Now, where did that rubber ducky you used to take baths with get to? Chances are it’s probably in the North Pacific Gyre! Okay, not really, but there are rubber ducks in that Gyre, apparently, caught there since 1992 when a shipload of them from China spilled into the Pacific Ocean. Jake tells us items in a gyre typically get stuck there, “doomed to travel the same path.” But chance encounters (you know, a whale with a vendetta against rubber ducks, the bastard, or a storm disrupting the currents while those poor rubber ducks cling to each other, terrified out of their little rubber minds) can change things: “which means it’s possible to break free…it’s possible to find the way to shore.”
The question is: if you’re a rubber duck, what will you do when you get to shore? I’m going to go ahead and say that’s none of my damn business. But obviously we’ve got disruption of patterns, people escaping destinies that would have them trapped, and some really blatant tidal symbolism. We’ve also got (in this episode and in its second part 1.12) a bunch of familiar returning characters, some who make quickie appearances, some who actually impact the overall arc with Jake and Martin. Let us fling these Significant Characters of the Week into the Gyre that is our storyline, and see where they, our little metaphorical rubber ducks, wash ashore, shall we?
Hi hi, Auntie Abigail! Martin’s at your apartment to yell at you and imply you know exactly what the nefarious exploitation of gifted children Aster Corp is up to! But no, Abigail swears she’s not in on the big conspiracy—which apparently started when Jake was an infant at the hospital where lurking spies realized he was special, what what what? Okay, hang on: Sarah, Martin’s wife, got a card from Mobius after Jake’s first round of tests when he was a day old, telling her to contact them. And we all know Mobius is a front for Aster Corp. And Aster Corp, they’re in everything (much like Lendl Global). I did not know Apgar tests could ID the Chosen Ones who walk among us, but there you go. Oh, and you should just go ahead and give ol’ Abby custody, Martin, because that review board is rigged anyway. *eyebrow raise*
Jake, bored by all this blathering and dithering, hefts a crystal dodecahedron out the window onto a police car. Whoopsie! Hey, it’s car number 2217, the same number Jake was scribbling on his notebook (when ever is a number not the number Jake was scribbling on his notebook?). Time to head down to the station so Sheri the Evil Caseworker and her minions can later tarnish Martin’s parenting abilities even more!
At the busy police station, Martin leaves Jake totally alone (oh my god, why would you do that ever, Martin?) and signs some paperwork. Clea’s waiting downstairs to take Jake back to what the show calls Board and Care, but what we know as the Evil State Facility. While we get the first of multiple AT & T tie-ins in the break (that will transform into horrible butterflies of in-show product placement in the later acts), I wonder if Auntie Abigail went to work for Aster Corp in the first place all those years ago to get in on the conspiracy from the inside. Or if perhaps Aster Corp just has a really wonderful compensation package.
Martin tries to hustle Jake downstairs, so of course Jake spills an entire 16 oz soda on the nice clean police station floor!
Gross. Oh, it’s to make the guy with the file trolley trip and spill file number—say it with me—2217, which just so happens to be the file of Amelia, of Amelia sequence fame! The file claims she’s dead (though we’ve seen her on the security footage, so we know that’s a big old lie), but her family wanted to re-open the case. Martin and Jake nab the evidence and skedaddle.
Lucy, played by Maria Bello, Mother-Earths her way along the shore, until she figures out a creepy guy named Wade is snagging everything washing up on the sand and selling it on eBay. It’s all stuff from the tsunami exactly a year ago, finally washing up on shore—so if he’s selling this stuff, he’s making money off people’s pain! After consulting a count-down meter on her phone, she readies herself to ruin his day instead of leaving like he asked, because apparently she’s a professional pest.
