Friday, December 12, 2003

A Merry Little Christmas - 193

[Again, so many fragments it's difficult to summarize, and all of them "soapbox" rather than action; but, an interesting episode, none-the-less, as long as it doesn't become their regular method. Harm and Mac, Turner and his dad, Harriet and Bud, Harm and Mattie, Chegwidden and Meredith, Coates and… well everyone. It is their Christmas show, after all.] Harm and Mattie were rebuilding a carburetor at Grace Aviation, and discussing what she needed to do at their upcoming custody hearing, when Harry Clark burst in the door and became abusive to Mattie. H bristled and grabbed him only to be told that he now owned the hanger and she had better be out in two days. Mattie had a birthday without telling H, and was now 15, and said she "did things my way." She applied for extension on bank loan but they refused when they found out she was running the business, and sold it at auction. The house is still hers, with a bank note. The guardian ad litem, Donna LeMoyne, came on as a shrew and caught H without a lot of specifics to his plans. She said he'd better be ready by the home inspection and needed someone to vouch for his suitability as a parent. H asked M to vouch for him. She reminded him of their 5-year deal; but, when she found out about Mattie, she bristled about him not telling her. He said he didn't think she was interested and she told him "that's the dumbest thing you've ever told me." He said he didn't want to argue "about us" and she shot back "there is no us!" He said "you made sure of that," and she: "you didn't fight me on it… I'm tired of you cutting me out of your life until you need something." He just got up and walked out saying "forget it. This is too important for you to screw up." Morgan Wattley, the home visit, found only beer and tofu in the fridge, no separate bedroom and alcohol bottles. H admitted he had firearms in the house (but locked up), was an F14 pilot (and intended to keep flying), had crashed (4 times), and was reading books about adolescent pathology (preparing for the worst to avoid surprises). Wattley called him "refreshingly candid." Mattie drove herself to Hs apartment saying that her dad, Tom Johnson, had showed up at the house and said he would fight H in court. Johnson told a sob story, had left Mattie with relatives, and got weepy in court but didn't convince the judge. Mattie got angry and said her name was "grace" not "Johnson like him." She said he was a drunk, had killed her mother and she would never live with him. H said that he had given his word to Mattie "that she would never be alone in this world again." M made a surprise visit to the court to testify and elucidated that H had previously: risked his life to protect the son of a fellow aviator (Josh, Kim Douglas), taken personal interest in child cases, taken a child witness into his home (Josh Pendry), and pulled strings to get medical attention for a traumatized girl (Dar-Lin Lewis) while he found her sisters killer. He is "the kind of man I'd want to be the father of my children, and without reservation he is up to the job." The judge didn't think either of them were the answer so ordered Mattie put in a foster home for 6 months while she made up her mind.

Harriett, still producing the Christmas USO show in Baghdad, had Varese Chestnut, a blues singer, snowbound in Reno and not able to get out. She told Bud that "next to raising the kids, this is the most important thing that I've ever done and I want your support." M suggested marine "extraction" from a nearby base. She made it out by snowcat and bumped into Sturgis Turner coming out of the elevator. T knew of her (very well) and told her of his favorite songs. She seemed interested in T as well and said she'd leave his name at the door of where she was performing the next night. He asked if is dad could come. Chaplain Matthew Turner, had been asked by Chegwidden to perform the Christmas Eve service. C also asked him to officiate at his upcoming wedding, May 14th in the Annapolis chapel. Chaplain asked about T and C told him that "he needs to stop expecting perfection" and the old Zito saying: "demand perfection of yourself and be dissatisfied, of others and always disappointed." His dad took a cab home, his idea, and T talked with Verese about both being raised by preachers and needing to be perfect. She said that her dad had waited for the right time then told her of the times he had "fallen from grace." She told him that he should ask his father the same thing and he shot back: "he never did" and quoted 'Soldier, scholar, horseman, he and all he did done perfectly as though he had but that one trait alone." "Yates," he said, "was thinking about my dad when he wrote that." She quoted Bessie Smith's song about all men eventually becoming like "an old worn out ford," and said "no man is perfect." She likes jazz because it starts out with set notes then goes wherever you want, always different, never perfect or meant to be and always in the process of becoming." He said he had been looking for someone like her for a long time.

