Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Invisible Man 1.23 - It's A Small World

Plot: We start with Fawkes spoiling Allianora's attempt to buy a city councilman by taking pictures of her handing over a briefcase full of cash. Which leads her boss to decide it is time to deal with Darien. At the same time, the Official is quite pleased with the sting, as it means the Chrysalis leak they have is legit, and tells Fawkes and Hobbes they are on 24-hour alert if the leak contacts them. As Darien sits at home making paper airplanes, Allianora strolls in Darien's apparently unlocked front door and points a gun at him, demanding the name of the leak. Which he doesn't know, so too bad. He distracts her with his stereo system, swats the gun away, they start fighting, the fighting turns to kissing, the cheesy saxophone music kicks in, they turn invisible, then clothes start reappearing. It's all very awkward and embarrassing.

The next morning we learn Darien has requested a security sweep of his home, and we get to meet The Maid. She's a large black woman dressed like a maid, who doesn't like to talk. Except to Hobbes, who comes by to pick up Fawkes. It will not surprise you to learn Hobbes has requested her services at his home 30 times this year. Hobbes quickly notices a particular perfume and begins quizzing Darien on who he was with last night, while driving like a maniac to lose any possible tail on the way to a meeting with the leak. All the evasive (read: reckless) driving is for naught, because they're hardly started talking to the leak when a car rushes by and some dude buries a ninja weapon in the leak's back. Which doesn't please the Official, and he's curious why Darien just now requested a security sweep. Fawkes withholds, as usual, and Bobby, who has noted that Allianora is among the women they know who wears Lady of the Lake perfume (groan), keeps mum.

They rush off to the leak's home to see if there's anything useful, and run into two Chrysalis guys. Fawkes is rather surprised when being invisible does not give him the element of surprise. Mr. Ninja Weapon wraps a chain whip around Darien's neck like he was neon bright. He steals most of the files, trashes the computer, and is able to swap his buddy (losing to Hobbes) for Fawkes and make an escape. Back at the office, the Keeper appears dismissive of Darien's concerns, as he helps her carry to remains of the computer tower to a clean room, in the hope something can still be gleaned. Inside the room, we learn it's actually designed to block all transmissions, and that the Keeper has discovered a nanobug inside Darien that is transmitting everything he sees and hears to Chrysalis. Which leads to a very awkward discussion of how it got inside him, and Claire admitting she can't remove it without risking killing him. So Darien has to go on with life as usual, knowing Chrysalis can see everything. Then he gets to the office and the Official has him thrown on the ground, calls him a traitor, and shoots him.

Oh wait, no, it was a trick and the Keeper threw some motorbike helmet on his head to block the transmissions so Chrysalis just thinks he's dead. The Keeper has determined Chrysalis plans to hide their nanobugs in pharmaceutical drugs so they can infect lots of people. They approach the likely drug company, and the Keep fakes a need for a bathroom to sneak away from the tour, which gives her time to go through their system and determine they're sending an alleged vaccination to a prep school for the children of politicians, tycoons, various important types who will use their influence to ensure their children are also important, whether they're actually worth a damn or not. While she's getting useful info, Fawkes and Hobbes find out the CEO is part of Chrysalis and must fight goons in the stairwell. Darien keeps Hobbes from being shot, but had to sacrifice the helmet to do so. Meaning Chrysalis knows he's alive, and knows the Agency is headed for Buford Prep. So they send Allianora and Ninja Weapon Guy (who brought crossbows, because Chrysalis does not use guns in schools), even as the Keeper warns the school's principal not to use the drugs. But he also works for Chrysalis, so he orders the vaccinations to start immediately, then stands there creepily while a bunch of young girls line up to get injections.

Since Chrysalis can see and hear everything Fawkes can, he acts as a decoy, drawing the goons to him at the pool, then confuses the bug by putting on goggles, so they can't see anything. Hobbes and the Keep deal with the crossbow wielding guys, because Bobby Hobbes will bring guns in a school, and the Keeper is a very good shot. But all the vials of vaccine are gone, so she can't get a sample of the nanobug to devise a way to deal with the one inside Darien. Darien, meanwhile, is able to ambush Ninja Weapon Guy, since his invisibility is actually effective now. But then he turns visible and starts yammering, so he gets dumped on his head and into the pool. Meaning Allianora has to save him - again - which riles Stark enough he comes into the school and kills her, then flees because Hobbes is a crappy shot. This is very sad, and Allianore is still trying to help Fawkes to the end, but can't finish whatever warning she has. However, the Keeper received a copy of the nanobug from Allianora, and is able to destroy the one inside Darien. Or so found one by dissecting Allianora's body. Honestly, the way she phrases the explanation, that's probably what happens. Either way, Fawkes owes her another one he'll never be able to repay.

