| Season 1, Episode 7|
Episode 7 of 78
|Air date|| February 18, 1994 (USA)|
April 9, 1995 (Germany)
|Written by||Tommy Thompson|
|Directed by||Gus Trikonis|
|Guest stars:|| Lee Chamberlin|
Vincent F. Guastaferro
Wheels of Fire
The Face is the seventh episode of Viper. It aired on NBC on February 18, 1994.
In the Lynheim Pharmaceuticals office, Karl Lynheim (Guastaferro) is watching a news report on Sakmar Industries' new breakthrough on a new prescription drug. The head of the company, Benjamin Sakmar (Robert Kerbeck), has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning. Sakmar used to be the driving force at Lynheim, but had broken away and formed his own company six months ago. Lynheim then turns off the TV, just as two of his henchmen bring in Lyle Hinkle (Thomerson). Lynheim reminds Lyle of their contract, for which he had paid Lyle $500,000. Lyle, having just been released from prison after 10 years, after being arrested for doing a hit for Lynheim. Lynheim asks for the money back, but Lyle can't return it since it was confiscated when he was arrested. Lynheim then wants Lyle to do one more job. Lyle refuses, having just gotten married to a teacher named Lisa (Steel), and chose to start over from a clean slate. However, Lynheim then shows Lyle a picture of her being bound to a chair, forcing him to comply.
At Julian's house, Thorne (Chamberlin) informs Joe Astor and Julian Wilkes about Lyle, nicknamed "The Face" because he could easily change his appearance, and he used to hit only other criminals. Lyle had been her first major arrest when she had just been promoted to Captain, and for she had treated him with respect, he trusted her. Thorne then informs them that she had set up a meeting for them with Lyle at midnight. Lyle then calls Lynheim, who invites him to his office so he could see Lisa. After that, Lynheim tells Lyle about his target - Sakmar.
At the Lair, Frankie Waters reveals that he had been very fascinated with Lyle, and had followed his whole career, as he has a fascination with the criminal mind, and is thinking of writing a biography, titled "The Face Speaks", on him. Just then, Thorne calls them, telling them that Hinkle has picked the rendezvous spot - under the old Green Tower Bridge. Joe and Julian meet up with Lyle under the bridge. As Lyle is about to tell them the truth, Frankie drives up in his Barracuda. He accuses them of setting him up and leaves. Joe then chases after him, but Lyle gets away.
Back at the lair, Joe and Julian are very angry with Frankie for blowing them the chance. Feeling guilty, Frankie offers to ride shotgun with Joe and help him find Lyle, telling him that Lyle had a hideout where he would change his appearance, which Frankie thought was on the east side of the town. Joe and Frankie head out to the east side, and meet Lyle, who starts running away. They manage to corner him, only to learn that they had got the wrong guy, who later tells them that Lyle had just given him the jacket. Lyle, meanwhile, has arrived in his hideout, where he accesses the MetroPol's personnel files. Finding the information on Joe, he makes himself a facial imprint of Joe's face.
In the morning, Frankie arrives at the Viper Lair with all the information on Lyle. Meanwhile, Frankie is watching the news report on Sakmar's press conference, and sees Joe appearing in the camera's view. Joe quickly heads out in the Viper. However, running into a traffic jam at roadworks, he puts the Viper into all-wheel drive and takes a shortcut. As Lyle takes out his gun, ready to shoot Sakmar, he is stopped by Joe, who leads him away. Witnessing Sakmar drive away on the TV, Lynheim gets angry. Joe asks Lyle to call Lynheim and ask him for another chance.
Joe brings Lyle to the Lair, much to Julian's dismay. Frankie then talks to Lyle, revealing that he used to call him in prison twice a week for 10 years, even sending him a birthday cake, as Joe and Julian plan how to nail Lynheim and get Lisa out safe and sound. They decide to have him wired, and Joe drives Lyle to Lynheim's office, as he goes up to meet Lynheim. However, as Lynheim has a metal detector, Lyle is forced to remove the wire. Lyle then comes out and gets in the Viper, pulling a gun on Joe, and then kidnapping Sakmar.
At Lynheim's yacht, where Lisa is being held, Lyle arrives with Sakmar. As ordered by Lynheim, Lyle then shoots him. However, Lyle then points his gun at Lynheim's goon, ordering him to drop the gun and release Lisa to him. Lyle then pulls out a recorder, showing that he recorded the whole exchange. Lynheim reminds him that since he killed Sakmar, he will also be arrested. However, just then, Sakmar rises up and talks... in Joe's voice, revealing that Joe and Lyle had used fake blood, and Lyle's facial imprint generator to generate a mask of Sakmar that Joe then put on, which Joe now removes.
Lynheim then runs off and escaped in a speedboat. However, Joe chases him down in the Defender, and fires the static pulse at Lynheim's boat, stopping it, then firing the grapple hook at the boat, pulling it back to the shore. Lynheim is arrested, and Joe talks to Sakmar. Lyle is now cleared, and reunites with Lisa, with Thorne telling him to "stay out of trouble". Joe and Julian then say goodbye to Lyle and Lisa, just as Frankie arrives, asking Lyle for an interview for the book, however, Lyle declines. Frankie then decides to retool his book to fiction, taking place in Buffalo.
- The German title for the episode is "Das Chamäleon" - "The Chameleon".
- In Germany, the episode, like most of Season 1, aired out of order as penultimate - following Episode 4, Safe as Houses, and preceding Episode 11, Thief of Hearts.
- Tim Thomerson would later return in Season 2 opener Winner Take All as Colonel Hanson Dekker.
- After the scene at Julian's house, a 1993 Plymouth Prowler concept car can be seen passing Lyle as he is talking on the phone. The Prowler would go into production in 1997.
- When Julian was 10, he used to sneak out under the old Green Tower Bridge at night and ride his skateboard there, earning him the nickname "Stealth".
- Frankie calls the Lair "The Viper Heaven".
- Lynheim: Well, well, well. How are you, Lyle?
- Lyle: This guy sticks a gun in my face, then this one tosses me into a car, how do you think I am?
- Lynheim: Blood doesn't wash that easily, my friend. You think it over and you call me tomorrow. One way or another, someone's going to die. Don't make it be your lovely wife, Lyle.
- Joe: (About Lyle) How serious is this guy about changing his life?
- Thorne: I don't know. But I believe everyone deserves a second chance.
- Frankie: I simply have a fascination with the criminal mind.
- Julian: Nice hobby.
- Julian: Let's roll.
- Frankie: Okay.
- Joe: Where are you going?
- Julian: Later, Frankie.
- Frankie: Oh, C'mon you guys!
- Joe: Sorry Frankie, no rumble seat.
- Frankie: Okay, okay, mock me you Philistines, but when my book becomes a best seller, expect to pay retail.
- Lyle: I guess Delia told you my story, who I was, what I was.
- Joe: Yeah, well that's all history. What we're interested in is the here and now.
- Julian: I can't believe you followed us!
- Frankie: I didn't follow you, I merely took an alternate route and by sheer coincidence...
- Julian: Ah, spare me, okay?
- Frankie: Alright, mea culpa. What do you want from me, blood?
- Joe: Don't tempt me!
- Frankie: Hey, look, it was my fault he took off, ergo it will be my fault if somebody gets killed and I don't think I can deal with that.
- Joe: If we're going by your place we should leave the car in Defender mode.
- Frankie: Hey, I keep a meticulous abode, Joe and I take umbrage to that remark.
- Joe: You can take whatever you want but the last time I was there I thought you had patterned wallpaper ... till it moved.
- Frankie: Hey, can I help it if the cockroaches like my cookin'?
- Frankie: He got offers from all the major egghead institutions, no offense, Julian.
- Frankie: I think you guys wanna take a look at this!
- Joe: No time to watch television, Frankie.
- Frankie: Make time!
- Joe: You blew it, Hinkle. I never wear polyester.
- Lyle: All my life I had this empty place inside. Then I met Lisa, she's a teacher. I used to go talk to kids about prison, try to scare them into being good. The day I walked into her class, everything changed. One minute you're one person, the next minute you're not. That ever happen to you?
- Joe: Yeah, more or less.
- Lyle: Why're you doing this?
- Joe: Redemption, Lyle. It works. I've been there.
- Lynheim: What are you trying to pull?
- Lyle: (Brandishes a recorder) I already pulled it.
- Lynheim: You can't take me down without destroying yourself, Lyle. You killed him!
- Joe: (Dressed as Sakmar) Hmmmm. (Rises) Not quite.
- Lynheim: This is impossible! I saw him... I... I saw him shoot you! The... the blood. The blood!
- Joe: Yeah, it looks pretty lifelike, doesn't it? You have to be careful, when you're dealing with The Face. (Removes the mask) Joke's on you, Lynheim.
- Sakmar: I can't believe that he wanted me killed.
- Joe: Look, sorry about surprising you the way we did, wasn't much time to explain.
- Sakmar: I may not have believed you if you had.
- Frankie: Hey, can I tell you something, you're making a big mistake here! (Snaps his fingers) I got it! The Face now becomes The Mug!
- Frankie: (Seeing seagulls on his Cuda) Hey, you foul feathered sky rats, get out of here!