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The Cape: Dice

Apparently I lied again. Last week wasn't the best episode, this one is. Sorry. Actually, I'd have to go further, and say that this isn't just a good episode of this show, but it's a bloody good episode of anything (and I'm not just saying that because lots of stuff blows up. Although as it happens, lots of stuff does blow up. Quite often). I do not understand why this show was cancelled. The last five episodes must be spectacularly bad to justify the decision to axe it. It's completely insane.

Anyway, we begin ten years ago, in the desert. The bloke from Earth: Final Conflict is raising his savant daughter in an underground complex, and Peter Fleming is entranced by her brain. So much so that he builds a new computer system based upon it. Unfortunately for him, the human prototype is not best impressed, and sets out to destroy him. Although in a series of really aesthetically pleasing ways, so it's not like he's got anything to complain about.

It all starts with a doll. That can never be good. Nasty, creepy things, dolls - or fancy ones like this are, anyway.

Tracey is a small girl with a fabulous mathemathical ability to predict outcomes. Everything she sees is a mass of equations, intertwining all over the place.

I'm truly sorry about that rug. Presumably somebody thought it was a good idea.

Those legs surely can't be natural. Anyway, Peter wants to meet her; but as soon as she sees him she knows that he'll kill her father one day. She also announces that she will then kill Peter.

And fast forward ten years. Tracey's father is indeed dead, and was indeed killed by Fleming. Turning up at a casino party being held to launch a marketing campaign for a new computer system called TRACE - which uses mathematical equations to predict the future - Tracey once again charms Peter. Although not with her brain this time.

She switches his dice for a pair that suddenly begin to glow...

... and then everything goes kaboom.

Which for some reason leads to Elliot Gould. That doesn't usually happen. Anyway, Elliot Gould is apparently a doctor, but is blatantly up to something. Possibly he'll be back some time in the remaining five (sob) episodes, or possibly that was a plotline being foreshadowed for somewhere in the abandoned future. For now he announces that being blown up by a psychopath has apparently done no lasting damage. Which is nice.

Elsewhere, Vince and Orwell study security footage. Orwell seems quite impressed by Tracey's abilities, until the conversation turns to attempted Fleming assassinage, at which point she throws a mighty hissy fit. Anyhow, Vince is all for letting nature take its course, but Orwell convinces him that if Fleming is murdered before the truth comes out about Chess, he'll have no chance of getting his life back. Consequently, for the next few days, The Cape is Peter Fleming's secret bodyguard.

He begins by attempting to confront Tracey, which doesn't go particularly well. She snaps that she may be psychotic, but it's a beautiful, mathematical psychosis, so there. And she does have a point. At which juncture Fleming's security firm arrive to whisk her away for a dinner date with the man himself.

Massive chandelier of obvious plot significance.

I love this scene, hugely and completely. Fleming and Tracey have terrific chemistry, and between flirting and murder threats and their neatly twinned, super-brain psychoses, it's all quite wonderful.

Added to which, as their conversation unfolds, so does Tracey's latest plan for Petercide. It's preposterous and brilliantly Hooded Claw-esque, and fully in keeping with a show that's enjoying itself immensely.

And then bang! goes the chandelier. I had to be careful with the screencapping at this point, as the stuntman substitutes became hilariously obvious when The Cape came swooping in to knock Fleming aside, and I hit the screencap button at just the wrong moment.

Boom! goes half of downtown Palm City.

Leaving prettily mangled bits of gargantuan chandelier.

But no mangled bits of Peter Fleming. Which is good, as I've rather come to like him.

Tracey has meanwhile run off into the night, with further plans in mind. Orwell's million and one forms of computerised espionage suggest that her next target is the skyscraper where Fleming's business is housed, but there's no way that The Cape can gain access to that. Or is there?

Vince asks Ringmaster Max to teach him to tightrope walk, well enough to walk across half the city, forty floors up. In a weekend. Ringmaster Max does not think that this is a good plan.

The mesmerist and the tattooed lady both think it's a great idea, though. They have a foolproof scheme in mind. Ringmaster Max definitely doesn't think that this is a good plan.

The mesmerist hypnotises Vince, and tells him that tightrope walking is basically just going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Except he says it in more of a mesmeristical way. Then the tattooed lady attempts to show Vince how best to save the world on a wire.

I'd have thought it was easier to learn to tightrope walk when you're not diagonal. But maybe I'm wrong.

Ringmaster Max still doesn't think this is a good plan.

But on the night it all seems to go well enough, even if the sky is bizarrely fake.

Or at least it all goes well until Orwell rings up to bitch about Tracey's wardrobe, and kills his concentration. Why does she wear that wig whenever she's likely to run into Fleming? It's a rubbish disguise. Although I suppose if Clark Kent's glasses have been fooling all of his friends for seventy-five years, I probably shouldn't quibble.

Vince has a few legitimate reasons for complaining, though. And it was all going so well.

Tracey thinks everything is going really well too. She's rigged a gas leak, and as soon as the elevator car arrives on the forty-first floor, she's going to explodify pretty much everything that ever was, thus neatly avenging her father, and wiping out the computer that copied her brain.

Peter's still hoping he's in with a chance. That's an impressive case of optimism.

The elevator car arrives, and so does The Cape, at just the right moment. He confiscates Tracey's cigarette lighter and sends her packing, evacuating the forty-first floor in the process.

He has his own plans for TRACE, though. A computer that can predict things might be able to work out who The Cape really is, so Vince decides to put the handy gas leak to good use. Thank you Vince.

Boom! goes the cigarette lighter and its immediate vicinity.

And boom! goes the entire forty-first floor.

And also, boom! goes Orwell's fist (not really) when she catches Tracey on the stairs. She's not at all happy about the attempted Peter murder.

She doesn't look very strong, does she. Somebody ought to buy her some dumbbells for her birthday. Anyhow, another bad guy is vanquished, and another day ends well. Hurrah!

And in an attempt to make each other feel better, Trip and his mother sit together to read one of Trip's interminable The Cape comics. In a nice leap, following on from last week, the comic book Cape has acquired a new nemesis called White Hat.

Speaking of which, Fleming is all alone in his office, when he hears a strange noise.

Turns out it's his chessboard, calling him back to the game. There is misbehaving to be done, it seems.

Jolly good.

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