Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Invisible Man 2.14 - Father Figure

Plot: We open on a Thanksgiving dinner at Darien's apartment, with everyone from the Agency and his grandmother there. Then three guys in lab coats with machine pistols run in and kill everyone. Quite the nightmare, so Darien, as he typically does, bounces ideas off Claire. She's curious about the presence of his grandmother, and Darien explains it was his dad's mom, his father having left when Darien was 5, and that she was the only grandparent he saw much of. Also the only one still alive, I guess.

No time to reflect on that, a major alert has gone out to all security agencies about a killer named Forrester Perdue (no idea if I'm spelling that right), who has been killing other assassins for the U.S. for 30 years. Now he's gone rogue, and all the intelligence agencies are being called in to help keep a man no one has ever seen from killing the Prime Minister of Szerbijian. Look, I'm guessing on how you'd spell the made up country. The Official elects to send Fawkes and Hobbes as his reps, because thy work well as a team, while Alex does not. Oddly, no mention is made of the cast she has on her right arm as a reason to not send her after a master assassin (nor will there be any explanation given for what happened).

At the P.M.'s hotel, Hobbes and Fawkes run afoul of all the other agencies' handpicked guys, including someone who knows that FBI dipshit Jones (last seen in 1.17, "Perchance to Dream", I think). This guy makes fun of Hobbes, which immediately sets Bobby on edge, and makes him uninterested in working cooperatively, over Fawkes objections. So much for a well-oiled machine. Hobbes says that since Perdue has killed all his targets with a single shot from long range, they should look for the tallest building within a mile, and stake it out. And this works, Darien spots a guy, goes invisible, follows him into a basement . .  and winds up with a hand around his throat and a gun in his face. But the assassin (who isn't wearing thermals) lets him live, even though Darien saw his face. Darien is badly shook, and bails on Hobbes to visit Grandma. As it turns out, Grandma (or Madeline) had "Perdue" as her maiden name. Yes, Forrester Perdue, the deadbeat father Darien believed was nothing more than a small-time crook, is actually a killer of killers. Which leads Darien to demand to know who sent them out on this mission, which gets things a little heated between him and the Official, especially when the Fat Man makes a few one-liners. The Official has a point, though, Darien's been doing that nonstop at everyone else's expense since he joined the Agency. Damn it, did I just agree with the Official? Worst episode ever.

Anyway, a man named Malachi Royce, who was Perdue's handler, put out the alert, and so Darien breaks into that agencies files, with Hobbes and Alex navigating him through security. Except Darien sits in a chair in a hallway full of pressure plates and triggers an alarm, but doesn't go invisible in response. Not that it matters, the guards let him leave, on orders from Royce, who plans to have his men follow Fawkes to Perdue, then kill them both. Of course he does. In the lab, it's confirmed that Perdue's earliest kills correspond to time Mason Fawkes was supposed to be in jail on various charges. Claire advises Darien to clue in the Official, take himself off the case, or at least talk about what he's feeling.

Darien, being a righteous dude, does none of those things, and goes back to his grandma's to talk. Hobbes watches him, someone watches Hobbes through a scope, guys in suits with guns show up, there's a chase which goes better than you'd expect because Bobby used the Fat Man's charge account to requisition some funds to beef up the van. All it means is they drive into a trap sooner, but someone with a high-powered rifle takes out all the gunmen, and it's Mason/Perdue. They rush back to Grandma's, there are a shitload of guys with suits, guns, and thermal glasses, so Mason creates a diversion by appearing to surrender, then shooting her propane tank, allowing Darien to Quicksilver, sneak in, take out most of the guys, except one who gets ahold of Madeline, but still winds up shot by Mason. This doesn't solve the problem of Royce, so Darien approaches him, saying he'd be willing to take on Mason's work if it'll set his dad free. The job Mason objected to was killing an American senator proposing to cut funding from security agencies, and once Royce admits to plotting to kill him while a Quicksilvered Hobbes records, him, it's mostly over. Darien and Mason get a nice chat, then Mason pulls another fade, since he still has plenty of enemies from all that killing.

