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Viper
Season 1, Episode 5
Episode 5 of 78
Network NBC
Air date January 28, 1994 (USA)
February 26, 1995 (Germany)
Written by John Francis Moore
Directed by Mario Azzopardi
Guest stars: Richard Burgi
Lee Chamberlin
Michael Champion
Annabelle Gurwitch
Fay Hauser
Peter Keleghan
Wendie Malick
Episode Guide
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Safe as Houses
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Mind Games


Firehawk is the fifth episode of Viper. It aired on NBC on January 28, 1994.

Plot Edit

The episode opens with Joe Astor driving the Defender, chasing a hijacked truck. The hijackers constantly keep blocking his line of fire, so Joe can't use the static pulse gun. Instead, he fires a missile at a nearby wrecked car, and succeeds in stopping the truck. Joe arrests the hijackers, leaving them handcuffed until MetroPol arrives, as he is being watched.

The scene then cuts to Lane Cassidy being interviewed about his newest project, Cassidy Urban Foundation, that provides health programs, daycare and job training. Just then, he is interrupted by a phone call, and as the reporters leave, he is dismayed since the computer parts that the hijacked truck was carrying were to be delivered to his Cuban associates. However, he says he has a solution - he has found a vehicle capable of taking on the Defender, but similar to the Defender in Pilot, it lacks a driver, and asks the caller to break Eric van Hook out of jail; and get him a programmer, by arranging a contract with the Nevelsons.

Back at the Lair, Joe and Julian Wilkes are discussing whether Julian is endangering his family by being involved with the Viper project. Julian mentions that he would need a steady job, and has been thinking of setting up a research and development company. He also invites Joe over for dinner with his family on Friday night.

Meanwhile, in the Motorpool, Frankie Waters is visited by Nash (Gurwitch), requesting the last month's impound reports, as he is checking his email on his computer, when suddenly he is interrupted by a pop-up window calling itself "Jabberwocky". He dismisses it as junk mail, however, just after he gives Nash the disk with the reports, and she leaves, his computer suddenly crashes, and he realizes that he had caught a virus.

In his office, Cassidy is visited by the Nevelsons - Arnie (Keleghan) and Iris (Malick). He asks them to "persuade" Julian to work for them in the attempt to destroy the Viper.

Joe is having dinner with the Wilkes', when suddenly the doorbell rings. It's Frankie, who came to ask for his help, after the virus has infected the MotorPool's computer system. Julian tells him that Jabberwocky virus is basically harmless as it keeps the hard drive intact, but only blocks access to the files, and he can give him a disinfectant disk.

Firehawkvehicle

The Firehawk vehicle

Later, Joe is driving the Viper in the town, when he notices a car following him. He corners the driver, who turns out to be Delia Thorne (Chamberlin), curious to find out what had happened to the Viper after Joe and Julian had liberated it. She tells him that she has joined The Consortium, a secret group of concerned citizens trying to fight the Outfit, and gives him a special calling card with what he can reach The Consortium.

Meanwhile, Erick van Hook (Champion), a former MetroPol officer just sprung from prison, meets Cassidy, who asks him to drive the prototype Firehawk vehicle to take down the Viper. Upon mentioning that Wilkes will be brought in to help him, he agrees.

At the Metropolitan Bank, Wilkes' loan application had just been rejected, and he can't reapply until next year, before the government incentives start, disappointing him greatly, as he really wanted to start the company. Just then, he is kidnapped by the Nevelsons, taking him to a warehouse, telling him to retrofit and reprogram the Firehawk so it can neutralize the Viper's defenses. He meets van Hook again, and is told by the Nevelsons to call Mara (Hauser) and tell her he was called out of town on a business trip.

Meanwhile, Joe is at the Lair alone, when the phone rings. Mara calls him, saying that when Julian called her, he had asked her to "Tell Uncle Walt that I'll see him next week", except that his uncle had died years ago. Joe then calls Thorne and keeps her informed, before going to see Frankie at the Motorpool, telling him to come over to the Lair, as he'll need his help.

At the warehouse, van Hook tells Julian that he wants the Firehawk fitted with a feedback mechanism that can fire a static pulse fired from the Viper back at it. Arnie then asks Julian how to contact Joe. In the night, as Joe is driving in the Viper, he is called by Arnie, directing him to 5th and Bridge Street, where Julian supposedly is, with a bomb. Joe races to the destination, where he finds Julian's van, and gets his first encounter with the Firehawk. He morphs the Viper into Defender mode, just as van Hook starts firing at him. After he fires the static pulse at the Firehawk, the vehicle collects it and fires it back at the Viper, causing a systems failure. Joe narrowly escapes. Van Hook comes back to the base, angry.

At the Lair, Joe and Frankie are looking at Viper's vidcam feed footage, and identify the Firehawk. Joe then asks Frankie to access any files available of the Firehawk, to find any kind of weakness on it. Inside the Firehawk's base, Julian finishes assembling a Parasite missile, that can interact with Viper's electrical system and override its computer. With no one in sight, Julian picks up a cellphone and calls the Lair, sending them a touchtone message. They decode it as "JABBERWOCKY", and figure out Julian sent them a hint to send the virus into the Firehawk's computer system. Just then, Thorne calls, informing Joe about van Hook, and that the Consortium believes his parole was arranged by Cassidy, before putting Mara on. Mara tells Joe that Julian's uncle Walt used to own a barbershop down on Maple Street by the old ironworks.

