Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

SYNOPSIS FOR
MELTDOWN
which aired on Saturday, April 29, 2000

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PRETENDER SYNOPSIS FOR MELTDOWN
Once again, it appears that everyone except those of us on the West coast of the United States got the first 10-15 minutes of this episode pre-empted by basketball.   I was out of town when this episode aired, however, Julia, who is a member of Jamie's Place and Chat, and has the script, posted that part on the message board there. The post at JPaC, in case anyone wants to read what the script said before the rewrite, is # 6042.

The episode begins with Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots in Miss Parker's office. They are discussing Mirage.  Miss Parker complains to Broots that her e-mail server is whacked.

A Centre employee named Leonard enters Miss Parker's office with a burn bag to collect the papers to be incinerated.   Leonard overheads Miss Parker and Sydney discussing Mirage. Leonard sees Catherine Parker's picture, says he knew her and she was a very special person.   Miss Parker is intrigued and her manner toward Leonard softens noticeably.   Before he leaves, she asks him if he would mind getting together some time - just to talk about her Mother.   As he leaves, Leonard smiles and says it would be his pleasure.
On SL-26 Leonard is tossing the burn bags into the flames when he sees one that has a file folder in it labeled "Mirage" and begins tearing into it.  Another employee, who is burning the material along with Leonard, sees him opening the burn bag and says, "Everything burns."   Leonard wants to get the document to Miss Parker, and tells the other person that "Miss Parker will want to see this."   The other employee repeats himself, more forcefully, "Everything burns."  Leonard isn't going to be dissuaded and pulls his gun on the other man, using it to hold him a bay.  He is determined to get this information to Miss Parker. 
At night, a van screeches into a Dorsey's Department Store warehouse.  The occupants scramble  out, in a panic.  Mr. Job, Miss Eve, Mr. Cain, Mr. Abel are coughing, having trouble breathing. Jarod is there (Mr. Abraham) and is checking a metal container, something they stole.  It's leaking and the label says "Biohazard: Soman Nerve Gas."  Jarod is stunned.   He tells the group the gas is already killing them ... in less than six hours they will be all be dead!
Miss Parker and Sydney are leaving The Centre for the night when Broots rushes up to tell them that the guy who knew Miss Parker's mother is shooting up the place on SL-26.  Miss Parker doesn't know what Broots is talking about.  He clarifies ... "the clerk, the burn bag guy!"
Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots arrive on SL-26   The man who was working with Leonard in the incineration room is in the hallway, on a gurney - covered by a sheet.   He's dead.  Leonard is covered by a sheet on the floor.   Raines is there.   Raines tells Miss Parker that they tried to negotiate with Leonard, but he wasn't interested.

Miss Parker says to Raines, "So you traded the olive branch for an Uzi?   That your Christian way, Raines?"

Raines says Leonard was armed and out of control, trying to kill one of Mr. Raines' men.  Sydney interjects that there must have been another way.   Raines says calmly that he won't tolerate unstable behavior from Centre employees, then walks away.


Long wav file for the above scene

As she leaves the room, Miss Parker tells Broots that she wants the surveillance footage of what happened in that room - quick!

At Dorsey's warehouse, Jarod begins examining the room.  They are all in a complete panic, frightened, angry and bickering about what to do.  They say that Elijah never said anything about stealing any nerve gas.  They were only supposed to be taking computer chips.  They want to call Elijah. Jarod reminds them that "the target" was a box, and that was all that Elijah said.  One of the group says that they should wait to hear from Elijah ... They don't call Elijah ... he always calls them and he always will.  Jarod sees a TV set and turns it on, but gets only static.

Miss Eve wants to know what they can do about the nerve gas.  She doesn't intend to just sit and wait to die.  Jarod says that it affects the structure of the brain and that it's only a matter of time before their paranoia turns into psychosis ... they will all go crazy.  He calmly gives them the gory details about the way they will die. He tells them that they will experience nausea, tremors, and that their insides will liquefy.  He adds that their noses will start bleeding and might not stop. 
Mr. Job notices that Mr. Elijah has left his laptop in the warehouse and he wants to contact him.  Jarod confirms that it is Mr. Elijah's laptop and wonders why they haven't been contacted.   Mr. Job is pounding on a television set that is delivering only static and Mr. Cain and his little brother (who appears to be less than bright) say that they are leaving ... they are going to a hospital.   Jarod reminds them that with the police circling outside, they won't get a block before they get picked up.  Mr. Cain finally agrees, but tells Jarod that if things get out of hand, the last thing he's going to do is put a bullet in the back of Jarod's head.