Quote of the Episode: Eberts - 'Darien, is there any way for you to act like a grown-up?' Darien - 'What? The gland brings out the kid in me.' I just really wanted to use an Eberts quote for one, plus the novelty value of him being directly critical of someone.

The "oh crap" count: 3 (28 overall).

Who's getting quoted this week? Tolstoy, who said all happy families are identical, but all unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way. George Gobel, who observed that he always felt as though everyone else was wearing tuxedos, while he was wearing brown shoes. And some French scholar, who said all heroism is due to lack of reflection.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 0 (5 overall).

Other: I do wonder about these odd jackets Darien wears. This week is what from some chemical company, and said "Jerry". Last week, I think he wore an orange one with a "Rich" name tag on it. Are these holdovers from his larcenous career? Darien didn't strike me as the type to steal by trying to impersonate an electrician or whatever.

One quick scene I didn't mention above is that, when Fawkes and Hobbes go off to chat with Madeline, the Official questions Claire and Alex as to their location. Both plead ignorance, respecting Darien's wish to keep the Fat Man in the dark. He asks (through Eberts) if they're willing to take a polygraph. Claire, mock offended, asks Eberts if she's ever given him cause to doubt her word. Eberts, legitimately chagrined, agrees she hasn't, but counters that she's sitting next to a trained liar. Which leads to Claire's line: 'You're suggesting I've become a prevaricator by osmosis?' If that scene had been more central to the story, I'd have totally used it up above. Then she and Alex get up and leave, saying they need to go apply lip gloss, which I find kind of hilarious for how obviously a load of crap it is, and they know it, and Eberts and the Official know it, but what you gonna do? Alex and Claire's closeness does seem more genuine here than it has in the past, perhaps because they're uniting in defiance of their boss. A common foe is a good uniting force.

I enjoy that even if Eberts wouldn't break regulations to inflate Bobby's paycheck, he did teach him how to get some extra funds under the table to soup up Golda. Also that they're sticking with that as Hobbes nickname for the van. It's those little added touches and developments to the established characters I like.

I still think it's strange they didn't even attempt to explain what happened to Alex' arm. I'm guessing Brandy Ledford suffered some injury and they just had to roll with it, but I'd expect them to address it, however briefly. Kind of an odd thing to just ignore.

OK, Mason/Perdue was ordered to kill an American senator, and refused. So Royce decided to have him killed, to close off any potential leak, and probably just on grounds of not liking insubordination. Fair enough. Why was Perdue around the hotel then? Was that where Royce was staying, and he figured he was a target, so come up with some other excuse for Perdue to be there? That whole scene feels like it was just something cobbled together as a way for Darien to see Perdue, so they could start that whole thing, but that it doesn't fit the rest of the episode. There's no apparent reason for Perdue to be there. They briefly introduce what looks like will be some pain in the ass guy from another agency, who never appears again. Fawkes and Hobbes briefly squabble over how to proceed, right after the Official got done explaining how they operate as a well-oiled machine, and they do mostly work well together after that. It just doesn't quite fit.

So Darien has a father who was a sniper who became a government assassin, and his brother and uncle both worked on secret government projects. I can't decide if that's ridiculous or not. I've probably been reading too many comics, since in those, everyone you're related to always has some cool job. Even Peter Parker's parents were spies who worked with Wolverine once and tried to infiltrate the Red Skull's operations. Kinds of warps one's perspective, you know?

I kind of feel like the reveal of Perdue as his father would have had more impact if he'd ever come up prior to this. Honestly, my first thought when they mentioned Darien's dad was they meant the scientist whose work Kevin expanded on, until I remembered that was their uncle. But he and their aunt helped raise Darien and Kevin, in the absence of their father (and death of their mother). It was kind of hard to buy it being such a big deal, when Darien hasn't expended any thought on the matter of his dad, or his grandma, up to this point. Maybe that's intentional; Darien doesn't think about his past because he doesn't like the person he was, or it reminds him of everyone he's lost. Still, the killer being his dad, and that he believed his dad was a small-time thief like Darien became, that felt a bridge too far, pushing for an emotional impact they hadn't earned.

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