Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.9 - Separation Anxiety

Plot: Hobbes has an ex-wife, named Vivian. And he's following her. But only because he's convinced her current boyfriend, Brock, is up to no good. Vivian has apparently heard such things before, and doesn't want to hear it again. But Hobbes is not to be deterred, even when the Official reverses the roles and places Fawkes in charge of watching Hobbes. Which means Fawkes gets dragged into Hobbes' investigation into Brock, because Fawkes isn't any better at controlling Bobby than Bobby is at controlling him.

Lo and behold, Brock does appear to be up to something. At first, he just seems to be buying spark plugs from a guy at a sports bar(?), but after Hobbes makes a fool of himself confronting Brock, Fawkes trails the guy and his fellow naval buddies and hears them talking about a deal. So he stashes himself in the van and rides along to a demonstration of the newest military weapon, a gun with a thermal imaging system that guides the bullet. Upon learning this, the Official is very interested in making a bust, but opts not to inform NCIS. Having watched more episodes of NCIS than I'd care to admit, I can understand the impulse not to share information with them, if they act like Agent Gibbs. In this case, it would have been a good idea, because Brock works for NCIS, and he was trying to use the two other guys to get his hands on a major arms buyer, Mr. White. Now his two partners are in custody, so the whole thing is going up in smoke.

But wait! So far as Mr. White is concerned, Brock just works with two guys. Fawkes and Hobbes are two guys, and agree to step in. Hobbes and Brock even bury the hatchet a bit, though Hobbes learning from Viv that she and Brock are getting married may have something to do with it. The arms deal is going mostly well until Mr. White manages to throw of the scent of all the naval police that were supposed to follow Hobbes and the truck full of guns. The Bobby mouths off to Brock a little too much, and Darien's unmilitary haircut seals the deal. It's only because Fawkes is able to avoid thermal seeking bullets by Quicksilvering (which reflects light and lowers ambient temperature) that they're able to avoid death. Of course, now the military will believe the gun is defective, so, that could be a lot of research down the drain. Oh, and Hobbes takes a bullet for Brock, which seems to convince Vivian to have one last, quiet conversation with him.

Quote of the episode: Viv - 'Send Bobby my love.' Fawkes - 'Definitely.' Viv - 'And tell him I never wanna see him again.'

The "oh crap" count: 0 (15 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week: A Chinese proverb about how if you save someone's life, you're responsible for it. Which seems backwards to me. You saved them, they owe you.

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

Still Fish & Game.

Other: I'm quite impressed with Mr. White's willingness to shoot people while wearing all white. It's a bold choice, or an appreciation for wearing non-objective art, with the shirt and pants as the canvas.

I find it really funny the Official and Eberts watch soaps together in that big old TV in the Official's office.

I've been meaning to mention this for a few episodes. Darien wears a jacket, maybe from a bowling team, or some plumbing place, that has the name "Randy" on it. What is that about? Because I keep thinking of the "everybody loses their memory thanks to Magic Abusing Willow" episode of Buffy. Spike believed he was Giles' kid (as they were the only two people speaking in British accents), and was quite put out that his coat had the name randy stitched on the inside. All I can think of is, 'Randy Giles? Why not name me Horny Giles, or Desperate for a Shag Giles?' Seems a bit of a crude joke for Fawkes, though.

During the fight at the end, Fawkes drove a forklift loaded with pallets into the goons, who were knocked unconscious when the pallets landed on them. Are pallets normally that heavy? I've found them to be awkward to carry, partially because all the boards get in the way, partially because they're made of cheap wood that splinters easily, but not terribly heavy.

Man, when Vivian gave Hobbes back the autographed menu from Legoland, that hurt. Oh, and the wedding video, that was probably also painful.

The whole thing with Viv and Hobbes is a little awkward, because Hobbes is basically stalking her, which is not acceptable, regardless of his desire to protect her. Which is undercut anyway because he also clearly wants to break her and Brock up as much to give himself the chance to patch things up as anything else. The show at least seems to acknowledge this by showing Hobbes can't even think or say anything related to the idea of Viv and Brock being intimate, but I'm not sure Hobbes really gets hammered enough for it. The Official is willing to ignore it when it seems Hobbes' suspicions paid off, but I shouldn't be surprised. The Official is not terribly concerned with the actual well-being of his employees, only how they reflect upon the Agency. Fawkes is trying to dissuade him, but ultimately keeps going along with it.

But Hobbes is also at least somewhat ill. By his own admittance, he's fallen in love with 7 therapists. He's supposed to be on Zoloft. He didn't have imaginary friends as a child, only imaginary enemies. He's been fired from practically every other intelligence agency around, in large part because of his personal issues. I don't know what you'd call all that - the paranoia, the difficulty interacting with people, the tendency to try and make decisions for everyone else - but it adds up to something. How much slack does that cut him?

Still, I don't think the episode does badly with it. They don't end up together, but I think Vivian will be able to remember the things she liked about Bobby, while also remembering why it wouldn't work between them. And Hobbes seems to have accepted that. I like how Paul Ben-Victor plays Hobbes when he's in scenes with Vivian. He starts the episode with a lot of yelling and trying to tell her what to do, and why she has to listen to him. But as the episode goes on, and Vivian grows more determined to sever all ties, Hobbes starts to get this quiet, maybe shell-shocked look on his face. Especially when she shows up at the Agency's office looking for him. He seems completely stunned by it, and spends most of the conversation just absorbing Vivian's anger at his actions, as she gives back all these mementos of their time together. When he visits her at home, and sees her trying on a wedding dress, he spends a lot of that conversation on the verge of tears. Maybe anger he was used to, even if this was a little much, but now he had been trying to accept and listen to what he she said, probably in the hopes there was still a chance to fix things. But there's nothing to fix, and he knows it. He listened too late to send things back to as they were. And by the end, he's OK with that. Vivian is her own person, on her own path, and it doesn't go the same place as Bobby's. But she reaffirms that he's a good person, in spite of his flaws, and that even if what they had is over, it did still happen. It was probably as gently as that could go and still actually get through Hobbes' skull.

It also helps contrasts Darien and Bobby some more. Darien, as Hobbes noted last week, has this thing he can do no one else can, but he fights against the opportunity to use it. Hobbes has skills, and while he might not be the best, he's still valuable and he embraces that. Even so, he sabotages himself by his own behavior. Maybe nobody's ever totally happy with their situation.

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