Miami Vice: The Lost Hours

This episode opens with Trudy and Stan Switek a stakeout in the outdoor area of a shopping center. While looking for their suspect, they get distracted by two men sword-fighting in 1960’s esque space alien costumes. Stan recognizes them from other stakeouts and says their always connected to a crime wave that follows them. They don’t seem to be clear on whether or not these guys are involved with any larger conspiracies or if they’re just a couple of monkey-wrench abstract theater performers who also commit ad hoc crimes. Regardless, Stan isn’t maintaining a low profile around these two. He yells at one of them for grabbing a passerby’s ass and also call him out for pick-pocketing a separate individual.

Shortly thereafter the man Trudy and Stan appear to be waiting for arrives in the courtyard. Stan points out another shifty looking dude and asks Trudy to keep an eye on him while he pursues their suspect. Trudy’s mark appears mesmerized by the sword fighting aliens and then seems to have some sort of panic attack that involves him ripping his own shirt to shreds. He then rushes up the stairs and throws his body through a plate glass window. There is truly never a dull moment on Miami Vice.

Let me preface this post by saying this is not a good episode. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Miami Vice was consistently best in its first two seasons with some great episodes peppered throughout the latter three. This season four episode is an example of the weaknesses that plagued the series in its final years. It’s truly unfortunate because Trudy is one of the most underutilized characters in this show and she’s the unequivocal the star of this one. I wish the writers had given her better material to work with.

The bizarre plot elements start off very quickly in this episode. Trudy saw the man crash through the window and she saw him bleeding out from his carotid artery. But at the morgue, the medical examiner tells her that the man only has a superficial scratch over his carotid.

Also, am I supposed to believe that this is a morgue with the weird art posters and poor lighting?

Back at headquarters, Trudy goes over the case with Tubbs. Everything about the dead guy’s personal effects seems pretty normal except that he was carrying twenty-four jars of peanut butter in a shopping bag and had over a thousand dollars in cash. He also carried a strange photo of what appears to be a very sad looking houseboat.

Based on photo alone, Trudy tracks down the mysterious location in the next scene. Clad only in teal stilettos and a bright purple scooped-back body-con dress, Trudy boards “The Sapphrophyte” and encounters MORE JARS OF PEANUT BUTTER. They’re all opened and arranged in a circle on the floor.

As an orange mist rolls across The Sapphrophyte, James Brown joins her. I think it’s better if you watch this part for yourselves.

This must have been cutting-edge technology for 80’s TV. I wonder how much they spent on this.

Meanwhile the dead man’s wife shows up at the station and wants to talk to Trudy, but no one knows where she is. She hasn’t been in all morning, so they assume she’s sick. Crockett talks to the grieving wife in Trudy’s stead. He learns that her husband disappeared under mysterious circumstances and she hasn’t seen him for two years. She was with him at the time of his disappearance and woke up with a circular pattern shaved into her hair. She also couldn’t account for the past twelve hours. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.

At the morgue, his wife is unable to identify the body because the body is MISSING. Evidently, Trudy has signed for its release. Back at headquarters Tubbs determines that the name of the mortuary Trudy listed on the release form is fake. And Switek confirms that the address is that of a Dairy Queen. Then Chris Rock (playing electronic file clerk, Carson) starts talking about the vice team being mentioned on the “Starchaser Bulletin Board” — a “computer bulletin board” he’s part of but Gina brushes him off.

Castillo asks Carson to tell him about the board. Carson clarifies that Trudy was actually the only one mentioned. The board is dedicated to UFOs and the dead man appears to be from the “Elko Abductions.” Castillo asks for the backstory on the abductions and Carson begins to describe how two couples — oh wait sorry we don’t get to hear because suddenly Trudy walks in singing “I Feel Good” like nothing at all strange has happened. The team stares dumbstruck as she walks over to her desk and burns the photo of The Sapphrophyte.

Understandably, the team starts asking her a whole lot of questions. Trudy insists she didn’t sign the body out of the morgue. She also says she spent the night partying with Lou De Long (James Brown). She explains that she met him at the dead guy’s houseboat. When Castillo asks why she burned the photo, she just shrugs.

