Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

which aired on Saturday, December 11, 1999

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The episode begins with Broots showing Miss Parker and Sydney photographs that someone has taken of them, without their knowing it, over the past three weeks.   Someone has been tracking Miss Parker, since the faces of Sydney and Broots have been erased.   As Miss Parker looks at the photos, the phone rings and it's Jarod.  He sent the pictures for Miss Parker to see and remarks that by doing that, he is trying to help Miss Parker AND her father.   This concerns Miss Parker even more, since she has just received a very disturbing e-mail from her father, in which he tells her again not to trust anyone and says that there is a "Centre hit" out on him.   Miss Parker thinks that she is being followed because someone believes that she will lead them to her father.

In the mountains near Buck Ridge, Utah, a man interrupts an evening card game with his friends to take out some trash.   Once he gets outside, his dogs begin barking and he can see that the other trash is a mess ... he blames raccoons.   Then the dogs hear something in the woodpile and shines his flashlight over it.

The next morning, in town, Jarod is learning about fishing from a man in a bait shop when there is a big uproar and everyone hurries to see what it's about.   Jarod watches as policemen manhandle a small child, a girl who is filthy and looks wild, into their car.   She is what the man found in his woodpile the night before!   In the struggle, she drops a dirty rag doll, which Jarod holds briefly, until a policeman retrieves it from him.  The young girl's plight, as she looks out the window of the car, reminds Jarod of how he felt when he was spirited away from his family in the middle of the night.

The girl ends up being taken to a private research facility and is placed in the hands of Dr. Wolverton and Dr. Bennett ... both highly recognized in their fields for their research work.   Dr. Wolverton has written a book called, The Effects of Isolation and Depravation on The Human Psyche.  It seems apparent that the girl is completely wild and has probably never lived in a civilized environment.  Jarod Bell arrives just after the girl has knocked herself unconscious by running headlong into a window ... apparently, she doesn't know what glass is.   As they are cleaning her and cutting her hair, Jarod tells them that they shouldn't be treating her in that manner, since she is obviously terrified of being handled.  But Drs. Bennett and Wolverton disagree.

In the hallway at The Centre, Miss Parker notices Mr. Lyle speaking with Mr. Cox.   Broots tells Miss Parker that he was able to track the photos ... the trail leads to Mutumbo and someone with the code name "the Owl" and from there to Mr. Cox.   She tells Broots that she wants to know everything about "the picture taking freak."   Broots tells her that he has already tried to find out about Mr. Cox and has come up empty.   The only proof that they have that he even exists is that they are looking at him!   Then Broots tells her that another one of his network of people that work in the back rooms and never-heard-of offices of the Centre told him that Mr. Cox has been ordering surgical supplies and having them delivered to The Centre.   Miss Parker sends Broots off to track the source of the deliveries.

After being cleaned and having her hair cut, the girl is placed in a completely sterile environment by Drs. Bennett and Wolverton.  The attending medical doctor advises them that the girl should be sedated, since she is terrified and is not doing well in that environment - but neither of the other two doctors will permit it.   They think it will interfere with their "case study" of the child.   They only have 36 hours to work with her, because if her parents are not located in that amount of time, they will have to turn her over to Social Services.   Jarod asks them how they expect to learn who she is if they don't try to communicate with her and Dr. Wolverton tells him that the girl is unable to communicate and that she isn't going to learn how to communicate for a very long time.   Dr. Bennett says that they have a once in a lifetime opportunity to study the very core of the human animal. Jarod reminds them that it is a child about whom they are speaking ... but the other doctors don't care.

As Drs. Bennett and Wolverton head off to attend a press conference, Jarod has a conversation with Ann, the medical doctor who is as disturbed about the treatment of the child as he is.   In trying to strike a bond with the woman, Jarod uses Lois' Daily Planet motto!!  He tells her that it only takes one person to make a difference.   She tells him that she doesn't get emotionally involved with her cases, and Jarod tells her that she doesn't say that as though she means it.   The doctor leaves and Jarod continues to watch the child, alone in the sterile room.   He asks, "Where did you come from, little girl?"

The press conference is a zoo, with a mass of reporters all asking questions to which the doctors have no answers.   One of the reporters slips quietly through a door and ends up outside of the little girl's room.   She tells Jarod that her name is Leslie Twain and that she works for the Salt Lake Chronicle and if he will allow her to take pictures, she will see that the story gets put on all of the wire services.   Before Jarod can answer, they are interrupted by Dr. Bennett, who says that Jarod doesn't have that authority.   As he is finishing the sentence, there is a noise from the room and they all look at the monitors.   The girl is missing!   Dr. Bennett sends the reporter away and a frantic search of the building ensues.   As they come to the conclusion that the girl must have gotten outside and may be somewhere on the grounds, Jarod watches Dr. Bennett loading a tranquilizer rifle ... the kind they use on animals who are in the zoo.   He objects strenuously, but is once again ignored.

