Good news! We’ve finally reached the exciting climax of this action-packed episode!
Here we are at the Japanese temple. Wait a second. Isn’t this where we came in? That can only mean …
Murphy’s at the wheel. “Think he could be here?” we hear him say as the car pulls up.
“If he staged his own death, he’d have to know who turned up for the funeral,” Laura’s voiceover replies.
Um … what? I’m not really following this, but apparently Laura knows what’s going on.
Murphy adds that they’ve already been everywhere else. What a long, long
episode night this has been for everyone!
Everybody but Murphy exits the car. Mr. Steele shows his Action Man persona by leaping energetically out of the backseat.
He pauses to give Murph his orders. “Oh, Murphy, would you-“
Murphy’s way ahead of him: “Don’t you worry. I’ll shoot any wild hoops that happen along.”
Okay. Maybe it’s not THAT funny.
Everybody but Murphy enters the temple. Steele is picking his nose again.
Oh, look. Craddock is already here … praying? (Must be a convert.)
Mr. Steele decides to interrogate him.
“Pardon me, I don’t mean to disrupt your reverie, but have you seen by chance-“
Mr. Steele checks his pulse. He’s still quite rosy-hued, not the sickening gray pallor of most corpses. Can he still be saved?
Steele wonders if the dead man is Mike’s much older, much less Japanese brother.
“I don’t know who it is,” Mike assures him.
Laura fills in the blanks. “It’s Major Craddock,.” She asks for confirmation of the obvious. “I take it he’s …”
“Let’s just say that Dickerson won’t be disappointed,” Steele quips.
Sigmund Freud in his 1927 essay Humour (Der Humor) puts forth the following theory of gallows humor: “The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure.” Okkaaaaay …. I guess that’s as reasonable an explanation as any for this lame joke.
Suddenly there is a voice from the gallery.
Is it these guys? Sadly, no.
Kenji Ito, I presume. “You shouldn’t have come,” he says. (I know, but we’re practically at the end. Too late to bail out now.)
He displays the same curious absence of expression and tonal inflection that characterizes his younger brother.
I begin to think we’re in the wrong movie again, Laura. It’s not the Third Man after all.
These guys are zombies!
In slow, ponderous tones, Kenji begins to unspool his tale. “It’s really my fault. I worked so hard all those years to earn your respect. I should have known you could not easily accept my death.”
“You’ve been … Yakuza- all this time?” Mike asks.
“I saw no reason for you to carry my shame. Away from me, in this country, you could have a decent life. A life with honor.” Ah, I was wondering when they were going to trot out that old “honor” stereotype. Let me guess: Kenji didn’t want his brother to “lose face.” Right?
“And I would never know the truth.” Mike is clearly devastated by his brother’s betrayal.
Kenji explains that Craddock caught him, then released him, then spread the word that he had talked.
Whatever. Apparently Kenji stole some kind of computer code that details the Yakuza’s operation in Japan.
Laura does! She deduces that the computer code is the mysterious “Palace of Heaven.”
Yeah, that makes sense.
Kenji reaches into his inside pocket. OMG! Does he have a gun?
It’s just a little book. “Doesn’t look like a ‘Palace of Heaven’, does it? I thought maybe I could trade it in for my freedom. But when I called you at the airport, I spotted one of Tenaka’s men following me and ran.”
“But he caught up with you,” Laura surmises.
“We struggled. I pushed him in front of a car.” It’s clear how deeply affected Kenji was by this horrific incident. I think his eyebrows even moved a little!
“So you gave him your identification and staged your own funeral,” Steele deduces. Brilliant! Can we go home now?
“Nobody hunts for a dead man,” Kenji intones. “Nobody, that is, except Remington Steele.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Steele is unable to appreciate this bit of praise, having dozed off. You and me both, Steele.
At Laura’s prodding, Kenji readily admits to having murdered Craddock. Bored him to death, presumably, since there wasn’t a mark on the body.
“He left me no choice. This way, Tenaka will know that I did not betray him and would not seek revenge on Mike.”
Whatever. OMG, can we just get on with it?
“But you still have the codes,” Steele points out.
“You will keep it now,” Kenji says, handing over the book. “To ensure my brother’s continued safety. Tenaka knows that you are a man of honor.”
So the detectives are just supposed to keep this book of codes detailing heinous crimes locked up in their file cabinet, thus allowing the Yakuza to continue their nefarious ways unimpeded and waiting for Tenaka’s thugs to break into the office to kill them and take back the codes?
Laura explains that they still have to call the police. Because of, you know, that whole murder in the temple thing.
This prompts Kenji to launch into another long soliloquoy. Or maybe it just SEEMS long because he says his lines so.damned.slowly. “You know, Mike, I dreamed, one day, to leave the Yakuza, and join you in business. The dream now has only a few remaining minutes of freedom. Now that you know the truth …”
No worries, Kenji.
Mike isn’t upset. Or maybe he is. Who can tell?
The two brothers go off together someplace. Are they escaping? Going to commit ritual suicide? Running out for sushi?
We’ll never know.
“You know, this is really a very sad way for things to end,” Laura comments.
If you are referring to the lethargic and pointless denouement of this episode, I agree!
“Not really. In ‘The Third Man’, Joseph Cotten killed Orson Welles.”
Surely death would have been kind for all of us, Mr. Steele.
Well, this is one of my favorite segments, only because it finally brings us the end of this lame-o mystery. I have to wonder how Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan felt when reading this script and playing these scenes. This may have been the time Miss Zimbalist referred to in an early interview when she described the two of them going off to a bar over the lunch hour to wallow in their mutual fear of failure. Fortunately, this episode marks the low point of season 1 and is a strong contender for worst episode of them all. Cheer up, Laura and Rem – things are about to get better!
Next, the tag.