Just for the hell of it, I'm liveblogging ultra-popular new science crime show Eleventh Hour tonight. Last week, it was the most popular scifi show on TV in the ratings. Can it keep up with its own success? Only a blow-by-blow account can truly answer that question. For my liveblog impressions, updated every 5 minutes or so, see below. Spoilers ahead! A boy has stopped breathing because he drank red juice. Scary! Cut to an airforce base, where Dr. Hood is looking frowny and tripping out over formulas on a white board. Whoa, he's so deep. Now he's asking for ice cream and a hot plate. He must be a genius! I like it when science involves vanilla ice cream. You mark my words, every episode of this damn show will involve explaining science with food. Grapes, ice cream, okra. I love how Rachel, Hood's FBI partner, always calls herself his "handler," like he's some kind of sex slave being led around on a leash. Our non-breathing boy is joined by his parents in the hospital, perhaps in comas? The family's daughter remains asymptomatic. Biotech talk. Plus, acronyms! Who cares — I want to see more seizures or maybe an exploding head or barfing. Hood is cozying up to the asymptomatic teen by calling himself "the science guy for the FBI." She's the main suspect for poisoning the family, but he doesn't think she's a threat because she failed chemistry. What, she needs an A in chemistry to look up how to poison people on the internet? It's a breakfast mystery! Shades of the show House as Rachel and Hood search the breakfast victim house for clues about what made the family go comatose. Hood gives us little factoids about how margarine can kill you. I'm glad this show is perpetuating breakfast paranoia, which honestly is simply not emphasized enough in spooky science shows. OK, suddenly we're watching some nice people celebrate paying off their farm. I bet they are about to die. Otherwise, why are they in the episode? Commentary on the foreclosure crisis? Luckily, we're back to Hood, who is doing an autopsy on breakfast family's dog, who also died from the food they ate. He found fungus in the dog's stomach. Gross! Hood shows fungus to Rachel under the microscope, and she says, "It's beautiful." WTF? Why does the chick have to think fungus is beautiful? Can't she be useful and like kick its ass or something? Turns out that the fungus is genetically modified! Obviously something bad is happening if GMOs are involved. Hood's factoids keep rolling. Wine makers use genetic engineering! Also, some wines involve rot! Rotted grape wine is also really expensive. Hood even brandishes a visual aid: A bottle of the expensive rot wine. Did the FBI pay for that? Now they're at an evil vineyard, where everybody has red eyes like the infected in 28 Days Later. They're all infected by fungus! Goddamn grape farmers spreading their bio-engineered fungi. "There is a fungus among us and I bet it's on these grapes!" says Hood. Is that supposed to be funny? Luckily, Rachel explains, they can investigate some company (the vinyard? what company is it?) for financial dealings. She's called in a favor at Quantico and they'll get a bunch of private financial records. When Hood questions how Rachel can do this without a warrant, she says, "You've gotta love the Patriot Act." WTF, the vineyard is a suspected terrorist organization? Or she gets it classified that way by pulling a favor at Quantico? I feel like I'm watching the wacky science version of 24. There are too many random facts in this episode. Let's have more unwarranted surveillance and seizures with drool, please. Did I mention an exploding head would be nice too? Or at least some frog-licking like last week. I got my wish! Seizures with drool! During a family dinner (same paralysis, different family). So now dinner is dangerous too. So you can supplement your breakfast paranoia with dinner paranoia. And now we've even got a scene of dessert paranoia. The nice farmers from the random scene before are throwing away their dessert for no reason, and their son appears to feel guilty for something after hearing about the deadly dinner victims on TV. Is he selling fungus-laden fruits for some reason? Now Rachel is using her iPhone to wield the Patriot Act and figure out that the vineyard spent 10 million dollars for genetically-engineered something from a biotech company that isn't Massive Dynamic but could be. Apparently their profits skyrocketed after getting whatever it was from not-Massive-Dynamic. Oh great, now we're getting a lecture from a biotech exec who created the GMO fungus about how GMO foods are awesome because they'll feed the Third World. Damn liberal GMO makers with their damn fungus. Agribusiness is greedy! That is your lesson, as well as breakfast and dinner being dangerous. Now ANOTHER damn lecture, this time from Hood, about how academia is totally sponsored by biotech companies who buy buildings and