Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.10 - It Hurts When You Do This

Plot: Fawkes and Hobbes are on a case involving the illegal transport of animals into the country for use in experiments. When they go to make the bust, the bad guys run, and Hobbes pursues them up a fire escape, where Fawkes is waiting. With nowhere left to run, one of the guys turns and boots Hobbes off the escape, and he hits his head on the pavement below. At the hospital, we learn that he'll survive and that the neuroscience wing here is under the supervision of a Dr. Carver, who is an old acquaintance of Claire's. As Darien's guilt is making him a little cross, Claire departs to find her old friend, leaving Fawkes and the Official. Darien explains he let the guys get up the fire escape because he thought they'd be easier to trap one flight up. The Official agrees this was a sound decision. Then Fawkes admits he also did it because he thought it'd be fun. The Fat Man doesn't say anything to that, but the look he gives Darien means he doesn't need to.

There are two important things to know about Hobbes' situation: One, he has no working memory, so there end up being a lot of gags about him forgetting something he's been told (or said) several times. Two, there was a shortage of rooms, so he'll be sharing a room with Sarah, a young artist who lives on the streets and just had her appendix removed. Or as Hobbes puts it (frequently), he has a chick roommate.

Besides being used for the comedy of Hobbes not remembering he asked Fawkes to bring him the pastrami on rye Fawkes brought him, the lack of working memory means Hobbes can't remember why he's in the hospital. So he shifts between assuming he's been captured, and assuming he's undercover. While sneaking around, he makes his way on to the neuroscience wing and observes Dr. Carver cutting into someone's brain, and sucking something out. He's discovered, but Carver doesn't care, because Hobbes won't remember it anyway. But Hobbes did struggle with the orderlies, and Fawkes notices the black eye the next day. Which gets him suspicious, and sends him up to the same wing, where he also observes Carver cutting into someone's head. There's a moment where Fawkes rubs the spot on his skull where the gland was implanted. When Hobbes goes missing, Fawkes panics, only to learn that Carver has done something which restored Hobbes' working memory, though Carver's a real dick about it. So Hobbes is all better, and Sarah's been discharged, but didn't say good-bye. Our boys decide to seek her out, and find her at a shelter, where she doesn't recognize them. And she (and several other residents) have scar behind their ear just like Bobby's.

As Claire explains (slowly), Carver is removing Schwann cells from the brains of homeless people who come in with severe problems, and implanting them in people with nerve cell trauma like Bobby, because the cells help regenerate the myelin and you don't care. It's bad shit, OK? Off the go to the hospital, where Carver is impressively unrepentant, claiming that people like Sarah can survive without Schwann cells (sort of true, depending on your definition of "survival"), and that it's more important to help what he considers contributing members of society. Needless to say, this argument carries little weight with Bobby, Darien, or Claire. They make Carver replace Schwann cells from their frozen stock into the brains of all the people they can find he stole them from. Unfortunately, they run out before they get to Sarah, and Carver's still an unrepentant dick, telling Fawkes that this has accomplished nothing, because it's barely scratched the surface. Basically, he's really proud of the large number of people he gave brain damage. While everyone has to hold Fawkes back to keep him from killing Carver, the doc bolts, only to stop just past the door on one of those connecting walkways between buildings. Fawkes kicks the door open going after him, it hits Carver in the back, he pitches over the railing, and is terminal injured. By this stage, Claire's seen the procedure enough she can use Carver's Schwann cells (he's a donor, relax) to restore Sarah. Then Sarah gets a job with one of the other doctors trying to do community outreach, to maybe help the other people Carver mutilated.

Quote of the episode: Fawkes - 'I cornered some guys, and they knocked you off a fire escape, and then you fell on your head.' Hobbes  - 'I don't remember that.' Fawkes - 'That's because you fell on your head.'

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

Who's getting quoted this week: He quotes an English diplomat about how the ends must justify the means. At the end he quotes Shakespeare and about how the evil men do lives after them, and he hopes Shakespeare was wrong about the good lingering only briefly.

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

The Agency is still with Fish & Game. However, from Hobbes we learned that before that, they were under the FDA. Before that, it was the National Park Service, and before that, the Department of Education.

Other: I find it strange that Hobbes was wearing scrubs when he stumbled upon Carver's butchery, but Fawkes was wearing his usual attire, and sat in the same room, no farther in the back than Hobbes, and they didn't notice him at all.

I did like it when Darien was snooping around invisibly, and there's an emergency and a bunch of people crash into him. Because they can't see him. Really surprised that hasn't happened more often so far.

There's a bit near the end, when they're trying to get back into the neuroscience wing to get at Carver, and Claire has Darien play a double-amputee who claims to be able to feel his arms. It's a variation on the stunt Fawkes pulled a few weeks ago when he pretended to be missing both legs so he could eat his burger parked in a handicapped spot. Better reason this time around.

There's one other funny bit, when Claire explains the significance of Schwann cells. She says she'll do it in overly simplistic terms so Fawkes and Hobbes can follow along. Fawkes and Hobbes begin bantering: H - 'Was that an insult?' F - 'I wouldn't know.' H - 'I think it was an insult.' F - 'I think I'm too simplistic.' H - 'You're not too simplistic. It was an insult.' There's a very Howard Hawkes vibe to the whole thing I was greatly amused by, and so was Claire, judging by the look on her face. This is one of the things I enjoy about this show, Hobbes and Fawkes doing their little routine while someone else looks on. Sometimes that person is annoyed, or bewildered. Claire is tickled by it. It's that building of the relationships I enjoy.

It's strange there are so many funny bits, not to mention all the attempted funny bits. Your mileage with "Hobbes can't remember recent stuff" may vary. It's an episode about a doctor essentially setting himself up as God, deciding who needs or deserves their Schwann cells and who doesn't. It's the danger of unchecked power and ego, an entire section of humanity being deemed worthless except as raw materials to keep the people considered "valuable" in top condition. And Carver has no qualms about it, no regrets. He believes his actions are completely in the right. When he tells Fawkes that the people they've restored only scratches the surface, he was practically gleeful. Think of those comics where the villain does something and when the hero defeats him, the villain gloats that the hero has really accomplished nothing, because the villain's goals will echo through time, etc. That was Carver. There were many people out there on the street, wandering without reacting to hardly anything, and Carver was glad, because those people represented the "important" ones that he'd saved.

Where's Captain America to punch a guy in the face when you need him?

So the humor is strange. I enjoyed much of it, and the majority of it came before the full realization of Carver's actions, but it does create a considerable tonal shift in the episode. Kind of weird viewing experience.

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