Invisible Man-Darien in prison

Invisible Man watch/rewatch - 1x01 Pilot

Welcome to the Invisible Man watch/rewatch! If you'd like to join in, Hulu has the entire show for free. There are also a number of full-length episodes on Youtube (search "Invisible Man 2000" or "Invisible Man tv"). You are welcome to join the discussion at any point, whether or not you're watching episodes with us.

Because some people are watching it for the first time, spoilers for future episodes or plot developments (anything in advance of the episode we're discussing) should be hidden. For spoilers, please use your choice of the following:

  • rot13 (copy-paste text into the cypher window to code or unencode it)
  • LJ spoiler cut: <lj-spoiler>spoiler text</lj-spoiler> -- does not work on DW
  • spoiler span text: <span style="color:white;background:white;">spoiler text</span> -- does not work on LJ

Otherwise, anything's cool except for bashing other people's character/pairing preferences (but I don't think anyone would do that anyway). Critical discussion and squee are equally welcome.

LET'S GO!

Invisible Man 1x01 - Pilot


Not having watched the pilot in a long while, I felt they did a really good job of making it feel like a movie. They mostly avoided that TV-pilot thing where the character introductions/interactions feel forced -- at least, I thought so. We had plenty of time to get to know Darien as the plot unfolded.

And Darien is very charming. Well. Actually adorable.

Darien

But he's also a total fuckup, and I'm glad the episode, and the show in general, doesn't pull punches with the extent to which he's messed up his life. He's a good person, he's brave, he's smart, and he throws his freedom away because he can't walk away and leave someone to die. But he's really, really not living up to his potential. Like he says in this episode, he likes being a thief (and one thing I get a kick out of with Darien is that he's not a particular brilliant thief; he's just a run-of-the-mill thief and petty criminal). At the end of the episode, he is very nearly friendless -- the handful of people who care about him are all either dead or thoroughly alienated due to his actions -- and he is, in essence, a slave of the government. Darien's life sucks, and some of it was out of his control, but a lot of it is just down to bad choices on his part.

It's hard for me to talk about this show without talking about White Collar, due to the similarity of the premise: con man/thief ends up working for the government to win his freedom. (Plus I've had my head buried in White Collar for the last three years, so that's where my brain goes.) Darien's version of government work-release, however, is far darker than Neal's. He doesn't have a "Peter" -- someone above him, pulling strings for him, that he likes, who likes him and is at least partly on his side. No one is really on Darien's side. Even his brother hides the true nature of the experiment from him, and doesn't warn him about side effects. His handlers are interested in him mainly for what he can do for them.

And for Darien, there's not a clear-cut way out of his predicament, unlike Neal who just has to tough it out for four years and he'll be free. Darien faces the possibility of being owned by the government for the rest of his life, not to mention entirely dependent upon them for a steady supply of the drug he needs to keep himself sane.

... which brings me to the Quicksilver Madness part of Darien's "condition", which is something I'm not quite sure how I feel about. In general the way the show handles mental illness is .... very, very mixed. On the one hand, there are a number of baddies throughout the episodes I've watched who are explicitly referred to as crazy, and there's Darien's "madness" = evil as a recurring theme. On the other hand, there's a major character who is mentally ill -- I can't remember the exact nature of it, it's either bipolar disorder or some form of psychosis, who is on meds and therapy and it's just kind of there, it's a recurring aspect of his character that, while it impacts his life in negative ways, never, ever results in him becoming deranged or violent. This is actually one of the only shows I can think of with a major character who has a mental illness they take medication to control. (Well, two of them I guess, if you count Darien.) But then you have Darien being constantly one step away from becoming a classic cliche "psycho" cliche and killing people. Like I said, I don't know how I feel about this. I am wide open to people's thoughts on it.

Other things I could really have done without: Darien spying on the couple having sex, and his attempted rape while under the influence of Quicksilver. On the bright side, subsequent episodes (at least those I've watched so far) have mostly done away with Darien's creepy-invisible-stalkerness and his rapiness when affected by Quicksilver. (Mostly. Not entirely. But there's nothing so far, in the episodes I've watched, that is either as unpleasant or as gratuitous as those two scenes.) I really wish they had made other writing choices in the pilot.

I haven't talked about Darien and Kevin yet! How did people react to Kevin's death? I remembered that he'd died, of course, but I didn't remember that there was so much interaction between him and Darien beforehand. Despite being somewhat estranged, they were really fun together, a lot cuter than I remembered, and it was sad to lose him.

