Writer: David Greenwalt and Silvio Horta
Director: David Barrett
Air Date: 12/17/03
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Okay, everything I said last week, about the show potentially shifting tone too abruptly and too soon? Ignore it. Because I think I've finally figured it all out. Because it's an arc, and it's a good one, and I think we're gearing up for a major pay-off soon.
First offkudos to Lee Majors. While "Dick" was almost a parody of the sorts of characters that populated the action/adventure series of 1970s and 1980s (particularly George Peppard as Hannibal in THE A-TEAM and Lee's own series THE FALL GUY), "Richard" was the suave, smooth, low-key former-spook we've come to expect in this era of NIKITA, ALIAS and MI-5. It's a clever way of looking at the shift in tone and focus of espionage series, while still vastly entertaining for both JAKE 2.0 fans and SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN fans. And Greenwalt and Horta were wise to play the episode almost entirely straight and not wink too much, because that would have undermined that balance. Though I admit, I cheered when they inserted the trademark BIONIC sound-effect at the very end of the tag. Because how could anyone resist?
Also, huge props to Judith Scott for a once-again riveting performance as Louise Beckett. Note to Jake: you want to stay on this woman's good side. Because she's damned scary when she's angry. Also of the fun: both Lou and Diane's reactions to charmingly sexist's Dick's remarks, and the subtle-as-a-brick-through-your-window discussion between Dick and Jake regarding a man's ability to only be friends with a woman. It was ham-fisted, but gloriously so. Good to see the show seems committed to that relationship.
In "Double Agent" we're presented with two "throwbacks" to an earlier era who reacted badly to being made obsolete. Dankova's reaction to the end of the Cold War to try and re-create the world that left her behind, while Dick's was to create an alternate reality where he rejected the new times the same way he perceived the world had rejected him. While Jake sees the NSA as responsible for Fox's psychotic break, the episode seems to be saying it was his own "Peter Pan" complex. Like Dankova, once the wall came down he was suddenly obsolete. Hence the split between his throw-back free-wheeling 1980s personality, and his 21st century responsible adult personality. It was how he dealt with the stress of having fought for his country and then suddenly facing a world where men like him were no longer necessary or even wanted. We also see Fox telling Jake the importance of going with his gut instincts, in direct contrast to Lou who is trying to force Jake to be a model agent. What Jake needs to do is find the balance. You can't break all the rules until you've learned them first.
Over the course of the first 12 episodes, we've seen Jake trying to adjust to his new situation. All along, he's bent or broken rulesfirst out of ignorance, then out of conscience, and finally, out of his own ideals. At first, the means were forgiven because he achieved the ends. However, as time has gone on, Lou has been put in the precarious position of trying to protect both the project and the individual, while still being responsible for both. We've seen in the past that Lou's comfortable with exploiting any advantage presented to herwhether it's using Kyle and Mei Ling's relationship, or Jake's love for his brotherif that meant successfully accomplishing the mission. She's tough, she's ruthless, and she's mercenarywhile at the same time, she's demonstrated tremendous caring for the members of her team. But there are hard choices to be made, and the strength of the character is the fact that she knows she's the one who has to make them.
Jake, on the other hand, has a habit of making promises he can't keep, and then feeling betrayed when he discovers that he can't back up his word with the NSA's firepower and authority. His loyalties are to the team and his own ideals, which often clash with the agency's agenda and the reality of global espionage. Lou wants Jake to toe the line, because if he doesn't shape up, he can't ship out. He's got to find a balance that he currently lacks, and she can't always be patient and wait for him to learn.
Quotes of the Week:
Dick: "Y'all lawyers, or bill collectors?"
Jake: "What do you think we should do, Mr. Fox?"
Dick: "Well, first I think you should find her, and then kill her. Good luck."
Lou: "We had her in our sights, and we lost her."
Dick: "Well who was the pinhead who let that happen?"
Jake: "I would be that pinhead."
Dick: "Oh, the smart one! Were you sober?"
Jake: "Yeah. (to Lou) Of course."
Dick: "Well, that was your first mistake."
Lou: "Are you saying she's planning another attack on a US nuclear facility?"
Dick: "I'm saying if it looks, sounds, feels radioactive, I'd park my ass in front of it with an M-16."
Dick: (soliloquising to Dankova's image on the big board) "You never gave up, didja? Cold War ends, and you're a relic overnight. Betrayed by your own country. I know how you feel, Lenochka. But you shouldn't set foot on American soil. Gonna have to bring you down. Bring you down hard, baby."
Lou: "Was there something else?"
Dick: "You got real purty eyes."
Diane: "I'll be right back. Just take your shirt off."
Dick: "Okay, but I expect you to do likewise."
Dick: "You and the doc there, you got a little thing?"
Jake: "No. No no. We're just... colleagues."
Dick: "What's that, a fancy word for 'friends'?"
Jake: "Yeah. I guess."
Dick: "You kids, now-a-days. You know a man and a woman can't be just friends. You're gotta be lovers or enemies."
Jake: "Like you and Elena Dankova?"
Dick: (laughing) "Well, sometimes it's a little of both."
Diane: "And why is your shirt still on? And if you say 'why is yours...'"
Dick: "You'll stick a scalpel in me?"
Diane: "Yeah. Something like that."
Dick: Go with your gut. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you get the job done right."
Dick (to waitress) "Wouldn't think that skinny kid could fight that good."
Jake: "I need a shoot to kill order."
Jake: "Dick? Your legend? Spent all our money, tried to have me beaten to death by strangers, and then ditched out on the mission with a cocktail waitress."
Dick: (looking at Jake's cellphone) "Back in my day, these things were the size of a Thermos and so damned heavy they practically have you a hernia."
Dick: "What did those bastards at the NSA do to you, kid? You know, you and I may have more in common than you think. Way back when you were just a tickle in your daddy's pouch, the NSA had these programs. Enhancement programs. Steroids. GHP. HTH. Those are just the training fields. They moved up from there."
Jake: "There was an accident"
Dick: "Yeah, there's always an 'accident.'"
Dick: "What did I tell you?"
Jake: "If you get a hundred thousand dollar car for a mission, it needs to be fast and comfortable."
Dick: "That's my boy."
Jake: "Mercedes Benz SLR coupe?"
Dick: "Gimme a break. I could run faster than that heap."
Dick: "How 'bout another Fresca?"