Title: Santa's Got a Brand New Bag –
(1) Lee gaining a new perspective on Christmas;
(2) as Raffie said, Lee and Amanda “bagging” the baddies;
(3) AND an unexpected delivery method of technology to the East Germans. Instead of sending blue prints or prototypes, the technology was copied on huge hard disks and Ingle intended to fly them out at midnight to deliver it to his contacts. Like Santa flying the reindeer and sleigh, Ingle was flying home with goodies in his bag on Christmas Eve.
There was discussion up-thread about when Lee was invited to Amanda's and whether the plan was spontaneous. When he and Amanda finally go shopping, he has already been invited and he is anticipating the experience – being compared to Joe, having good gifts for the boys, wanting to make a good impression. Then, at the front door, he again voices his insecurity about not fitting in and “after 5 minutes they'll all wonder why I'm here.” When Dotty opens the door, she makes it clear that Lee has been eagerly expected and is completely welcome.
Lee's “bah, humbug” attitude about Christmas is offset by his pleasure in doing his job, playing with the toys and being with Amanda. His holiday gloom is limited to references to the holiday; otherwise, he's in top form. Billy and Amanda are overtly trying to push Lee into participating in holiday celebrations. Billy points out to Amanda that Lee had put himself back on the duty roster, and “orders” her to go to the Q Bureau and drag Lee down to the party. Billy tries to downplay the fire at Bernie's and Lee challenges him, “You think I'm trying to invent work so that I'll duck out on the holidays, right?” Billy replied, “You do it every year.” In another scene Billy said, “This year for a change, I thought I'd keep you out of the field.” Amanda says that Lee is impossible to get in a holiday mood.
We know that Lee had minimal Christmas cheer as a child, but it's clear that he hasn't developed any Christmas traditions as an adult either. For single people, the family-oriented holidays can be highly exclusive. Close friends gravitate to family events, and folks without families are quite alone. This year, Lee is expected to participate in Amanda's family events and he's apprehensive about it.
He is really pleased to be spending Christmas Eve working with Amanda. We get treated to an Amandaramble about “We are working. We are sitting in a bar working. We are not singing Christmas carols. We are not opening presents. We are not going to church. We are sitting in a bar working on Christmas Eve.” She is clearly NOT pleased because she wants to be spending Christmas Eve with Lee at her home, with her family, doing Christmas activities.
When he comments about “our holiday tradition” of being in a nest of killers, she doesn't contradict him. And Dotty said to Joe, “Just once, I would like to have my daughter home on time for Christmas Eve.” So, even though we only know about the S1 Christmas Eve, that leaves two Christmas Eve episodes just begging to be written – one for S2 and one for S3. Any ideas, folks?
Bernie's complaint was that his design would make money for Titan Toys and he would not benefit from his work – no bonus, no credit. Throughout the episode, we get glimpses of how that actually works. “Walter the Singing Frog” was actually a knock-off of a toy that Joe brought home from Japan years ago. In other words, developed by another designer and mass produced in America. T.P. explains that Titan's signature toys (Harry and the cap pistol) are being produced “under license” and that Titan is barely covering the cost of production on those toys. Bernie feels unjustly used for designing a toy that could make millions for the company and getting no more than a paycheck for his work.
As Lee investigates, he discovers that Titan's research and development is not producing high-tech toys, but high-tech weaponry. That pushes the investigation beyond the personal friend's sense of injustice and into a matter of national security. As Lee and Amanda finish “interviewing” the “three wise men” at the bar, she asks, “Why the push on a project that's been shelved?” The engineers are working on Christmas Eve supposedly to finish Bernie's prototype toy tank. Falcon bragged to Ingle that Bernie's detective wouldn't figure out what Titan Toys was really doing because “I've got a factory full of Phi Beta Kappa engineers doing weapons grade research and they all think they're just making sophisticated toys.” The compartmentalization and secrecy in the company have made it easy for Falcon to develop a tank for the East Germans without anyone figuring it out.
Bernie's a good designer and would have been a fun repeat character alongside Leatherneck. It was Bernie who designed the camera in Lee's wristwatch and we see Lee using that camera in the factory. Bernie's talents are underemployed in toy design. His bumbling attempt at theft makes it clear that he's probably not field agent material, but he'd be great with the spy gadgets. The first scene in his house introduced a lot of toys that were used later in the show.
Lee giving scarves every year was a funny recurring theme. Amanda shakes her head over “scarves again.” When Bernie opened Lee's gift, he says he'll enjoy it just like he did the scarf Lee gave him last year and the year before that. I'm sure Amanda got a big laugh about Jamie giving Lee a scarf. You know she was included in any discussion about buying gifts for Lee. Perhaps her drive for poetic justice prevented her from vetoing the scarf idea.
Odd note: I can understand that T.P. might have been invited to the Agency party as a guest, but why was he shown on the duty roster? He isn't employed by the Agency. I enjoyed the tuba playing for the Salvation Army kettle.
I think Ingle is the only male character in the entire series that wears an earring. It was nice how the writers built his character's sensitivity to Christmas. His tone of voice raised a slight objection to having the employees work on Christmas Eve. He spoke nostalgically about celebrating Christmas in Dresden. And the cute little girl smiling right in his face made him disengage his weapon (put the safety on?). He was eager to kill Bernie and started a fire in his home. He was eager to kill L&A, too. But something about the kids and the Christmas show disarmed him even before Lee told him to drop the gun.
Francine's green blouse, black skirt and stunning black and green belt was a very nice Christmas ensemble. She and Beaman were really great in this one, and I see that several fanfic writers have expanded their story.
I enjoyed the tag because Lee finally relaxed in Amanda's house and admitted that Christmas can be pretty special. The writers did a good job showing Lee making that transition in only 45 minutes. We saw his grumpiness about Christmas; he talked to Amanda about some of his insecurities and complaints about the holiday; he stalled at the front door; but then felt the welcome by her family and seemed ready to “enter in” to the festivities.
I agree with all of those who are irritated by the too sweetness between Joe and Amanda. However, I think the intent during the tag was to show Joe as welcoming Lee, rather than competing with Lee. Lee expected to be compared to Joe and judged “less than” Joe. Instead, the family was glad to see him and there was no competition between the two men. (I remarked somewhere in Season 1 that Lee habitually undermined other men. It wasn't that he had a personal grudge against all other men, he just needed to be the Alpha Male. He put down Dean on a regular basis, IMO just out of habit. In this ep, he's expecting that kind of treatment from Joe, but Joe's not really into the Alpha Male, superiority contest.)
The electronic keyboard from Joe contributed to the theme of sophisticated electronic toys.
Lillian shutting herself away (compartmentalized and secretive and last minute) to finish embroidering Dotty's apron paralleled the strategy used by Titan Toys.
Nice recurring references to church attendance. SMK doesn't do that much.
Last edited by Alaskanfan
on January 15th, 2015, 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
AlaskanFan"I guess I have an idea of making the world a safer place..."
Amanda, The Triumvirate