Joe morphs the Viper and drives off to the ironworks. At the Lair, Frankie discovers that a nearby building had just a few days ago requested immediate hook-ups for water and power. Joe arrives at the scene, and with the help of the probe, finds Julian inside the building. As Joe drives by the building, van Hook drives out of the building in the Firehawk, and begins chasing him. They drive to the top of an abandoned parking garage, and the duel begins.

Van Hook fires the Parasite missile at the Viper and gains control of it, starting to drive it around from the Firehawk. Asking Frankie to send the Jabberwocky to Firehawk, Joe gets out of the Viper, as van Hook starts chasing him with it. Just as van Hook has Joe cornered and is about to hit him with the Viper, Frankie manages to send the Jabberwocky into the Viper's computer, and on to the Firehawk, causing a system delete. Joe and van Hook fight, with van Hook proving to be much stronger than Joe. However, Joe manages to knock van Hook out, and plants an explosive inside the Firehawk. He gets out of the Firehawk, only to see van Hook has disappeared. Just as he is about to get in the Viper, van Hook calls him from the other side of the Firehawk, now holding a knife, charging at him. However, the force of the explosion knocks him out.

Inside the Firehawk base, the Nevelsons escape, after saying goodbye to Julian, leaving him unharmed. A few moments later, Joe pulls in in the Viper, after Julian finishes installing Jabberwocky into the base's computer. Julian tells him that he had scratched the Firehawk's virus protection disk, so that it would have been vulnerable for a few minutes. Julian then decides to let the Nevelsons go, and with everything on Firehawk and the Viper wiped from the Outfit's files, Joe and Julian leave in the Viper.

At Julian's home, Julian is reunited with his family, while Thorne asks Joe if he thought about her proposal. Joe says that they could work something out.

Trivia Edit

  • The German title for the episode is "Die Kampfmaschine" - "The Battle Machine".
  • When originally shown in Germany on ProSieben in 1995, the episode aired slightly out of order - it aired fifth, as in the NBC airing, but instead followed Ghosts (3rd episode) and preceded Crown of Thorns (12th episode).
  • This episode marks the third appearance of Outfit boss Lane Cassidy after Ghosts. He would make one more appearance in the season.
  • Delia Thorne from Pilot returns, having now joined The Consortium. Throughout the season, she would make three more appearances.
  • Frankie has a sister, and they would drive their father crazy, when they called each other and left messages through the touchtone code.
  • Julian's touchtone message is "52223796259".
  • The Firehawk is based on a Humvee. It was built by the Foxcraft Industries, rumored to be owned by The Outfit.
  • Julian's Dodge EPIC minivan makes another appearance, last seen in Ghosts.
  • When Cassidy is talking to van Hook, his 1989 Chrysler Millenium concept car from Once a Thief is seen in the background.

Quotes Edit

Joe: Julian, yeah that's Viper 1 : Outfit 0.
Julian: Figures, I send you out on a simple performance test and you find a crime. Hijacking tonight, armed robbery two days ago.
Joe: Can I help it if I can't turn a corner without running into trouble?
Julian: I called an anonymous tip in the MetroPol, there should be a couple squad cars on the way.
Joe: Okay, well, you know what they say about discretion and valor, I'm outta here.

Julian: Now, before you decided to take on those hijackers last night, we were attempting to test a new fuel mix. Did it make a difference?
Joe: Yeah, cut a few seconds off the acceleration. Why Detroit hasn't beaten a path to your door, I'll never know.
Julian: I'm not much of a company man, so here I am, paired up with a vigilante.
Joe: Ah, but think of the job security.

(Julian mentions that he has some financial problems)
Joe: I can help you out.
Julian: Thanks, but the stash from your criminal days is better spent keeping the Viper maintained. Besides, I got my pride, you know.
Joe: I hadn't noticed.
Julian: Actually, I've been thinking of setting up a research and development company. That way I've got a front and a paycheck. And you, you got the Outfit and the cops on your tail, how about a front of your own?
Joe: I was Michael Payton, now I'm Joe Astor, last thing I need is a third identity to confuse things. I wanna live as normal and uncomplicated life as possible. Considering the circumstances.

Joe: Hey Julian? If you want out, I understand.
Julian: Somebody's gotta take a stand, try to make things better. Besides, without me, you'd have the Viper wrapped around a lightpost within 10 minutes, I'd have to kill you myself. Hey, look, you want that normal life, come by my house Friday night. Dinner with my family is about as normal as it gets.

Frankie: Yeah, well what about the afterlife? You know, I am a very spiritual guy.

