1.07 A Virus Among Us
Original air date: November 16, 1996
Written by: Lawrence Meyers
Directed by: Fred K. Keller
Jarod takes a job at the Infectious Disease Lab in an attempt to uncover the events surrounding the disappearance of another virologist at the facility.
Jarod’s Discoveries: Roach Motels
Jarod’s Occupations: Substitute Biology Teacher, Virologist, Bartender, Exterminator
Jarod’s Aliases: Jarod Earl, Jarod Riley
Jarod attempts to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of a virologist.
At Horace Greeley High School in Portland, Oregon, Miss Parker speaks with a student, Keith, who describes Jarod as the best substitute teacher he has ever had. He also describes Jarod’s fascination with bugs. Miss Parker then turns her attention to a clue Jarod left behind: a petri dish and an eyedropper. As instructed, Miss Parker adds a drop of liquid to the dish, and moments later, words form in the solution. Miss Parker bends closer for a better look. The words read, “You just gave yourself the flu… Jarod.” Miss Parker tosses the dish aside in disgust. Meanwhile, Jarod, clad in a hazmat suit, comes to the aid of a sickly man in a low-rent apartment. Outside the tenement, Jarod speaks with Hoffman, one of his co-workers at the Regional Infectious Disease Authority Lad in Skokie, Illinois. They both agree that the man’s symptoms indicate he is infected with a form of tuberculosis. Shortly thereafter, another of Jarod’s colleagues, a man named Walter Garber, berates him for violating quarantine procedures by allowing the man contact with his young son. But Jarod counters such measures were unnecessary. Later, Jarod rents a seedy apartment…and shows an unusual interest in its roach population.
Back at the Centre, Broots informs Sydney and a sickly Miss Parker that Mr. Raines wishes to speak with them. Inside Sydney’s old lab, Raines tells the pair that if they fail to find Jarod, he will assign the task to someone else.
At the Infectious Disease Lab, Garber explains that it is his job to stop viral outbreaks before they spread. He tells Jarod that, in retrospect, he did the right thing by allowing the man to be near his son. Garber then introduces Jarod to Jeff Baytos, a decontamination and facilities specialist who is overly cautious when it comes to all-things virus and refuses to work beyond the Level Two area. Later, Jarod visits Kay Florence and her daughter, Cindy. He explains that it is his intention to finish the work of Kay’s husband, Jon, before he mysteriously vanished. Kay shows Jarod a wedding band that Jon designed. She also gives him a jacket that her husband wore into the field. Jarod dons the jacket…and discovers it is far too small for him. Later, inside the lab, he realizes that Jon Florence’s old hazmat suit fits him like a glove.
When Jarod returns to his apartment building, he befriends one of his neighbors, Ben Hansel, a man with an affection for playing music, but who has no discernable talent. Jarod asks Ben for advice regarding how best to attract roaches into roach motels. Ben recommends Crunchy Crawlers cereal, a roach favorite.
As Jarod, Garber and Hoffman work on an airborne level four virus, Jarod accidentally cuts his gloved hand on a scalpel. Garber rushes him into a decontamination facility. Shortly thereafter, Jarod examines his hand, only to realize the sharp object did not penetrate his skin. Later, Jarod examines security footage of Jon Florence and Garber working in the lab. He notices an odd edit in the videotape, and decides further research is in order. He makes his way to the archives, where he duplicates the original footage. Later, inside his apartment, Jarod examines the unedited tape…which shows Garber and Florence getting into a heated argument over Garber’s creation of a Level Five virus. When Florence threatens to shut down the project, Garber deliberately yanks at the air hose on his hazmat suit, exposing Florence to the virus. He dies shortly thereafter. Jarod then makes his way to the morgue, where he identifies Jon Florence’s body via the unique wedding ring on his finger.
Jarod expresses interest in some small, handmade objects d’art Ben created. Jarod points out that, perhaps, Ben’s best avenue of artistic expression is not music, but in the creation of small sculptures.
In flashback, Young Sydney tells Young Jarod that whenever he wishes a simulation to stop, all he need do is say the code word, which is “refuge.” Later, Jarod receives an e-mail message with “refuge” in the subject heading. He realizes it is from Sydney.
Jarod approaches Hoffman with photos showing the existence of a Level Five virus. He tells her it was taken off a body in the morgue. He also tells her that Florence never had the chance to stop Garber from developing the virus. Hoffman realizes what this means. Later, Jarod approaches Baytos…and accuses him of being Garber’s accomplice in doctoring the security tape. Baytos explains that Garber blamed him for the decon shower’s failure which, according to Garber, led to Florence’s death. But Jarod assures Baytos that Garber murdered Florence.
Inside the lab, Garber panics when he believes he has been exposed to his own virus. Jarod claims to possess the antidote, but will hand it over only if Garber admits the truth. Terrified, Garber admits it was he who killed Florence. With that, Jarod reveals that the syringe in his hand contains only sugar water. Jarod then walks off. He tells Baytos to tell Garber he wasn’t really exposed to the virus…in forty-eight hours.
Meanwhile, Miss Parker locates Jarod’s current lair. But when she and the Sweepers enter, they find themselves stuck to the floor…Jarod’s version of a giant roach motel. Meanwhile, Sydney meets Jarod at a bar. Sydney asks him for his forgiveness. But Jarod asks him to first reveal the truth about his parents. When Sydney claims he doesn’t know what really happened, Jarod tells him he cannot forgive him.
The Chicago Philharmonic contacts Ben Hansel about his small glass sculptures. The caller hopes to arrange a meeting between Ben and a merchandise coordinator. Ben is overjoyed. Later, Jarod begins his next Pretend…as a bug exterminator.