Last night’s episode of Eagleheart began with a series of hot air balloons crimes, in a very funny scene that would be the broadest thing in any other comedy on TV. Here, it’s merely the set-up for a story exploring the intricacies of sky crime. You see, in the Eagleheart universe, there are no laws governing what happens in the sky, so it’s a hotbed of illegal activity run by an eccentric evil genius.
So far, Eagleheart has made its villains memorable and distinct from one another. The strong bad guys add an extra dimension to the show, and it’s always great seeing what dangerous freak the writers will come up with next. The first two episodes introduced Chris Monsanto’s nemesis Vargas, who is a sweet guy deep-down, and creepy software executive Neil Phipps. The outstanding villain trend continues, as this episode introduces my favorite villain yet: The Baron.
The Baron (played by character actor Time Winters) is a mustachioed criminal mastermind, who dresses like a WWI fighter pilot. He sports a flying cap and is extremely well-spoken. The Baron is in charge of the criminal world that exists in the sky. He runs Cloudtopia, a gigantic blimp on which all sorts of illegal activities are constantly taking place. When Chris finds out how widespread sky crime is, he decides to put a stop to it. Using a jet pack, Chris takes out several sky criminals, but the Baron responds by kidnapping (or “skynapping,” as the Chief puts it) Susie and Brett.
So, Chris dons a disguise and infiltrates Cloudtopia. Some of the episode’s biggest laughs come from the Baron introducing Chris to his criminal empire. When Chris says he’d like a drink, the Baron shoots the nearest person to him, grabs his drink, and hands it to Chris, who doesn’t seem to see this as anything out of the ordinary. It’s a shocking and hilarious moment and shows just how heartless and crazy this villain is. The Baron invites Chris to hang around as everyone on the blimp is planning to “watch pirated DVDs and gay marry each other.”
The Baron also works well as a villain because of the actor playing him. Time Winters portrays the Baron with a high degree of believability, even during the most outlandish moments. He wasn’t an actor I’d heard of before, and that’s part of what makes it work so well. The makers of the show cast unknown character actors who get these types of roles on the cheesy crime dramas Eagleheart is parodying, and it adds to the authenticity.
Brett Gelman’s character is also slowly being filled out over the course of these too-short episodes. Although 11 minutes isn’t long enough to get to know any of the supporting cast in depth, Eagleheart manages to squeeze a lot of funny moments in for Brett, Susie, and the Chief. Last week, we got to see Brett’s relationship with his mother and how he already acts like the people on the creep drug in his everyday life. The character gets a nice scene in “Master of Da’Skies,” in which he explains, in detail, a dream he had about getting half-price stromboli from a pizza delivery guy after the pizzas fell on the floor. Another great Brett moment is one he doesn’t even appear in, in which Chris finds Susie’s shoe on the floor and assumes it came from Brett’s blow-up doll. The idea of this guy’s blow-up doll being such a familiar fixture around the office is just the sort of off-the-wall detail that makes Brett one of the creepiest and funniest characters on TV.
In this episode, the writers created the world of sky crime, a strange one-off pocket within Eagleheart’s universe that is dense and enjoyable enough to return to again. Although I’m sure we won’t see more “sky crime” episodes this season, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Marshals revisit the territory in a future installment. In only a couple of episodes, Eagleheart has carved out a winning formula in pitting the heroes against an absurd bad guy with a very specific goal and exploring the villain’s demented world. I can’t wait to see the writers continue to improve and expand upon this already-successful recipe.
Bradford Evans is a writer living on the edge.