We left our heroes on a cliffhanger, with a sword at Laura’s throat.
How will they escape their terrible peril?
We’ll never know. Because …
… the next scene opens on a pretty sunset skyline. Look! There’s the Century Building.
Shadowy figures are entering someplace. Who could it be?
Oh. It’s just Laura, Steele and, from out of nowhere, Murphy. Mr. Steele seems to have a headache.
“Samurai swords? This guy must put on a hell of a show,” Murphy comments. I KNEW he was interested in show business!
“Hmm,” Steele agrees. “Terribly convincing.”
“His place must be above that movie theatre,” Laura explains. (Considering she and Steele must have had to climb a staircase or ridden in an elevator while blindfolded to get to Tenaka’s quarters, that’s hardly a brilliant deduction.)
According to the website Changing Minds, “Slowly rubbing the forehead can indicate deep thinking, as if the person was massaging their brain to get it going.” Looks like Mr. Steele has some powerful pondering to do! Meanwhile, the site Study Body Language interprets Laura’s gesture thusly: “The “Fig Leaf” Position: Another interesting posture is when the hands are crossed over the genitals – also called the “fig leaf” position by experts. It’s a self comfort gesture that reveals vulnerability, as it protects another sensitive part of our body – our genitals. It’s often seen in funerals or other somber events, when people feel uneasy. Hmmm. Hard to see why Laura would be protecting her genitals; let’s go with “uneasy.” And Murphy with his jacket slung over his shoulder? Who knows!
“That would explain where the girl disappeared to this afternoon,” Steele says. He seems overcome by it all, leaning against the desk and loosening his tie. What can it mean?
Murphy’s had enough.
Turning his well-toned glutes to the “fourth wall,” (I believe in the simian world this is known as “presenting”), he suggests they go to the police. Laura disagrees!
“No. We send the police in there, and Mike would get killed before we even got close.”
“Poor chap,” Steele agrees, reminding everyone he’s a Veddy Proper Englishman.
“He didn’t even know Kenji was leading a double life,” Laura points out.
“And now he’s smack dab in the worst of it, without a clue,” Steele adds.
“I can empathize,” Murph grouses.
Oh, snap! You’re letting your bitter show, Murphy.
“Any chance we can work a trade?” Steele suggests.
“With what?” Laura argues. “We still don’t know what the Palace of Heaven is.”
Steele points out that Tenaka thinks they DO know what the Palace of Heaven is.
“You mean set up a swap? And grab Mike before Tenaka realizes we’ve handed him a bag of hot air?”
Well, that was an intuitive leap, Murphy. How did he get that from Steele’s comment? Oh, and by the way, Murphy’s crossed arms indicate he is feeling defensive and resistant. Let it go, Murph. Just let it go.
“Too risky,” Laura says, running her hand through her hair (The gesture indicates exasperation or upset. Or, again, sexual arousal. This is getting to be a rather naughty post!). “We don’t even know how much hot air to put in the bag. And there’s no guarantee he’ll let Mike go no matter what we give him.”
“Doesn’t give us much room to maneuver,” says Steele.
Aha! His words spark an idea in Laura.
“Unless we start thinking in terms of U and D!”
Murphy thinks Laura’s U and D suggestion is S and W (stupid and wrong).
Now Steele’s the one without a clue. He hates being left out!
“Unique and Different?” he guesses.
“Why not? What other choice do we have?” Laura persists.
“Just think of the risks!” Murphy counters.
“Uncomfortable and deadly?” Steele tries again.
“And who’s gonna do it?” Murphy argues, menacing her with his belligerent chin again.
“All of us. Together,” Laura pronounces.
Steele likes that idea!
“Unified and dedicated!”
Aw, the team is back together.
Yay! Rah! Rah! Oops.
Laura knows Murphy’s not thrilled with the idea, but, “… when it comes to this stuff, he can be very-“
“Useful and diligent?”
He’s just so darn eager!
“We still need to come up with a plan.”
Murphy is NOT eager.
And Steele’s had enough of being left out.
“Excuse me!” he interrupts.”What kind of plan are we talking about?”
And the scene ends there.
What? ANOTHER cliffhanger? The suspense is killing me! In this scene we see the shifting roles and alliances in the agency. At first, Laura and Steele seem to be a unit, while Murphy is marginalized. But when they start talking their secret language, Steele is edged aside. Unlike Murphy, who is defensive and tries to knock down all of his rival’s suggestions, Steele makes an effort to understand, to insert himself back into the circle. Is Laura aware of these dynamics, I wonder?