Writer: Silvio Horta
Director: Harry Winer
Air Date: 09/23/03
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Marina Black...Sarah Carter
Ling Bai...Mei Ling
Terry Chen...Chinese Agent
Grahame Wood...Rep. John Ramsey
Bert Steinmanis...Head Caterer
Terence Dament...Agent De Grasso
Kurt Evans...Tech Agent Hart
The episode opens with Jake sprinting across town, aided by the nanites. He arrives at a library just as Sarah Carter is floating down the stairs. he feigns surprise, despite the fact that she remembers telling him where she would be. Jake is thrilled when she accepts his invitation to lunch. At lunch, they reminisce about collegeparticularly getting drunk at the Lincoln Memorial. Apparently, young Jake had never had tequila prior to that instance, and Sarah recalls the particular shade of green he turned just before puking on the statue of the president's shoes. Jake is feeling confident, and Sarah notices the change in him, albeit she laughs off his insistence that he's been working out. Meanwhile, later that evening, a laptop with the encoded designs for a new, next-generation tank is stolen by the Chinese.
The next morning, Diane runs Jake through a series of tests designed to test his control over the nanites. Despite blowing up the X-Box, Diane notices Jake is in high spirits. Jake tells her about his pseudo-date with Sarah. Diane becomes slightly jealous, telling Jake to make sure and "not push it" with Sarah. Meanwhile, in Sat Ops Lou approaches Kyle about contacting one of their Chinese double-agents, Mei Ling Wong, with whom Kyle had a tempestuous affair several years earlier. Kyle tries to refuse the assignment, but Lou insists that regardless of his personal feelings, too much is at stake and she's not giving him a choice. He tells her that fine, they're contact Mei Ling, but he'll be the agent doing the contacting. Lou balks, reminding him that his cover is compromised. Kyle stands firm, pointing out that Mei Ling could spot any agent they might send it. Lou tells him "Not necessarily."
The meeting is set up at an art gallery, where Jake and Kyle await Mei Ling's arrival. As Jake eavesdrops using the nanites, Kyle tells Mei Ling about the laptop and offers her asylum and five years expenses if she will help them recover it. She counters with $2 million, and tells him the laptop is scheduled to go out that night via diplomatic pouch. There is a reception being held at the embassy that night. She will arrange for Kyle to be there as her guest. Outside, Jake observes there's a Casablanca thing going on between Kyle and Mei Ling, and tries to draw a parallel between their situation and his relationship with Sarah, but Kyle is disinterested. Back at Sat Ops, Kyle presents Mei Ling's terms to Lou. Lou doesn't want to send Kyle out into the field, but Jake tells her that he doesn't think the mission will work unless it's Kyle. Lou relents. Diane is nervous about Jake first official missionas is Jake. Kyle's cover will be a South American oil exec, and Mei Ling will pass him a security keycard at the reception so that he can gain access to the laptop. Jake's job will be to interface with the security cameras to hide Kyle. Mei Ling will then be spirited away from the embassy in a catering truck driven by Agent De Grasso. Jake asks what his cover will beanother oil exec, or a dot com millionaire? Lou tells him it's their job to choose his cover.
Cut to Jake putting on a white tux, and standing on the balcony of the embassy, observing the party. He is approached by a slightly snooty man who hands him a tray of canapés, telling him they won't serve themselves. Jake is undercover as a member of the catering staff. Back at Sat Ops, Lou and Diane are monitoring. Diane is concerned because Jake's vitals show he's very nervous. As Jake circulates, picking up champagne glasses, he spots a familiar face: Sarah Carter. Quickly ditching the tray, he tries to pretend that he's a guest at the party. In Sat Ops, Diane notices Jake's vitals are going crazy. She wants to pull him out, but Lou tells her the mission hasn't even started yet.
Sarah and Jake make small talk. Sarah is there to approach another guest, Congressman Williams, about the Farm Bill. Sarah is less than thrilled, and in order to avoid the Head Waiter, Jake asks her to dance. On the dance floor, Kyle and Mei Ling are dancing. He remembers the red dress she is wearing. She wore it in Hong Kong. Apparently, she didn't have it on long, that time. As they dance, Sarah sees them and makes a comment about the two of them needing to get a room as Kyle strokes Mei Ling's neck, and she palms the security card from her cleavage and passes it off to him. As she and Jake dance, Sarah recalls with fondness college days of hanging out and drinking beer. Suddenly, she suggests to Jake that they ditch the reception and go to the Lincoln Memorial with a six pack. Kyle interrupts them, handing Jake his empty champagne flute. Sarah is shocked as she realises Jake is working the party. At the bar, Jake asks Kyle if that was really necessary. Kyle reminds him that the mission is their prioritynot Jake's personal life. Jake comments that he doesn't seem to be the only one with a personal life. However, it's showtime.
