Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.3 - Ralph

Plot: A young girl runs through the woods to a rock formation to visit her imaginary friend. From there she has an unfortunately perfect view of a foreign political figure being killed by a sniper. Unfortunately, the sniper saw her, too, and she won't tell anyone anything, except her imaginary, invisible friend, Ralph. The Agency is only officially peripherally involved, because when the sniper took a shot at Jess, the bullet ricocheted and hit an endangered peregrine falcon, but it's pretty hard for the FBI, especially the twit they put in charge, to keep an invisible guy from nosing around. Which is how Darien ends up playing Ralph, despite his serious misgivings about the morality of nosing through a 2nd grader's stuff. Better him than Hobbes, who is already on edge since he knows the FBI agent, and they don't like each other.

Fawkes manages to befriend Jessica anyway, despite some difficulty controlling his emotions which leads to some gland malfunction. Which is good, because the sniper is also part of the FBI, and he's looking to tie up a loose end. Fawkes takes a bullet for her, then takes several more later, but the Keeper thought to sew Kevlar into his jacket after the first time. He does save Jessica's life, but maybe kills a little of her childhood in the process, since she sees him nearly kill the sniper while in the throes of Quicksilver Madness. But it looks as though Jessica is going to make real friends now, so that's good.

Quote of the Episode: The Official - 'A foreign dignitary was killed on our soil and that is FBI jurisdiction. But an endangered bird was killed in a national park, and that belongs to Fish and Game.'

The "oh crap" count: 2 (11 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week: Not a quote so much as a reference, but Arthur Conan Doyle.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 1 (3 overall).

What department is the Agency affiliated with? Fish and Game obviously. Read the quote.

Other: That was some incredibly manipulative sad piano music there in the final scene between Fawkes and Jessica. Just crushing.

One of the things I like about this show is the constant budget issues. Last week, we saw that the Official maintains the books (or checks them at least) himself. Because they can't afford someone to do it. They still use that crappy package van Darien and Kevin rode in to reach the lab in the pilot. And as Fawkes notes this week, the Agency shut down for a few days because the copier broke and they wouldn't pay to have it fixed. It has that same sort of forced improvisation I enjoyed about Burn Notice. Also explains why they don't have a lot of high-tech gizmos.

I'm curious to see if it comes up, but the Keeper told Darien something potentially troubling this week. It takes 48 hours to make one does of counteragent, and she doesn't keep and surplus on hand. Because it doesn't keep well, you see. Though it just occurred to me now, we can't necessarily take that for granted. One thing I'm struggling with here is to ignore the things I know will happen down the line, so as to not let them cloud my perspective now. At this point, I'm not sure at all how much we should trust anything the Keeper says. Certainly here sewing Kevlar into Fawkes' jacket is significant, but should we see that as an actual act of kindness and concern, or a manipulative act designed to look concerned? Anyway, the lack of any immediate reliable source of counteragent in the event of an emergency seems risky. Catching an abruptly out of control invisible can't be easy.

The other major thing this episode did was flesh out Bobby Hobbes a bit. We knew he feels put upon and unappreciated. We know he's a bit paranoid, though whether that's the cause or the effect of feeling unappreciated I don't know ( he tells Fawkes this week that he didn't have invisible friends, he had invisible enemies growing up). We also know he's intensely decorated. He's a guy who has bled, sweated, and killed for his country, even though he believes he'll never receive his due because others are actively trying to deny it to him. Now we know the Agency wasn't the first stop on his list - more like the last - and despite what people like FBI agent Jones might say, Hobbes is very good at what he does. He was able to figure out a sniper's position based off a child's painting and knowing where she was standing. Then he was able to figure out the sniper's position again later by listening to the shot and impact. He's still lacking in much sympathy or compassion for other people, which is one reason Fawkes won't let him anywhere near Jessica. But it's worth noting that when Darien tries to explain to Jones that another fed just tried killing him, Hobbes immediately jumps to his aid. Sure, someone of that is the desire to rub Jones' nose is his mistakes, but it's a bit of a shift.

Up to that point, Hobbes has treated Fawkes like a burden. A foolish, soft-hearted dope that Bobby Hobbes has to constantly look after and keep from tripping over his own bleeding heart. Darien, for his part, sees Hobbes as just one more person conspiring to keep him working for the Agency indefinitely, someone who has no compunctions about anything he might have to do if someone tells him it's his duty. But this episode, there's a bit of a change, where the two are starting to recognize each other's gifts and how to compliment them. It's harder for Darien, because Hobbes' gifts are kind of outside Fawkes' range of experience, but it's there.

One last thing. You'll be glad to know Vincent Ventresca shaved off that crappy, wispy mustache he had the first two episode. Really wasn't doing him any favors, since it made him look so young he couldn't grow a proper one.

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