Written by: Marlane Meyer
Directed by: Brian Spicer
Episode Number: 107
Original Broadcast Date: November 12, 1999
Guest Stars: Allison Munn (Gretchen), Charlie Hofheimer (Nick), Jeremy Nagel (Craig), Adam Grupper (Physician), Maria Elena Ramirez (Nurse), Bill Raymond (Rev. Miller), Ian Somerholder (Brian)
Reluctantly, Michael enters wearing a strange metallic jumpsuit. At Morris's request, he turns on a switch attached to the cuff of the suit. The entire suit immediately glows with blinding white light, and Michael squints in surprise before recovering. "Want to tell me what the point is?"
When Morris points out that the suit will allow Michael to be seen from distances of 50 miles and altitudes as high as 30,000 feet, Michael is immediately suspicious. He shuts off the suit. "What am I going to be doing at 30,000 feet?"
"Jumping out of an airplane."
"I don't think so."
Morris grins. "Think again."
Later that evening, in the woods outside of town, the TOYS B FUN truck is parked near a field, and several technicians and military types are gathered around. Inside the truck, Morris is communicating with Michael - who's in the plane above - through a video hookup. "Any questions?" the doc asks.
"Yeah, I got a question. Where the hell's my parachute?"
"Mr. Wiseman, we've been through all this. The only effective way to test whether the zero gravity super barrier actually works is to have you fall towards it without the aid of a parachute and see if it prevents you from making contact with Earth."
He orders Michael to light up the suit, turning to address the officers gathered there. "Gentlemen, as you can see on this display, directly beneath this field we've constructed a highly experimental superconductor that rotates at such a high speed that in theory, it should create a shield of energy with a radius of five miles that will stop anything - man, missile or meteor - from striking the planet while having no effect on people or things that are already down here."
When the plane is within 90 seconds of the target, Morris suggests they step outside. He makes one last check on Michael, who's not eager at all. "Nobody told me I wouldn't have a chute. I can't do this. I won't do this. I'm not..." He stops as the sound of rifles cocking can be heard. "Uh, did you know there's people up here with guns? Uh..."
After a moment, he moves to the door, but not before sticking his head back in front of the camera. "Don't gloat."
Outside, the weather isn't all that pleasant; there's a fairly severe electrical storm, which Michael hopes will get him out of this. But, as Morris reveals to the others observing, the storm is actually necessary for the intense electromagnetic surges it generates. When the plane is over the target, he orders Michael to jump. Michael does - and his scream comes through loud and clear through Morris's headset. The men on the ground watch the bright speck of light drop straight from the sky and then stop, seemingly caught in midair by an unseen barrier. Michael abruptly stops screaming, and the men start applauding.
Not far away, Heather is on a double date with her friend Gretchen. While Gretchen and her boyfriend Craig attempt a disastrous make-out session in the front seat of the car, Heather's boyfriend Nick obviously wants to do the same thing with Heather in the back. But Heather is doubly distracted - partially by guilt at having lied to her mother about this, and partially by the strange white light hanging in the sky. Nick doesn't seem to care. Irritated, Heather gets out of the car and decides to walk home. Gretchen sighs and writes it off as Heather thinking about her dad again.
The storm is picking up in intensity, and while the barrier is holding Michael up, the wind is threatening to blow him off of the edge. He wants to come down, but the storm makes that difficult; if they shut off the barrier, he'll plunge to his death, so Morris tells him they'll try to get a plane up there. Michael's not so sure he can stay on long enough, and as he's blown about, he loses radio contact with Morris.
Heather crosses through the woods nearby, her attention captivated by the strange bright spot in the sky. The rain is picking up, coming down in torrents as she reaches a rise, turns... and is promptly struck by lightning.
Michael comes to, dazed. He's lying flat on his back beneath a tree, and Morris is standing over him. They couldn't get the plane up there in time; Michael blew off the edge of the barrier and hit his head. Luckily, there's no permanent damage, although Michael makes a suggestion: "Listen... next time Mr. Salvaged Parts here suggests using a parachute, what say we humor the artificial bastard and get him a parachute?"