The television comes on just long enough to show a TV reporter saying that the warehouse district has been closed off and an evacuation is taking place.   They realize that Elijah must know what they have stolen, since obviously the police already do.   Mr. Cain's brother, Mr. Abel, says that it is a good thing, because it means that Elijah will come for them soon, but Mr. Job doesn't believe it and says so - mocking the slow-witted man as he does it.

The scene flashes back to the groups first meeting, which took place a week ago at a coffee shop.   Mr. Job is being teased for thinking that Ground Hog Day is a national holiday.   Jarod tells the group that Mr. Elijah has given him the name of "Mr. Abraham" and that breaking and entering is one of his specialties.  He asks the group how they've managed to pull off 20 robberies and he is told that the secret is that they don't know anything about one another - they all have the names that Elijah has given them and they only see each other for the job to be done - not before, not after.   Mr. Elijah "calls" them via video phone on a laptop and tells them that Jarod (Mr. Abraham) is going to be in charge of their next assignment.   This doesn't sit very well with the group.   Mr. Job starts to walk out, but Elijah offers them a hundred thousand dollars each to do the job and that changes his mind.   Elijah also says that he wants them to do the job "without any blood on it."

Back at the warehouse, people are getting thirsty.   There's only one thing in the refrigerator ... a glass bottle half filled with water.   One at a time, each one eventually gets around to taking a drink from the bottle.   After Miss Eve has finished drinking, she notices a newspaper next to the refrigerator ... on the front page, there is a story about a little girl, Brittany Tate, being smothered during a robbery.   Jarod learns that the robbery was done by his group, three months ago - and that one of them killed the little girl - but no one knows who did it ... and no one is telling now.

The discussion is interrupted by the sound of a phone ringing from the laptop ... it's Elijah calling them.   Jarod tells him that one of the canisters has leaked.   He says that he has left some lab materials in the office that will help them with their situation.   In the meantime, he's sending a couple of his men to collect the canisters of gas and bring them their money -- they should be there within the next few hours.   Jarod leaves to go check out the lab materials - the rest of the group remains near the laptop.   When Elijah signs off,  Mr. Abel thinks they are being left to die.   His attitude is annoying Miss Eve and she tells Cain to shut him up before she does.   As Jarod brings out the "chemistry set," Cain tells his brother that Elijah wouldn't abandon them.   Jarod tells the group that Elijah has left him everything that he will need to create an antidote.

Miss Eve asks Jarod how they know that he can make an antidote ... as he is looking through the various items in the kit and arranging them, he tells her that he was an Army medic in Desert Storm and he knows a few things about chemical weapons.   Jarod then tells them that he will need a blood sample from each person.   Miss Eve doesn't take kindly to the request and pulls a gun on Jarod, telling the others that he could be a "wacko" for all they know.   She says that she's going to take her chances with a hospital.   Jarod tells her that she won't make it, and even if she does, the hospital won't have the antidote she needs.   Miss Eve thinks it over for a moment, and then says, "I'm outta here" ... but ... just as she heads toward the exit, she hears someone coming in!!   Everyone turns off the lights and gets out of sight, staying quiet - as four policemen check the place out - two of them walking in a little ways, as two more stay at the door.  Fortunately, before they get to the point in the building where they will see everyone, the policemen turn back and then leave.  Everyone heaves a sigh of relief, and Jarod holds up the hypo - telling everyone that he doesn't have a lot of time and he needs blood samples before it's too late.

Back at The Centre, Miss Parker, Broots and Sydney are looking at the video of what really happened on SL-26 ... they see Leonard holding the other man at gunpoint while he starts to dial the phone ... then the door bursts open and two sweepers spray the room with their Uzi's, while Mr. Raines looks on!   Neither man stands a chance - they are both killed immediately.  Miss Parker wants to know who Leonard was trying to call and Broots tells her that he can enhance that part of the video to see, but it will take him about an hour.  She tells him to do it.
As Jarod continues to work on the antidote, Abel is playing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" with one finger, over and over on the piano.   Everyone is sitting around, Mr. Job is taking a drink of water from the bottle in the refrigerator, when the TV suddenly comes to life with some "Late Breaking News."  The reporter says that the security guard at Magna Technology, where the robbery took place was found nearly strangled to death and his condition is considered to be "life threatening."  The police, she says, are still combing the area for the suspects.
Mr. Job asks which one of the others strangled the guard.  Cain asks what difference it makes.  Looking up from what he's doing, Jarod says that it might make a big difference, if they survive at all.  He wonders out loud which one of them has the "itchy trigger finger."

