and was correcting when paddles called that the 3 wire was fouled and to abort. H powered but just barely touched and Loftness, looking for an excuse, told him he was taking him out of the air. Loftness ragged on H who said that he prevented an in-flight engagement. When Loftness harangued that H had been too slow to respond, H told him "I'm not about to be talked into a rookie mistake and dump the nose." He finally allowed him to go back up and H was "in the spaghetti" all his next traps, including at night. H making his traps were interspersed with M during her rehearsal to "come fly with me" music. H had the highest boarding rate and landing scores of anyone in the quals. He was able to get the first window in the weather of the storm that was coming by promising Ingles a piece of wedding cake on the COD. Loftness said "take Skates with you." Skates had told H that this was her last flight because she was getting married.

Chloe came and was cold to Brumby. Brum gave Bud his rings to "watch with your life" and B left them on the counter. Brum said he was worried, and B said just "do what you did at your bachelor party. Tear off your shirt and sing the Australian National anthem." B broke his cell phone, was told of the unexpected toast he needed to give at the dinner, then found his battery dead. He was able to get his car jump started but fell in a mud puddle before he arrived just as Chegwidden was giving the toast for him. Impromptu he told of the "fate" that had brought he and Harriet together then said that "yours, like any right union on the planet, is a matter of destiny." C wouldn't give Chloe any champagne but Brum gave her a taste to "suck up." C questioned M about what she was going to do after the marriage and M said she "hadn't thought that far ahead." Renee acted very awkward but knew the exact number of seconds until Ms marriage. Brum asked Chloe "are we friends?" and was told "as long as you love M."

H and Skates flew into the "mother of all storm cells." They had a low O2 light so they couldn't ascend. Their plane had some kind of unknown flight control malfunction and systems began progressively failing. They radioed back to the carrier but faded out so rescue was prepared for. Eventually they were going down so called Mayday. H promised Skates that he would "see her down there, you have my word on it." She ejected, but H was delayed. Something fouled in his rigging so he took off his helmet. Then he was being drowned by his rigging until he cut the shroud lines. After Bs toast, C got a phone call and was notified about Hs situation. All were very upset especially Renee and M. Singer told M that H would be ok. M said, "he always is." S said that "this time he has even a better reason (looking at Renee) he's got someone in his life." M suggested C ask Ingles to patch his communications into their speaker phone at the party. The Viking spotted a raft, dropped a SAR buoy and flares then deliberately flew below minimums to rescue Skates. M told Brum that she wanted to be alone, weeping. H was shown loosing his raft and floating away into the waves and turbulence.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Mutiny - 133

[A significant episode despite being nearly a complete Role-playing show (based on true 1842 execution aboard a naval vessel).] Mac (M) was assigned to give a talk at the Naval Academy about it's beginnings in the midst of preparing for her wedding to Brumby (Brum). She researched the case of the USS Somers where the tyrannical actions of the captain had eventually led to the establishment of a "much more sophisticated method of training officers." While preparing, M had "flashes" of the events, as she said "in a very personal nature." Brum played the captain Alexander Slidell MacKenzie who had believed that Philip Spencer, the son of the Secretary of War (SECNAV), was plotting a mutiny. Then, through his paranoia, he hung Spencer and two of his "accomplices." Spencer had spoken with Pursers Steward Wales (Tiner), 1st Lt Gansevoort (Bud), and Sgt Michael Garty, master at arms (Gunny), about fantasy's of taking over the ship to become pirates. They all thought it was foolish but Ganesvoort turned him into the captain who was an arrogant tyrant flogging sailors regularly for minor infractions and belittling Spencer for his disrespect. During Gansevoort's search, a list of mutineer men was found: 3 on the certain list including Wales who had turned him in.

The only place to hold the prisoners was on deck. The captain became increasingly suspicious, he thought the crew became more resistant so he had Gansevoort hold a special officers hearing (without telling the accused thereby giving them the right to confront their accusers or even know the charges.) They decided to hang the 3 to prevent the crew from "rescuing" them. Upon returning to port, a board of inquiry was held (headed by Lindsey) which did not pursue charges further. The Secretary of War then decided to hold a court martial for homicide and Cmdr Norris (Chegwidden) was trial counsel. Mr. Griffin (Webb) was defense council and Big Bud the judge. None of the officers would speak to Norris during his investigations- he pointed out to the jury that MacKenzie had recommended promotions for 100% of his officers except those he hanged, smacking of command influence. When Norris saw Mrs. MacKenzie (M) talking to other potential witnesses he called her to testify. He asked her if she loved her husband and she didn't answer until she confessed" I don't know" - (which startled M out of one of her reveries with Brum in the room.)

A sailor (Mikey) showed Norris the 15 lashes on his back that MacKenzie had given him for washing clothes without permission and plead with Norris to "do something" against the tyrant MacKenzie. Norris said that if he showed the scars to the jury they WOULD believe that the crew was ready to mutiny. Norris fragged Gansevoort on the stand who had to admit that the naval statues were NOT followed: The accused were not allowed to appear before the tribunal judges; they were not allowed to confront the witnesses against them; nor, make a case for their own defense. In fact, despite Gansevoort and the captain claiming that the officers hearing was "independent" the captain had already made out the next days duty roster for the hangings! Spencer had admitted to a life-long fantasy obsession with pirates. His father had gotten him appointed midshipman to "straighten him out" and said that he had heard Phillip fantasize about being a pirate but "wasn't fool enough to believe him." The two others hanged, however, really never understood why they were being hanged. When Spencer asked MacKenzie why he was rushing to executing them, MacKenzie said "because your father would try to interfere to save you" and hurt his career.

