When They Came for the Zeds, I Did Nothing

Last week, I liveblogged the first episode of the CBC miniseries The Trojan Horse. This page was written on Sunday, 2008.04.06, as a liveblog of the second episode, variously renamed Horse₂O: When Zed Became Zee and Horse₂O: You Took My Country – I’ll Take Yours.

  1. 2008.04.06 19:52 – Again, OMG the excitement! Just checking what Cheaters had on last night. Oh, a repeat. With, as usual, one black “contestant” with a sub-working-class job who speaks a completely different dialect from the other usual “contestant,” who’s white. (The show treats everyone badly, but it’s subtly racist. But unlike Cops, here the guys keep their shirts on most of the time.) Another show on the TiVo here is about a black lacrosse team (complete with Ken Burns Effect historical photos of guys in Afros). Why, I just read an article about that this week.
  2. Yeah, by the way, I really hate Greta Scacchi’s accent.
  3. 19:59 – Aaand... we’re on! Recaps, as is the custom. One minute in and we already have a captioning error: “You find out what he knows” miscaptioned as You, find out what he knows. And another comma error one minute later.
  4. Right, the fake shooting. You don’t think that would have shattered his scapula?
  5. A snake camera shimmied down through a compliant hole in the ceiling? That’s an awfully well manicured hole, isn’t it?
  6. No, assholes, not “Said he rigged the voting machines.” It’s So they rig the voting machines.
  7. Choco-Ninja™ Clark Johnson, doing a Lennie James from Jericho, takes out two assailants. Hey, if you’re having a mental-health emergency and the cops want to Tase™ you, do what Clark does: Pick up a sofa cushion to take the projectiles.
  8. “My real name is Forrester.”
  9. Directed by Charles Binamé, or, in English, Charles “Ask for Him” Bi Name.
  10. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: “I killed your son.” FORRESTER, 45 seconds later: I killed your son.
  11. Forrester tells Madigan she must inform McLaughlin the voting machines are rigged and he cannot win. And, improbably, after fending off the two attackers, suddenly he and she both notice that he’s bleeding. “Another dead guy who couldn’t pay his bar tab.” As if! This is more turkey than Christmas.
  12. And I see we aren’t captioning the heart monitor beeping.
  13. Don’t worry Mary? You mean don’t call her up and get her worried? But Tom’s sitting there talking to her.
  14. McLaughlin walks smartly out the front door of the hospital. Hails a Ford Five Hundred taxicab (the only sale of such a vehicle).
  15. Wonderful beauty shot of the desert. Obvious graduated filters, but still.
  16. The Prez talks to his hitherto-unseen advisor, Sam. Is this where the homosexualism starts?
  17. Wow, are Sam’s teeth ever too big.
  18. 20:10 – Commercial! Somebody liveblog this. (And the promos, which this one actually is.)
  19. Stopping for dinner (samosa, rice, vegetables).
  20. OK, so we’re at least 15 minutes behind.
  21. 20:29 – The Chyron says London. So why are they using Lincoln Towns Car L?
  22. We see now that McLaughlin’s conspirators are conspiring against him.
  23. “You’ll never forget your first bullet.”
  24. You kill people. Does it change you? And of course here comes the heartfelt anecdote: When I was a little kid....
  25. Here we go again with exposition delivered through overlapping newscasters.
  26. The Reverend Billy (an anti-consumerism activist?) gives some kind of confirmation or whatever to McLaughlin as they both pose picturesquely atop a mountaintop. Ah: And now the baptism. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: He’s baptized in water that’s probably coming from Canada.
  27. No... no, this is more turkey than Christmas.
  28. McLaughlin pops the question to his ex-wife (“A covenant marriage,” she clarifies), and also proposes running together as president and vice-president.
  29. “What is this?” “It’s a vision for America,” he says of the folder he handed her.
  30. WWNews (sic)? Madigan pitches for an exclusive interview (a “sit-down,” shurely?!) with McLaughlin.
  31. More graduated filters out in the desert.
  32. “Your vision for the country is simple, Tom – so simple it could work.” But it would require her renouncing Big Oil. Good thing she never stopped loving him!
  33. We're on guys: We’re doing what on guys?
  34. Wedding takes place at what used to be called BCE Place (S. Calatrava).
  35. Asshole Saul Rubinek’s asshole assistant suggests having black ops blow up some American kids to get the USNA into Saudi Arabia.
  36. MADIGAN:: Within two centimetres of your left ventricle? McLAUGHLIN: Well, it sounds worse in metric.
  37. Again: No shattered scapula?
  38. Madigan spills the beans about voting machines (“over 70%” of which “are owned by one company,” né Diebold but verbally camouflaged here). “If you run, you’re gonna lose.”
  39. Voting “recovers their dignity” for people, who can “mark an X.” Not under the Help America Vote Act, they don’t.
  40. Yet again, conspirators fail to fill McLaughlin in on the full extent of their plans. Like when they assassinated his father.
  41. The ultimate vocative error: Come on fellas. Later: Come on baby.
  42. “So brace yourselves: I am gonna win in November and I’m gonna do it honestly.”
  43. A fake Time cover. People still read that?
  44. Oh, single fucking quotes again. “Oh, I didn’t cross the aisle for Tom. I walked down it.” I suppose I could double-check that quote.
  45. The former prime minister is incensed! So incensed he packs up from his Quebec («Québec») log cabin. Marc Lavigne.
  46. Oh, is Helen’s car going to blow up? Nope: Marc’s right there. “For two weeks I was prime minister of Canada, so you know I’m harmless.” Right: He drops something and sees the bomb under the car (oldest trick in the book; you’d think they’d make them without bright LEDs by now).
