"Afterlife and Death"
Original airdate: Week of February 20, 2000
by Michelle Erica Green

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Protection

"Afterlife and Death" Plot Summary:

In Egypt, 1425 B.C., Pharaoh Thutmose reads his fate in heiroglyphics and praises Ra. He removes a huge diamond from inside a statue. A powerful prism radiates from the stone. Millennia later, archaeologist Bruce Adler removes the same diamond from the statue. Armed men beat him unconscious. Sydney interrupts Claudia's discussion of reincarnation with Nigel to tell her assistant they have to go to Egypt - her friend Bruce has been charged with stealing the Thutmose Diamond. Claudia opines that she likes diamonds and might be a reincarnation of Elizabeth Taylor, but Nigel informs her that Liz Taylor is not dead.

In Egypt, Sydney decides they must investigate the tomb, and gets Nigel to shave his legs so he can pose as a prostitute alongside her. The two charm, then overpower the guards. There is a small fragment of diamond attached to the meteorite in which it fell to Earth. Sydney looks at the footprints by the statue and concludes that a man with a limp stole the diamond. Bruce suspects it was Mustafa, an avaricious relic hunter who was wounded in the Six Day War running away from Israeli forces.

Mustafa runs an export business in Cairo, but his offices are empty. Sydney tries the auto-redial feature on his phone and is connected with the Royal Hotel in Amsterdam. Before they can flee, however, a terrorist named Ko demands to know the diamond's location from Sydney. She beats him up and leaves; he forces his gunman to let her friends go, because he is tracking her movements. In Amsterdam, Sydney borrows a dress from a prostitute who had been hitting on Nigel and tells the concierge that Mustafa called her. He tells her to go to suite 303, which she signals to Nigel and Bruce. Ko and his thugs have beaten them there, yet Mustafa is gone.

Ko offers Sydney half a billion dollars to find the diamond. She is instantly suspicious about who would pay that much for a gemstone - besides Elizabeth Taylor - and takes the sliver from the meteorite to a jeweler. He says that the stone is not diamond, but something that actually absorbs and concentrates light. When he tries to cut the material with a laser, it causes an explosion that destroys his microscope.

Sydney realizes that if the Thutmose Diamond were cut, it could destroy Amsterdam. Outside, Ko thanks her for discovering what he needed to know. Realizing that he has her bugged, Sydney gets into a cab with Nigel and Bruce, where they all strip off all their clothes to look for recording devices. Sure enough, Sydney finds the one Ko placed on her and hides it in the cab, giving the driver money to drive across the country. Because she knows Mustafa is a ladies' man, she has Nigel pose as a friend of his and ask the concierge where he might find similar entertaiment. The concierge directs them to a local bar where Nigel is hit on by transvestites and Sydney spots their target.

But Mustafa has already sold the diamond to Nicholas, a famous jeweler who has hired the legendary Cutter From Calcutta to create smaller diamonds from it. He is having a private party to sell the pieces after letting his exclusive clientele view the merchandise. Sydney arranges to have herself and Nigel invited, posing as the son of an Earl and his fiancee. The diamond is being cut on closed-circuit TV elsewhere in the hotel, so Sydney goes from floor to floor seeking the room in order to stop the deadly laser.

Sydney successfully wrests the stone from the cutter as he is about to slice. Ko stops her flight in the hallway, threatening her with a laser weapon, but Sydney holds up the stone and causes an explosion that allows her to fight back and to disable the building's guards. Nicholas warns her that she will never leave Amsterdam with the stone. Sydney tells him to take it up with the Egyptian Embassy.

Back home, Claudia is depressed that they didn't bring the diamond for her to see, and complains that she's depressed - she had her past lives "read," and they suck, since she was never anyone famous. "History is made up of everyone, famous and not," Sydney says, but Claudia thinks she deserves her 15 minutes. "You're famous around here," Sydney rolls her eyes.


I'm not going to bother to question the history of Thutmose or the plausibility of a meteorite carrying a jewel that could amplify a laser weapon to deadly proportions. This episode was huge fun, but that had mostly to do with the virtues of Amsterdam, and I'm not talking diamonds. It was obvious we were on the planet of the cheap sex jokes when Sydney made Nigel shave his legs so he could be plausible as a prostitute disguised as a religious Moslem woman - let's not even touch the cultural sensitivity issue, or wonder about guards who expected religious Moslem prostitutes to have shaven legs. Ko is apparently one of the hundreds of relic hunters Sydney dated at one point and was gravely disappointed by, yet nice guys like Bruce get nowhere.

Nigel almost got lucky in this episode, but in all the wrong ways...or maybe he wouldn't have thought so in the end. First the hasty boy nearly got a freebie from a prostitute whose dress Sydney wanted to borrow, then he got to interrogate the concierge about pickup spots in town. His preference? "A little of this, a little of that," evades Nigel. Of course, you're English, says the concierge, directing him to "Constanze" who can help him with his "problem." A transvestite more interested in Nigel's clothes than his body gives him the same advice.

Then Nigel gets to pretend that Sydney's his fiancee! Getting into the role, he displays his trophy and brags that she can cook, too. Yet marriage gets a bad rap. Not only does the much-married Liz Taylor become the butt of several jokes, but Claudia thinks Jane Fonda is dead and she might be her reincarnation because Jane disappeared after getting married, which is almost like being dead. Like Sydney says, no diamonds in her immediate future, please. The real moral - moral? - seems to be that it's better to enjoy illicit sexual behavior in the name of relic hunting than to be a clean-living bad guy.

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