Stay Tuned
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Friday, October 06, 2006

"The Nine" gets a 10

I’ve been disappointed by so many of the critics’ choices this year that my expectations for “The Nine” were starting to dwindle. Fortunately for both me and the show, they were right about this one.

The pilot of “The Nine” was character-driven drama at its best as the viewer is forced to put the pieces together with only a handful of clues.

If you missed it, “The Nine” are the nine survivors of a bank hostage situation:

Malcolm Jones (Chi McBride), the bank manager

Felicia Jones (Dana Davis), Malcolm’s daughter, who came into the bank to ask if her boyfriend could borrow the car.

Egan Foote (John Billingsley), who came into the bank to ask for a loan to buy a boat that his wife would not allow him to buy. After Malcolm tells him to go home to his wife, Egan goes to the restroom, where he pulls out a gun and contemplates suicide.

Franny Rios (Camille Guaty), a bank teller, along with her sister Eva (Lourdes Benedicto)

Nick Cavanaugh (Tim Daly), a cop with a gambling addiction. He came into the bank to deposit his check and flirt with Eva. He actually asked her out right before the bank robbers took action.

Lizzie Miller (Jessica Collins), a hospital social worker who came into the bank with her boyfriend, who didn’t want to stand in line to use the ATM outside.

Jeremy Kates (Scott Wolf), a doctor and Lizzie’s boyfriend

Kathryn Hale (Kim Raver), an assistant district attorney, who is sleeping with her boss. She came into the bank to help her mother, who claims that someone stole something out of her safe deposit box.

Lucas Dalton (Owain Yeoman), who tried to rob the bank, along with his brother, Randall

When we first meet these characters, they are going about their normal day, while two men wait outside in a car, plotting a robbery of the bank. One of them, Lucas, is nervous about the whole thing—especially when he spots Nick and realizes he’s a cop. However, Randall, convinces him it will be okay and they take out the security guard and hold everyone at gunpoint.

After the commercial break, we rejoin the scene 52 hours later. We know that some hostages were released and that shots have been fired (We’re told that by the reporters outside the bank.). The SWAT team storms the dark bank and Randall turns around to start shooting, but Egan tackles him and the SWAT team is able to bring him down. Lucas yells for them not to shoot him as he is unarmed. Lizzie is also screaming for them not to shoot Lucas. Nick is handcuffed to a post, covered in blood. He tells the team that it’s the blood of a woman, who has been shot. As the camera pans, we see that it’s Eva who has been shot and Franny and Jeremy are with her. The team also finds a dazed Malcolm and a cowering Felicia. Kathryn is behind a table with a chunk of her hair cut off (It’s found with Randall.).

As Jeremy and Franny go to the hospital with Eva, the rest are questioned about the standoff, but none of them have much to say (or at least we don’t hear it). Egan is hailed as a hero, while Nick punches out the negotiator for his handling of the situation. Lucas is concerned more about Eva than his brother and Felicia can’t remember a single thing about what happened.

Eva dies (Poor Lourdes Benedicto. I knew she was a goner from the previews.) and the nine reconvene for her funeral. Jeremy and Lizzie aren’t even speaking, Egan has completely changed his life and Eva’s son wants to know why Nick didn’t save his mom. Afterward, Lizzie decides the group needs to stay together and works with Egan to arrange a get-together. They all attend except Felicia, who her dad says is at a party.

The episode ends with Lucas being told that his brother has survived as he’s taken to meet a visitor—Felicia.

Though most of these people were strangers when the ordeal started, it’s clear that whatever happened to them in the bank has made them all very close. I have to say that it’s kind of fun to try and pick out all of the clues as to what happened. I’m curious if the writers know themselves…

Here’s what we know so far:

Nick somehow managed to get Kathryn’s mother out of the bank before the standoff ended.

Some kind of “moment” happened in the bank with Jeremy that caused Lizzie to stop talking to him and decide not to tell him she’s pregnant. You get the impression it had something to do with Franny and that hunch is pretty much confirmed when Jeremy and Franny apparently sleep together (although we don’t see how far it goes) after Eva’s funeral.

Malcolm and Felicia were separated for at least some of the time during the standoff, so he doesn’t know everything that happened to her.

Unless they had some kind of past already, something happened in the bank between Nick and Kathryn.

The show is clearly taking a few pages from the “Lost” playbook with its flashbacks and the concept of strangers coming together because of a common experience. But there is no mythology here. These situations are totally based in reality, which makes things a little less confusing.

It also helps the show that it has such an amazing cast. Regardless of my feelings about her role on “24” as Audrey, I am a big Kim Raver fan and it’s nice to see that she is truly the heart of the show here. Tim Daly is an excellent counterpart for her, and I can’t wait to see the two of them get together (because you know they will).

At the risk of jumping the gun (as I’ve been known to do), I’ll withhold my final judgment on the show until I’ve seen another episode or two. But right now, I’d give “The Nine” a 10.