Quote of the episode: Keeper - 'No, but for goodness sakes Darien, haven't you ever heard of safe sex?'

The "oh crap" count: 1 (38 overall)

Who's getting quoted this week? Joseph Heller, who observed an enemy was anyone trying to get you killed, regardless of what side they're on.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 0 (9 overall).

Other: Man, that was a downer of a season finale. I guess it sort of stymies Chrysalis, they're out the only superhuman agent we know for certain they have, but killing Allianora. I get that she can't keep helping Fawkes without there being repercussions. It's pretty clear that if she wanted to kill Darien, she could. He's too nice, too naive, and too cocky. Ninja Weapon Guy nearly killed him because Darien stopped with the beating so he could gloat, and turned visible in the process. Allianore would have just shot the guy in the head or drowned him and been done with it. So you can't keep having her pass up opportunities to kill Darien, who is apparently this major thorn in Chrysalis' side, without making Chrysalis look incompetent. Which is not what you want. They need to look dangerous, well-funded, ruthless, with agents hidden everywhere, so that the Agency looks like it's fending them off through quick wits, guts, and being sneaky. The Agency winning isn't so impressive if Chrysalis looks like it's run by Elmer Fudd. To be fair, Stark wearing an ill-fitting suit doesn't help.

So there had to be some sort of payoff, but I'm not sure why it had to be Allianora dying, leaving Fawkes with a huge debt to her he can't repay. Why not have her sever ties with Chrysalis, reject any offer to work for the Agency, and so Fawkes (with an assist from the Keeper and Hobbes, also maybe Eberts) convinces the Official to hook her up with a new identity? Darien helps her, thus repaying some of the debt, it takes Allianora off the board, because she probably can't be using her powers without tipping off the people she's trying to avoid, which makes Chrysalis look dangerous. And if you figure she had to offer up all she knows about their operations to get the Official on board, it could hint at the scope of their plans, which ratchets up the conflict and perhaps makes Chrysalis more desperate. Then you have her as an ace in the whole if you want to do some big showdown where she appears to help when least expected. Just seems like a waste.

Beyond that, the episode is basically an extended one of those old military propaganda films, warning the soldiers about the dangers of VD. I mean, it's kind of funny, but then the silliness of it - his conversation with Claire, the bike helmet he has to wear - clashes with the somber ending. And why would Stark tell her to just infect Darien with the nanobug, rather than demanding she kill him? Wouldn't her refusal be a clear enough sign she wasn't committed to the cause, and it was time to deal with that? The gun was still there somewhere in the room while they were gettin' it on. I guess the argument could be made they wanted to make certain the nanobug worked, but surely there were any number of people they could try that on. People who it wouldn't make more sense to kill. Like their own employees. You want to make sure there are no leaks? Just bug all your people, so you know what they're up to. Sure, employee morale will drop, but you solve that by, um, cupcake day in the break room! Like Chrysalis cares about their employees' morale. They'd laugh at that idea harder than the Official did at Hobbes suggestion they should receive overtime for being on call 24/7.

I like that the Keeper continues to be a good shot, though I'm surprised she wasn't carrying her typical hand cannon. Also, I love that the Chrysalis guys use crossbows instead of guns in schools, until Ninja Weapon Guy isn't around and they're being shot at with guns, at which point they draw their own pistols. It was just very funny. Further, I think Hobbes will be a hero around the school for tackling the principal.

Anyway, it's kind of an odd end to the season. I still think last week's episode would have worked better, since it wraps up a certain phase of the Darien/Arnaud conflict, with Darien deciding revenge is a bad idea, and moving it forward to the next level, with Arnaud being stuck invisible and furious about it. And I actually remembered it as the season finale, but no, this came after. Oh well. Next week, the one episode from Season 2 they included on my DVDs.

No comments: