(sorry guys – playing catchup on reviewing the last three episodes before tonight’s new one)
“I like you, my wife loves you. She love that man. I don’t know why.”
This is the rare episode that begins in the daylight, with the Squad checking out a report of a suspicious person in front of a liquor store. They end up chasing a black kid all over the place, driving, cutting through yards, hopping fences. And I think they would be the first to admit that this chase scene is more like a scene from GRUMPY OLD MEN than DISTRICT B13. To their credit I guess there’s a little POINT BREAK in there.
Using Seagal Sense, Seagal finds the dude hiding under a shed. Larry yells “Boy, put your hands up!” and I know some of you hate it when I talk about the uncomfortable racial relations in this show, but I’ll be damned if this scene doesn’t look like the capture of an escaped slave in some mini-series. Anyway, it turns out he has drug attachments, but they can’t find him in the system because the warrant hasn’t gone through their computer yet, so they let him go.
But this unproductive chase is an important plot point, because it establishes that Fortunato has a bad knee that hurts when he has to jump fences. Seagal wants him “in optimal condition” so he’s “finna take you to one of my friends, a Chinese accupuncturist/herbologist.”
First they try to spot some drug slingers, but everybody starts yelling “Steven Seagal!” everywhere they drive. Fortunato says, “They know you do be Steven Seagal.” They see a guy swerving, pull him over and he’s drunk. This turns out to be the funniest celebrity recognition scene so far as the guy first says, “My wife love you! I don’t like you,” and says he thinks his fighting is fake. He wants to shake Seagal’s hand, but Seagal only wants to shake his wife’s hand. As the conversation continues he begins to become more positive toward Seagal and decides that he “could whoop” Van Damme and Jackie Chan but not Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. When Seagal adopts an accent during their conversation the drunk excitedly says, “That’s how you talk in movies!”
Note that Seagal claims to have known Jackie Chan for 40 years, which would mean before Seagal was a movie star. I think maybe he just said the wrong number accidentally, but I like this motif of “you didn’t know this before, but actually for X number of decades I have done such and such.” In this case he has been friends with Jackie Chan.
In the end, Seagal gives the man a hug and he’s driven away saying, “My wife ain’t gonna believe me! She ain’t gonna believe me!” and the beauty is he’s right about that. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.
In the segment “Johnny Versus Accupuncture” Seagal brings Fortunato to the aforementioned accupuncturist/herbologist. The scene is immediately awesome because Seagal walks in with his hands together in prayer, wearing sunglasses and a robe and scarf that make him look like the Dalai Lama or something. This wouldn’t be a surprise in some of his movies but it’s the first time we’ve seen him dressed like that in LAWMAN. He picks up a few groceries like some powdered turtle shell and tiger bone. Next thing you know Seagal is sticking needles in Johnny’s arms to speed up his metabolism.
Next it’s more suspicious people, some dudes “doing a little bit more than hanging out and chatting” in front of the Village Discount convenience store. The guys run, tasing is threatened, Larry gets his guy, Seagal and Johnny lose theirs. As usual it’s just outstanding traffic violations, but Larry’s happy because he says “I don’t care if he stole gumballs, he’s goin to jail.” It’s like in the remake of SHAFT when he says “I’m gonna whoop your ass for making me run!”
In “Johnny Versus Accupuncture Part 2” (Dark Territory) Fortunato comes back and gets accupuncture for his knee despite his fear of needles. He says, “Surprising as it seems, I am feeling relief immediately,” but it’s hard to tell how sincere he is.
With its mundane police work divided by Seagal’s love of Eastern medicine and the humorous results of his celebrity status this is probly the most enjoyable episode of LAWMAN so far. The one thing that would make it better would be if they actually did find some pot on somebody so that the title could be a double meaning contrasting two different types of herbologists.
Just how much of a healer is he? “Alot of people don’t realize Steven knows alot about Asian medicine. He’s always traveled with a bag of ointments and oils.”
terms of endearment: brotha, potna, Lucky, boy things he says he studied in Asia: the martial arts, Buddhism, herbology, Oriental medicine
. . .
One of the opening establishing shots is of a kitten on a street at night. Although cats are nocturnal it seems kind of vulnerable out there in the projects, like the baby standing on the street corner in the middle of the night in the Dave Chappelle routine. When I saw it I realized there had probly been shots of animals in previous episodes but I don’t think I mentioned that this is yet another connection to the body of Seagalogy, harkening back to all the great animal shots in ON DEADLY GROUND and other films. Seagal’s respect for nature and animals extends even to those living in the city.
The first call of the episode is a possible stolen vehicle. This is one of those weird incidents that make these types of shows interesting, if you’re into them, because you can’t really figure out what’s going on. Some guy was hit over the head and says somebody stole some other guy’s car from him (?). The police suspect a “rock rental” where the guy borrowed somebody’s car in exchange for scoring drugs for him. The guy’s fingers are burnt up like a crackhead’s, but he really does have a bump on his head. Then Seagal uses his Seagal Sense to find the car parked down the street with the keys in it.
Seagal worries about the “mentally dehabilitated” crack addicts of Jefferson Parish, because he knows many drug addicts in Hollywood and sees how it goes. So he goes to the Bridge House Rehab Center and talks to some of the residents. He wears sunglasses part of the time, which we know from the episode where he visited the children’s hospital might mean he’s afraid he’s gonna tear up. He doesn’t have alot to offer these people, but I’m sure they appreciated meeting him, at least as a distraction. And it’s gotta be cool to have Seagal say, “I’m proud of y’all.”
