Written by: Rene Echevarria
Directed by: Vincent Misiano
Episode Number: 109
Original Broadcast Date: November 26, 1999
Guest Stars: Chip Zien (Gerald Misenbach), Reiko Aylesworth (Taylor), Maria Cellario (Instructor), Robert Trumbull (Minister)
As the man staggers to his feet, Michael jumps down through the newly made hole. He's not all that impressed when the intruder pulls out another knife and lunges at him. They struggle briefly, until Michael gives the man an Indian rope burn, making him drop the knife. When the man reaches for it, Michael bites him in the arm.
"What are you doing?"
The lights suddenly come on, and two agents grab the big man and drag him away. Michael sits up to find Dr. Morris standing there, staring at him. "Did you just bite him?"
"I might have." The biting and the Indian rope burn don't impress Morris in the least. Michael argues that he can't be expected to be at his best in the middle of the night.
Morris is still unconvinced. "Mr. Wiseman, I may seem omnipotent to you, but in point of fact I have to answer to a group of powerful men who are monitoring your progress and mine.... and frankly, they're not satisfied." "Not satisfied with what?" Michael asks, before realizing the problem. "With me."
"Oh, don't misunderstand. They think my work as a scientist has been most impressive. They think the actual manufacturing process has been a huge success, but they're convinced my work as a... oh, I don't know..."
"Authority figure?" Michael jokes. "Grand Poo-Bah? Chief Overlord?"
"Breeder of warriors," Morris finishes, "has been less than successful."
"Well, when you get down to it, that's what I'm supposed to be doing, Mr. Wiseman - creating and cultivating warriors to safeguard the future of our country. And, frankly, after all our many months of training... you're really not much of a warrior."
Michael tries to wax smartass, to no avail. "All right, you win," he sighs. "No more scratching, no more kicking, no more calling the other guy's mother bad names. From now on, I fight by the book."
"Too late, Mr. Wiseman," Morris tells him. "Your lack of discipline, your lack of diligence, the continued contact with your wife and daughter - they're convinced I can't do this job alone." He sighs. "And I've come to believe they're right."
Some time later, Morris and Michael are waiting in the gym for the imminent arrival of a Dr. Taylor walks into the Pentagon. Morris has never met Taylor, but he's read the other doctor's works about maximizing strength thresholds in the American infantry. "Look... I'm sorry," Michael sighs. "I know it's making you nuts that they're sending another guy in here and I know that it's probably my fault..."
"Mr. Wiseman, I have made my peace with the decisions of those above me and whatever you have or have not done in the past is irrelevant at this point," Morris informs him. "What is important is that from this moment forward we concentrate on our work, and that we show our visiting colleague all the respect to which he's entitled. I've been instructed to show Dr. Taylor every courtesy and accord him the deference I would a superior officer and I expect you to do the same."
He eats his words when Dr. Taylor is shown in. The new doctor turns out to be an attractive young woman in her mid-twenties, a fact that Dr. Morris is less than thrilled with. Taylor picks up on it immediately. "So, is it the girl thing, the young thing or some other thing?"
"You're Dr. Taylor."
"Is there a problem?"
"I'm sorry. Would you excuse me a moment?" He switches on his cellphone. "Get me the Pentagon."
Morris turns away, leaving Dr. Taylor and Michael to get acquainted. Taylor is fascinated by Michael, which makes him somewhat uncomfortable. "I'm sorry," she says, picking up on his discomfort. "It's just that where I work you're all we talk about. It's like being an art student and finally being able to see the Mona Lisa."
"Hey, you're a friend. Call me Mona."
Having finished on the phone, Morris clears his throat. "President says hello," he tells Taylor. "So, I guess... he's all yours." With that, he turns and walks away, heading for the stairs.
"Doc?" Michael calls. "Hey, Doc?"
Morris does not look back.
That evening, Lisa graduates from her real estate classes. Heather is in attendance, loudly cheering her mother on, to Lisa's amusement. Much to her surprise, Gerald Misenbach is also in attendance, and she encounters him in the hall afterwards. "So when's the big exam?" he asks.
"Um, the state gives the next one in about two weeks. I'm terrified. I haven't taken a test in... a while."
