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Writer: Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews
Director: David Barrett
Air Date: 10/15/03

Christopher Gorham...Jake Foley
Keegan Connor Tracy...Diane Hughes
Philip Anthony-Rodriguez...Kyle Duarte
Judith Scott...Louise Beckett
Marina Black...Sarah Carter

Guest Stars:
Martin Cummins...Mystery Man
Deborah Wakeham...Martha
Gianna Patton...Rachel
Doron Bell...Groomsman
Michael Busswood...Minister
Nathaniel Campbell...Alex
Kyle Cassie...Cousin Phil
Conan Graham...Team Captain #1
Matt Hill...Kevin
Grace Park...Fran
Gabrielle Miller...Jenny
Andrew McIlroy...Desk Clerk

Listening to Italian lessons on her walkman, Diane arrives at the lab to find one of her lab mice, Antonio, paralysed. Whipping out the JMD (Jake Monitoring Device), she panics. She calls Jake's apartment, but there is no answer. Bursting through the door, Kyle and two agents in tow, Diane is relieved when Jake turns out to have been sleeping and the screen on the JMD frozen, rather than Jake suffering the same fate as her favourite mouse. Back at the lab, Diane explains to Lou the reason for her panic attack: Antonio and Jake are "twins," having been injected with the nanites on the same day. Diane is concerned that Jake may exhibit the same symptoms as Antonio. Lou tells her to keep an eye on jake just to be sure, but Diane tells her that will be difficult. Jake is supposed to go to Seattle for his best friend Kevin's wedding. Jake is in fact on the phone with Sarah, "discovering" that they are on the same flight, staying in the same hotel, and over the moon when she suggests they share a cab to the airport. Lou calls Jake into her office, and tries to forbid him from going, even though he followed NSA procedure when he requested the vacation time. Lou points out that unlike her other agents, Jake has half a billion dollars worth of tech inside him, which puts him at risk. Jake asks her for just two days of a normal life, to act as his best friend's best man. Lou relents, and the next day, Jake waits outside his building for Sarah, rehearsing what he'll say to her when she arrives. However, his script is thrown off when Sarah introduces him to her date, Alex.

Upon his arrival in Seattle, Jake is greeted warmly by Kevin, who is a bit of a surfer dude. The two catch up, and Kevin rides Jake about his epic crush on Sarah, telling him he should come clean to the girl. After all, look at how things worked out with his wife-to-be Jenny. Back at the NSA, Diane asks Fran to let her know if Lou asks her anything about Jake or the lab mice. In Seattle, Jake and Kevin are joined by Jenny. Kevin asks Jake how his best man's toast is coming, and jake admits he hasn't written it yet. The reunion is short-lived, as Jenny is swept away by her mother to meet drunken relatives. Jake spots a stranger watching him, and asks Kevin who it is. Kevin looks over and tells him it's his cousin Phil. Who happens to be single. Kevin rushes off to continue host duties, and Jake takes his seat at the table for the rehearsal dinner. He's bummed when he realises he's sitting next to someone named "Sam." He perks up when a gorgeous brunette arrives and introduces herself as Sam, but his hopes are almost immediately dashed when her lover, Rachel.

