Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.7 - Liberty and Larceny

Plot: Darien may be getting a little too comfortable with the gland, because all those things Scarborough said about him - especially the stuff about always taking the easy path - are demonstrating themselves in his abuse of invisibility. How's he abusing it? Try parking in a handicapped spot to eat his lunch, and when a cop shows up, quicksilvering his lower extremities to fool her into thinking he can park there.

Well the Official, Keeper, and Hobbes have had enough. The Official declares Fawkes is costing them beaucoup dollars (over $80 grand so far on counteragent), and from now on, Fawkes will only receive a shot of counteragent when he completes an official mission. Which seems ridiculous given the general parameter that Fawkes can't go more than about 6 days without one whether he turns invisible or not, but that's the government for you. When Darien points out he might need a shot mid-mission to complete said mission, he's met with. . . a formal request form. Again, government for you. Fawkes' response is to stand up, turn invisible in front of all of them, and walk out. I suppose it would be difficult for an invisible man to flip someone the bird, so that's a nice proxy.

As Fawkes stews over THE MAN'S attempts to restrict his use of a thing which will drive him insane if he uses it too much, the perfect opportunity to rebel is waiting in his apartment: It's the woman who taught teenage Fawkes how to be a thief then vanished without explanation, Liz! And she has a job she needs a partner for, one that will pay said partner 400 grand. Is Fawkes interested?

Why yes, yes he is, but things almost immediately go south. For starters, Hobbes is following him everywhere, and he basically screams "law enforcement" in everything he does. Which means Fawkes can't have him tailing him, which means more invisibility, which means we're slipping closer to Quicksilver Madness. Second, this isn't a job Liz is doing for herself, it's work for hire, and the person doing the hiring is noted, um crime boss I guess, Johnny Castignacci, or Johnny Books. Which really makes him sound like an accountant who does terrible, Saul from Breaking Bad-style commercials to drum up business. Third, what Johnny wants them to steal is a file detailing the location of a former hitman of his who is going to testify and send him to jail. Fourth, Johnny does his homework, and it doesn't take long to learn that while Fawkes should be serving a life sentence, he obviously isn't, and his record has been wiped clean.

Fawkes can't back out, but he can't stop Liz, but he won't abandon Liz, but he can't ditch Hobbes, so what you end up with is Fawkes steals the file, Liz grabs it from him and escapes with Johnny's right-hand guy, and Hobbes arrests Fawkes. You'd Books would be happy, but no, he's furious Liz brought an apparent fed snitch into his home, and vows she'll only live if she gets Fawkes there. Quite how he expects her to do that when he's confining her to his home, I don't know, but Johnny really doesn't strike me as guy smart enough to be this difficult to prosecute.

Meanwhile, Fawkes has confessed everything to the Official, who sends Hobbes to try and protect the witness, who instead figures Hobbes is a hired killer, shoots at him, steals the car of Books' actual assassin, and heads off to kill Books. Fawkes is handcuffed to a chair, having a chat with the Keeper about personal responsibility, which I mostly tuned out because come on, I read Spider-Man comics, I know about power and responsibility. It was nice that she was saying it as an encouragement rather than a lecture, and Fawkes asks her to trust him, as she asked him to trust her, and set him free so he can fix things. Which she does, though she alerts security to his "escape" to save her job, and Fawkes is off. But still having not received counteragent, he'll have to do things without invisibility. Fortunately, Johnny's entire operation is staffed by morons, and he manages to save Liz, save Johnny from his old hitman, and maybe get the Official off his back, though Liz vanishes with all of Johnny's money. She does appear at the end to offer Fawkes his cut, but he declines, telling her to keep it all, and retire, then walking away fast.

Quote of the Episode: Darien - 'Now that I can go invisible, I can't be let out of sight. Now how does that make sense?'

The "Oh crap" count: 3 (14 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? George Bernard Shaw, and he left a Garbo quote on a note for Hobbes.

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

The Agency is still under the Department of Fish & Game.

Other: Can't believe Fawkes didn't wear gloves at all during the heist.

I thought it was very funny that the guy Books sent to kill his former witness, who Hobbes killed, died under one of those "Dip" road signs. How ignominious an end, to have that as your impromptu tombstone.

I like the fact that Eberts (played by Mike McCafferty), who is the Moneypenny to the Official's M, was entirely absent last week when the Official was fired, but has reappeared this week, right back in that spot just behind the Official's right shoulder. If I didn't know better, I'd swear Eberts was the Official's Tyler Durden, but I've seen people talk directly to him separate from the Official.

I was fairly unimpressed by Castignacci, but he was OK. Except for the moment when Liz demands her money and Johnny Books starts listing off her failures and ends with "Fuhgettabutit". I mean, he just completely changes he's manner of speaking to go full, stereotype mob guy for that one line, and it was just awful. Ugh. Can not believe the feds needed one of his guys to turn to manage a conviction. Which made it hard for me to buy Darien's terrified reaction to who Liz was working for.

I did like Liz as an external representation of Fawkes' struggles to adjust to his current situation. On a basic level, I think Fawkes liked being a thief, not just because of the thrill, but because it gave him freedom. He decided when he stole, and from whom. He escaped or was caught on his own strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, as Liz noted, Darien has too much conscience for that. He's too concerned about who he might hurt with his actions to be successful that way. But even so, it would be his choice. Now, working for the Agency, he's actually being paid to help people, rather than harm them, but he's being pushed, prodded, watched. There isn't trust, there isn't freedom, the counteragent is the obvious leash, but the gland is in his head, and they're trying to tell him when he can and can't use it. I'm not sure what conclusion he's come to, though. Reuniting with Liz has reinforced for him, the realization he isn't cut out to be a thief, but I don't think it resolves his problems working for the Agency. He wanted to clean up his mess, save his friend and a witness he placed in danger, but that's a personal thing. It doesn't reflect the larger issue of working for a group that tells his partner to follow him everywhere.

And about that, Hobbes wasn't helping. Calling Fawkes the '$6 million screw-up', and intimating his job is to keep Darien in line. The progress I thought I saw in their relationship over the previous few weeks seems to have evaporated. Maybe it's only at the stage where they work well against a common foe, but otherwise, without something to distract them from their differences, they revert to mutual suspicion. The bit where the Keeper and Fawkes have their conversation was nice. She's less clinical in how she talks to him, and works hard to emphasize that how the gland is used is his choice, but he has to take responsibility for those choices. Recognize consequences, and if you're willing to accept them, then do it.

I enjoyed this episode more when I watched it than I did once I started writing this, so this might be the weakest episode so far. The plot and characters don't really mesh well, but it's not terrible.

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