Morris sighs. "Right. We need to talk."
They climb into the limo, Michael easing himself painfully into the seat. "When we started this... when we first met..." Morris tells him, "I told you to put your family and friends out of your mind. That was a good plan. Good rule. The problem is, men make rules. God handles fate."
Michael is confused. "Where we going with this?"
"In a perfect world, you wouldn't know. I'm concerned that if you found out, if you discovered that I didn't tell you..."
"Hey, help me out here," Michael interrupts. "I just fell from the sky. What is the subject of this conversation?"
Morris sighs. "Your daughter's been very badly hurt."
Meanwhile, in the hospital, a doctor is explaining the situation to Lisa. He tells her that Heather is in a very deep coma and that they're not sure what, if any, brain damage she may have sustained. He also mentions the possibility that they may never be able to rouse her from this coma, and asks if there's any other family members to call. "No. There's no one to call," Lisa replies. "I'd just like to go in with my daughter now."
In the limo, Dr. Morris tries to explain to a distressed Michael "how this is going to work." He tells Michael that he just can't go walking into the hospital.
"Then what are we doing? Why'd you even tell me?"
"I told you because if something awful were to happen, I didn't want you to spend the rest of your... existence resenting the fact that you didn't get one last look." He points out that there are policies to worry about - and no one can know that Michael is Heather's father.
"So what's the point?"
"The point... is to be there. Even if it's just sitting in the car outside. I have a man inside monitoring her condition on a minute-by-minute basis. And I'm giving you my word: if something dire happens, I will find a way for you to at least see your daughter... say good-bye one last time."
In the hospital, Lisa is sitting beside Heather, begging her daughter to squeeze her hand, show some sign she's okay. The minister from their church, who is visiting some "ailing congregates," shows up to offer some support. Suddenly, Heather begins to flatline.
Outside, the limo is parked in the hospital parking lot. Morris is listening to his cellphone, while an impatient Michael looks on. "What?" Michael asks, but Morris is still listening. Frustrated, Michael kicks the door, once, twice, denting the metal.
He finally punches a fist through the glass, and Morris glances at him. "I need confirmation."
Upstairs, the minister is praying as the emergency team tries to revive Heather. Lisa is in tears.
Finally, Morris gets confirmation and tells Michael what's going on. "Ah, that's it," Michael cries, kicking the door open and striding towards the hospital.
Morris catches up to him to talk him out of doing anything rash. "You go marching in there," he tells Michael, "and I'm honor-bound to make a call that will have a dozen sharpshooters here so fast they'll create a breeze. And they will take you down. Now, let's do this the right way. My way."
His solution is for Michael to use the grappling hook to climb up to the window of Heather's hospital room. "That's her room there. Fourth floor. Be discreet."
As Michael climbs up to the window, the minister resumes his prayer as the doctors try to revive Heather. The pipe that the hook is wrapped around bends under the weight, and Michael slips, losing his grip on the window. He pulls himself up again, and seeing his daughter in the hospital bed, presses a hand to the window - accidentally activating the suit.
Heather regains consciousness at that moment, and past the panicked doctors, the first thing she sees is a blurry, glowing form at her window. "Wow." Lisa looks up from her tears.
Below, Morris is infuriated. "What are you doing? Shut off that damn suit!" Michael obeys, quickly climbing down before anyone else spots him.
Lisa rushes to Heather's side, relieved beyond words that her daughter's all right. "Did anybody see that guy out the window?" Heather asks.
"You were in a coma," Lisa tells Heather.
"No, I mean, I heard a voice talking about angels and the saints. And I saw one right out there." She points out the window.
Lisa looks, but doesn't see anyone. "Yeah? Well, you're on the fourth floor in a hospital."
"He was really bright, and really beautiful."
"Okay. It's okay." Lisa hugs her daughter and kisses her on the forehead. "Mommy's here, and everything's going to be okay."
It's over a week later, and Michael demands for the nth time that Dr. Morris call the hospital just to check if Heather's okay. Morris refuses, holding out a block of wood for Michael to smash with his elbow. Michael smashes it easily. "You have any kids?"
