Writer: Silvio Horta
Director: Harry Winer
Air Date: 09/23/03
The highlight of this episode is the development of Kyle as a three-dimensional character, and the transition of his and Jake's relationship from premarily mentor/student to genuine friends. Similarly, Diane and Lou bond, and it becomes patently clear that Diane has over the course of the first three episodes to care quite deeply for Jake. Meanwhile, the Jake/Sarah relationship takes a leap forward as Sarah begins to start to see Jake in a new light, even if she still can't shake her mental picture of him as that geeky kid from college who threw up after drinking too much tequila. Jake's surprising admission to Sarah that he's a government agent is met with incredulity, high-lighting the problems inherent in his relationship with Sarah which will be explored in depth in later episodes. Unfortunately, Sarah's longing for her college days of beer, and beer, and did we mention beer do little to endear the character to the audience, while Diane's jealousy over Jake and Sarah's lunch date ramps up the fledgling Jake/Diane relationship noticeably. And Jake's gaining control over the nanites is again a plot point, as he blows up an X-Box, but when faced with a life-or-death scenario, manages a Caddy just fine.
Kyle's "Casablanca thing" with Mei Ling is a weaker relationship, namely due to a lack of on-screen chemistry with Ling Bai's Mei Ling Wong. Rodriguez does what he can to sell the relationship, however Ling unfortunately falls flat as a femme fatale (similarly, she was not a fan favourite in her sexy love interest role she previously played on Greenwalt's Angel first season). Picking up a character point from the pilot, Lou remains quite ruthless, showing through her manipulation of Kyle and Mei Ling's connection that she is willing to exploit any advantage presented to her, but also shows a caring and compassionate side which tempers this ruthlessness and adds layers and depth to the character.
Jake's lack-of-reaction to his second kill is another weak spot in the script, however the character is starting to lose some of his giddy excitement regarding his job as the realities of being an agent are slammed home by the events of the episode. This particular character arc is also compelling, and it develops the character at a believable and interesting pace. While not the strongest episode at first glance, it does feature some excellent character development for the whole ensemble which makes it more enjoyable upon repeat viewings.
Quotes of the Week:
Sarah: "I've never seen a human being that shade of green."
Jake: "All right, look. In my defense, it was the first time I'd ever tried
Sarah: "You picked a hell of a place to do it. Lincoln fought a war to preserve the union, and you thanked him by puking on his shoes."
Jake: "Yeah, he never looked at me the same after that."
Diane: "Well, this is all kind of sudden, don't you think? I mean, the nanites are really sensitive, and it's not like you mastered control, you know, that's fine in the video game, but this, this is the Chinese embassy, okay? They have guns and guards and, and foreign languages. I mean, anything could go wrong. Jake, have you really thought about this?"
Jake: "Diane, this is my first mission. I'm nervous enough. You're really not helping.
Diane: "Look, uh, look... I don't know who, who he's talking to, but, his, his blood pressure is rising and his heart rate is increasing. His adrenals are activated. Lou ... Lou, is there any way maybe that we can pull him out of this, because, I, I don't know, I, I think this is not good."
Lou: "Diane. The mission hasn't even started yet."
Sarah (seeing Kyle and Mei Ling dance): "Look at those two. I mean, get a room."
Lou (to Diane): "That fear thing...? It never goes away."
© Tara O'Shea 2003