Coates informed C of a parcel service accident in Italy which burned Meredith's present to a crisp. It was a personalized PDA, which Co said wasn't very personal and offered to help. She bought a Hermes scarf, channel #5, Portolano gloves, and louis Vitton wallet (things she had stolen in her youth). He told her to take them back and get another PDA on his credit card. When she did, and he looked at the PDA he told her to "go to plan C… and let me know the results." She told him how grateful she was to be at JAG and he said "you've got to quit being so damn grateful all the time… it gets rather tiresome. You're earning your keep, that's what matters. Stop thanking everyone." She gave him what she had come up with for a present: a poem about his various presents, their problems and how much he missed her. She had arranged for a member of the cast of Romeo and Juliet in Bolognia, where Meredith would be attending that night, to read it to her personally after the show. Stunned, all C could say was "damn." She asked if he was happy and he replied "for the first time in years."

All were in the chaplains church service, even Co who said she wasn't going to come. He advised that "there are many reasons to turn to God" (and the camera showed close-up's of the various people he was referring to as he said them). "Consolation, healing the brokenhearted, deliverance, liberating the bruised (showing Co, H & M) and guidance (showing T, and Mattie who took H's hand). "God has answers," he said, "if we are willing to listen; but often are lacking the ability to hear what he's saying… too busy in our lives, lost in our own misery, deaf to the sweet music there is. He give us forgiveness for ourselves and others (showing T, H & M again). After the service they all talked on the steps. Mattie asked H, "you won't forget me?" H said "are you kidding?" She went toward her dad in the truck who was going to take her to her foster home. M followed her to the truck and asked to speak to Johnson "one alcoholic to another." When Mikey wondered how the USO show was going, Co said "lets go find out."

All in Cs office, watching a live feed of the show, Ht said that it was the nicest present she'd ever gotten. They watched Verese sing her song and T watched lovingly. The chaplain said "don't miss your chance" and T replied "I don't intend to." Co told C that she had requested a live feed from the armed forces television and she was "afraid she used your name. And may have committed you to a few things, among them a Saturday morning call in show," then stepped back a few paces from him. H was at the Vietnam Wall later looking at his dad's name and Mattie appeared. M had brought her, after convincing Johnson to step aside. She said he had agreed to a full course of treatment and if he pulls it together, and if Mattie wants, they would see. "Until then I'm yours," Mattie said, then added, "you can hug me you know." H asked M to come with them but M said she had a date with Webb.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Pulse Rate - 192

[It looks as though they feel having several intertwined plots something that they need to do this year. There are at least four in this episode. It does have a "stinger" ending.] Seaman Duncan was electrocuted when the radar rig he was attempting to repair on the USS Gillcrist as turned on by PO Ferrier when she didn't see the "work order tag" on her console. Lt Jourgensen, information division officer, told Mac that any repair required three signatures: his, the lead interior comm tech and a "second man." He saw the tag on the console 10 minutes earlier. PO Demato, Duncan's partner, told Harm that there was no way they could tell if the power was off, they just had to trust that no one wanted them dead. When M asked PO Atwood, the "second man," why he just stood there and let Ferrier turn on the console if he knew they were making repairs, Atwood said he didn't know what she intended. Everyone, she said, had several things going on at once but no one had the job of watching the tagged console! PO Miles Yates, whose job it was to be at the console, gave many excuses of repair to other damaged equipment, and that the test wasn't supposed to have been started until 10:10 (not 8:30). H bent down and found the red tag inside the vent grate to the console (about 4 inches from the floor). They decided to call it accidental and were leaving when Atwood asked them to reconsider and tattled on Yates having done the same thing before 2 weeks prior. They decided to stay and interview people again. Demato said Yates wasn't popular and that Atwood was mouthy, and a blow hard. She had seen Atwood and Yates at each other's throats a few times. Atwood accusing Yates of being a slacker. Ferrier confessed she knew of the previous incident. Yates had left his console during a repair and Atwood found the tag on the floor. Not believing the too obvious coincidence M asked who would want to sabotage Yates. Ferrier said that no one would have to make him "look" like a slacker - he always left his station to go have smokes. A pack a day habit, 10 minutes per cigarette, you do the math. "He's absent more than he's there, and the enlisted are tired of covering for him." They caught Yates outside smoking. He said he "couldn't help it." M said they were reversing their decision; then, added that they were adding involuntary manslaughter to it. H wrinkled his nose with incredulity.