Joe:Great meal, Mara. Thanks for having me over.
Mara: Oh, you're welcome anytime, Joe. You know, you seem uneasy tonight, something bothering you?
Joe: No, it's just you've got a great family, and I can't even remember mine, let alone whether we were happy. What if I have kids?
Mara: (Inspects his face) I don't think so, not enough worry lines.

Frankie: Filling out forms in long-hand makes me feel like a genuine primitive. (To Ronnie) No comment, you!

Frankie: So, I'll overlook you not inviting me to dinner, and accept a piece of cake. You got a fork?

Joe: Commander Thorne?
Thorne: I dropped that title when I resigned from the force, remember? Delia will do.
Joe: Delia, you followed me! Why?
Thorne: Why, I was curious to see what you and Wilkes had done with the Viper since you liberated it.
Joe: Curious or suspicious?
Thorne: That's a fair question. There were some non-believers among us, but you've convinced us that you are on our side.
Joe: Our side?
Thorne: After I quit MetroPol, I was approached by a group of citizens concerned with the Outfit's influence in the state. Their identities are kept secret, but they call themselves The Consortium.
Joe: Sounds like a department store.
Thorne: Join us, we can help you. The Consortium can smooth over things with the police, let you concentrate on the real problem - The Outfit.
Joe: Look, Delia, you know I don't respond well to authority and neither does Julian.
Thorne: But we don't want you under our authority! You can always refuse to help us, but we're fighting the same enemies, Joe. For the same goal. (Gives him a calling card) You can reach me at any time. That card will patch you through, the line is scrambled on both ends.
Joe: I'll think it over, thanks. And don't ever sneak up on me like that again.

Van Hook: You sprung me, now what?
Cassidy: Now you do me a favor, van Hook. You've heard of the Viper, right?
Van Hook: Yeah, they scrapped the project. After I left the force, they couldn't find another man to handle the car.
Cassidy: Negative. The Viper was completed, and then stolen by Michael Payton.
Van Hook: Payton, huh? Michael Payton, he wasn't a half-bad wheelman.
Cassidy: Half-bad? If I recall, he managed to outrun you and every other cop in the city.
Van Hook: And he did a lot of work for you, right?
Cassidy: That's right. But Payton had an, uh... an unfortunate tackle of morality. Calls himself Joe Astor now, he's become a real problem for us.
Van Hook: And you want me to kill him.
Cassidy: Not ideally. I'd prefer to have our consultants question him first. I want you to steal the Viper.
Van Hook: (Laughs) No offense, Mr. Cassidy, but with what?
Cassidy: (Signals bodyguard to open the sliding door) Firehawk. Military prototype, abandoned when its mother company went under. It's fast, it's armored, it's armed.
Van Hook: Sure, you could level a city block with this thing, but you got a problem. How you're gonna deal with the Viper's defensive hardware?
Cassidy: Well, that's why I've arranged to bring Julian Wilkes here, to customize the Firehawk.
Van Hook: Wilkes?
Cassidy: He resigned from MetroPol when the project went to hell, hasn't worked since. We'll offer him an incentive, cash, his life.
Van Hook: I'll tell you what, when it comes time to twist his arm, you can count me in. If it wasn't for Julian Wilkes, I never would have ended up in the joint.

Iris: Sorry, Julian. The phone's off the hook, but you are not.
Arnie: Now Julian, my wife is a terrible shot, but I'll bet at this range she's Annie Oakley. Let's roll. Uh, we'll navigate.

Arnie: Terrific, so we understand the way things are gonna work around here.
Julian: Look, even if I can set up the systems, it won't match the speed of the Viper. And with Astor behind the wheel, nothing can compete with the Viper.
Van Hook: Nobody made the Viper perform like I did, Wilkes, and you know it.
Julian: Van Hook. Just one more Outfit flunkie, huh?
Van Hook: Hey, we're working together again, Wilkes! When we're finished, you're gonna pay for railroading me into the joint.
Julian: You put your girlfriend in the hospital, not me. All I did was tell the court of law what everyone in MetroPol already knew, that you're an unstable, dangerous psychopath.
(Van Hook flares up) Iris: (Steps in front of him) All right, that's enough.
Van Hook: Hey, stay out of my way, sweetheart!
Arnie: (Points a gun at Van Hook) We keep our personal crises outside. If you threaten my wife again, I'll kill you.

Frankie: (Upon seeing Joe at the Motorpool) Joe, Joe please, a little discretion? I mean, no offense, but I shouldn't be seen consorting with a known felon.

Frankie: (Looking at the picture of Firehawk from Viper's vidcam feed) Wow, talk about a muscle car!
Joe: What is it?
Frankie: Beats me.
Joe: Thought you had intimate knowledge of anything on wheels?
Frankie: Detroit, yes. Pentagon, no.
Joe: Pentagon?
Frankie: It's got military all over it! I'll run the data through the supersearch, but this is government territory. You understand, Joe? You did not see me do this, capisce?

Van Hook: Ironic, isn't it, Wilkes? First you build the damn car, then you destroy it.

Joe: So, what did they offer you? Money, power, prestige?
Julian: Yeah, yeah, tons.
Joe: Well, all I've got is three women waiting for you.
Julian: I'll take that deal.