Carson asks Trudy to tell him the name of the disco or explain it in anyway, but she isn’t able to. She says it was like a dream. Carson tells her that she has “memory displacement,” which happens in alien encounters. So Castillo has him removed from the room. Gina is tasked with getting Trudy to a doctor while Crockett and Tubbs track down Lou De Long.

They find him at a seminar on alien abductions. Tubbs and Crockett introduce themselves to Lou and tell him that they all know Trudy. When he denies knowing her, Tubbs calls him a scammer and threatens to expose him unless he gives them info about what happened with Trudy.

Lou denies that the alien thing is a scam, but he does say that the experience of alien abduction is not one that he would recommend. They take him to see Trudy and she’s shocked that he’s middle-aged. You see, the Lou De Long that Trudy went to the club with was young Lou De Long and he looked just like the man the record she’s had since she was thirteen.

When Trudy realizes that Lou’s signature isn’t on the album that she thought he had signed for her the night before, she starts to unravel. Lou explains to her that the abductors take memories and use them. He believes her but he wasn’t with her. With Lou’s help, Trudy begins to remember “two men with weird eyes and purple auras.”

Castillo tells the team to go back to the houseboat and see what they can find, but no one can find it. None of the reports contain the address. While the detectives try to figure out how to track down the houseboat, Carson states the obvious: just ask the wife.

The wife is staying at the “Tropical Motel.”

As they pull up to the hotel, Crockett and Tubbs see the wife being thrown into a black sedan by two suits. They try to follow the car, but their car won’t start and a bright blue beam of light descends upon them. After the light passes, Tubbs uses a nearby pay phone to call for help while Crockett works on the car.

Crockett gets the car working again, so he and Tubbs decide to investigate the wife’s motel room. Tubbs supposes for the sake of argument that the abductions are real. It would stand to reason then that the wife was taken because the aliens don’t want her to reveal the location of the houseboat. Tubbs also posits that Carson might be an alien plant. This is all too much for Crockett who decides it’s too crazy to even think about.

He does, however, agree that Carson has been a little suspiciously close to the case. He decides to pull Carson’s record. Tubbs decides to keep investigating the alien angle on his own.

Meanwhile back at her apartment, Trudy is extremely on edge. So she decides to undergo hypnosis. It looks a little something like this:

Through hypnosis, Trudy is able to remember the location of the houseboat. When Trudy and Gina return to the houseboat, they find the wife’s dead body. Meanwhile a man who looks suspiciously like someone who was hanging around Lou De Long’s seminar watches them from close by.

Gina notices that the wife has a circle shaved into the back of her head. When Trudy crouches down to get a closer look, Gina notices that Trudy’s head has a similarly shaved spot. (She’s somehow able to see this even though none of us can see it when we look down at Trudy’s head.) When Gina points this out to Trudy she understandably freaks out.

Elsewhere, Tubbs talks with Lou again. This time in the middle of a crop circle with his gun drawn. Except it’s not really a crop circle, it is a “Jacob’s Ring.” Lou explains that this kind of pattern is created by spaceship landings. Lou says he’s there to wait for the “sponsors.” Tubbs clocks a couple of men watching them through binoculars but doesn’t mention it to Lou. Tubbs asks Lou who the sponsors are, but Lou doesn’t know and doesn’t seem to care. He’s just there to drop off the records from the seminar in exchange for $2,000.

Tubbs bids farewell to Lou and hauls ass out of there, getting involved in a game of chicken with the binocular men’s car along the way. Lou watches with a cheerful smile on his face as the binocular men’s car falls off a precipice. As they emerge from the wreckage, Tubbs holds them at gunpoint. Then and Lou have a fairly pleasant conversation with them.

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The binocular men explain that they are federal agents conducting nuclear tests in Dade County. It’s all super duper top secret because of the Cold War. They say that everything Lou’s seminar attendees mistook for alien activity was actually related to their tests. Tubbs pushes back and says that doesn’t account for the missing people and the lost memories. The feds say these are all mere coincidences. Tubbs figures the dead man must have seen more than he was supposed to and that the feds did all of this weird shit to cover it up. But they say that they had nothing to do with any cover up. (Of course they would say that.)

