Seven Days (“Peacekeepers”)

Season 3, Episode 2
Date of airing: October 18, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.6 million viewers, 2.5/4 in Households

This is a perfect episode for when you need help to fall asleep after your big holiday dinner feast. Two seasons and two episodes into the show, and the production delivers an episode that could have been any episode of SEVEN DAYS in any season of the show, of any of the decades this show could have existed. The producers move into some boring backwoods of British Columbia for a few days, they find some random tunnel that looks like it had been used in the show before, and they set up the usual silly shootout and explosion mayhem that rather dragged the episode to its end than making it tense and action-packed. The best example of this is the fact that the Serbs did not immediately blow up the truck in the new timeline, which is what they were doing in the old timeline. But I guess you cannot just do what you were doing in the old timeline, when there suddenly is a main character standing right beside the truck and he was not allowed to be killed off this way. SEVEN DAYS always employed convenient storytelling, but this episode kinda baked, took and ate the cake in one swift move.

Parker only wears American during his outdoor missions.

The episode was pretty boring for other reasons as well. First of all, it was obvious that Donovan would decide to stay with the team — the season just premiered, and the show just got a brand new opening intro, which is not gonna be changed, just because another cast member has decided to step down (the fact that Sam Whipple is credited as “Special Guest Star” means he is about to be on his way out, although in his case it was the cancer diagnosis he got before or during the summer hiatus and which killed him two years later). Secondly, the action sequences were incredibly lame. The Serbs were not putting mortars on the trucks or the refugees, and the Serbs were too lazy to storm the tunnel from both sides and make sure that everyone dies quickly and the money is theirs. Thirdly, the Serbs apparently knew about the money all along. Couldn’t they have just taken it before the episode eventually happened to be? Couldn’t they have just killed the refugees in there and stolen the money? One of the characters talked about the Geneva Conventions and the notion that the land was not belonging to the Serbs just yet, but that did not stop them bombing the refugees and do whatever in the church during the old timeline. Besides that, the Serbs as depicted in this episode were criminals, murderers, they could have thought of something to make it seem that the church was theirs and never had anything else to offer but dust and blood. After all, the building looked like it had already been bombed multiple times before the episode even began.

Besides that, I was rolling some eye about the way the characters were behaving throughout the episode. Take Donovan, Morales and the refugees for example, who were taking cover behind the truck, yet Donovan was shot by a Serb who had him, Morales and all the refugees in his sight, which means the good guys were not covered at all. The same goes with Vladek, who popped out of the tunnel with a machine gun in his hand, listening to Major Danevic giving his final warning to the Americans — so, the Serbs did not see Vladek put half of his body out of the tunnel and were completely and utterly surprised they were shot at? And of course there is the thing about Parker’s almost execution. The ring leader was dragging out his countdown for his men to shoot, just so the episode can go for a commercial break and Donovan has all the time in the world to prepare himself in the bushes. There was quite the long sigh coming out of myself during that moment. Even Parker knew that he would be saved after the commercial block, because he never looked like he was about to face his maker through a bullet in his head.

Taking good aim at the bad bastards up the hill.

The only really good part of the episode as near the end, when Grubbs and Morales decided to go back, play the heroes and die fighting. Even though it was a huge cliche that they would change their mind, after having been on a treasure hunt these past one or two days, and get killed while being the good guys for once, there was at least some kind of emotional depth in the episode, even when it was wasted within five seconds during the remembrance part of the story. What would have levelled the episode up though is if Morales and Grubbs would have been the good guys from the beginning, and the entire mission was simply just getting the refugees out. Yes, they could have been there for the money in the first place, but when they saw the drama, they took matters in their own hands and decided to become heroes (and then take the money). Even though that would have killed an entire story filled with conflict material, at least the writers would have found some time to give more attention to Donovan fighting a war he so desperately wanted to fight in, and the episode would have been more grounded and less boring and sleep-inducing. Because really, I was rolling my eyes even more when Grubbs and Morales turned into slave drivers, watching the refugees carry the money into the tunnel. What was missing in that scene to make the American soldiers even more evil was a freaking whip.

