Writer: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Director: Allan Kroeker
Air Date: 11/12/03
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Steven Williams...General Wesley Freewald
Lance Gibson Sr....Burns
Kelly Nielson...Soldier C.O.
Tammy Morris...Exotic Dancer
Miranda Frigon...Agent Carver
The episode opens with Jake and Kyle leading an NSA team at a hostage situation. A disgruntled government employee, tired of the government he has worked for for years lying to him, has taken his officemates at gunpoint. Jake doesn't want to wait for snipers, and takes the guy out himself, disobeying a direct order and grandstanding, nanite-style. Kyle reads Jake the riot act, reminding him that enhanced or not, Jake's recklessness could have cost people their lives. Meanwhile, at Ft. McLelland, General Freewald discovered someone has replaced one of their mini nuclear bombs with a decoy.
Kyle expresses concern to Lou over Jake's discipline problem. Lou introduces Kyle to General Freewald, her former CO during her stint in the first Gulf War as a helicopter driver known affectionately as "Tankbuster." Freewald needs the NSA to put an agent undercover in the Wolf pack, an elite Black ops unit based out of Ft. McLelland. One-time Wolf Pack leader Freewald suspects a member of the Pack has turned traitor, and stolen their iNuke. Lou knows just the guy. In the lab, Jake is grousing to Diane about being accused of being too good to follow orders. Diane hedges, and Jake is aghast that he's being thought of as "that guy." He gets caught doing a passable imitation of Kyle, and briefed on his new mission. Lou gives him a crash-course in how to be a Black Op, and Jake shows up at Ft. McLelland the next day in the guise of Mitchell Gant--new Wolf Pack recruit. He's introduced to the Pack, the baddest mo-fos in the entire world, lead by the cigar-smoking Captain Hartman.
Lou has a special mission for Kyle, and it's not a booty-call. Meanwhile, Jake uses the nanites to keep up with the Pack on drills, impressing Hartman with his ability to do clapping push-ups and scale walls. That night, Jake's out in the woods, sneaking a call to Diane on his cell, when he's caught by the Pack. In true summer-camp-from-hell fashion, Jake spends the night duck-taped to a tree by his new comrades. He's found by Gen. Freewald, who takes him back to his office where Kyle--looking snazzy in a Army dress uniform--awaits. Kyle tells Jake he has to get the Pack's laptops and download their communications logs to the NSA. Jake begs to be let out of the mission, but Kyle reminds him that the Hades-13 mini-nuke could kill a heck of a lot of people, and gives him a direct order to see the mission through to the end. Jake obeys, and asks for nerve gas and a funnel.
Jake rejoins the pack, decking Hartman and winning himself the punishment of digging holes around the barracks and then filling them again. He works until nightfall, and then we cut to Jake and Kyle in the Wolf Pack's den, downloading from their laptops while the pack--knocked out by nerve gas, slumber all around them. Kyle questions Jake's plan, and Jake assures him that if Kyle wants him to become one of these men, and that's what he's doing. The next morning, Freewald finds the pack buried up to their necks by the side of the road. "Gnat" has, through his childish retaliation of the Pack's childish hazing, proven himself. The Pack takes him into town to be given liquor by scantily clad exotic dancers, and his final initiation--Hartman cuts the Wolf Pack logo into Jake's arm and fills him in about Aubrey, the man Jake is replacing. Gen. Freewald ordered the Pack to leave Aubrey behind in Afghanistan, where he was torn limb-from-limb. Lou tells Kyle that a member of the Pack has leased a jet to take the Hades-13 out of the country. Kyle corners suspected traitor Lawrence in the bathroom, and takes him--handcuffed--to Freewald to interrogate. However, Lawrence gets the upper hand, killing Freewald and taking Kyle hostage.