"The question of whether or not I have children," Morris replies, "is irrelevant to the conversation that we are having. Which is about whether or not I make further inquiries on your behalf regarding your daughter, which I will not." He holds out another board. "Fist."
"What's the problem here? Pretty simple question. Not out of line, considering we've spent every single day of my second life together." Michael easily punches the board in two. "I bet you do. I bet you have some. What I can't figure out is whether you made them the old-fashioned way or put them together from some kind of kit."
For answer, Morris puts an especially thick board down across two cinder blocks. "Head."
"Do I have to?" Michael asks, eying the board apprehensively. "What will you give me?"
Morris runs his fingers over the board. "Well, maybe I do know a little something."
Sighing, Michael breaks the board with his head. Standing up again slowly, he grimaces. "The others get easier every day, but that one..." He falls backwards, landing uncomfortably on his backside and rubbing his head. "This better be good."
"She was released from the hospital two days ago," Morris answers. "And according to my sources she should be headed back to school right about... now."
At breakfast, Heather is driving Lisa up the wall with questions about spirituality, chickens, and eggs. "Do you have any questions about sex?" Lisa asks, wondering where this is all headed.
Heather's just confused in light of her "vision" - something that beautiful makes her think that God must be really amazing. "But then, you think about things like chickens or eggs or things on the news or what happened to Daddy, and..."
"People take the eggs and people eat the chickens," Lisa tells her. "And people do the things that you see on the news and it was people that caused the accident that killed your father."
Heather asks her mother if she believes her. Lisa believes that Heather thinks she saw an angel, but Heather wants her to believe she really did see it. She points out that she's not much of a spiritual person, and not an obvious candidate. But she thinks God chose her for a reason, to let people know what she's seen. Lisa pleads with her to take it easy with "the wording and the spreading" - it's her first day back at school.
In English class, the teacher is discussing imagery in Bernard Malamud's The Natural - most notably the tree being struck by lightning. "Heather got struck by lightning," Gretchen volunteers.
"Wow," the teacher says. "And what was that like?"
Heather isn't eager to discuss it. "Well, I wouldn't recommend it."
Her teacher continues to press for details, though. "Who was the first person you saw?" he asks. "Your mother? The doctor? What did they say?"
Heather bites her lip, hesitating, before she starts to speak.
As the class bell rings, the students file out, talking and laughing. Gretchen just stares at Heather. "What?" Heather cries. "That's what happened!"
She's sitting outside the principal's office when Nick comes up to her. He's not exactly supportive. "Why are you going around telling everybody you saw an angel?"
"Because I did."
"Uh... how do you think this reflects on me?"
Heather stares at him. "It doesn't reflect on you at all. How does it reflect on you?"
"I don't know. I go out with a girl who... who sees stuff?"
"Oh, poor you. What about me? I don't believe in anything and I'm the one who saw it. Try waking up with that every day."
There is another awkward pause before Nick speaks. "So, was he, like, good-looking?"
Heather can't believe what she's hearing. "Go away!"
He gets up, turning back to her. "People think you're crazy, you know. They think, like, maybe the lightning like, nuked your brain or something."
"And what do you think?"
Nick hesitates, unsure what to say. "I don't know what I think." He hurries off, and Heather groans in frustration.
"Excuse me... are you Heather Wiseman?" She looks up to see a good-looking boy standing there. He tells her his name is Brian and that he writes for the Bugle - the school paper - and asks if he can interview her. Heather is only too happy to oblige.
Lisa picks up Heather from school. She's not in trouble, but the principal thinks Heather should stay home for a few days til all the hubbub calms down. Heather thinks that her friends all think she's crazy. Lisa insists that with everything that happened, people don't think Heather's crazy. "That maybe I imagined it," Heather finishes. She asks Lisa what she thinks.
"I think... a week and a half ago, you almost died. I think the fact that you're sitting here with me now is maybe a miracle, and so, I think that it is entirely possible that these miracles maybe come in bunches. I just also think we should probably keep them to ourselves."
Meanwhile, Heather's story has appeared on the front page of the school paper and is circulating widely amongst students. A group of them leave a copy of the Bugle on a table in a fast food joint, and a reporter picks it up.
