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Writer: Jesse Stern
Director: Milan Cheylov
Air Date: 05/06/04 (UK)

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

Guest Stars:
Jesse Cadotte...DuMont
Tamara Feldman...Vanessa Cardounel
Derek Hamilton...Dr. Mark Benton
Rachel Hayward...Valerie Warner
Phillip Mitchell...Prison Guard Gilmore
Garfield Wilson...SWAT Agent #1
Miranda Frigon...Tech Agent Susan Carver

As the episode opens, Jake wakes up in a strange bed in a strange house, next to a strange woman claiming to be his wife.

Flash back to the day before. Jake is complimenting Diane on the cleverness of the design of the JMD, trying to convince her that she should patent the device. However, so long as she works for the NSA, she can't claim or profit from any of her research. Diane realises that Jake's small talk is an attempt to avoid his appointment with the NSA shrink. All active agents are required to undergo psychiatric review, a fact which Jake resents. Diane chases him out of the lab, and he reluctantly goes to Dr. Mark Benton's office. Benton claims that Jake's sessions are pointless so long as he refuses to discuss his problems. Benton confronts him about the dreams and desires for a home and family that he has been forced to abandon since getting the nanites. Benton asks Jake if it's worth giving up those dreams. Jake's pager goes off, and he heads to Sat Ops, where agents and techs are rushing to the site. Diane joins up with him, and asks him if he knows what's going on. At Sat Ops, Lou announces that their mainframe has been invaded by a virus. Jake asks Carver for the modus operandi of the virus, and she fills him in. They've tried everything. Except him, Jake adds, and convinces Lou to shut down for thirty seconds, so he can interface with the mainframe. He manages to contain the virus, but barely. They have 11 hours until the virus breaks free.

Going over the printout of the virus code, Jake recognises it as DuMont's handiwork. Confused, he goes to Lou. DuMont has been in jail, without computer access for five months. Jake, Lou and Kyle pay DuMont a visit at the Federal Corrections Institute in Cumberland, Maryland. DuMont, who has been sitting in his cell pricking his hand with a pin over and over again, drawing blood, is thrilled that the NSA has been laid low by his virus. However, he claims to know nothing about it, saying his ex-girlfriend must have sold the virus to the highest bidder. Jake says they impounded all the computers from his loft, but he points out he has eight storage facilities the NSA knows nothing about. He'll take them to the storage facility and give them the antidote for the virus in exchange for a reduced sentence. Lou and Kyle don't believe him, and Lou orders DuMont to take a lie-detector test. Benton administers the test, and DuMont passes with flying colours. Benton gives Jake, Lou and Kyle the results of his analysis of DuMont--namely, that DuMont is a sociopath. However, that he believes DuMont is telling the truth about the virus. Jake, Kyle, and a team of agents visit the storage area with the orders to shoot DuMont if he tries anything.

At Sat Ops, Warner confronts Lou about her offer to negotiate with DuMont. Lou points out that they are running short on time. Warner says that while she agrees with Lou's actions, it bothers her that Lou didn't feel the need to clear them with her superiors before taking action. Lou says she didn't want to disturb her. Meanwhile, Jake, Dumont, Kyle and the team arrive at the storage facility. However, the storage is rigged. Once Jake, DuMont and Agent Levy are inside, the door slides shut and DuMont knocks Levy out with a crowbar, shouting "Good work, Jake. I got him!" Jake pulls his sidearm on DuMont, and Kyle tells Lou that they've been locked out. Inside the vault, DuMont tells Jake that what's great about the information age is that there are no secrets anymore. He knows all about Jake, and his nanites. DuMont looks into the storage facilities surveillance camera, and says "Whenever you're ready, doll," and Vanessa, in the house, taps the enter key on her laptop. DuMont tells Jake "Sweet dreams" as an electromagnetic surge knocks Jake out. DuMont kicks Levy in the head, and says "Party time" to Vanessa, who slips on her wedding ring. Let the deception begin.

