The Net (1998) s01e16 Episode Script

Lutanic Fringe

How can the average person fight a billion-dollar corporation? You can't! Talk to me, Max.
How can the average person fight government corruption? You can't! People, you, me, are only numbers.
Slaves to the faceless, nameless conspirators who would steal our identities, our very souls.
He's talking about us.
Alone, we are helpless against them but together, we shall overcome.
You ever considered why people prefer order to chaos to follow instead of lead? - Simple minds.
- It's fear.
People won't risk isolation from society.
So, that's why I'm here.
To silence Max Copernicus.
Quite the opposite.
"Sociati facimus futuram.
" United we will make the future.
Now look at the number at the bottom.
Sixteen million and growing.
Those are hits to his site.
Followers who believe his every word.
Then if we control what he says We transform a nuisance into an ally.
Jacob, your interest in Mr Copernicus has become an obsession.
I've listened to guys selling Ginsu knives with better pitches.
He's got nothing to offer us.
Are you listening? He's warning about people like the Praetorians.
He could be talking about the CIA or the World Bank or Martians on Mars, but he definitely never said anything about the Praetorians.
Come on.
"Nameless, faceless conspirators"? He's trying to sell books.
How many have you bought? He's not like that.
He's an ally.
Right.
Okay, if he is so serious then why would he have a contest to win a trip to San Francisco? He's challenging us.
No, Jacob, he's conning us, or at least you.
He's looking for people who can help him, right? It's like he says, "United we will make the future.
" Come on, Jacob.
You know that solving the world's problems isn't that easy.
Yeah, we're ready, Max.
- Find the image of the - Come to papa.
in the given transformation.
That's it.
Jacob, hello.
You're wasting your time.
of the transformation.
Hold on.
I'll tell you what, Angela.
You come to San Francisco you check it out for yourself because I just won the $10,000 and the free trip, baby.
Yeah! No.
Neither of us can take that sort of chance.
This is the chance we have to take.
Angela, we've been lucky so far going against the Praetorians but if we keep going head-to-head like this, I'm afraid that one of us is gonna get hurt.
Well, I would like to have an army on our side too, Jacob but I think it's wishful thinking.
You just wait until you hear what he says, all right? Then you're going to believe me.
I'll see you there.
I hope you know what you're doing.
My name is Angela Bennett.
I discovered a group of computer terrorists.
They erased my life.
They made me into a criminal.
I am not going to stop until I get my life back.
But if they did this to me, they could do this to you.
THE NET 1x16 "LUNATIC FRINGE" Corporations, not governments run nations now.
The people's voice has been stolen by the nameless faceless conspiracy? Vincent, I need you.
Right now.
Thanks and go to it.
Listen, I'm glad you broke.
I need to talk to you about the contest.
Did you rewrite this? Yeah, I proofed it like you asked me to.
I changed a few sentences that didn't seem clear but- I have one word for you.
Content.
I contribute it.
You don't.
- The words are everything.
You understand? - Pretty much.
- Good.
Are we done here? - There's a problem with the contest.
No, I don't want to hear about the contest.
I have to spend the rest of the night rewriting this speech.
- Max, I need to talk to you.
- Vincent no one is going to solve the puzzle, and if they do, I'd love to meet him.
Well, then get prepared because you got yourself a winner.
Mick Jagger gets Jerry Hall.
I get girls with tape on their glasses.
We promised this kid a free trip and $10,000.
What do you want to do about it? Check the black sweater.
That's it, huh? What? Cancel the reservation and if he still shows up, we'll deal with it.
Nice.
Come on, you got to believe me.
My name is in that computer.
It's Resh.
R-E-S-H, Resh.
The contest winner.
I don't see it.
What I do see is a very long line of people behind you.
Please, sir.
Flight 392, non-stop service to San Francisco now boarding at Gate 43.
Hi.
Remember me? Can you please check one last time? Resh.
Humour me? - Jacob Resh? - Yeah.
- This wasn't here earlier.