Still working the alien abduction theory, Carson calls Trudy and tells her they need to investigate the houseboat again because he thinks it may be a communications station. Elsewhere, Crockett explains to Tubbs that Carson’s background looks clean. However, he’s brand new to his job and skipped his night school class at the community college that night. When Tubbs calls Switek to check on Trudy, he says she isn’t at her apartment, but she left a note saying she is with Carson.

Crocket and Tubbs race to the houseboat. (The creepy guy is still nearby.) Tubbs sees Trudy on the deck of the boat. She seems pretty out of it again. Crockett finds Carson in the cabin. Carson explains that someone was tugging the houseboat when he and Trudy arrived. The creepy guy then appears behind Crockett and shows him the ownership papers. Evidently, the dead guy left the houseboat to Lou’s seminar program.

Crockett, Tubbs, Carson, and Trudy leave the creepy guy behind on the houseboat. And as soon as they depart, a light turns on by itself, the radio starts whirring, and the cuckoo clock cuckoos. Shortly thereafter, the engine dies on Crockett’s speedboat. Behind them, they hear the tugboat horn. As they all look back, the houseboat explodes into a ball of fire.

Then Trudy wakes up from this horrible dream. Ah it was all a dream! We next see her arriving at work. She opens her desk drawer and…there’s the photo of the houseboat she supposedly burned. And an almost empty jar of peanut butter.

Very Special Bizzarro Lesson: I think first and foremost the key takeaway here is that nothing good ever happens at abandoned houseboats.

Seriously, so much of this episode was bizzare. Not even the subject matter. Lest we forget, 2020 was the year when the pentagon announced they would declassify some UFO program information. But there are soooo many loose threads here that the only explanation is truly: “guess the aliens did it.”

However, the most bizarre thing of all was that this is a Miami Vice episode with essentially no music. There’s like that one James Brown song and maybe one other song briefly while Trudy is in her apartment. Where is the music video vibe I want and need???? And why did they use a real James Brown song and attribute it to a fake character? I guess James’s team was like listen this is the worst script we’ve ever seen. You need to ask them to change your name in the show.

I’m so sorry Trudy. You really deserved better.

Bizzaro Episodes: The Most 2020 Trope

2020 has been nothing if not bizarre. So let’s round-out the year with a look back the moments when your favorite tv shows got well, weird.

So in case you’re like — hey, hey wait as second what is a bizzaro episode anyway? It’s anytime a show breaks from form or tone in such a remarkable way that the episode gives regular viewers an uncanny feeling. As Pop Culture Crime says of one dark episode of I Love Lucy, “I felt like I was in the midst of a weird fever dream.” If that’s the vibe you’re getting from a show you regularly watch (unless that show is Twin Peaks) then chances are — you’re viewing a bizarro episode!

Stay tuned this week for an in-depth look at bizarre episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Miami Vice, and Murder, She Wrote.

Halloween 2018: Phoning it in

Full disclosure: I’ve covered MANY a Halloween episode on this blog (head on over to the side of the page there and you can check them all out on “A Very Special Halloween.”) And this year I didn’t really have it in me to do a full week of episodes again.

Instead, I watched The Haunting of Hill House, which was AMAZING and this is coming from ME the person who had a traumatic reaction to Scream.

But tonight, I decided to get reflective and was like…huh…so what were my favorite episodes from every single Halloweek on The Very Special Blog?

In short, I’ve loved every single Halloween episode of Boy Meets World, especially the one with a Sabrina bonus. It’s not a show I can usually write about on The VSB (frankly because it’s too good and doesn’t have very special episodes), but this episode of That 70’s Show is one of the greatest Halloween episodes of all time.

The Halloween episode of Happy Days is so aesthetically pleasing that it gets an honorable mention, but I don’t really recommend it overall because it’s a bit boring. Watch it for the set decoration and costume pieces alone.

And finally, nothing could ever hold a candle to one of the weirdest pieces of television I’ve ever seen: The Miami Vice episode with the aspiring-mime, amateur artist, raw-meat loving, cover your face in flour, cat burglar. This episode is a GIFT, people.

