The Pretender

Season 4 Episode 5

Road Trip

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Nov 13, 1999 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • Road Trip is a sweet character-driven episode of The Pretender that periodically dips its toes into sappy territory.

    If Jarod's trek searching for a lost hiker in the mountains could be described as his first time with a woman, perhaps this episode could be his second. While sitting in a diner marveling at the bizarre names people come up with for food, he spots a woman doing a pretty poor job hiding from a man outside. Naturally, he offers to help her - she kisses him to temporarily cover herself from her pursuer, and then bolts out the door. Like a lovestruck puppy, Jarod hurries after her and instead of simply closing the car door like she requests, gets in first. They speed off, start talking, and decide to take a bit of a road trip.

    This is where the episode gets a little touching in and around the barrage of cliches. The ex-boyfriend pursuing her is a useless plot device and he pops up a couple times more than is necessary. Her brave front is concealing the exact sort of trauma you'd expect, although it's not milked to extremes a la Autumn in New York or Sweet November or some other godawful sappy 'love' story. It serves as a welcome counterpoint to the often hectic pace of Pretender episodes, a chance to take a step back and focus on the characters rather than their pursuit.

    Even the secondary plot is introspective, serving up plenty of Wizard of Oz references in and around tales of childhood from Miss Parker, Broots, and Sydney. It advances little of the series' main story, but that's okay. We get a further glance into each of them and a handful of amusing little jokes.

    But it's Jarod's episode. In and around the road trip are visits with the family, giggling as turtles are carted off the road, skinny-dipping in a pool, handcuffs, and a farewell. As the credits roll you can ask yourself if anything meaningful really happened and safely say "no." But you know what? After so much running from The Centre, Jarod deserves a brief reprieve. And it's hard to argue when he seems happy - even if only for a moment.