- What do you know.
You know, that flight for San Francisco is leaving in, like, 15 minutes.
Can you please hurry it up? - All right, kid, you're airborne.
- Yes! I'll need a major credit card or cash to secure passage.
- But I won a contest.
- Then they'll reimburse you.
All right.
I'm only supposed to use this in case of emergencies.
I'm sure.
Here you go.
This is the final boarding call for Flight 392 non-stop service to San Francisco, Gate 43.
Better hustle.
- It's about time.
Hey.
- Hey.
- How are you? - Good.
I knew you'd show up.
So we go to the convention centre and we see Copernicus speak, then we leave.
- End of goose chase.
- Just wait until you hear him.
- Then you'll believe me.
- Let's just get a cab.
You don't need a cab this weekend.
I got a limo coming for me.
- We're riding in style.
- Okay, mack-daddy.
All right.
So, Jacob, where's that limo? That's not right.
There's supposed to be a dude holding a sign with my name on it.
Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.
You going to San Francisco? That's not a taxi.
I mean it's not a real taxi.
That's a $50 ride.
I can get you there for half.
Let's go.
Come on.
A taxi by any other name is - A taxi.
- Besides, we'll save $25.
Trust me, Angela.
Hey, are we going to go by Golden Gate Bridge? No, not this time.
You got family or friends here in town, or you just visiting? Why? Just trying to be friendly, lady.
What are we doing here, Jacob? - Max knows, Angela.
- Right.
Right.
"Nameless, faceless conspiracy.
" Nameless no more.
Praetorians.
- Hey! - What are we doing here? Welcome to San Francisco, folks.
Out of the car.
Come on.
- Come on.
- I told you, Jacob.
- You've got to be kidding me.
- Do I look like I'm kidding? Hand me over everything you got.
You can start with that watch.
- This is my grandfather's watch.
- Not anymore.
Come on.
That fancy electronic thing, too.
Come on, give me that.
All right.
Back away from the car.
Step away from the car.
You know, I'm trying to see both sides of this.
These people are outcasts for centuries.
They were forced to live on the margins.
It was a gypsy cab, not a Gypsy.
He stole my grandfather's watch.
All right, all right.
Well, I hope that they can get it back for you.
I'm just going to stay out here while you do your report.
Okay? I love it when you're paranoid.
You're so cute.
Excuse me.
I was robbed.
They stole my grandpa's watch.
It's 2:27.
Come on, man, I'm looking for some help here.
Take a walk.
Get on the end of the line.
He was wearing that watch when he shook hands with Martin Luther King.
Whoa.
No, thanks.
Please, I got it.
It just fell right over, there.
It's not so good for our image.
I'm Roy.
I'm Dorothy.
Like in The Wizard.
Lost in a strange land.
Something like that, yeah.
So, you're here for long? No.
Not so long.
- Long enough for dinner? - Well, actually- She's on a liquid diet.
Let's go.
My brother, Jacob.
What are you doing? He was a good guy.
Are you nuts? Your mug shots are on the board in there, front and centre.
I know.
Dinner would have been nice.
- Any luck? - The sergeant wouldn't even take a report.
Thieves rob us blind and the police won't even take a report? Hey, not completely blind.
What are you doing, Junior? What are you doing? - Great minds think alike.
- What more do we need? Come on, let's get to the hotel.
Otherwise we're gonna miss Max.
Well, it sounds to me like you think Mr.
Copernicus is gonna run out on his bill.
Now, I've told you to contact our offices in New York.
We've tried, sir, but we kept getting an answering machine.
Oh, damn.
Well, it sounds like Evita is taking her long lunches again.
Perhaps I should speak to Mr.
Copernicus.
No, no, no.
Mr Copernicus has already left for the convention centre.
Please, Mr Sorrento, you promised at least- Mr Sorrento.
Hey, I'm Jacob Resh, the contest winner.
Sorry I'm late.
Yeah, yeah.
Hold on, kid.
Okay? Mr Sorrento, we need to find a solution to this problem.