  47. Lavigne bangs his Hyundai Accent (yes) into the bomber’s car a few times. By no coïncidence whatsoever, it’s the guy who shot McLaughlin by arrangement. Then he spirits Madigan away in his superexclusive “ride.” He really must be harmless.
  48. So the interfaith tour is held up at gunpoint.
  49. Aaand now Lavigne gives us the true recap of H₂O.
  50. They’re using fighter jets to shoot terrorists?
  51. More vocative errors: I need one breathing Admiral. Because Admirals are of no use to us when they’re dead.
  52. “You want to try this?” “No, man, it’s not legal if I do it.” So they Abu Ghraibify a prisoner. Remember, we’re all Americans now.
  53. Since they don’t know how to type the comma key, of course they don’t know that “all right” is two words with a double L and a space.
  54. Now they’re worried about Mary’s old abortion.
  55. And they bleeped “fucking” again (“Tom McFucking Viagra”).
  56. They refuse to caption (no audible dialogue) when Rafe was whispering to the president.
  57. Now Lavigne and Madigan are interviewing McLaughlin’s medical staff at the hospital. “If it went clear through him, then how did [the bullet] end up on the gurney?”
  58. The Hillcrest Motel is on the Etobicoke motel strip.
  59. They were using a fake van from a TV station, KZ (“zed”) RE. Now, how could you possibly tell it was fake? The production designer (John Dondertman) did such a shit-ass job – using Arial Black, for fuck sakes – that the fake fake and the real fake look equally fake.
  60. Maybe they’ll stop writing Mr. President as Mister President.
  61. We can use this Tom: Instead of that other Tom?
  62. 21:14 – Now we get the homosexualism! So that’s why cute young Sam’s surname is Lewinsky.
  63. Aaand they blow up the kids. But who are “they”? “That’s it. We’re going into Saudi Arabia.”
  64. Nice fake-Texan accent, McLaughlin. Here we go again with the dictation of upcoming events, complete with little videoclips thereof.
  65. “This is a time-stamped NSA photograph.... The president knew where they were, yet he did nothing to rescue them.” Thus does McLaughlin announce his candidacy for president.
  66. And they bleep the word “fucking” again.
  67. Aand Madigan discovers the chip implanted in McLaughlin to guide the bullet. Shouldn’t these two have figured out they were being followed? Like, they think they got away clean? In an Hyundai?
  68. Our assassin falls into the standard H₂O trap, more suited to a Simpsons parody, of narrating what he’s about to do before he does it, giving Madigan enough time to take him out! with a plate of hash browns.
  69. “Gay marriage?” “Against.”
  70. The McLaughlin tour bus claims his name is MCLAUGHLIN. There is no capital C.
  71. And yet more telephone calls captioned inside brackets. Somewhere in Montreal, it is always 1987.
  72. Fake video image, and that’s Yonge and Dundas.
  73. “Gun control? Within reason, we’re for it. Why? You were shot, Tom!
  74. Whoever is playing Mary is saddled with outrageously bad writing (really Charlie Jade–quality), a paper bag out of which she cannot act. Texas oil running through my veins? Who the fuck is this – Yosemite Sam? Beverly Hillbillies?
  75. Yet more embarrassing vocatives: Come in Bill. HIV outreach worker, stat!
  76. Because I've got an abortion Don. “And you can’t beat abortion.”
    I got presidential semen on a boy’s blue shirt
  77. And the ambassador to the Vatican! Of course, that was back in college. “Technically you’re not gay if you’re on top.”
  78. So wait: Madigan is stationed outside a chain-link fence at the airfield where McLaughlin’s plane lands? Unlikely: Presidential candidates receive Secret Service protection.
  79. Gee, we’re suddenly on election night. That was fast.
  80. Suddenly Alberta is a state. I thought it was Saskatchewan. (It has seven electoral-college votes.) And he wins.
  81. 21:48 – We have 22 minutes left. What could possibly go wrong?
  82. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: This isn’t about Canada.... This is an American battle within American structures with a couple of piddling provinces thrown in for interest. It’s ridiculous. Where’s the water? And why would the secret cabal want McLaughlin in power anyway? You’re not typing that in. [ME: Reasonably verbatim.] Well, those were questions.
  83. “I’m the one who killed your assassin,” Madigan says. She IDs his coconspirators. Are Europe’s interests your interests? “Bingo. Give the woman a duck.” I gather this is not the Oval Office, given that it is rectangular.
  84. “What about Mary? [...] You used her.” “Of course I used her.” Reaction shot to Mary? Reaction shot to Mary, conveniently eavesdropping outside the door.
  85. Another “fuck” deleted. “Citizen of the world.” Then they didn’t bleep a “fucking.”
  86. Here it is, finally: They took my country. I’ll take theirs.
  87. Here it is, interminably: He was my son. He was my son! You can’t do this without getting your hair mussed, lady. The president-elect just told you that.
  88. Faux-Condi knew about the whole McLaughlin conspiracy? ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: That’s highly unlikely. (Not really, we find out momentarily.)
  89. What, they’re going to shoot his plane down now? He’d have Secret Service protection.
  90. No, they’re limiting the oxygen on the aircraft. And, all ironically, Mary sees Tom through the window of the aircraft via the accompanying F-16.
  91. And thus, as if solemnly, Mary nods to give the order to shoot down her husband’s plane.

Yes, dear friends, that really was more turkey than Christmas.

Completed: 2008.04.06 22:09