Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Invisible Man 2.22 - The New Stuff

Plot: A farmer watches his entire cornfield get devoured by a swarm of bugs he can't see. And so the Official sends Darien and Hobbes to investigate, figuring it has something to do with all that Quicksilver Chrysalis made off with. The meeting is a little tense because Claire is extremely hostile towards the Fat Man. So Darien and Hobbes make their inquiries of the farmer, who is drinking heavily because no one will believe him, though he did collect several of the bugs after they died and became visible again. The questioning is broken up as Darien starts going Quicksilver Mad, prompting a rush back to the Agency.

The boys are pretty concerned, Darien stating Claire will have to start giving him two shots a week, and that's when Claire drops the bombshell: Arnaud did give her enough to remove the counteragent dependency, and that shot she just gave Darien is the last he'll ever need. Right on cue, the Fat Man arrives, with another agent, weapon drawn. I assume he must have bugged Claire's lab. The Official tries to justify it, but Darien Quicksilvers, suckerpunches the agent, and flees, while Hobbes refuses to make any attempt to catch him. Out in the world, Darien robs a bank, but finds the lack of challenge a problem, and leaves the money across the street.

Elsewhere, Stark is about to be replaced as head of his Sector by his boss, despite his arguing that he's furthered their goals. She points out he's been constantly thwarted by the Agency, Stark apparently already knows Darien broke with them, and assures her they're no threat. Back in the world of people who aren't jerks, Hobbes comes to Darien's apartment to ask for him to come back, and sees Fawkes packing a suitcase. Bobby spouts some stuff about the Fruit of Righteousness, and Darien won't go back to being a thief, and Darien agrees. He also acknowledges that he'd always be hunted if he ran, so he's taken a different path: He called the FBI and asked for a job, so here's Jonesy. Did I say we were back in a world of people who aren't jerks? Ooops.

Hobbes is dismayed, but Darien's tries to do his buddy a solid by asking the new boss to a) hire Bobby at the same GS-9 level as Darien and b) transfer Jonesy to Alaska. But Hobbes refuses, stating he'll get back to the majors on his own. Uh, given your Prozac prescription, probably not. As you might expect, life at the FBI ain't so great. Everyone kisses up to him, but none of them respect his intelligence. They get a tip about a genetic research lab having been burned down by an eco-terrorist group, except that corn field was genetically modified corn, and when Darien mentions Chrysalis, all the feds just laugh, and tell him to stick to his trick. So Darien steals evidence from their room and seeks out Claire, who has gone to work for the CDC. She's not entirely happy to see him, but agrees to help, though they have to sneak back into the Agency lab because Claire had done some analysis on the locusts they brought back from the initial field. What Claire discovered is that the locusts have a protein deficiency and they can only eat genetically modified foods, and that company was combining a couple of plant forms with uses in medicine to create what might just be a cancer treatment drug. Which Chrysalis would not want, since that would help people who aren't them survive.

They grab Hobbes and find the main field where the stuff is being grown, though they have to elude a bunch of rude MPs in Humvees, first with the van, then with scooters. The scientists are somewhat skeptical until they can hear a huge swarm of insects heading towards them, and luckily they do keep a crop duster nearby, in case swarms of insects pass by. The crops are saved, everyone celebrates, then big dead bugs start falling on everyone, which puts a damper on things. Back at the Agency, Darien agrees to return, with conditions, including the right to be lazy. Oh, and Claire gets hired back with a bigger budget to research getting the gland out of his brain. And she and Hobbes get raises. The Official has to get the last laugh by telling them he was the guy who tipped the feds off about the eco-terrorist group attacking the lab, so that Darien would get sucked in and bring the team back together. Which makes Darien, Claire, and Bobby, all want to get drunk. And there it ends.

Quote of the episode: Hobbes - 'I guess you can't see so good in those FBI sunglasses.'

The "oh crap" count: 5 (47 overall). That's 9 more than last season, though a lot of people stole it from Darien this year.

Who's getting quoted this week? Albert Camus said real generosity to the future meant giving all to the present, Cole Porter argued work was more fun than fun (which is a load of crap), and Ray Bradbury said he wasn't trying to describe the future, but to prevent it.

Times Fawkes Goes Into Quicksilver Madness: 1 (10 overall). Just one more than last season, although a lot of Season 1's came in the pilot. But most of this season's were concentrated in these last few weeks.

Other: The Agency got dropped by Health and Human Services sometime after Darien split, but rejoined Fish and Game at the end.

I kind of like how when the Official came barging into Claire's lab the first time, Claire got to essentially pull the 'I did it 35 minutes ago' on him. Not exactly, since it was more like 2 minutes, but Darien had no idea he was free (he was still too pissed at her acknowledgement that she'd lied at the end of last week), and I think the Fat Man was sure he still had a chance to control things. Though why he didn't equip that guy with thermals, well, I guess because he thought he was keeping Claire from severing the leash, not trying to contain a dog that was free.

