Alien Nation #21: Gimme, Gimme

George invests in a company that immediately comes under police scrutiny when one of its partners is murdered.
SLAGS LIKE US: Newcomers stand in for poorer minorities who have less access to higher education or have historically faced employers who have denied them better jobs and working conditions. Unsurprisingly, Nu-Knit is a non-unionized, corner-cutting enterprise.

REVIEW: This episode would be so much better if it actually knew a bit more about business investments. Not that I'm an expert, you understand, but things like holding shindigs for investors who are likely to buy just 1000$ in stock when the alien tech company seems likely to get a government contract, or the conclusion where Nu-Knit is abandoned and turned into a plastic recycling company by... Buck's environment/civics teacher, just don't have the ring of truth. Everybody's looking for a quick fix in Gimme, from the company illegally dumping toxic waste, to the accountant making up dummy investors, to George, Susan and Glazer dumping substantial savings in Nu-Knit, to Sikes buying lottery tickets... but taking shortcuts to make things work shouldn't extend to the writers.

Besides, we've already had a fraud story this season, with Buck and Emily losing money on a con man's time shares; the story would work without George having a personal stake (which he ignores because of his integrity anyway). Buck and his teacher could still have been there to excite the proles on the Newcomer connection alone, and interfered with the investigation. Glazer could have been on George's back on behalf of an important investor - say, the city - playing political favorites as usual. I hate to criticize because the production values are unusually high: a violent salt water pool murder, an atmospheric toxic spill sequence, firery explosions... even the music reminds me of the film more than the show. The culprit is a bit obvious, guilty by casting you might say (recognizable guest stars will often turn out to be important, don't you know), but makes some smart moves in the climax, so there is that.

As for the subplot, it's also about things being too good to be true. Matt sells Albert a scratch ticket that nets him 25,000$, but the naive and kind-hearted Newcomer blows it on getting him his dream car - just what he would have gotten himself. Of course, the vintage corvette starts bleeding him dry between the parking, gas, insurance, security and repairs, all of which is used for comedy purposes, until he sells it to give Albert HIS dream, 11 truck loads of trees for the city. (Hm, this episode has a green agenda, doesn't it?) The lesson, I suppose, is that we should invest in the long term (which is what environmentalism is about) and not the short term (quick pay days and vibrating Lazyboys - ooh, that's a little rude, isn't it?).

The film features methane plants only Newcomers could work in; similarly, the Nu-Knit factory has an atmosphere toxic to humans.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Good change of pace going after white collar criminals, but I'm not sure the writers quite understood that world.



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