God bless the person who made this higlights video:


Dating: Does Anyone Really Like This?

“I can’t wait until you start dating again. It will be fun.”–by BFF after I broke up with my ex.



Here are things other than the word “fun” that I would use to describe dating:
-The most awkward thing I’ve done since I had to kiss my long-time crush in our high school musical while simultaneously pretending that it was not my first kiss and that I was in fact an expert kisser and oh my God I got red lipstick right below his bottom lip, should I wipe it off or no????

Also, I’m in this situation where my last relationship lasted for over five years and I literally never want to mention that for the following two reasons:
1. Dudes will assume I want a relationship when I just want to hang out.
2. I will have mentioned an ex which I think is literally the worst thing ever because if you’re talking about your ex, then I don’t want you talking to me. (My rule of thumb for this has always been and always will be: “If your ex went horseback riding through Utah with Frank Zappa, then obviously I want to hear about it. If your ex styled her hair similarly to me, please don’t point that out.”)

But here’s the thing. The dating landscape has changed a lot since the last time I was single. Here are some things that didn’t exist the last time I dated new people and now are things I am quietly learning about:
-Dating apps*
-The term “ghosting;” “back burner;” “fuckboy”**
Treatment resistant gonorrhea***

And then there’s having to deal with actual humans on top of all of that!!

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but humans are THE WORST.

And just when I thought I could take no more, I did the only thing I could do. I asked Tina Turner for help. But first, a little context:

Several years ago, when I was first dating Turd Ferguson (you guys remember Turd, right?) my godbrother asked me about him.

The conversation went as follows:
GB: Is he good to you?
Me: Yeah
GB: I’m not asking if he’s a good guy. I’m asking is he good to you? Do you understand the difference?
Me: (pause) Yeah, yes. I do. He’s a good guy and he’s good to me.

Pause. I appeared to be introspective. I wasn’t. I was hesitating. There were red flags I couldn’t define even then and I shrugged off that kernel of doubt. But you should never hesitate when someone you love asks, or better yet–you ask yourself, this question.

There are plenty of good people in this world. There are plenty of awful people in this world. The difference between the two types of people, in practice, is surprisingly oblique. So regardless of whether you’re just hanging out, just friends, or in a partnership with someone, you’d better be good to each other. You better make sure you’re giving your time to someone who is treating you right. No excuses.

In all seriousness, I first heard this song on an episode of Miami Vice. Admittedly, you can lose the significance of the lyrics if you’re sucked into the visuals of Gina and Trudy on shopping spree for undercover outfits, which is a thing that I am 100% sure all detectives actually do.

But this song is PREACH, Tina, PREACH. I’ve listened to it before and used it in the exact opposite way that it’s intended. I’ve been like “Yeah, you better be good to me!” and then felt emboldened to go right back into whatever crap situation I was in with a false sense of empowerment. But these days, I’m trying to actually practice what Tina preaches. Do you understand the difference?

P.S. In case you’re wondering, now that I’ve turned this into an occasional dating confessional that I very loosely tie to pop culture, no I do not mention this blog to potential suitors. I only mention it in job interviews.

It’s important to do this because I want to makes sure that all of my coworkers are weird as hell. It’s how I landed my current job! #NEVERGIVEUPONYOURDREAMS

*Incidentally, I haven’t used these yet and have instead decided that I would prefer to talk to random strangers IRL because I am an ENFJ dammit!
**I am still not sure what the term fuckboy means, so please leave your best definition in the comments.
***Please don’t panic. Click the link. Also, I recently used “no glove, no love” in all seriousness because I am a child of the 90’s and that was the first thing that came to mind. It worked and I actually looked like I was being humorous.

Miami Vice: Shadow in the Dark

044e1e853c7493ad7351f236a936a3deVery Special Readers, I give you the scariest episode of Miami Vice ever. While this is not explicitly a Halloween episode, it did originally air on October 31st and it will give you nightmares. It’s a dark and spooky night and this dude is crossing a drawbridge as it opens. It’s just him and like some delivery trucks and he’s making creepy hand gestures like he’s commanding the bridge to open. He should have straight up have been arrested on the bridge, I think. But it’s Miami in the 80’s, which this show leads me to believe was a totally a completely lawless time. So he ends up at this luxurious house. He’s wearing latex gloves and has his boots duct taped to his pants. He’s moaning which oh my gosh I hope is not a sexual noise on his part. It’s not a sexual noise I have ever heard before, but I think this may be par for the course with this guy.

