Writer: Jesse Stern
Director: Milan Cheylov
Air Date: 05/06/04 (UK)
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
The first half of a two part episode originally meant to air in February sweeps, "Blackout" steps up. It steps up the action, it takes beautiful advantage of all of the groundwork laid in the characters relationships over the entire season thus far, and it returns to a theme first explored in part in "Last Man Standing." Namely that Jake wants a life he can now no longer have. DuMont and Benton are clever--by replacing Jake's best friend Kevin Park with Kevin Flynn, and college crush Sarah with college crush Vanessa, the deception builds on Jake's real-life relationships, reinforced through wish fulfilment, to keep him docile. In reality, Kevin was the one who got his dream girl Jenny, despite being a geek. In reality, Jake lost Sarah before he ever really had her. So by allowing Jake to believe that the girl of his dreams actually had the crush on him in college fed his subconscious desire to attain the things he's missing in his life, and not question his new reality. But even the fairy tale isn't powerful enough to keep him docile, as his unconscious mind fights back despite the amnesia induced by DuMont's tampering with the nanites. Perhaps, the episode hints though never says outright, that the dreams Jake used to have aren't the dreams he has any longer, and by creating the perfect fantasy life, DuMont actually brings about his own downfall even faster.
Meanwhile, on the homefront, there is enough reasonable doubt in Lou's mind--particularly after the events of the past four episodes--to believe that Jake might have in fact gone rogue. And it's perfectly in character that Diane is the only one with no doubt whatsoever that Jake has remained loyal, and her confusion and fear that she is alone in this belief tracks perfectly with the events of "Last Man Standing" which shows clearly that her loyalty is to Jake first, and the NSA second. While there is one small plot hole (if the NSA have Benton, then why do they not know that Jake is amnesiac and was not DuMont's accomplice?) it can be easily overlooked, and does little to diminish the impact of the episode. The exposition (recapping the events of "The Good, The Bad, and the Geeky" and how the JMD works) is woven into the script without feeling ham-fisted, and Kyle's final scene with Jake on the bridge is particularly well-handled. Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and Chris Gorham play it perfectly. Jake's fear and confusion comes across beautifully, as does Kyle's concern for his friend, and the dialogue is just ambiguous enough that it can be read both ways--by the audience, who knows what Jake's going through, while Kyle, who has no idea that Jake has no idea who he is, is confused and worried. And the promise of an alliance between Warner and DuMont is chilling. Jesse Cadotte's DuMont is perfectly creepy and manipulative, and the character is expanded and shown to be an engaging villain and a true threat to Jake.