Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

which aired on Saturday, December 4, 1999

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The story begins with Jarod watching "Let's Make A Deal" on TV while examining a bungee jumping cord.   He pauses to look at an article in his red notebook about a young man who is in a coma as a result of a bungee jumping accident.

Telling the landlord that they are Jarod's Amway Field Representatives, Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots examine the apartment that Jarod left, less than an hour after his departure.  It's full of equipment used for extreme sports and books that relate to the same subject ... like "Taking Risks" and "Confessions of an Adrenaline Junkie."  Broots is happy to find the home version of "The Match Game," earning him a disgusted look from Miss Parker.

The landlord asks them what kind of training they put their sales representatives through, since Jarod seems to be obsessed with dangerous sports ... night surfing, street luging ... he even put on a bulletproof vest once and had the landlord shoot him three times - while the landlord was blindfolded!!

Meanwhile, although his instructor thinks that Jarod should use a new cord, Jarod makes his 296th bungee jump from a bridge, using the same cord. 

Afterwards, at the St Mary Medical Center, Jarod is in a doctor's white coat, walking down a hospital corridor, discussing the condition of a patient with another doctor.   In addition to his injuries, there was industrial grade glass found in the patient's hair.  Since he was supposedly hurt in a bungee jump that went awry, the presence of the glass is an anomaly.  The police are treating the case as an accident and are not investigating further, in spite of the fact that there is no explanation for that type of glass to be present. 

The patient, Tony, is in a coma, is hooked up to a respirator.   His mother sits beside him, and is showing him pictures of his family while talking to him.   Dr. Jarod "Nichols" goes into the room, pulls a picture of his Mother out of his pocket and tells the woman that he always keeps his family close to him, too.  Tony's Mother says that she never thought she'd see the pictures that she's showing Tony again ... they were in his wallet, which was lost in the accident.  But someone left the wallet at the nurse's station that morning and the pictures were still in it.  She tells Jarod that her son, Tony,  was looking for his father when the accident happened and he's all she has now because his friends have stopped coming by and his sister has disappeared, taking up the search for her Father.  She tells Jarod that Tony and his daredevil friend, Zed, used to drive motorcycles out at a place called Willow Ridge, but she thinks that Zed must be riding alone now.

The next scene shows two people racing along a highway on motorcycles ... one of them ends up skidding off the road and the other goes back to see if everything is all right.   When they take off their helmets, we see that the one who went back is Jarod.   The rider who skidded off the road is a girl who says her name is Shea.  Her bike won't start, so Jarod offers to give her a lift.

At The Centre, Miss Parker and Sydney are going through some books that were found at Jarod's last lair ... Cheating Death, Pushing The Limits ... when Mr. Lyle  shows up.  Miss Parker says not to quote her but it seems as though Jarod has morphed into a human cannonball.  Sydney says (click for wav) and Mr. Lyle says that perhaps Jarod is rejuvenating - that different people do that in different ways.   He goes on to say that he renews his soul by going back to nature - and when Miss Parker expresses surprise, Mr. Lyle asks her if she finds it funny that he likes to go camping.   She replies that she's only surprised to find that he has a soul.  Miss Parker tells Sydney, that she can die now because she's seen it all.  Broots walks up and says, "Wanna bet?" and takes Sydney and Miss Parker to look at the latest delivery from Jarod.

Inspection of the delivery reveals three large boxes, with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 on the door.   There is a life-sized cardboard picture of Jarod with the boxes, that says "time for my Big Deal of the day" on it.  Broots says that there is a key to "door #1" but all of the others are on time-locks and they will just have to wait for them to open.   Miss Parker opens the first of the boxes and finds a large fortune cookie inside.  She smashes it and finds a restaurant check inside from "The Hidden Truth."  The waitresses name is May Lin.   Miss Parker gives Broots the check to take to the lab.

Jarod is dropping Shea off and meets Zed for the first time.  Zed is wearing a wet suit with the top part pulled down around his waist.  Shea walks over to him and Zed puts his arm around her.  Zed says that he hopes Jarod isn't some Jehovah's Witness, knocking on his door.  Jarod presents himself as someone who gets bored easily and is game for just about anything.  Zed "tests" Jarod by challenging him to a game of "chicken" on the motorcycles ... the point of the game is to drive straight at each other on the road, and see who "chickens" out first by turning away -- Zed says he thinks of it as way to get a grin from the Gods and Jarod says "Let's make them smile." They do it, and Jarod skids away and off the road, at the very last second.   Zed is still impressed, saying that no one else lasted that long before. 

Zed offers Jarod a spot in "his tribe" and Jarod shrugs his acceptance of the offer, saying that he's got nothing better to do.

