2.12 Toy Surprise
Original air date: March 7, 1998
Written by: Juan Carlos Coto
Directed by: Fred K. Keller
Jarod tries to help a boy whose best friend was killed in a car accident, and then tries to prevent another death after discovering someone ordered the assassination of Miss Parker’s father.
Jarod’s Discoveries: Cracker Jacks (Young Jarod)
Jarod’s Occupations: Counselor
Jarod’s Aliases: Jarod Crockett
Jarod reaches out to a guilt-ridden teenage boy whose best friend was killed in an automobile accident. Miss Parker discovers that her father has been targeted for assassination.
Miss Parker is taken by surprise when her father, in uncharacteristic fashion, phones on the anniversary of her mother’s death. She is deeply touched when Mr. Parker expresses regret regarding his emotional distance. The pair make plans to visit Mrs. Parker’s grave that day. Mr. Parker then boards a helicopter and begins the flight back to the Centre office. Shortly thereafter, Miss Parker receives a phone call from Jarod, who warns that someone has ordered her father’s assassination. He also reveals that details of the assassination are contained in a file, labeled “Arkham,” which is stored in the Centre’s mainframe computer. Parker heads to the Centre, which is mainly vacant due to a fire security drill.
Meanwhile, in the Appalachian Mountains, Jarod meets with Jim Conti and his fifteen-year-old son, Chris, whose best friend died in a car accident. Jim hopes that Jarod—who is impersonating a counselor—can reach out to his son during a rock-climbing hike.
Miss Parker contacts Broots, hoping he can access the mysterious Arkham file. Sydney arrives at the Centre shortly thereafter. At Miss Parker’s prompting, Sydney describes in detail Mr. Parker’s cold reaction after learning of his wife’s death (which was labeled a suicide). According to Sydney, Mr. Parker’s last words regarding the incident were, “life goes on.”
During their climb through the mountains, Jarod and Chris happen across a forest ranger Jeep. Jarod proposes they use the vehicle to beat the other climbers to the cliff face. Chris, at first hesitant, agrees with the idea. But when the pair attempt to jump-start the Jeep, it veers out of control and tumbles down a steep incline, pinning Jarod beneath the steering wheel. Jarod tells the boy he must go for help. But an uncertain Chris, haunted by his friend’s death, refuses to do so.
As Broots continues his search for the Arkham file, Mr. Raines makes an unexpected appearance. He denies any knowledge of an assassination attempt. Broots eventually locates the file, but when he attempts to open it, he discovers it is encrypted. Shortly thereafter, all of the power within the Centre suddenly goes dead, trapping Parker, Broots, Sydney and Mr. Raines within the Sim Lab (as the doors are operated electronically). The ailing Mr. Raines, whose oxygen tank is nearly empty, warns that whoever ordered the assassination will also target the trapped Miss Parker. As Broots attempts to translate the encrypted Arkham file, Parker works on finding an escape route. She remembers the existence of a porthole beneath a catwalk. (Years earlier, she and a young Jarod offered Angelo—who was hiding in the porthole—a box of Cracker Jacks. The young Angelo was quite taken by the toy surprise hidden within.)
Miss Parker reaches inside the porthole area and locates a lever which, when pulled, opens the Sim Lab door. She and Broots make their way into the darkened Centre corridors. The pair encounter two armed Sweepers, and a gun battle ensues. Parker manages to outwit the assailants, and she and Broots continue their journey. Broots reactivates an elevator, which transports the pair to the Centre lobby. There they encounter an armed Brigitte who, Parker realizes, is the assassin. A struggle ensues, and Miss Parker is wounded in the shoulder. She and Broots take refuge inside the elevator and make their way to safety.
Slowly, Jarod’s efforts to reach out to Chris succeed. Chris recounts how his friend Nick lost control of the car the boys were riding in and slammed into a tree. Nick was trapped by the steering wheel and unable to move. As flames began spreading through the car, Chris abandoned his friend and made his way to safety. Chris believes he should have remained with his friend, even if it meant his own death. But Jarod tells Chris he had no choice, and could not have saved Nick by remaining behind. Chris sees wisdom in Jarod’s words. He makes his way back to civilization and flags down help. Later, Jarod tells paramedics he is, in fact, uninjured, and staged the fake accident.
Miss Parker and Broots encounter Angelo in a darkened corridor. Angelo accesses Broots’ laptop computer and begins tapping away at the keys—greatly accelerating the translation of the Arkham file. After viewing the contents, Miss Parker realizes that Brigitte intends to sabotage her father’s helicopter. Shortly thereafter, Angelo plays Miss Parker a DSA file. It shows how her father sobbed uncontrollably after telling Sydney, “life goes on.”
Miss Parker begins a perilous journey toward the rooftop by climbing a rickety boiler ladder. Along the way, she restores power to the building, saving Raines’ life. She finds Brigitte—detonator in hand—on the tower helipad. A struggle ensues, during which Miss Parker knocks Brigitte unconscious. Mr. Parker’s helicopter lands safely, and the pair make their way to the cemetery, where they visit Mrs. Parker’s grave.