Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.17 - Perchance to Dream

Plot: Darien shows up needing a shot of counteragent and notices the Keep looks tired and stressed. He asks her if she'd like to hang out with him and Hobbes sometime, she declines. As she gets ready to give him the shot, her watch goes of and she abruptly leaves. Darien purses her across town and finds her chasing after some guy out for a jog. Then has to tackle her so she doesn't kill the guy, even as Claire insists she has to kill him before he kills her. This despite the fact she has no idea who the guy is.

Back at the office, the Official orders Claire to stay in the building under watch/guard, while Fawkes and Hobbes investigate this Mr. Burton. Except Burton has no idea who Claire is, or why she'd be scared of him, and he's a busy man, with an insistent business partner who just lets himself into Burton's backyard to ask for some papers. That having proved to be a dead end, our boys turn to the FBI and oh god, it's Jones again (see episode 1.3, "Ralph"). Jones will not share info with these "bozos", which gives us Darien and Bobby irritating Jonesy by bantering about whether they've been insulted until he leaves.

So Darien breaks into the FBI's office, and we get a funny exchange where he admits he doesn't know how to use a copy machine. Hobbes manages to talk Darien through the mysteries of the copy machine, and they pull it off with only minor chaos. Going through the files reveals there have been 4 recent murders where the killer and victim were seemingly unconnected, and in case the killer offed themselves after. It's also noted all four killers were going to sleep clinics for sleeping disorders. The guys had better hurry up, because Claire is getting impatient and hurtful, telling Darien outright that her life is in his hands, and she doesn't trust him. Really? Where's all the trust and warm feelings of the last few weeks? Darien and Hobbes have a conversation, where Hobbes suggests they go bowling or play mini-golf since there's no point of breaking into a sleep clinic during the day. Fawkes doesn't seem inclined to go along with this. At any rate, the sneaking about the clinic reveals a guy sending impulses to one of the female patients to stimulate her pleasure centers, which he is waaaaay too into. Not sure about Darien basically threatening the guy with jail and prison rape if he doesn't quit and leave right now, but it's hard for me to feel bad for the technician, little creep that he is.

This does give Darien the idea that someone sent a message to Claire through similar impulses while she was at the clinic, which is not a theory that impresses Claire. She outright says there's another answer, and that Darien and Hobbes aren't smart enough to find it. And then, she mentions the nightmares she's been having, the ones that remind of the time a stranger nearly pulled her into his car as she was walking home from school. So, great, they added a run-in with a child predator to Claire's backstory. Booooooooo. Basically her nightmares were that predator coming after her again, and somehow, she's convinced Burton is that guy, even though she has no idea who Burton is. And then Wil Wheaton enters the picture. He's runs a computer software company, and works on the systems at the clinics. And yep, you guessed, he (and his partner) are using that access to send images to patients to make them serve as assassins. A drone strike, if you will. And having overheard the boys questioning people at one of the clinics, now he's ready to send someone after them.

At the Agency, Claire is in a near panic trying to get out, and has already knocked out her two guards somehow. Darien and Hobbes manage to restrain her, and set Eberts with the task of keeping an eye on her while they chase leads. Except now they're being followed by Wheaton's assassin, a guy on a bicycle. Then Hobbes just has to stop for a coffee, and Bike Guy gets his chance. Darien thwarts it, but can't stop the guy from killing himself. Jones arrives, extremely pissed because he's certain they broke into the FBI's office and stole files, they even saw the van outside. His mood isn't helped with Darien and Hobbes  taking bets on how long it would takes Jones to arrive, or Hobbes claiming he was there because he gets nostalgic for his time with the feds, and that it's like checking in on an ex-girlfriend. At this point, we learn that Burton's partner hired Wheaton to eliminate Burton, because the partner's been embezzling funds. We also learn Wheaton's partner is getting cold feet, but not soon enough, since Darien finally had the brainstorm to check into the people who maintain the clinic's systems. Catching the two nerds is easy enough, but bad news, you can't erase the impulse they've placed in Claire. And then Claire escapes again. Man, those guards are having a bad time of it. Well, you get what you barely pay for, I guess. She purses Burton on another jog, and this time succeeds in killing him and herself, in front of Darien and Bobby no less. But wait, it was all fake, which explains the guards getting dropped twice in one day. Since they couldn't remove the program, they had to let it run its course, so they somehow sent that into her head to accomplish this. Also, Claire doesn't remember any of it, though they are nice enough to explain it during a pleasant walk in the park. Oh, and Claire kisses Bobby on the cheek. That's very sweet.

