Case #2.22: "School's Out"

It's a quiet day in the Chapel's squadroom; Tom's trying to toss balls of paper through a basketball hoop, Judy's reading a magazine, and a nameless rookie is sleeping in his chair. Doug is trying to do a crossword and asks, "What's a 5-letter word for 'perfect?'" Judy answers, "Mel Gibson." Tom points out that has 9 letters. Harry provides the correct answer ("ideal").

Judy sighs and tosses down her magazine. She's bored; Tom suggests calling it a day. It's too early in the morning to quit and Tom has a case. "I'm not on a case," he grumps, "I'm looking for a kid who blows up toilet bowls." Have you interviewed Fred and George Weasely yet? The quartet of cops debate on faking the flu so they can have a picnic in the park. Harry provides another answer to Doug's crossword. Tom asks how he got so good. Harry says, "The answer's right here on page 29."

Cap'n Rufus arrives, takes in the scene, and clears his throat. "I realize you're all hard at work, so I'll make this brief," he starts. The powers that be have that the Jump Street team will be shut down for the summer, just like real high school. Everyone will get vacation time and "have the opportunity to work in a variety of different departments, police and city programs. You'll be given priority for any department you're interested in." This speech makes you wonder why Metro Police rookies aren't lining up at the Chapel doors to join the team.

Harry asks when they'll be coming back to their normal assignment; Cap'n Rufus has been told around Labor Day, just before school starts. He'll be posting a list of available summer jobs later. Harry points out that Rufus didn't say for sure that they'd be coming back by Labor Day. The captain's face shifts uncomfortably and admits that the future for Jump Street is uncertain. City accountants are deciding whether the program costs more to run than it's worth, even after the work they've done the last 2 years.

Harry remains confused: "The mayor loves us. We're his pet project, he's always saying that." Cap'n Rufus has scheduled a meeting with city administrators, but he's not optimistic about the outcome. He has a feeling that the accountants have already made up their minds. Theme song.

Tom is sleeping his way through a lecture on the JFK assassination when another toilet explodes. The students laugh and high-five as the teacher says, "The mad bomber's struck again." Tom isn't amused. As the bell rings, the teacher adds calmly, "You know the routine." The students make a mad dash out the doors. Once outside, one kid jumps on his skateboard and starts showing off. 

Tom tells Cap'n Rufus that another M-80 was flushed down a toilet. "Any suspects?" Rufus inquires. Tom nods...half the senior class. "Put Penhall on this," says Tom, "He loves hangin' out in bathrooms." I can't figure out if that's a gay joke or not. Cap'n Rufus goes off on a tangent about how hard it is to get these darn kids to work during the spring. Tom ignores his boss by answering the phone. 

At the table, Doug reads over the list of summer jobs. He's intrigued by the idea of getting on the SWAT team or antiterrorism task force; Judy is interested in community relations. Tom thinks any of them sound good and asks if they're sick of always going to high school. Doug mutters darkly, "You sound like Dorothy."

Dorothy and Doug ride through a neighborhood in a BMW convertible that's being driven by another woman; its vanity plate reads "CYNTHIA." Doug is perched on the backseat while Dorothy rides shotgun. Cynthia parks and asks what Doug drives. He responds, "A hog." Dorothy adds that they're car shopping.

They've parked in front of a house and walk through the gate in the white picket fence. The house has matching white siding, dark blue shutters, and a small porch; it's really quite cute. Cynthia shows them into what looks like the living room. "This is one of the most adorable little houses on the your price range," she says. Doug isn't impressed: "This whole place could fit in my loft."

He reluctantly follows the women to the guest bathroom, which Cynthia says has "the original tile, barnyard motif." Doug looks down at the floor and says, "What are those animals down there doin'?" Doug's head just about scrapes the ceiling. Cynthia and Dorothy leave to explore the upstairs portion of the house.

A bureaucrat repeats to Cap'n Rufus that the current plan for Jump Street is still to shut down for summer and reopen in the fall. Cap'n Rufus points out, "We ran straight through last summer and we still had plenty of work to do." The bureaucrat says that taking a summer break will be cost-effective. Rufus tells him about another police program he worked for that was reclassified, shut down, and never reactivated. The bureaucrat tells Rufus that Jump Street hasn't been reclassified and the captain looks relieved...until the pencil pusher says, "We don't use that word anymore. You've been 'deprioritized.'" 