The next morning, Heather rouses Lisa from a sound sleep. Outside the Wiseman house, news crews and other people are camped out, wanting to talk to Heather about the angel. Lisa has to shoo away two reporters, telling them Heather's not at home. "Oh, God," Heather moans.
"Please," Lisa replies. "He's the one who got us into this." She answers the door only to deal with a crazy old woman who insists she saw a man's face in an upstairs window.
Dr. Morris interrupts Michael's workout to hand him a newspaper article. "Your daughter's on the verge of becoming some kind of prophet." He explains the situation, and that Heather's also mentioned seeing the bright light in the northern sky. People are camping out there, watching the sky for that same light or trying to debunk Heather. "Exactly where we aimed our zero-gravity super barrier," Morris adds. "As a result, all testing has been halted. All work has come to a complete standstill. Your little girl is bringing the United States Government to its knees."
Michael is secretly pleased and a little proud, but he understands that something has to be done. "So what do you want me to do?" he asks.
"I want you to visit her again."
Later that evening, the limo pulls up to the Wisemans' house. Dr. Morris instructs Michael to tell Heather that he'll be appearing in the southern sky at 8:00 pm the next evening, and to tell all her friends to come and watch. "It said in the paper that a lot of people think she's a kook... she's doing this for attention," Michael remarks.
"Well... the Red Sea hasn't parted in a long time," Morris points out. "Makes some people dubious, I guess." He instructs Michael not to go up to the window this time - that would attract too much attention. "Oh, and a suggestion," Morris continues as Michael opens the door. "Don't get close enough for her to touch you. I fear it will destroy the illusion. Not to mention the temptation for you to hug her might just prove... overwhelming."
Michael sneaks in through the front door using the hidden spare key, and quietly steals up to Heather's room, turning on the suit as he opens her bedroom door. A sleepy Heather can't see his face behind the brightness of the suit, and doesn't recognize him. Michael cautions her to be silent. "What are you..." Heather starts to ask.
"Don't speak-- just listen. I know what you've been going through. So, I want you to tell everyone that if they want to, they can see me tonight. Just like you did. Only I'll be in the southern sky. Do you understand what I mean when I say 'in the southern sky?'" She nods as Michael continues. "I never meant for any of this to hurt you, Heather and I'm going to do everything I can to put everything back the way it was."
"Can I wake my Mom?" Heather asks excitedly. "Can I bring her in here to see you?"
"No, I'm sorry, you mustn't do that. Bring her tonight with the others. The southern sky, 8:00."
He starts to leave, closing the door behind him, but Heather stops him. "Wait!" Michael pauses, his hand still on the door. "If you see my daddy..." Heather asks, "will you tell him that I love him?"
Michael smiles tenderly. "Oh, he knows, honey. He knows."
With that, he leaves, closing the door and shutting off the suit. He stands by the door for a moment, smiling, before sneaking back out.
At school, Heather does her best to follow his instructions to the letter. She pulls Gretchen aside in the hall, and soon the message is being spread across the cafeteria and in class. Among the people who hears about it is Nick, who doesn't know what to think.
That evening, a huge crowd is gathered to watch the sky. Lisa is standing with Heather, nervous beyond belief. Heather is certain. "Just 20 more minutes."
Gretchen, Craig and Nick show up, and Gretchen invites Heather to come sit with them. Heather says she's fine where she is, and Gretchen and Craig move on. Nick hangs back, wanting to say something, but unsure what to say. He gives up and follows the other two.
It's almost ten til eight, and Michael is getting restless. They haven't shown signs of taking off, and he thinks he has to go up. When Morris tells him he's not going up at all, Michael is confused. "What? But you told me to tell my little girl..."
"To look in the southern sky... to gather all her friends and tell them to look in the southern sky... to make sure that everyone looked in the southern sky, so they could see..."
"What better way to convince people that there was nothing up there For them to see than to invite everyone to look and show them nothing? For what it's worth, you did a magnificent job. My people tell me the woods are packed."
Michael grabs him roughly by the collar. "But my child... you tricked me into lying to my child!"
