“Painkiller Jane” Recaps: Episode 1.2 “Toy Soldiers”


A munitions depository — Someone in what looks like a cross between a golf cart and a tank is approaching a restricted area in a munitions depository. A couple of military guys order the driver to halt, and when he doesn’t, they fire a bunch of rounds at him. But he doesn’t stop, and I’m wondering if it’s because those firearms look and sound like cap guns more than anything actually deadly.

The driver does a doughnut before leaping from his four-wheeler and making a run for it. The military guys shoot him in the back, but he still manages to scramble away from them. Cut to his leather jacket-clad body sprawled on the asphalt. But wait, he’s alive! He suddenly sits up all undead-like and looks around wildly. When the military guys come to collect his body, he’s nowhere to be found.

Sweet Jane — Cut to our own Painkiller Jane Vasco rounding a street corner in slow motion, looking like a badass in her leather jacket. She casually walks past someone wearing a gas mask. Cue voiceover and muddled childhood flashback.

Vasco V.O.: I’m not convinced that we’re brought up to handle life’s difficulties. Mostly, we’re taught to distract ourselves. I barely saw my father while my mother was alive. After she died, there came the endless trips to the movies, sporting events, distractions. You’d always be given something good to deal with something bad. Like going to the doctor. Every time I received an injection, I’d leave with a balloon. I can’t remember when all of that stopped. And today, I felt I wasn’t going to be given a balloon.

Will she at least be given a gas mask? I worry about her! Jane slips through a door in a nondescript city building.

Geek Squad Super Secret Headquarters — Dr. McDorky hovers over a big computer screen while explaining some scientific mumbo jumbo to Jane. She is nodding her head as if she knows what the hell he’s talking about, and gradually her head nod turns into a slow neck roll, then a full on body wiggle. She’s practically writhing in her seat when she begins speculating about his McLoveskills.

Vasco V.O.: I wonder if this is how he talks to his dates. Maybe he should try Latin. At least Latin might sound romantic.

Um, not as I remember it from my sixth-grade vocab class. Besides, even if he gave her his Pollyanna prognosis in Latin, it would just sound like this: “Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur.

Not exactly the same as hitting the dimmer switch and cueing up D’Angelo’s Voodoo, now is it?

McDorky asks if she’s really listening, and she lies and says that she’s hanging on every word.

Vasco V.O.: Honestly, at this moment, I wish I was hanging … from a rafter. But I’m a grown-up now, another biological reality in which I had no say. And as a grown-up, whatever the doctor deals out, well, like I said, no more balloons.

What McDorky is dealing out is the reality that he still has no idea why she has the power to regenerate after falling from a high-rise or getting pumped full of a lot of lead. She assures him that it’s because she’s “special,” but he tells her that aspects of her genetic structure are “a little weird.”

She tells him that what he must really be thinking is that she’s a freak. He protests and starts to get scientific on her again, but she stops him in his tracks. Jane moves in close to McDorky, places her large paw on his shoulder and whispers, “If it’s not in Latin, I’m not interested.”

McDorky nervously bats his lashes like the doe in headlights that he is, and Jane swaggers away. He regains enough composure to remind her of their briefing in 10 minutes, but Jane blows him off with a macho, “Goin’ for a walk.”

Across the tracks — Jane’s walk is really just a stroll down the tracks of the abandoned subway station that houses the Geek Squad’s Secret Headquarters. Subway Expert (WTF?) Joe Waterman is working on a piece of the track as Jane walks it like a balance beam. He tells her that five years ago she’d be “fried” if she took a walk on this particular set of tracks. But Jane is hung up on her pesky immortality “problem” and reminds him that anyone but her would be fried. It’s always all about you, Jane, isn’t it?

She asks what he’s doing, and he tells her that he’s keeping the switches working. Jane speaks for all of us when she asks, “What’s the point?”

He sighs and says, “I guess it keeps me working.” Okey dokey, Joe. You are officially the wisdom tooth of the Geek Squad. What the hell is your actual purpose?

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