Later as they walk by a swimming pool during a party for all of Zed's friends, Jarod talks to Shea and asks her about Tony - she says he got "messed up" in a bungee jumping accident.  She says that the doctors don't give Tony much of a chance, but as Zed always says, "First one to 40 alive ... loses." 

Zed calls to "J-Man" and says he's glad he made it.  He tells Jarod that on Friday night's he always likes to do something a little special - push the envelope.   Jarod says, "Then lets make the Gods grin."  Zed replies, "No, no, no ... let's make them laugh out loud." 

Zed has set up a pit of hot coals.  He looks at Jarod and says, "Free the brain, free the body, free the soul."  Then Zed takes off his shoes and walks across the pit with the hot coals in it, saying that people have to learn to channel their fear - the power is free for the taking.   Jarod replies that nothing is free and follows suit, walking barefooted across the coals himself ... pausing an extra moment at the end, before stepping out.   Zed is surprised by Jarod's performance and Jarod takes it a step farther ... picks up a hot coal and holds it in the palm of his open hand, saying that basaltic rock is a much better conductor of heat.  As he holds it in his hand, he says if you are going to free your soul, then he says "free it."  Zed puts his hands around the one in which Jarod has the rock and closes them, causing Jarod's hand to close tightly around the rock.  Something is sizzling.

At The Centre, Broots tells Miss Parker that his pal, Bowdy, down in "physical" put a rush on the lab tests for the restaurant check for him.   Miss Parker wants to know if Body is the "geek with the cloudy cataracts" and Broots asks her if she's seen him lately, saying they are milkier than a Guernsey and Bowdy does some kind of "zombie thing" for Halloween.  Miss Parker has heard enough about Bowdy ... she wants to know the results.  Broots tells Miss Parker that the only finger prints on it are May Lin's -- the girl who quit over a month ago with no forwarding address.   As Broots and Miss Parker are talking, Sydney arrives and tells her that Jarod's "door #2" has opened and tells her to come see what is inside.

Inside of the box there is a television playing a video of Jarod making like a game show host for the game "You Don't Have A Clue."   He says his name is Jarod Winkerdale and he gives a clue to be solved ... he says the contestant is Miss Parker and if she solves the clue within 24 hours she can win a trip to the Cabins O Love  nestled into the rolling hills of Thompson, West Virginia.  Miss Parker shoots Sydney a look and he smiles and says, "Don't look at me ... I watch soaps." The clue is "the hidden truth may be missing, but you won't find it until you claim your prize."   Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots figure it out ... it means, that May Lin is missing and she won't find out any more about it until she goes to the Cabins O Love.

Jarod is back at the hospital, briefly ... he looks through the window to see Tony's mother still sitting with him ... looks over Tony's records in the office and sees the note about the "industrial grade glass" in his hair ... looks at the envelope that someone used to return Tony's wallet, which says "Tony Goltz" on it, and the piece of paper in which the wallet was wrapped.   Using a pencil to darken an area on the paper, Jarod is able to see the impression left from a stamp that was applied to the last sheet of paper that was used before the one that was used to wrap the wallet.   The impression says, "Harry's Hot Dog Station.  PAID" 

Jarod finds the hot dog vendor and orders a dog.   When Harry asks for "four ducats" for the hot dog, Jarod pretends that someone has stolen his wallet and says that since Harry took Tony's wallet, maybe he took his, too.   Harry explains that he only found the wallet in the bushes as he was sweeping up about a month ago ... after someone robbed a rare coin place on the 30th floor of a high rise across the street.   The robbers zip lined from a nearby building across to the one with the rare coins and burst right through the window.   Harry says they had to be crazy to try a stunt like that ... Jarod adds, "or searching for your soul."

Back at Zed's hang out - Jarod sees Zed and his two "in crowd" buddies doing something over by the tool chest.   When they leave, he goes in, looks around and finds a little compartment on the side with a door that slides up.   He looks inside and finds the stolen rare coins.  He puts them back and is looking at a picture of the group that includes Tony, when Shea comes in and asks him what he is doing.  Jarod says he was looking for a wrench because his bike is losing compression.  They talk and she tells him that Tony was in Zed's "inner group" and to get included in that group you have to wait until he invites you to take part in the "ultimate thrill."   Jarod questions that and asks if it isn't the "ultimate test" ... Shea says that she guesses that it's both.   Jarod asks her if she's been invited yet and she says that she hasn't.  He asks her if Tony took the ultimate thrill or the ultimate test and she doesn't know.   The conversation is interrupted when Zed walks in and Jarod prods him, saying that he isn't hanging around there for his health and the only ones who seem to be having fun are Zed and his merry little men.  Zed says that no one gets included in that group until they've tested their minds and their bodies ... Jarod adds, "and the law?" saying that all the tools in there weren't dropped off by Santa.  Zed says, "Whatever it takes to put Cheerios on the table" and asks Jarod if he "has what it takes".   Jarod says he doesn't know and tells Zed to be the judge.

