PLAY BY PLAY
Tony goes in to a ritzy party and starts shooting up the place. Meanwhile, Tony is at home watching TV when the cops show up to bust him. Rhodie’s seldom-seen mom bails him out, verifying that he was at home at the time, though a zillion witnesses saw him shooting up the place. Quickly realizing Madame Mask is back, Tony waits until “He” is seen causing trouble, then rushes out in Armor and takes down Whitney Staind/Madame Mask in pretty short order. Whitney explains to Iron Man (Whom she doesn’t know is Tony) that her dad has put out a hit on Tony, and is using a super-assassin named “Ghost,” who’s invisible. She was using the mask to draw Ghost out, and thereby protect Tony, since he’s her “One friend in the world,” even though he treats her like a jerk.
Tony tries to stay home sick from school, but gets sent in anyway, then avoids most of his friends to keep them out of harm’s way, and nearly blows his cover to Whitney, who won’t be avoided. This results in a mid-episode dustup (Have you noticed there’s always three? The opening brawl, the mid-episode stalemate, and the victorious rematch) where Mask and Tony team up to fend off Ghost. Ghost can phase through solid matter, however, so he gets away.
Back at the Armory, Pepper and Rhodie confront Tony about this. He’d previously told them that M.M. got away, but he reveals that it’s Whitney. Pepper says she has to turn her in, since she’s a criminal, and Rhodie has another “You never let me in, bro” hissie fit. Ghost calls Tony’s cell, saying that if he ever wants to see his girlfriend alive again, he should turn himself in, since he’s abducted her. Rhodie asks, “Did he catch Whitney, or Madame Mask?”
Tony turns himself in to Ghost, and starts untying Whitney, then Iron Man flies in, and we’ve got the victorious rematch - turns out Rhodie was wearing the Mask, pretending to be Tony. Ghost admits he’s lost, but so what? Sooner or later, he’ll get Tony. Whitney offers to buy the guy off for three times what he’s being paid.
“Some assassins are honorable men who would never betray a client. Fortunately for you, I’m not one of them.” He takes the money and runs.
In the denouement, we find out that Stark *didn’t* order the hit on Tony, that he found out about it from some third party, and was informing the FBI, and that’s what Whitney overheard. Tony promises to never withhold information again.
Ghost - though looking more than a bit derivative of Storm Shadow from GI Joe - is actually a cooler-than-average Marvel bad guy. I’m almost impressed. Good voice acting by David Kaye, too.
Whitney’s dress bothers me. I always think she’s wearing Uhura’s uniform from the original Star Trek.
Really a better-than-average episode, all twisty and turny. Well, moreso than you’d expect in this show, anyway.
Rhodie’s plan to decoy Ghost, and Whitney’s plan at the start of the episode were both really clever, and made sense.
When Ghost said “No, you’re just the kid who’s been firing lasers at me all week” I thought, just for an instant, that Ghost was just some invisible guy, minding his own business, watching women shower, and Whitney mistook him for a bad guy (Rather than just a perv) and kept trying to kill him. Now *THAT* would have been a great twist.
This is the second time we’ve seen Staind show concern for human life, and in fact go out of his way to protect it, even when it would be in his own best interests to allow the bad stuff to happen unchallenged. Interestingly, he’s got *some* ethics. I think it’s safe to assume that he *will not* kill people. Which raises the interesting question: Who killed Tony’s Dad? We’ve assumed it’s Staind all this time, but if he *will not* kill people, then who did it? And why?
Odds are, it’s the same guy who put out the hit on Tony.
And who might that be?