Kyle and Jake realise that it's not a member of the Pack who has turned traitor--it's all of them. The Pack take Kyle back to their barracks to beat how much he knows out of him. Kyle insists that he's working alone, but Hartman and the Pack turn on Jake who bluffs his way out and is given the job killing Kyle. Jake shoots Kyle in the gut and they leave him die slowly--while Jake uses the nanites to send a message to Lou via Kyle's cellphone that Freewald is dead, Kyle's been shot, and the nuke is on the move. Lou tells Carver to track Kyle's cell and suits up. The Pack digs up the nuke, which they've buried in the woods. Furious over Aubrey's death, they plan to set the Hades-13 off in the village in Afghanistan where Aubrey was killed. Jake attempts to arrest them. Lawrence throws a hidden knife, pinning Jake to a tree with a knife through his hand--but before they can kill Jake, Lou and the NSA arrive to save the day. Cut to Jake at Kyle's bedside in the hospital. Jake is freaked out by how easy it was to be Gant--including shooting Kyle, who tells Jake he's proud of him for how he handled the mission. Jake gives him a beer Lou told him to smuggle into the hospital, and shows Kyle his fading Wolf pack scar.
This episode is a bit darker than what we've come to expect from the show--and sheds some much-desired light on Lou's backstory. Also, it's good to see Kyle taking Jake to task for his reckless behaviour, reminding him and the audience that's not what the job is about. Chris Gorham deserves major kudos for making Jake's role-play as Gant believable. He doesn't just swagger and pitch his voice lower, stepping up to the pugilistic plate, but he makes us as well as the Pack believe he is tough-as-nails Sgt. Gant, while still letting just enough panic show that we can see Jake is terrified. However, it's Jake's ability to not let the panic overwhelm him that is at the heart of this week's episode. And it makes the transition from tech support geek to superspy all the more believable, though one wonders in a season or two (God and UPN execs willing) how much of the Jake we met in the pilot may remain after too many missions like this one. Jake grows up a lot, and also shows that the guy who couldn't remember 12 in the clip one in the pipe a few months earlier is learning how to think on his feet, hit people when he has to, and use his brains over his nanite-enhanced brawn when he was to as well. The series hasn't ditched Jake's super-geek side, but is showing him maturing as a field agent slowly and believably over time. Kyle and Lou shine--and it's fun as hell to see Lou in a tank top, throwing Jake around like a rag doll. You believe this woman can kick your ass. Moreover, you believe she will kick your ass. For all of her mother-hen scenes, she also is perfectly willing to put the mission ahead of her personal feelings about her agents. It's the streak of ruthlessness that makes her so cool. Vancouver mainstay Steven Williams (best known as Captain Fuller of 21 JUMP STREET and most recently seen as Mr. X on THE X-FILES) is fun as Freewald, particularly as he fills Jake in on how Lou got the nickname "Tankbuster" and you easily believe him as the greying version of Hartman sans the traitorous tendencies. Sheppard (also an X-FILES alum, and the deliciously Pratchett-esque Badger on FIREFLY) sans native London accent is grim-n-gritty as Hartman, and is perfectly cast as a psycho military leader. Munro is a little baby-faced as Lawrence, but knows cool tricks to get out of handcuffs.
Quotes of the Week:
Kyle (to Lou): "Apparently, there is no 'we' in nanites."
Jake: "I don't really do well with teams. Or packs. Especially in uniform. Jocks, frat guys, marching bands--they eat people like me for breakfast."
Lou: "Hoo-ah means yes, please, thank you, pass the ammo and praise the lord. Do you understand? When in doubt, Hoo-ah."
Lou: "You don't have to yell it all the time, okay?"
Lou: "In God we trust. All others, we monitor."
Jake: "Okay. And I'm gonna do that before or after the monkeys fly outta my butt?"
Hartman: "It was a hairy furball that night. Bodies flailing everywhere. Didn't know which way was up. You couldn't fight your way out. All you could do was give in. And give in, we did."
Hartman: "Son, you never visited a Panamanian whorehouse?"
Jake: "I can neither confirm nor deny that I have ever been to Panama."
© Tara O'Shea 2003