Mister T “Fortune Cookie Caper” (part 6 of 8)

Cut to the team walking into a building marked “Brooklyn Police”. What? Brooklyn has its own police force now? Why does that scare me?

They’re being observed from a nearby rooftop by Obvious Villain and a goon. This goon is also the flunky/waiter from the Chinese restaurant, the same guy who accidentally showered the team with fortune cookies. Evidently, being a spazz is no barrier to advancement in the underworld.

Obvious Villain gloats that his plan worked: He got “the goods” and Jeff took the fall. The goon agrees that this was a desirable outcome. [Frankly, that asshole Jeff going to jail is a pretty desirable outcome for just about anyone. —Albert]

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Meanwhile, Jeff comes out and tells the gang he’s been set free pending the lab work, but he can’t leave town. Woody tells him that, given his lack of an alibi, he “got lucky!” Whoa, Jeff is walking out of jail and we’re finding out he “got lucky”? No more details, please! Oh, and look closely at the next couple of images. Can you spot the continuity gaffe?

Caption contributed by Mark


Caption contributed by Mark

—What’s that?

Jeff says he doesn’t feel lucky and whines that he “lost everything!” This prompts another Nugget-o-Wisdom from Mr. T:

Mr. T: Don’t give up! If the door’s locked, look for an open window!

And if the window’s locked, bust a hole through the wall! Like me! Mr. T!

Robin asks, not so innocently, where Jeff went on that walk of his, anyway. Jeff asks incredulously if they think he did it. Mr. T totally lies and says they don’t, then quickly covers with the excuse that they need to know, so they can clear his name fast. He adds, “We got to get busy!” And he’s looking right at Robin and pointing at her as he says this. Ew! Ew ew ew ew ew.

Kim suddenly spots Obvious Villain and Goon watching them, and whispers this information to Mr. T. He instantly decides to go up there, because I’m sure he has an excellent chance of sneaking up on the bad guys, right after pointing directly at them, while they were watching his every move through binoculars. For this mission, his away team consists of Jeff and Dozer [!!]. The others are told to “man” the exits. Even though they’re mostly women. Wasn’t life before the PC movement so much simpler?

A moment later, Mr. T, Jeff, and Dozer burst onto the roof behind Obvious Villain and the Goon, and Mr. T politely asks them to ‘fess up. Sadly, there’s no Miss Bisby there to demand he add “please”. The two bad guys bolt. Yeah, if you’re already dressed as a villain, there’s obviously no point in even trying the “I was just standing here” defense.

Obvious Villain leaps across an alley onto the next rooftop, with the goon just behind him. Jeff eagerly wants to follow suit, but Mr. T holds him back, telling him “Only a fool would risk his life that way!” Wait, isn’t this the same Mr. T who let a little kid tackle an arsonist, and told his entire team to jump twelve feet in the air to avoid a flaming dumpster?

Mr. T’s warning seems prescient, because the next shot reveals that the goon didn’t make it, and is dangling from the gutter. This is a flimsy aluminum gutter of the sort you frequently see on suburban homes, but not so often on commercial buildings in Brooklyn. The goon yells for help, and Obvious Villain leans down and extends his hand. But what he says is:

Obvious Villain: Give me the cookie!

You know, I don’t think I ever want to be in a situation where my life depends on a cookie in any shape or form. So from this, I gather that Obvious Villain needs the cookie to know where the next robbery will take place. (Funny how these clues to ongoing crimes are always discovered in sequential order. In fact, this is almost exactly like the list of targets in “Mystery of the Golden Medallion”, only dumber.) So the question is, why was the goon the one holding onto this cookie, if it was something Obvious Villain knew he was going to need? Is Obvious Villain a compulsive snacker? Was the goon afraid he’d eat their next caper?

Caption contributed by Mark

“Dang it! And my horoscope told me to stay away from aluminum gutters today!”

The goon kvetches, but Obvious Villain insists, so the goon takes one hand off the gutter and pulls a fortune cookie out of his pocket. Unfortunately, the gutter chooses this moment to buckle, and the goon plummets to his certain death—Oops, no, I mean into a conveniently placed dumpster full of crumpled paper. (Is this alley outside the offices of Infinitely Many Monkeys, Ltd.?) “I coulda got killed!” he moans. “Or woise!” Hey, for once the goon with the stereotypical Brooklyn accent is actually in Brooklyn!

