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Planet of the Frohikes

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"Planet of the Frohikes" is the seventh episode of the first season of The Lone Gunmen.

SynopsisEdit

The Lone Gunmen receive a message from an ingenious chimp attempting to escape a government laboratory.

SummaryEdit

At the Boulle Behavioral Laboratory in Richmond, Massachusetts, a scientist in a lab coat passes the MP on
TypingShakespeare

Remember that quote about the monkeys at typewriters making Shakespeare? It doesn't work.

guard duty, swipes his key card, and enters the secure room. Within there are dozens of chimpanzees at computers typing gibberish as a recording of Edward Woodward performing Hamlet plays for them. The scientist patrols the room with a clipboard checking each ape’s work and finds every one of them typing balderdash except one with a white patch on his forehead. He is typing exactly the words of Hamlet’s current soliloquy and the moment the scientist spots this he runs to get his colleagues.

Returning with four other scientists they arrive to find that same chimpanzee pounding out palaver like all the other chimps in the room. The other four scientists leave immediately, while the man who went to retrieve them stops at the door and turns to look at the ape. The ape glances at him and waits for him to leave before beginning work on an autobiography describing his imprisonment.

Yves&PierreHotelBar

Yves Adele Harlow leaves her room keycard with a dangerous French man as part of some plot she is hatching.

In Baltimore, Maryland, at the Portsmouth Hotel bar, Yves Adele Harlow flirts with a French man until she slides over her hotel room keycard to him and walks away. Returning to her room, she prepares her sodium pentothal for injection but then finds Melvin Frohike and Richard Langly waiting for her. They found her because of her obsession with using Lee Harvey Oswald anagrams. They accuse her of sending an e-mail to lure them into some situation as she has done in the past.

“You hit us up with that mysterioso bit to get us on the case, then we do all the dirty work for you. It happens every time.”

Yves has no idea what they are talking about and when the French man from the bar enters the room and promptly leaves, she realizes they have ruined her con. They are all in danger now. She yells at them, then goes to the balcony and scales the wall to the next floor up. Frohike and Langly don’t believe her about three men riding up on the elevator to kill them right now but confirm it when they check out the hotel room door. They barricade the door and gather all sheets and towels they can.

FrohikeLanglyPatioTableUmbrella

Frohike and Langly hide atop a balcony table's umbrella just long enough.

When the French man and his thugs arrive on the balcony they find a rope made of towels and sheets going down to the street. They leave while Frohike and Langly watch them from atop the patio table’s umbrella, which promptly falls over after the thugs have gone.

Back at the Lone Gunmen headquarters, they ask her about the e-mail and when they finally believe her about knowing nothing about it, Frohike attempts to dismiss it. She angrily demands that he explain what this is all about given the important work they have foiled.

John Fitzgerald Byers recounts that they have received this message as both a text e-mail and an audio clip. Replaying the audio clip for Yves, the five of them hear a person asking for help. They claim to be a slave subjected to cruel government experiments to alter their brain, that they are not the only one, and that they wish to be rescued.

Yves Adele Harlow believes it is some kind of joke against the Lone Gunmen given the voice in the message is actor Edward Woodward. Someone probably sampled the actor’s voice and spliced together the audio message. Byers relates some tidbits that are only in the text e-mail about the slave being called “Peanuts” by scientists and that they should meet him at the Boulle Behavioral Laboratory. They want to go anyway and confirm if it is a joke or whatever just on the off chance that it pans out since it would be a great story for their paper. Harlow demands to go given that they owe her for earlier.

In a classroom full of chimpanzees, Dr. Hasslip spells things out on a board using magnetized letters in his
HasslipTeachesChimps

Dr. Hasslip tries to teach the chimpanzees English. Peanuts sits on the far left.

attempts to teach language to the apes. He spells out his name and then the name Peanuts as he suspects that chimp of knowing more than he is letting on. An MP, Sergeant Benjamin, calls the doctor out into the hallway and explains that the doctor’s password was used to send a message off base but the doctor was with him at the time so it must be someone else. When Dr. Hasslip returns he notices the H missing from his name and the S from Peanuts placed at the end of his name. “Asslips” doesn’t seem amused as he glares at Peanuts who averts his gaze nonchalantly.

The four Lone Gunmen and Yves Adele Harlow watch the Boulle Behavioral Laboratory with binoculars as they discuss the situation. When people walk out into the chainlink enclosure, they suspect that Peanuts is among them but soon after chimpanzees start barreling out for playtime. Frohike, Byers, and Langly discuss how they have been had while Harlow remains silent and Jimmy Bond notices a chimpanzee waiting at the gate just like the message had told them. He puts forward the crazy idea that the chimpanzee is Peanuts since it is waving them over, and while they ridicule it, Jimmy points out how Yves isn’t attacking the idea.