As Abel knocks over the piano bench, getting slightly hysterical, heading for the door - saying that he can't stay there anymore - his brother stops him and tries to calm him down.   Jarod uses the moment to say that he wonders what kind of people he's become involved with ... first someone kills a little girl and now someone tries to kill a "rent-a-cop" ... Jarod gets in Mr. Job's face and asks him it was him.   When no one will admit to either event, Jarod says that "Mr. Sparky and his 2200 volts of death, doesn't much care."  One by one, the others ask Jarod how they know it wasn't him that attacked the guard ... they say that they have all been working together for a long time and they know each other - Jarod is the unknown quantity there. 

Flash back to a planning session three days prior ... all of them are looking over the plans for Magna Technology ... Mr. Job asks Jarod what they are supposed to do about the security guard and Jarod tells him that they will walk right past him, dressed as janitors.  Job argues that he doesn't think he can pass as a janitor.   Jarod asks him if he has a better plan and Job says that he wants to know who Jarod is ... in spite of Elijah's rule about not knowing anything about anyone else, he had a friend run one of Jarod's fingerprints and it came up completely clean - no record of any kind.  Jarod says that he's broken plenty of laws, he's just "too damn smart, too damn good and likes his freedom too damn much to ever get caught."   Then Jarod says he ran Job's fingerprint as well ... and asks Mr. Job what, exactly, determines a lewd act ... at a kennel.  Then Jarod walks away as everyone else snickers quietly at Mr. Job.

Back in real time, Abel has gone back to tinkering on the piano and Job wants to know why he seems to be so much worse off than the rest of them.   Jarod tells him that Abel is just different and that they will all unravel at their own genetic pace.

Abel gets sick to his stomach and spits something up on the piano keys.   Job makes fun of him and Cain threatens to punch Job if he doesn't leave Abel alone.  Meanwhile, Abel is frantically trying to clean the mess off of the keys with his shirtsleeve, saying that "Mom" is going to be so mad at him.  Cain tries to make him stop, but he won't and finally Cain throws Abel off of the bench and onto the ground, screaming at him that their Mom is dead and has been for 10 years.   The strain of the situation is turning brother against brother.

Miss Eve wanders over toward Jarod and asks him how it's coming.   Jarod says that he's working on it and tells her that she should sit down ... it will slow the effects of the toxin.   Eve loosens her pony tail - lets her hair fall free.   Then she tells Jarod that the reason she wouldn't give him her blood before is because she is pregnant and she was afraid that all of this was going to hurt her baby.   Jarod reassures her - telling her that the effects are completely airborne and that her baby is the safest of all of them.   Miss Eve tells him that as long as it's safe for the baby, Jarod can take her blood - and offers up her arm.
At The Centre, Broots tells Miss Parker that he's got the video she wanted - but she's not going to like it ... as Miss Parker watches, Leonard dials 2725 ... her extension!   They all rush to her office to see if Leonard left a message there - and find that he did!   The message says that he saw something that he shouldn't have ... a memo, B237 - something about an e-mail file intercepted from her computer.   He says that she should see it - then they hear the sound of gunshots and the line goes dead.   Broots tells her that her e-mails were being intercepted and that's what was wrong with her computer.   Miss Parker asks him if duplicates aren't kept of all incoming and outgoing e-mails -- and Broots tells her that duplicates are kept, but that they aren't available on the regular system.   Miss Parker doesn't care ... she wants that e-mail and tells Broots to get it!

Abel is slumped against a wall, recalling how it felt to steal a cool bike, with a banana seat, when he was a kid.   Job is wandering around and suddenly notices that there is a toy chest sitting there ... a replica of the one into which Brittany Tate's body was stuffed.   He opens it and it's empty.  But the fact that it's there is freaking them out - Job says that Elijah is messing with their minds... Cain says who cares what happened months ago, they all need to keep their minds in the "here and now."   Job agrees ... he says he wants his hundred grand, here and now. 

Flashback to all of them walking past the security guard at Magna Technology ... they are dressed as janitors - the guard hardly gives them a look.   Job goes to the security panels and begins looping the monitors so that the guard won't be able to see them in the hallways.   As he loops each camera, he tells the team to "go" via their headsets - then gives Jarod the codes needed to open the appropriate doors.