That night, Jake heads back to his room at the Lodge, and with his nano-hearing overhears Sarah and Alex giggling as they drunkenly stagger back to their room. This does little to improve his mood, and when Diane calls, he's lying on the bed with pillows over his ears. She noticed some nanite activity, and Jake is shocked that she's monitoring him at a wedding. She covers, saying it's just her job, and asks him how the wedding is going. Jake admits to her that he's frustrated, surrounded by all his friends who are all moving on with their lives, falling in love and having families. He feels like he's going nowhere. Diane sympathises, saying she knows just what he means, and in med school, they used to refer to it as "The Single Syndrome." Jake smiles and asks if it's fatal, and she sighs and says no—just depressing. As she hangs up, she looks down at Antonio's little white mouse body, in a clear plastic infectious waste bag. The next morning, Jake is awakened by a knock at his door. He's shocked and surprised when Diane is on the other side. She's there to pose as his date. At breakfast, they share wedding horror stories. Diane, being not of the tall, particularly hates the whole tossing the bridal bouquet thing. When their food arrives, Jake rubs his stomach and says he's not sure he can eat. His stomach has been in knits for days. Diane whips out the JMD, much to Jake's horror, and he tells her it's just nerves due to the impending speech. He's always a basket case about public speaking, and everyone expects it to be a train wreck. And he always delivers one, every time. Kevin and the other groomsmen arrive, reminding Jake that it's time for a wedding tradition: paintball.

(Yes, paintball. Because what fun is a wedding night without some spectacular bruise patterns?)

Diane assures Jake she'll be okay on her own, and Jake and the other men head off to the paintball emporium. Suited up in blue jump-suits and masks, Jake is (surprise!) picked last for teams. Also present is Jake's mystery man, who is wearing a distinctive red mask. Meanwhile, back at the Lodge, Diane calls in on her cellphone to check in with Fran. She feels a little silly having travelled all the way to the Pacific Northwest with Jake seemingly fine, but Fran tells her it's probably better that she went. Diane asks Fran to call her when she's finished the work-up on the late Antonio, and is promptly shanghaied by Jenny's mother, who drags her into the "GIRLZ ONLY" bridal beauty time in the hotel's spa. Cut to the boys playing paintball. Jake overheads two of the opposing team getting ready to ambush him, and is giddy when he nails them instead. Diane is zoned out in bliss when Sarah sits down next to her in the spa and introduces herself. There's a bit of awkward tension between them, as Diane is quite aware of who Sarah is, and Sarah is shocked that Jake brought a date. Sarah is also curious as to how Diane and Jake met, and what sort of work she does at the NSA, but Diane quickly remembers her confidentiality agreement and clams up before she can tip Sarah off to the nanite project. As Sarah is called away to get her hair done, Diane is wistful.

Back at pre-wedding paintball, Jake is chased by the mystery man, who appears to be firing a real gun, Jake barely escapes. Back at the Lodge, Sarah emerges from hair and make-up with an elegant up-do. Diane watches self-consciously, apparently convinced that it will be hard for her to measure up to the tall, blonde, Grace-Kelly-ish Sarah in Jake's eyes. Taking a deep breath, she presents herself to the waiting stylist, telling her she's all hers. Back at paintball, Jake is confused when "Cousin Phil" turns out not to be the mystery man who shot at him. When he returns to the Lodge, Jake runs into his mystery man in the hallway, and cautiously questions him. The stranger disappears into room 214. Decked out in their tuxes, Kevin asks one of the groomsmen if anyone has seen Jake. Jake, similarly attired in a black tux, is sneaking down the hallway to room 214. Using the nanites on the keycard lock, he is shocked to find one wall of the room taken up with a montage of photos and documents—all about him. Lou's warning of the day before comes back to him, as he reads "PRINCIPAL OBJECTIVE: EXTRACT NANITES" and "HOST EXPENDABLE" and finds an empty gun case. Jake tries to use the pay-phone in the hotel lobby to call it into the NSA, but is interrupted by Jenny's mother, angrily reminding him that he's holding up the wedding. Jake goes to the manager, and tells him to call the police because a man in room 214 is trying to kill him, just as Kevin finds him, and drags him outside to where everyone is waiting.

