Yes, I Remember It Well is fifth in the nine-movie Jane Doe spy mysteries, and it's one of the best in the bunch and one of my favorites. This one features less of Cathy's husband and two kids but more of her mother.
Probably some plot spoilers.
Cathy Davis, L.A. suburban housewife and a spy on the side, loves her mom Polly (Donna Mills), but she loves her best when they're on opposite coasts. So, imagine how less than thrilled she is when mama drops in unannounced.
It's simply bad timing since her arrival coincides with Cathy's being called in for another consulting case with the Central Security Agency. And this one's right up Cathy's alley, considering the case involves a baffling puzzle component. And we know Cathy loves her puzzles, the more head-scratching the better.
Particulars of the case: British Intelligence has, as one of its assets, a man code-named "Dr. Mnemonic" but whose real name is Iain Smythe (Michael Tomlinson), a professor of some renown. Dr. Mnemonic is one of those rare souls gifted with perfect recall. For example, the professor stores in his brain invaluable information regarding the contact identities of one hundred sixty-five deep-cover British agents deployed throughout the Midd1e East.
Grizzled MI7 operative Simon Custer (Clement von Franckenstein) has escorted Dr. Mnemonic to Los Angeles in coordination with the CSA. But someone on the other side demonstrates impeccable timing as that is when Agent Custer is attacked at L.A.X. A fleeing Dr. Mnemonic steps into an elevator. He never comes out.
Cathy Davis's day job is working at a puzzle game company. But the professor's mysterious disappearance is the sort of conundrum she really salivates over. She'd actually heard of Professor Smythe, had even purchased one of his books on memory. It's a bit too on-the-nose ironic, but she forgot where she put the book.
I think one of the reasons I like this movie is that Cathy and her mom take on this buddy cop dynamic. Also means that annoying CSA Agent Frank Darnell (Joe Penny) isn't hanging around Cathy as much. In direct correlation, I found Darnell to be less annoying in this one.
Cathy and her mom, Polly, have got issues to work thru, and the movie lays out the deets of their rocky relationship as it goes on. Essentially, Cathy looked up to Polly, had wanted to follow in her footsteps. And I'm guessing Polly, too caught up with her job, wasn't as attentive a mother as she could've been. Today, Polly is salty because she's being put out to pasture at her job. We get a sense that it wasn't exactly a desk job that she had. Anyway, Polly isn't one of them oblivious dames. Doesn't take long for her to figure out that something's up with her daughter. It might be, too, that Cathy isn't so good at dissembling at home as she is when out in the field, to the extent that her little boy, Nick, is asking why she's acting weird and are mom and dad getting a divorce?
There are some neat permutations to the plot. Stuff happens that I didn't expect. At some point, this movie takes on a "take your mom to work" theme. If you haven't seen the movie, you can't be blamed for raising an eyebrow on that. However, the movie makes it make sense on how come someone's mom can just come in and participate in a high-leverage kidnapping case. But I don't think anyone bought Polly's reassurance to Cathy that "I promise I won't interfere." That's moms for you. By the way, Donna Mills as "Polly" is still as gorgeous as ever. I actually had to check her and Lea Thompson's birthdates because I swear they could pass for sisters in this movie. But, no, they're twenty years apart.
I was bellyaching about how, two movies ago (Til Death Do Us Part), Cathy finally told her husband Jack, about her being a spy, and, yet, in the last movie (The Wrong Face) Jack seemed to have forgotten about it. It's gratifying to see that, in this movie, Jack is caught up again on Cathy's extracurricular activities and even helps her make excuses so she could slip out.
I had a good chuckle at a fleeing suspect who felt the need to hurdle an occupied bench when he could've just as easily ran around it. That was so extra.
Lastly, is it true that every passenger at L.A.X. is scanned with a facial recognition software? That's a bit creepy.
The Jane Doe movies:
- Jane Doe: Vanishing Act – first aired 1/21/05
- Jane Doe: Now You See It, Now You Don't – first aired 2/18/05
- Jane Doe: Til Death Do Us Part – first aired 3/11/05
- Jane Doe: The Wrong Face – first aired 6/19/05
- Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It Well – first aired 1/14/06
- Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall – directed by Lea Thompson, first aired 3/4/06
- Jane Doe: Ties That Bind – first aired 3/17/07
- Jane Doe: How To Fire Your Boss – first aired 5/8/07
- Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder – directed by Lea Thompson, first aired 1/12/08