One of the things which adds to my “geek score” is that I feel that IMDB needs more categories for “goofs.” Specifically I think there needs to be a category for “Errors with Firearms” or explosives.

Watching J. J. Abrams’ new series “Alcatraz,” I’m in awe of his ability to write pure science fantasy, and yet have it be thoroughly enjoyable for the characters and story. This ability made him perfect for “Star Trek.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask a Trek fan to rationalize something, anything, completely incongruous.

I’m talking now about Mr. Landmines (Sniper episode had its own problems). Early in the episode we met a bomb technician. Detective Girl teases him and hugs him.

“Too bad he’s going to die in this episode.”

Sure enough, we trade a main character life for a dear friend we only just met. As usual, the dear friend dies to utter incompetence. Normally, when a guy steps on a landmine trigger, it explodes and he loses his leg below the knee, or some variation thereof. Mister Landmines uses a type where stepping on the trigger arms the mine to go off only after the trigger is released. He also modifies them to throw shrapnel, so I guess that type would be more effective at shredding the meat of the unlucky stepper and people around him. In the interest of story tension, FBI Man steps on such a mine on a beach.  Dear Friend and Bomb Technician comes along and holds the trigger down with a knife, so FBI Man can get behind the sandbag bunker that’s been built. Cool, much better idea than cutting wires with him standing on top of it.

But then Dear Friend starts cutting wires on the mine’s detonator/fuse which he knows to be booby trapped. He does this because, with all the bravado of a main character in an action movie, he knows his job better than the bad guy. He pulls the fuse out, lets the trigger go and holds it up to show off.  Naturally, the detonator explodes a few seconds later and kills him.

I have a small amount of training concerning landmines and other explosive devices. Most of this training centers around staying the hell away from explosive devices because they’re dangerous. A little bit of this training is about why they’re dangerous. What my limited training taught me can be summed up in four words which would have saved the dear friend’s life: “don’t play with explosives.”

“Okay, what should he have done?”

He should have covered it with a few dozen sandbags and a demolition charge. Then blow it up from the safety of the bunker. No one dies. FBI Man can still kneecap Mr. Landmines for making him stand still on a San Franciscan beach for 6 hours.

I know that would make me want to shoot someone in the knee.