Quote of the Episode: Hobbes - 'Fawkes, you don't know how to work a copy machine? It's a copy machine. Every American knows how to work a copy machine. You stick the paper in. what are you talking about?' Fawkes - 'Hey, you know, if I needed a copy of something, I just stole it.'

The "oh crap" Count: 2 (26 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? Homer, who said sleep is the twin of death. Hobbes quotes Metallica as having said ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you. And then the Beatles, in that we all get by with a little help from our friends.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 0 (6 overall).

Other: I really enjoy watching Fawkes and Hobbes banter when there's a third party there. Especially Jones, because it bugs him, and he's a jerk, so it's good to annoy him. Also, they're starting to do synchronized handshakes, which is kind of cute. And I like how effectively Hobbes winds up Jones. Jones knows Hobbes' weak points, but the reverse is true, and I like to think Jones' insults are growing less effective because Hobbes is growing happier where he is. Well, happy by Hobbes' standards.

If Wheaton and his partner are just sending images of the target into their victim's brain, how do they find them so unerringly? I could maybe understand if Burton's partner told them he always goes for a jog along a certain route at a certain time, though I don't know how you convey that information in a way that sticks. But how the hell did Bike Guy find Fawkes and Hobbes? All Wheaton knows is a couple of government guys are after him. Don't tell me he managed to successfully tail Hobbes long enough to learn things about him. And how is it Darien turned invisible and knocked their would-be assassin off his bike, but was completely unable to get the gun away from the guy or at least stop him from killing himself? That makes no sense.

I forgot to mention this last week, but Claire telling Darien he's not smart enough to see the real answer jogged my memory. Kind of surprised Darien didn't ask super-intelligent Hobbes for a way to get the gland out of his head safely. Oh well, opportunity lost.

Have to say I'm disappointed in Claire not having more faith in the guys. I get she's scared, convinced this guy is after her, convinced she has to kill him, but I thought there was more trust there. This was like a flashback to episode 1.11, when she and everyone else seemed convinced Darien had beaten the hell out of the Official. Which OK, his body did it, but not Darien himself. Which is another thing. How can Claire be so sure Darien's theory about someone sending impulses into her brain is bunk? Set aside the fact he turned out to be right, and just look at recent history? Last week, Hobbes was infected with a retrovirus that made him the smartest guy on the planet. Before that, they ran into a woman who seems able to become water. Go back before that and you get a situation where Darien's being taken over by the memories of a dead man that are stored inside the invisibility gland. Why is "they sent an urge to kill someone to you through electrical signal while you slept" where the line has to be drawn? Is it just because it's happening to her that makes it difficult to accept?

This is a strange episode in general. The plot feels a little weak, Burton's got someone trying to kill him, but that's barely touched on. The killers only appear halfway through, there's not much to them. The story just seems to meander. There's a lot of joking, a lot of banter, from the stuff with Hobbes and Jones, to Hobbes wanting to go bowling, to the copy machine, to the Official and Eberts musing whether Hobbes might actually be more of an expert on mental issues than the doctors. But then you have the creepy tech who's basically sexually assaulting that lady by sending her impulses without consent, and then the writers dumped Claire's childhood encounter with a predator right in the middle of the episode like a giant turd. It bugs me, because it comes out of nowhere, we've never seen any indication of how it has affected Claire prior to this, and it doesn't come up again. It's just the particular trigger the writers decided Claire needed so she'd be scared enough she could be driven to kill Burton. It's just kind of a plot device here, so Fawkes can feel bad, and I don't know, make Claire seem vulnerable, which didn't seem necessary to me. The Keep's been pretty rock solid up to this point, her sorrow when she thought Hobbes died a notable exception. We've seen her happy, amused, angry quite a bit, worried, but she's still professional, while also having been allowed to show more compassion as the season progresses. But I don't know that we've seen fear so far.

 The episode just has a very uneven tone, where everyone's joking, then BAM! here's a lady being violated in some way. Pause for moment of somber reflection (or dude getting angry), then more joking.

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