Little surprised at Alex' complete absence from the final 3 episodes. Not bothered really, because I never felt like she quite fit in. She got too friendly to be antagonistic, but never quite friendly enough to not be antagonistic. I guess she was supposed to be the person who can't help needling others, but that's already kind of Darien, and the Fat Man does a pretty good job taking the wind out of Fawkes' sails.

If the locusts have a protein deficiency, how was Chrysalis keeping them alive long enough to do them any good? I mean, the bugs seem to die right after they devour a field, so if you give them food, they'll keel over once they eat it, right? How long can they go without food? I suppose if this were a realistic show, though, Chrysalis would just use lobbyists to remove funding from projects like this (since the military is guarding, the government has to have some coin sunk into it at some level. Actually, I'd wondered for awhile why Chrysalis hadn't used that influence to get the Agency shut down. It's always barely hanging on anyway. Put in a good word for another agency, shunt the funds that way. I actually thought that was the point of all the drastic budget issues they were having a while back, when Claire's equipment was being repossessed, but no.

Watching Hobbes and Fawkes fall out was interesting. The way Hobbes encourages Fawkes to be the bigger man, come back into the fold, only to find Darien signed on with the FBI. He was really hurt by that, it let Jonesy's barbs get him in a way they usually don't. Maybe because Darien wasn't there taking shots right back at Jonesy this time. Hobbes has been good for Darien, a maturing influence, to temper some of Darien's impulsive responses, but it works both ways. Darien is the one who lets Hobbes know he is respected and trusted, who has his back when people start taking shots. And Hobbes is the one who listens when Darien gets ideas, who doesn't dismiss them because he sees Fawkes as more than an ex-con with a special trick. They really lean on each other a lot, and for awhile, they're split. Darien is right to be pissed at the Fat Man (the guy was ready to have him killed rather than risk Darien falling into enemy hands). Hobbes is right to be hurt his best friend bails on him, even though I'd say Fawkes had the right idea overall, to stay legit, but find a place he thought would treat him better.

And when they meet at the remains of the lab, they argue past each other. Fawkes is convinced (because he has an ego) that Hobbes is there trying to get him back, and snarks at Hobbes along that line of thinking. Hobbes is actually there on business, but is angry Darien is kind of acting like the feds, treating Hobbes like he isn't a professional, and so he takes shots along that line. None of it accomplishes anything, other than letting each of them air grievances, though it does plant the seed of doubt in Darien's mind that makes him split off from the feds.

For that matter, I like that when Darien approaches Claire, she's a standoffish at first. Darien can be mad she withheld the cure, but she did it to try and protect him. The Official had flat out stated he wasn't letting the gland leave, no matter what, which put Darien's life at risk. But when she saw how his life would be ruined if she didn't get him off the counteragent, she went for it. To save him, and because she believed he would stay. That's what she told the Official last week, that Darien wouldn't leave. And he left. He had his reasons, and she may have been aware he joined the FBI, but I think Claire (like Hobbes) has watched Darien change, and when he Quicksilvered and ran, I'm sure she wondered if all that progress just went up in smoke. If he was going to return to crime strictly out of spite, or maybe because that's who he'd always been, and everything he'd seemed to become over their time as coworkers was just him doing what was necessary, the long con. Not unlike what Arnaud pulled on the Agency. Oh, and it probably didn't help that she lost her job when he vanished.

I hadn't seen this episode in over a decade, but I really thought a lot more of it would involve Darien being chased by the Agency. Guess I was conflating it with the end of Season 1. Credit to Darien for recognizing he wouldn't be able to run. Even if the Agency never caught him, it would get out among the rest of the intelligence network, and everyone would be after him. The Chinese lost their Quicksilver-recycling vest, after all. And Chrysalis is still out there, not to mention Arnaud. It really does feel like this was set up to keep going into a 3rd season. The two big threats are still out there, but they'd recognized you can't play the counteragent dependency plot line forever, so they remove it and go forward.

But this is last episode. The thing that feels the most different to me compared to more recent shows, especially Burn Notice, is how there are major threats that span seasons, but they aren't constant. With Burn Notice, there was always whatever case Michael was handling that week, but some time was always devoted to him trying to get out from under the burn notice, or figure out who was behind it. With Invisible Man, we never see Chrysalis or Arnaud unless they are the threat that week. Whatever progress the Agency might be making in tracking them isn't mentioned in the interim, so it's almost like they don't exist. The closest we got in those terms was Augustin Gaither, as his arc actually popped up a few times when it wasn't the primary focus.

On the whole, the second season is about as up and down as the first. I still consider any episode with Arnaud a high point, because he and Darien have the most emotional weight to their interactions, and it's the character interactions that carry the show. Darien and Bobby's friendship, the way Claire seemed more drawn into it. She still had those moments where she's the Mature Doctor, exasperated at the boys, but it was less genuine irritation, and more a bemusement with her friends. Heck, the bit of fleshing out Eberts got, with Hobbes surprisingly enough, was nice. Next week, on to something different. Something much older.

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