In Japan, a family hurt by the devastation of the tsunami lives in temporary government housing and waits to hear if the father will be reinstated at his company. Meanwhile, their neighbors gather around to gawk because their son is trying to set a world record for soccer ball dribbling. Hey, there’s even a news crew coming to cover this thrilling dribbling! I tell you, that neighborhood needs a community center if that’s what passes for fun around there. But maybe the family is just popular because they’re descended from samurai—which they bring up all the time—they have the sword-holder on the wall to prove it. But they haven’t the sword in the holder, hmmm. Guess whose samurai sword is probably going to get catalogued by creepy Wade back at the beach?
After Clea tells Martin not to worry about the board being rigged, because she would never, ever agree with the other caseworkers to deny him custody, not in a million gajillion years. Martin heads to the autopsy place to grill the man there about the body falsely identified as Amelia’s years ago. Funny thing, but pretty much all the photos are missing from Amelia’s file. That’s not suspicious or anything.
Martin calls Amelia’s family to talk to them about the case, but it seems only Amelia’s mother wanted to re-open the investigation. Her father scolds Martin: “You’re taking advantage of a distraught woman. My daughter is dead; never call here again.” Who thinks the dad got kickbacks from Aster Corp by agreeing to pretend his daughter was dead? *raises hand*
Lucy keeps fighting Wade for the scraps he’s finding on the beach, yelling at him, “Do you have any idea what it’s like to lose something or someone?” Hmm, what’s she lost? Does he have no shame, she accuses. “I’ve got nothing but shame!” Wade shouts back. Well, that and many, many Japanese tchochkes, Wade.
Sheri meets with some suspicious types in the rec room of the Evil State Facility and tells Clea she better think carefully about what she’s about to do. She insinuates Clea’s relationship with Martin is inappropriate (oh, would that it were; how pretty would those two be together?), and says Clea’s judgment will be called into question if she doesn’t play ball.
Martin rushes over to see our friend Avram the diamond dealer (and Touch, decide if he’s Avram or Abraham, because your materials switch the name up willy nilly), who has been meeting with a number of Hasidic leaders about a little problem they like to call Mr. Bohm. Also, I just now got that Martin and Jake’s surname Bohm is probably supposed to suggest the word balm—like, they’re providing succor for the world’s hurts with their work. That’s nifty.
Anyway, the Hasidic leaders were arguing with Avram because the Kaballah says the 36 Righteous Ones must never become self-aware. But Jake clearly already is self-aware, because he’s made Martin his instrument. The Kaballah also stipulates that connecting two of the Righteous Ones would be dangerous. That Kaballah sure is bossy. But Avram is willing to have faith in Jake, so he must have faith in Martin—he’ll help them in their search for information about Amelia.
Creepy Wade (Wade, like he’s wading in the ocean, get it???) hyperventilates while Lucy tries to calm him. Get ready to feel like a jerkface for dressing him down, Lucy, because Wade was there during the tsunami—he and a woman held onto a railing at a mall in Japan for hours while the water pounded them and washed other people away. Urk, that’s horrible. Now I feel bad I’ve been calling him Creepy Wade in my head. Anyway, Wade spoke to the woman, trying to establish a connection with her while they waited to be rescued, but eventually she let go. Of course, he’s got survivor’s guilt like you wouldn’t believe. A week later he returned to Seattle like nothing ever happened. But the anxiety and grief drove him to collect items from the debris fields in the hopes that people impacted by the tsunami would reclaim the items he found. But so far, no one has, and it’s a pretty miserable business, being Wade.
Avram and Martin watch a tape Arthur Teller made of Amelia. Amelia grooved on numbers just like Jake, but her “thing” was weather and tides—studying those gave her the numbers that made up what Teller called the Amelia sequence (which as we now know is made up of unicorns and fairy dust, and will win you money at shady high-stakes poker games). During Teller’s test, Amelia, who had been mute just like Jake, suddenly speaks. Arthur’s amazed, but she shrugs it off—speaking is evolutionarily unnecessary, she says, like the pinky toe. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do yoga with a broken pinky toe, Amelia, but I think you’ll find it’s necessary.
