… in the lobby of some government building, where the top secret organizations’ branch offices are neatly enumerated. Steele seems surprised, but Laura tells him he shouldn’t be:
“They’re listed in the phone book; why shouldn’t they have a sign in the lobby?” (I actually did a bit of Googling to try to find the LA branch office of the CIA, but kept ending up on the CIA website and decided my blog wasn’t worth attracting the attention of this government agency.)
Steele and Laura proceed to the elevator. Steele has a bit of unfinished business to discuss.
“Tell me about this fella you lived with.”
Oh, I think Laura is enjoying this side of Steele.
He seems mildly amused himself!
They exit the elevator onto the third floor, where a random cleaning woman is somewhat overdressed for her job. (What’s the point of this cleaning lady, BTW?)
They arrive at the glass-enclosed offices of Eugene Price, Operations Director. (I guess this is what they mean by “transparency” in government operations.) A male voice calls to them, inviting them into the office. They enter through the door, which is standing ajar. High security at this security organization!
They are greeted by a very tan, casually dressed guy with a large golfing trophy on his desk. (What is it with trophies on this show? Must be an in-joke.)
He seems glad to see his old pal Steele!
“How long has it been?” he queries, then answers himself: “Danang! The rainy season!”
Danang is a port city in South Vietnam. Its rainy seasons is September-March. Well, that’s not really much of a FUN fact. But it’s a fact. Price seems to be insinuating that he and Steele were covert operatives during the Vietnam War.
“Good to see you, too,” Steele says. (Love the look on Laura’s face here: What planet are we on?)
“Sit! Sit!” invites Smarmy CIA Guy. “You and … uh….”
“So this is Laura!” Price says, as if he’s heard all about her. “Your … secretary?”
“Assistant,” says Steele.
“Associate,” says Laura.
“Whatever,” says Price. He invites them again to sit down. They don’t.
“I’ve been reading about you,” Smarmy CIA Guy says, beginning to pace. “Scoring all those big bucks in the private sector.”
“It’s an adequate living,” Steele concedes coolly. He is not pacing.
“Remington,” he says, calling him by his first name because they’re such good, long-standing friends. “Don’t bull a bull artist.” So THAT’S the key to getting ahead in the CIA? Mr. Steele could have a brilliant career here.
“Is he paying you enough?” Price suddenly asks Laura, randomly.
“Because if he gives you any trouble, you tell me,” Price continues. “I’ll have him audited.” They all enjoy a little chuckle at this implied threat.
“So,” Laura prompts, moving closer to her well-paying boss.
Price wants to know what brings Steele to his office on a Saturday.
“Nothing in particular,” Steele hedges. “Just thinking about the good, old days. Danang, the rainy season …”
Laura gives him a rather obtrusive unobtrusive nudge.
“Oh, and … um … who did I run into the other day?”
“Who?” Smarmy CIA Guy doesn’t seem quite so friendly any more. I wonder why?
“Shelly Quarry,” Steele says, springing the trap. “You remember Shelly Quarry? Information retrieval?”
“Of course you do,” Steele persists. “The Answer Man?”
Smarmy CIA Guy’s never heard of him! By the way, what time is it?
“A little after one,” Laura supplies.
Suddenly, Price has to leave. He promised to take his kid go-kart racing. “Nice seeing you again, Steele. Nice meeting you, too, Laurie!”
“Laura,” she corrects him.
He shows them to the door.
“Well … uh …” Price says.
“Well … uh …” Laura says.
Well … uh … that was a productive use of their time!
More body language! We see Mr. Steele’s familiar nose touching, which has already been discussed. But here we see one of Laura’s more common gestures: running her hand through her hair. This can mean either flirtation or – far more likely here – vexation. Interestingly, she also did it on their way in to the office, just after their banter in the elevator:
Pretty sure it fits the first category in this case!
The detectives head back to the elevator. Steele has thrown his coat over his shoulder and is making a kind of guiding gesture toward Laura. Not sure what the body language experts would say about this, but to me it feels protective.
Back on the elevator, they’re trying to work out what just happened. “Who’s kidding who?” Steele wonders.
The elevator deposits them in what seems to be an underground parking garage.
Laura gives a little thump on a door …
… and Sheldon emerges from hiding. Steele is putting on his overcoat. What, Laura and Sheldon don’t get cold?
Sheldon wants to know if Steele got everything straightened out. Laura tells him it’s all very confusing. The Answer Man doesn’t agree!
“It’s very simple: They’re trying to kill me!”
Mr. Steele points out that someone seems to be a man bent over their rental car.
Yep! There he is!
But who is it?
“That’s Charlie Webb!” Sheldon informs them. He starts toward the man.
Charlie warns him off: “Shelly, no!” Suddenly …
The explosion is powerful. Steele pushes Sheldon to the ground.
As the dust begins to settle, Mr. Steele rises to survey the carnage.
Nobody’s going to be driving that car again soon. (But at least the toolbox seems to be okay!)
As the scene fades to black, we see Laura and Sheldon shell-shocked.
This is another one of those “turn on a dime” scenes. We begin in a light-hearted vein and some flirtatious banter between Laura and Mr. Steele. Then there is the surreal semi-comedy of the office scene – and the scene concludes in a shocking fashion.
The initial elevator scene, with Steele oh-so-subtly trying to draw Laura out about her former live-in, is cute. Laura likes having a secret from Mr. Steele for a change. He’s not the only one with a mysterious past!
The dynamic between Steele and Laura is interesting during the office scene. Both Steele and Laura are clearly puzzled by what’s going on, but Steele is much better at hiding his confusion. He is in his element here, dueling with Price in this subtle battle of intimidation. I think Laura might not have been fully cognizant of the game Steele was playing – she nudges him to get to the point of their visit, but Steele knows what he’s doing. He plays it very cool, and Price is clearly unnerved.
I’m interested in others’ perspective on the final frames of the scene: Steele getting to his feet to look at the aftermath of the explosion, while Laura and Sheldon stay in hiding. The image of Steele standing there creates a heroic, alpha male feeling. Is this the first instance of what I call the “Bondification” of Steele?
Share your thoughts!