Seven Days (“Stairway to Heaven”)

Season 3, Episode 1
Date of airing: October 11, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.5 million viewers, 2.2/4 in Households, 1.5/5 with Adults 18-49

This was most likely the second-best episode of the entire series, and that might say a lot about this hour’s writer Stephen Beck. I already mentioned him during the review for season two’s “Buried Alive” and “Space Station Down,” which had emotional value that brought the characters past their action adventure pulp story and took the narrative a little more seriously, and this episode by Beck is not that different from the aforementioned offerings of this science-fiction show. When a show that does not focus a lot on the characters delivers less than a handful of episodes that do indeed focus on the characters, then I am here for it and I can see where SEVEN DAYS could have gone in general if it had a writers room that cared about development and consistency. Stephen Beck created depth to his arcs and he makes his audience fell with and for the characters, let alone feel like they are not being jerked around by trigger-happy TV writers. In fact, I almost wept when Mary-Anne and Tara had their teary reunion after the climactic part of the story — they just found each other, they just realized who the other was, and they had to say goodbye immediately or the world was about to end. It’s heartbreaking stuff, and definitely emotional enough to have this episode burned into my mind for its level of emotion. The black hole may have been used as a helpful doomsday device to have Mary-Anne and Tara come together a little too quickly for my taste, but that is something SEVEN DAYS usually does not do, so for this episode it is an astounding win.

Violence against co-workers should be punished with prison time.

The only thing Stephen Beck could have gotten rid of was the comic relief story of Ramsey’s dog, who was a little too old and too deaf to hear the pleas of its master to get out from under the car. When Ramsey went for Ballard’s neck and choked him for the sake of comedy, I decided to not laugh about it and instead roll my eyes ’til kingdom come, as it was a story that did not help the episode’s cause at all. When you already have emotional value in your episode, why killing it with a rather stupendous plot about a dog under a car and Parker not giving a damn about it, all while Ballard gets choked out for it? By the way, if I had been Talmadge and I was witnessing Ramsey choking Ballard, I would have freaking fired Ramsey on the spot. You don’t do that to colleagues, not even to be “funny.”

But other than that, the episode was close to great, compared to what the show usually is. Sure, the weapons deal could have been more interesting and suspenseful, and Tara could have been more interesting as a character (she was about to fall into the life of a criminal, right?), but Mary-Anne’s fate was well written, and I loved that she was not that crazy about the realization that she was not only dead, but that her existence is also the cause for the black hole and the freaky weather phenomenons all around her. Yes, it was convenient that she realized quickly and knew that what happened was because of her, but it turns out it added to her character arc. I am sure the writers would have done more with the plot if they would have had a few extra minutes or were dealing without Ramsey’s dog, but the characters of the story were easily accessible, thanks to the fact that Mary-Anne was intelligent enough to realize what was happening to her, without asking too many questions and function as a living, breathing, personified exposition monster.

They are looking into the eye of the end of the universe.

Ballard finding out the culprit for the “black hole” was a bit dumb though. I understand that he is a genius and that this guy finds out everything, but what he practically did here was finding out the existence of black holes and what can be done to close them. Sure, this particular black hole was not a black hole per se, but the similarities were stunning, and when Ballard was able to find out why this energy-sucking hole on the exterior of the Sphere existed, then he could basically find out how black holes are created, making him the richest man and most famous scientist in this series universe. But I should not be bitching around it much, because the actual premise was intriguing. The world and the whole universe was about to get sucked in (would the sucking have stopped if the hole had sucked in Mary-Anne? If so, basically half of the world might have been destroyed, but she would have eventually been victim of the black hole like everyone and anything before her), and the second death scene of a character was happy-end-ish enough to create emotions in me and give this episode a formidable standing in my TV collection.