"Tricked you? You couldn't make it back to your house fast enough. And forgive me, Mr. Wiseman, but you are not an angel. You never have been and you've always known it. All I did was add my little fib to the cavalcade of misrepresentations that were already in place. Besides," Morris finishes, "I don't really see that we've done all that much harm."
Michael releases him, frustrated. "Don't you understand? That night at the hospital - she honestly believes that she saw an angel. She's honestly gonna believe that for the rest of her life."
"What a wonderful gift."
"Oh, but tonight, she won't see anything. The angel will have let her down... will have betrayed her."
"A true test of faith."
"Yeah, but she'll be embarrassed!" Michael cries. "She'll be humiliated. She'll be..."
"One day older, and one day wiser," Morris tells him. "And if her mother loves her as much as I think she does then she'll be just fine, Mr. Wiseman. And, yes... she will always have the horrible memory of that night everyone stood around and waited to see the impossible vision that she was certain would appear... and right next to it, the unbelievable certainty that comes from having stood at death's door... knowing that there was an angelic figure just outside her hospital room window... looking over you, making sure you won't die."
"You don't understand... 'cause you don't have children." Michael grabs his coat and pulls it on. "I can't let this happen."
Morris points out that he has no choice - it's five to eight - but Michael insists that he at least has to be there for Heather. "Mr. Wiseman," Morris reminds him, "your top speed is maybe 35 miles an hour ... and you're at least a good 25 miles away."
Standing at the top of the stairwell, Michael shrugs. "I'm going."
It's eight o' clock, and the crowd impatiently waits as... nothing happens. A plane buzzes overhead, but that's about all.
Michael is running through the trees at top speed, desperate to reach that part of the woods in time.
Irritated, the crowd begins to disperse, but Lisa doesn't leave Heather's side. A trio of boys mock Heather as they walk by: "Look, there's an elf!" "Look, there's a fairy!" "Look, there's a nut!"
A second after the third guy mocks Heather, Nick grabs him by the collar. "Who you calling a nut?" he demands angrily.
"N-nobody," the guy stammers.
Nick doesn't let go. "Look up in the sky and tell me what you see."
"I don't know. Stars, lots of stars."
"I don't know. It just goes on forever. It's-it's endless. There could be anything up there."
Satisfied, Nick finally releases the guy. "Exactly." As the jerk runs off, he turns to Heather awkwardly. "We're going to go get something to eat. You want to come?"
Heather smiles. "Can I catch up with you?"
"Okay," Nick answers. "We'll wait for you."
Michael finally reaches the field to find that most of the crowd is gone. As Heather and Lisa come over the rise, however, he quickly ducks behind a tree, listening in on their conversation. "I am going to tell you everything I know about this business of faith," Lisa is saying, "but I'm just telling you up front I don't know a whole lot. So, if I let you down just save it and wait till you're older and I'm gone and you're seeing a shrink, okay?" Heather laughs. "Deal?"
They stop not far from the tree Michael's hiding behind, and Lisa hugs Heather. "Faith is believing in someone... or something, when... absolutely all the evidence... tells you, shouts at you that it just ain't so." "Like?"
"Like God. Like goodness. Like there was an angel in your hospital room."
Heather looks up at her mother. "So, you believe me?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I wasn't right there for you the first time you told me."
"'Cause I get it, Heather. I really get it. Sometimes... even though it makes no sense, I still feel like your dad is here with me."
"Yeah," Lisa answers. Michael smiles. They stand there for a moment, until Heather pulls away. "Look, this is getting kind of icky. Do you want to come and get something to eat with me and my friends?"
Lisa's a bit surprised at the invite. "Well..."
"Do you have any money?" Heather asks.
Lisa laughs at that as they continue on down the hill, neither noticing Michael watching them contentedly. Once they're out of sight, he gets up and walks away through the trees.
As he reaches the road, he's not entirely surprised to find Dr. Morris waiting for him beside the limo. "Well, look who's here. The answer to my prayers." He opens the passenger door. "May I offer you a ride?"
Smiling, Michael shakes his head before getting in. Morris climbs in after him, and the limo drives away.
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