Well, we got our solution right here.
This is Jacob Resh, our winner and he needs to check in.
Give him the best because my bill is his bill.
And this arrangement is acceptable to you, sir? You bet it is.
- Then that will be fine.
- All right.
Okay, there has been a slight change of plans.
Okay, you're late.
It's not your fault, but Max had some work to do, okay? So just relax, get checked in.
Here's some backstage passes.
We'll leave your tickets at will-call.
Take care of my boy.
- Thanks, Mr Sorrento.
- No.
Thank you.
All right.
I'll need a credit card.
For incidentals.
I'm only supposed to use this in case of emergencies.
I'm sure.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
What just happened? I just scored us backstage passes.
Who's got the power? We do! Yes! Mr Sorrento has got a million things on his mind.
Besides, at this point, tickets are pretty much insignificant.
Let's just say I'm not surprised.
I fell through the cracks.
Fortunately, I had to sneak this way into a Kiss concert.
Oh, no.
It's locked.
We're gonna miss the show.
Oh, no.
Because united we will make the future.
How can the average person fight a multibillion-dollar corporation? It's taken care of.
They're on their way.
- Do you trust this pair? - Two guys I know out of San Francisco.
Very good.
Very tough.
How come your I know how much this meant to you.
I'm sorry it didn't work out.
Pearl Harbour didn't work out.
All right? This is a disaster.
- Wage slaves.
- Yeah.
And alone we are helpless against them.
But! And listen to me here: Together we shall overcome! No way.
I missed the whole show.
- We are kind of on the inside.
- I hate you.
You tell that genius on the TelePrompTer to get on the stick, or he's out of a job.
Really, I'm on it.
And check the gate receipts and arrange company for me back at the hotel.
Hey, Mr Sorrento.
Hey, kid, what are you doing here? You know, your backstage passes only got us this far.
We missed the whole show.
- That's a bad break.
Maybe next time.
- Tell him, little brother.
You know, first, no plane tickets.
We made do.
And then, there's no limo.
We made do.
But now we come all this way to see Max on stage and we miss the whole thing.
And he'd like his $10,000 prize money while you're at it.
Yeah.
I'll tell you what I'll do.
I'll go one better.
How would you like to have a face-to-face with Max? I'm sure he'd love the company.
You can ask him about the money.
He's got all the answers, you know.
You mean talk to Max? Like in his dressing room? We get a private audience.
You go ahead.
I don't think my heart could take the strain.
You're the smart one.
- Jacob has to learn his own lessons.
- Don't we all? I'm not going to let you hurt him.
Come.
What do you want? I'm Jacob Resh.
The contest winner.
I solved your puzzle.
I thought I told Vincent to take care of you.
Well, he did.
He had me come in here to meet you.
Well, I'll have to commend him for that.
The men's room is down the hall.
I don't have to go to the bathroom.
I just want to shake your hand.
I want you to know that this is a big day for me.
- You're an inspiration.
- Well, that's sweet.
And $10,000 on top of it.
You can't beat it.
Yeah.
Well, you know, I'll tell you, kid.
Life is filled with big and little rewards like spending time and, I mean, quality time with you.
That's more like it.
Why don't you go tell Vincent to make reservations for lunch? Top of the Mark.
My usual window table.
You, me, and our ideas for the future.
- You got it.
- All right.
Yeah.
Oh, yeah.
- I'm going to tell my kids about this.
- You have kids? No, but, I mean Finished with him so soon? Yeah, he's great.
He wants me to go to lunch with him tomorrow.
- I have to go get Vincent for him.
- Are you going to do his laundry, too? What is this? Let go of me! Hey.
Hold it! What the hell? Jacob, be careful.
Jacob.
Hands off me, kid.
Jacob, let's go.
Let's go! The little punk took my beeper.
For a futurist, he doesn't seem to have a lot of friends.
I'm his friend.
Here.
- Jacob, who were those guys? - I don't know.
- They just pulled a gun on us.