Jimmy Bond goes over with the bolt cutters, cuts the padlock off the gate, and urges the chimp to leave. When
BondCapturedByMPs

Jimmy Bond captured by MPs after freeing "Peanuts."

the chimp lunges at Jimmy, he is knocked down and hits his head on a stone. As zookeepers and military police charge out to get Bond and his friends in the bushes, the four of them retreat to the van, pile in, trigger a switch that conceals their license plate, and they drive away. Harlow points out that the chimpanzee is hiding in the back of the van.

Hiding out in a barn, Langly, Byers, and Frohike kick around the idea that Jimmy Bond was right about the chimp. Frohike suspects Yves Adele Harlow knew the second she heard “Boulle Behavioral Laboratory.” They try to get the ape to talk but he just stares at them.

Elsewhere, in custody, Jimmy Bond actually lies plausibly by claiming to be part of the “Monkey Liberation Army.”

“Freedom to our, uh, furry brothers!”

Dr. Hasslip asks Sgt. Benjamin to release Bond to him at this interrogation.

PeanutsIPresume

Peanuts, I presume.

Back at the barn, the chimp is pushed aside as he attempts to use their electronics. When Frohike picks him up and sets him aside, he realizes his keys were pickpocketed, so they rush out to find the chimpanzee behind the wheel of their van with Yves Adele Harlow waiting, having disconnected the battery.

The guys encourage him to speak again but Harlow reminds them that a chimpanzee doesn’t have the vocal cords necessary for human speech. She gives Peanuts the laptop and he immediately downloads a voice synthesizer program.

Everything he types begins to come out in Edward Woodward’s voice. He demands to be referred to by the name
PeanutsByersFrohikeLanglyHarlow

The Lone Gunmen and Yves Adele Harlow negotiate with "Simon."

he gave himself (not his slave name of Peanuts), Simon White-Thatch Potentloins. Simon excuses his attempt to steal the van by suggesting that he wasn’t sure he could trust the Lone Gunmen any more than his captors. Frohike pushes Harlow to reveal what she knew about this program, so she mentions rumors over the years of attempts to create super-intelligent animals to act as spies or assassins. The problem with the program was that you can’t be sure of an animal’s politics. Dr. Hasslip tries to convince Jimmy to reveal the location of Peanuts by showing how well they treat the
HasslipBond

Dr. Hasslip tries to convince Jimmy Bond to reveal where Peanuts is.

chimpanzees at the compound. Jimmy lets it slip about slave names like Peanuts and Dr. Hasslip concludes that Peanuts contacted them. The doctor suggests to him that Peanuts must be returned given his tactical and scientific importance to the United States of America.

In their negotiations with “Simon,” the Lone Gunmen find themselves unable to convince the chimp to help them publish an article about him. He is uninterested in Human politics but he is willing to give them another super intelligent ape. The freelance ex-Soviet chimp assassin, Bobo, who will mercilessly strike down someone in Washington D.C. tomorrow.

Simon describes how the French minister of state will be stopping by the D.C. zoo with his family and Bobo will get him at the primate section. Important people want the trade talks to go their way so they hired an unusual assassin. Harlow, Byers, and Frohike leave to stop the assassination with Langly and Simon remaining there to hack into the lab’s computer system to see if they can spring Jimmy Bond.

Bond wakes up in the chain link cage of the utility room as Hasslip arrives to demand that he reveal where to find Peanuts. Bond refuses but Sergeant Benjamin informs Hasslip that a ransom demand has been sent for the
LanglyUpsideDown

Langly upside down and tied up. Defeated by a chimp, how humiliating.

chimp, which baffles Jimmy Bond.

Following the trail of the ransom demand, Military police storm the barn moments after a package was picked up, finding Langly hanging upside down. They pull the cloth away from his mouth.

“As God is my witness, I’m gonna kill that damn chimp.”

Simon appears to have shipped himself to the National Zoological Park in Washington DC.

FrenchDiplomat&FamilyVisitChimpPen

French trade minister and family visit chimp pen in DC zoo.