sponsor research in so-called public universities. Like I said, there are just too many ideas in this episode and too many damn lectures. One of these sold-out corporate academics is now lecturing at the biotech exec who lectured Hood about GMOs saving the third world. Seems that our sold-out academic was doing the GMO paralysis fungus and wanted to stop researching it but the biotech company kept doing it. Or didn't keep doing it? What's happening? Will somebody please lecture me about margarine, or ask for ice cream? The sold-out academic feels so bad that he turns on a red mood light in his room and sticks his hand into a handy tank full of scorpions. Dude!! I wish they showed a closeup of the scorpion sting instead of his face all bathed in red light. Scorpion death light! Hood almost gets bitten by the sold-out academic's genetically-engineered scorpion, and Rachel steps on it in the only badass moment she's gotten this episode. Please more badass Rachel, instead of "I ask stupid questions" Rachel. Awww, a tender moment where Rachel says she's sad about Hood's dead wife. She should at least have lectured him about grief. Or maybe slung some factoids about the stages of grief. Wait, we've figured out the poison! The evil biotech exec was using scorpion venom to create an "organic pesticide" that paralyzes insects. That's what's paralyzing our victims. Oh, sciencey! Can I just say, any cheesy science that involves scorpion poison is cool. But really, only if the scorpion is super-giant. Please, all I ask is for a super-giant scorpion people. Oh, here's another factoid: there are bugs in carmine red dye. And the bug parts cause the scorpion poison to work on people. So everybody who died ate the scorpion-laced fruit plus red dye. This really makes no sense at all, which is why we get a nonsensical lecture from Hood on it, followed by a lecture from biotech exec on how there's a "fatal synergy" between their pesticide and carmine. They discarded all their fatal synergy crap, but somehow it got out into the world. Who did it? Apparently it's the son of the happy farmers, who is running away now that Rachel and Hood are randomly investigating "farm workers." Really confusing people. Rogue pesticide users? What? So the rogue farm worker was giving his dad this pesticide that somehow miraculously helped him make money. That's why he was able to pay for his farm! He had to use this rogue pesticide to compete with the "Monsanto farms" next door. See? Indie farmers are actually more evil than Monsanto. So the lesson here is that indie farmers will stop at nothing to compete with agribusiness. And large, greedy biotech companies will stop fatal synergy experiments even when indie farmers won't. In one of those final "let's make some jokes" moments of the episode, Rachel quips, "I guess I'll just have to look at my food labels more closely from now on." Apparently "natural coloring" is bugs, according to Hood-the-fact-dispenser. Watch out!!! If you eat red stuff, you are eating bugs! And that makes you vulnerable to scorpion pesticide, though sadly not giant scorpion pesticide. "According to the FDA, if it's 'natural' it can be anything," says Hood. Then he bites into a green-dyed jello, which is full of petroleum products. "Nothing natural about it," Hood says happily. Get that? Indie farmers bad, natural ingredients bad, and petroleum-derived green dyes good! I feel smarter already. Thanks, Eleventh Hour!
Okay, so after getting caught up with the episodes, I really have no idea what everybody's glitch is with this show.
The science is much better than the putrid Fringe.
(The "science consultants" on Fringe don't even have science backgrounds!)
"Cut to an airforce base, where Dr. Hood is looking frowny and tripping out over formulas on a white board. Whoa, he's so deep. Now he's asking for ice cream and a hot plate. He must be a genius! I like it when science involves vanilla ice cream. You mark my words, every episode of this damn show will involve explaining science with food. Grapes, ice cream, okra."
Ummm, okay, you're just trippin', Annalee.
This is actually my favorite scene of the series thus far. (Wish they'd have more mysteries involving hardware, rather than back-to-back poisoning stories.)
The watchband heated on the hotplate and then dipped in the ice cream to show that the landing gear hydraulics on the crashed airliner became brittle when landing in -20ºC weather (Thermal Shock Fracture) is very much like how Richard P. Feynman solved the O-ring issue during the Challenger investigation.
Actually, this Jacob Hood character reminds me a bit of Feynman.
Both of 'em are guys I'd have liked to hang out with.
And I don't it's fair to pick on this show for using food in demonstrations.
I believe ReGenesis used a food analogy once or twice.
And what show tells us "The papaya is the friendliest of fruits" before commencing "goo-age"?