Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.6 - The Devil You Know

Plot: The episode begins as two men rappel into a boardroom where a bunch of executives are celebrating the load of money they're about to make taking their company public. The two extreme window washers kidnap the CEO, a Mr. Pryce. This is a big deal, and so the Justice Department calls the Agency in to assist in recovering Pryce - who had a GPS tracker on him - despite the FBI's objections. Darien infiltrates the little beach house they're holed up in, but once he flips a light switch, the whole place blows up. His Quicksilver coating protects him, but Pryce is toast, along with the kidnappers. This is bad, because now there's an inquiry and while Fawkes may not care, it's not a joke.

Especially because the Justice Department liason, Luke Lawson, watched the tapes their surveillance had on the place, and he saw something, a silvery humanoid shape go flying out of there. Lawson's an ambitious guy, and the way he fulfills his ambition is to, as he puts it, find what frightens people most, then promise he can make it go away. A few words in the right places from the right frightened people, and the Official is out at the Agency, and Lawson is the new boss. Which gets him access to all the files, which means he knows about the gland, and he can repay those frightened people in high places by promising to remove the people who scare them. Of course, Darien might object to doing wetwork, but Lawson's got that figured out. He promises Darien he can get counteragent whenever he wants, and that Lawson will be giving him the injections as a precursor to showing Darien how to do it himself. Of course, by doing this when the Keeper isn't around, there's no one to verify it's actually counteragent.

While all this is leading nowhere good for Fawkes, the Official - or Charles Borden as he's known in the world - is put on trial for 2nd degree murder. Hobbes is riled about it, but Lawson tries to appease him by promising him more solo work, where he won't be overshadowed by Darien. Hobbes sees right through it, and instead devotes time to following up on Pryce's kidnapping, where a few things aren't adding up. Hobbes puts it together in time that he can go find Fawkes, and keep him from having to kill a bio-terrorist. Guy just gets konked on the head and falls in the pool, they fish him out, stash him in the van, hustle Darien back to the lab to get some actual counteragent before he goes all red-eyed. With that taken care of, and Lawson appeased for the moment, they can turn to looking into Hobbes' suspicion that the kidnapping was a farce, and that the lady CFO was in on it, as she and Pryce had a torrid affair. So Hobbes hints Pryce was seeing someone else, they follow her to the hotel Pryce was hiding at, Darien plants some incriminating evidence - including a picture of the Keeper Hobbes borrowed. Don't worry, he asked permission. Now the CFO is pissed, and since they're both arrested, she'll likely be glad to testify against Pryce.

Ignoring what i assume would be standard criminal procedures, Fawkes and Hobbes bring the two with them to the Official's trial, thus clearing him of 2nd-degree murder. I was going to say I guess nobody cared about the two kidnappers, but I assume that'll be laid at Pryce's feet, since he undoubtedly set the explosion up. Anyway, the Official is cleared, but Lawson isn't giving up yet. Although for a guy seemingly so smart, making vocal proclamations that Darien can turn invisible (proving the Official is incompetent because he doesn't use Fawkes to his full potential) is little ridiculous. But he makes a fool of himself, kills his career, and the Official is back in charge.

Quote of the Episode: The Official - 'Mr. Lawson is right, he's far more competent than me. I had an invisible agent and didn't even know it.'

The "Oh crap " count: 0 (11 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? A conversation between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway about Zrich people, and a line from Willie Sutton about why he robbed bans. 'Cause that's where the money is.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 0 (4 overall).

The Agency is still affiliated with Fish & Game.

Other: Do people ordinarily keep pictures of themselves on their desk? That's where Hobbes found the one of the Keeper he used. Though I can't remember, maybe her dog was in the picture, too, in which case it seems less odd.

On the Hobbes/Fawkes front, I'll note that when Hobbes follows Fawkes on his mission with Lawson, Fawkes advises him to leave, mentioning that he really doesn't want Hobbes to get fired. I found that encouraging.

I like how Lawson immediately perceives what he believes is Hobbes' fear - that he'll never receive proper recognition or respect for the work he does - and tries to play on it as a way to isolate Fawkes. But it doesn't work. I don't know whether that means those aren't Hobbes' weaknesses - maybe it's actually that he loves feeling persecuted - or simply that Hobbes is an old enough hand at the intelligence game to be immediately suspicious the moment someone starts giving you everything you want. Given his obvious scorn for Lawson, I'm going with the latter. Maybe Lawson should have gone with the stick first, then the carrot.

Also, I like the contrast in how Hobbes, Fawkes, and the Official handle the inquiry. Hobbes tries to protect everyone, without divulging anything classified, which proves difficult. If you can't mention the invisibility gland, it is hard to justify Fawkes being sent in instead of Hobbes. Not without mentioning Fawkes' criminal past, which is not going to win over a bunch of stuffy government officials. So naturally Fawkes freely cops to it, completely relaxed not a care in the world. Partially, I think he figures he got three men killed, so he deserves whatever punishment he gets. Which is good in continuing to establish that Fawkes may have been a thief, but he's a gentleman thief. No murderous rampages for our boy Darien. The other aspect is, he doesn't care much. It'd be a hell of a way to go about it, but at least he'd might get out from under the Official's thumb.

 Of course, there are worse things than being under Charlie's thumb. While I think it was a good idea for the show to address the fact that if the government had an invisible agent, they would absolutely consider using him or her for assassinations, it didn't really address the fact the Official doesn't do do that. Why? Does he object to killing? He certainly had no qualms sending Fawkes after Arnaud, even though he had to realize Darien wanted revenge. He did say, when Darien approached him at his home in this episode, that he never wanted to be defined by what he did. So maybe if he'd become the sort of boss who approved killings, he thought that would define him. But then he told Fawkes that he'd found the job was all he was. But maybe it's a matter of accepting that, but making sure to draw a line somewhere. Which still doesn't answer why. I guess it could be as simple as recognizing Fawkes would refuse to do that.

We never did see if Fawkes would rather go Quicksilver Mad than kill someone. Of course, once he's Quicksilver Mad, he might not care if he killed someone, though that someone might not be the bio-terrorist. Might have been Lawson. Dangerous game to play, daring a guy who can turn invisible to go crazy and potentially homicidal. But if Lawson's stupid enough to fall on his face like he did in the courtroom, he's stupid enough to play chicken with an invisible train. That really was absurd, that blurting out a major security secret like "invisible guy" in a public courtroom was a good idea. I did enjoy Darien trying to charm the judge.

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