Saturday, December 12, 2009

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Season 1 Episode 3 – "Killer Canines"

Minutes are compressed into seconds. The police car speeds furiously across tarmac and pavement, bolting forward through a gauntlet of haze, the hegemony of colour obscura: the warped cerulean discord of the siren sky, the smoke-ravaged hiss of a sullen red motorway – dream visions of a forgotten chase, a burst of zero meaning, all wobble and urgency, a needless exposition.

Time spit upon, bullied into supinity, cut into millions by a serrated Seagal, like a razor-wire minute-hand cut from the cloth of Chronos. The mad gallop ahead speaks of necessity, rendering a definite destination, lessening the hectic confusion by permitting a slight glance at the future. Seagal can already be seen stepping from the vehicle, torch hoisted high above his head. He advances on to the lawn to join his colleagues. The time has been shattered, the days and hours mutated beyond comprehension. Several miles traversed in one terrifyingly jagged opening sequence.

Forty thousand minutes consumed in forty blinks of the eye, gifts to the belly of Seagal, a stretch of time willingly struck down, its suicide the awesome entrance to episode three of Steven Seagal: Lawman.

A burglary is underway. Someone’s stealing picket fences from the ‘burbs. The underworld rises to the surface at night, summoned by the sun’s disappearance. A demon throws terrapins at the elderly from a rooftop, several banshees piss in a phone booth. The streets are now scenes of villainy, the peaceful daytime transformed into endless yards of spewed filth, stomata-sprayed scum lines the roads, a heinous gangrene spreading virulently throughout society. Tiny imps punch ballbags at inopportune moments. A snake-jawed thug batters coins out of passersby.

But Steven Seagal is here to quell the evil.

The police car decelerates as Seagal jumps from the passenger side. Others rapidly join his side as he runs to the house. Circles of torchlight smack the windows as Seagal tries to ascertain if the burglar is inside. A detailed check from the outside yields nothing but impatient faces. Seagal stands alone on the lawn, legs apart, a right hand clutching his chin, lost in the infinity of thought. Then his eyes widen, two giant spheres moistened by the effort of rumination. It’s time to get the dogs in.

Canine Branch pulls up. A brawny handler leads the mutt to the house. In through the window he goes. His mission: track down the bad guy. Sadly a conspicuous silence tells Seagal and co that the bad guy has already escaped. Lucky chap. Maybe next time he won’t be so lucky – perhaps he will break into the wrong house, as Seagal says:

“If this guy had broke into my house my dogs might have killed him.”

These are serious words uttered by Seagal. They also announce the theme of this week’s episode.

Often I have wondered what Seagal does when he’s not producing quality cinema and diminishing society’s evils in the form of sheriff duty. Well now I know: he’s training attack dogs.

Since Seagal’s teenage years he’s been training dogs for protection. Adolescence is a key stage of personal development, vital to the creation of a recognisable subjectivity. It’s a time that sees numerous attempts to distinguish oneself from one’s parentage by experimentation and rebellion. Adolescence is marked by rapid change, both biological and psychological. Fads are adopted and discarded; the line between individuality and conformity carefully trod. Teenagers trundle through many identities and tastes. But rarely does a teenager go through a training attack dogs phase. I guess that’s what makes Seagal such an ubermensch.

Most of the episode has Seagal attempting to train his new dog, a shaggy beast from Eastern Europe named Frankie. This canine finds it difficult working with Seagal’s current dog Kar, so Seagal gets a special trainer in to forge an alliance between the two. Cue a number of role-plays where a man is attacked by the dogs and Seagal yells “Stop” a lot.

A busy man like Seagal needs reliable beasts to guard his family whilst he works, hence the reason why this episode focuses on Seagal’s dogs. These are his hairy deputies, feral weapons that guard a Seagal-less household. They are not perfect but will have to do until he can get himself several centaurs for the purpose.


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