Original air date: October 19, 1996
Written by: Juan Carlos Coto
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Jarod goes undercover as a test pilot to prove a defence contractor’s new computer system was defective, casuing the death of another pilot.
Jarod’s Discoveries: Pez, Silly Putty
Jarod’s Occupations: Test Pilot, Symphony Conductor
Jarod’s Aliases: Jarod Wright
Jarod attempts to clear the name of a pilot blamed for the crash of a jet plane.
At the Soledad Wind Power Research Area in Baja, California, Miss Parker and Sydney speak with a man named Kendall, who befriended Jarod before he last disappeared. Kendall describes Jarod’s fascination with the air currents and updrafts that move the windmills. Meanwhile, Jarod puts a jet airplane through some impressive maneuvers as another pilot, Matthews, a defense contractor, observes. Jarod’s performance is so impressive that Matthews offers him a job with his company, SkyVionics.
On the ground, Jarod, now Jarod Wright, points out that SkyVionics’ stock has risen some 17 percent in the last quarter alone, bucking the trend of most ailing defense contractors, who were badly hurt by the end of the cold war. Matthews hopes to have his new Scimitar system, which is attracting interest from buyers around the world, approved in a short period of time. He instructs Jarod to show another pilot, Dixon, how to beat the system’s gauntlet. By week’s end, Matthews will then choose which man—Jarod or Dixon—will be the wingman for an upcoming Pentagon test. Shortly thereafter, Jarod speaks with a man named Lawson, who explains that the Scimitar chip makes any plane’s onboard computer run ten times as fast as anything offered by the competition. During their conversation, however, Lawson hints that there may be some quality control problems still to be resolved. Later, Jarod meets with Lieutenant Janice Gant, a special projects officer sent to keep tabs on the company. It doesn’t take long for Gant to realize that Jarod is Ronald Collins’ replacement. A short time later, Dixon warns Jarod to stay away from Clearview Ridge, which is dominated by dangerous wind shear.
Jarod returns to his trailer, where he views DSAs. His work is interrupted by Mr. Hollis, an old-timer and conspiracy buff who believes that people working for Skyvionics are “merchants of death.” Meanwhile, inside the Centre’s tech room, Broots shows Sydney and Miss Parker evidence indicating Jarod has discovered the existence of Mr. Raines, a mysterious figure operating inside the corporation. Sydney realizes Jarod found Raines’ image by scanning through DSA disks.
Inside a toy store, Jarod discovers the wonders of Silly Putty. Later, Jarod makes his way to the Tailfin bar, where Gant admonishes him for flying over Clearview Ridge. Jarod explains that he was simply retracing Ronald Collins’ last flight. Gant tells him that Collins had been spotted drinking inside the Tailspin on the night of the crash. Two SkyVionics employees, Lawson and Tom Matthews, testified to this fact. Later, Matthews tells Jarod that the residual alcohol in his blood caused him to lose consciousness when he pulled too many G-s.
Broots tells Sydney that an executable program was attached to the Mr. Raines photo that Jarod sent to the Centre. The program allows for direct communication with Jarod…something Sydney wishes to keep secret from Miss Parker.
Jarod befriends Ronald Collins’ widow, Lindsay, and young son, Ronny, by telling them Collins saved his life during a battle over Baghdad. Meanwhile, satellite imagery alerts Sydney and Miss Parker to Jarod’s movements at an airstrip outside Washington, D.C.
Jarod listens to an audio recording of transmissions sent by Collins shortly before his crash. Using his Pretender skills, Jarod recreates Collins’ fatal flight…and realizes Mattthews sent Collins into the skies in an unsafe jet.
With some help from the Clearview Institute for the Deaf, Jarod learns how to read lips. He uses his skills to determine what Mr. Raines says in the DSA. After reading Raines’ lips, Jarod realizes that Raines told a doctor to tell him that his father died in a plane crash. Later, Jarod contacts Sydney via the executable program to discuss what Mr. Raines said. Sydney confirms that Jarod’s father was an aviator. But Miss Parker has the conversation terminated before Jarod can learn more. Shortly thereafter, Broots tells Parker he managed to trace Jarod’s transmission and pinpoint his location.
Jarod approaches Lawson inside a hangar. He tells him that Collins wasn’t out drinking at the Tailfin on the night of the murder, but was instead out stargazing with his young son, Ronny. Lawson states that he told Matthews about the 3.1 percent failure rate of the Scimitar chip…but Matthews insisted the ratio was acceptable. With Mr. Hollis’ help, Jarod incapacitates Dixon and takes his place testing the Scimitar for the Pentagon. As Jarod and Matthews stage the mock dogfight as a general observes from the ground. But during the mission, Matthews radios that he has lost flight control. Jarod relays word that the Scimitar chip failed, just like it had on Ronald Collins’ plane. When Matthews realizes he cannot eject, Jarod tells him he must first divulge the truth about what happened to Collins. After Matthews complies (his words broadcast over the radio), Jarod gives him instructions on how to enable the ejection mechanism. He then presses a button on a TV remote control…safely ejecting Matthews from the plane. Later, a relieved Lindsay learns that she will be receiving payments from her late husband’s pension.
When Miss Parker arrives at the Tailfin, she is handed some Silly Putty, on which is embedded some newsprint. Parker holds the message up to a mirror…and realizes it’s a newspaper headline announcing that Collins’ name was cleared. Outside the bar, Miss Parker promises the shadowy Mr. Raines that she will capture Jarod.
Meanwhile, Jarod impersonates an orchestra conductor.