Writer: Silvio Horta & David Greenwalt
Director: Steve Miner
Airdate: 05/27/04 (UK)
What an episode to go out on. After the three episode arc of "Blackout," "Get Foley" and "Dead Man Talking," "Upgrade" clearly lays pipe for the series finale with the DuMont and Warner team-up. Unfortunately, production was halted January 15th, in the middle of principal photography on "Upgrade" and the series wrapped with that plotline still awaiting closure. However both Jesse Cadotte and Rachel Hayward are magnetic in their scenes together, and play up the creepy vibe to the hilt. Had UPN not yanked the series from the schedule before episodes 17-19 could be shot, it would have been a joy to see what sick and twisted games these two would have come up with.
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Arc elements aside, as a stand-alone, the episode in incredibly effective. It goes from humour to pathos without missing a beatfrom Diane and Jake's easy banter to Jake's heartbreaking admission that he is haunted by the two men he's killed and doesn't want to kill again, Gorham positively shines. Philip Anthony Rodriguez also gets a chance to shine, as Kyle is forced to deal with Sang's antics, yet at the same time comes to respect the missionif not the man. And guest star Koyamada Shin makes for one adorable little ninja. You gotta love a guy who will stand on a sofa and sing J-Pop at the top of his lungs with no apparent shame.
"Upgrade" also features the return of Seymour LaFortunata as well as yet more Fran (yay! Fran!), and rewards patient Carver (Miranda Frigon, who has been in almost every episode of the series thus far) with a given name (Susan, for those of you who have been keeping track). And while fans will never know if Jake and Diane would have lived happily ever after, it is nice to see their friendship back in full-force after their awkwardness in "Dead Man Talking." The final scene between them in the medlab sparkles with wit and chemistry. Excellent dialogue, brought to life by wonderful performers.
The tagwith Jake alone next to his car in front of Yuki's bodyis quite the sombre note for the series to go out on. Yet it drives home the point that a lifetime of James Bond movies can't prepare Jake for the realities of what being an agent truly means. That's a lesson he's had to learn over the course of the series. Yet at the same time, Jake's attempts to hang onto the last shreds of his innocence are what make the character so compelling, and easy for an audience to fall in love with. Jake may be na´ve, but that doesn't make him any less of a hero. And while Jake may admire Shinji for choosing not to kill, the audience can admire Jake for trying never to kill unless he has to, and never being callous about it when he does.
Quotes of the Week:
Fran: "Wow. Men. Are they all dogs?"
Jake: "Let me explain"
Diane: "No, let me explain. I may be your friend but I am also your doctor, and the senior researcher on this project. So when I say do no mess with the nanites, then you take that as the word of God."
Diane: "Super eye drops."
Diane: "No. It's just eye drops."
Diane: "Don't do any more stupid things."
Jake: "Well, I don't if you won't. The next time an international man of peace asks you up to his room? Don't go."
Diane: "Oh. Oh. Well, you know, Bono is coming to town next week, and I heard that he has a thing for me."
Jake: "Oh I see, we've subtly segued back to me."
Jake: "All right, I promise not to play with myselfhmmmm. Let me rephrase that. I promise not to play with the nanites any more."
Jake [to guard]: "You can take those off now."
[Shinji removes his own handcuffs.]
Shinji: "You said it was okay."