At the Washington DC zoo, Byers shadows the French minister while Frohike and Yves, armed with tranquilizer guns, hunt for Bobo. They find two chimps, a female named Lady Bonkers, a recent donation by the Boulle Behavioral Lab, and the male Bobo. Bobo knocks out Frohike though it didn’t seem intentional. Yves drags Frohike out of the enclosure he had slid into but tranqs the wrong chimp. Bobo steps outside with a banana that Byers believes isn’t a banana. Tackling the French minister to stop a “primate assassin” goes badly as the man’s bodyguards proceed to pummel and kick Byers after pulling him off the minister.

Frohike awakens in the presence of Bobo and goes for a tee square as a weapon. Harlow tells him to relax as Bobo is dumber than a bag of rocks and not an assassin. She tells him that Byers and Langly have joined Jimmy Bond in federal custody. Frohike and Yves are confused as to what kind of a scam Peanuts/Simon has been running on them but she is confident that the ape was playing them from the beginning and just wanted to suck them all in. For instance, his attempt to steal the van was just a ploy since he doesn’t have the height to drive it. Their only option now is to trade their lost people for Peanuts using Bobo as a stand-in.

They meet at a wooden bridge to trade but Dr. Hasslip sees through their deception. Moistening a cloth he dabs at the chimp’s head and sees whitish paint coming off. He has Yves Adele Harlow and Frohike arrested as well. All he cares about is getting his animal back and he could care less about prosecuting the five of them. So Jimmy Bond tells them Peanuts/Simon is at the national zoo; that he was the ape who tricked Byers into tackling the minister.

They all arrive and find the two chimps in the pen. Dr. Hasslip and the MPs take the male chimp in the pen after Jimmy assures him that Peanuts must have gone as far as to dye his hair to disguise himself as Bobo. With his prey secure, Hasslip and his troops leave, indifferent to dealing with the Lone Gunmen any further provided they never get near the Boulle lab again.

They berate Jimmy Bond for turning over Simon but Jimmy takes a laptop and hands it over to “Bobo,” who
BondGivesPeanutsLaptop

Jimmy Bond gives a laptop to Peanuts so he can explain all.

begins typing. He had tricked the military into delivering him to the zoo while thinking they had taken the real him back to the lab. Simon tells them he did it all to get to Lady Bonkers; apparently Dr. Hasslip had sent her away to the zoo because she was a distraction. They are unconvinced that he would want to stay in a zoo though.

“Still, you can’t want to live in a cage?”

“The whole world is a cage when you’re trapped in it alone.”




(Note: The ape switch is a bit confusing. As best as I can tell, Simon shipped himself to the zoo and when Yves and Frohike went there, he was among THREE chimps there, but they thought there were only TWO. He allowed himself to be tranquilized and taken [encouraged it by being right there] but had disguised himself as Bobo by this point. When they traded their captured “Bobo,” the white paint they added actually made him look like himself again. –Jose Chung, Administrator)

Background InformationEdit

  • Writer Vince Gilligan came up with the idea for intelligent animals created by the CIA or the Department of Defense, a long time before this episode. He was originally thinking of having this concept be a straight thriller, however.
  • The Boulle Behavioral Institute was named after Pierre Boulle, author of "La Planète des Singes", the original novel from which Planet of the Apes was adapted.
  • The production crew faced trouble in executing this episode, due to the difficulties inherent in working with chimps. At least one of the apes in this episode would often get his performance right on the first take but then be bored and, if the scene had to be filmed again, he would have trouble understanding why he had to repeat his performance, beginning instead to think of other things to do. As a result, the ape's trainers repeatedly had to make a concerted effort to return the chimp to whatever he was actually meant to be doing.
  • When the apes were meant to be typing on computer, they would actually use their strong fingers to pick all the keys off the keyboard and eat them.
  • For one shot where the production crew wanted to film all the chimps drawing together, Jimmy Bond actor Stephen Snedden asked to sit down with the chimps, realizing that his inclusion in the shot would reflect Jimmy's character, which was very similar to the chimps. While the actor was drawing with crayons, one of the chimps beside him would reach over and grab each color of crayon that the actor had been drawing with, similar to the behavior of a small child.
  • Due to the fact that chimpanzees naturally do not work well in cold weather, co-executive producer John Peter Kousakis once received a memorable call in which he was told that the chimps would not work and would not come out. For the scene in which the chimp is returned to his Air Force doctor, the climate, according to what Vince Gilligan had heard, was bitterly cold. Special accommodations were consequently made for the apes.

NitpicksEdit

  • It's ridiculous that Yves has to come up with the idea of getting Peanuts to use the computer, considering the Gunmen had been first contacted through email.

CastEdit

Starring

Guest Starring

Featuring

ReferencesEdit

SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)

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