- What do we do? - What's this? - I grabbed his pager.
Excellent.
It's got the last four numbers on it at least.
Maybe one of them will lead us to where they're taking Max.
- All right.
Here, let's write them down.
- All right.
- Okay.
- Wait a minute, let me get the first one.
We shouldn't be back here.
If you witness a crime, you go to the police.
It is Aristotelian logic.
- If "A" then "B.
" - Okay.
We were the victims of a crime and the police did nothing for us.
We're talking about a human being, not a timepiece.
Wait here.
Try not to look like a mug shot.
Aristotelian? If "A" then "B.
" Take your time, Plato.
- Hey, I want to report a crime.
- Open this.
What happened? Waiter steal your granny's nose ring? No, I witnessed a kidnapping about an hour ago.
Max Copernicus.
Two goons took him from his dressing room.
Copernicus, the astronomer? What do you think I am, an idiot? No, Copernicus the visionary.
The future seer.
The lunatic.
You're the fifth person tonight that's come in here with that same story.
Yeah, sure, kid.
Your buddy was kidnapped by a right wing conspiracy a left wing conspiracy, and three different kinds of aliens.
So, your two goons just don't measure up to my high standards.
Since when do you have standards? I'm going to cut you exactly three more feet of slack.
Now, you want to use it to hang yourself or to skip on out of here? What are those pills for? Anxiety.
Double the dosage.
- Kickstand still working? - Yeah.
Your kid brother's been in there a while.
Maytall is probably playing with him.
The guy hates kids.
If I know Jacob, he's probably keeping up with Maytall's serve.
I could go in and talk to the Sarge.
I mean, I'd like to help.
You want to help? Tell your Sergeant to try yoga.
Hey, remember if you'd like to take a ride sometime.
- I'll call a cop.
- Come on.
What happened with Sergeant Rock? This guy is a troglodyte with a badge.
What now? Well, we got the numbers from George's pager.
It's time to start dialling.
Go this way.
- So who are you? - My name is Mr White.
Well, that must make me Mr Pink.
Do you really want to know who we are? No, what I really want is to be taking a bath with a couple of girls named Candy, but We are the evil you preach against everyday on your site.
How does it feel to have Satan come knocking at your door? The conspirators who control the world from the shadows.
Wait, wait, wait.
This is about my website? Because if I've said anything to offend you, I'm sorry.
The truth needs no apology, Max.
The truth? No, no, no, look.
You look like you've read a book or two.
So between me and you, every word of it is crap.
I'm a grifter.
I just have a high-concept con, that's all.
That's where you're wrong.
It's no con.
Why did you kidnap me? This isn't a kidnapping.
This is a business meeting, the first of many.
Oh, really? Well, if this is business, why didn't you call my manager set up a lunch so we could talk about this like civilised people? Well, in our business, there is no talk.
There are no negotiations.
There is only obedience.
I've got the locator map.
All right, if you can keep them on the phone for 15 seconds - I can get their addresses.
- Not a problem.
Okay, the guy got calls from four numbers with four addresses.
How are we gonna know which one they took Copernicus to, if any of them? I think I have a way of whittling them down.
Hi, you've reached the Shaffers.
We are not in right now, so please leave a message at the beep.
- Well? - Got a machine.
It's his wife.
Where are you, baby? The Jell-O is chilling in the fridge.
Come home.
- Bad guys? - Bad girl.
Hello.
Hi, this is Romanov's Pizza calling.
We are new to the neighbourhood and we're calling to introduce ourselves by giving away free pizzas.
Wrong number.
Nailed him.
Only a guy with something to hide would turn down free pizzas.
Did you get it? Yes.
194 Lincoln Avenue.
It's in Nob Hill.
We're there.
Almost 16 million hits to your site tonight.
I forget sometimes how many are listening to the message.
True believers.
Crackpots, conspiracy theorists ufologists, the lunatic fringe.
- Their money is just as good as anybody's.
- Precisely.
Now, you and your little club have been of great service to me already, Max.