Ann, who is holding the girl's rag doll, asks Jarod what will happen now and he tells her that they must find her first.   Together they join the others in checking the grounds surrounding the facility, until Jarod notices that someone has made a cross out of daisies at the foot of a large tree.   He climbs the tree and finds the girl in it.   He hands her the rag doll and slips a little - which makes her laugh.   He laughs, too, and a bond is formed between them. 
In the next scene, the girl is back in her room, but it is no longer sterile.   Now it is filled with all kinds of plants and flowers and the girl is walking calmly around, enjoying them.   The medical doctor says that the girl is doing much better in her new environment and asks Jarod what he said to her up in the tree.   Jarod replies, "Nothing, we just laughed."   Suddenly, Drs. Bennett and Wolverton arrive and want to know what the plants are doing in the room.   Dr. Wolverton says that the room was to be kept sterile ... they can't risk interaction, the "subject" is too important.   Jarod objects to the word, "subject," and says they should give her a name.   Dr. Wolverton objects, saying it will imply a personality which will interfere with the case study -- but Jarod ignores him.  Since the girl is in the process of making another cross, this time on the floor of the room and with violets, Jarod decides that they should call her "Violet"  and Ann agrees that it's a pretty name.
While Violet continues making the cross, she also begins making noises that sound like "Mama and Dada."   Dr. Wolverton says that it's only mimicry, but Jarod is convinced that she is trying to tell them something.   As they watch, Violet suddenly begins to have a seizure.   Jarod and Ann rush into the room and Jarod says that she is burning up.   Ann tells Dr. Bennett (twice) that she needs her medical bag and, finally, he goes to get it.

Violet has been moved to a hospital room, but she's sleeping on the floor and Ann is propped up against a wall next to her, sleeping, too.   Jarod comes in and wakes her - tells her she should get some rest, but then tells her the result of the lab tests.   Violet caught a common flu ... a virus.   Ann says that she doesn't understand how Violet could have gotten it, since she hadn't been in contact with anyone but them, and none of them were exhibiting any signs of being sick.   As she is telling Jarod this, Violet's sleep turns restless and Ann gives the sleeping girl her rag doll, saying that it's the only thing that calms her.   Jarod watches as Violet hugs the doll in her sleep ... she brings it right up to her face, near her nose and her mouth.   A thought strikes him and he takes the doll and hurries out of the room with it.   Later, as Ann looks through a microscope in the lab with Jarod, he tells her that there are 12 separate strains of virus in one square inch of the rag doll.   It's clear that someone at that facility put them onto the doll because they meant to do Violet harm before they could find out anything more about her.

Jarod tells Ann that Violet is in danger and they must get her out of there.   Ann says that she doesn't want to be a part of it.   She finally explains to Jarod that she lost her son, Matthew - who was a little younger than Violet - and when he died, it nearly killed her, too.   She says that she cannot survive having those kinds of feelings again and leaves the room.

On his own, Jarod begins to spirit Violet away.   He is nearly caught by Dr. Bennett, but the doctor is distracted at the last moment by Ann.   Jarod puts Violet in the back of his Jeep and begins to drive off when Ann appears in front of him, forcing him to stop.   She says she has changed her mind and gets in with Jarod.

Miss Parker and Broots are following Mr. Cox in his truck.   He stops near a roadkill - some hapless animal that didn't make it across the highway - takes pictures of it and then puts it into the back of his truck.   Both Miss Parker and Broots are disgusted, but have no idea what he is doing and so continue to follow him.

As Jarod is driving, Violet is standing up in the back of the Jeep, letting the wind blow across her face.   As the sun comes up, Jarod pulls over to the side of the road and Violet sits down and begins making another cross, this time out of twigs.   Ann asks Jarod how he is so sure that this is the area from which Violet originally came, and he shows her on the map how this is the only nearby place where there are warm springs, so she could survive the winters.   Violet sees a small plane flying overhead and runs off into the woods ... with Jarod and Ann  in hot pursuit.   In no time at all, they arrive at a warm spring and as Jarod is saying that Violet's home must be close, she tosses a pebble into the water in front of them. 

In her cave, Jarod and the doctor see Violet's belongings ... a mobile made with bits of glass, an empty suitcase and, under some leaves, a picture of a man, a woman and a small girl - which Jarod deduces must be Violet and her parents.   When Violet sees Jarod holding the picture, she begins to mutter "Mama" again and hurries out of the cave.   Jarod and Ann follow her to a stream.  In the stream is the wreckage of a small plane and on the bank there is a sort of shrine set up ... two skulls and a cross with some flowers.   Violet points to one skull and then the other, saying "Dada" and "Mama."   Jarod and Ann figure out that Violet was the only one to survive the plane crash and that the skulls in the shrine belong to Violet's parents.

Back near Violet's lair, Jarod notices a tiny video camera in a tree and follows the wire until he discovers a hide ... the kind of camouflaged tent that is used to study animals in the wild.   Inside there are sketches of Violet and an old newspaper clipping that has the same picture in it that Jarod found in Violet's cave ... the headline said, "Family of Three Missing After Flight."  Obviously, someone has been watching Violet from the hide ... there are black and white photographs of Violet in there and when Jarod looks out, the view is of Violet's favorite spot by the warm spring. 