The next thing we know, Jarod is chained and handcuffed to a chair by the edge of the pool.   Tony is going to throw him in that way, then drop the key after him.  Zed says that a "closed mind is a crippled mind - make fear work for you - conquer it!"  If Jarod can get the key and free himself, then he passes.   If not ... then he dies.

At the last moment, Tony also blindfolds Jarod - whispers, "Can you conquer the fear, J?" into Jarod's ear - and after hearing Jarod's reply of "You'd be surprised what I can do.",  throws him in the pool.   Shea is upset, she thinks this is going too far ... especially when Tony waits for over a minute and a half before he allows Shea to throw the key into the water.   It takes Jarod more than another 30 seconds to get to the key and free himself, but when he does, Zed welcomes him to "the Merry Men."
Miss Parker is checking out May Lin's Cabin O Love ... the landlord says that he tried to engage May in some occasion chit-chat, but she was a bit stand-offish.  She left without paying the rent, and she left everything behind ... even her clothes.   He's a slimy guy and makes a mild play for Miss Parker, asking her if she's unattached ... she tells him that she's as unattached as his limbs are going to be if he keeps eyeballing her like that.   He says that it's kind of creepy, a pretty girl like that just vanishing like that.  Miss Parker agrees that it's creepy.

At the hang out, this time it's Shea who is checking out the area around the tool chest.   Jarod walks in on her and tells her that he knows she's Tony's sister and calls her by her real name, Carrie.   She tells him that Tony started hanging around with Zed because Zed told him that he knew their father - had talked to him.   But later, Tony's Mother got a call from her mother-in-law, to whom she hadn't spoken in years ... and she told them that their father had died in 1992 - years before Tony claimed to have known him.   Carrie told Tony about it and at first Tony was hurt that Zed wasn't who he claimed to be ... a friend.  But then he got mad and Tony was going to confront Zed about the lie - but the next thing anyone knew, he had an accident while bungee jumping and ended up in a coma.   His sister intends to find out what happened and to prove that Zed had something to do with it.   Jarod urges her to go back to her mother, who is very worried about her, before something happens to her, too.   She tells Jarod to stay out of it, says she doesn't even know who he is, that she likes him - but it's something that she has to do.

Back at The Centre, door #3 has opened.   Inside is a new shovel and a note with an address on it.   The note says, "Be careful what you dig for."  The address is Lyle's ... 23504 Blythe Street,  Blue Cove, Delaware.
In a recreation room at the hang-out, Zed, JoJo and Mackey are in a discussion with Shea about an excursion that has been planned for the evening.   When Jarod walks in, Zed says, "J!  Same invite stands for you as it does for Shea."  Zed says that he has a juicy little excursion to the other side planned for tonight ... then says to Shea, "that is, if you're up to it."  She says that anything Jarod can handle, she can too ... Zed says, "Even death?"  He tells her that it's time to do battle with the Gods - if she passes tonight's test, there will be no limit.  Zed grabs Carrie and kisses her, then walks out of the room.  Jarod tries to talk Carrie out of it, but she tells him that her name is "Shea" and don't forget it.

The excursion turns out to be a burglary of a house.   Zed wants Shea to break in and get some plans that are inside.   Just before she goes, he offers her a gun, but she shoves his hand aside and leaves without it.  Zed sets the gun down and calls the security company to report a break-in.   Jarod takes the phone and calls off the security company, saying it was a mistake, it was just his daughter coming home late.   But Jarod can see that Zed isn't going to leave things alone - so he takes Zed's gun and shoots it inside of the vehicle.  The noise causes all of the dogs in the neighborhood to start barking.   Then Jarod gets out and hurries into the house to find Shea.   Once inside he finds that she has found the plans, but she is weak from loss of blood because she slashed her hand breaking in.   As Jarod tries to carry her out, the police arrive and he has to evade them.   When he's putting Shea back in the vehicle, the police are right on his heels and he gets shot.

