Mar. 7, 1998
Juan Carlos Coto
AT THE CENTRE, there is a new Sweeper assigned to Miss Parker named "Hayes". He's waiting for Miss Parker in her office, and takes a piece of candy from the candy jar to tide himself over until lunch time. Miss Parker arrives just as Hayes gets the candy into his mouth. He's a little surprised that she's working on a Sunday... and during a time when The Centre is supposed to be locking down for a "security drill". Almost everyone else has already cleared the building (or been locked away). She warns him that if he's going to be working for her he'll have to (1) keep his necktie on straight, (2) buy a new necktie because she hates the one he's wearing, and (3) leave the candy in the jar for clients. Hayes spits out his piece of candy and deposits it in an ashtray.
Miss Parker gets a call on her cell phone. It's Mr. Parker, who's calling from the Bermuda International Airport. He's cutting his vacation there short and will be flying back to The Centre that afternoon in a helicopter. Miss Parker is surprised by his actions: It is the anniversary of her mother's death and on every other anniversary Mr. Parker made sure he kept away from The Centre and the cemetery where his wife was buries. Yet, he's coming back home, he tells her, and wants to talk to her about his "regrets" and "things" they should have discussed a long time ago. He also wants to visit the grave site. Miss Parker tells him, "I'm here, Daddy... for you." She tells him she'll meet him at home later that evening.
As she's on her way out of The Centre, Miss Parker comes across Brigitte (who's wearing a sort of leather harlequin jacket) walking in the corridor. The two women snarl at one another, and Brigitte makes a comment about how "funereal" Miss Parker looks. "Get some color, luv," she tells her. Miss Parker ignores her advice.
Driving herself home in a luxury sedan, Miss Parker gets another telephone call. This time it's from Jarod. He asks her where she is and she tells him she's on her way home. He tells her she has to get back to The Centre immediately. "Someone's going to kill your father."
Miss Parker angrily tells Jarod that THIS day, above all days, is not the day to be jerking her around or playing games with her. Jarod tells her he's very much aware of the significance of the day, and repeats that her father's life is in danger. His source has told him there is a file called "Arkham" in The Centre mainframe computer that details an assassination plot against Mr. Parker. She'll need to get back to The Centre and access the file if she's going to save Mr. Parker. Miss Parker reminds Jarod that Mr. Parker kept him a prisoner for over 30 years, and she wants to know why Jarod is concerned about his safety now. Jarod says The Centre already took her mother from her, he doesn't want it to take her father from her as well; and, he reminds her, if Mr. Parker dies, all the answers he has to Jarod's and Miss Parker's questions die with him. Miss Parker spins her car around and speeds back to The Centre.
IN TURNERS RIDGE, IDAHO, Jarod -- posing as Jarod Crockett -- is talking to the father of a teenager named Chris who is a client under-going treatment through guides/counselors, like Jarod, at the Power Quest camp. The father is concerned that Chris is not responding to treatment: he's been to therapists, counselors, camps... but is still very withdrawn, angry, and depressed over an accident that happened a year ago and took the life of his friend, Nick.
Chris walks up with his back-pack and gear in hand, and Jarod asks him if he's ready for their hike. They're going up the side of a mountain, one of several teams, and will try to beat the other teams to the opposite cliff face. Surly and withdrawn, Chris says he'd rather just go home.
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker has Broots come in, taking him away from his daughter's dance recital, and has him down in the Sim Lab with her and Sydney. She has him search the mainframe for the Arkham file. While Broots searches for the file with his laptop computer, Miss Parker talks to Sydney. She tells him her father was reaching out to her that morning, and Sydney warns her not to expect too much from Mr. Parker: he's disappointed her before. She then asks Sydney about the day of her mother's death. She wonders if Sydney had ever seen her father grieve over his loss (as she herself never did). Sydney tells her that after the shooting, Mr. Parker admonished him to never speak of the incident again (either with Miss Parker or with Jarod); he then told Sydney to go home and to come back to The Centre the next day, ready to work. "Life goes on," Mr. Parker said to him, without emotion.
While Sydney and Miss Parker are talking, Angelo is listening to them through one of the large air conditioning conduits that link up to the Sim Lab. He mutters, "Daughter sad," and then scrambles through the ducts and tunnels to a secret place where he keeps a box and some toys. The box is decorated with paint and glued-on trinkets. Inside of it is a mass of DSAs. Angelo carefully picks one of the DSAs, a box of Cracker Jacks and scrambles back to where Miss Parker is.
IN IDAHO, Jarod and Chris are hiking up to the cliff face together, but Chris isn't paying attention to the workings of his compass, and decides they're lost. Jarod confirms that they probably are, and Chris grumbles, "Whatever... It's not my fault." Jarod tells him they have to work as a team if they're going to make it to the cliff face before the others; they have to communicate. The word "communicate" rattles Chris and he tells Jarod to quite trying to "bug him out." "Bug you out?" Jarod asks, and Chris says angrily that all the therapists and counselors and guides are always trying to get into his head; to make him talk about Nick and the accident. Well, he doesn't feel like talking, he tells Jarod, "Let's just climb, okay?" Jarod agrees, and says the trip might be easier than they thought.
Jarod points to a gully where an abandoned jeep is sitting in a makeshift camp. He tells Chris that if they can get the jeep running, they can drive it along the fire routes on the side of the mountain and get to the cliff face before the other teams. "It'll be our secret. You're good at keeping secrets, aren't you, Chris?" Chris is only vaguely interested in the idea, and only because it might get him home earlier.
By fiddling with the engine, Jarod is able to get some life out of it, but he needs Chris to push-start the jeep for him. He'll sit inside the jeep and pop the clutch, if Chris will give the jeep a big push to get it started. Chris agrees, and pushes at the jeep when Jarod tells him to. Jarod gets the jeep started, rolling down the hillside, but he doesn't seem to be able to control it. "My brakes!" he yells to Chris as the jeep careens down the hill.
Chris chases after it, trying to help Jarod get out, but he can't catch up. The jeep speeds down the hill and eventually flips over several times, off the fire trail, down a hill. When Chris arrives, the jeep is lying on its back, and Jarod is pinned underneath it, bruised and unconscious.
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Broots exclaims that he's found the Arkham file, but before he can open it, he, Miss Parker, and Sydney are startled to find Mr. Raines walking through the lab. "What are you doing here?" Miss Parker demands, pointing a gun at Mr. Raines' face. Mr. Raines responds flatly: "I live here."
Miss Parker warns Mr. Raines to stay away from Broots and the computer, so Broots can open the file and Mr. Raines obliges, saying, "I have no knowledge of this.” Broots tells Miss Parker that there's a "doorbell" on the file. If he opens it, it will trigger an alarm that will tell whomever wrote it that someone's broken into it. Believing the author of the file is Mr. Raines, Miss Parker demands that Broots open the file. Broots opens it but he only gets a glimpse of it before the whole file starts encrypting itself into useless gibberish. He was only able to read a reference to an assassination schedule for "1900 hours", before the file was corrupted. Mr. Parker is due back at the Centre at 19:00 hours (7:00 pm).
The opening of the Arkham file didn't just set off the encryption program, however. All of the power suddenly goes off all over The Centre: elevators are frozen, electronic doors are sealed, there is no air conditioning, and there are no lights. Mr. Raines looks around and says, "We're all in the dark about this, Miss Parker." Miss Parker starts to yell at him, blaming him for a "palace coup against her father", and telling Sydney to, "Wake up and smell the oxygen." The entire scenario is Raines' doing, she's sure. But Mr. Raines insists he's not responsible for what's happening. To prove it, he points out that's he trapped in the lab along with them... and his oxygen tank is running dry. He's in as much jeopardy as the rest of them.
Meanwhile, in the lobby of The Centre, Hayes is looking for Miss Parker. He was supposed to meet her in the Sim Lab, but can't get to her because of the power outage. He tries to raise her on one of the emergency phones, but it's dead. Before he can do anything else, he's attacked by a shadowy figure in the corridor, and riddled with bullets. He's dead before he hits the floor.
