Plot: We open with Fawkes and Hobbes waiting for a friend of Hobbes'. This friend, Yuri, is going to help them capture a dangerous biological weapons dealer known as The Phone. Fawkes doesn't entirely trust Yuri, who is ex-KGB but now in the Russian Mafia, so he follows him invisibly when Yuri approaches the ice cream truck to make the buy. And there's Arnaud, with thermal vision sunglasses, and a revolver, so Fawkes is off to the races. So is Yuri, for that matter, following Hobbes' orders to run if bullets start flying, leaving Hobbes to deal with the armed henchman. Arnaud chases Fawkes into a dead end, but he used up all his bullets, so Fawkes has got him, right? Nope, Arnaud also brought along a gas grenade and a respirator, so he walks out of the smoke, hops on the truck and rides off, while Darien staggers out, retching and coughing.
There was more than just smoke in there, though, because now Fawkes has the flu. The Keeper comes by with soup, Hobbes drops in spraying disinfectant everywhere, then the Official and Eberts arrive. Amongst all the arguing and temperature taking, Fawkes sneezes Quicksilver. Quickly, to the Agency! Where we find out the gland itself is sick. When Darien tries to go invisible, the Quicksilver turns into some brown, incredibly smelly substance that sticks to his clothes. Well, it's not like going invisible was going to help against Arnaud and his stylish thermal imaging shades. Speaking of Arnaud, he's posing as a chauffeur at the airport to pick up a Dr. Halliday. Once the doc is in the car, Arnaud informs him they really only need his fingers and his eyes. Ominous.
Meanwhile, Hobbes has brought Darien to. . . I'm not sure what it is. There's a Ferris wheel, but also a bunch of small restaurants of various cultures. Hobbes explains all of these are storefronts for the criminal operations of their respective nationalities, and this is a sort of neutral ground. However, none of them have heard of The Phone, or have any interest in biological weapons, which do seem a bit much for mobsters types. More critically, they learn Yuri has been part of the Russian Mafia for over a month, because he owes them a lot of money. About that time, Darien starts Quicksilvering uncontrollably, which with a sick gland means he's nearly encased in an amber-like shell of Sicksilver. The Keep has to cut him out with a bone saw, leaving Darien huddling under a blanket, clearly shaken. She won't even give him a shot of counteragent, because she's not sure what it'll do to him in this state. The Keeper has determined whatever Fawkes has, it's isn't the Helena version of the flu, it's something she doesn't recognize. So she wants to take him to Fort Leavitt, which is a special military hospital for people who know classified stuff, so they don't accidentally leak secrets under sedation or whatever.
It's a good idea in theory, except for two things. One, the Official won't let them explain anything about Darien's condition with regards to the gland, which makes it kind of hard to explain the problem and how it's not a standard version of the fly. Two, one of the doctors on staff was Dr. Halliday, and thus Darien is delivered sedated, directly into Arnaud's hands. But the gland steps up to save Darien's life, as even unconscious, it Quicksilvers a portion of his hair, so Arnaud realizes something is wrong. So he and his assistant scientist abduct Fawkes, leaving the Keep unconscious on the floor. Hobbes had managed to track down Yuri again, after a lengthy chase, but Arnaud's boys showed up to close that leak. Not before Hobbes learned Arnaud sent Yuri to them, to lure Fawkes into his clutches. He gets to Fort Leavitt too late for that information to do any good.
Back at Arnaud's very large hideout, he and his associate are having an argument. The associate claims he can't be blamed because how could he design a virus to not affect something he had never seen? He calls Arnaud a half-scientist, and Arnaud shoots him. Darien wakes up about then, and the two of them have an extended conversation, where Darien questions Arnaud's love of extremely convoluted plans, and claims when he as the chance to kill Arnaud, it'll be real simple. Arnaud dares him to take a shot, so Fawkes punches him in the face, then gets beat up by the goons. So Arnaud has to make Fawkes not sick, so that the gland will be healthy, so he can cut it out of Darien's head, but he shot the guy who might be able to make that happen, so he'll need another assistant. Which requires him to abduct the Keeper out of her apartment, when she and Hobbes stop so she can grab some notes. At least Arnaud said "please".
Back at the hideout, we end up in a test of wills between Arnaud and the Keeper. She wants to know if it's safe to give Darien counteragent, Arnaud wants to know what she's planning to do. As all this is going on, Darien finally goes Quicksilver mad and dispatches the two goons in short order. So much for Valt and Thuggo (only one of those is a name Darien made up). Back in the lab, the Keeper finally explains she's going to piggyback the antibiotic on the counteragent, so Arnaud doesn't need her any longer. Then Fawkes barges in, swats the gun away, and starts to choke him to death with one hand. Claire tries to reason with him, but Fawkes doesn't care if he dies, just so long as Arnaud goes first. Then she bargains with him, suggesting he could destroy Arnaud's stuff instead. At which point Darien turns on her for a moment, but it works. He starts smashing furniture, and Arnaud is sufficiently concerned to tell her where a sample of the original virus is, then escape. Claire cures Fawkes, but there's no useful information to lead them to Arnaud, so Darien is left unfulfilled.
Quote of the Episode: Fawkes - 'Die, cuckoo clock, die!' There are a lot of interesting lines in this episode, but I've known it was going to be that line since I started this series.
The "oh crap" count: 1 (32 overall).
