Writer: David Greenwalt and Silvio Horta
Director: David Barrett
Air Date: 12/17/03
Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Lee Majors...Richard "Dick" Fox
Barbara Tyso...Elena Dankova
Angelika Libera...Stephanie Romanov
Zinaid Memisevic...Nicolai Iskanov
Taras...Russian Man #1
Ray Galletti...Black Jack Dealer
Miranda Frigon...Tech Agent Susan Carver
As the episode opens, Jake is in pursuit of a former KGB agent, Elena Dankova. Flustered when he forgets radio protocols, and then given conflicting orders as to how to proceed, Jake takes off after Dankova. However, he loses hershowing early on that Jake's maverick tendencies are only prized when they attain results. Lou chews him out back at Sat Ops, but is receptive to his idea of bringing in the NSA legend who was point-man on Dankova in the 1980s: a retired agent named Richard Fox. Kyle and Jake pay Fox a call, and are surprised to find a scruffy, cigar-smoking "cowboy" with a pretty young girlfriend, and no apparent desire to return to active duty. However, a clause in Fox's NSA contract means he can be recalled to active duty at any time. Back at Sat Ops, Dick is surprised and amused to find that Jake and Kyle's boss is in fact an attractive woman. However, he wisely restrains his comments to remarking on Lou's eyesand she humours him, as he has just provided the staff with a list of former KGB sleeper agents whom Dankova would have contacted in Cincinnati and Chicago. One of the sleepers, Romanov, was last seen in Atlantic City and has a line of credit at a Russian casino.
Diane gives Dick a check-up, and Dick tries to sweet talk her. When she leaves the room, Dick asks Jake if he's got anything going with the doctor, and Jake replies that they're colleagues. Dick asks if that's some fancy word for "friend" and grouses that the current generation has it all wrong. Men and women can't be friends; they're either lovers, or enemies. Or both? Jake asks him, in reference to Fox's relationship with Dankova. Diane returns to complete her exam, but Dick rips up her orders. Flustered, Diane lets it pass when Lou arrives to find out if Jake and Fox are ready for the mission. Jake and Dick are dispatchedwith Lou warning Jake to play this one by the book.
Dick has apparently been reading a different book than Jake, as he blows almost their entire mission budget on a vintage 1970s Mach 1 Mustang. The two arrive in Atlantic City, where Jake is further frustrated when Dick bets their remaining cash at the blackjack table. However, Dick reminds Jake that to appear a high-roller, you have to act like one.
Meanwhile, back at Sat Ops, Kyle tells Lou that one of the Russian sleepers has turned up dead, and another missing. It turns out he has been working at a nuclear facility which reported the theft of the makings of a "dirty" bomb.
Jake reviews the photos of the KGB sleeper agents, and spots one of them at another table. Dick gives Jake a phrase in Russian to repeat to the man. He then flirts with the cocktail waitress. Jake tries to play it cool, unaware that the words Dick has put into his mouth are "Your mother smells like a monkey." The Russians start beating the crap out of Jake who, to Dick and the cocktail waitress' surprise, holds his own. Jack, now furious, watches them leave.
Bleeding, Jake walks out of the casino and calls Lou to give her an update. Lou takes him off the case. He closes his cellphone just as Dick pulls up in the mustang, and tells him to get in. Jake refuses, until Dick pulls his gun. He drives Jake to a deserted parking lot, and questions how Jake was able to fend off all the Russians. He hints that the NSA has always had enhancement programs, but before Jake can either spill the beans about the nanites or question Dick as to what he means, there's a muffled sound from the trunk of the car. Jake asks if somebody's back there. Dick tosses him the keys, and as Jake bends down to unlock the truck, Dick saps him and leaves Jake unconscious and bleeding in the street as the mustang speeds away.
Dick meets up with Dankova and her people, who give him a suitcase full of money in exchange for the "package"which turns out to be the bound and gagged cocktail waitress from the casino. Back at the NSA, Diane is treating Jake's wounds, and tells him that every available agent is out looking for Dick. However, Jake seems distracted. He asks Diane if she knows of any enhancement projects prior to the nanites. She's sure there have bee. The NSA have the largest research budget of any federal agency, and have to be at the top of cutting edge research. The phone in the lab ringsit's Lou. Apparently there's something in Sat Ops that Diane and Jake have to come see.
Standing in the middle of several armed personnel is a very irked looking Agent Richard Fox, who claims that he has been away on a consulting job and came in as soon as he heard the NSA was looking for him. The team are sceptical, until Fox mentions that the KGB at one time employed plastic surgery amongst other means to create doppelgangers of top agents. Lou verifies his story after a trip to the basement, where the files are in microfiche. Meanwhile, a message from Dankova has been intercepted on its way to Moscow television to be broadcast. The message proves that Dankova plans to detonate a "dirty" nuclear device in D.C. at midnightone hour away. Kyle sees a plane in the corner of the window in the transmission, and the NSA scrambles to locate locations in the flight paths of D.C.'s major airports where the device might be located. Diane has analysed the sample of Richard's blood, and verifies that yepthat's Richard Fox. Jake asks Diane if she still has Dick's cigar. She runs off to run a DNA scan.
Jake and Richard go over the security tapes of the casino, and Richard gets Jake to notice the waitress. Comparing the photo of the waitress and Romanov, Jake realises she is Romanov's daughter. According to Richard, Romanov couldn't hack it in the new world orderand his genius daughter went to work in a low-end job. But she has the smarts to put the bomb together, hence her getting snatched. Jake tells Lou he wants to go after Dick, but Lou tells him all of her agents are going to start canvassing the probably locations.
They set off in a convoy, with Jake driving an SUV, Kyle in the passenger seat, and Richard in the back. However, when Jake gets a call from Diane with the DNA results, Jake breaks formation. Lou is livid, but Kyle is curious as Jake plays out his hunch. He goes straight to Dick's house, where the mustang is parked. Richard draws his gun and rushes insidewhere he confronts Dickwho is a figment only Richard can see and hear.
Kyle is confused, but Jake explains that Richard must have had some kind of psychotic break. They need "Dick" to reveal Dankova's location. On her way to the location Dick gives them, Lou stresses to her agents that stealth is keyjust as the mustang roars past her, Jake and Dick inside. They crash into the hangar, where Dankova, Romanov, and a bunch of surly looking Russians are preparing to flee the blast radius before setting off the bomb. Dick comes out, gun drawn, and goads Dankova into hitting the big red button.
When nothing happens, Dick reveals that Romanov was his girl on the inside. He contacted her before he and Jake ever reached the Casino. She rigged the bomb to fail. He was one step ahead the entire time. Romanov gets to keep the car and the suitcase full of cash in the trunk, and Jake gets a commendation which Lou tears up before his eyes.
Lou warns Jake that he has to start following the rulesspecifically, her orders. That the ends cannot justify his brand of means. Jake says he understands, but that she can't treat him like one of her other agents because unlike them, he's chock full of nanites. Something's going to eventually giveand that something is likely to be him. Cut to Jake hanging out with Richard at his house, going through car catalogues. Richard is giving Jake some pointers on which cars are useful for missions, summarily rejecting them as too small, or too slow. With a twinkle in his eye. Richard tells Jake he could outrun a Mercedes, and Jake laughs. However, as Dick walks away Jake's not 100% sure he's joking. As the camera pulls up to pan to the satellite high above them, there's an echo of a very familiar sound-effect from a vintage 1970s action/adventure series.
Okay, everything I said last week, about the show potentially shifting tone too abruptly and too soon? Ignore it. Because I think I've finally figured it all out. Because it's an arc, and it's a good one, and I think we're gearing up for a major pay-off soon.
First offkudos to Lee Majors. While "Dick" was almost a parody of the sorts of characters that populated the action/adventure series of 1970s and 1980s (particularly George Peppard as Hannibal in THE A-TEAM and Lee's own series THE FALL GUY), "Richard" was the suave, smooth, low-key former-spook we've come to expect in this era of NIKITA, ALIAS and MI-5. It's a clever way of looking at the shift in tone and focus of espionage series, while still vastly entertaining for both JAKE 2.0 fans and SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN fans. And Greenwalt and Horta were wise to play the episode almost entirely straight and not wink too much, because that would have undermined that balance. Though I admit, I cheered when they inserted the trademark BIONIC sound-effect at the very end of the tag. Because how could anyone resist?
Also, huge props to Judith Scott for a once-again riveting performance as Louise Beckett. Note to Jake: you want to stay on this woman's good side. Because she's damned scary when she's angry. Also of the fun: both Lou and Diane's reactions to charmingly sexist's Dick's remarks, and the subtle-as-a-brick-through-your-window discussion between Dick and Jake regarding a man's ability to only be friends with a woman. It was ham-fisted, but gloriously so. Good to see the show seems committed to that relationship.