Amelia mentions a hospital trip when her appendix was removed, and Martin stops the tape, thrilled because the body from the autopsy had an appendix. There’s no way it could have been Amelia. He hugs Avram, who kind of giggles at this display of affection and is generally Hasidic-ally adorable.
Clea, at the Evil State Facility, ignores Martin’s frantic calls, because apparently she’s on board the Sheri conspiracy train. Jake plays with a toy train, putting a little figure on the tracks so it’ll get railroaded. Since Jake never does a thing that’s not Significant, now I’m worried about who is going to get creamed by a train. When we switch to Martin, someone freaking hits him on the head with a pipe and takes the files and recordings proving Amelia couldn’t have died.
While Martin is kidnapped by freaky conspirators, we catch up with our Significant Interconnected Characters around the globe. Our favorite wacky Japanese world-travelers, Miyoko and her equally adorable pal squeal about Seiji, the boy going for the world record. Seiji’s dad, upset because there’s no place at his company for him, disrupts the dribbling and ruins the world record. When Seiji kicks the soccer ball out of frustration, he breaks the family’s samurai sword holder, and everyone in the neighborhood gasps at this drama.
Back at Wade’s site for recovered items, Lucy tells him the countdown is because she’s meeting someone. Oh, good—I was worried it was a countdown to her dying or something horrible. When Lucy wanders into Wade’s tent, she spots Seiji’s family on the news, and realizes Wade has their samurai sword. Yes, yes, we all called that one. But Wade goes us one better—Seiji’s mother is the woman he thought died—she somehow survived being swept away by the water rushing through the mall.
Martin wakes up, and OF COURSE he’s been dumped on a subway track with the train coming at him full speed. He finally breaks into a room alongside the tunnel, allowing him to escape the—well, that’s clearly not a NYC subway, just like that waterfront Martin and Jake met Abigail at was obviously in California. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just moved all the action to L.A., Touch? *coughs*
Having escaped certain death (though the little figurine Jake had was presumably not so lucky), Martin jumps into a car with Abigail, and I don’t even know how they came to be at the exact same place at that moment, but I’ve given up questioning, you know?
Seiji apologizes to his father, and his mother calls them both outside to show them the image of Wade holding their samurai sword. If Seiji hadn’t been trying to dribble a soccer ball for the record, the news program wouldn’t have come to speak to their family, and Wade would never have realized he had their sword or realized the woman he worried about for a year had lived.
Amelia’s father calls Lucy to tell her to stop it, just stop it—oh, great, Lucy is Amelia’s mom, and she’s waiting to meet Amelia with her little countdown app. “The numbers sent me here,” she pleads with him—remember how Amelia was obsessed with tides? That sequence she discovered led Lucy to this date, time, and coordinates. Okay, perhaps she is a very distraught woman. Except we also know Amelia’s alive, since Teller saw her in person, and Clea spotted her on the security tape. So maybe Amelia’s father is gaslighting his ex.
Lucy is devastated until Wade shows her how the tsunami impacted the currents because of the debris field. Lucy’s calculations weren’t wrong—the place she’s meant to be is just somewhere else now. “Don’t give up, plot a new course,” he tells her. She helped him so now he wants to help her.
In the episode’s closing, Jake tells us about the North Pacific Gyre—wait, this is the opening speech, isn’t it? Pretty much. It makes sense we’re covering this ground again, though, because the message here isn’t so much Jake’s musings on finding the way to shore, but the scene showing Martin’s custody suit has gone to hell in a hand basket.
Wait, did Clea really betray Martin by siding with Sheri? She must have, because the state has custody of Jake now. Martin shouts for Jake while beefy security guys hold him back, but after Jake looks at him, he just walks away. Have Sheri and her Evil Corporate Overlords won at their cruel game? Let’s watch Gyre, Part 2, and find out!