Who's getting quoted this week? Susan Sontag, who said society needs an illness they can identify as evil. Stallone in Cobra, who said crime is a disease, and he was the cure. The Beastie Boys, who said let's get ill. Samuel Johnson, who felt disease began the equality death completes. And Mother Teresa, who said the biggest disease in the world was feeling unwanted.
Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 1 (7 overall).
Other: I liked the scene of Hobbes chasing Yuri. Not just because Hobbes stole that kid's scooter after the kid called him a stupid, bald idiot, though that was good. But before that, you can tell Hobbes is running in a calm, measured style, while Yuri's a panicky animal. Looking back over his shoulder, flailing his arms around, constantly trying to speed up. But Hobbes just keeps chugging along, waiting for Yuri to run out of gas.
When Fawkes and Hobbes are at the food court, the mob guy recognizes Darien as having been part of Johnny Castignacci's crew, which is pretty impressive considering that was only true for about 5 minutes (see 1.7, "Liberty and Larceny").
This is also the episode I always remember for the Hobbes/Claire relationship. I usually just remember Hobbes complimenting her on how good she looks in her pants at the end of the episode, and the fact that Claire responds with a slightly shocked "Bobby!". Not angry shocked, though, more surprised that he'd say that in public. There's quite a bit more than that, though. Right before he compliments her, he's trying to explain how worried he was when he came up to check on her and saw her apartment's alarm had been busted. When he gets to Fort Leavitt to report what he learned from Yuri, Claire's still shaking off the effects of the sedative. Hobbes notices immediately something's happened to her, and is worried. And when they get to her apartment, Hobbes expresses impatience and urges her to be quick, which causes Claire to tell him to go on ahead, and she'll catch a cab. It feels like one of those sitcom arguments couples have where the husband is annoyed with how long the wife takes getting ready, which is a little funny since Hobbes hadn't even been into her apartment yet. But hey, it's their first fight. Awwww.
I do wonder, though, where was she going to catch a cab to? They had no idea where Arnaud took Darien.
Really, the main show is Joel Bissonette is back as Arnaud. Whoo! I love Arnaud. He's brilliant, sadistic, charming, clever, a bit of a coward, but with a inner core of steel you do not want to underestimate. Remember, this is a guy who cut open his stomach to try and retrieve a data chip he needed. That the chip was too corroded by his stomach acid is beside the point, what matters is he was willing to do it.
And here he is, back with another ludicrously convoluted plan. Silver Age Superman would be impressed by the contortions he went through. He found a guy who needed money fast, who also knew Hobbes to lure Fawkes in. He found another scientist to design a serious virus that would initially appear to be just the flu. he tracked down a military physician and killed the guy for his fingerprints and retinal scans. Managed to hang around a military hospital until Fawkes is brought in, all so he can perform a surgery in 3 minutes before the next security sweep. That is insane, and I love it.
And I love that when Darien calls him on it, when he suggests Arnaud just sneak up and hit Darien with a bat, Arnaud tries to handwave it with talk of "variable", and "but you could turn invisible". You have sunglasses that enable you to see him! It's like Arnaud is the Riddler, he just can't help himself. You actually see it again with he and Claire in his lab. The virus his now dead associate made is designed to ultimately kill Fawkes, so Arnaud needs her to save Fawkes so Arnaud can harvest the healthy gland. More precisely, he needs her to tell him how she's going to do it so he can kill her, then do it himself. But Claire needs to know if Darien can have counteragent first. All Arnaud has to do is tell her that, but he won't. It's not even that he's trying to get her solution from her, he can't resist gloating about the fact he created counteragent, and Claire is stuck copying his recipe. He mocks her by asking if she was surprised he used an organic base, his sense of self-satisfaction coming through clear as a bell. This a lady he needs help from, and he can't stop pissing her off.
Arnaud is his own worst enemy, because he knows how gifted he is. He knows he's smart, but this makes him think he can always outsmart everyone, and that he can start with a plan that can easily go awry, and it'll be fine because he can easily devise a solution for any problem. He can be very charming, and he's a good liar, so he treats people like crap because he's sure he can get away with it. But this causes him to go through his help pretty fast, and also leads to people really wanting to get payback. Darien would hate Arnaud anyway, for killing Kevin and devising the flaw in the gland that gives the Agency the leash they have on him, but the fact Arnaud enjoys tormenting him so much, that's just the little extra middle finger. It's the guy who cuts in front of you without signaling, and also throws up a piece of gravel that cracks your windshield when he does it.
Ventresca and Bissonette do a good job playing up the animosity between Fawkes and Arnaud. I think half the reason Arnaud enjoys tormenting Darien so, is because he's pissed this ex-con keeps outsmarting him. Darien's the one who saw through his disguise at the I-Man project, who kept him from stealing all the files, who nearly blew Arnaud up, kept him from stealing Kevin's old notes, and Fawkes legitimately wants Arnaud dead, which I think scares The Phone a little. He doesn't want to show fear, so he twists it into hate and sadism. He can't just whack Fawkes with a bat and cut his skull open with a hacksaw, because he has to prove he's smarter first. He has to win his way. Darien just wants Arnaud dead, Arnaud wants Darien to suffer first. It's why Fawkes was willing to die if it meant he'd killed Arnaud first, but Arnaud always has to gloat and waste time having his goons beat Darien's ass after Darien popped him one.
I will agree with Arnaud that shooting people seems like an effective way to win an argument.