There Are Pretenders Among Us,
Geniuses With The Ability to Become Anyone they Want to Be...
In 1963, a Corporation Known As The Centre,
Isolated a Young Pretender Named Jarod,
And exploited his Genius for their research.
Until One Day....
The Pretender is a one-hour suspense series, which airs in Australia on the Nine Network. The Show stars Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, who was taken from his parents in the early 1960's as a young child, and kept in a place called The Centre, where his genius was exploited, and the products of his brilliant mind sold to the highest bidder. At the Centre, Jarod was in the care of a psychiatrist, Sydney Green.
As an adult, Jarod escaped from the Centre, using his skills (he can "pretend" to be a master of virtually any profession) to become a "one-man, nonviolent vigilante force for justice." His now-free life is not without hang-ups, however...the Centre still needs him for their research, and their agents are forever on his heels.
Some call Jarod, "The Pretender"
because of his amazing ability to assimilate any identity, to become a
human chameleon. How does he do it? For one, he has a genious IQ that's
off the charts. He also has The Centre to thank, a mysterious place that
took him away as a boy and kept him in isolation while they trained him
for this ability. He did what he thought were simulations for "clients",
figuring out things like who actually killed JFK. Dr. Sydney Green was
the main person behind this training, with Jarod since his childhood. When
Jarod found out that most of the things he was doing were misdeeds, like
organizing military coups and plotting terrorist strikes, he escaped from
the Centre headed on a journey to right the things he felt he wronged.
Every week, Jarod finds himself in a new job, pretending to be things like a tanker captain, an airline pilot, a bomb squad member, a race car driver, and, yes, even a surgeon. Even with his genious, though, Jarod had only seen the world though books while in isolation, so in many ways he is still like a child, fascinated by things like ice cream and silly putty. As for Sydney, he just wants him back to the Centre. As for people like Miss Parker, they want to chase him down and some, like Mr. Raines, wants him dead.
We have all kinds of questions now about Jarod and the Centre. For example, who is Jarod really? How did he get to "The Centre"? And who were his parents? We can understand why they didn't give him Silly Putty (its tough to get out of a laboratory rug) and didn't let him watch the 3 Stooges, but why, in thirty years, did they never give him ice cream or was it just soft serve? And the thought of living without Oreos is very disturbing.
And then there's Miss Parker!. What's her story? What happened to her mother? Who is her father and why does Mr. Raines claim that he is the only one not afraid of him? Why does she hesitate to shoot Jarod when she has the chance? Maybe she's not as cold as she pretends to be. (Maybe the Arctic is not as cold as it pretends to be.) We now know that Miss Parker's first name starts with an "M" (Christmas episode).
And who is Mr. Raines? In the virology episode (remember the roaches?) it seemed to us that the writers were going after an allusion to Star Wars and Darth Vader with everyone fearing Mr. Raines, his labored breathing and his first words " The Empire State Building..." . Anyway we thought it was obvious. Then Raines said that all were afraid of Miss Parker's father except him. Who is her father and whom does he report to?
What Have we Learned in Season 1 ?
- Jarod's mother was still alive. Jarod also has a sister and, probably, a brother. (Yes, we met him but people lie or are misled all the time.)
- Jarod's father was a flyer of some kind but, while his father hid out together with his mom and sister, he is no longer with his mom. There was a comment that telling Jarod that they were dead "was close enough to the truth". Is he in a coma?
- Sydney has a twin bother named Jacob who worked at the Centre. He is at a facility in "Mt. Pleasant" in a coma after a car accident that may not have been an accident. Jacob may have been involved in experiments at the center even more bizarre than those Syd was into.
- Miss Parker's mother, Catherine, met a violent death at the Centre when Miss P. was a child. We assume she was murdered. We don't really know how much her father knows about her mother's death and at this point we wouldn't be that surprised to find that he planned it. Miss P's mom had a VERY close friend in a Ben Miller who ran a B&B in Lake Catherine, Maine? She went to his bed and breakfast every year for a long time. This is where Miss P discovers that her mom was "rescuing" kids. We are not sure what rescuing is but we think that she may have tried to rescue Jarod, it got her in trouble with, at least, Mr Raines, and may have gotten her killed.
- Miss P. has a dad (everyone does) but late in the season met him as a director at the Centre. Maybe he had a good handle on things in the past but seems to have less than total control now. He answers to someone somewhere but we don't more than that.
- There are other Pretenders. Jarod's brother Kyle was turned into a sociopath by Raines and spent years as a Lechter-like character in prison. We also met the man without a personality, Angelo. This guy is right out of Dr. Suess' nightmares. He seems willing to do whatever he is told but secretly sends mail for years to Kyle, helps Jarod escape and munches Cracker Jacks. (We wonder if they let him have Oreos.)
- Mr. Raines is just horrible.
- Miss P. has no siblings (yet), has some kind of feelings for Jarod (Good?/Bad?) and has a deal with her dad that if she can bring back Jarod she can leave the centre forever. She still smokes like a chimney even with her ulcer and isn't taking anything for it. We still don't know her first name. Jarod knows.
- Brootes is afraid of almost everybody at the Centre. Just don't mess with his family. He's the techie's techie and very creative.
Did we miss someone?
You Can Catch The Pretender in Australia, Saturday Nights from 8:30pm (After Hey Hey It's Saturday) on The Nine Network
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