If you haven't seen "Jacked" yet, I recommend you stop reading my review right now…
Okay, all set? This episode is beyond any doubt way up the chart as one of the best "NUMB3RS" has to offer. It has all the ingredients to make it memorable. First there's the crime itself: a bus hijacking without a clear motive that keeps the viewer interested and guessing. What could this small group possibly want? It has to be more than the money right? Then you have the lead hijacker, played so well by Fisher Stevens. He had a wild temper, sometimes bordering on rage, which had me wondering when he would eventually fly off the handle and begin shooting his hostages. The crime and the lead hijacker were a perfect combination, adding great intrigue to the episode.
There is also a "Chalie Vision" in this episode that had me laughing pretty hard. He explains a mathematical principle by likening it to a poker game. In the vision, Charlie is dressed in appropriate card dealer attire, while Don and the lead hijacker are seated at a card table, dressed to the nines, smoking fat cigars. Seeing the story's antagonist and protagonist out of context from the plot as opposing stoic card sharks was a brilliant moment of humor. It might even have been a way to foreshadow that the crime was not as threatening as we'd been led to believe.
Finally, there was a moment in this episode where I said out loud, "Oh no," while feeling the same dread and despair that was clear on everyone's faces after they found out the bus they'd been pursuing was empty save for the driver. That was one heck of a twist, and the emotional reactions from the actors following it were perfect. Some of the cinematography after the empty bus reveal also expertly contributed to the moment's despair.
It's episodes like this one that keep me watching every week and make me so relieved that "NUMB3RS" continues to defy the curse of the Friday 10pm time slot.