Season 1, Episode 3
Date of airing: October 21, 1998 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.6/4 in Households, 1.7 rating with Adults 18-49
This episode proves two things: The writers were funny and the show could be an action comedy, and the writers didn’t have a clue what they were writing about. First of all, creating a time loop certainly brings some opportunities, and the genre cliches, while predictable, were enjoyable, but why would Parker do the same mistakes over and over, even though they could have been easily preventable, and Parker could have lived a much happier time loop, if he only wouldn’t have taken Olga with him (let alone his launch bag) all the time? Not taking Olga with him on the mission would have spared him from confronting her with his inability to be honest, or love, and maybe he would have found time to go after Jack, considering the well-dressed guy with the shotgun was the problem, and not Jonathan Axelrad. Okay, maybe I can somewhat understand why Parker would take Olga with him, considering he would like to take every chance to make himself look good in front of her, maybe catch a glimpse of his crush on her, and see her reciprocate it (after all, she sort of did that before, but then a backstep or the Ebola virus came between them). But yeah, that thing with the launch bag was ridiculous as well, and showed that the writers didn’t particularly care about whether they were creating plot holes or not.
Also, did Ramsay really not believe Parker when he said that Olga was shot? Just because he thinks Parker might have gotten crazy and needs to be institutionalized again doesn’t mean he should neglect the security of his other colleagues, let alone not prepare for the eventuality that one of his team members was indeed in life-threatening danger. I mean, for not taking care of that problem alone, Ramsey deserves to be fired immediately, but since Parker was still in the time loop, I guess he was lucky, and once more one of Ramsey’s faults as a character is being forgotten by a backstep. I don’t know if that was silly or just forgettable writing, but while I might have loved the show as a 13-year old, with every year SEVEN DAYS ages, it becomes more and more hilarious with its plot holes, and in hindsight I’m even asking myself how shows can be written this way these days.
Anyway, Axelrad was a funny character, and with his annoying weirdness, the episode went above average, as the comedy overshadowed the silly plot holes. The way he was angry about being interrupted during his lunch, the “hostage situation,” or simply the questions-and-no-answers in the car ride to Nevada were enjoyable, and I was smiling with a hanger in my mouth, while Parker grew more and more annoyed by the guy who still had a meal or two left on his shirt. Sure, the whole story was extremely simple and didn’t show that the writers were ever serious about the time travel premise of their television drama, it was nice that they were able to bring some humor into the plot, proving that SEVEN DAYS can also be comical. Like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER had funny episodes every once in a while. Like SUPERNATURAL knew how to fluffen things up with jokes on top of jokes here and there. Besides that, with the comedy premise, it’s much easier to stand the characters, even if they happen to be as annoyed to each other as Parker and Olga were during the third time loop.
Parker went a little nuts though, when he couldn’t stand having to do the mission one more time, and knowing that he will be around Axelrad once again. That Parker wouldn’t care at all what could happen to Axelrad seemed beyond me, and that he would risk a potential relationship with Olga just by being a huge freaking dick to Axelrad in the back of the car (shooting the car radio, for example), seems very much out of character. Here was Parker, putting some serious work into winning over Olga, but he is already failing, because of his shitty attitude. I am actually surprised that a kiss almost happened between the two, after Parker managed to be honest at least once in his life. That shouldn’t have happened either, and I am talking both about the near kiss and Parker being honest. By the way, Parker didn’t go through more than four time loops, each of them five hours long, which means he was only dealing with Axelrad for 20 hours maximum. Parker got so annoyed by Axelrad that he had to shoot a car radio and tape him shut, and all of this took less than a day? Damn, maybe Parker should quit being a government agent and look for a job that suits his soft and breakable ego.
Best part of the episode: Hey, the episode went out of the studio and into open land. I shouldn’t be celebrating that fact, but SEVEN DAYS isn’t really known for showcasing pretty-looking landscapes, and the meeting place between Axelrad and his fiancee looked quite nice. An empty road, a lake right beside it, and it actually looked like Nevada with all that orange and sand around them. It looked very pretty. Almost peaceful.
Worst part of the episode: Jack was pretty much a murderous ex-husband, which begs the question what the hell happened with this man while he was in jail. Turning from a cheat in the boxing ring to a killer? That sounds like he was walking into some evil fists more than once during his prison sentence.
Weirdest part of the episode: As mentioned already, why would Parker continue to take the launch bag with him? Since he landed on the base anyway, he didn’t need to take it with him, as he would have picked up what he needed straight from the base.
Main characters death count: Olga died in this episode, continuing the trend of at least one main character getting killed in each episode. And Olga picked up her first death, after she was close to dead in the previous episode, which means she levels up with five of the other main cast members. Ramsey still leads with two deaths, and Parker still hasn’t died yet.
Player of the episode: Marta the server really tried to make a living in this seemingly hellhole of a restaurant with a drunken Sheriff outside. Marta deserves the award, so she can punch the hell out of Axelrad with it.