Next call is a house with people hanging out, possibly dealing drugs. They put a bunch of people on a wall, spread their legs, search around with flashlights. Alex finds “4 bags of what appears to be a green vegetable substance” across the street, but they can’t pin it on anybody, so it’s the usual arresting a couple guys for oustanding traffic violations.
Although it’s only pot, Seagal mentions trying to get “the drug dealers that are feeding the addicts,” which is nice, showing why he doesn’t consider it a victimless crime.
The next scene is a crazy daytime traffic stop – an old couple are driving around with their trunk and doors open, and when they turn on the siren the old lady flips them off. It turns out they’re not on crack though, they’re just old white people. They’ve been driving around getting honked at and she thought the siren was more of that. The boys think the whole incident is hilarious and fortunately don’t tase her or chase her under a shed.
Next they search some women at a hotel, and Alex forcefully asks where the crack pipe is. They’ve got paraphernalia in the room but no crack. Looks like they used it all. Seagal notes that it’s three girls with one guy, “copious prophylactics” and porn playing on the TV. “I don’t know what kind of party they were having.” Turns out the dude was in rehab at the Bridge House, so they lecture him about being around crack and then have to arrest him for a theft warrant. “Maybe it’ll give him a chance to think about what he’s done and try to mend his ways.”
To their credit, they finally hassled some white suspects – possibly crackheads and/or hookers, but they can’t prove anything.
The episode ends with Larry entering (and losing) the Mr. Legs charity contest for the Bridge House. Fortunato says it’s “a little risque.” Not as good an ending as the charity event where Seagal’s band played.
words of wisdom: “The power of the mind is infinite, and all of these people have so much potential to become something so much greater than they are.”
“I think karmically these folks that are doing the bad things are gonna get caught, one way or another.”
. . .
Parish Under Siege
Here’s an unusual episode. The Squad goes to check out a rodent problem – a property where nutria are burrowing in the ground and potentially fucking up the levees. I didn’t know what the fuck a nutria was so fortunately Seagal explains that they’re “kind of a beaver-like creature.” Seagal says, “It would be nice to find a way to co-exist with the nutria, and protect the community too… I myself don’t shoot them, because I don’t shoot at anything that’s not shooting at me.”
“It’s Friday night, people are letting off steam” and the Squad reports to a car flipped over, on fire, with two people thrown out. Obviously Seagal’s not gonna be doing first aid (or accupuncture) but the dazed victims think there were three or four people in the car, so the Squad make themselves useful looking around for the other people. Fortunately it turns out there’s nobody else, and we learn that both of the victims survived. Phew.
But it’s still “the end of the work week, people gittin rowdy” so they go around to bars (to make sure everything’s safe, not to get drunk or pick up chicks). Seagal notes that, “When I was in Asia you know I learned to relax by studying the martial arts and meditation, and over here people relax by drinking.” Seagal wants to look for loiterers, which seems kind of petty, but Alex has a good explanation of how their presence can help stop things from getting out of hand sometimes.
They see a guy weaving with no headlights, and find two weird bottles inside. The drunks don’t speak very good English and only Seagal is brave enough to sniff the bottle to try to figure out what it is. John says, “One of them is not really sure, the other one is I really don’t know what it is.”
They eventually figure it out in more specifics though: it’s a bottle stuffed with herbs with rum poured over it. This gets Seagal excited: “We do this in Asia, Larry. We make this in Asia.” He says it could be medicinal, but also gets you drunk, so I guess maybe martial arts and mediation aren’t the only ways to relax in Asia. “This is good stuff, I wish I could have it,” he laughs.
“Sure was an unusual concoction, whatever it was,” John says.
When they report for nutria eradication Seagal is still uncomfortable with it. “As a Buddhist, you know, I really don’t believe in killing anything I don’t have to.” He sits in a car talking to a guy about possible peaceful solutions, and while he’s distracted Johnny and the other guys drive around with the SWAT team shooting the adorable little saboteurs. The title of this episode casts the rodents as former CIA operatives blowing back against the country by using their skills for elaborate attacks in the name of ransom money, but I think the nutria problem is really more like the real life terrorism problem. Shooting them obviously isn’t solving anything because they replenish their population faster than they get killed, but Seagal admits he can’t think of a better way and “at least we’re honoring the cycle of life” by feeding the dead bodies to alligators at the zoo (okay, I guess I lost the War on Terror metaphor with that part).
The last call of the episode is yet another erratic driver, and Fortunato says “Don’t like the look of this fella.” The driver says, “You remind me of Steven Seagal,” but not being in the mood for another “could you beat Sacky Chan?” conversation Seagal just says, “Yeah, well I get that all the time.” After the usual rigamorole the guy has to call his girlfriend to come pick him up.
Seagal sums up his forgiving protector/teacher philosophy: “I’m not saying that they’re bad guys, I just think that they had a little bit of bad judgment tonight and they could be a little more disciplined next time.” They have to arrange for a presumably not drunk girlfriend to come drive the truck home – I was hoping Seagal would do it himself, but I guess that’s not in the volunteer job description.
This is another one of the best episodes of the show because of the weirdness of the nutria problem and because it ends with the unparalleled sight of Seagal feeding dead nutria to “a big bastard” alligator at the zoo. Can you imagine if you went to the zoo and Steven Seagal was inside the alligator pen feeding them meat from a long pole? That would be a good trip to the zoo. He’s obviously a little iffy about doing it, but doesn’t want to look like a wimp when they ask him. “I’ve been studying martial arts all my life,” he says, “but I’d really hate to have to, uh, fight a ten foot gator.” He does well though, especially for a Buddhist.
words of wisdom: “I don’t drink much myself, I feel that it clouds the mind.”
“In Eastern philosophy we believe that the quieter you become the more you can hear and understand.”
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.