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Writer: Dave Johnson
Director: Leslie Libman
Air Date: 10/29/03

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

Guest Stars:
Drew Tyler Bell...Jerry Foley
Jim Byrnes...Chief Director Skerrit
Kurt Evans
Steve Makaj
Matt Bellefleur
Robert Parent
Jim Francis
Missy Peregrym
Herbert Duncanson
Jim Tai
Noah Beggs...Bartender
Heather Robertson
Terry Howson

The episode opens in a crowded D.C. metro station, where Jake, Kyle and a slew of agents are keeping an eye out for terrorists. Jake spots a guy dropping bomb into a trash bin, and takes off after the perp. However, once he catches up with him, Jake is shocked to see the terrorist is just a kid.

Back at Ft. Meade, Lou's heretofore unseen boss, Chief Director Skerrit, appears to personally congratulate Jake on a job well done capturing a member of Ethan Fulton's militia. When Jake gets home that night, he is freaked to find his door open and attacks his prowler, only to find his kid brother, Jerry, has dropped by for an unplanned visit. Jerry is directionless—unless that direction leads to a bar and some fake I.D.. Little Brother keeps Jake up all night almost burning down Jake's apartment. Jake is exhausted when he shows up at Diane's lab the next day. She is concerned that he might be feeling after-effects of the previous episode's "reboot". "Since you saved my life?" Jake reminds her, and then goes on a tear about Jerry's behaviour. At age 19, Jake was an over-achiever, holding down two part-time jobs while taking 18 credits at Georgetown. He just doesn't understand Jerry. Diane is sympathetic—and when Jake leaves, wistful.

The would be bomber turns out to be Ethan Fulton's only son, Caleb. Jake attempts to talk to Caleb, being very frank and sincere about what ricin gas does to innocent families and children, but Caleb stays firm. He refuses to betray his father or the beliefs he was raised with. Meanwhile, Ethan Fulton is not a happy camper. It seems the NSA got a bead on him when a poor schmuck loyal to the cause forgot to encrypt a transmission. Merciless, Ethan shoots schmuck in the head, and then decides to find out all he can about the agent who took in his son. Jake has taken the night off to spend with Jerry, however Jerry has other ideas. Trying to "help" his brother, Jerry has invited Sarah over for an intimate dinner for three. After Jerry spends most of the night regaling Sarah with embarrassing childhood stories about Jake, Jerry makes up a touching Christmas story about a stolen Huffy and Big Brother's taking the fall for the kid, to try and help Jake get into Sarah's pants. His work there done, Jerry takes off—palming Jake's wallet and keys as he goes—for a local Georgetown bar where Jerry pretends to be Jake, drinks, and makes up wild stories about being a Secret Agent in order to land chicks.

Lou has a moment with Caleb—who tries to get to Lou by asking her pointed questions about her personal life. No husband, no kids? He pities her, and Lou assures him the feeling is mutual. With Jerry gone and pizza ordered, Jake fesses up to Jerry's lie re: the Great Bike Story. Sarah, having finally woken up and smelled the hottie that is Agent Foley, tells him that she doesn't need any more reasons to like him, and to Jake's surprise, kisses him. The moment is interrupted by the phone—Jerry is in trouble. The trouble turns out to be a moving violation—Jerry hit a cop car with Jake's car. Jake finally loses it and huge sibling argument ensues, resulting in Jerry admitting he's dropped out of junior college to make amateur webcam porn, and Jake heading home to clean up the mess Jerry left behind. However, Fulton traced Jake's credit card to the bar, and sends his thugs to nab "Jake." They get Jerry instead, and contact the NSA to arrange a trade. Lou and Skerrit tell a frantic Jake that the NSA does not negotiate with terrorists. However, in the hall, Lou reminds Jake that she can't do anything, but implies that he can. With his boss's pseudo-blessing, Jake uses the nanites to spirit Caleb out of NSA headquarters and gets him to lead him straight to Fulton and Jerry.

Fulton is a man of his word, and is going to let Jake and Jerry go—however, Jake has led the NSA straight to their hideout. In the gunfight, Caleb is killed and the remaining members of the militia brought in. It's a fantastic day's work for the NSA, but Skerrit questions her decision to let Jake trade the kid for his family. Lou stands firm, pointing out that they didn't negotiate. Skerrit is amused that she has a bigger pair than he does. A contrite Jerry heads back to school, and Jake promises to cover for him with their parents.

Guest cast

This ep featured a slick new saga cell prior to the tease, and the look of the show was quite sleek. While not the strongest episode, plot-wise, the character development (and Kyle in civvies. Hello, nurse!) more than makes up for it. Deputy Director Lou Beckett was the pleasant surprise of the week—just as I was starting to think her character was getting a bit one-note, we're treated to some fantastic character development. Judith Scott positively nailed all of her scenes, and I look forward to more of her prickly relationship with Director Skerrit—and not just because I was a WISEGUY and HIGHLANDER fan. Unfortunately, Drew Tyler Bell as Jerry was not quite so subtle or restrained. Granted, the kid was written to be a tool, but Bell went to 11. I hid behind a pillow, cringing, during his barroom boasting and gave an evil little malicious cheer when Militia Dad beat the crap out of him.

However, the core of the episode is Chris Gorham's standout performance as Jake. Gorham showed a lot of range—from silly antics and child-like glee at being singled out by Bossman, to just breaking my heart when Jake realised his kid brother would die if the NSA got their way. The writers are handling the Sarah/Jake/Diane triangle remarkably well. Rather than drawing the High School "geek crushes on cheerleader, who barely knows he exists" plot out forever, they have instead made it all about character development. Two months ago Jake would have been doing cartwheels had Sarah laid one on him—however, last night Jake seems hesitant about their change in status. It's such a relief and pleasure to see adult relationships handled in an adult way, rather than with SMALLVILLE-esque melodrama.

Quotes of the Week:

Jake (to Kyle): "Lou has a boss?"

Jake (to Kyle and Lou re: Caleb): "We might have a connection since I was the one who captured him and we're closer in age than you guys. Not that you're old, or anything... You look great."

Jerry (re: Sarah): "You can't land the plane if your little brother's sleeping on the airstrip."
Jake: "I'm not trying to land the plane!"

© Tara O'Shea 2003

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