Seven Days (“The Cure”)

Season 2, Episode 23
Date of airing: May 24, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.0/4 in Households

It was somewhat of an exciting season finale, though everyone should remember that the show is all about hitting the reset button at the end of an episode and that there will never be any kind of development regarding the lives of the characters. Parker and Olga may have shared a kiss during the final minute of the season, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna change anything between the two and they will start off the next season as a romantically involved couple. Which is why the show is always so freaking disappointing in hindsight, as I really love me some character development every once in a while. But that disappointment isn’t the issue here. The story was good, the execution was good, and the fact that the villain was the good guy made the whole episode more intriguing, even though it took the writers half the episode to get to that point and make it the issue of the premise. Also, the writers were expanding on their premise for at least 40 minutes. Traveling back 160 and more years — well, if this is possible, what else can be, if the writers would have had the chance to make something out of SEVEN DAYS? Could there be a moment in the show’s run that has Frank Parker travel back for more than seven days (spoiler: no)? Will there be another white man in the history of mankind who has jumped back in time for more than seven days after Olga’s husband and Dawes, so they can either save the world or just steal the power source for shits and giggles?

You have one shot to save the world.

Krysta was an okay-ish character. She was good, because there was some depth to her with her paranoia and mental issues (the latter never having been front and center, which I was a little sad about, as she and Parker could have connected over it), but she was written in an inconsistent way. She is a very secluded character who keeps things for herself and other people at a very large distance, but as soon as Parker comes around with his six-pack of a chest and a few fake good manners, she is open to the thought of just hanging around with a guy she just met, or maybe even shanking him, let alone telling him that she just realized a cure for cancer. Okay, maybe Krysta is a sex-positive character who took one look at Parker and thought there might be sex happening in a few minutes (which is why she decided to hang out with him), but I don’t think that distrust towards other people and being sex-positive goes along within the same person, as these are conflicting personality traits. I have distrust towards other people and I’m trying hard to be sex-positive, but that just isn’t possible in my life. As soon as something might happen with another woman, my trust and abandonment issues take over and there won’t be sex, because those character traits are battling it out like my brain is a battlefield.

Dawes was a good character though. He was the villain and he was the hero, all at the same time. He was also the martyr of his own future, which brings a deeper meaning to the story, no matter how cliched it might be or how little the writers focused on that part of Dawes’ character. I liked that the writers weren’t looking for a cop-out, and that they were consistent with what Josef was saying about the backstep program back in “As Time Goes By,” which essentially means that the original backstep team will be considered heroes in the future. Dawes was for real: He came from the future, he had a mission, and he was something in awe of the fact that he is dealing with his greatest hero. It’s just a shame that the writers didn’t have any time to give Dawes more screentime and let that shine through. If Parker is Dawes’ biggest hero, there should have been much higher admiration from one to the other, like a kid is meeting his favorite sports athlete for the first time. Not that I was expecting “I’m your biggest fan”-kinda dialogue, but Dawes was sort of cold to Parker, and they were aggressive towards each other (maybe it was mission-related), and all kinds of admiration wasn’t part of the story until Dawes’ dying moment.

Of course you could argue about the fact that the writers used the cure for cancer for their premise. I always thought that there is no cure for cancer, because cancer is not just cancer, there are different forms and kinds of cancer. I mean, even leukaemia is a form of cancer — did Krysta find a cure for that as well? Did she essentially find a cure for deforming DNA and blood cells, which is essentially the beginning of cancer? Did she find a way to cut down on chemistry and Monsanto business, since those elements have proven to create cancer as well? If it would have been a cure for AIDS, have at it, because at least that disease is specific to an event within your body, but cancer is pretty much every bad thing that happens within your body, and this episode never distinguished the different forms of cancer Krysta thought to have a cure for.

Hittin’ the spot.