"All right." He offers a flat, rectangular box. "Well, here is a little something that might assuage some oft that terror."
Lisa is immediately suspicious. "What is it?"
"Open it and you will see."
"I-I-I can't accept it." He hands her the box. "Sure, you can. It's no big deal."
Reluctantly, she opens the lid to find - a pencil. A rather old, somewhat chewed-up pencil. "Well, I-I-I have always wanted one of these."
"That's my lucky pencil," Misenbach explains. "Used it to take the bar... the second time."
"It is very sweet."
"Yeah, just ignore the teeth marks."
Heather comes up to them a little while later with a cupcake for Lisa and an acerbic glare for Misenbach. She doesn't say anything rude, but it's clear she doesn't like the lawyer. "I am so sorry," Lisa apologizes as Heather stalks off.
"No, it's okay," Misenbach sighs. "I have a boy about her age. Of course, I only get to see him on the weekends now. Which is good, because it's forced both of us to become emotionally more efficient. I have to compact all of my guilt into two days worth of overindulgence, and he's forced to jam all of his anger into 48 hours worth of bad language and disrespect."
"It sounds delightful."
"I hear it's a phase which ends," Misenbach says, "when you die..." Lisa laughs at that. "All of which is my roundabout way of telling you that I am completely free during the week."
Lisa isn't entirely sure, but Misenbach is understanding. He wishes her good luck on the exam before leaving. Once he's gone, Heather comes up to Lisa again. "What was he doing here?" Lisa rolls her eyes and sighs.
The next day, Michael starts his training with Dr. Taylor, and as they spar on the mats, he's not doing so well. He hits the mat three times in succession. As he starts to get up after the third time, using his left hand to push himself up, Taylor tells him to stop. "See how you're using your other hand to help yourself up? You don't need to do that. That's the 45-year-old man in you. You can get up without that."
Michael complies, rolling back before propelling himself back to his feet without the use of his hands. "What's the diff?"
"There's a huge difference," Taylor replies, crossing to get a towel." I can teach a 170-pound 26, 27-year-old how to fight, how to train, how to maximize his strength and speed. There's not much I can offer a middle-aged man who weighs... what?"
"I don't know," Michael answers. She gives him a look. "292."
"You remember that - what you weighed after all these months."
"I remember a lot of things."
"Well, maybe that's not so helpful." "You're starting to sound like Dr. Morris."
"That's a compliment. He's a very smart man. Come over here. I want to show you something." Michael obediently steps towards her. "Pick me up."
"How do you mean?"
"I mean, lift me." He picks her up easily. "Remember?"
"What it feels like."
"Look, Dr. Taylor..."
"I mean, the two of us combined. We've got to be pretty close to 292 give or take a couple pounds."
"Oh. Yeah, I guess."
"So, for the purposes of our work together let's forget that man. He's irrelevant. I'm here to work with the man I see in front of me - the young, athletic man I see in front of me, okay?" Still uncomfortable, Michael agrees. "How strong are you really?" Taylor asks curiously.
For answer, he puts his hands around her waist, lifting her easily over his head, then balancing her with one hand, then one finger. Taylor is exhilarated, and a little breathless, when Michael carefully lowers her back down.
The view changes, and we see Dr. Morris glowering at a monitor, watching Michael and Taylor through the video feed from the townhouse. "Maybe we should pick this up tomorrow," Taylor suggests.
Late that evening, Michael is awakened from a sound sleep by someone shaking his shoulder. With a yell, he jumps up, ready to defend himself against an attack - then realizes it's Dr. Morris. "Well, it's clear Dr. Taylor's making progress in the warrior department," Morris observes, sitting down on the bed. Apparently, Michael was calling Morris' name in his sleep. "Is there something troubling you?" Michael admits that Dr. Taylor is the problem, which Morris misinterprets as a misplaced sense of loyalty to him. "No offense, Doc, but it's not you I'm worried about," Michael tells him. Taylor is very beautiful, and that makes Michael worry.
"About what?" Morris asks.
Well... in the nine months since you gave me the big makeover, it's not like I've been around a lot of women," Michael replies. "For that matter, in the 45 years before that, it's not like I'd been around a lot of women."
Morris chuckles. "Mr. Wiseman, she's just here to teach you - nothing more."