Back in the lab, Mr. Raines tries to explain to everyone that the access channel to the old boiler room in the building still exists, and spans the entire height of the Centre, all the way up to the lobby. No one is listening to him. Miss Parker is trying to think of another way out of the Sim Lab.
She recalls a time, immediately after the death of her mother, when, as a child, she met Jarod and Angelo in the Sim Lab. Jarod was trying to coax Angelo out of one of the air conditioning conduits, but Angelo wasn't responding. Miss Parker tried to help by offering Angelo a box of Cracker Jacks (which neither Jarod nor Angelo had ever seen before). She explained, "...The snack with the toy surprise." Jarod asked, "Why would someone want a toy surprise in their food?" But Angelo seemed pleased with the gift. As he played with the Cracker Jacks, he rolled over and pulled a lever inside the conduit. "Surprise." he said cheerily.
The adult-Miss Parkers shakes herself out of her memories and finds, in the lab, the same tunnel the child-Angelo had been hiding in. She also finds the lever still there. It's old and difficult to push, but she finally gets it to move... and the doors of the Sim Lab open. (It was a manual override switch for the doors.) She's ready to rush out, but Broots says he'll go with her. He's got his laptop, has found some tools, and has come across some walkie-talkies they can use; maybe he can find a way to get the power back on somehow. Miss Parker leaves the Lab with Broots, and Sydney stays behind with Mr. Raines, who's having a great deal of difficulty breathing.
In the corridor, it's very dark, and when Miss Parker comes across two Sweepers she doesn't know, she threatens to kill them. One in front of her and one behind her, they pull out their guns and threaten Broots, too, so Miss Parker feigns a surrender -- then shoots at a fire extinguisher on the wall beside one of the Sweepers. The Sweepers both fire at Miss Parker, but she drops to the floor quickly enough to avoid being hit, and their bullets strike one another. Miss Parker also puts a few shots into the Sweeper nearest to Broots, and then both Sweepers fall over dead.
IN IDAHO, Chris tries to pull Jarod out of the toppled jeep, but Jarod screams in pain when he does that. He tells Chris his leg must be broken, and that he may be bleeding internally, so Chris has to go get help for him. He'll have to climb up the side of the mountain to where a road is, just over the grade. Chris says he can't do it; he can't do anything; he's a coward. Jarod tries to comfort him by telling him that "accidents happen”; and that the accident that killed Chris's friend, Nick, wasn't Chris's fault. "I can help you if you let me. Let me help you," Jarod pleads.
Chris tells him that he lied before when he said Nick died instantly after the crash. Jarod asks him to tell him what really happened. Chris says they were out joy-riding and the car crashed. Nick was pinned behind the steering wheel but wasn't dead. There was blood everywhere... and then a fire started. Chris got himself out of the car and crawled away to safety, leaving Nick inside the burning vehicle. He heard Nick talking to him, and screaming, while he burned to death. For that, Chris cannot forgive himself. He berates himself as a coward and a liar, and says he should be dead, too. Jarod tells him his reaction was "human"; and that he couldn't have gotten Nick out from behind the steering wheel if he had wanted to. It was an accident, a tragedy, but its wasn't Chris's fault.
Jarod then tells Chris a little bit about the van-fire that killed his own brother Kyle. "I watched my brother die in a car accident... Not a day goes by when I don't blame myself; when I wish I could have done something different," Jarod says. "He forgave me. I hear his voice inside of me; just like you hear Nick's. What would he want you to do now?"
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker and Broots are in an elevator, and Broots is trying to hot-wire it to make it go again. Miss Parker looks around the inside of the elevator and is astonished to find that there is still a bullet hole near the ceiling: left there after her mother's killing years before. Broots says he surprised someone hadn't fixed it yet, and Miss Parker responds that that's just The Centre's way: always leaving a reminder, a "message" everywhere. Miss Parker then asks Broots if he'd ever thought of just packing up and leaving The Centre. Broots says the thought had crossed his mind, but... Miss Parker tells him, "Do it for Debbie. Do it now, because the next elevator you get on..." She looks up at the bullet hole.