As Kyle slips out towards the secure door, and Jake moves into position. Sarah approaches him, telling him that his moonlighting to make extra cash is no big deal. Jake comes clean, telling her he's undercover on a mission, but she merely laughs, assuming he's joking. They make plans to meet at the Lincoln Memorial in an hour. Jake uses the nanites to rewind the security cameras thirty minutes. Jake picks up a glass of champagne as the angry Head Waiter asks him what he's doing. With a grin and a wink, Jake tells him he's quitting. Meanwhile, Kyle is walking through the basement of the embassy, searching for the laptop with the tank schematics. Jake goes out to the catering van, which is still parked. Back at Sat Ops, Lou gets a call that Mei Ling never arrived at the safe house. Jake enters the van to find Agent de Grasso, dead.
Kyle finds the briefcase that is suppose to hold the laptop. It's empty. Mei Ling and two Chinese agents meet him, and he realises he's been set up. Kyle tries to fight off the agents, but is captured and tied to a chair. Mei Ling tells him this is her last mission. After delivering him, she's out. She believed that Kyle abandoned her two and a half years ago. As he is injected with a drug to make him more compliant. Back at Sat Ops, Lou realises that the whole mission was a set-up. Kyle's knowledge of the NSA's agents in China is more valuable to them than the tank schematics.
Drugged, Kyle pleads with Mei Ling, and confesses his love. She refuses to be moved. Jake calls in, and tries to talk him out of the embassy. Meanwhile, the half-hour delay on the security cameras is ticking down. Kyle reveals to Mei Ling that he had no choice. His cover had been compromised, and had he met her in Spain, they would have both been killed by her government. She is stricken by this news, but nevertheless refuses to back down, telling the agents to start work on him. She leaves, and one of the agents begins removing torture devices from their case. Still on his cellphone with Lou, Jake does not want to leave without Kyle. While Diane looks on, a bundle of nerves, Lou tries to assure him that Kyle's an experienced agent and can handle himself. When he overhears Kyle through a basement window. Lou gives up and tells him the truth: that they were after Kyle all along. She orders Jake to get out of there, however he ignores Lou and goes back in. Using the nanites to open locked doors, he heads down to the basement. Kyle is being shocked by one agent, and Jake hears him cry out in pain. He rushes to his air, but the Chinese agent interrogating Kyle proceeds to beat the crap out of him. Using the nanites, Jake finally fights back, flinging the Chinese agent backwards. The agent is impaled on a piece of rebar, and dies.
The timer on the security cameras runs out, and klaxons and red lights go off. Jake starts to untie Kyle, who tells Jake that he has to stab Kyle in the throat to prevent him from spilling government secrets. Jake refuses. Kyle tries to tell him that there is no way out, but Jake tells him to trust him. Jake kills the lights, and uses the nanites to gain night vision. Carrying Kyle out in the dark, they exit the basement and crouch in a stairwell, watching Chinese agents swarm around the building. Jake spots a new Cadillac sedan, and notes they're computer controlled. using the nanites to start the car, he creates a diversion. While the agents attack the car, he and Kyle slip out, only to come face to face with Mei Ling. She holds a gun on Kyle, and then kisses him and tells him to go. Kyle asks him to go with them, but she tells him she can't. Jake and Kyle make it to the catering van and speed away, breaking through the embassy gates. Back at Sat Ops, Lou and Diane are relieved that Kyle and Jake are alive. Lou gently tells Diane that the her fear when people she cares about are out in the field? Will never go away. Diane nods, looking drained.
At the Lincoln Memorial, a dishevelled Jake and Kyle watch the sun rise, bottles of beer in their hands. Kyle remembers how he first met Mei Ling in Bali, and Jake recalls when he first saw Sarah, freshman year at Georgetown. Kyle notes that now, the last time he'll ever see her, she held a gun to his head and kissed him. Jake reveals that he's never kissed Sarah. They continue drinking.
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