Back at Sat Ops, Diane has lost contact with Jake's nanites via the JMD. She tells Lou there was a surge in the nanites and then he went offline. The virus is accelerating. Kyle and the agents outside break inside and find DuMont and Jake gone, vanished via an underground sewer access. The virus was a fake, all part of DuMont's plan to get what he really wanted--Jake.

Back to a confused Jake with the beautiful Vanessa. He has no memory, doesn't recognise her or DuMont, who tells Jake that he's his best friend. DuMont claims they've been friends since Georgetown. They were all hackers, but Jake give it up after graduation and took a job at the NSA. DuMont tells him that Jake was experimented on, pumped full of nanites, which screwed with his memory. He tells Jake that he and Vanessa risked their lives to rescue him. They're in hiding until they can skip the country. Jake doesn't believe them, until they tell him to test his abilities. Giddy, Jake is amazed at what he can do. He can lift a car, hear a river two miles away, see a welcome home sign posted to a tree half a mile away.

At Sat Ops, Carver explains the sewer tunnel, and Lou bitterly notes they've been played. Warner asks her who she thinks played them, DuMont? Or Jake and DuMont working together? Kyle and Lou protest, and Warner asks how else DuMont could have planted the virus, or why Jake, with all of his abilities, would have allowed himself to be taken against his will. Warner tells Lou this is her mess, and she had better clean it up. Diane mutters that she hates Warner, and is shocked that Lou and Kyle for a minute might think Jake would really be working with DuMont. Lou ignores her, and assigns teams to investigate DuMont and any access he's had over the last five months. Meanwhile, Lou's going to go talk to Dr. Benton about both Jake and DuMont.

Benton tells Lou that he can't reveal any of the details of his sessions with Jake, even after she tells him Jake may be a danger to himself or others. Benton tells her they spoke about his work at the agency, but he never opened up completely. However, he did pick up on severe feelings of loss, over the life he could never have. Lou asks him if these feelings were intense enough to make Jake potentially betray the NSA. Benton tells her that when someone is overwhelmed by their emotions, there's no telling how they might act out.

At the farm house, Jake's having dinner with Vanessa and DuMont. She tells him she and Jake got married in Mexico two years earlier, and DuMont was his best man. DuMont tells Jake that he was a basket case before the wedding, and that Vanessa has been there for him through all that's gone on. Vanessa, Jake and DuMont are recounting their college adventures, and Jake is confused by some mild discrepancies in their stories. Vanessa quickly covers, saying that they didn't start dating until after college, but that they were friends and she'd had a crush on him. A song comes on the radio, and she claims it's their song--the song they first made love to. As they dance and kiss, DuMont pierces the skin of his palm with a push-in beneath the table, all the while smiling.

As Vanessa and Jake go upstairs to "their" bedroom, Dr. Benton arrives at the farmhouse, whispering to DuMont that they really have to work on his self-mutilation issues. DuMont playfully leads him to the wine-cellar, where a make-shift lab has been set up. DuMont compliments Benton on his plan--giving Jake his dream house, his dream wife, his dream life. DuMont would have just chopped off his limbs and stuck him in a box, but this way is much less messy. Benton is nervous beneath the NSA's scrutiny, but DuMont tells him they're close, showing him the vials of Jake's blood and the nanites under the microscope. He's working out the transference issues, wanting to make sure that he can inject himself with Jake's nanites without the nanites rejecting him. Benton asks what they'll do if Jake figures out what they're planing, and DuMont shrugs it off, saying then they'll just rip out Jake's spine and take the nanites to Rio.

The next morning, Jake is splitting logs in the backyard. Vanessa brings him some hot cider, and seeing the giant stack of wood, asks if he was thinking a bonfire. He sheepishly admits he may have gone a little overboard. Jake can't get over how nice it is, being with her. The house, all of it. Vanessa tells him they can't stay much longer, with the NSA on their trail. Jake tells her he's sorry he can't remember her. He's trying. She consoles him, and they kiss. Jake goes for a run, and DuMont joins Vanessa outside. DuMont asks her how she's so sure he won't bolt. She tells him after the sex they had last night, it's not likely. He's in love. She sweetly asks DuMont if she can be the one to kill him. DuMont tells her she might have to fight him for that chance.