On board ship H told M that being there was "like old times," and "we should do it more often." He told M that he bet Clay didn't bring his work home with him. She said she thought they were going to travel light, leaving baggage behind. He said that he "left his baggage in Paraguay," and when she said she would respect his privacy about his "deep dark secret that he left stateside," he replied, not quite under his breath, well "there's a first." M tried to convince Bud of her heavy handed decision. "He's weak, and his lack of self discipline resulted in a fatality," she said. Chegwidden asked Coates if she would help plan his wedding. She agreed and demanded to do it gratis, as an honor. She talked to Meredith (who was on the phone to Italian professore Selvaggio) about the dress. Meredith called it a "parade float," and was stunned that there would need to be at least 12 groomsmen to be formal military at Annapolis. C said it looked like a cantaloupe blown up by a land mine; but, "if Meredith likes it." Co overwhelmed him with her checklist: best man, coed bridal shower, prenuptial agreements and honeymoon insurance. Then she tagged Meredith with menus and French food. Co told M that "they both were becoming uncooperative," and M advised her it was her job to "drag the admiral kicking and screaming if necessary into the connubial bliss that Meredith wants but is too afraid to ask for." "Married men live longer," she said. Asked for the same advice, H told her that someday she'd get married and "spend the equivalent of a house down payment on a party which her friends would attend out of obligation and she would awaken the next day in a champagne hangover and realize that she was stuck with this man for life." He said she would get the same advice from M and was surprised to hear that M had been "Nostalgic" like she "may have found who changed her mind." Eventually Meredith came to tell C that she didn't want to have a big wedding. C said neither did he and Co confessed that she "may have gotten carried away." Meredith also dropped the bombshell that she wanted Cs blessing to go away to Italy over Christmas. She had been invited to the University of Bolognia for Shakespearian drama.

Dupree, Mikey's room-mate, complained about not being able to escort his sister to the Thanksgiving ball because of his honor remediation. Mk offered to take her and he reluctantly agreed. He met Cassie over coffee and found she was pre-law and liked him as much as he liked her. Mk visited B who told him that he "wasn't always the most mature" and needed to focus on his studies. "No matter how much you want it, you can't have it all," B told him. Mk responded that he was 21 and to stop calling him "Mikey." Harriet, who was still planning the USO show, told him that she and B had to "bend the rules a bit" for their relationship and to "not let B convince you not to see her," besides, she told him, "that's not what B wants." When Dupree found them dating he flew off the handle and said "she's 18, if you were my friend, you wouldn't have gotten involved with her in the first place." Cassie came to find out what the problem with her brother was and Mk met her first. They kissed and were interrupted by an angry Dupree. She told him "if you don't lighten up on this big brother crap you can find yourself another sister." Dupree requested room reassignment but Mk told him that he had already broken up with his sister. "Now she's mad at both of us." Eventually Dupree brought his sister in her formal so they could go to the dance… as friends… taking it slow.

Mattie tried to contact H several time but didn't get through. Finally H called her. She asked if she would "slow his fast life down." He said "if we're going to be a family, you're going to have to stop doubting me, have a little faith." B and Ht had difficulties finding time for their family with their busy career's. Finally, someone in Baghdad told Ht that the tickets for the concert she was preparing should sell for $700 and asked that she call his wife and tell her he only wanted to be home for Christmas. They both left work for home.

H told C that M was going after Yates with a vengeance and he asked what problem she might have with a "nicotine addict." In Yates defense, H recounted that the CDC called nicotine more addictive than heroine or cocaine. M compared nicotine with chocolate or alcohol and said that it was possible to deny one's addictions for the greater good. She was pontificating grandiosely in court and H argued with her. When the judge called them on it, H commented that there was nothing more annoying than a reformed addict. They were at the bench when Yates collapsed to the floor, sweating. H found several nicotine patches on his chest. M told H that "your addict just OD'd," and "if he wants to impress me he'd quit cold turkey." H sniped, "like you did… twice!" Yates testified that Atwood had been "on his case since the fraternization." He said he had broken it off with Ferrier rapidly and stayed friends. M did follow-up on Ferrier and found she not only started the test early but wasn't even supposed to be on duty. "A woman scorned is a force of nature," and told H "you ought to know." H commented that you could "work side by side with someone and not know what they're thinking," then apologized and asked for a "truce." H pressured Ferrier on the stand that she was the only one with a motive and she admitted that Yates "was everything to me." She was there because she just wanted to see him; but, it was Atwood who had admitted to her that he had removed the tag so he could write Yates up and get him out of the way. He had threatened to hurt her if she told. Atwood confessed to M and she charged him. H told her that she proved her point: "how badly things turn out when co-workers cross lines." She said "it wouldn't have happened if they stayed good friends." So H asked her to get a bite to eat and she declined saying she had a date with Webb.