The moments between Parker and Olga were okay. As I already said, the ending of the episode won’t have much meaning at all. At least the beginning of the episode was hilarious, though completely predictable, and they may even look bad for a character like Parker, who was way too distracted by silk underwear. I would have hung around in the shower for the whole time though, because why would I leave the hot zone and risk being seen and probably being beaten? After all, Olga having a bath couldn’t be more of a private zone, and Parker could have deserved a few slaps left and right and a kick in the nuts.

And to close up this season, here is a bit of an inconsistency. Or maybe two. One, after Dawes travelled back in time, the Sphere in the hangar should have disappeared, like it does every time Parker lands in the past. The fact that this did not happen in this episode showcases the writers’ inability to follow the rules established by previous writers. Two, remember back during “As Time Goes By,” when Josef talked about the Utopia-kind world he left? As it seems he did not mention anything about the mass extinction event after Krysta’s cure went public, which is just another example of a back story inconsistency. Okay, maybe Josef could have lied about the bright new world 33 years into the future, but SEVEN DAYS would look so much better as a television show if the writers had followed all the established back story points over the course of the show. Instead they allow the producers and directors (ad editors) to reuse material they shot years ago, as was the case with this episode. Krysta’s car accident and explosion was taken from “Come Again?” and some of the images from Dawes’ crystal ball came from “The Gettysburg Virus.” Once more, the show is keeping itself very cheap, and it shows both in the writing and visually.

Seven Days (“Playmates and Presidents”)

Season 2, Episode 22
Date of airing: May 17, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.9/3 in Households

This was an alright-ish episode for SEVEN DAYS standards, even though the story was nothing but a lazy attempt at creating an evil politician, who seem to be a dime a dozen these days. One crazy wannabe-president who wants to use his future power to eradicate countries, and only a handful of people know about it and do nothing — which kind of explains what is going on in the circle of Donald Trump, because those people are smart enough to know that their president is a crazy autocrat and wannabe-dictator, yet they won’t do anything about it, because it would cost them the smell of power they enjoy as much as having money in their bank accounts. If Bill Stevens would have been President of the United States, he not only would have started World War Three (as predicted by Parker), the Earth would have been scorched after a few months, which means Jeri was right when she said that Parker “plunged the world into the deep end.” In addition, the fact that I cannot believe no one else knew about Stevens’ plan, and no member of the press or any other highly regarded journalist was interested looking into Stevens’ life and psyche, making this story somewhat ridiculous. Then again, I am watching this episode in 2019, where journalism has unearthed some evil men who the had to step out of the public life, and I am not sure if that kind of journalism even existed in 2000. Sure, Watergate is a prominent example of journalism in the twentieth century destroying a politician’s life, but that investigation started off with a current event (the break-in) — compared to Stevens and his presidential run, I cannot imagine that he did not do anything to prepare for his World War with Asia and that there was nothing a journalist could have unearthed. It’s pretty heavy stuff to think and plan for a world war, so there has to be evidence of it beyond his diary entries, which could essentially be titled “My Struggle: The Twenty-first Century Update”.

A politician’s daughter is always risky to hang out with.

The episode had its nice fair share of emotional moments though, making it better than anticipated. The scene during the town hall style debate between Stevens and President Maxwell, when it came to Jeri’s nude picture in that “disgusting magazine,” I felt not only reminded once more that America has a serious problem with sex in general, but it was a scene worthy of a place among the best scenes with character depth on SEVEN DAYS, as I could see that Stevens was real when it comes to his relationship with Jeri and how he wanted to have one with his daughter, instead of fighting with the thought of never seeing her again, because she might actually be the only person in his life who could reason with him (especially when it comes to his hatred of the Asians, and Stevens may have hoped that his daughter would save him from that hate). But I felt reminded once more that you can’t reason with Americans, who think that women posing nude for a magazine are disgusting, when they have done crappy things in their life as well, which can’t be compared to posting nude in a magazine, because what they have done was even worse. I felt reminded once more that America is anything but sex-positive, and people will continue to slam and smash people posing nude for magazines (mostly women – I don’t think I have ever heard of men being disgusting, when they pose nude), because for some reason they seem to believe naked women are trash, and clothed women have to guide by the rules. I felt reminded once more that America has no problem with violence on television, yet draw the line on a few bad words and a few naked bodies — maybe there is a reason this country has a problem with gun violence and misogyny and sexism, and you can discover those reasons while watching this television episode filled with male wish fulfillment, sexed-up female characters and a fictional politician who has the deepest thoughts of violence and war in his mind and can still get elected president.