At the corrections facility, Kyle and the guards are searching DuMont's cell. Kyle notices Gilmore, the prison guard, is wearing an awfully expensive watch. Back at Sat Ops, Kyle tells Lou Dumont was operating his own little black market out of his cell, trading favours like day trading and tax returns. he even set one guy with a hedge fund. In return, the guards let him use their cellphones, PDAs, DuMont was calling anywhere, any time. Carver goes over the cellphone log, and flags a number DuMont called repeatedly. Lou tells her not to bother tracing it--she knows whose it is.

Back at the farmhouse, Jake uses the nanites to zoom in on a photo of him with Vanessa on a beach. She tells him it was from their first trip together to Chesapeake Bay, when she first realised she was falling in love with him. he tells her that's a nice story, but it's just a story. The photo is a fake--the resolution of the background and foreground are different. Vanessa tries to cover, but he's no longer buying it. It's all just too perfect. He's supposed to love couscous, but he could barely stomach it. He's supposed to have been married for three years, but he's always feeling his wedding ring. It should be something he doesn't notice, like a button on a shirt. And if DuMont's his best friend, then why does he get the feeling that he really, really hates the guy? Finally, he asks her what's up with the creepy lab in the basement.

At the NSA, Kyle interrupts Benson's session, asking why, if he only evaluated DuMont once, then why did he speak to him on the phone for hours on end? Benton says he wants to speak to a lawyer. Kyle tells Benton there's not going to be a lawyer, there's not going to be a trial. Either Benton tells him where DuMont has Jake, or Kyle will shoot him in the head. That's how he acts out.

At the farmhouse, DuMont hears someone coming down the stairs and assume it's Vanessa, telling her he's finally got a prototype injection ready. "Our saphead finally go to sleep?" he asks, but it's Jake who responds "Not yet." He's dragging Vanessa with him, and DuMont assumes she sold him out, which she hotly denies. Jake tells him he prefers to hear the lies from DuMont himself. DuMont repeats that they're all best friends, and they're all in this together. Jake flings DuMont across the cellar into a wall, and asks DuMont if he's his best friend, then why did that feel so good? Jake punches DuMont, demanding to know what he's doing with his blood. DuMont yells at Vanessa, saying he knew she was too stupid to pull this off. Meanwhile, while the boys are fighting, Vanessa has injected herself with the nanites.

Kyle gives Carver the address Benton gave him, where he's been keeping Jake and DuMont. Lou is trying to figure out why Benton would risk his career for DuMont. Carver pinpoints the location of the address, and Lou tells Kyle to get out there with a chopper. meanwhile, in the wine cellar, Vanessa is giddy from the rush, demolishing a table, and then lifting DuMont up by his bits and throws him against the wall, thrilled that she'll never have to be forced to do anything by any man ever again. Jake suggests that a clean break would probably be the best way to end their relationship, but she tells him it's not going to be that easy as she won't go out without a fight. She throws a nanite-enhanced punch, which he catches. However, with a cry of pain, she drops to the floor and passes out, silver trickling from her eyes, nose, and corner of her mouth. DuMont declares it a set-back, and tells Jake he'll need some more blood to start over. Pulling a pistol, he shoots Jake in the shoulder. Jake dodges, and DuMont shoots him in the back of the leg as he tries to leap over the backyard fence. Stalking Jake, DuMont falls him into the woods as the NSA chopper arrives.