And then there's Arnaud:

Arnaud inside compound

Who is creepy and awful, but entertaining. ("Little prick!")

There are a ton of little things I really enjoyed in this episode, beyond the bigger-picture stuff which I mainly liked too (aside from the above issues) and am now going to throw at you in no particular order. The (nameless) Agency having no funding and getting shuffled into the Department of Fish & Game! The "wrong" spy getting flustered when he presents his ticket half to Darien for identification and it doesn't match. (In general I absolutely love how this show handles spy stuff -- it's such a fascinating blend of playing it straight and poking tongue-in-cheek fun at the spy genre cliches.) Darien's giddy delight as he explores his new powers. Eddie the Mammoth and his black market organs! Canadian terrorists! Arnaud's rather sweet and sympathetic brother. Casey not being a damsel in distress, but giving medical assistance and helping rescue Darien. Darien's "Don't move or the gland gets it!" and his fakeout with his head getting "blown off".

This:

Bobby with his gun in Darien&apos;s face

Fun episode. Fun show. I'm glad to find that I still like it as much as I hoped I would.

Tell me your thoughts!

Also, for the next episode, shall we try two episodes a week to start? I can put up a post for the next one, "Catavari", in the middle of the week on Wednesday or so, and then a post for 1x03 this upcoming weekend. We could also wait and do "Catavari" on the weekend if people would like more time.

This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/981560.html with comment count unavailable comments.
"I haven't talked about Darien and Kevin yet! How did people react to Kevin's death? I remembered that he'd died, of course, but I didn't remember that there was so much interaction between him and Darien beforehand. Despite being somewhat estranged, they were really fun together, a lot cuter than I remembered, and it was sad to lose him."

I was so sad he died because I really loved their interactions! The brother was a nice balance for him and I loved how they really didn't seem sure what they were to each other throughout the episode.


I definitely like how flawed the main character is but I agree with not needing some of the more gratuitous evil scenes.

In general, I really liked the episode. The characters seemed interesting, the bad guy had the right evil strut, and it really did have the feel of a movie.
I'm really happy you're enjoying it so far!

Knowing that Kevin died, I didn't expect to get as attached to him as quickly as I did. He and Darien bounce off each other very well, and yeah, I like your point that they're a little unsure how their relationship works. I wish we'd gotten to see more of them than we did.

the bad guy had the right evil strut

hee! Arnaud is fun. He's just such an evil mad-scientist type. Shooting his brother in the foot! Operating on himself, apparently without painkillers! Gah!
Ahhh, I wasn't going to do the rewatch but now I'm really tempted to - I love this show in all its adorable partner-ific goofiness! My recollection is that the pilot and the first few eps of the series are darker than most of the rest of it, that it increasingly trends towards the silly. But it keeps up the h/c!

I have to confess to enjoying the 'quicksilver madness' as a plot device - having your hero writhe in agony all over the place, mmmm, yeah, I might have to turn in my fangirl card if I didn't. And his guilt after his episodes I also appreciate. As far as mental illness ableism goes, yeah, iffiness there. Though afaik they don't specifically diagnose it or compare it to a real condition, at least (...unless they do, in which case, ergh.) It's treated more like demonic possession than psychological medicine - which may not be any better, but at least with a scifi cause and effect, it's not perpetuating harmful stereotypes about any actual mental illness.

And Arnaud! Ah, I rather loved him, he's such a shameless monster. One of those villains who's absolutely unsympathetic and irredeemable and entertaining for it - it's so satisfying to see him defeated!
I was wondering if you were going to show up! :D Yeah, I'm about halfway through the first season and there is an increasing tendency towards silliness rather than serious, which is probably at least part of why I remembered the show being more of a slapstick/spy-parody thing than the more dark and serious thing that the early episodes would indicate.

But yeah, I'm falling right back in love with this ridiculous show and its characters. The Quicksilver madness thing ... I'm in an interesting place with that, because I sort of feel like I shouldn't be enjoying it (at the very least, I can recognize why people would be turned off by it, why it might even be a dealbreaker for some viewers, and I completely sympathize with that) but on a personal level it doesn't bother me and oh goodness, it pushes so many of my buttons. :D This show is such an amazing bundle of tropes that hit me in a hardcore h/c place, Darien's headaches and his struggle against his evil side and the guilt when he's forced to do evil things against his will; oh yes, my fangirl heart is very pleased ...