Judy is interviewed by a guy named Dan Finger. He tells Judy that she's an impressive candidate who could go far in community relations. Judy thanks him and politely says she's only interested in working there for the summer because she's attached to Jump Street. Dan butters her up more: "The department is starved for well-groomed, articulate officers who can speak to the public, the news media, and even the city council. Don't take this summer job too lightly; you could end up working for the mayor's office."

Back in history class, Tom is napping again and so are the rest of the students. The teacher notices and hints that some of this lecture may be on the final. He strikes up a deal: If the class can pay attention for the rest of the period, he'll give back all the squirt guns he's recently confiscated. The picture on my Hulu feed chooses this moment to go out; all I can hear is students shouting, water being sprayed, and the teacher telling them to stop.

When the video feed picks back up, we're in the school cafeteria. Unfortunately, the picture is still not working right so I can only offer what happens in the dialogue. New York accent kid talks about how he admires the so-called Mad Bomber. The picture moves again as Tom asks if he can meet the bomber. New York Accent doubts it; the bomber is hard to find and flies solo. New York Accent (NYA) looks meaningfully toward a nervous-looking boy with slicked-back hair. 

Tom asks if Slick Hair (Jimmy) could be the bomber. NYA doesn't think Jimmy is cool enough to do something like that. Jimmy goes over to the cafeteria line and shoves a few items in his backpack. "I mean, look at him, he steals food," says NYA. Tom leaves and follows Jimmy down the hall. 

Tom opens a door that leads to the school basement/boiler room and cautiously makes his way downstairs. Jimmy weaves his way around a maze of pipes, a path he's clearly taken many times. Tom tracks Jimmy by the sound of his footsteps. Around a corner, Tom stumbles upon a mattress covered with old sheets and a blanket and the backpack full of cafeteria food. Cardboard boxes hold other belongings. 

It appears that poor Jimmy has been living in the school for quite some time. For some reason, I can't help but think of those urban legends about mental patients living in the basement long after the asylum closed.

Harry is on the phone with the city finance department and getting nowhere fast. He hangs up in frustration and warns Doug, "You better use both sides of that paper. We're not made of money." Doug tells Harry to choke on it, but not at all in his usual jovial manner. Judy comes in, ecstatic about her community relations job. The department is looking for people to talk to the community about a new program. 

"And they picked you?" Doug asks rudely. Judy comes back with, "Eat your heart out, Penhall. While you're riding around on that hot motorcycle handing out parking tickets, I'll be talking to the media in the air conditioning."

Doug's thinking about applying to the intelligence unit. "As what? A paperweight?" Judy snarks. Jeez, a dumb joke and a fat joke rolled into one. Before Doug has a chance to respond to that, Cap'n Rufus comes in. He tells them about the new buzzword "deprioritized." The program could be killed if the department doesn't have enough discretionary funding for them. Cap'n Rufus advises everyone to think very carefully about the summer jobs they pick, just in case. 

Harry presents the boss with arrest efficiency reports, hoping they'll help their case; he should have the budgets by the next day. Didn't sound like he was getting anywhere on that phone call. Harry plans on doing his own budget projection. 

A bald, bespectacled man with a British accent inspects an outlet. He asks Blowfish if it has enough juice to run a hotplate and a TV. The Brit is apparently in charge of looking after the Chapel over the summer. Blowfish isn't happy about this. 

A car goes down the road with Dorothy behind the wheel. She's dressed up and Doug is wearing a suit. He gripes that having dinner with people makes him uncomfortable. "What is wrong with you?!" Dorothy snaps. Doug explains that when people have you over for dinner, "they take it so seriously." He's worried that the other couple will laugh at him trying to act proper. Given that his father was a drunk, Doug probably never learned table manners.

The other couple turns out to be real-estate agent Cynthia and her husband Steve. When Steve offers his hand for a handshake, Doug slaps a bottle of wine into it. Cynthia puts the wine in the refrigerator and offers margaritas, saying Steve's are the best in town. "I learned when we were on vacation in Puerto Vallarta," says Steve, subtly playing the we-have-more-money-than-you-so-we're-better card. Doug would rather have a beer. Cynthia gets him a bottle of imported dark ale. Same thing, right?

Cynthia mutters to herself about getting a glass. "I'll take it in a bottle," Doug says. Cynthia's phony smile becomes even more strained as she hands it over. The bottle has some kind of fancy cap on it that Doug can't figure out how to open. He awkwardly puts the bottle down on the counter. 

