Plot: Darien pursues some guy, but in the process of catching him, aggravates his back. At the Agency, Claire explains she's had three orthopedists in to look at Darien, and none have found anything. Hobbes suggests acupuncture, and how it helped his kidney stone, but the Official says "no." So Darien goes anyway. The acupuncturist, Dr. Charlene Jay, does help, since her teacher is struggling with stomach cancer, but in the process, she accidentally triggers the gland. So Darien has to explain that. Charlene promises to keep it to herself, but advises making a follow-up appointment. When he does, she jams some needles into him she can use to deliver an electric shock, and tell hims he's going to help her steal some fabled acupuncture needles from a museum exhibit, so she can use their mystical abilities to heal her master. Fawkes, having perhaps learned from his return to prison last week, is reluctant, but, you know, ZZAP!
So they steal the needles (and the guards' last slice of pizza), but the needles don't help. Her mentor says they are cursed. Charlene is sure he means because Wallace Gilliam, the man who created the exhibit, stole a piece of Chinese history. I think he meant because she inflicted pain on someone else to force them to steal for her, but whatever. Now she's convinced Gilliam must die to remove the bad energy. She can't do it because then she'll be afflicted and unable to use the needles, which means, ZZAP!. But Darien is close to going Quicksilver Mad, and has to explain his need for counteragent. So she makes a video of him, where he explains this to the Agency, and ships it to them. It's been a couple of days now, so they've been looking for him, under a series of silly operation names devised by Eberts. Even Alex was brought in, though she isn't happy, and complains a lot. Upon seeing the video, Hobbes is the only one who believes Darien isn't pulling a scam. And he's vindicated, because while Charlene and Darien do escape with the counteragent, Darien was able to leave behind some silver case with Charlene's name on it (given to him by her master, along with some advice about the lesser of two evils).
Of course, by the time they reach the office, Charlene and Darien are already headed to Gilliam's. But once they arrive, it turns out that sneaking in invisibly pushed Darien over the limit, because he didn't take the counteragent. And Crazy Fawkes doesn't mind the ZZAP! Alex and Hobbes burst in, Hobbes beats up Charlene, Alex takes out Fawkes, he gets some counteragent, the whole thing is resolved. Well, except for the fact Charlene's teacher is still dying of stomach cancer. And Gilliam really is a slimeball.
But Darien's back is all better.
Quote of the Episode: Hobbes - 'Bobby Hobbes does not gloat, he merely celebrates all victories, great and small.'
The "oh crap" count: 2 (15 overall).
Who's getting quoted this week? There's a line about wisdom coming from suffering, and something else I wrote down I can't read.
Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 1 (3 overall).
Other: I think of all Eberts' operation names, I like "Lame Dog" the best.
I was surprised by Claire's catty comment about Alex. When she and Hobbes are sent to investigate the museum robbery - which Alex learned about separately through her channels, which irritated the Official enough to make her take Bobby along as, I dunno punishment or a way to exert control - Alex says 'Saddle up, cowboy.' After she leaves, Claire mutters that her character is as real as her hair color. Ouch. I thought the two of them had been getting along fairly well in limited interactions up to this point. Sure, Alex pretty much tried to bribe her right off (the offer to get her a totally awesome computer in "The Camp"), but they'd at least seemed cordial. But Claire rarely appreciates the Official's smugness, and so perhaps Alex' arrogance irritates her as well. Or maybe she doesn't appreciate how Alex teases Bobby.
I can't decide whether I'm happy that Quicksilver Mad Fawkes is so much less dangerous this season. On the plus side, no extremely uncomfortable scenes of Fawkes menacing a barely clothed lady. On the minus side, it makes Quicksilver Madness seem less like something for others to be worried about, and more just Darien being kind of silly, but taking it a little too far into creepy. A Fawkes who is still at least as intelligent as he usually is, just more amoral, that's scary. One that doesn't turn visible to gloat after sucker-punching you, but just keeps attacking. Dangerous. That guy would be a handful, though I'd still expect Alex to be able to handle. Fawkes, really can't fight very well at all. I guess there's a fine line, and the show isn't treading it terribly well, unless the implication is supposed to be that Darien's doing a better job reining it in. He's Mad, but he's just in control enough to keep from going invisible or really hurting anyone else.
At least Monroe didn't immediately decide to shoot him. She just kicked his ass, and yes Fawkes, you did get beat up by a girl. There's no denying it.
Oh, I almost forgot, the Agency has thermal glasses now, rather than the clunky goggles Hobbes used to wear.
The episode is a little bit of a return to Season 1's "The Devil You Know", with another person using the gland as a way to control Darien. Though in that one, it was Darien's hatred of the way the Official used counteragent as a leash, and his fear of going mad, that gave the guy leverage. Here, it's Charlene's knowledge of how to use her knowledge to cause pain, and Darien's trust in her. He really has to stop trusting people who say they'll help him. But then where does that leave him and Claire? I didn't much like Charlene. The people who force others to do the dirty work they're unwilling to do are never my favorites. Get your own hands dirty. And it was pretty obvious Charlene had a preexisting grudge against Gilliam, so I'm not sure she wasn't using the needles as an excuse, ultimately.