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Episode 1.4 - Aug. 21, 2005

The adrenaline pumps from the first moments of this episode, with a high-speed car chase and rapid-fire banter.

This episode originally had been scheduled as the fifth in the series, but was moved up a week. It was a smart move, as "Badlands" delivers a jolt of action, a decent storyline and capitalizes on a flurry of press about Lee Tergesen. The episode is Eddie Drake-centric and crackles with intensity and humor when he's on the screen.

Whether they're on a case or just hanging around headquarters, the snarky comments fly as freely as the bullets in "Wanted." And Eddie Drake is the center of it all -- by design. As a New York Post article noted (Aug. 27, 2005):

While "Wanted" is violent and extremely serious, Drake brings a sense of humor to his job. It's something Tergesen and series creator Jorge Zamacona ... discussed before Tergesen took the role.

"Before I came onto the show, Jorge showed me the pilot," Tergesen says. "He and I talked about this, and we both felt that something lacking [in the show] was humor. I feel like part of what I do [as Drake] is bring humor to the show."

The target of this episode is Wanted Man No. 88, Owen Vickers. We get his bad-guy credentials through the usual ultra-violent flashback that leaves no doubt about his badness. He shoots people, beats people, saws their hands off. The latter happened to be the hand of an federal agent, who was murdered by Vickers and sent piece by piece to FBI headquarters.

After the opening chase scene, there's a bit of Lee-less action that includes trying to track down the bad guy and a side story of Lt. Rose being served with divorce papers. When Rose returns to the task force's base, we get a brief glimpse into some of Drake's background and psyche.

Drake's working out, lifting weights, rippling muscles. He announces, "I think I met her, man. ... The fourth ex-Mrs. Drake."

Rose: "You go into a relationship expecting to lose?"
Drake: "Yeah, why not? I have no paternal instinct, I have a crazy libido, and I’m no good to anyone I the long run."

Rose scoffs that this isn't the sort of thing he really wanted to hear, being on the verge of divorce and all.

Soon, Rose and Drake are on the road together, discussing the horrors of methamphetamine. They pull up to a dusty house in the middle of nowhere that belongs to a bad guy named Fat Johnny. When Drake busts in, they find a kitchen filled with a meth lab and snakes. Drake comes face-to-face with the latter when he trips and lands on his belly. 

Fat Johnny makes an appearance about now, attacking Rose. Drake jumps on his back and puts a chokehold on him till Rose knocks him out. This bronco-style take-down method will be put to good use again later in the episode, with an even badder guy.

So, finally, we get to the fun part. Eddie's going undercover. They're setting him up as a new dope dealer in town, looking for a distributor. Eddie's ready for the assignment, gung-ho and full of bravado. And demands. "I’m gonna need money, drugs, and a bike," he says. "And how's that different from your everyday?" ATF Agent McGloin snarks.

At a car lot, Drake and Rose check out the motorcycle options.

Drake sneers at the first two: "There’s no way I’m riding into Dodge on a sushi scooter. They would pull a pink sock on me in a heartbeat." When Rose wonders what a "pink sock" is, Drake replies, "You couldn’t handle the description of a pink sock."

Drake finds the bike he needs -- low-rider Harley. "There she is," he says, straddling and fondling it. He lowers his bravado a bit for a nice moment with Rose, "But all that bullshit aside – cover my back on this, OK? I don’t want to be a hero."

Rose reassures him, "We’ll take care of you."

Part of taking care of him includes inserting a micro-chip, too, for tracking purposes. Gronbeck takes glee injecting the chip into his neck.

Then, off Drake rumbles, looking to hook up with Vickers. There's a nice montage of scenes of Drake on his bike, Drake talking to bikers. Which eventually leads him to a strip club.

Drake first meets up with "Little Steven," a nervous go-fer with a bad dye-job who says he hears Lee’s got product to sell.

Drake scoffs and delivers a patented Eddie Drake line: "Product? What – you been watching Miami Vice reruns all day? Where’s your leisure suit, asshole?”

More to come.

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Video Clips:

Pumping iron

Biker Eddie

Undercover 1

Undercover 2


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