Steve is putting the final touches on their dinner: veal tortellini. While admiring something that looks like an espresso maker, Doug accidentally breaks off the handle and it goes flying across the room. "It's okay," Steve says in a tone that shows it's really not.

The couples eat at a candlelit table in absolute silence. Doug is barely able to hide his smirk at Cynthia and Steve's pretentious mannerisms; Dorothy glares at him from across the table. He can't hold back a chuckle. "What's so funny, Doug?" asks Steve. Doug doesn't answer, except to start cackling when the other couple continues to act stuffy. 

Doug passes off the reason for his laughter as "a really dumb, stupid, dirty joke I heard earlier." Steve wants to hear it and so does Cynthia. Doug looks at one of them, then the other, clearly trying to stall for time. Dorothy is giving him a positively evil look now, so Doug declines to tell the joke, saying it's too disgusting to tell over dinner.

Steve mentions the house Doug and Dorothy want to rent; if they bought it, the interest would be tax-deductible. Cynthia brags about her husband's skill as a financial advisor. Steve could recommend investments to boost Doug's net worth, then winds up having to explain that net worth "is what you're worth in cash and properties." "42 bucks," Doug says, "That's my net worth. It's what's in my wallet. Well, 40 bucks since I paid for the wine." Dorothy could probably breathe fire at this point.

Steve asks what Doug does in the police department. "I work undercover in high schools," Doug explains. Cynthia kind of purses her lips and asks if he pretends to be a student. Doug is like "yup, basically." Steve thinks it's weird that Doug gets paid to hang out with high schoolers. Doug says that he's switching to the intelligence division for the summer.

On the drive home, Dorothy is quiet and clearly pissed off. "Come on, Dodo, I'm sorry," Doug pleads. Dodo? What a charming nickname, but yet, it suits her. He thinks dinner was awkward because Cynthia and Steve are old. "Doug, they're only 2 years older than we are!" Dorothy says, "The difference is they live like adults and we live like the Three Stooges." "We live just fine," Doug says defensively. And I don't blame him; they have a nice loft and they've never really made it clear what Dorothy does for a living. Plus she moved in uninvited

In the school locker room, Jimmy is getting ready for bed. He leaves for the basement with his toothbrush and towel. When he arrives in his makeshift bedroom, Tom is waiting for him. He asks how long Jimmy has been living there and remarks that Jimmy could blow up the whole school from down here. Jimmy gets upset and tells Tom to leave, but Tom refuses. He restrains the kid when Jimmy tries to go after him. 

Jimmy insists he's not crazy. Tom asks the obvious question: "Then why are you living in a boiler room?" Jimmy's answer is simple: "'Cause I got no place else to live." Tom is stunned. Jimmy's mother ran off with a drunk and he has no other relatives. He asks why Tom is in the basement and if Tom is the bomber. Tom thought Jimmy was. Jimmy says that wouldn't make sense; he loses water for a day and a half every time someone sets off an M-80. He asks Tom not to tell anyone he's there. Tom hesitates before nodding in agreement.

Blowfish slides down the Chapel's firepole and sees British Janitor fiddling with the outlets. He goes into the office, demanding something be done. Cap'n Rufus is working on getting Blowfish the job of looking after the chapel. On his way out, Blowfish almost runs into Doug, who's coming in to talk to Cap'n Rufus.

Doug wants advice and opens with a loaded question: "Because I spend so much time undercover around high school kids, do you think that makes me act...immature?" He's unsure that he'd be good at intelligence. Cap'n Rufus offers to write Doug a recommendation. Doug thanks him and opens the office door in time to see a lightbulb explode. Blowfish yells, "Get the hell outta my fusebox!" 

In the locker room, Jimmy uses safety pins to adjust a pair of gym shorts that are clearly several waist sizes too big. He explains to Tom that he took them out of an open locker. Tom thinks the shorts are ridiculous (and he's right). He asks how Jimmy got used to being in school with no one else around. Jimmy shrugs. He spent a lot of time in the library and adds, "In 3 weeks, I graduate with straight A's. Last year, I was lucky to even pass." Tom says, "I don't think I'm gonna pass. I hate school."

Jimmy doesn't want to end up working in a doughnut factory like his mom, "coming home to some other drunk who's more stupid than me." Tom asks Jimmy if he wants to go for pizza after school, Tom's treat. Jimmy has to study for finals. 

Dan Finger has great news for Judy; she got the job. He thinks they can get her on the 5:00 news later in the month. Judy is thrilled. "Everyone in this department coveted that job. There's gonna be a little bit of resentment," Dan warns, "Be sure to address the mayor's wife as Mrs. Gentry and be careful with the makeup." 

