Writer: David Greenwalt and Grant Scharbo
Director: David Greenwalt
Air Date: 09/17/03
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Marina Black...Sarah Carter
Kurt Evans...Tech Agent Hart
Miranda Frigon...Tech Agent Susan Carver
Christopher Shyer...Abdul Tiranzi
Robert Moloney...Agent Write
James Ralph...Man in park
Jesse Whitheead...Bike messenger
Louis Chirillo...Hot dog vendor
Janina Dall...Agent Tishler
Dean Redman...NSA guard
Ken Yanko...Five star General
The episode opens with Jake on the runliterally. He races across rooftops carrying a messenger bag, as mooks fire missiles at him. Making an amazing leap to escape the missile, he heads inside a dank and deserted warehouse, gun drawn. He's in full-on James Bond mode, taking out bad guy after bad guy, using the nanites for speed, stealth, and night vision. However, as he comes face to face with two thugs, his pistol clicks on an empty chamber. The warehouse and the bad guys fade away, and Jake is revealed to be standing inside a Star Trek-holodeck-like simulator room. Kyle admonishes Jake to remember to count his shots, pointing out that in the real world, Jake would be dead.
While Jake runs on a treadmill, hooked up to Diane's equipment to monitor his vitals, Diane goes over footage from the simulator with Kyle and Lou. She's impressed by the results of the test, noting how the nanites stimulate Jake's adrenal glands when he's under pressure. While Jake eavesdrops, Lou explains that's all well and good, but the government funding this little project expects results. And in the three weeks since Jake was exposed to the nanites, the results have been less than stellar. Diane protests, pointing out that they've only begun to understand how the nanites work with the human body. Lou tells her they've been given one more week. After that, if Jake can't pass muster, he'll end up a lab rat someplace, and the nanite project will be shut down. In the other room, Jake nervously speeds up, then falls off the treadmill as he gets a muscle cramp.
Later in Sat Ops, Kyle and Jake watch as a strike team in Tunisia recover a stolen Electro-magnetic Pulse Bomb from a terrorist group known as the Al Juhuara. Jake is impressed with the strike teams performance, and Kyle tells him that's what real agents do. Later that night as he attempts to hang pictures in his new apartment, Jake is frustrated by his inability to measure up as an agent. Unable to control the nanites, his walls are littered with holes where the hammer has gone through the plaster. His phone ringsSarah can't find her C-drive. Giving her some tech support over the phone, Jake is pleased when she tells him would love to have lunch with him. As they make a lunch date, there's a knock at the door. Jake is surprised to find Diane, who tells him she was not exactly in the neighbourhood but wanted to stop by to give him a housewarming presenta new desk lamp. Jake invites her in, and she remarks on the holes in the walls. He admits he doesn't quite know his own strength yet, and she assures him that will come in time.
Jake vents a bit about the fact that one day, he came home to find his roommate Darin had been transferred, all his stuff was in boxes, and he was suddenly moved to a more secure locationabove Luigi's Deli. Which is no picnic for someone with an enhanced sense of smell. Diane tries to cheer him up, but Jake is depressed. He may have wanted to be an agent his whole life, but obviously he's just not cut out for it. Diane takes a deep breath, and asks him if he knows what will happen if he can't cut it. When he asks her what, she responds that she won't get her Nobel prize, and she really wants her Nobel prize. She wants the fame, and the money, and she really wants the medal. So he's just gonna have to shape up, or she'll kick his nano-bot butt. Jake can't help but laugh, teased out of his funk and Diane asks him what's wrong with his television, which is pumping out static. When he tells her the cable guy was supposed to have come twice, she suggests he fix it himself. He uses the nanites to interface with the box, and the picture clears. Now in a much better mood, he invites Diane to stay and watch TV with him.
The next morning, Jake is trailing Kyle as he picks up his sidearm. As they head towards Sat Ops, they passed a secure NSA vault. Jake is impressed with the vault's security systemarmed guards, fingerprint scans, the works. just like in the movies. Jake is eager and puppy-like, still in awe of Agent Wright and the strike team he watched the day before and wondering if he'll ever be sent someplace exotic like Tunisia. Kyle tries to smack a little sense into Jake verbally, who is cowed, but not for long. Kyle takes jake to a park, where his mission is to observe. Jake's observations, however, are still more of a civilian's POV than a trained agent. Kyle tells Jake that the NSA intercepted a phone call stating that an unidentified state official is selling secrets, and the exchange will take place right there. They spread out, watching and looking, and Jake spots a man handing off an envelope to another man. He runs and tackles the guy, only to find out that not only was this another simulationbut the guy Jake took out wasn't even part of the sim, but was paying off his bookie. Once again confronted with failure, Jake is despondent when Kyle tries to explain that he's trying to teach Jake to look beyond the obvious.