Anyway, after this paragraph of trashing America and its values, it’s time to say that I didn’t really like Parker getting into the hots with Jeri. And I especially did not like the three female campaign helpers who greeted Parker after the event and invited him into their hotel room for some after-hour action — as if campaign events is filled with attractive women who only get into this kind of business to find me to have sex with. It’s the wish-fulfillment and sexed-up female characters I was talking about, because this episode was definitely on par with what UPN wanted to have on their network. There is a reason they were targeting a male viewership between 14 and 29 and there is a reason you may have to look a little longer to find television shows that were led by female characters (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER doesn’t count, because it wasn’t UPN’s show to begin with).

The fall of a politician is always great television entertainment.

That Parker and Jeri would hook up was pretty obvious from the beginning, and not just because of UPN’s efforts to sex up female characters on their shows. It was obvious from the moment Parker looked at her nude shot in the magazine, which led to her seductively lying on his car after he saved Stevens’ life, just so the two can have a romance in-between all the madness going on right now. But as soon as that one moment happened (Parker getting beat up, and a second later they are literally eating each other with their tongues), I had to roll with my eyes, as this male-driven show sold its viewers once more that women are here for the male gaze only. I know now why the writers turned Parker into a James T. Kirk version for this show, and I may even understand now why Justina Vail left the set midway through the production of the third season, which was essentially the second of many blows that killed the show after year three. If the writers can’t even give female characters respect, then why should the female cast give respect to the show? SEVEN DAYS just came into the twenty-first century, yet it still acted like a show from the 1960s — yet another reason why it started to fail during the next season, and one of those reasons that make the show look incredibly bad and silly 20 years later.

Back to the episode at hand… I was happy that Stevens wasn’t such a stupid villain. He was a disturbed character, carried by his past and by his fear of ever becoming a prisoner again (he may have been an attempted parody at John McCain?). His final speech was actually great, because it showed that the writers were still interested in creating something like a character for the show, turning him into a sorry man who has finally understood all the mistakes he has done in his life, even if he only came to realize his mistakes with Jeri. Besides that, I wouldn’t have been able to take the story serious at all, if Stevens would have been a cold-blooded villain. Terrorists can become politicians in HOMELAND, and that show was the only show allowed to do that — the rest of television is not. SEVEN DAYS was not special enough to pull the Brody twist, but it was somewhat good enough to make a broken man out of its villain, while the actual antagonists couldn’t even kill two people and get the damn diary back without a hitch. I do have to say though, I was surprised to see that Jeri was still alive and kicking by the end — the way Parker announced to Stevens that he had her blood made it seem like Parker just told the presidential candidate that his daughter was just killed. That was of course done on purpose by Parker, but I am wondering what would have been better at the end: Jeri truly dead, or seeing her go through therapy somewhat successfully? Would the episode’s ending be different with Jeri having died for real?

Seven Days (“Mr. Donovan’s Neighbourhood”)

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.

USA Today’s coverage of time travel being a possibility is absolutely underwhelming.

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.

Donovan has a sister, who’s only known for this episode.

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.

