Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Invisible Man 2.5 - Going Postal

Plot: We open on Fawkes and Alex taking cover as Hobbes fires blindly through a door. Eventually he runs out of bullets, they rush in and at first, I thought he wasn't wearing pants, but he was just wearing those khaki shorts postal employees sometimes wear. In a psychiatric hospital, Hobbes insists he was attacked and was returning fire, but is told there was no one else in the room. So while Eberts and Claire are poking through the office, Dr. Day questions Alex, Hobbes, and Fawkes as to their versions of the day.

As it turns out, they were there because a friend of the Official's in the Post office says there had been a series of threats from the recovery center, and the Agency will get all their postal charges waived for a year if they investigate. Alex doesn't want to be there, but the Official points out if she's going to be part of the Agency, she has to help with their cases sometimes, it can't just always be the other way around. So they go through the day, seeing little of interest. Alex' version (shown as essentially hidden camera footage, complete with timer strip at the bottom) contends the boys made fools of themselves hitting on one of the female postal employees, then she caught them leering at a magazine, Hobbes blew up at her and Fawkes, stormed into the break room, and began firing. Then we find out Darien was listening in the entire time.

Hobbes' version is done up like some noir story, black and white with deep shadows and him as the gumshoe. He portrays himself as having suavely hit on Amanda, who was totally into him as he lit her cigarette, while Fawkes sat meekly in the background, the clumsy sidekick. Then Hobbes flipped a fedora with "U.S. Mail" onto his head. When he and Alex got into it, he says she apologized deeply to him, and Fawkes thanked him profusely and confessed his admiration. Then Hobbes went into the break room for a drink and was attacked by the guy filling the water cooler and some random woman with a machine pistol.

Darien's version, shown in a sort of cold blue light with lots of lens flare (so I guess it's directed by J.J. Abrams), is that Amanda was totally into him (also that her shirt was unbuttoned halfway down), and that he and Hobbes were looking at a '69 Mustang when Alex started giving them grief and Hobbes got irate. He also notes that Hobbes was quite taken with some old Christmas card, the one thing the is consistent across all three versions. Fawkes calls Eberts and asks him to find the card, but once he does, he goes nuts and takes hostages. Fawkes has to sneak in and take Eberts down while Claire and Alex try to keep him distracted through the megaphone. Alex opts to point out the building is surrounded by SWAT guys, Claire tries reminding Eberts how much they all care for and are worried about him. Anyway, no lives are lost, and the conclusion is that it turns out the card was one of many sent out by some pro-drug guy in the '60s to a bunch of conservative politicians, and that it was coated in some hallucinogen or something. So Hobbes is out of the psych ward, and all is well. I guess.

Quote of the Episode: Fawkes - 'Sure we got our way of doing things, but we get results.'

The "oh crap" count: 0 (5 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? The motto of the Postal Service for one, William Blake for another.

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

Other: The fedora with the U.S. Mail patch on it was great. Also the fact Hobbes' Amanda spoke French.

They've kept having Darien get close to Q. Madness this season, but it hasn't happened yet. Probably for the best. If Alex is around, she'll likely just kill him. I suppose she might just beat his ass and drag him unconscious back to Claire for counteragent, but I can't be sure.

I didn't realize how often Darien used "chick". I started to notice about halfway through last season he likes to use "I mean" and "You know" frequently, but the chick thing seems to be coming up more frequently now. I'm not sure if it's a defense mechanism, using it to deflect insecurities, or if it's a way to show he doesn't care for someone. I feel like he's used it more around Alex or in this episode, the doctor, neither of whom he's a big fan of.

I figure Alex is telling the truth about Hobbes and Darien's embarrassing attempts to impress Amanda, but I think Fawkes is telling the truth about how she reacted to Hobbes' eruption (Bobby's story, while the most appealing to me aesthetically, is of course, a total mess). And I thought Hobbes was, for the record, on the mark with his comments to Alex. They were phrased in a hostile manner, but she has pretty consistently treated them like children, like lackeys not worthy of knowing what she's got them risking their lives to do.

We, as the audience, have seen the things they've encountered. But all these missions she's supposedly done to earn her 5-star rating, we haven't seen those. It was the same with Bobby early on. He had a big chip on his shoulder and talked a good game, but we didn't have any reason to believe it until he started to show what he could do. It's been a lot of talk about how good she is, with little to show for it. Yes, she's a fine hand-to-hand fighter. So is Bobby (when he's not being showy). She's a good shot, but so is Claire. What else has she done? Hobbes came up with the idea of looking for a connection on the missing kids through their fathers. Fawkes was the one who tipped them off to an abduction, got DNA evidence to prove the ids at the camp were the missing ones, and negotiated with Stark. Alex' assistance was in getting impatient and barging in, triggering an alarm that convinced Stark the feds really would attack. That's a pretty Scooby-Doo version of success via incompetence. She was smart enough to insist Fawkes and Hobbes have back-up when they made the grab for the cyro-pod, got to give her that. By and large though, I haven't seen anything that backs up her condescension.

It's why I agreed with the Fat Man when he told her she had to start helping with their cases, even though he said it in that irritatingly smug and paternalistic way he has. Plus, he was right. If she's part of the Agency, there's no reason she shouldn't be helping with their cases, if they keep getting forced to work on hers.

So this wasn't a great episode. I don't even remember if they solved who was stealing the mail or not. It felt like they had the idea to retell the same sequence of events from multiple perspectives, giving them a chance to play around with styles a bit, and they just came up with something that would let them do it. The story is just something to give them an excuse to do all that. Hope for better next week.

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