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The episode begins with Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots walking up a flight of stairs toward Jarod's last lair. Broots says that Jarod has been gone less than 24 hours and the clean-up crew is already there. In Jarod's room, Miss Parker spots a man in a wheelchair who appears to be directing the efforts of the clean-up crew. Sydney and Broots tell her that he is the new head of the clean-up unit - from Calcutta. Dr. Tushon sees Miss Parker and heads his motorized wheelchair in her direction, swinging it around so that it narrowly misses crashing into Broots' legs. Broots jumps back in the nick of time. He tells her that Jarod has left some disturbing things behind ... then, from a table that is full of drug paraphernalia, hands Sydney something that has been home-rolled and looks like a cigarette. Sydney smells it and says that it is PCP. Miss Parker says that's ridiculous - Jarod would never do drugs! But the doctor tells her that tests have already been run on the blood that was left on the syringes - and there is no doubt that it's Jarod's. The doctor also found a piece of paper with Jarod's writing on it ... the paper says 101776A22 on it. Faced with the table full of drugs and the paper with Jarod's handwriting on it, Miss Parker thinks that maybe Jarod has become a junkie after all. Through the entire conversation, Sydney stands at the table, looking at everything that is on it. At Miss Parker's final comment, Sydney slips further into thought ... a look of deep concern on his face.
Somewhere in a lower level of an abandoned building, on a filthy floor where a 55 gallon drum has been set ablaze to provide warmth for the hapless people who dwell there - Jarod writhes around in a drug induced haze. A group of people from a rehab institution, knowing that he is there and has insurance, come to "lock him down" and take him back with him. Jarod puts up a fight, scattering more garbage on the floor as he thrashes around, but in his stupor, is no match for them. They take him away.
At the Vista House Drug Rehabilitation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jarod is manhandled into the lobby by two orderlies. Soon he is in a chair in the office of Dr. Jason Earl, the staff psychiatrist, who is welcoming Jarod Jones to Vista House. Dr. Earl tells Jarod that he is there to help him with his recovery, but the welcome speech he is giving Jarod is being done by rote and Dr. Earl shows no real concern for the writhing Jarod, who is obviously already experiencing the throes of withdrawal. He gives Jarod a consent form to sign, that empowers them to place him in lock down so that they can begin rehabilitating him. Jarod says that he doesn't like being locked down, but signs the form. An orderly searches Jarod's bag ... finds some clothing, a wallet with $48.00 in it, an unused red notebook and a small packet with a white substance in it. When Jarod sees the packet, his discomfort immediately increases and he becomes more agitated. His eyes never leave the packet - he's nearly salivating with anticipation, as though he were a starving man looking at a banquet table filled with food. He wants what's in that bag. Dr. Earl holds it up in front of Jarod and tells him that they have an ethics code at Vista House - called "the circle of trust" ... gain the trust and it will come back to him in the form of additional privileges. If he betrays that trust, the circle is broken. At the end of the explanation, Dr. Earl holds the packet out to Jarod. No moral struggle ensues ... Jarod attempts to grab the packet. But Dr. Earl jerks it away and tells Jarod to consider this first offense as a warning. Seeing his only hope at having his suffering stopped taken away, Jarod says that he doesn't feel very well. Unconcerned, Dr. Earl takes a swig of bottled water and tells the orderly to get him a bucket.
At The Centre, Miss Parker is reading an ad in some kind of lonely-hearts tabloid aloud to Broots. She mocks Broots for reading it and an embarrassed Broots claims to read it purely for entertainment purposes. Miss Parker gives him a knowing wink, indicating that she does not believe him. Showing none of his usual amusement at Miss Parker's taunting of Broots, Sydney brings things back to the point by asking Broots what he's found out about Jarod's latest clue. Happy to be off the point of Miss Parker's pin, Broots says that the first part of it clearly indicates a date - but he's not certain yet what the "A22" represents. As he is explaining this, Miss Parker looks back to the tabloid and sees the page number in the top corner ... it says A22. She realizes that it refers to "section A, page 22" and tells Broots to get the Blue Cover paper dated October 17, 1976 and check out section A, page 22. She thinks the answer to Jarod being "hopped up on Heroin" might be there. After Broots leaves, Miss Parker finally notices Sydney's serious mood and asks him if he's okay. He gives her a brooding look, but does not reply.
