Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.11 - The Other Invisible Man

Plot: We open in the offices of the Agency, at night, as the Official burns the midnight oil balancing those books. Someone strides into his office, demanding to know where Fawkes is, then beats the Official to a pulp with a chair - after he turned invisible.

Morning finds us at Darien's apartment as he prepares for work. Which involves rapping about himself as he gets dressed. I have no clue how Ventresca managed that with a straight face, but he did. Fortunately, Hobbes is no more a fan of the white boy rap than I am, and bursts in to throw Fawkes on the ground and cuff him. He drags Fawkes to the Keeper's lab, where we learn they all suspect him of going Quicksilver Mad and attacking the Official. But the tattoo shows Fawkes is fine, and his handwriting doesn't match the note left with the Official's battered body. But there were Quicksilver flakes left at the scene (they last for 2-3 days, according to Claire). Fawkes maintains his innocence, and is more than a little pissed his friends have turned on him so quickly, but it's then Eberts mentions Simon Cole.

Simon Cole was the first human subject for the I-Man project, before Eberts transferred from the IRS. He doesn't know what happened, but he is able to find Cole's file, stating that he was a CIA assassin before joining the project. He also had a girlfriend, Ivory Thompson, so Fawkes and Hobbes seek her out. But she hasn't seem Simon in over a year. But just because you can't see an invisible guy, doesn't mean he isn't there, and Fawkes sees a ketchup bottle turn invisible. When he Quicksilvers his eyes, he's able to see a human outline and gives chase, but he's so focused on Simon he almost gets run over (Hobbes makes the save).

At this point, Darien is spooked, and asks for a gun. But the Agency has no arms budget, you have to furnish your own, and Hobbes won't give him one. So Darien sleeps with a hammer, which doesn't stop someone from sneaking into his room and leaving the skeleton of a lab rat from the project in his jacket pocket. Once Claire's identified it, she tells them all the rats were left behind at the original lab site - the place where Darien Fawkes had the gland implanted, and Kevin Fawkes died. Off they go, but while there are footprints in the dust, and even some Quicksilver flakes, there's no sign of Simon, save a diary Darien finds behind a bathroom sink. Most of it is love letters to Ivory, but after the gland's implanted, it shifts. The writing becomes erratic, and Fawkes tells the other two it's because Simon couldn't see his hand as he wrote. He couldn't turn the gland off, and the diary ends with him desperate to find Kevin Fawkes and make him fix this. But Kevin's dead, which leaves the Keeper. At least she has a Dirty Harry-sized hand cannon.

Back at the lab, we see the Keeper not terribly sympathetic to Simon, perhaps because he's causing everyone to act overly protective of her. Fawkes is obsessed with reading the diary, while Hobbes just wants to hunt Cole down. They go visit Ivory, but she bursts into tears when she sees them, runs, and is nearly hit by a car herself. At which point Fawkes spies Cole again and takes off in pursuit. Right then, the Official awakens long enough to write a single message to Claire: "1 GLAND". Fawkes pursuit leads him right through a window, and when he wakes up, he's back at the lab, courtesy of Hobbes.

OK, it's about to get weird. Fawkes' gland was originally Cole's gland, harvested after his death, when he went crazy trying to get the gland out. But some of his memory RNA is still in the gland, and the gland has sort of interfaced with Darien's pineal gland, and the Cole RNA is able to control Darien's body at night. Fawkes calls this bunk and flees, but eventually makes his way back to the lab, with Cole now in full control (even though Darien was awake?), to force Claire to remove the gland. He figures Fawkes is better off dead, but they're able to subdue him and Claire injects something into the gland that washes the mRNA out. Afterward, they sort of explain to Ivory what happened, and the Official accepts Fawkes apology, which is really just the Official sucker-punching him. Like Darien attacked him on purpose. It ends with Fawkes alluding to the fact that he's different from Simon because he has his friends at the Agency. Awwwwww.

Quote of the Episode: Fawkes - 'Well, excuse me if I'm a tad apprehensive over an invisible assassin.' Hobbes - 'He's just ticked off 'cause he's a sequel.'

The "oh crap" count: 1 (16 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? Mark Twain, who opined being good will leave you lonely.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 1 (5 overall). I know Claire said it wasn't Q.M., but come on. The gland caused him to assume another person's personality and nearly kill a couple of people.

Still Fish & Game

Other: I know Fawkes previously told Claire that if he went Quicksilver Mad again, they were to kill him. Still, I'm a little disappointed how quickly they became hostile. Hobbes especially. I thought they were buddies now, and he's cuffing Fawkes, constantly jabbing him with the gun, making aggressive wisecracks about '$6 million dandruff'.  I'm not sure those are the people you should count on to keep you from winding up like Cole, Darien.

Also, while we're at it, didn't the Keeper tell Fawkes the gland wasn't evil? I think that was episode 4, "Tiresias". It partially interfaced with one of the other glands in his brain and gave a suicidally depressed assassin control of his brain. Sounds evil to me. Keep might want to accelerate her research into getting the gland safely out of Darien.

Nice how the writers lampshaded the question of how Darien sees. It's a valid question. If there's Quicksilver over his eyes, and it bends light around them, how does any light reach his eyes for him to see things? Answer, he's seeing in other spectrums of light, ultraviolet apparently. I don't know if that jibes - how does Quickcilver alter his eyes so they can process ultraviolet light, doesn't UV tend to penetrate objects rather than bounce off - but at least it's an attempt. It's not a huge issue, but as a comic fan, I'm sort of predisposed to these questions (like how does Kitty Pryde see when phased if energy passes through her?)

I did like the stunt Darien/Cole pulled on one of the Agency guys, standing at the end of a hallway, letting the guy rush towards him, only to crash into the closed door Darien had Quicksilvered. Very smooth. It was a good idea letting him render other objects invisible. Allows for more creativity. Of course, it left behind a lot of Quicksilver flakes someone could use to pin something on Darien here in the next couple days.

Near the end, Eberts explains that it was after Cole's death that Kevin Fawkes and Arnaud were able to fix the gland so the recipient could turn visible again. I wonder if the problem with Simon wasn't that he couldn't become visible again. What if Arnaud had already built that flaw into the gland, the one that makes Darien need counteragent? How would you know? You couldn't see his eyes to tell they were red, and any abnormalities in his behavior could be chalked up to the stress of not being able to turn visible again. I'm sure that stress played a role, but there's a chance it was helped along by the narcotic in the gland.

That was a little hint of the answer to the mystery wasn't it. The fact they found Quicksilver flakes, yet Cole supposedly couldn't turn visible. If he was permanently Quicksilvered, he wouldn't leave the flakes behind. Not unless he was wounded (Darien spurted some Quicksilver when he was shot in "Ralph"), which wasn't the case.

I want to know the story behind why Eberts transferred from the IRS. He made it sound like a voluntary decision on his part. What made him come to this podunk little agency, that has to piggyback off other, larger departments with actual budgets, like one of the pilot fish that follow sharks?

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