He starts mime-walking with his hands across the glass of this sliding door. And then he just turns with arms outstretched like he’s saying, “Behold the pool area!”

Ugh, no seriously this guy wants to make sweet, sweet love to this house. This is some kind of creepy disorder that you’ve heard about for the first time here on The VSB, bringing you breaking news from 1986.

Omg no, he goes to the kitchen and covers his face with flour. Ugh no, I will never eat cold cuts again. Oh thank goodness, cue the credits.

The next day, Crocket and Tubbs show up to investigate this “cat burglary”where this dude has only stolen pants. You know what, I’m not even surprised. Of course, he only stole pants.

He’s also left a crude lipstick drawing on the wall. (Whoops, looks like I only review Miami Vice episodes with crude drawings). Crockett tastes the lipstick. Wtf. How is that relevant to this investigation??

Oh no, it wasn’t cold cuts I don’t think. They find raw meat all over the kitchen. Oh please tell me he was getting that flour out for some deep frying. Was he eating raw meeting??? (Sorry, taking a brief break because I may be physically ill. Wtf, Miami Vice, where are the drug cartels?? What is this weird depraved, shit???)

Oh by the way, if you were like “What does this have to do with Vice?” Good question. Crockett and Tubbs have been loaned to another lieutenant on this case. His name is Lt. Gilmore and he’s batshit crazy, presumably from spending too much time on this case. He goes nuts, attacks a criminal informant, and is admitted to a mental hospital. Crockett and Tubbs continue to work the case, but now they’re working out of their usual vice office. I don’t know anything about police work, so I’m just going to assume that this weird scenario is perfectly plausible.

mqdefaultWith Lt. Gilmore indisposed, Crockett takes the lead on the case. Having learned absolutely nothing from the cop who just went nuts working this case, Crockett tells Castillo that he needs to start thinking like the burglar. So he starts speaking in insane babble and staying up all night. And then he just drives his car to like the middle of nowhere suburbia and is all spooked at the noises of birds cooing. And there’s tons and tons of lipstick drawings all over the road and street signs. OH WAIT JUST KIDDING IT WAS A DREAM. He wakes up at his desk. Then he takes his vice team on a stakeout. But it’s a crap stakeout because they’re all standing outside of a sports car bemoaning the fact that they haven’t seen anything. They give up and go home and the cat burglar is in a house RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE THERE CAR WAS. Omg. Someone is NOT getting re-elected over at Metro-Dade.

At the hospital, Crockett and Tubbs do a really terrible job of questioning this trauma victim. But Crockett says,”I’m starting to get a sense of when this guy’s gonna move. And this time, he’s gonna go further.” I’m not sure how he got that from tasting lipstick paintings but fine. Lt. Castillo tells him that if there is not a break in the case soon, they will send the case back to burglary.

Cut to: Crockett playing with flour, raw meat, and red lipstick. Omg he’s putting flour on his face. Crocket, stop. This makes no sense!

Crockett continues to spiral out of control until he and Tubbs are pulled from the case. I mean, Tubbs has basically not even been working the case. But he can’t get Crockett to stop. Crockett took pictures of all of the houses in the area and he’s sure that he’s selected the house that the burglar will hit next. He somehow convinces Tubbs that if Lt. Gilmore picks the same picture that Crockett has picked, then the lead is good. Cause they’re both so “tuned-in” to the case and all.


Hahhaah oh my gosh what am I watching?? Luckily, Crockett gets to the house just in time and stops the burglar, who has now gotten a little stabby. Happy Halloween, yikes.


Very Special Halloween Lesson: Work-life balance is so, so important, guys. So important. I cannot stress this enough.

Oh P.S. there’s a good chance that literally all of this was a dream because Crockett wakes up in a cold sweat in bed on his boat at the end of the episode.