A distracted Jake take's Sarah's arm, barely registering as Sarah tells him she's met Diane. Diane, sans glasses and sporting a very Audrey Hepburn classy dress and hairstyle, smiles at him as he walks Sarah down the aisle but Jake doesn't even see her. He's fixated on the Mystery Man, who catches Jake's eye and smiles menacingly. Diane is crushed, but covers it quickly as the ceremony starts. All through the brief ceremony, jake is nervous and fidgety. Diane gets a call on her cell from Fran: Director Beckett had called, looking for an update. Fran asks her what she should tell her, and Diane says not to tell Lou where she is, but that she'll call her back. Once the minister finishes the ceremony, Jake takes off after the Mystery Man at a sprint. Diane jumps up to follow him, as the guests murmur in shock. However, Jake is having a hard time of it—his sight, hearing, motor co-ordination all starting to fail. The Mystery man appears and tells Jake that his water bottle from the paintball game was poisoned. Jake makes a break for it, leaving the assassin behind.

Back at the lodge, Diane calls Fran to get an update on Antonio. The mouse had an abnormal increase in nanite activity around the interior cortex, and had a massive cluster of nanites in his frontal lobe. Fran is puzzled, but Diane immediately realises what's happening and is horror stricken. Meanwhile, Jake, now sweating and limping, has reached the Lodge and is fleeing the assassin, who continues to mock him verbally as he follows. Diane finds hotel security in Jake's room, and Jake nowhere to be found. Security tells her Jake was caught on camera earlier that day, breaking into an empty hotel room. Diane runs out and finds Jake collapsed in the bowels of the hotel. He tells her to run, that someone is after him. Diane, however, tells him the truth. No one is after him—it's the nanites. They're trying to kill him.

Dragging Jake to her hotel room, Diane explains that one of her lab mice died because the nanites rejected him. The nanites are overloading his brain with electrical impulses, causing hallucinations. Jake is confused, and she shows him the security camera tape of Jake talking to thin air after the paintball game. Firing up her laptop, she promises him they'll figure it out. Jake continues to hallucinate the assassin in the room, mocking him, and holding a gun to Diane's head as she works. While the wedding reception is in full swing outside, Jake has becomes paralysed. He begs Diane to reboot the nanites as one last shot. Diane tells him that will kill him, and he insists that maybe only for a moment. Desperate, she sets up the command and sends it to the nanites. Jake begins convulsing and then flat-lines. Diane administers CPR, and then sobs when it appears to have no affect. She cradles Jake's hand in hers, when her laptop begins to beep. Jake wakes up, and pretends to have amnesia until he sees how terrified Diane is, and apologises. The two hug, Diane still crying, and Jake looks around for his imaginary assassin, but the room is truly empty. Jake tells Diane he has to go give his toast, and she objects and then finally relents when she sees how much it means to him.

As they enter the tent where the reception is being held, Diane calls Lou on her cellphone to tell her—while the music is blaring in the background—that Jake's fine and she just overreacted, and Diane will see Lou at work on Monday. Jake picks up a champagne flute and taps it with a fork, causing it to shatter. The crowd laughs, and Paul gives Jake a new glass. Kevin encourages him to continue, and Jake addresses the crowd with renewed confidence. "Life is, uh, hard, you know? Jenny, Kevin may need more professional help than most, but he's a terrific guy, and he loves you more than anything. And, Kevin, science may never discover how it happened, but you won Jenny's heart; and, to me, that's the real miracle here. We're lucky if we're able to find someone who's always there for us, who stands by us no matter what. Makes life easier. So, to my friends, to our good friends, Kevin and Jenny." As he's speaking, Sarah is watching him with something like wonder, while Jake is watching Diane, who has taken a seat at one of the tables. Afterwards, as Kevin and jenny dance, Sarah approaches Jake to tell him how his speech affected her. Jake asks after her date, and Sarah admits that Alex has found someone more to his liking: Cousin Phil. Alex wasn't really her date, just a gay friend who came with her, so she wouldn't have to show up alone. She tells Jake that she thinks, as maid of honour and best man, they're supposed to dance. However, Jake tells her that he really ought to dance with his date. Leaving a stunned Sarah alone at the edge of the dance floor, Jake asks Diane to dance. She's confused, glancing back at Sarah. "Aren't you supposed to..." she asks, and Jake says "Yes," as he extends Diane his hand. She blushes, and accepts. As the two dance, Jake tells her she looks beautiful. She thanks him in Italian, and they continue to circle the dance-floor.