Back at the hang-out the next day, Jarod is looking at the plans for Acme Import/Export warehouse that Zed had Shea steal when Zed walks in and finds him.   Zed says, "J-Man!  Cheerios are in the cupboard."  Jarod says that the wound in his arm has started to bleed again and he's looking for something to stop it.  Zed tells him that there's no thrill in bleeding to death, then says that no matter what kind of thrill you're seeking, it's all about trust ... in yourself and those around you.  Jarod agrees and Zed tells him that the first-aid kit is in the bathroom, down the hall, but doesn't look as though he believed Jarod's story.
Jarod is back at the hospital, looking at Tony and his mother through the window again.   A nurse hands him Tony's chart and he looks at it and walks away.   But Zed has sent JoJo to follow Jarod ... and he sees it all.
Later that night, Jarod tells Carrie that she has to leave - go back to her mother and Tony.   She still doesn't want to go, so Jarod tells her that he found out that the Acme Warehouse is a front for money laundering and that Zed is going to use her to steal cash, just like he used her brother to rob the coin dealer - and she's not going to be able to help her brother from prison.   As they start to leave, Zed and his pals walk in and stop them.   He tells Shea that he used her brother to help steal the coins and that he's going to use her as a sacrificial lamb.   He calls Jarod "Doc" and tells him that he had JoJo follow him to the hospital so he knows who Jarod is.  Zed says that "this different identity thing must be a rush," then  Zed and his pals take Jarod and Carrie away and back to the pool.  They leave Jarod handcuffed, put weights on him, and as Zed tosses him back in to the pool, he tells Jarod to "give his best to the Beast of the Gods."

While Zed and the others are on their way to the warehouse, Jarod uses his belt buckle to get out of the cuffs and out of the pool.

Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots are entering Lyle's place.   They are looking for something, anything, that looks out of place ... but it's spotless - Broots says that a speck of dust would be "out of place" in there.   Then Sydney finds one of Lyle's expense reports, sitting right in plain sight, and in it they see several charges from the restaurant where May Lin worked, as well as charges for the Cabins O Love and various gift items that were obviously for a woman.  They find a couple of dirty shovels and some dirty shoes ...  and in the back of a closet, Broots finds a secret door.  They all go through it and find themselves in another room that has a re-creation of the shed where Mr. Bowman used to lock "Bobby" for long periods of time when he was a boy.  Apparently Lyle sleeps in there (Sydney says it is the only place he feels safe) - but more than that, there are signs that he tortures women in there as well and it seems clear that the shed is where May Lin met her end.
At Acme Imports/Exports in Los Angeles, Zed and his gang are by-passing the security system in order to get inside.   Zed sends his two pals inside to get the money, while he stays outside the door with Shea/Carrie.   When his friends have collected the money and try to get out, they find the door closed and locked.   When Zed tries to open it again, the security alarm goes off and an armed Jarod grabs him from behind and handcuffs him.  Zed demands that Jarod take the cuffs off, but Jarod says that wouldn't be any fun, there would be no thrill in that.   He tosses Shea/Carrie some keys and tells her again to go to her mother - and this time she listens and hurries away.

Jarod has Zed all trussed up and hanging upside down off of a bridge ... ready for a bungee jump.   He implies to Zed that the cord is like the one that Zed used on Tony ... frayed and ready to break ... and finally, fearing for his life, Zed confesses to his crimes - including trying to kill Tony and make it look like an accident, because Tony was threatening to go to the police.   Jarod cuts the cord that was holding Zed in place and lets him fall anyway ... but the bungee cord holds and Zed just bobs around at the end of it and does not die.

Back at The Centre, Lyle has returned from his camping trip and asks Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots about the boxes with the numbered doors on them.   He wants to know if any of them shed any light on Jarod's personality.  Sydney says, "No, not on his ..." but Lyle is in such a good mood that he doesn't seem to notice the undertones, or how uncomfortable Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots are in his presence ... apparently, he thinks they are just tired

Jarod calls Miss Parker and says that one of them has to stop Mr. Lyle ... Jarod was too late to save May Lin ... and Miss Parker says that she will be keeping an eye  on Lyle from now on.  Jarod says that some risks are worth taking,  and as he looks through the window at the hospital and sees Tony, out of his coma now, speaking with his mother and sister.

Jarod smiles, takes off the white doctor's coat, tosses it in a "soiled linen" basket, loosens his tie and walks away, down the hall ... 

As the screen fades to black ...

This episode of The Pretender starred:
Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, Andrea Parker as Miss Parker, Patrick Bauchau as Sydney, Jon Gries as Broots and Jamie Denton as Mr. Lyle

Guest Stars:
Ian Paul Cassidy as Zed and Heidi Noelle Lenhart as Shea/Kerry 

Also starring:
Howard Hesserman ("WKRP in Cincinnati" and "Head of the Class") as the landlord
Andy Catano (cop #1);  Deena Dill (woman);  Kristopher Logan (Mr. Dodson);  Robert Mont (Harry);  James Leo Ryan (Mackey);  William Thomas Jr (doctor);  and Tamir Yasteen (JoJo)

"Extreme" was written by:
Steven Long Mitchell
Craig W. Van Sickle
and Directed by:
Scott Lautanen

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