By stumbling onto our organisation and spreading the truth about our goals to your followers mainstream society immediately dismissed the story as lunacy.
The perfect cover.
Thanks to you, we can hide in plain sight.
So, you boys brought me here to say "keep up the good work"? Yes, but with our guidance.
We'll feed you the content that we want the world to know about our grand conspiracy.
Here's a list of talking points.
"F-16 stolen from Wright-Patterson.
" You did this? Doesn't matter.
Just speak the words.
What is it you like to say? "Content.
We provide it, you don't"? I get it.
This is good.
You con a con man.
A little muscle, a little dog and pony show.
Just the right touch of nouveau riche sadism and I roll? You boys are forgetting that the thing that you're trying to sell, I sell, too.
He doesn't believe us.
Hey, believe this.
Sixteen million lunatics who are starting to wonder where I am, and my business manager has probably already made a call to the police.
Mr Copernicus is getting cranky.
Perhaps a few hours of rest should help him to see reason.
- Let's go.
- Hey.
Let go of me! Hey, easy, easy.
Now, listen.
The guy won't give me any room to manoeuvre.
He wants it all.
Hey, tell him I'm willing to flex.
Well, the cabby didn't steal our shoes.
That's a good sign.
Well, we're not inside yet.
Well, no close circuit cameras.
Low-level security.
I don't think they're expecting company.
It could also mean that they got Cujo patrolling the grounds.
Let's go back that way.
Go in there.
Hey, hey, hey.
There he is.
- Do you see him upstairs? - Yeah.
All right, let's go.
All right, the doors and windows are wired.
There has got to be a security box out here somewhere.
We can pop the circuits and disable the system.
I didn't see one in front.
Let's try the side.
Yes.
- Thanks.
- Here.
How does it look? State-of-the-art back in '96.
People need to learn when to upgrade.
- Come on.
Come on.
- All right, all right.
Well, this should disable the system.
All right, got it.
Kid, whatever it is I gave you in that contest, triple it.
Forget about the contest, Max.
We've got business to talk about.
- You're telling me these guys are for real? - We're living proof that they're real.
And people that we have loved have been sacrificed to their cause.
Shadow organisation free of government regulation and taxation with fingers in every pot around the world and they need me.
This is the greatest con of all time.
And it's the deadliest.
These are the same people who are after us.
When you're no longer useful to them, they're gonna kill you.
Someone's in the house.
Somebody's in the house! Oh, I forgot the control box.
Smack yourself later.
Let's go.
Damn it! Run faster.
Go, go.
Wait, wait, wait.
I can't do this.
You've been riding in limos too long.
- We have got to get you someplace safe.
- Argentina, maybe.
Hey, there's a car.
Wait, it's a taxi.
It's a taxi.
Hey, hey.
Whoa.
Come on.
You're sure these people have no idea where you live? Nobody does.
So, you got family, friends in town, or are you just visiting? What the hell? - Okay, okay.
Don't shoot.
- I want my watch.
It's in the glove box.
- All right, get out.
- What? - Go! - All right.
That was a pretty good punch.
Oh, yeah, I'm a leader of men.
What do you want? Where is your boss? - Who are you guys? - You do not ask questions.
Oh, it's all right, Shawn.
He simply believes he's protecting his employer.
Proves him to be a loyal man.
Skimming the gate notwithstanding.
Yes, let me clear things up for you, Vincent.
Max is now working for me.
Therefore you work for me.
Where is he? I left him at the theatre.
He told me to get the gate and send a girl to his room.
I suppose he would want to lay low for a while.
Whatever it is you want I can do it for you.
You don't need Max.
So much for loyalty.
You guys are the real deal, right? The conspiracy that Max has been preaching about? I'm waiting for an answer.
Wait, wait, wait.
I will give him up.
I swear.
- I know where he'd be.
- An epiphany.
But you don't need him.
I mean, I'm the idea man.
Remember EST? That was me.
I started that.
Herbal medicine, that's all me.