At either Jarod's current lair or at Ann's house, Jarod continues to look through the photos he found at the hide.   He tells Ann that from the looks of the photos, someone has been watching Violet for over ten years.   She asks Jarod if this is personal for him and he says that it is, but will tell her about it another time.   He leaves to find out who did that to Violet ... watched her for all those years without helping her.

In Miss Parker's office, Broots enters - wearing a suit.   She asks him if someone died and he says, "yes," then shows her pictures of Mr. Cox at a funeral home.   He says that he followed him, that Mr. Cox spent the night there, and Broots saw him bringing trash bags out of the back door.  She and Broots think that Mr. Cox has brought body parts out the back door of that mortuary and Broots says that whatever it was, it ended up on SL-6.   Miss Parker says that used to be the infirmary ... she had her tonsils out there.   Looking at the pictures that Broots took of Mr. Cox's visit to the mortuary, she says that she thinks it's time they paid Mr. Cox a little visit.

Back at the research facility, Jarod is searching someone's office.   He finds a lockbox, breaks the lock and inside finds tapes that relate to Violet.

Miss Parker and Broots are sneaking in to Sub-Level 6.   Miss Parker says that they are going to leave the pictures that Broots took for Mr. Cox, so that he knows that he's being watched, too.  Broots goes to a closed door at the far end of the room and attempts to pick the lock, but drops part of the pick.   As he is trying to find it in the dark, the door opens and there is Mr. Cox!! 

Mr. Cox tells Miss Parker and Broots that the man at the mortuary is his father and that he assists Mr. Cox sometimes with his hobby ... which is taxidermy.   He shows them an animal on which he is working, but which still needs to have the glass eyes put in.   Before Miss Parker and Broots leave, Mr. Cox also tells them that he was not the one who followed Miss Parker and took the pictures.

Back at the house with the doctor, Jarod is looking at the tapes he found.   They show Violet at various stages of her life, living on instinct, surviving by herself.   At one point, she gets her ankle caught and remains trapped for three days before whoever is in the hide filming it comes out to aid in freeing her.   As the person bends down to pick up his camera and return to the hide, his face is caught on the video film ... it is Dr. Wolverton!

Back at The Centre, Broots has now discovered an expense report of Mr. Lyle's that shows the purchase of a camera on it ... the same kind that was used to photograph Miss Parker.   Broots has also found a Centre memo that shows that Mr. Lyle not only brought Mr. Cox to The Centre, but he created his position.   Miss Parker confronts Lyle with her belief that it is he who has set up the "hit" on their father and he tells her that he thinks she's lost her mind. He appears appalled that she would suspect him of trying to kill their father and tells her that if she would really look at the situation she would see that he's only trying to help - just like she is.   Lyle tells her that he got an e-mail from Mr. Parker, too, telling him not to trust anyone.   Lyle says that Mr. Parker told him to take the photos so that Miss Parker could use them as an alibi and suggested that Lyle start a paper trail for himself as well.   He tells Miss Parker that he doesn't know why Mr. Parker asked him to do that.   He says that something big is going to happen ... so big that Mutumbo is coming to town ... according to Mr. Parker, he's coming to meet with Mr. Cox.   At the end, he asks Miss Parker what they are supposed to do now and she says they should pray.

Jarod is filling up darts for the tranquilizer rifle and checking the maps for a suitable location.   When he's ready, he has Ann deliver the rag doll to Dr. Wolverton, with an address on it.   Dr. Wolverton rushes off and eventually finds Violet.   But before he can get to her, Jarod shoots him in the leg with a dart from the tranquilizer rifle.   When Dr. Wolverton wakes up, he finds himself in a pit, wearing nothing but his underwear.   Jarod tells him that he knows that the book he wrote did not come from "research" but from observing Violet suffer alone for all those years, while he got all of the fame and grants from the books that resulted from studying her.  Jarod threatens to leave Dr. Wolverton there to try to survive on his own, as Dr. Wolverton made Violet do, unless he confesses.   Dr. Wolverton does and is arrested.

After having a dream where her son told her it was okay, Ann decides to take a chance on caring again and signs the necessary papers to become Violet's legal guardian.   As he is getting ready to leave, Violet gives Jarod a daisy and Jarod gives Violet a new rag doll.   She puts his hand over his heart and says <click to hear it!>

Jarod hugs Violet for a long time, kissing her hair, then takes his bag and drives away in his jeep 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:
Lenny Van Dohlen, Richard Doyle, Lindsey Evenson, Francoise Robertson, 
Heather Prete and Michael Phenicie

Also starring:
Jonathan Brown (boy);  EJ Callahan (fisherman); Fred Estrada (reporter #1);  Hilliard Guess (orderly);  David Sawyer (Sheriff);  Kevin Sizemore (reporter #2);  Desiree Walter (lab coat);  Kevin Will (hunter)

"Wild Child" was written by:
Joel Metzger
and Directed by:
Michael J. Klick

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