There's a ton of interesting discussion over on the DW side, just FYI ... including a fic rec subthread that made me realize I'm pretty sure your long I-Man fic was the very first one of yours that I read. I remember following it when it was still a WIP ...

Even if you don't end up rewatching, you're more than welcome to follow along and participate in the discussions. Or maybe we could pull Gnine into it too, and everyone could get in on the fun; the whole thing is online, after all!

Edited at 2014-11-23 09:05 am (UTC)
Hee, yeah, I was meaning to respond to one of your previous posts about this and then, um, apparently didn't (it's open in a tab! somewhere!)

The QSM hits MY id so directly that I'm fine with it being considered a problematic kink - I could totally see it being a dealbreaker for people, but I don't know if there's any way to do 'losing control and going homicidal berserker' in a scifi context that wouldn't be problematic. And oh, the buttons it pushes. (And you could make an argument that it's a positive view in a certain aspect - that it's clearly shown as something outside of Darien, an unavoidable condition inflicted on him that he's finding ways to manage, rather than something wrong with Darien himself?) It's such a satisfying scenario...

Was checking out the conversation on Dreamwidth (...I really should just move over there, I think pretty much all my flist has) - yes, I always thought that Arnaud deliberately made QSM manifest in violence to simplify production of his army of mercenary assassins (or whatever his plan exactly was!) My general idea was that Arnaud actually did believe the violence came from releasing the human id - but what he really did was inflict his own id on the gland's implantees (however you do that scientifically! with neurological handwavium I imagine...)

Ahh my fic - that probably was one of the first you read, I think it's the first fandom we intersected in? And I was reading your DBZ at about the same time, though I think that was a bit after you were writing it (or somewhere around that time at least?)

I'll talk to Gnine! (also my housemate has been looking for something to watch and I don't think she's seen it, might be too goofy for her but may give it a whirl!)
Because I am curious about stuff like this, I actually went back and checked out the comments on your fic on ff.net. It looks like I was reading and commenting on your XmagicalX I-Man fic as far back as 2001 (!!!) but we didn't intersect in DBZ fandom until a bit later, I think 2002 or 2003 was when I got into that. I'm pretty sure what happened is that I just kept running into you in the same fandoms all over the place -- we were both going through a LOT of the same anime fandoms for awhile, Saiyuki and GetBackers and One Piece and so forth -- until I finally started to notice, "oh hey, that's the same person that wrote fic I liked in the last five fandoms I was in" XD.

yes, I always thought that Arnaud deliberately made QSM manifest in violence to simplify production of his army of mercenary assassins (or whatever his plan exactly was!) My general idea was that Arnaud actually did believe the violence came from releasing the human id - but what he really did was inflict his own id on the gland's implantees (however you do that scientifically! with neurological handwavium I imagine...)

Hah, this all makes sense! See, I never got this; I had taken for granted that a) the QSM side effects were accidental (I mean, not the fact that the gland was dependent upon a drug, but the exact side effects from missing a dose) and b) that it was a sort of inhibition-lowering rather than something external. But it acts like something external, especially since Darien is such a sweetheart otherwise, and he conceptualizes it as something outside himself, so ...

And yeah, I had forgotten how much of Darien's, um, EVERYTHING hits my id. I think I am somewhat more conscious than usual of this particular set of buttons because Bucky and the Winter Soldier arc hits a lot of the same ones, and then Invisible Man is getting to me in some of the same ways (while also hitting some of the same buttons White Collar does; it's interesting). Also, I'm pretty sure when I watched it before, Bobby was my favorite, but it's definitely Darien this time around -- well, okay, it sort of rotates 3 ways; I'm going into future-spoiler territory now: [Spoiler (click to open)]because I also adore Claire, and my favorite at any given time seems to bounce around between Darien, Bobby, and Claire, or maybe it's just all three of them. When I was watching the show the first time, I didn't ship threesomes -- I don't think the thought would even have occurred to me -- but if I'm not viewing it in a strictly gen way (which admittedly, with this show, I mostly am) I can't really think of any other way it possibly COULD go than an OT3. Or just a platonic happy-together-forever sort of OT3.
Hah, I forgot the I-man fic was up on ff.net! I was also posting it on...a mailing list, or a newsgroup? I kind of forget that I have another ff.net account at all. And yeah, DBZ was probably more like 2002, so you may have read my I-man fic first...well over ten years ago, wow, no wonder I have trouble remembering the details! XD

I-man being like a cross between White Collar and Winter Soldier - heeee I hadn't thought of it like that but it totally is! Definitely it pushes similar buttons. I-man to me feels like a show done by comic-book fans, it's not explicitly a superhero story but it has a lot of the feel of a comics universe...