Harm (H) had told Mac that he "had overstepped the bounds of a well wisher" at her engagement party and "were they ok?" She said they were. In her final reverie she saw disclosed the 3rd person hanged by MacKenzie (Brum) and it was played by Harm! [In history the Capt was not court-marshaled; but, he was not "commended" for his actions as was the custom, so it ended up ruining his career and he ended up a broken man - and Annapolis was founded to train officers better.]

Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Lifeline - 131

[An important series episode] Throughout the engagement party given by Chegwidden (C) for Mac (M) and Brumby (Brum), Harm (H) and M end up on the front porch reminiscing about their relationship and trying to understand here-to-fore unasked questions. Brum was shown warning Renee not to interrupt H & Ms "talks" by saying "we will have them for a long time. Let them say their good bye's." Frustratingly, not all the questions were answered as both H and M were shown still not fully wanting to be open with each other. Flashbacks (which seemed to be more than just lazy writers tricks) were used to show: --When M & H 1st met and the image of Hs girl friend Diane; --When H sandbagged Ms 1st case; --Their shipboard argument about respect; --Ms exclusion of H during the investigation of Jordan's death; and, --The night in Sydney harbor when H backed away. Then flashbacks also showed: --M quitting JAG; --fighting terrorists with C on a ship; and, --nearly kissing C. M asked C to give her away at her wedding. Out on the porch again M asked H: "why did you back away?" then H reminisced: --Their fight on ship saying "you honestly resent me, and you have no faith in me"; --His noticing Ms engagement ring in the Australian airport; and, --Their "baby deal." H asked M "do you love him" and instead of answering she diverted with "do you love Renee?" H diverted back with "I'm not marrying Renee" so M told him "that's not a question you get to ask."

Together they recalled: --When H saved Ms life in the forest; --When M saved Hs life in Panama; --When H got C to take M back after she quit JAG; --M being there for H in Russia while finding his father; and, --when M fell off the wagon and got drunk. M asked H "just what is it you want" and he remembered all of his "Hallucinations" of M being sexy. H asked M "why did you go to him so quickly?" and she responded, "you pushed me away, what did you want me to do?" "Wait," he said. "For how long?" " As long as it takes" They then kissed "goodbye" on the porch and remembered their other tearful goodbye when H left for the carrier, "why is it" M had said, "that I'm the only one crying?" H finally said "we're getting too good at saying goodbye."

Throughout the episode Bud progressively soiled and removed articles of his clothing to where he finally ended up wearing an apron and being embarrassed into serving drinks by Mattoni. C gave M a cake decorated with the US and Australian flags; and gave Harriet (Ht)her Lieutenant's bars. Ht asked B if he knew about it and he said "that's why I got all dressed up." The episode ended with H & M standing next to each other and the camera showing the backs of their hands touching.

Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Past Tense - 132

Jordan Parker, back from overseas for 4 months, called Harm (H) and left a message. Renee returned the call on speakerphone which was answered by NCIS agent Kenworthy. Jordi had been shot and killed by an unknown assailant and Kenworthy put H as the lead suspect (cheap writers trick being used all too often). Chegwidden (C) ok'd a JAG MAN investigation by Mac (M) & Bud (B) because NCIS wasn't sharing any information. They brought Cdr Coulter in to help. Finally Kenworthy let Harm off the hook claiming that Jordi had committed suicide! Coulter interpreted the findings better than NCIS did. She found: animal blood at scene, powder on both hands not just her shooting hand and a smeared partial print on trigger. H, M & B followed several leads including a recent boyfriend Maj Lynch whom she had broken up with and who had lied to NCIS about being out buying an engagement ring as his alibi. None of the leads panned out until Coulter found it was dog blood at the scene; specifically the neighbors dog who had followed, the mentally ill wife of Lt Col Maples into Jordi's apartment. Mrs. Maples saw her husband, who was privately seeing Jordi for counseling, come out of her apartment. Being jealous, Maples angrily confronted Jordi who needed to get her gun out to defend herself. When she dropped the gun Maples picked it up and shot Jordi.

Renee was demanding, argumentative and nagging the whole show and whined "am I going to have to die for you to commit to me?" She said she "didn't know" him. When the case was finally solved Harm showed her a video of his 13 y/o school dance filmed by his mother. The police obtained evidence that Danny Walden was involved in drugs and had used Cs SUV. Danny went to court, arrogant and haughty but C testified against him. His attorney tried to paint C as a "man scorned" and just vindictive. The judge saw through that and found Danny guilty but when he was going to give Danny probation with his mother C intervened and suggested that wouldn't be effective. Dr Walden used as her arguement "he wouldn't lie to me" which then also convinced the judge so he gave Danny either jail or join the service. Danny chose the Navy and C followed up to make sure he went to the recruiters telling him he better write his mother.