Meanwhile, Agent Write is on an airplane, the EMP bomb handcuffed to his wrist, when a steward approaches him. However, the steward drops his tray, pulling out a gun and then killing all the agents onboard. He then advances on Agent Wright's body, brandishing a large knife.
In the medlab, Diane monitors a shirtless Jake wired up with electrodes while he tries to sue the nanites to perform a series of functions simultaneously. He turns on a CD player, opens a safe, and is trying to crack a computer password when the nanites shut down to keep from overloading. A frustrated Jake blows up at Diane, wanting to know what she can do about itand she finally admits she doesn't know. She's in the same position he is, trying desperately to get caught up. She was only Dr. Gage's assistant, and though she'd worked with him for three years, she doesn't know the project the way he did. Jake is angry because he's messing up, and the nanites are the only reason he's even an agent. Diane has about had it with his "poor me" routine, and calls him an idiot and starts pulling off the electrodes. Kyle appears to give Jake his next assignment, asking if they're finish. In tandem, they both snap "Yes."
Jake tries to tell Kyle that he has a lunch datebut Kyle already knows. In fact, that's Jake's assignment. Kyle knows all about Sarah Carter and her investigation, and Jake's crush. Handing Jake a file folder, Kyle tells Jake that the funds Sarah is investigating were in fact diverted to the nanotech project. Jake's mission is to get Sarah to drop her investigation. Jake asks Kyle if he's wants him to lie to his friend. Kyle hands Jake an ear piece and says he'll be listening. At lunch, Jake is nervous, while Kyle listens in from a car parked close by. Sarah tells Jake she's broken up with her boyfriend, because she couldn't trust him. Jake almost flinches, and she asks him if he's seeing anyone. he tells her no, he's consumed by his work. Sarah's cellphone rings, and as she gets up from the table to answer it, Jake has a on-sided whispered conversation with Kyle. Sarah overhears, and Jake lamely tries to cover, saying he was just trying to talk through a work-related problem. Out loud. Like folks do. Jake tries to smoothly bring up the subject of the DOD funds, and tells Sarah that they were used for a new computer system. However, Sarah doesn't believe ither source has told her otherwise.
Jake joins up with Kyle, frustrated at once again failingbut Kyle assures him his mission wasn't a failure. Now they know that Sarah has a source. Kyle gets a call on his cellphoneSandstorm has been compromised. They rush to the site of the plane crash, where Jake is sickened to find the body of Agent Wright. Suddenly, being an agent doesn't seem quite as cool as he thought it was, as the realities of being an operative start to sink in. Lou contacts Wright's family, while Jake tells Kyle the Al Juhuara cut off Wright's hand.
Back at Sat Ops, Tech Agent Hart briefs Lou, Kyle, and Jake about the particulars of the stolen EMP bomb. This particular device has a range of two miles, and is equipped with several fail-safes including a signal beacon that will go off if the device is armed, allowing them to track it. Unfortunately, the second fail-safe doesn't work in their favour. The bomb can only be disabled using the proper access codeand if you get the code wrong, the timer will be accelerated. Kyle orders Hart to get the codes, while Tech Agent Susan Carver calls Lou over. She's picked up a security cam image from Tunis of Abdul Tiranzi, Al Juhuara's chief weapons expert. Tiranzi's brother, a professor, was mistakenly killed due to bad intel. Lou surmises that Tiranzi is targeting the NSA out of revenge. Just then, the warning beacon goes off. Tiranzi is attempting to arm the bomb. Kyle takes three agents and leaves to find the bomb.
In her lab, Diane is monitoring Jake's vitals and notices Jake's blood pressure is up. She finds him in Sat Ops, and is concerned. Jake's frustration level is mounting, as he's stuck there while everyone else is actually doing something to help. jake is sure that Kyle will never believe he can make it, and Diane points out that Kyle was the one who pushed for Jake to be given active agent status. Kyle knew how much Jake wanted it. A stunned Jake takes this in just as Kyle closes in on the signal. They tackle a bike messenger, who is freaked. Opening the case, Kyle finds no bombjust a transmitter. It was a decoy. Sat Ops begins picking up dozens of beacons, and Lou has no choice but to assign agents to check them all out.
As each of the beacons is found and discovered to be a fraud, Jake paces back and forth through Sat Ops. Diane asks him what's wrong, and he says it doesn't make sense. It's too obvious. When she asks him what's too obvious, he says that Tiranzi wants all of them out there in the field. As he talks to Diane, Jake realises whybecause the NSA is the target. That was why Tiranzi cut off Wright's hand, to use the hand to gain access to the building via the fingerprint scanners. Jake checks the access logs to see when "Agent Wright" last entered, and then tells Diane to call Kyle and have them evacuate the building.
