The teaser for this episode was an appropriate tease. They showed the scene where Nicholas fought with Shannon and threw her over a desk. They froze the shot just where Shannon landed, making it look as though she had broken her neck and lay there in open-eyed death. This episode harks back to an "Old Mission" episode, where Barney inadverdently became programmed as an assassin. In his case, Barney accidently dropped the drug that would render him immune to brainwashing, and it was destroyed before he had a chance to retrieve it. In Nicholas' case, much as I hate to admit it, it was, at least in part, pure carelessness.
The team had made the assumption that Dr. Westerly had been involved with creating the assassins, as all of them had passed through his clinic at some point. Plus, he had been spotted in the background at several of the assassinations (presumably because his transmitter that set off the watches had a limited range.) Nicholas, as well as Max and Shannon, went undercover specifically to be considered as potential assassins--Shannon made a point of telling Westerly that her "husband" was a skilled marksman.
Knowing this, Nicholas really should have been more cautious in Westerly's office. Instead, he sat in the chair, paying no attention at all, as Westerly casually picked up a hypodermic, swabbed Nicholas' arm, and injected him with a sedative-hypnotic.
Oh, well. Everyone makes mistakes at some point. Nicholas did a great job getting into the clinic as the drunken Brian Carmody, who was by turns obnoxiously loud, and pathetically desperate. (Reduced to celebrity interviews in Boston! Oh, the horror....)
You would think that Westerly's programming was designed to stay more or less hidden until activated, but apparently its effects extended into Nicholas' concious activity. He knew that Shannon and Max would be at the clinic, he was aware that they (and he) were undercover. Yet he seemed to have pretty much forgotten just why they were there. His realization that he could not remember what happened in Westerly's office, combined with Max's description of the "jungle noises" should have left him confused and concerned. Instead, he just got angry, leading to a remarkable scene where the medium-sized Nicholas attacked big, brawny Max.
Westerly was a pretty good villain, appropriately slimy. You just wanted to knock that complacent smile off his face. He was also remarkably confident of his assassination technique. He took Nicholas to the race track in a decoy manuver, purely to draw out the rest of the team. The team responded appropriately, knocking Nicholas out with a dart ("He never could hold his liquor") and carrying him off. Westerly watched the proceedings with that arrogant smile. It didn't seem to occur to him that they might have knocked Nicholas out thoroughly enough to make him useless, or that they might lock him up in such fashion that he would be unable to escape.
Well, he was right. Another bad mistake on the team's part. Shannon was left to cope unsuccessfully when Nicholas' watch activated and set Nicholas off. He did stop short of killing her, however. I couldn't really tell if he stopped because some part of him knew that he shouldn't, or simply because she was not his chosen target. It was fascinating to watch Nicholas' face as he began to walk off the boat, and then paused, reflecting that he had access to equipment that would make his job easier. (Westerly got a lot more than he bargained for when he picked Nicholas!) It was also chilling to watch him casually step over Shannon's unconcious body--nothing more than a minor obstacle in his path.
Grant picked up enough information at Westerly's office to determine the real target, and they all rushed off to the zoo. I liked Grant's reaction as he found the mask kit and the realization dawned on him that Nicholas could be one of hundreds of faces in the crowd. Too bad that the machine didn't keep a record of the last face made. It was sheer luck that Max spotted the man Nicholas had copied.
Quite a brave move on Jim's part--stepping directly in front of Nicholas and staying there.
Westerly came to an appropriate end--although I was concerned on behalf of the lions. I hope that they weren't punished for a natural reaction to their cage being invaded.
The final scene was wonderful ("Have I missed something?") And that last frozen shot, as Nicholas glanced down and saw that he was a little more paunchy than usual--priceless.