"I... I just... I have this instinct. It's the way she looks at me - this thing that's supposed to be me," Michael adds. "No one's ever looked at me like that - not even when I was 26. I guess I'm just afraid that something might happen."
"Hmm. There's a word for that fear. It's called narcissism."
"Fine. Call it whatever you like. But... if there were some way to make a change... uh, maybe get a man to take over..."
"Mr. Wiseman... it must be obvious to even you that this is all happening well above my head but that notwithstanding, I'm still at a loss to understand what the problem is. I mean, if something did happen, so what?"
"Doc, I'm a married man."
"Mr. Wiseman, that's simply not so. You're a dead man and, if your instincts are at all accurate... a very lucky one." With that, Morris exits, leaving Michael even more confused than before.
Roger has treated Lisa to lunch in town - by pretending she's a CFO of a telecommunications company so he can count it as a business expense - but she's grateful nonetheless. They start talking about old times, how being in New York always reminds Lisa of Michael, how they would catch a show sometimes and Michael would always fall asleep in the second act.
Roger chuckles. "A man after my own heart, a real patron of the arts."
"Yeah. Well, he did it for me and that's what made it so special."
"Hey, though, remember that time - it must be at least 15 years ago by now - uh, I got all four of us tickets to Oh, Calcutta," Roger recalls. "Nothing but naked people for two hours. Michael liked that."
Lisa laughs. "Michael liked that." Her mirth dissipates, and she is suddenly on the verge of tears. "What?"
"I was getting ready for bed last night," Lisa tells him, "and it occurred to me that the whole day had gone by and I hadn't thought of him once."
"Lisa... sweetheart, that's a good thing. It has been nine months."
Roger offers to call her a cab, but Lisa decides she'll take the train. They hug, and go their separate ways.
Lisa gets home in time to catch the phone ringing. Heather isn't in, so Lisa gets it before the caller can hang up. On the other end is William, a boy from Heather's school who's extremely nervous. Lisa calms him down to get his number so Heather can call him back.
Meanwhile, Michael and Taylor are finishing up the afternoon workout... and despite his resolve not to, Michael finds himself staring almost longingly at Dr. Taylor from time to time. She can't help but spare him a glance or two herself, though.
At the end of the workout, they both take a moment to rest. Michael lies on his back at the edge of the pool, staring up at the ceiling. Taylor is amazed at how Michael handles it, living in a virtual terrarium. "Don't you get lonely? Don't you go crazy? I mean, I'm single. I'm free to come and go as I please and I get lonely. I go crazy."
"I do have a family, you know."
"Yeah, I heard. I mean, I read about them in your file." She sits down by the pool next to his head, leaning over him. "They can't keep you company. They're not here with you."
"Uh, sometimes I pick a year - any year - and I try to make my way through it. Where were we on... New Year's? Valentine's Day, my daughter's birthday, wedding anniversary, Lisa's birthday, my birthday. What grade was my little girl in... what was her teacher's name."
"You hold all of that in your head?"
"I try. I damn sure try."
She leans down, her face inches from his. "What about the here and now? What about the right this second?"
"What about it?" Michael asks as she leans in, her lips barely brushing his.
Then Dr. Morris loudly clears his throat. Taylor immediately jumps up, getting her things together in a rush. "Sorry to interrupt," Morris says, "but it's six o'clock."
As Michael sits up, Taylor grabs her bag and hurries to leave. "Uh, Michael see you first thing tomorrow morning." She hurries past Morris. "Dr. Morris."
"Dr. Taylor," Morris replies coolly as she leaves. He stands there, staring at Michael suspiciously.
Michael looks at him. "What?"
At dinner, Heather is astonished that Lisa was in New York and didn't look up Mr. Newman. Lisa retorts that for two people to have a successful date, both parties must be present - and she isn't about to try that again. Heather is equally reluctant to give William a call; she knows the boy in question and isn't impressed. "I mean, a bicycle tire has more edge!"
"Edge? Edge? What, is that the new criteria? Edge? Whatever happened to nice?"
"Nice? You're kidding, right?"
"No. Nice is... is nice. And getting harder to come by, I might add. Look, I know from where you sit edge is thrilling and exciting and whatever but the older you get, the more you realize that life is full of edge. The discount stores are bursting with edge. But nice, they're always sold out of and if they have it, it's never in your size."
