Feb. 6, 1999
AT THE BUS DEPOT IN WASHINGTON D.C. In a back, room four people are playing poker. Two guys who are waiting for a bus, an employee of "Patriot Bus Lines" and Jarod. They are playing for cash, there must be about 500 or 600 bucks in the pile by now. The female bus employee and one of the two guys have already passed, only Jarod and the other guy are left in the game. When Jarod runs out of cash, he throws in his watch, which is worth six grand! In return, he says he'll settle for the 327$ that the guy has left, as well as his hat. That's when they're running out of time, because the bus the guys are waiting for is about to leave. "Tic, tic, tic" Jarod says. Finally, the guy gives up and they leaves, Jarod wins. "Hey mister," the guy says before he leaves, "did you have the Flush?". "Do you really wanna know?" Jarod replies. No, he doesn't. Wishing him a good trip, Jarod gives him back his hat, but keeps the money. When Jarod grabs the pile laughing, the bus employee looks at his cards "Hell of a bluff, sweetie" she says. She wants to know where he had learned to play like cards this. Jarod shows her a book entitled "How To Win At Poker".
A woman comes to the ticket box and nervously asks the employee for a ticket, saying she'll take the first thing out that they have. The employee says she has a turn-around to Baltimore. She wonders why the woman would want to drive for one hour, only to come right back. The woman looks back and spots a stranger who has just come around the corner. She asks for the bathroom, but the man follows her there. Jarod, who has observed the whole scene, follows the woman into the bathroom as well, to check what's going on.
In the bathroom, the stranger pulls out a gun and checks every toilet till he finds the one where the woman is hiding. When he tells her to come out, she says she's not trying to run away, she just needs time to think. He threatens to shoot her right through the door if she doesn't come out in three seconds. That's when Jarod comes in. "I believe this is the ladies' room" he says, as he knocks the man out.
"Do you have any idea what you just did?" the woman asks when she comes out of the toilet. "Helped you?" Jarod replies. "Mind your own business" she says "you could get somebody killed" and leaves.
AT THE CENTRE Broots shows Sydney a card that says "We are pleased to announce our engagement. Join us celebrating our new found bliss". "It's The Centre...strange bedfellows" is all Sydney replies to Broots' confusion.
Miss Parker joins them, asking if they had anything new from the bus station, where Jarod had been all over the security cameras, but never got on a bus.
But they haven't found anything. Broots asks if he can get the evening off, announcing (to Miss Parker's surprise) that he has a date. Sydney has plans as well, he's going to a poetry reading and asks Miss P. is she wants to join him. When she refuses, still wondering that her two colleagues are suddenly developing something like a life, Broots wants to know about her plans for the evening. Miss P. simply replies "Good night" and leaves.
AT NIGHT Jarod breaks into Rachel's house, the woman from the bus station. We recognize her on pictures, together with her kids, and we learn her name from her answering machine. Suddenly, Rachel approaches Jarod from behind and pokes a gun into his neck. "Are you stupid?" she wants to know "Did you forget what I told you?". "Funny, it's all coming back to me now" Jarod replies. She asks Jarod to turn around slowly and demands to know what he is doing in her house. Showing her a picture with her address written on the back, he explains that he got it off her "friend" at the bus station. "Did the company send you?" she wants to know. Not understanding her question, Jarod asks "The bus company?". She thinks he's joking and tells him she'll shoot him right now if he doesn't stop playing games. "In front of your children?" Jarod asks. Looking at the pictures, he tells her that she has a beautiful family, but where are they? Her phone rings. "I wasn't running. I wouldn't" she tells the person at the other end of the line. "You're telling me he's not one of yours?" she wants to know. "Rock Creek Park 10 a.m. Oh yes I will. I'll be there." she says and hangs up the phone. Still aiming at Jarod, she asks for his name, then she tells him to turn around. "I'd really rather not" Jarod replies. When he turns around, Rachel asks him if he has ever felt completely alone, like you're in a dark room and you can't find the door. "My whole life" Jarod replies. "That's what they've done to me, they've taken away the light" she tells him, before she knocks Jarod out with her gun. "I'm sorry" she adds, before she leaves.