In an elementary school classroom, the teacher tells her students they have a special visitor from the police department: Officer Milk Carton. The kids chorus: "HI, OFFICER MILK CARTON!" Judy shuffles in, dressed as what else? This isn't the greatest idea for a PR character. After all, police departments traditionally printed pictures of missing children on milk cartons. Photographers snap pictures of Judy.

Cap'n Rufus shows the efficiency reports and budget projections to two suits. The suit with curly hair tells Rufus he's wasting his time; the second suit (who happens to be the deputy police chief) wants to let him finish. The suits start to bicker. Rufus there to address the councilman's concerns. The councilman sneers, "You're here to save your job." Pretty sure they're not just gonna pink slip a captain without offering him a job in another department. 

The councilman says Jump Street violates the students' rights "through intimidation and entrapment." Cap'n Rufus lists the serious offenses his officers have helped stop: child pornography, gun running, drug dealing, and prostitution. 

In Dan's office, Judy's embarrassed about having to drive around the city dressed as a milk carton. Dan says, "Fine, then you tell the mayor's wife you're too good for her pet project." 

The gang eats pizza in the squadroom and Doug asks Judy about her new job. She lies that it's great. Cap'n Rufus comes in. And the damn video feed is out again, dialogue imposed over a frozen still from another scene. He tells Harry that the reports he put together made an impression. Cap'n Rufus advises them to get used to disappointment if they plan on staying in law enforcement. Doug adds that change is part of growing up. 

"Thank you, Mr. Maturity," Tom says. Doug belches and mutters, "Damn, I gotta stop doin' that." Tom tries to look on the bright side; the new assignments could be the best ones they've ever had.

A computer printout is now ready. It turns out that only one senior at the Mad Bomber's school has a record. "Good school. Maybe I'll buy in that district," says Doug. To Tom's surprise, the rap sheet belongs to Jimmy; he was arrested for car theft in Wisconsin and escaped from juvie there. Kind of makes you doubt his tale of woe.

In the boiler room, Tom pokes Jimmy awake and confronts the kid about his lies. Jimmy figures out Tom is a cop and asks, "Why didn't you bust me yesterday?" Tom wasn't looking for Jimmy; he was looking for the Mad Bomber. He tells Jimmy to get his stuff together. "No!" says the kid, "I'm not leaving here without my diploma!"

Tom accuses Jimmy of lying about his mom. Jimmy's mother did abandon him in a way by not bailing him out when he was arrested for stealing the car. Jimmy argues that he's not dangerous and begs Tom to let him graduate. 

Video feed out again, this time just a black screen. Someone congratulates Cap'n Rufus on his impressive proposal; Rufus hopes the councilman was impressed enough to save Jump Street. He's offered his own area command. Rufus asks for help with Blowfish's job.

We hear a door unlock. Doug is presumably at the house he and Dorothy looked at because she asks, "What's going on?" He says he has pizza for them and pours her some wine. "What are were doing here?" asks Dorothy. Doug explains, "This is where we live now. I told Cynthia we'd take it." Doug has another surprise: he got accepted to work Intelligence for the summer. 

Cap'n Rufus tells Tom to bring Jimmy in because Jimmy's a fugitive. Tom asks to stall the arrest and explains, "He's living in the school basement just so he can graduate." Rufus offers to play phone tag with the Wisconsin juvenile authorities until graduation. 

Dorothy thanks Doug for lunch. I hear Doug trying to teach some kids how to play some kind of sport in the street. I wish I could be more specific, but I can't because of stupid Hulu. Dorothy says she loves watching him with kids and that they don't have to take the house. She's been forcing him to make changes and she knows it's wrong.

Judy is teaching kids how to cross the street and how to handle strangers. A burglar alarm sounds and Judy chases a perp down the street (presumably still in her milk carton suit).

"Pomp and Circumstance" indicates the graduation scene has started. It turns out that the bomber is New York Accent Kid. Tom tells the kid that he's a cop. We probably see Jimmy get his diploma. New York Accent Kid is probably arrested.

Doug always looked forward to summer vacation, but now it feels weird. "We'll be back," says Harry, "The city needs us." Judy thinks they should all get together over the summer. For me, the episode ends there because the video feed still has not returned.

If anyone else has seen this one and can fill in the gaps, feel free to post that in the comments section.

No comments:

Post a Comment