Broots gets the elevator going again by tapping into its separate power source, and he and Miss Parker ride it up to the lobby. The elevator doors open, and Broots stays inside to secure the wiring until Miss Parker gives him the all-clear. It doesn't come. Miss Parker is attacked by Brigitte in the corridor just outside the elevator.
"I'm getting real sick of you," Miss Parker snarls at Brigitte. And Brigitte counters by asking her where Sydney and Broots are. "I thought Stooges always traveled in threes." The two women start punching each other, and Miss Parker loses her gun in fracas. As the women beat each other up, Broots sets off an alarm inside the elevator. It distracts Brigitte long enough for Miss Parker to get away from Brigitte and fall back into the elevator. Brigitte fires several rounds into the elevator with her own machine gun, before the doors close and the elevator starts to fall.
The gun fire made Broots drop the elevator connectors, and the elevator's gone dead again. The cab is free-falling back down the shaft. Broots scrambles to get the wiring back together, so he can at least make the brakes kick in. They do... but only when he and Miss Parker are all the way down to SL-26. Once the elevator is stopped, Broots looks over to Miss Parker and realizes she's been struck by one of Brigitte's bullets.
The bullet only grazed Miss Parker's left arm, but is causing her pain and making her lose some blood. Broots ties it off with a strip of fabric, as Miss Parker kicks at the elevator panel hard enough to force the doors open again. She has no gun, so Broots hands her a screw driver as a weapon. She looks at it, and tells Broots, "I want to kill her, not screw her." Broots tells Miss Parker it's the only weapon she has at the moment, so she should get used to it. Besides, he says, he's right behind her. Miss Parker jokes that that makes her feel soooo much safer.
Broots and Miss Parker venture out of the elevator, and come across a connecting corridor -- where Angelo is waiting for them. He offers Miss Parker a crumpled box of Cracker Jacks, and tells her "Toy surprise." At first she refuses to take it, but Angelo persists, so she grabs the box away from him and looks inside of it. He's put the surprise of a DSA inside the box. Miss Parker realizes that it's one that was recorded on the day of her mother's death. Using Broots laptop computer, Miss Parker plays the DSA.
On the DSA we see a younger Sydney and a younger Mr. Parker talking to one another in a corridor of The Centre. Sydney is trying to offer his condolences over the death of Catherine Parker, but Mr. Parker refuses to express any grief. He tells Sydney not to talk to anyone about what happened to Catherine, tells him to go home, and to come back tomorrow ready for work. "Life goes on," he tells Sydney, and Sydney walks away. Only when he believes he's alone, does Mr. Parker repeat, "Life goes on," then collapses on a nearby staircase and starts to cry bitterly. This is the first time Miss Parker has ever seen her father behave like this, and it disturbs her -- and strengthens her resolve to protect him from the assassination attempt. "Daddy sad," Angelo says. "Must save daddy."
Looking over Broots' shoulder at the laptop, Angelo reaches past him and opens the Arkham file again. After fiddling with the keys, he gets the file to sort itself out so Broots and Miss Parker can read it. The file tells them that there is a bomb mounted on the bottom of the helicopter that is bringing Mr. Parker to The Centre. But it's controlled by a distance-sensitive triggering device. When the chopper gets close enough to the triggering mechanism, the bomb will explode.
IN IDAHO, Chris wraps Jarod in a thick jacket, and gives him a canteen of water, then goes off in search of help. He has to climb through uncomfortable terrain, and sometimes nearly falls, but he keeps going until he reaches the summit of the mountainside, and can see the road on the other side.
AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker finds the old boiler tunnel Raines had been talking about previously, and climbs into it. It has a long ladder the reaches up 26 floors all the way to the lobby. She climbs it; sometimes slipping; sometimes having rungs of the ladder collapse under her, but she keeps going until she makes it all the way to the lobby. She then calls Sydney on the walkie-talkie and tells him to put Raines on the line to her. Sydney tells her that Raines is in severe distress; his oxygen is almost gone. He's hooked Raines up to an oxygen main in the wall of the Sim Lab, but if she can't get the power on, Mr. Raines will die. Before she goes looking for the power switches, Miss Parker demands to speak to Raines.
Miss Parker: "Are you trying to kill my father?"
Miss Parker: "Who is?"
Raines: "The same people who killed your mother."
Miss Parker: " WHO?!?!"
Mr. Raines blacks out from lack of oxygen, and Sydney demands that Miss Parker find the power mains. Miss Parker finds the main control room, and restores power to The Centre... just in time for Mr. Raines to get a few good lungsful of oxygen-rich air.
Outside The Centre on the heli-pad, it's dark outside already, and Brigitte is out there with the triggering device for the bomb on Mr. Parker's helicopter. She can see the chopper just coming into sight. She'll let it get within 100 feet before it explodes. The trigger-mechanism starts a backward count-down.
As Brigitte walks back to a door that will get her back inside The Centre, she's shocked to find the door burst out at her. Miss Parker is there, and the two start bare-fist brawling again. Both women seem evenly matched, but Miss Parker is trying to save her father, so she calls on strength that comes from deeper places than anything Brigitte has. She beats Brigitte down into the surface of the heli-pad, and then scrambles to get a hold of the triggering mechanism. She shuts it off, just before the helicopter comes within range.
When the helicopter lands, she rushes into Mr. Parker’s arms and he holds her and supports her against his chest. As he brushes Miss Parker's hair with his hand, we can see his wedding band shining brightly on his ring finger.
IN IDAHO, it's also starting to get dark, and Jarod is sitting in the back of an ambulance with a splint on his leg. He thanks Chris for helping him, and tells him he'll be all right. "Nick would be proud," Jarod tells Chris, and Chris answers: "I know. He told me..." Chris's father comes over to take Chris back home, and Jarod is left alone at the ambulance for a few minutes. He pulls from his jacket the red notebook with Chris's story in it, and then closes it, knowing Chris will be fine from now on. Then Jarod leans over and starts pulling at the velcro strips that hold the splint onto his leg.
"But your leg is broken," the ambulance attendant says astonished. Jarod pulls the splint off his leg and stands up, perfectly whole. He smiles at the ambulance driver and says, "I eat a lot of ice cream. Calcium: it's good for you." Jarod then walks off to where his recovered jeep is standing. He starts it right up and drives away.
The episode ends with a scene at the graveyard where Catherine Parker is buried. We can see that her tombstone is huge, and has a place on it for Mr. Parker's epitaph when he dies (so he can be buried beside her). Decorating the grave is a huge bouquet of beautiful fresh flowers. Miss Parker and Mr. Parker are both at the grave site, and Mr. Parker admits that he hadn't been back there since the day of the funeral. He couldn't face Catherine, he tells Miss Parker, but doesn't explain himself further. He does promise Miss Parker, however, that he'll join her at the grave site every year from now on. "Are you all right?" Miss Parker asks him. And he swallows hard and tells her, "Life goes on." Mr. Parker walks away from the grave, and Miss Parker is ready to follow him, but her cell phone rings. It's Jarod on the line.
Jarod says he's thankful that her father survived the assault on his life, and Miss Parker thanks him for his help. He tells her, her mother knows what she feels. "How do you know?" Miss Parker asks him. "Read the card," Jarod answers. Miss Parker reaches into the bouquet of flowers and find a hand-written card there that reads: HER VOICE IS INSIDE YOU.
Almost in tears, Miss Parker presses the card to her heart. Then she kisses the tips of her fingers, and transfers the kiss to the headstone with a gentle touch. As she turns away from the grave and follows after her father, the camera pulls back... to show us Jarod. He's dressed in black, and standing just on the other side of the cemetery fence. He silently watches as Miss Parker walk away.