AT THE CENTRE Miss Parker opens all the drawers in her desk, till she finds what she's been looking for: One of her old cigarette packs. But she's interrupted by Brigitte and Mr. Lyle. Lyle says he wants Brigitte and Miss Parker to "make peace", but neither one of them seems very intrigued by the idea...When Lyle asks Miss P about the cigarette pack, she lies, saying that she was cleaning out her desk. Then she asks the two of them to leave. Before leaving, Brigitte says smiling, that she hopes Miss P. will one day find a relationship as special as the one she and her father have. When she's gone, Miss Parker asks Lyle how he could let this happen. He replies that this is just as strange for him as it is for her, after all, he says, he has slept with Brigitte himself...
He also tells Miss Parker that she shouldn't deny happiness to those around her, just because she hasn't found it yet.
AT RACHEL'S HOUSE Jarod wakes up in the morning. It's 9.43 a.m. Taking one of Rachel's pictures with him, he immediately heads for the park, where Rachel has her meeting.
AT THE ROCK CREEK PARK Rachel meets the same man who had been following her at the bus station. As they sit on a merry-go-round, he tells her to take the case under the bench, go to the Chester Hotel, where a room is waiting for her under the name of "Andrews" (we suppose it's her last name). There, she is to wait for further instructions. Their ride ends and the man leaves.
SOMEWHERE AT A GAS STATION Miss P. is standing indecisively in front of a cigarette machine, when a handsome stranger in blue jeans and a red shirt comes up to her. "Will she or won't she?" he says, while Miss P. gives him a disparaging look, "Only her cardiologist knows for sure. You should probably stock up on red meat and donuts while you're at it. Why waste a perfectly good heart attack?" Then he presents himself as Thomas Gates, Tommy for his friends. "What do your friends call you?" he wants to know. She replies she doesn't have any. "Two years, three months, twenty-one days" he says. That's how long it's been since Thomas quit smoking. When he asks her if she believes in fate, she just replies (in a typical Miss Parker way, I might add) "Oh, please...". But he was referring to the fact that the cigarette machine apparently strikes and won't let her "rejoin the nicotine club". "Fate", he repeats.
AT THE CHESTER HOTEL, WASHINGTON D.C. : When Rachel comes out of the shower, she finds a picture of her and her kids on a chest of drawers. Jarod is sitting in an armchair. He says he wonders why someone would run away from the people they love, and tells her he's here to help her find her "light" again. On the bed lies the case that Rachel got at the park, in it is a rifle with telescopic sight. When Jarod asks what she is planning to do with this, she replies "Get my children back".
Rachel tells Jarod about something called the "M2-Project". She was recruited by the CIA at the age of 22, after leaving the University of Virginia. When Jarod wonders what the CIA wanted with college students, Rachel explains that she and the others were computer analysts, the tops of their class. Once they joined "The Company" they were trained to create simulations. "Simulations?" Jarod wants to know. It turns out that these simulations were just like the ones Jarod was forced to do at The Centre. And just like him, they hadn't been told what the sims were really used for, they were told that they were only for training purposes. All in all, five people had been recruited for the project, all of them had military background. Apparently, Rachel's father used to be a champion target shooter, and she was "a better shot" than him.
After a while, Rachel started reading stories in the newspaper of bombings and terrorist assaults. And, just like Jarod, she recognized her own simulations. "You have no idea what it's like to know that people are dying from something you thought up" she says. "To have...so much...innocent blood on your hands" Jarod continues, "I understand".
A man named Alex E. Rinfrow was the head of "M2". When Rachel begged him for a transfer, he just wouldn't let her go. So she started taking small amounts of poison and pesticides, in order to make him believe she was too sick to continue the job. After one month they finally let her go.
Rachel's husband had left her after the birth of their son, leaving her all alone. Now, ten years after she left M2, they took her children. Ten days ago, somebody knocked at the front door. When Rachel answered and saw that no one was there, she ran into the backyard right away, where the kids had been taking care of the dog. But they were already gone. Now she is to do exactly what "they" tell her, or her children will die. For the time being, she doesn't even know yet who she's supposed to kill.
