Season 2, Episode 21
Date of airing: May 10, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.3/4 in Households
This was actually a very good episode. Even though I’m a nonbeliever and this episode somewhat made fun out of faith and religion when it comes to Reverent Carl Flood, I liked the notion that a person or persons from a distance can change the lives of a entire neighborhood for the better, and showcases that the war against drugs can actually be won, even if it’s with the help of technology that should not be working. In addition, I love this episode not just for focusing on Donovan for once, giving him a back story as well as a sibling to take care of (like Olga, and Ramsey had in their respective episodes during which their sibling either died or was a terrorist ad needed Parker’s intervention), but also using the friendship between Parker and Donovan and making me believe once more that there is a great and wonderful friendship between the two which could almost be real. In the meantime I can forget all about the drug-related story, since I never knew why a high-profile drug dealer and money launder with his own gang would scare a D.C. neighborhood, and not a whole city somewhere in the Southwest of America. Say, Albuquerque.
I also loved this episode for the fact that the writers didn’t have to force themselves to create a backstep event. Granted, Parker created one by spilling all the secrets of Project Backstep, so he can travel back in time and help is best friend, which is definitely contrived, but at least the writers didn’t need to access the random name generator to create the existence of an international statesman having worked towards peace between countries, but had been killed just a few days ago, which is something the show has used a few times. Finally the writers were able to focus on a personal storyline without forcing an actual backstep event down someone’s throat which will then be forgotten after Parker made his Conundrum call. The writers obviously thought the same, because the notion that Parker would create a backstep event is maybe just a little too weird. But it’s different, therefore better than anything else that has been seen before. The only thing is that the USA Today apparently took it for granted that every information they got about Project Backstep is real. Not to mention that the existence of time travel in public media should create a big whooping wave of excitement (because science) and hate (because religion). I guess in this particular case there was no necessity for confirmation from a second or third source?
The story itself was okay. Once more the writers created a family member (in this case: Donovan has a little sister, and I don’t think she was mentioned in “Sleepers”) to create drama, and once more a pathetic and generic story of evilness was put into the center to make the heroes shine. There wasn’t much the writers were able to deal with, since the main focus lied on Reverend Flood himself, and the writers’ efforts to show that the messages God sent you were not from God, but from the world’s only chrononaut and his best friend. And maybe a vision from a white Jesus, which Flood may or may not have seen in the dark sky. The writers could have brought some brother/sister relationship into the plot though. After all, the original premise had Tracy in the middle of the excitement (as well as Tracy’s fiancé), yet she was almost completely absent for the rest of the episode, while Frank and Donovan were dealing with drug henchmen. It’s a problem SEVEN DAYS has never been dealing with properly: The show writes women into the spotlight, but halfway through the episode those women are being recycled out of the narrative and the specialists, who happen to be guys, take over. It’s a pretty bad look on the show as a whole.
The rest of the episode… Yeah, let’s say it’s quote forgettable. That Talmadge would go for Donovan’s plea near the end seems ridiculous, because he probably learned that Parker used the backstep for his own good, but didn’t think to do anything about it. Then again, Talmadge has always been a helping had for his team, when it was needed, so his decision to break the rules was kind of in-character. In addition, why would Parker and Donovan be so stupid and throw money out of the chopper, when they can clearly see a bleeding Reverend standing there (and then dropping to the ground), who was supposed to be in the hospital? Hell, Parker and Donovan could have dropped the sacks of money right in front of the church, so that no single dollar gets into a hand of a greedy person in the neighborhood, because it’s obvious there are at least a few greedy hands in said neighborhood. It’s kind of like how Parker left Svetlana’s money to the church — he didn’t throw it to them from the skies, he just handed it over to them nicely and quietly.
Finally, the fact that Reverend Flood didn’t die is almost a miracle. He had a gunshot wound, but he didn’t bleed to death while walking around and preaching and witnessing the rain of money. And it really is now possible to track down the flow of money via a satellite with the help of the magnetic stripe in the bills? Whoa, Big Brother is not only watching you, but also tracking you 24/7 from space with a freaking secret satellite.