Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.8 - The Value of Secrets

Plot: Darien is so desperate to get the gland out of his head, he's reading scientific journals in the hopes of finding some method they can use. Unfortunately, all the ones he can find, the Keeper has already investigated and ruled out as being exceedingly likely to kill him. Fawkes is not sure he can trust her, in spite of her assurances that is she finds a method to remove it that's safe for him, she will put his interests ahead of the gland.

But there's not time for Darien to pout, he and Hobbes have a case! The Official has an old friend who runs the Mayer Foundation, a big think-tank, and they've had a theft. The Official can't say what was stolen, because he didn't know, because it's classified. So they have to investigate the theft of something when they don't know what it is, what it does, and can't even inspect the place it was being kept when it was stolen. Fawkes and Hobbes agree this is nonsense, and so Fawkes sneaks in after hours and catches Dr. Easton using the "stolen" invention, which she created, to make herself about $20 million richer in 10 seconds. But Fawkes isn't the only one nosing around, there's a suspicious Asian fellow with a gun, too, and so Fawkes has to Quicksilver Dr. Easton along with himself to protect them.

This does have a benefit, though. Dr. Easton trusts Fawkes enough to explain what her device is, and the answer is a quantum computer, which is apparently capable of analyzing and coming up with all possible solutions to a problem. Which is how she was able to bilk the stock exchange in China for all that money in a matter of seconds. It told her exactly what would rise and fall. She stole it because the Department of Defense - who commissioned the project - now want it, and both she and her boss know that kind of power in the government's hands won't lead anywhere good. Fawkes, however, sees it as a way to finally get the gland out of his head. Surely this computer can find the non-lethal solution to that problem. So he lets he escape, and deflects Hobbes' questions about what happened. Hobbes sees through him almost immediately, but oddly enough, he covers for him with the Official.

Which gives Fawkes and Kate not only a little time to grow closer, but also gives Darien a little time to get his hands on all the files pertaining to the gland. Interestingly, he approaches the Keeper directly, rather than trying to steal them first. Claire is resistant, mostly out of uncertainty over the idea of the quantum computer (she's not convinced they'd have a working one already), but once she meets Kate, hands over the files. Almost immediately after that, Kate gets abducted, though Fawkes has the computer. So he and Hobbes have to stage a rescue, which they manage, but the computer is wrecked in the meantime. Kate moves to England for her own safety, and can't risk building another quantum computer even long enough to search for an answer to the gland problem.

Quote of the Episode: Hobbes - 'Fawkes, you have found the one thing that you can do, and you will always be the best at it. Why don't you just do it instead of wasting your energy and mine, trying to find a way out?'

The "Oh crap" count: 1 (15 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week: Thomas Huxley, with regards to the question of how much knowledge is needed to be safe.

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

Still with the Department of Fish & Game.

Other: If I didn't think the count would run higher than the Sam Axe Drink Count in the early seasons of Burn Notice, I'd try and keep track of how many of her lines Shannon Kenny (the Keeper) says through gritted teeth. Fawkes and Hobbes - but especially Fawkes at this stage - are frequently exasperating to her. This is the second week in a row Darien used something she said to him earlier to convince her to help him under the table. Last week it was the bit about taking responsibility. This week, it was her claim she'd put his interests ahead of the Agency's. It's a nice bit of Fawkes' character. He might lack the larceny sense, as Liz put it last week, but he's still very good at finding that weak point and leveraging it when he needs to.

The counterpoint to that is that, too often he defaults to that mode, trying to work an angle, and this can not only get him into trouble (his attempt to help her in "Impetus"), but also makes him suspicious of those who help him. Case in point, Hobbes this week. Maybe this is the turning point I thought we had two weeks ago between these two. There's a lot of banter, especially after Fawkes' break-in at the Mayer Foundation, and the fact he clearly let Kate go. Hobbes takes a lot of jabs at him, but there's no heat to them, and Fawkes mostly laughs them off. Hobbes claims he doesn't want to go through the hassle of breaking in a new partner, and I'm sure that's some of it, but a new partner probably wouldn't complain as much as Darien does.

That quote I used is kind of illuminating. Hobbes has been portrayed as someone who believes deeply in what he does, in his duty, in doing his job. But he's at the Agency because he's been fired from every other branch, due to his paranoia, his persecution complex, whatever. But this is where the skills he has are most valuable, where he can be the best at what he does, and so it's where he stays. And he sees that in Fawkes, and he wants Fawkes to see it, too. Maybe Hobbes figures they can be friends, or just that this guy can help him do something he thinks is important, but it's a shift either way. Up to this point, Hobbes has treated Darien mostly like a petulant child or a misbehaving dog. Always trying to keep an eye on him, crack the whip if he steps out of line. And Darien, no fan of law enforcement or the rule to begin with, has pushed back against it. Now, Hobbes is trying a more relaxed approach. It's more mentor-like, try to provide helpful advice, note when the pupil screwed up, try to help them see the mistake to avoid it in the future. It's much less antagonistic.

I was convinced the Scowling Asian fellow was part of a different threat to Dr. Easton, related to her messing with the Chinese stock markets. They'd tracked the money transactions to her and wanted to know how she did it. Didn't turn out to be the case, and just as well, it would have overly complicated things as it played out.

I did think it funny the guy behind Kate's abduction told Scowling Asian fellow to confirm they were handing over the computer at the exchange. Was that guy even qualified to know what he'd be looking at? Maybe try painting a Gamecube chrome and see if he's fooled.

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