Kyle and the agents cover the house, and Vanessa gasps and sits up, surprising the agent checking her. Kyle and two agents take off after Jake, who is still being pursued by DuMont. Jake nails DuMont in the face with a tree branch, and hearing someone calling his name, continues to run. Kyle finds DuMont bleeding and unable to speak, and radios all agents to converge on the east end of the woods. Kyle catches up with Jake on a wooden bridge over an icy river. Jake, still believing he's on the run from the NSA, doesn't recognise him, and asks where Kyle intends to take him. Seeing Jake's wounds, Kyle reaches out to him, saying they've got to take him to a doctor, but Jake grabs his wrist and asks if Kyle's come to take him back to the NSA. Kyle replies that yes, he's come to take Jake home. Kyle is confused when Jake's pressure on his wrists increases, and Jake asks him "What if I don't want to go home?" Kyle says it doesn't have to come to that, just as the remainder of the team arrives with guns at the opposite end of the bridge. Jake tells him "It won't," and flips Kyle over. Afraid, Jake jumps from the bridge, plunging into the icy water below as Kyle watches in shock, calling his name.

At the NSA, while Diane looks on in shock, Kyle tells Lou that they've dispatched two additional search teams. However, there's been no indication of a body. While Warner watches from her perch on the catwalk, Lou calls everyone to attention, and announces that Jake Foley refused to comply with and then assaulted his immediate officer before vanishing into Ann Arundel County, Maryland. He is to be considered a danger to National Security and she is authorising the use of deadly force in the apprehension of Jake Foley. While Lou, Kyle, and Diane separately deal with this news, Warner plays a visit to DuMont in the hospital. His jaw will have to be wired shut for a period of 6 to 8 weeks, which is a pity, since there's so much he could tell her. Meanwhile, in the woods, Jake uses the nanites to heal his bullet wounds, and takes off, convinced that the NSA are his enemy.

Guest cast

The first half of a two part episode originally meant to air in February sweeps, "Blackout" steps up. It steps up the action, it takes beautiful advantage of all of the groundwork laid in the characters relationships over the entire season thus far, and it returns to a theme first explored in part in "Last Man Standing." Namely that Jake wants a life he can now no longer have. DuMont and Benton are clever--by replacing Jake's best friend Kevin Park with Kevin Flynn, and college crush Sarah with college crush Vanessa, the deception builds on Jake's real-life relationships, reinforced through wish fulfilment, to keep him docile. In reality, Kevin was the one who got his dream girl Jenny, despite being a geek. In reality, Jake lost Sarah before he ever really had her. So by allowing Jake to believe that the girl of his dreams actually had the crush on him in college fed his subconscious desire to attain the things he's missing in his life, and not question his new reality. But even the fairy tale isn't powerful enough to keep him docile, as his unconscious mind fights back despite the amnesia induced by DuMont's tampering with the nanites. Perhaps, the episode hints though never says outright, that the dreams Jake used to have aren't the dreams he has any longer, and by creating the perfect fantasy life, DuMont actually brings about his own downfall even faster.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, there is enough reasonable doubt in Lou's mind--particularly after the events of the past four episodes--to believe that Jake might have in fact gone rogue. And it's perfectly in character that Diane is the only one with no doubt whatsoever that Jake has remained loyal, and her confusion and fear that she is alone in this belief tracks perfectly with the events of "Last Man Standing" which shows clearly that her loyalty is to Jake first, and the NSA second. While there is one small plot hole (if the NSA have Benton, then why do they not know that Jake is amnesiac and was not DuMont's accomplice?) it can be easily overlooked, and does little to diminish the impact of the episode. The exposition (recapping the events of "The Good, The Bad, and the Geeky" and how the JMD works) is woven into the script without feeling ham-fisted, and Kyle's final scene with Jake on the bridge is particularly well-handled. Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and Chris Gorham play it perfectly. Jake's fear and confusion comes across beautifully, as does Kyle's concern for his friend, and the dialogue is just ambiguous enough that it can be read both ways--by the audience, who knows what Jake's going through, while Kyle, who has no idea that Jake has no idea who he is, is confused and worried. And the promise of an alliance between Warner and DuMont is chilling. Jesse Cadotte's DuMont is perfectly creepy and manipulative, and the character is expanded and shown to be an engaging villain and a true threat to Jake.

© Tara O'Shea 2004

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