Back at the rehab center, orderlies are escorting an uncooperative Jarod to his room. The head orderly, Garrett, is telling Jarod that if he will go along with the game plan, he can make his stay a lot easier on him. As they walk down the hall, another "guest" of the center appears to inadvertently bump into a cart of medication that a nurse is wheeling down the hall. In doing that, he takes some of the medications from it. Garrett sees this and calls for help and the drugs are retrieved. Once in his room, Jarod tells Garrett that he can't do this and that he needs something to help him get through ... Garrett ignores his plea, avoids Jarod's attempt to grab his leg as he pleads, and leaves the room.
The instant that Jarod is certain Garrett is not going to look through the window again, Jarod sits up, catches his breath and calmly takes a bottle of Ipecac out of his sock to induce the kind of vomiting that the people in the center will expect to see from someone going through severe withdrawals. He downs the small bottle in gone gulp, grimacing at the taste. Within minutes, Garrett hears the sound of vomiting coming from Jarod's room, peeks through the window and sees exactly what he expected to see. Assured that he has nothing to fear from Jarod for a while, Garrett goes back to talking to his friends. Meanwhile, his stomach empty, Jarod is now the one doing the watching -- looking out the window of his room to see where Garrett is. He spots another orderly escorting a young woman back to her room, then sits down and begins going through the gym bag that he brought into the center with him.
From the bag, Jarod pulls out another red notebook. This one is not empty ... it has a newspaper clipping in it that relates to the girl he just saw in the hallway. It tells about a woman who lost custody of her child after she was found unconscious in the park as a result of drug use.
Later, Jarod is in a therapy group with Dr. Earl, the man who trying to steal the medication from the cart in the hallway, the girl from the newspaper article and three other people. They start with Jarod, but he isn't forthcoming - unshaven, still shaking, smoking a cigarette - he tells them that his drug use was the result of his going through an identity crisis. Dr. Earl says that he wants to talk about taking responsibility for their actions - instead of blaming everything and everyone else for their addictions. One of the participants (Huey) says that if he uses again, he's going to blame Jill, the girl from the newspaper article. He says she is driving him nuts with her whining about how she doesn't know how she ended up on that binge in the park. She tells him to shut up and says again that she has no idea how it happened ... insisting that she didn't use any drugs. She tells him that she's not a junkie anymore - she cleaned up to keep custody of her son. But they've heard stories like this many times before, and no one believes her.
At The Centre, Broots finds that Section A, page 22 of the newspaper had obituaries on it. One of the people listed was David Arnold, and he used to work at The Centre, but Broots cannot find any of his files. Sydney is agitated and pacing - finally he says "This is ridiculous! What if something happens to Jarod while we're chasing ghosts?" Then he turns and leaves the room. Broots watches Sydney go with concern, but Miss Parker tells him to stay on it - find the information. As Broots begins to leave, she stops him and tells him to report only to her.
At Vista House, Jarod sees Jill, waiting to receive her visitors while looking at a picture of her son. There is a guard that mans the video cameras and he is watching Jill wait through the window on a door while drinking something out of a Styrofoam cup. Jarod approaches her and tells her that he never knew his mother, but he always imagined how great their relationship would be. Jill asks him to just leave her alone and Jarod says that he can't do that ... because the reason he is in there is to help her. Jarod tells her he wants to help her because of her father and Jill tells Jarod that her father has been dead for a long time. Jarod tells her that he knows that, but before the conversation can go any further, Jill's son arrives and she goes to see him.