I came up with this conspiracy angle.
I write the speeches, I handle the money.
Will he be armed? It's all I am interested in.
- No, no, of course not.
- I'll handle it.
You live here? All my money goes to fighting the good fight.
It doesn't leave much left over for the comforts in life.
What about the limos, and the fancy hotels, and the $10,000 prizes? Let me tell you something.
People only understand success.
You can speak the most eloquent truths in the world but if you're dressed in rags, it falls on deaf ears.
Right, but tell lies in $2,000 suits.
The world will beat a path to your door.
You can take me to the bus station and after that, I suggest you dump that taxi and get yourselves back to wherever it is you came from.
- And you can go on to another scam.
- Don't insult him, Angela.
He knows what we know.
He can help us.
He can help us fight the Praetorians.
The who? You know, the nameless, faceless conspiracy you talk about.
Well, they have a name and they have a face.
Look, we need a plan, Angela.
It's you and I out there alone, and we can't beat these guys.
Now, he has an army of people waiting for him to give the word.
"United we will make the future," right, Max? Now, tell her.
Convince her that you can help us.
- Please tell her.
- Tell me.
Look, what's to tell, kid? She's right.
I made it up.
All of it.
People want to believe that there's a reason why they are held back in this life.
They want to believe that there's a reason why they fail besides their own miserable incompetence.
They want to believe that it's all a conspiracy.
So you give them a reason to believe that they can't be king of the world.
Hey.
Well, tonight you found out that the bogeyman is real.
Oh, yeah.
Real as rain.
There's a young guy, he's the boss, and another guy named Shawn.
- Jacob.
- Hey, hey, hey.
I don't want the wrong guy getting hurt.
It's okay.
It's Vincent.
Where the hell have you been? You know what I've been going through? Come on.
What are they doing here? Where is the cabby? - Where's the gate? - It's at the hotel.
You left the money? You see, all right, I don't know where you were.
I couldn't walk around with that kind of cash on me.
You're Iying.
They got to you, didn't they? You brought them here.
They're right outside right now, aren't they? - Trelawney? - Who else? - Max, it's me.
I - How many of them are there? - I swear.
- How many? Just one, I swear.
He's outside, Max.
They made me.
Oh, shut up.
What are you planning on doing? Using him as a human shield? Smart kid.
Yeah, he's gonna kill him, and then he's gonna kill you.
Yeah, and then us.
I got an idea.
Damn.
You didn't have to throw him out the window.
You said a diversion.
I gave you a diversion.
Head back to the city.
Easier to shake them off.
It won't be any easier to shake these guys off in the city.
Oh, my God! Look out! Are you okay, Jacob? - I'm pinned under the dash.
- So am I.
What are you gonna do? Are you just going to leave us? Hey, it's me he's after, right? How do we know you're not just gonna run? Oh, come on.
I wasn't always a con man.
- He ran away.
- What did you expect? He's a con man.
I got to get out of here.
Push.
Hide under the airbags.
Maybe we'll get lucky.
Oh, great.
What What the Oh, man! Hold it.
Out of the car.
Stop! Out of the car.
US Marshal.
Leave the keys in.
Hey, mister? Please.
I can't believe I fell for all of his crap.
What was I thinking? Don't be so hard on yourself.
I should have seen through Max's bull.
We all want an army on our side.
Sometimes we want it so badly that it's easy to just ignore the obvious.
Face it, Junior, through all your brilliance, you're still human.
Why doesn't that make me feel any better? You know, Max totally let me down.
Yeah, I wonder what happened to him.
Well, I can show you what he's doing.
I found his new website.
Behold.
I was filled with arrogance.
I took the hand of the devil and looked down into the darkness.
But the Lord brought me back.
And the warning signs abound for all of us.
God is giving you the road signs to the path to glory.
Heed them or you shall pay.
Well, I guess he really has turned over a new leaf.
Think about this as you make your offering this morning.
No.
Same leaf, different tree and, Jacob, don't you dare tell me that you want to go see him.