Seven Days (“Witch Way to the Prom”)

Season 2, Episode 20
Date of airing: May 3, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.7/3 in Households

This was a solid and funny episode, though it had one thing that was just illogical times infinity. There is no way that Ramsey would believe in having a shot at a relationship with Olga. There is no way he would even have a crush on her and ask her out on a date on her birthday. Ramsey hates Communists and he made it clear on a few occasions that he wouldn’t mind having Olga out of the team as well, because of her Russian connection. But in this episode, everything about that is forgotten, because the writers decided to give Parker some competition when it comes to his greatest crush, and to have another comic storyline that involves Parker and Ramsey bullying each other and getting each other on their last nerves. This is a showcase of the writers never having had any good ideas about how to fill the empty running time of SEVEN DAYS with stories, so those minutes are usually filled with inconsistent ideas about comedy, and moments that have the characters act illogically. Sometimes the writers really don’t seem to have any new ideas. Of course, maybe Ramsey became less of a Communism-hater before this episode, but a) I can’t believe that, since SEVEN DAYS isn’t known for character development, and b) it’s Nick Searcy we’re talking about, and he probably hates Communists for real.

Three young ladies who don’t know what they want from men.

Anyway, this CHARMED rip-off of an episode was funny, because the three girls were incredibly stupid but hilarious. They believe in magic, and they believe that they just magically created a human being while not asking themselves at all if this is even possible in reality. I know, this is a science-fiction show, but the girls behaved like magic really exists, because they have been doing it for a while and obviously because they never had any real life experience with other people — did they never have any friends? Have they always been watching television shows about witches? Do they even have parents, and if so, where were they during this episode? If this would be the Halliwells I’m talking about, the episode would be even better than it is, but these are three girls who have no clue about life and love. But whatever, they were hilarious, and I loved them being part of a CHARMED parody. Following a hot guy they created, just so they have a prom date, and inadvertently getting into a terrorist plot and pretty much ruining Parker’s assignment — it tends to show you how awful and distracting women can be, although it also shows that this series universe is run by men only, and not a single woman can say something about it. After all, the girls never really did something to help Parker with the mission (they hindered him catching the bomber, and the only thing they actually did good was giving him the name of the hotel that still had a Canadian flag waiving in front of it during the establishing shot), Olga was pretty much written out of the plot with the akgle break, and the mission itself hung in the balance and could only be executed by Parker, because this is still the Jonathan LaPaglia action fun hour. Still, this episode was so dumb when it came to the supernatural premise, it was almost utterly hilarious again. The girls constantly bumping into premise and believing they really conjured a hot hunk of a man with a badge really had me wondering how the hell they were making it through high school.

She can’t even enjoy that cake in her mouth.

They went after Parker and the terrorist, even though they knew something dangerous was going on. They went in-between Parker and the terrorist, even though they should have figured out by now that one of them is the good guy and the other is the bad guy (also, Parker told them to stay in the car, and of course they didn’t listen). But I guess it was only consistent to depict the girls as dumb as possible, so they can screw up every moment during Parker’s assignment. What a shame they didn’t screw up Parker’s savior moment in the hotel, because maybe that would have been worth a narrative.

And the rest of the episode? Well, I didn’t care a lot about Parker and Olga’s cheap date, since it was obvious that their situation would end up where it always begins: Something goes wrong, Olga hates Parker for doing whatever he did wrong and Parker can’t do anything about it, because he never learns from his mistakes. Well, the writers don’t care at all about Parker caring to make his relationship with Olga work. If the writers would have cared, the two would have been on a break by now, trying to get back together. But I must say, the birthday dinner with cake at the end of the episode was somewhat cute. Less cute was Parker showing up at the prom though. How old is he exactly? Why did he think it was such a great idea to go to the prom and dance with his “creator?”