After Jill has left, Jarod begins watching the guard in the room with the video cameras, as though he is formulating a plan. We see the guard watching the cameras ... including the one that lets him see Jill meet with her son, outside. Then we see the guard clutch his stomach and rush from the room. Jarod enters, puts away another bottle of Ipecac and sits down to watch Jill meet her son on the video camera.
Outside, Jill's ex-husband is there with his new fiancee, Hillary Strick. He is telling Chris, their son, that he and Hillary have a lot to do today, so he wants him to have a quick visit with his mommie. Hillary intercedes, reminding him that the errands can wait, and tells Chris to spend as much time with his mom as he wants. Jill arrives and she tells Chris that she's been sick but that she might get to come home in a couple of days ... and even though Chris cannot come to live with her, she loves him with all her heart.
Jarod is interrupted from watching the scene when he is discovered in the video room. Dr. Earl tells him that no matter what he is doing in that room, Jarod has just broken the circle of trust and has Jarod locked in his room. As soon as Garrett is gone, Jarod gets a key-card decoder from his bag and uses it to find out the punch code so that he can open his door. In moments, it finds the correct code of 3782 and Jarod is out the door. Avoiding the surveillance camera in the hallway, he goes to Jill's room, uses the decoder again and enters.
Upon seeing Jarod, Jill moves to the far side of the room and tells him to just leave her alone. Jarod shows her a picture of her father and her and tells her that he doesn't think that he would have wanted Jarod to leave her alone. He tells Jill that he was taken from his family when he was a boy and the photograph was her father's way of giving him a family when he needed one. Jill decides to trust Jarod after he tells her that he believes her ... that he knows she would never have done anything to jeopardize having custody of her son. She tells Jarod that when she was a junior in high school she got involved with drugs and her father helped her to "get clean" ... no guilt trips, just unconditional love. She stayed clean for years ... married Todd, had Chris, had a good life -- but then she started using again and before she realized what a terrible mistake she had made, Todd and taken Chris and left, met Hillary and was moving on with his life. To try to keep custody of Chris, Jill got cleaned-up again, got her teaching credential, and everything seemed to be going fine ... until she woke up in the park after a drug binge that she never remembered having. Jill has decided that when Todd and Hillary get married, she is going to let Hillary legally adopt Chris. Jarod wants to know about the morning of the day that Jill doesn't remember using drugs. She tells him that she was fine in the morning - she came to the clinic for her weekly drug test and it went well. Then, later, she woke up in the park, all strung out.
Dr. Earl comes into the room, and Jarod hides behind the closet. Dr. Earl looks at Jill's chart and says that the nurse says she's been having some trouble sleeping ... Jill says that's correct. The doctor asks her if she'd like a Clonidine patch to help her relax and Jill says that she would. Dr. Earl puts the patch on the back of her neck, tells her that if nothing else happens to delay it, he'll authorize her release on Friday.
At the Centre, Broots is giving a faux report to Miss Parker, because Sydney is in the room. Once Sydney leaves, Broots gives Miss Parker his real report. He's used one of his quirky sources in The Centre to find someone who remembered David Arnold working there as an orderly 20 years ago -- but the DSA's that should relate to whatever it was that he did are missing. Miss Parker realizes that someone has gone to a lot of trouble to "erase" the man -- and just then Mr. Raines comes in and says to Broots, very nicely ... "You've been making unauthorized entries into The Centre's medical database." Broots scurries away from Raines, closer to Miss Parker. Raines goes on to say that if it's David Arnold that they are interested in, they should know that he was one of the kindest, gentlest men that he ever had the pleasure of knowing. He asks Miss Parker what Mr. Arnold is doing these days and Miss Parker tells him that he's "pushing up daisies" and is "deader than your hair follicles." Raines looks distressed for a moment, then asks Miss Parker how looking for information on this man brings her any closer to finding Jarod. Miss Parker tells him that they explore "all avenues" in the pursuit of Jarod, even dead ones. Raines leaves and Miss Parker tells Broots that there is no way that Raines would know anything about them searching the database unless he has something to hide. She thinks the missing DSA's must be in Raines' private collection. Broots gets a sick look on his face, knowing that he's going to end up having to steal them.