Jake catches up with Tiranzi, and waits for him to set the bomb and leave it. Sneaking up to the case, jake attempts to disarm it, but without the codes the timer begins to accelerate. Picking up the bomb, Jake tries to get it into the secure vault where the detonation would do no harm, he is surprised by Tiranzi who proceeds to beat Jake to a bloody pulp. Calling on the nanites, jake manages to hurl Tiranzi through a plate glass window and picks up the bomb once again. He gets it to the vault, where he uses his nanites to open the lock, almost shutting the door completely when the EMP goes off. Jake is caught in the blast wave, and lies on the floor, dazed and disoriented as the nanites are affected by the wave. He stumbles to his feet, but Tiranzi is gone. A security guard calls out to Jake, telling him he needs to leave, and Tiranzi appears behind him, grabbing the guard's gun and firing at the helpless Jake who runs. Tiranzi follows, and suddenly finds himself inside the simulation room, which is set to replay Jake's sim of the day before. Tiranzi begins firing at the digital projections of Jake, while the real Jake watches from the control room. As the sim ends, Jake, carrying a length of pipe, approaches Tiranzi who points his gun and pulls the trigger. However, the hammer falls on an empty chamber. Jake tells him to always remember to count his shots, then lays him out with the pipe. Jake then drops to his knees, exhausted.
Later, Jake is in the medlab as Diane runs diagnostics, remarking on how lucky he was to have survived the EMP. As it is, the nanites will just need some reprogramming, which they can handle tomorrow. Jake thanks hernot just for that, but for believing in him and putting up with him. Diane is touched, and reminds him that they're in this together. Kyle appears, and tells Jake Lou wants to see him. In Sat Ops, Lou tells Jake she lost three very gifted agents to this missionbut she found one as well. Diane beams as Jake accepts congratulations and handshakes from Lou, Kyle, and the agents in Sat Ops.
In the first episode after the pilot, ANGEL's David Greenwalt is brought in as showrunner, the cast is trimmed (Matt Czuchry's wacky roommate Darin Metcalf is transferred to another country), and several key patterns are set. "Training Day" firmly establishes the series as spy-fi, up to and including a little fantasy in regards to the NSA having a holodeck (which unfortunately undermines the credibility of the episode quite a bit). Also, it's important to note that it's not Jake using the nanites that solve the case and save the day so much as Jake using his brain. Also of note, Diane's visit to Jake's apartment firmly establishes both their friendship as the central relationship in Jake's new life, and sets up a juxtaposition between Jake interacting with Diane, and how Jake interacts with Sarah. Also, Diane shows that despite her sympathy for Jake in the first half of the episode, she's more than willing to point out when he's being an idiot. Nice to see that she's not blinded by her crush.
Unfortunately, another pattern which gets its start here seems to be Sarah Carter's fascination with beer and her longing for college life--which makes the audience question Jake's sanity in his romantic pursuit of someone a touch on the shallow side. However, it does hit in with the theme of the episode, which is Jake realising that life is not the movies, and whatever cool dreams he had regarding being a spy before now, in reality, it means lying to people he cares about and the very real possibility of being killed while in the service of his country. Kyle is very much in mentor mode in this episode, putting him temporarily in the position of "bad guy" who appears to be coming down too hard on Jake. However, as the episode progresses, Kyle is in fact revealed as Jake's greatest supporter, having fought hard with Lou for Jake to receive his active agent status in the first place. It's an excellent bit of character development, and starts Kyle on the road over the next few episodes of transitioning from Jake's mentor to Jake's friend.
The changes made from the pilot are all smart ones. As fun as Darin is, it's wiser to trim the cast and keep Sarah the one character Jake must keep in the dark. It raises the stakes of that relationship, and makes that plot thread more compelling. Plus, Sarah's investigation into the reassigned DOD funds is a recurring plot thread that has the potential to actually hurt Jake and the team, which also helps justify the characters existence outside of the love triangle. And speaking of the love triangle, kudos to the writing staff for immediately recognising the chemistry between Gorham and Tracy, and expanding the role of Diane. It's great to see a writing team willing to recognise chemistry and run with it, whether or not it was in the original plan.
Quotes of the Week:
Diane: "It's technology at its best. It's ... it's beautiful."
Lou: "It's unpredictable."
Lou: "Diane, he was dropped to his knees by one of our metal detectors."
Diane: " Yeah, I'm, uh ... I'm working on that."
Sarah: "Okay, I know you're going to think I'm a total idiot, but where is my "C:" Drive?"
Jake: "Uh, it's in your computer."
Diane: "Jake ... do you know what happens if you don't make it?"
Diane: "I don't get my Nobel Prize, and I really want my Nobel Prize, you know-- I-I want the-the fame, and I want the money, and I really want the medal. So this whole 'I don't think I can make it' thing -- I think you better lose it, or I'm going to have to kick your nanobot butt, okay?"
Sarah: "That's this town, Jake. That's what it does to you. Do you remember when the most important thing was how to get beer on a Friday night?"
Jake (to Tiranzi): "You should always count your shots. 12 in the mag..."
(Jake nails Tiranzi with a length of metal pipe)
Jake: "...One in the pipe."
© Tara O'Shea 2003