Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this week’s Agent X: Truth, Lies and Consequences is the cameo by former Hunter star Fred Dryer, all that was needed to make this a complete fanboy moment would have been the presence of Dryer’s co-star from the small screen version of “Dirty Harry” Stepfanie Kramer. In terms of guest starring cameos, even though Dryer is not on long, Fred has not lost his ease and conviction in front of the camera.
The storyline this week has John Case (Jeff Hephner) being exposed to a biological agent which induces a heart attack to those infected by “Husk” after 12 hours. This gives the vice president’s agent a very limited time to catch the villains responsible and to stop them from infecting thousands of innocent civilians.
Sharon Stone, as Natalie Maccabee, widow and new vice president to John Shea‘s President Eckhart, seems to be trapped into underplaying her government official to the maximum extent possible. While this somnambulistic approach works well in many cases on the big screen, it makes for a pretty underwhelming experience on television.
The main problem may well be that Stone is the mast which this series has been hoist upon, in other words, she is the draw…the figurehead, the “name” meant to pull in viewers. With little to do, apart from assigning her agent to various “world saving missions” the star, who has, incidentally, massive acting chops, is being dangerously underused.
Thus far, her “right-hand man” Gerald McRaney as Malcolm Millar is infinitely more entertaining and watchable. Take the episode open where Case is annihilating the practice dummies in his workout room. Millar comes in and stares down at Agent X beating the thing into submission.
Millar to Case: “Hey! You keep killing em all, we’ll never get any intel.”
McRaney specializes in these type of roles, the sage and clever advisor who has seen it all and done it all and can crack a decent joke about it. However, having a righthand man who can dominate a scene does not help Stone, or the show since McRaney is never on screen that much or that often.
Leaving aside shortfalls of the cast’s main protagonists, or misuse of same, the plot has Case rushing to save the day while turning down help, in the form of an anecdote, which will keep him from dying. Sadly we as viewers have not yet bonded enough with Hephner’s John Case to be too worried about his possible demise.
The threat of an airborne virus to be released from a rocket also never really takes off either. A young woman, whose whistle-blower parents were murdered by the government to keep their biological weapon in their control may be a variation on an old theme, but not enough of one to make a difference.
The viewer does not connect with the woman who wants revenge, or her nerdish “boyfriend” that she uses to make her weapon work. This year has seen a plethora of “nebbish” young men in other shows, NBC’s The Player to mention just one, and it is awfully early in the season to see this much “lack of originality” in a storyline.
Agent X does have some things going for it. Unfortunately none of them were apparent in this episode. The writers, under the guidance of show creator W. Blake Herron have given us a hero in peril too soon. We have not yet warmed to this taciturn secret agent/assassin who is the agent of good for the vice president.
Bring back Olga Petrovka (Olga Fonda) , a bigger than life villain who has an uneasy alliance, and great chemistry, with Hephner. These two maintain interest when they share the screen and please, would someone wake Sharon Stone up, or give her some decent lines? At the very least…More McRaney please.
Agent X airs Sundays on TNT. Tune in and see what you think of the sleepwalking vice president and her “pet” agent.