Back at Vista Jarod approaches Huey, who is working on his bike. After Jarod helps him fix the motorcycle, he tells Huey that he really needs to score. At first Huey acts as though he doesn't know what Jarod is talking about, but he finally tells Jarod that Garrett, the orderly, is his connection. Jarod goes back inside and finds Jill on her couch, in the throes of another drug overdose. He yells for help and both Dr. Earl and Garrett come running. They put Jarod back in his room and then begin helping Jill.
In Miss Parker's office, Broots delivers the DSA's that he stole from Raines. As he inserts them into Miss Parker's machine, he tells her that she isn't going to believe this ...
At Vista again, Jarod is letting himself into Jill's room. He finds her huddled in a corner, going through withdrawal by herself. She thinks she's going crazy, because once again, she has no memory of using any drugs. Jarod says it doesn't matter - gets her onto her bed and begins covering her with blankets, to help ease her discomfort. Jill asks Jarod why he is helping her and he tells her that he owes her father.
In Miss Parker's office, she and Broots are watching a DSA of a teenaged Jarod, apparently suffering through withdrawal. As they continue to watch, Raines enters the young Jarod's room and gives him a shot of some kind of narcotic. Immediately, his withdrawal pains cease and the young Jarod relaxes in a drug-induced stupor. Raines had hooked Jarod on drugs!!
In Jill's room, Jarod is making sure that she stays hydrated by giving her little sips of water. While he is doing that, he explains to her about his life at The Centre and how they hooked him on drugs.
In Miss Parker's office, the DSA continues ... Jill's father enters and Raines tells him to clean up the room because Jarod is sick. While cleaning, Jarod pleads with him for his help and he realizes that someone has been administering drugs to the child. He stays with Jarod and helps him get through the worst of the withdrawals.
In Jill's room, Jarod is still caring for her - the chills she had earlier have passed and now she's running a fever. The scenes continue to flip back and forth - Jill's father (on the DSA) helping Jarod through the same stages of withdrawal that Jarod is now helping Jill get through. When Jill gets to the point where she is begging Jarod to get her something to ease the pain, he hands her a picture of Chris and tells her to focus on that to help get her through. In the DSA, since Jarod has no family of his own, David Arnold gives Jarod the picture of himself and his daughter and tells him that they are his family now and to focus on them, to help him get through. A frightened and trembling Jarod tells David Arnold that he doesn't know how he will ever repay him for doing what he's doing and Arnold tells him not to worry about it ... one day Jarod will repay him.
On the next DSA, Mr. Arnold is taken from Jarod's room and dismissed. Then Raines has a conversation with a sweeper - obliquely telling him to "get rid" of Arnold before he can tell anyone what he's seen. The next day, David Arnold was found dead - drowned in his own swimming pool.
Broots tells Miss Parker that he can't help but wonder where Sydney was during all of this ... where was Jarod's protector? Miss Parker agrees that it's a good question.
With Jill finally resting quietly, she remarks that she deserves to lose her son ... that Hillary will make a much better mother, since she cannot remember how any of this keeps happening. As Jarod is stroking her hair, he notices the Clonidine patch that Dr. Earl put on her neck, shortly before Jill suffered her latest overdose. He tells Jill that it's about time someone found out how this keeps happening.
Jarod avoids the security cameras, sneaks into the lab, then tests one of the patches for narcotics. Jarod's expression when the solution turns blue says that there are narcotics in the patch that Dr. Earl put on Jill - and that all the questions about how she keeps ending up strung out on drugs have been answered.
When Jarod leaves the lab, he allows himself to be seen on the security cameras, knowing it will bring Garrett to his room. He overpowers Garrett and makes him tell him what's been going on. Dr. Earl has been using Garrett's illegal drug supply on the patches he's been putting on Jill. When Dr. Earl found out that Garrett was dealing drugs, he threatened to turn him over to the police if he didn't cooperate with him. Garrett doesn't know why Dr. Earl is keeping Jill addicted to drugs, but offers to get Jarod into Earl's office so that he can find out for himself.
In Dr. Earl's office, Jarod discovers that he and Hillary attended the same college ... Syracuse. Jarod calls Hillary and tells her that a "situation" has come up regarding Jill Arnold and that Dr. Earl needs her to come to Vista right away. Then he goes back to the lab and mixes several substances together, which he pours into a water bottle. As Dr. Earl is having his daily run, Jarod switches water bottles on him - giving him the one that has the substances in it. When Hillary arrives, Jarod (now dressed as an orderly) tells her that Dr. Earl is running a little late and offers her a glass of the altered water while she waits ... which she takes.
At The Centre, Miss Parker is making Sydney watch the DSA of the young Jarod, begging for help as he suffers withdrawal. She asks him how he could have let this happen, apparently not noticing that watching the DSA is extremely painful for Sydney. Sydney tells Miss Parker and Broots that The Centre was experimenting with a synthesized narcotic that would enhance people's minds ... the idea being that a great mind like Jarod's would become even greater. The decision was Raines' to make, not Sydney's. The drug ended up having serious side effects ... rapid addiction, devastating withdrawal and the program was ended. Miss Parker still cannot understand how Sydney could just look the other way while Raines did that to Jarod ... rather than try to explain, Sydney gives Miss Parker a DSA of his own, then leaves the room. Miss Parker and Broots look at the DSA and see a younger version of Sydney writhing on the ground in withdrawal ... he had been addicted to the drug, right along with Jarod and was in no condition to help himself, let alone anyone else.
Back at Vista, both Hillary and Dr. Earl are waking up to find themselves tied to opposite ends of a hospital bed with the rails up - suffering through cold turkey withdrawals from the hybrid drug that he gave them. He tells them that whichever of them tells him the truth first gets a Clonidine patch to help them feel better ... then begins burning the patches until both of them tell him everything.
Dr. Earl needed money and Todd Moffett is a rich man ... if Hillary married him, adopted his son, then divorced him, she would still end up with more than enough money to help her college sweetheart, Jason Earl. Together, they conspired to keep Jill addicted to drugs, so that she would lose custody of Chris and stay out of the way so that Hillary could marry Todd.
Jarod had Todd hidden in the room so that he heard everything ... and even though he had addicted both Hillary and Jason Earl to the same drug that Raines used on him -- he burns the last Clonidine patch and tells them that they are going to have to suffer through the withdrawals unassisted.
Later, Jill is released and Todd tells Jarod that he hopes he can make it up to him. Chris and Todd and Jill go off together to begin their life together again.
Jarod calls Sydney and they talk about that terrible time at The Centre when Jarod was addicted. Like Miss Parker, Jarod wants to know how Sydney could have let that happen to him. He tries to tell Sydney that he was like a father to him, but chokes on the words and cannot finish the sentence. His voice cracking with emotion, he tells Sydney that he should have stopped them. Sydney explains to Jarod that he demanded that Raines use him as the test subject and leave Jarod out of it ... but Raines lied to Sydney and addicted them both. Finding out that Sydney sacrificed himself to protect him, finally, after all the years that had passed in between, helped to ease some of Jarod's pain ... it was an affirmation to Jarod that Sydney did care, and Jarod needed to hear it. Sydney told Jarod that he never told him about it before because he didn't want him to feel obligated to stay at The Centre ... he didn't want to be the cause of Jarod sacrificing his chance to get away. After apologizing for all that had happened, Sydney broke the connection on the phone, leaving an emotionally wrung-out Jarod standing beside a public phone booth - watching some other poor soul being admitted to the clinic. At last, Jarod turns and walks away - still alone ... and 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; Richard Marcus as Mr. Raines; Ryan Merriman as the teenaged Jarod and Alex Wexo as the young Sydney
"JUNK" was written by:
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