Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashpoint in a Flash: Season 3 Episode 6: The Farm:

Today’s episode mixes Jonestown and rehab – and it was pretty enjoyable (though my words make it sound certainly more campy than it should be). Hit the jump for our episode summary!

The SRU is ready to storm into a big old barn , and for the first time we see Jules in the sniper position. Spike fires something towards the door… and rewind! 3 hours earlier…A woman is filling up gas at a gas station, only to find that she has to pay for the gas first before she pumps. She is visually disturbed, and slowly walks into the station. The cashier asks if he can help her, and she asks for money. He points her to an ATM, she turns around and points a gun. The cashier starts pulling bills out of the register. She says it isn’t enough, and then a woman and her daughter walk in, and this turns into an icky hostage situation when the police arrive. She locks the door out of the station.

At SRU HQ, Ed is beating the pulp out of a punching bag in front of Wordy. Ed doesn’t want his son going to a party where there’s no parental situation, and Wordy jokes that because his son is a cello player he can’t get into trouble. The conversation ends with the alarm being sounded and Winnie calling out directions. The SRU heads to the gas station and springs into action. Ed hands out team roles as Greg and Jules speak to an officer and other witnesses. Greg tells Spike to look up the expired license plates on the woman’s car. Greg gets out the bullhorn and urges the woman to pick up the store’s phone. She picks up the phone and he tries to talk to her. She wants the cops to go away, and asks him why she should trust cops. The woman holding these people hostage is Rachel Simpson. Greg directs Jules to go talk to her parents. Sam tries to wire in a camera into the store through a ventilation duct. Jules learns from her parents that she is living at a place known as “The Farm” now, and was addicted to drugs as a teenager. Greg talks to her by name, but Rachel fears that she will be shot if she opens the door. Greg manages to negotiate the release of the mom and the daughter. Jules hears more about this Farm, and that Rachel is married to the leader of the facility. He cut her off from their family. This sure is one strange cult in disguise…

Ed and Greg remember that the Farm was investigated a while ago, but no charges were laid. Rachel lets the daughter go and tries to pull the mom back in when she sees all the guns. The mother runs out, and Rachel runs back inside in frustration, locking the door and tearing the store apart. She points the gun at the cashier asking how she can get out, and he says he doesn’t know. ROLL THE OPENING!
Rachel continues thrashing as Greg looks on and wonders what to do. Ed and Jules arrive at The Farm, and are a little worried about the electric fence surrounding the property. They see a boy run and they try to call him, but he runs. A few seconds later, he emerges from the bushes with Dr. Charles Stewart, the leader of the farm. The little boy (Isaac) is Rachel’s son. Charles tries to keep them from bringing their weapons inside, but Ed says it is against regulations. They find out that Charles didn’t even know Rachel left the farm, and he also claims that she has not been herself lately and that she could be using drugs again. He says the reason there is an electric fence around the facility is because the world is dangerous and does what he can to keep the people safe. Ed wants to talk to her friends, but Charles thinks his people might be a little upset when they ask about her. Another member takes Charles away for a moment, and Ed and Jules think that Charles is hiding something. Greg instructs the team to go tactical, and they blow through the station entrance with smoke and flash bombs. They hold Rachel in cuffs, and she reveals that she has to go save her son with Charles. She reveals Charles plans to kill everyone. Suddenly, the story becomes very convoluted. Greg warns Ed and Jules. Charles himself was a reformed addict, and that he was once accused of holding a woman there against her will by her husband.

They talk to this woman at the farm, as she is working with corn, but her tone of voice sounds very delusional. They approach the boy who is chopping wood. They learn that he has never known the world outside of his farm, outside from what his father has taught him. He thinks that he has everything he would ever have right at the farm , and he has no reason to leave. Charles has taught them to fear everything outside of this place. Greg talks to Rachel and wins her trust. The SRU make their way to the farm. Jules and Ed continue to search the farm, where the same member that pulled Charles away from Ed sneaks up behind him with a handgun. On the other side, the boy approaches him with a larger gun and Ed is cornered. They take Ed… Jules spots this and tells Greg. He tells her to stay out of sight until they get there , and Greg tries to get more information out of Rachel. Charles apparently hears voices and thinks that death is the only way to keep his people safe? There was one case where someone left after becoming clean, but then he got addicted again and died. Charles got scared and put up the electric fences. Greg wonders what drove him from helping people to wanting to kill them.

Ed is cuffed under lock and key in a room. He watches Charles as he takes a handful of pills. He tries to reason with Charles, but he is delusional thinking that his people do not always know what is best for them. The SRU arrives at the farm and gears up. Rachel works with Spike to draw a rough map of the farm. Jules is perched on the roof of a farmhouse in the center of the compound and is assuming the sniper position. A phone rings, and Ed instructs Charles to pick up. Greg starts to negotiate Ed’s release. Charles wants his wife back. Greg tries to understand. The SRU enters the compound.

Ed tries to reason with the boy, but he won’t believe him. Another member comes in to take Isaac to his father, and says he will be back for Ed. Spike works one of his gadgets to disable the electric fence and he cuts it apart with Wordy. Leah and Wordy watch the gate and take out two members guarding it. Wordy disables the fence and opens it up. Greg gets to Charles’ house where Ed is being held to go rescue him. They share a few jokes when they see each other. He breaks into the drawer and finds morphine, Demerol, and other painkillers. (Is Dr. Jane Barken a pun?) Jules spots some member sporting NH3 + Cl… And it’s time to pause for a lesson from our resident everythingologist Dr. Sailordees!

*ahem* If one wishes to poison people with chlorine gas and they have some sort of chlorine powder, then all one would really have to do is set the powder on fire to create the gaseous fumes. Really though, back in the earlier parts of this century doing the household chores could prove to be deadly. You see, to clean their homes back then, people would mix anything and everything together (something that we all do today to get out a stubborn stain or mishap). Mixing household ammonia and bleach together would create chlorine gas at concentrations that were high enough to kill. So really, having a few jugs of Clorox and several bottles of any glass cleaner with ammonia in could produce chlorine gas (but these days, these cleaners like Windex don’t contain ammonia in harmful amounts). The reaction goes like this, for all you chemistry buffs…
2NaOCl + 2NH3 --> 2NaONH3 + Cl2

So this episode was missing an important ingredient to this concoction (some sort of sodium product). I’ve taught you enough – don’t try this at home! *Runs away*

Spike and Sam fear they are making poison gas and rush over to the large barn where everyone has been rounded up inside. The boy fears dying, but Charles reasons with him that this is in his best interest. Feeling uneasy, Isaac follows. Inside, people start to wonder what is going on as the poison is being mixed. Soon everyone panics knowing what is about to happen and they try to break out and bust open the barn door. We are now where the episode began and Sam is about to fire an umbrella device to let the people out. The umbrella latches on to the door, and is tethered to an SUV which speeds off and pulls off the barn door. The SRU tries to track down Charles and Isaac, who run out the back door of the barn. They catch up with him in the field, and Charles holds his own son hostage with a gun. Winnie finds out that Charles has cancer, and that he doesn’t have a lot of time left. Ed tries to reason with him to free Isaac. Charles lets him go, and then shoots himself. Sam calls Isaac towards him, as Charles shoots himself dead. The montage begins, biohazard crews begin cleaning up, and some members are arrested. Isaac is reunited with Rachel, who is also reunited with her parents after several years. A tearful family reunion happens as the SRU watches on. On the way back, Wordy wonders if Isaac will be okay. Going back to their earlier conversation, Ed calls up his son and lets him go. A happy ending despite the death.

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