Subject: Live Fast, Die Young



Derek Barnes receives a phone call in the middle of the night from fellow webmaster Biggs, who runs things at a page called Sick + Disgusted.com, with instructions to check his e-mail. The call gets disconnected when poor Biggs is somewhat… attacked. Without realizing or really giving a second thought to what is simply another strange call from Biggs, Derek procrastinates until morning before checking the e-mail. He finds a video attachment of a group of three young generation Xers prepping for a bungee jump off a bridge. At the last minute the tall guy with the shaved head decides he prefers a free fall and disconnects the safety cable, plunging to his death. It doesn’t last very long, as despite the bone crushing fall he’s up and moving again in no time. And thus begins something a little freaky.

Derek, Jason and Chloe set out to investigate, traveling to the source of the original tape that was mailed to Sick + Disgusted.com – a small town in America’s South. They find themselves in a trailer, of course, where the evidence has led them. There they discover some suspicious stuff, like a Physician’s Desk Reference in Russian. Without warning or having much time to snoop around, the owners of the trailer arrive. A young Micky & Mallory type couple who don’t like unwelcome guests. He pulls out a gun and starts firing until he achieves the desired effect and blows the trailer sky high. In the commotion Derek gets separated from the Jason and Chloe and by the time the smoke clears he has gone missing. The local authorities, represented by a young female law officer, are of little help since Derek isn’t officially kidnapped without a ransom note and not officially missing for at least forty-eight hours; but Derek has indeed been kidnapped by the young couple (now missing the third person from the video.) They’ve stripped him naked and taken him to their backup digs in an abandoned warehouse. He manages to survive his interrogation only because his involvement in FreakyLinks.com has peaked their interest in him.

Jason and Chloe, meanwhile, have found the unidentified third person from the video, now identified in the morgue. With the help of friendly fellow who runs things at the morgue they manage to track down the location of the warehouse where they might find the two suspects, and Derek. That’s about as far as the mortician will go in aiding them with their case, as his philosophy is “I don’t help people. I just figure out how they died.” Left with little alternative, they phone the police to meet them there. Derek has partially discovered the secret he came for. A quick joyride, a couple of monster size syringes used to inject a mystery substance into the young man and woman’s chest, and a high speed collision into a telephone pole. It all ends in a shaken up and seriously excited Derek witnessing the young couple walk away from the whole thing without a scratch. They’ve discovered some kind of serum that makes them invulnerable to injury.

Back at the lab the final disturbing piece of the puzzle awaits. Derek finds the couple has kidnapped Biggs, and have him hooked up to some kind of contraption that “harvests his fear” for use in their production of this “Joy Juice” they use to survive the impossible. Derek is forced to play a rather twisted game with a marble and a wooden maze on a board to save Biggs from a nasty scorpion-inflicted death. It’s all for the greater cause and the production of the serum. When Jason and Chloe show up with Joan-Q-Law to save the day they end up getting captured as well. Tied up and left with an uncertain fate, they can only watch as Derek disappears out the door with his new friends. Before he goes, however, he does give Chloe a final farewell kiss.

Derek drives with his new friends, playing them along until an opportunity presents itself. All he can manage on short notice is to dump the “Joy Juice” out of the syringes he finds in a cooler in the back seat when their backs are turned, replacing it with water. Soon he finds himself on the same bridge he saw in the video, earlier. Convinced they are going to force him to jump as the young man did earlier, he protests. But soon they are injecting themselves, and him as well. Back at the warehouse, Chloe uses the key that Derek slipped to her when he slipped her the tongue to help the others escape, and they set out to stop the bad guys.

On the bridge, Derek is learning the true nature of this latest outing. Nobody is jumping from a bridge. They’re out to rob an armored car en route from the casino to the bank. Derek tries to plead with them not to go through with it, revealing that he switched the serum with water; but when he gets hit by the armored car and survives, they’re convinced he’s full of it and go ahead with the plan.

Everything is going well, until the police show up, along with Jason and Chloe. Again, Derek tries to convince the two thrill-seekers the truth about the switch, and that only he took the syringe with the “Joy Juice.” They don’t listen, and the young man decides to make the jump off the bridge to escape. Derek does his best to try and talk the young woman out of the same action, but despite her wavering and momentary reflection on the value of life and her own future she takes the plunge as well. All that is left in the end is another freaky story for Derek to tell.

The episode is fairly entertaining, while following no greater plot or tying in any way into the rest of the FreakyLinks episodes. Every show seemed to be a stand-alone deal. This episode displays once again the show’s tendency to go over the top without reasonable explanation. The whole idea of a serum potent enough to somehow make one physically able to withstand anything from bullets to an assault by an armored car is just too much of a stretch and makes the rest of the episode less interesting. Still, it was entertaining and well done, if not entirely creative. I’ll give it a nod for originality, but the show would have been a lot better if something just a bit more credible had been used as a crutch instead of this magic serum. “Live Fast, Die Young” was written by Michael R. Perry and directed by David Barrett, with guest stars Rosalee Maeaux as Viviette and Zahn McClarnon as Shecky Warrior-Moon.

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