AT THE SAME GAS STATION AS THE DAY BEFORE Miss P. arrives in her car and honks for service. Instead of the attendant, Thomas comes out and offers his help, saying that the guy is in the bathroom. But Miss Parker refuses, telling him that she can do it herself. Thomas has found out where she lives and tells her that he's restoring a house near her place. Miss P. calls it a "dump on the hill", but he explains that it's actually a pretty antique house with remnants from the 17th century. Miss Parker, however, isn't interested in that. "Don't you have any passions Miss Parker?" he asks. She is surprised and slightly shocked that he knows her name "People talk" Thomas explains, and hands her a business card. "Gates Restorations - Where everything old is new again" it says. Before he leaves, he wishes her a nice day, because he "has the feeling she deserves one".
AT THE CENTRE Broots tries to tell a joke to some blond woman, but she doesn't seem to be very amused by it...she walks away. Miss P. comes up to him instead and wants him to run a check-up on Thomas Michael Gates. When Broots wants to know who he is, she replies she needs it ASAP.
AT THE CHESTER HOTEL Jarod has found a picture of Alex Rinfrow in the federal archives. He has been suspected for at least a half a dozen political assassinations and used to be on the FBI's top ten list, until he died in a bus crash in Honduras in 1995. All the other M2 members and their families are dead as well, each death was ruled accidental. Each of the members died within 48 after a political assassination. The same thing will happen to Rachel and her family as soon as she finishes this "job".
But if everybody connected to M2 is dead, then who is behind all this? Rachel doesn't know. But she wonders once more who Jarod really is, why he rescues her in a bathroom, accesses classified information like it's nothing and seems to feel what she feels before she feels it. "I'm just a guy waiting for a bus" Jarod replies, when somebody knocks at the door. Jarod hides in the bathroom. In comes the man we've seen at the bus station and at the park. He gives Rachel an envelope with a picture in it. Then he goes to the bathroom. He goes on telling Rachel that Senator Sanford Reese is giving a speech tonight, the rehearsal is in one hour. She is to wait till he finishes it, before she shoots him once through the forehead. When Rachel wants to know the reasons, the man simply replies "Don't mess up...mom". When he leaves, Rachel enters the bathroom to check on Jarod, but he has already snuck out through the window. As he climbs down the fire escape, Jarod watches the man coming out of the hotel. In the car that has been waiting outside Jarod recognizes Alex Rinfrow.
AT THE GAS STATION IN DELAWARE Miss Parker is standing next to Thomas Gates' truck. "We're gonna have to stop meeting like this" he says as he comes up to her "People will talk". "Mh, people talk" Miss P. replies "I don't usually pay much attention to it myself". Thomas invites her to try out his new telescope out in the woods that night, but then laughs, saying that this must be the worst pick-up line in the history of pick-up lines. "Do I look like that hanging-out-in-the woods kinda gall to you?" Miss P. replies smiling. Just as they start flirting around like this a little (if anything Miss P. would ever do could come even close to flirting...), a car pulls up. In it is the one person that Miss Parker really didn't need to see right now (or ever): Brigitte. After smiling stupidly at Miss P. for a few seconds, Brigitte tells her that she's needed back at the office.
Miss Parker leaves, telling Thomas she's sorry and that this was a big mistake. He tells her that he'll be up at Old Bridge Road tonight, in case she changes her mind, but she replies that she won't.
AT THE CHESTER HOTEL : When Jarod comes back into the room, Rachel is watching one of Jarod's DSA's (It's the one from the second season episode "Past SIM"). "What are you doing?" he wants to know. She aims her gun at him and asks him who he works for, CIA, NSA or who else. Jarod tells her it's not what it looks like. "I trusted you" Rachel says, throwing the DSA at him "I trusted you with the life of my children!". Jarod tells her that he saw Alex Rinfrow in the car, that he's alive and probably the one who's behind all this. Without letting Jarod explain the DSA's, Rachel tells him to get into the closet and blocks the door with a chair. She won't listen to his warnings about what's going to happen to her once this is over. She says she will talk to Rinfrow. But after she's gone, Jarod manages to kick the closet door open.
AT THE CENTRE Miss P. asks Brigitte what the hell she was doing out there. She replies that she was just following orders. When Miss Parker wants to know why Brigitte is still involved in her life, she shows her lots of pictures of her and Thomas. "Your father and I love you very much" Brigitte says "and we only want what's best for you". Brigitte tells Miss P. that she knows nothing about this man and that he's a potential security risk. She is not to have further contact with him until a complete background check-up is done. "Is that an order?" Miss Parker wants to know. "From the highest level" Brigitte replies. She also reminds her never to forget where she came from and tells her that she is not like "them".
IN WASHINGTON, AT THE SENATOR'S REHEARSAL Rachel is preparing for the assassination. But Jarod is there, too. Pretending to be a security guy, he finds out that there is a catwalk above the control room. That's where Rachel is about to make her move, but Jarod stops her just in time. He tells her he knows what it's like to have innocent blood on one's hands, that he tries to run from it and that he spends every day of his life trying to make up for it. He says that if she kills this man now, there won't be any life left for her or her children. "If there is a way to save your children, I'll find it." Jarod says" Or I'll die trying, I promise you that". Finally, breaking out in tears, Rachel outs down the rifle, saying "You just saved his life, and I just killed my children".
OUTSIDE Alex Rinfrow is waiting in his car, when he watches the senator coming out, very much alive.
INSIDE THE BUILDING Rachel gets a call from Rinfrow, who tells her he's very disappointed. When Rachel begs him not to hurt her children, he replies that it's out of his control now. Rachel tells him she'll do anything, but Jarod takes over the phone. "Listen to me Rinfrow" he says "there's a new player at the table". He tells him that he knows all about his involvement in the M2 killings and how he faked his own death to avert an FBI manhunt. Jarod also says that he is in possession of a tape showing Rinfrow outside the Chester Hotel. With Rachel as the last witness, he has enough prove to go to the FBI. He says he will call them right away, unless Rinfrow returns the children unharmed. Then he gives him 30 seconds to think about it and hangs up the phone. Rachel can't believe what Jarod has just done. "He'll call back" Jarod assures her. 20 seconds go by and nothing happens. Finally, the phone rings. Rinfrow apparently wants to cut a deal, but his real plan is to kill Jarod, Rachel and the kids after the exchange, when they come home.
IN THEIR HOTEL ROOM Jarod and Rachel are preparing the pretend. Obviously, the tape Jarod was talking about doesn't really exist, so they make their own little film, starring Jarod, a table, and a stack of cards. Then they put on bullet-proof vests, just in case, and Jarod calls the FBI.
AT THE SAME PARK AS THE DAY BEFORE They meet Alex Rinfrow and exchange the tape for the children, after Rachel has assured Rinfrow that she won't go to the authorities. "I don't care what happens to you Rinfrow," she says "I want my family back". "Be sure to check the tape" Jarod tells Rinfrow before they leave "I wouldn't want you to feel cheated".
IN HIS CAR Rinfrow watches the tape. It shows Jarod dealing out cards. First he congratulates Rinfrow for "playing a good game of poker", by using low-profile assassins, faking his own death and finally eliminating all the witnesses. But of course Jarod knew that Rinfrow would never allow Rachel or her children to just walk away, even if he got what he wanted. He then tells him to open the envelope that came with the tape. In it, Rinfrow finds a hand of cards: Aces and Eights, a "Dead Man's Hand". "Which...is exactly what you are", Jarod says on the tape. We hear several police sirens coming, Rinfrow has no chance to escape.
AT THE CENTRE Miss Parker find an envelope on her desk that says "Thomas Gates - background analysis". The phone rings. It's Jarod. He wonders why she is still at the office at midnight. He tells Miss P. that he has met a woman who reminds him of her: smart, passionate, tortured. "Is that what I am?" Miss Parker asks. Jarod replies that, just like her, the woman was a prisoner of her past and of the people who wanted to control her future. But instead of fighting back, she almost let them destroy her. But it all worked out in the end. Jarod hopes that the same will happen to her. Before he hangs up, he tells her to trust her heart and not to let them take away her happiness.
Miss Parker looks at Thomas' business card, then at the envelope. Finally, she throws the envelope into the trash, without looking at its contents, and drives up to the woods to meet Thomas.
"I didn't think you'd come" he says. "Tell me about yourself" Miss P. asks. "What do you wanna know?" he replies. "Everything" she says.