Now in possession of the fortune cookie, Obvious Villain cackles inanely at Mr. T from across the alley. He takes off along the roof, only to be confronted by Robin and the others emerging onto the same roof. Obvious Villain skids to a halt, but the team plows right into him, bowling him over [!].

Caption contributed by Mark

“Out of the way! Mr. T is threatening to put on tight gym shorts again!”

Mr. T, who’s still on the other rooftop, yells, “Get the cookie!” And then… do the Hustle! Doot-do doot-da-dododo-doot-do, doot-do doot-da-dodo!

I’m not sure how Mr. T can even see the cookie from where he’s standing, but he’s right—there it is on the ground, halfway between the team and Obvious Villain. Who will reach it first? Usually, when you see this kind of scene played out, which is probably fourteen times a day in anything from old Westerns to this week’s Simpsons, the contested object is a gun, or a bomb. Something consequential. Here, we have a guy dressed as a cartoon villain, and a bunch of teen gymnasts desperately scrambling for a fortune cookie over the asphalt rooftops of Brooklyn. Not even Zippy the Pinhead’s random plot generator could come up with something as disconnectedly absurd as that.

Spike makes to grab the cookie, but Obvious Villain kicks it out of the way. And then it almost looks like OV is foot-dribbling it like a soccer ball across the roof, but he’s actually just chasing it. (Did Speedy Gonzalez grab it?)

Kim shoots an empty flowerpot across the roof, which intercepts the cookie, and causes it to careen out of Obvious Villain’s reach, right over the (raised) edge of the building [!!]. Man, I do not want to play air hockey against her—she just did a bank shot with a flower pot and a fortune cookie! Of course, knocking the cookie off the side of the building was not exactly part of Mr. T’s instructions. Which were, as I recall, “Get the cookie!” Doot-do doot-da-dododo-doot-do, doot-do doot-da-dodo get the cookie! Doot-do doot-da—what? Oh, right. This episode.

Obvious Villain wails ridiculously, “NOOOO!!!” Then everyone just watches as the cookie gently falls off the building and hits a flagpole, which causes the cookie to shatter [!]. This frees the slip of paper inside to gently waft around the alley like a feather. The Brooklyn Goon, still down at the bottom of the alley, is running around trying to catch it, but just then a hand reaches out of a nearby window and easily grabs it [!]—a hand which turns out to belong to Miss Bisby!

I’m fascinated by the fact that Miss Bisby has appeared at this window. First of all, she clairvoyantly knew she had to get to a window that faced this alley, in order to catch a floating strip of paper. This is despite not having seen any of the action on the rooftop leading up to this moment. But I’m equally impressed that she gained access to whoever’s apartment this is in the first place. Did she claim to be Ed McMahon with a Publishers Clearinghouse Check? Or did Mr. T teach her how to burst through walls, too?

On top of this, Miss Bisby, who’s been eerily mute so far in this episode, actually has a line here. A ridiculous line, to be sure (“I told you I’d help you out, Mr. T!” Really? When?), but a line nonetheless.

Now that she’s broken her silence, she can’t shut up. In the next scene, they’re all on the subway (including Dozer), and Miss Bisby is laboriously explaining how Mr. T’s first fortune (“Strike where Columbus’s Year meets Pilgrim’s Rock!”) was a code pointing to 1492 Plymouth Street. Didn’t we already know that? The dumbest part is this means they were at the scene of the Plymouth Street fire randomly, before they figured out the fortune.

The new fortune that Bisby snatched away from Obvious Villain turns out to be “A year of independence on a very wet road.” Professor Woody immediately gets the first half—1776. The second half is actually pretty vague, but Mr. T somehow intuits it must point to Water Street. Actually, not to harp on this, but “a very wet road” is right: 1776 Water Street would be under water, in the East River this time. I’ve heard of riverfront views, but that’s ridiculous.

Robin is all for rushing right over to 1776 Water Street, but Mr. T details her, Jeff, Spike, and Dozer to go “keep an eye” on the Chinese restaurant. I love how Dozer gets assigned on missions, like he’s just another member of the team. Not enough of a member for anyone to actually remember to make sure he gets out of a burning building or anything. But maybe if he goes on enough missions he can earn points toward that, or something.

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: Mister T "Fortune Cookie Caper"

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