Guest cast

"Last Man Standing" is a fan favourite for a variety of reasons, starting off with the major boost to the Jake/Diane subplot and the show's handling of the Sarah/Jake/Diane triangle. While in previous episodes, Jake has seemed oblivious to Diane's crush in much the same way Sarah has been oblivious to Jake's crush, both characters have their eyes opened during the course of the episode. Ironically, just as Sarah begins to look at Jake differently, beginning to believe that he is the guy who has always been there for her, Jake realises that Diane is that person in his life. And while the Jake fans met in the pilot would have sprinted cross-town at top speed just to accidentally bump into Sarah, it comes as a major (and pleasant) upset when he actually chooses to dance with Diane over Sarah. The triangle is handled in a mature, believable fashion that manages to treat all three characters fairly, and is refreshingly free of the adolescent angst that marks similar triangles on programmes such as Smallville and The O.C., showing the writing staff's adaptability. Rather than cling strictly to their original premise of Sarah as sole love interest, the producers take advantage of the chemistry between Gorham and Tracy and give the fans almost a love letter.

The episode is chock full of excellent character development, as we get to see more of Jake as a person, and how his new life is affecting all of his relationships. Also delightful is Matt Hill as Jake's best friend Kevin Parks, who obviously has tremendous affection for Jake, and whose teasing never has a malicious edge. It really helps flesh out Jake's character, seeing him interacting with people from his past. And Kevin is charming, managing to avoid the entertaining yet potentially grating qualities of Darin in the series pilot. In addition to getting to know Jake's friends, Diane gains a co-worker and ally in Battlestar Galactica's Grace Park as Fran. The episode very much highlights where Diane's loyalties lie, and demonstrates that without a doubt, she will put Jake first, ahead of her career at the NSA. It also sets up an excellent conflict between Diane and Lou regarding Diane's devotion to Jake, which may come into play in later episodes. Sarah comes off as slightly less sympathetic, particularly after it's revealed that rather than attend Kevin and Jenny's wedding with Jake, she drafts a gay friend to pose as her date. It's shallow, but wholly believable, and believably sets the stage for what's to come in, in terms of Sarah and Jake's relationship, the next two episodes. Dark Angel's Martin Cummings is the prefect creepy assassin, and the script plays up the hokey spy-cliché elements perfectly, using classic misdirection and sleight of hand to fool the audience into missing the true threat until the final reveal. The dramatic tension in the episode is perfect, helping to make "Last Man Standing" easily one of the strongest of the Jake adventures.

Quotes of the Week:

Jake: "It's a wedding."
Lou: "You're still at risk."
Jake: "From what, drunken bridesmaids? Lou, I woke up this morning with guns in my face. What's next, sidearm chaperones on dates? Permission to go potty?"

Kevin: "Whoa! Can't believe you're still wearing the same old ratty jacket."
Jake: "Yeah, yeah. I can't believe you're still losing your hair."

Kevin: "Uh-huh. You still haven't told her how you feel."
Jake: "It's all about timing."
Kevin: "Right, yeah, years and years of timing. Come on, buddy, step off the ledge. I mean, look, it happened with Jenny."
Jake: "You stalked her."
Kevin: Whatever. She said yes."

Sarah: "Mani-pedi's one of life's greatest pleasures."
Diane: "I'm a virgin. Well, I'm a mani-pedi virgin. It's my first time."

Sarah: "So, uh, I guess I'm, I'm dateless."
Jake: "Yeah."
Sarah: "I think we're supposed to dance now."
Jake (looking at Diane): "Yeah. Sarah, I think I need to dance with my date."

© Tara O'Shea 2003

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