Eve tells them that they need to get to room 2108 - her readings say that's where their target is.  To get into that room, Jarod puts in a contact lens ... then puts his eye up to a scanner ... he passes.   Everything seems to be going smoothly until the very end - after Jarod has retrieved the canisters.  They lose contact with Job and can't get an "all clear to exit" signal.  Jarod leads the team out anyway - when everyone meets up with Job, he apologizes, saying his headset died.   The guard isn't at his seat and the alarms are beginning to sound.

Back to real time - Miss Eve has got the shakes and Jarod has to help her into a chair.  Abel has been staring at the toy box.   He goes over to it, hears the tinkle of a music box, and opens it.  Inside he sees what appears to be the things that were found with Brittany Tate's lifeless body.   He closes the lid and backs away.  Job goes to see what Abel is making a fuss about - but when he opens the toy box, it is empty.   Not ready to believe that he has been hallucinating, Abel opens the chest again ... but it remains empty.  Everyone is more on edge than ever.   At that moment, two men dressed as cops enter with their guns drawn and tell everyone to freeze.  No one does - they all draw their guns and aim them at the policemen.  It's a stand off.  Before anyone gets shot, the policemen tell everyone that they are working for Elijah and are there to pick up the gas.   Job wants to know where the money is and one of the policeman slides a packet across the floor.   Upon examination, it's found that there is only $10,000 in the packet.   Jarod tells the policeman that the deal was for $100,000 each - but the policeman says that Mr. Elijah is less than satisfied with the way that the job went down and he'll be in touch.

Jarod uses his gun to motion the policemen over to a corner and says that they don't get the gas for only "10 large" ... and at that moment, the laptop computer signals another video connection.  It's Elijah ... everyone wants to know where the rest of the money is and Elijah tells them that it will be much harder to sell the gas now that it's become so sought after.   Jarod shoots one of the policemen, who falls to the ground ... then he grabs the healthy guard and tells Elijah that he's going to send him back for the rest of the money and if he doesn't return with it, then the police will get the canisters.   Elijah agrees to the deal, but says that he hopes they will all be alive to enjoy their money.   Jarod assures him that they will be -- then shoots the laptop, telling Elijah that it "ends his broadcast day."

At The Centre, Broots' search program has found the duplicate of Miss Parker's missing e-mail - it was from Edna Raines and there was a video file attached which isn't with the duplicate ... it's only in Mr. Raines office!   Broots realizes that Raines has been monitoring Miss Parker's e-mails since the day that Edna Raines escaped from the institution ... Raines had to have been anticipating that Edna would try to reach Miss Parker.  Miss Parker tells Broots that they have to go get that e-mail ... and poor Broots winces at the thought of having to break into Raines' office again.
In the warehouse, everyone is feeling pretty rocky.   The policeman who isn't a policeman is writhing on the ground with a wound to his leg, where Jarod shot him.   He tells everyone that Elijah is upset because of the fact that someone killed that little girl ... and now there's the incident with the guard.   Job decides that the policeman is going to bleed to death anyway, so he tells him the story ... their group was hired to steal some secret documents from an estate - very important stuff.   Whoever found the documents was supposed to bring them back to the van, but someone got greedy and took a little side-trip into the guest house.   The care-takers daughter wasn't supposed to be there, but she was.   Whoever went into that house, looking for a few extra bucks, killed the little girl to keep their identity safe.
Abel is hallucinating again ... he sees the kid whose bike he stole all those years ago.  The hallucination fades away and Abel goes back to picking out "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on the piano again.   Miss Eve swears that she can smell perfume ... it has her on edge and she puts her gun into Abel's back, daring him to play that tune just one more time.   Abel abandons the piano and Eve goes back to trying to isolate the odor of perfume to a particular region of the room.   She asks Jarod if the smell is the antidote ... but Jarod has moved to the piano and is playing "Claire de Lune" ... he says that the smell is his mother's perfume - he remembers it from when she used to tuck him into bed at night.  He starts telling them that the ingredients in perfume are known as "notes" and goes on to say how he hardly remembers his mother - comparing the notes of the song with the level of scents in her perfume.   Cain finally has enough of it and hits an overhead light with his hand, hard.   The light swings and hits the TV, which turns back on to show the same reporter that was there earlier ... the reporter reads a special report that says the guard has died from his injuries.   Angry at the fact that the guard died, Cain knocks the TV onto the ground, smashing it.   Jarod says that the guard "ain't the only one" who has died and uses a tarp to cover up the policeman that he shot - now dead, too.
Cain realizes that his nose has started to bleed and begins screaming at Jarod to finish the antidote.   Jarod pulls free and walks back over to the table where he was working before his side-trip to the piano.  On it are 4 syringes, filled with the green liquid that Jarod has been distilling for the past 5 hours, a fifth syringe sits empty, the fluid that would fill it still in the beaker.   Abel hears the sound of a music box again (it's playing "Claire de Lune") and opens the toy chest ... inside there is a picture of a young girl -- this time he picks it up and shows it to Job, saying "it's her ... it's Brittany Tate."   Eve grabs the picture from him, looks at it and tells him that it's not even Brittany Tate -- the picture is of someone else.
Jarod picks up the 5 syringes, but drops one to the floor, where it smashes.   He says that now there is only enough antidote for 4 of them.  Eve wants to know what that means and Jarod says that the one who killed Brittany Tate is the one who shouldn't get the antidote.   Cain wants to know how they are going to find out who did it, since no one is talking.   Jarod says they can use the process of elimination ... it couldn't have been him because he wasn't there.   Cain swears that he didn't kill the girl and Jarod says that he knows that Cain didn't ... and hands him a syringe.   He goes on to say that he knows that Abel didn't do it, and hands him a syringe.   Then he says that he knows Job didn't do it, and hands him a syringe.   That leaves only Eve without an antidote.
Eve wants to know what's going on and Jarod, suddenly showing no signs whatsoever of being ill in any way, tells her that she doesn't deserve the antidote, because she killed the little girl.   He tells her that he ran tests on her blood and knows that she isn't really pregnant - she just said that she was so that no one would suspect she would kill a child.   He then tells her that no one except the killer knew what Brittany looked like ... her picture wasn't in the paper, it wasn't in the news ... but Eve was the only one who recognized that the picture in the toy chest was not Brittany.