Seven Days (“Pope Parker”)

Season 2, Episode 19
Date of airing: April 26, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.3/4 in Households

Apparently it wasn’t enough for the writers to continuously rip off movie ideas, because now they have to get into ripping off TV show ideas. Thankfully, ripping off QUANTUM LEAP is a cool idea for the show, especially since one time travel science-fiction show is ripping off another time travel science-fiction show, so this time around it was more than appropriate. The episode was luckily very solid, but it could have been a lot more funnier. The writers could have gone nuts with the premise of Parker slipping into the body of Pope Sylvester and just made one huge comedic episode out of it. Parker could have done more in the Pope’s body than just smilingly listening to the sinning stories of an attractive lady and the writers could have done a lot more with the Pope’s Cardinals and Fathers in the mix, who were both intrigued and worried about the Pope’s current behavior. At the end of the day, this episode was essentially just about Parker in the body of an old man, and it wasn’t even a particularly splendid episode of Sam Beckett trying to fix time, although this episode certainly made me hungry to begin watching QUANTUM LEAP. I need more shows to watch that come from the 1980s and 1990s.

The Catholic Church will get weird and sexist with this guy as Pope.

But whatever. The reason for the backstep is once more sort of ridiculous, as well as conveniently developed by the writers to force an actual backstep event. There are always secret negotiations going on somewhere, and in this particular case the Pope was trying to broker freedom between Christianity and the Muslims, although I have no clue if that premise is ever going to be part of real life. As a Jew, Jared Kushner has tried here and there to fix the Israel and Palestine issue and we all know how that one has worked out so far — seeing Christians and Muslims had in hand is a dream for every religious person on this planet, but also fiction for this particular episode of television. Okay, to be exact, it’s the back story of this particular episode of television, because all that one did was create the backstep event, so that Parker can play Sam Beckett for an hour.

Parker as the Pope was great though. Sadly, a few even greater ideas were left behind (most likely because of the running time and the fact that a story had to be told), but at least some comedy came out of the premise, beginning with the aforementioned attractive lady confessing her sins, or Parker trying to make Olga and Ramsey kiss his ring. I liked the scenes of Parker having to deal with the unknown of being the Pope and an old human being at the same time, all while being in the middle of a backstep event, which means Parker was essentially doing one of his missions here. In hindsight, I was very happy to find out that none of the Pope’s staff was involved in the assassination plot and that the villain was just a lone gunman having had conversations with the devil. Sometimes it looked like some of the Pope’s staff wanted to get rid of him, maybe even stop the peace negotiations between the Christians and the Muslims, but besides the weird looks of some of the Cardinals, it was pretty much non-existent in the story. But who knows, maybe it was in the script one day, but then it was cut in favor for some Olga/Pope action.

It takes might to stand in front of the UN.

What I did mind a little was the fact that the few Cardinals around Parker did not have one single problem with their Pope hanging around with people and saying stuff that makes everything seem weird and not normal for a Pope (okay, maybe it’s not weird — the GOP shows us how many damns they give when Orange Hitler Donald Trump speaks or tweets). The Cardinals could have asked themselves (in a comical way) why Olga was so important for the Pope. The Cardinals could have wondered why their Pope was suddenly gone (did they know he went with Olga and his new friends? Were they thinking he was kidnapped, and they just didn’t want this fact to be public?), and the Cardinals could have been generally part of the story. Yes, the writers would have taken the story seriously if they would have taken my notes into consideration, but I believe there is a lot of comedy hiding behind those plot points, and yet the writers were only focusing on the obvious — minus the thing that made me believe for a few seconds that a Vatican member was in on the assassination plot

And finally, the laziness has showed again. They haven’t gone into the boomerang effect, and they haven’t gone into the fact that Parker in the body of the Pope could have never survived that backstep. The characters explained it away with “We don’t know why this happened.” Also, why did no one except Olga and Donovan ask what the Pope was doing in NeverNeverLand? The characters take everything for granted, and they never ask themselves question about what just happened. Like the Pope driving into the hangar and asking Ramsey to kiss his ring and then his feet. If I were part of that scene, my mind would just go WTF?