And YES! It wasn't the case when I first was watching the show, when I was entirely about the Darien & Bobby gen-only partnership; but Gnine and I did a rewatch (in Japan, so at least 5-6 years ago, may have been longer) and we both came out of it shipping [Spoiler (click to open)]that OT3 with all guns blazing (apparently atypically; there's no vid or fic that I know of for it, tragically!) Platonic or romantic, I'm not picky. They've got a fantastic friendship/maybe-more? however you slice it, and they're all my favorites, wouldn't want to pick between them. And I'm glad they kept the UST to hints and didn't ever go explicitly romantic with either Darien/Claire or Bobby/Claire, but ended with their OT3 bond being what mattered. Awww!
[Spoiler (click to open)]OT3 4EVAH! \o/ Yeah, ditto; I was definitely all about the Darien & Bobby partnership when I watched the show before, and while I definitely liked Claire, it was Bobby and Darien where I fixated -- with a slight Bobby preference, as mentioned above; I actually think it's interesting how hard I'm falling for Darien this time around, because I don't think I had such a thing for him before, but oh god he's adorable! I think Bobby will hit my buttons harder once I get past the early episodes when he's more distant and less devoted to Darien ...

But yeah; I noticed over the last decade or so -- and I think I remember talking to you about this -- that I've gravitated from focusing mainly on two-character relationships (partners and siblings, mostly) to being more about OT3s, OT4s, teams and that sort of thing. Darien/Bobby/Claire is such a perfect OT3 for me, because the moresomes I really go for are the ones where all of the members have close individual relationships, and you can easily imagine them pairing up in any of the individual combinations. (This is why I just can't really do the White Collar OT3, in general, because there's not enough Neal/Elizabeth interaction on the show for me to buy them in a relationship, at least not without a whole lot of "show your work" in getting from where they are canonically to having a relationship.) But Darien/Bobby, Bobby/Claire, and Darien/Claire are all plausible pairings, and they all clearly love each other in all their possible combinations as well as making a nice friend-group together.

.... even though, like you, I'm glad they never actually went there with any of the canonical options. Will probably talk about this when I get to the next episode in the rewatch, but I'm SO glad that they went a different direction than having the third member of the main three be Darien's ex-girlfriend, as she is in the pilot. The triad is so much more interesting and complex if that's not the case ...!

And YES on the lack of anything for them. I've only done a little poking around in the fanfic so far, what remains of it since so many of the old sites and archives are gone, but it's pretty much all either Darien/Bobby slash or Darien & Bobby partnerfic -- which I know is what I would have wanted in 2001, but it's not what I want now; I want OT3! And there's next to none! There's also a terrible lack of vids in general. I have a couple of good ones from the last time I went looking for I-Man fan stuff, a number of years ago (Arduinna has a particularly wonderful Darien/Bobby one, which has been one of my often-rewatched vids even during the time when I wasn't that into the show), but there's nothing new, at least nothing I've run across so far. If I want vids, I may be forced to make my own ...


Edited at 2014-11-23 11:17 am (UTC)
Yeeeeeah, I've seen your posts about starting this and wasn't sure if I'd have time but now that you're actually talking about it, so very VERY tempted!

And yes...[Spoiler (click to open)]OT3 all the way! So sooo much cuteness to be had between the three of them! (Course, I might be partial to OT3s in general, but...)

...Also, I may need to go watch certain h/c scenes like RIGHT NOW *cough*Flowers for Hobbs *cough* Mmm, soo very many h/c buttons to be pressed! ^^




Edited at 2014-11-24 05:33 pm (UTC)
*tempt tempt* :D

You're more than welcome to drop in on the episode discussions even if you're not watching them, of course! BUT YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

Spoilery - [Spoiler (click to open)]Heh, I have to admit that I have already skipped ahead to rewatch That Scene in "Flowers For Hobbes". How could I not??? XD I did make myself hold off 'til I'd watched the first few episodes, so that I had an emotional grounding in the characters again (since it'd been so long since I watched the show) but yeah, no way could I wait all the way until I got to that episode in the natural course of things ...
Hmm, is the show always this whimsical? I felt a little bit like I was watching a comedy episode...
Yeah, this is pretty much the tone of the show. It borders on comedy/parody a lot of the time (in fact, looking back on it I'd mostly remembered the comedy aspects, which is why the darkness came as something of a shock).