In "Double Agent" we're presented with two "throwbacks" to an earlier era who reacted badly to being made obsolete. Dankova's reaction to the end of the Cold War to try and re-create the world that left her behind, while Dick's was to create an alternate reality where he rejected the new times the same way he perceived the world had rejected him. While Jake sees the NSA as responsible for Fox's psychotic break, the episode seems to be saying it was his own "Peter Pan" complex. Like Dankova, once the wall came down he was suddenly obsolete. Hence the split between his throw-back free-wheeling 1980s personality, and his 21st century responsible adult personality. It was how he dealt with the stress of having fought for his country and then suddenly facing a world where men like him were no longer necessary or even wanted. We also see Fox telling Jake the importance of going with his gut instincts, in direct contrast to Lou who is trying to force Jake to be a model agent. What Jake needs to do is find the balance. You can't break all the rules until you've learned them first.
Over the course of the first 12 episodes, we've seen Jake trying to adjust to his new situation. All along, he's bent or broken rulesfirst out of ignorance, then out of conscience, and finally, out of his own ideals. At first, the means were forgiven because he achieved the ends. However, as time has gone on, Lou has been put in the precarious position of trying to protect both the project and the individual, while still being responsible for both. We've seen in the past that Lou's comfortable with exploiting any advantage presented to herwhether it's using Kyle and Mei Ling's relationship, or Jake's love for his brotherif that meant successfully accomplishing the mission. She's tough, she's ruthless, and she's mercenarywhile at the same time, she's demonstrated tremendous caring for the members of her team. But there are hard choices to be made, and the strength of the character is the fact that she knows she's the one who has to make them.
Jake, on the other hand, has a habit of making promises he can't keep, and then feeling betrayed when he discovers that he can't back up his word with the NSA's firepower and authority. His loyalties are to the team and his own ideals, which often clash with the agency's agenda and the reality of global espionage. Lou wants Jake to toe the line, because if he doesn't shape up, he can't ship out. He's got to find a balance that he currently lacks, and she can't always be patient and wait for him to learn.
Quotes of the Week:
Dick: "Y'all lawyers, or bill collectors?"
Jake: "What do you think we should do, Mr. Fox?"
Dick: "Well, first I think you should find her, and then kill her. Good luck."
Lou: "We had her in our sights, and we lost her."
Dick: "Well who was the pinhead who let that happen?"
Jake: "I would be that pinhead."
Dick: "Oh, the smart one! Were you sober?"
Jake: "Yeah. (to Lou) Of course."
Dick: "Well, that was your first mistake."
Lou: "Are you saying she's planning another attack on a US nuclear facility?"
Dick: "I'm saying if it looks, sounds, feels radioactive, I'd park my ass in front of it with an M-16."
Dick: (soliloquising to Dankova's image on the big board) "You never gave up, didja? Cold War ends, and you're a relic overnight. Betrayed by your own country. I know how you feel, Lenochka. But you shouldn't set foot on American soil. Gonna have to bring you down. Bring you down hard, baby."
Lou: "Was there something else?"
Dick: "You got real purty eyes."
Diane: "I'll be right back. Just take your shirt off."
Dick: "Okay, but I expect you to do likewise."
Dick: "You and the doc there, you got a little thing?"
Jake: "No. No no. We're just... colleagues."
Dick: "What's that, a fancy word for 'friends'?"
Jake: "Yeah. I guess."
Dick: "You kids, now-a-days. You know a man and a woman can't be just friends. You're gotta be lovers or enemies."
Jake: "Like you and Elena Dankova?"
Dick: (laughing) "Well, sometimes it's a little of both."
Diane: "And why is your shirt still on? And if you say 'why is yours...'"
Dick: "You'll stick a scalpel in me?"
Diane: "Yeah. Something like that."
Dick: Go with your gut. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you get the job done right."
Dick (to waitress) "Wouldn't think that skinny kid could fight that good."
Jake: "I need a shoot to kill order."
Jake: "Dick? Your legend? Spent all our money, tried to have me beaten to death by strangers, and then ditched out on the mission with a cocktail waitress."
Dick: (looking at Jake's cellphone) "Back in my day, these things were the size of a Thermos and so damned heavy they practically have you a hernia."
Dick: "What did those bastards at the NSA do to you, kid? You know, you and I may have more in common than you think. Way back when you were just a tickle in your daddy's pouch, the NSA had these programs. Enhancement programs. Steroids. GHP. HTH. Those are just the training fields. They moved up from there."
Jake: "There was an accident"
Dick: "Yeah, there's always an 'accident.'"
Dick: "What did I tell you?"
Jake: "If you get a hundred thousand dollar car for a mission, it needs to be fast and comfortable."
Dick: "That's my boy."
Jake: "Mercedes Benz SLR coupe?"
Dick: "Gimme a break. I could run faster than that heap."
Dick: "How 'bout another Fresca?"
© Tara O'Shea 2003