Eve pulls her gun and threatens everyone with it - saying that if they shoot her, at least two of them are going with her, starting with Abel.   Job says that if she is the one that killed the kid, then she's the ticket to getting their money from Elijah.   Right then, Eve's nose begins to bleed and she really starts to panic.   Playing on the fact that she thinks death is imminent, Jarod tells her that if she tells him the truth, he'll give her half of his dose -- then begins reminding her how slow and ugly her death will be without the antidote.  Eve cracks under the pressure and confesses ... but Jarod does not give her the antidote -- he lets it fall to the ground and smash, right in front of her.   Enraged at Jarod's betrayal, Eve begins shooting at him - then everyone begins shooting at one another ... but no one is injured!

Jarod reveals that everyone had blanks in their guns except for him ... and the policeman ... who is not dead at all.   He says he is an agent of the Texas Bureau of Investigation.  Everyone has been part of an elaborate sting operation that was made possible because Elijah was captured and cut a deal to lessen his sentence by playing along.   It was all designed to find out who killed the little girl, Brittany Tate.   No one was exposed to nerve gas ... he only give them a 12 hour intestinal virus with something to weaken the lining of the sinuses so that they would experience nose bleeds and something to constrict their breathing as well.   There was also a mild hallucinogen in the mix.

Suddenly something that looked like a brick wall opens up like a garage door and they can all see that they were being watched the entire time.

Miss Parker, Broots and Sydney are all in Mr. Raines office ... Broots is hacking into his computer to get the missing e-mail.   He finally finds it - it's from Edna Parker - it's a video message that tells Miss Parker that it's time for her to find out what her mother was doing.   Edna tells Miss Parker to reply to the e-mail as soon as possible and that she will then send her the "where and when" of how they can meet.   Before ending the e-mail, she says that it could be a matter of life and death.   Miss Parker wonders if it isn't already too late, since Raines has intercepted the e-mail.  (click Edna's picture to hear her e-mail)
Jarod is watching the robbers get taken away by the other officers in the Texas Bureau ... one of them mentions that if anyone ever finds out how this sting went down, he'll be in trouble.   Jarod reminds him that they caught a "baby killer" so things should all work out.   The officer tells Jarod that he'll see him downtown to book everyone - but Jarod tells him not to wait ... he has other business to which he needs to attend ... family business.

As the cars with the robbers pull away, Jarod walks away, in the other direction -- carrying the music box that plays the tune, "Claire de Lune."

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 and  Richard Marcus as Mr. Raines

Guest Stars:
Melinda Clarke, Michael Wiseman, Don Harvey, Kevin Wiseman, Charles Lucia 
and Thom Barry

Special Guest Star:
Barbara Babcock as Mrs. Raines

Also starring:
Frankie Jay Allison, Lisa Bowman, Don Mirault and Kenneth Livingston Taylor

"Meltdown" was written by:
Ethan Matthew Lawrence
and Directed by:
Krishna Rao





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