"So, is that why you keep on throwing the pygmy lawyer back in the remainder bin?"
"Gerald Misenbach is a very nice man. And just because of the fact that he's..."
"A little too short to reach the pedals?"
Lisa sighs. "Child... whatever... doesn't change the fact that on the inside..."
"You've seen his insides?!"
Exasperated, Lisa goes upstairs and calls Misenbach to prove her point, much to Heather's dismay. She gets his machine, and somewhat nervously asks him out the next night.
That night, Michael dreams of running down his street, rushing to get back to his house. As he comes into the foyer, he's astonished to find that the living room is done up to accommodate a wedding - his wedding, with Roger as the best man, Heather as the flower girl, and Lisa in a wedding dress, waiting for him at the altar. "Ladies and gentlemen," the priest begins, "we stand here about to rejoin Michael and his lovely wife Lisa in the sacred bond of holy matrimony. If anyone here knows a reason that these two people should not be joined together for all eternity speak now or forever hold your peace."
Dr. Morris appears at the far end of the aisle. "Wiseman and Taylor sitting in a tree," he chants, "K-I-S-S-I-N-G."
Distraught, Lisa turns and runs down the aisle and out of the house, and Heather turns away, leaving a stricken Michael standing at the altar, as the guests erupt in mocking laughter.
With a yell, Michael sits bolt upright in bed, finding himself back in his room in the townhouse. "You okay?" a familiar voice asks.
Michael stares at the figure in the shadows. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to talk to you," Taylor says, stepping into the light. "I felt badly about what happened tonight. It was completely inappropriate , completely unprofessional..."
Michael signals for silence, beckoning her to come closer. "They can hear every word," he whispers in her ear as she sits down on the bed.
Understanding, she whispers back. "I just wanted to apologize. I just wanted to make sure that you weren't mad at me." Michael shrugs. "You sure?"
He nods, and the next thing he knows, she's kissing him. Michael doesn't resist as she pushes him back down on the bed, making her way down his bare chest. "Oh, gosh," Michael gasps. "Oh, man. Oh, gee."
"Oh, my," Dr. Morris says.
Michael snaps into wakefulness to find Dr. Morris standing over his bed. Looking down, he realizes that he's embracing a pillow. "Good morning," Morris greets. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"No." As casually as he can manage, Michael sets the pillow aside, patting it briefly. "I promise I'll call you tomorrow."
"Mm-hmm," Morris replies, not convinced.
Lisa is studying for her exam when Misenbach calls. Heather answers the phone, and is reluctant to let him speak to her mother. "Heather, let me be very clear about something," Misenbach says. "If you don't let me speak with your mother, I'm just going to keep calling back. In other words, the faster you put your mother on the phone the faster the two of us can get off the phone and the sooner you can call your friends or go on-line or order a pizza or..."
"You know what? For a little guy, you sure play rough." She relents and calls Lisa to the phone.
Misenbach has received Lisa's message, and since "tomorrow night" is now that evening, he wonders if she's still up for it. Lisa is, and they agree to meet at eight o'clock.
Michael finishes his last bench press and puts the weight back on the bar with a groan. "6:00," Morris tells him. "Quitting time."
Exhausted, Michael simply lies there as the rest of the conversation continues. "Oh, good."
Taylor pats him on the shoulder. "Good work today."
Morris kneels down beside the equipment to talk to him. "I thought about what you said yesterday and I changed my mind and made that call. You know what I'm talking about, right? About making that change?"
"I knew you'd feel that way. I'm going to go wait in the kitchen." He leaves, and Taylor immediately takes his place beside Michael.
She crouches down beside him. "I can't stand to see you caged this way."
"Oh, good." He's unsure of where this is going.
Taylor presses something into his hand. "Here's the key to the door and the code to the alarm. I've rigged the security system so that at 8:00 you're safe to leave."
"Oh, good," Michael replies, uncertain.
"I was hoping you'd feel that way. Meet me on the corner of 65th and Fifth. I'll be waiting." She kisses him on the cheek and departs. "Mr. Wiseman," Dr. Morris calls from the kitchen, "your dinner's ready."
Michael groans. "Oh, good."
