1.17 LIGHTENING STRIKES (Season/Series Finale)
First televised February 23, 1996
Guest Starring Scott Plank (Eric), Madison Mason, Melinda Clarke (Lola Vale), George Touliatos, Jan Burrell, Walter M. Dalton, and Roy Dotrice (Mr. Wilford); Written by Eric Overmyer; Directed by Brad Turner; Co-Starring Paul Raskin (Dr. Fred Myers)

Intro: Chance takes pictures of a thunderstorm. He drives to a pay phone, which is already ringing. A hearse screeches by; something drops out of the back. Chance picks up the wooden container (an urn?). His car won't start. He gets out and opens the hood. Lightning strikes, throwing him backward, unconscious.

Act I: Chance is in the hospital (with the wooden box beside him). Audrey talks with his doctor, then stays with Chance. Eric talks with FAA retiree C.J., who believes the plane crash was not caused by mechanical error. He thinks the black box, supposedly not recovered, is being hidden. Apparently there was a bright flash before the plane went down. Five people were scheduled to be on the plane but never got on: Arlene Clay, Frederick and James Clay (Arlene's two sons), Harry Dean, and Andrew Robertson. They were interviewed by Lansdale Wilford, but those interviews were kept secret. Back home, Eric calls up a computer file on Wilford. Eric reads some e-mail and learns that Chance is in the hospital. Eric visits Chance, who is still in a coma. Eric meets Dr. Lola Vale. Later, Eric examines the items in Chance's chest in his apartment. Sewn into an old jacket, Eric finds three passports. All have the same picture and the same address, but different names:


The other names are Andrew Robertson and Robert Sanders. Sanders was a U.S. Consul. Eric asks C.J. to check on the whereabouts of all three names. Chance comes out of his coma. Eric is there when he wakes. Eric says the plane crash wasn't an accident; it was blown up. Chance's dad was supposed to be on the flight--two tickets with two different names. Chance says his father died a month before the plane crash.

Act II: Chance and Eric go to see Arlene Clay. Vale tells Wilford that Eric and Chance are headed west. (Wilford sent Eric the e-mail.) Arlene tells Chance and Eric that on her way to flight 797, someone (Wilford, it turns out) told her he had a bad feeling about the flight. He was persistant, so she changed her flight. The man handed her three new tickets--with their names already on them! Suddenly the man was gone. The post-flight interviews with Wilford never happened. Chance and Eric return to his apartment. (Eric has moved in.) C.J. drops by--a friend wants to talk about the passports. The man, Simms, was a friend of Robert Sanders. Robert was a spy. In Vietnam he started leaking potentially damaging information to the press, so he was targeted for elim[ination]. The plane was blown up, taking others with him (as a warning). Suspicions later arose--there was no proof Robert was ever on the plane. Chance and Eric visit Robert's grave. They dig up the casket; nobody is in it. They visit C.J. to get back in touch with Simms. They find C.J. dead.

Act III: Chance discovers that the car has been bugged. Audrey has obtained Chance's hospital records. There's no record of a Dr. Vale. As she leaves the hospital, Chance and Eric grab her. She says she's working for Wilford. Chance recognizes her voice--she was the "woman in black." She says Wilford was fascinated with Chance's luck and wonders if it can be utilized in the agency. Robert Sanders catches up with Chance. He learned that Chance was alive only a few months ago from the newspaper article. Robert: "Until you came along, I'd venture to say all Sanders luck was bad." Wilford was fascinated by the Sanders family luck--the "inexplicable confluence of events," as Wilford called it. Wilford and Robert had a falling out--Robert caused the death of Wilford's protege. Robert had to "die" in order to fight back. Wilford is brilliant and dangerous. Robert thought if he didn't get on the plane, Wilford wouldn't harm it. Robert has been living underground, waging secret war against Wilford. Wilford listens in on the conversation. Wilford puts some confidential files into a safe.

Act IV: Chance, Eric, Robert, and Vale ride in a car. Robert says that Eric is his son, not Vandenberg's. (The mother is Rosemary.) They find Simms at a bar. Robert plays pool with him. Eric is on the phone. Simms sinks the cue ball on the break; Robert wins the bet. Vale meets with Wilford while Robert, Eric, and Chance search Wilford's room. Wilford explains why he saved Vale's mother, Arlene Clay, from getting on the plane. Wilford is upset at Vale for helping Eric and Chance with the Geodyne affair. Robert opens Wilford's safe and removes the files. They leave just before Wilford arrives. They look for Wilford and Vale at a warehouse. Wilford says he'll trade the documents for Vale. Lightning strikes, igniting some gasoline or oil. A huge explosion appears to engulf everyone except Chance, who was a short distance away. He gets blown clear and wakes up in a hospital bed. Audrey is there. Chance asks about Eric and his father; she says that "everything's going to be okay."