He meets Taylor on the corner at the appointed time, despite his worries about what Dr. Morris will do if he finds out. "Don't worry about the Doc," Taylor assures him as they walk down the street. "He's not worried about you."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means, no wonder you're obsessed with who you were instead of who you've become. You're locked up all the time with nothing to do but dwell on the past. I want to give you a here and now. I want to give you a right this second... help you forget all that. Is that okay?"
Michael thinks about it for a second. "I don't know. What are we going to do?"
"Anything you want."
"Anything. It's New York. The symphony, the opera, a fabulous hotel. Anything."
Meanwhile, Misenbach is picking Lisa up. "Anything?" Lisa asks as she gets into Misenbach's car.
He smiles at her as he gets in. "Anything."
She decides to go ice skating in Central Park, but as they both discover on the rink, both of them are fairly out of practice and off balance. They stagger around precariously for a while before they manage some sort of equilibrium, laughing the whole time.
Michael and Taylor are bowling, a sport that Taylor has very little experience with. Michael tries to show her how to bowl correctly, cheering her on even when she only manages to knock down one pin. Michael later buys a hot dog, but Taylor chooses not to get one herself. "Do you know what's in those things?"
"Do I ever," Michael breathes before taking a big bite.
Having had their fill of ice skating, Misenbach and Lisa are sitting on a bench outside the park, having some wine. "What? No toast?" Misenbach asks.
"To this," Lisa replies. "And to nice."
Not far away, Michael and Taylor have settled down on a bench, looking out at the night sky. "You look like you're someplace else," Taylor tells him.
"Nah, you know. Looking at the city, it reminds me of stuff - you know, things I've done, places I've been, things I've seen."
"I don't know. You ever seen Oh, Calcutta?" She stares at him blankly. "It's not important." They turn their attention to the full moon above.
Meanwhile, Lisa is also lost in her thoughts as well. "I just can't help but think about all the other moons I have looked up at."
"You mean this isn't your first time? This isn't your first moon? Well, this could have a serious effect on the dowry conversations later," Misenbach jokes.
Noting that she's cold, Misenbach pulls Lisa into his arms. At the same time, Taylor leans over to kiss Michael.
But at the last moment, Michael turns away. "Uh... I'm sorry."
Lisa pulls out of Misenbach's embrace. "I'm... sorry."
Taylor sits back again, and she and Michael sit in silence for a moment. "Well... you, sir, are something," Taylor says. "And I got to believe... she must be something."
"Yeah," Michael replies. "She is."
Lisa feels terrible, but Misenbach understands, telling her to take his car home; he has the feeling she'd like to be alone. "Can I say one thing to you?" he asks.
"You're wrong. And I don't care. We are great together - and I am perfectly happy to wait until you catch up with me with regard to this particular line of thinking."
"Wow," Lisa replies.
"'Wow,' yeah. I like that better than 'nice.'"
As they leave the park, Michael and Taylor stop by the railing, just missing running into the other two. "I feel funny about leaving you here," Taylor tells Michael. "You sure you're going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I just need to be alone for a while. I'll head back to the townhouse in an hour or so."
"Well, I think I'll call Washington tomorrow... see about having myself reassigned... have them change that lock and the alarm code, too." Michael nods, understanding, and she gives him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Bye, Michael Wiseman." With that, she turns and leaves Michael standing there, looking up at the moon.
As Michael finally turns and heads towards home, Lisa gets into Misenbach's car. Both of them head home alone, unaware of each other's presence.
Taylor approaches a familiar figure standing by the railing. At her greeting, Dr. Morris turns. "Well, what can you do? I was never sure it would work."
"You're not going to tell him," Taylor says.
"No. What would be the point? He loves her. Whether I like it or not, whether it's convenient for me or not... the man loves his wife." Taylor is visibly relieved. "It's not your fault, Lieutenant. You did a fine job."
She doesn't seem too proud of herself. "Thank you, sir."
"You really were quite convincing."
Taylor looks out at the skyline. "It wasn't hard," she admits before turning and walking away. Alone, Dr. Morris looks back at the view, as the camera pans up to focus on the full moon shining brightly in the clear night sky.
~ Episode Review ~ Sounds ~ E-mail Me ~ Back to Index ~