Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dark Angel Season 1, Episode 4: C.R.E.A.M

Alina Herrero is the daughter of Nathan Herrero a brilliant journalist who was renown for exposing criminality and corruption. And, predictably, he disappeared – presumed dead. She reaches out to Eyes Only to try and find out what really happened to her father – plucking both Logan’s heart strings (as liberal warrior for the people) and Max’s (who knows what it’s like to have unanswered questions about missing family)

Matt Sung, Logan’s police contact can’t touch it simply because Herrero exposed so many cops in his time no-one was willing to investigate it and they buried the files (they also have a brilliant conversation about being on the take and more natural, easy exposition of the corruption in the police force). Of course he knows where the files are – and Max is a very accomplished thief, albeit not a subtle one with her cutting a swath through the guards.

The files show that there was a contract out on his head – but that he disappeared 3 days before it happened, reported missing by his housekeeper who found signs of a struggle. Since she disappeared, Logan checks up on her and finds she can somehow afford to buy a flat – suspecting she was paid off and involved it’s time to get Max to install a bug and go spying. She finds the housekeeper – with Nathan Herrero.

Logan meets with him and arranges to set up a meeting with Alina – but Logan is less than pleased. So many journalists faked their own death – Logan as well – to escape reprisals, but he can’t understand Herrero no longer working on cases, he’s given up journalism to be with Rebecca. At Max’s urging (never having known her family), Alina agrees to see him

And his home blows up – killing Nathan Herrero and Rebecca.  Logan puts 2 and 2 together – Alina goes to see him and he dies soon after. Max tracks her down, snarks wonderfully – and ends up spilling most of the money Alina was paid.

Logan receives a package – a disk containing information to bring down Lansworth – who is running for police commissioner. Herrero sent it before being killed, with a note: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil…”

Closer to home, around the office it’s odd that Sketchy seems to have plenty of money to go around, while everyone else is constantly broke. It turns out he’s been delivering suspect packages for criminals across the city – using his Jam Pony license to get through the various sector police checkpoints. Except when trying to impress a girl with his bike skills (though Original Cindy has already staked her claim) he ends up dropping the package.

Original Cindy, naturally, mocks him for his predicament and Herbal’s philosophy is little in the way of comfort. Sketch decides to talk to the gangsters about the problem… Who are, unsurprisingly, unsympathetic and, after slapping him around, they want their money back within 36 hours – and left him hanging naked for Original Cindy and Max to find.

Naturally Max and Cindy have to rescuer poor Sketchy – so they dress up to the nines as strippers and go to mobster’s casino to play ditz (extremely well) – and win a lot of money using Max’s genetics to predict the numbers at roulette and playing poker (losing until Max gets a chance to deal). Of course, the mobsters want to get their money back afterwards – but Max (and Original Cindy) are not easily taken down.

Sketch is saved, again – and Max makes it clear he has used up his favours now. (Which doesn’t stop Sketchy suggesting Max help him fleece casinos)

The Mantecore flashbacks are really impressive by how much they manage to cram in a short, minute long clip if that. One flashback showing the kids bewildered and curious about a happy birthday balloon – showing they’d never seen a balloon and never had birthdays – kicking the guard, showing them becoming more dangerous and difficult to control as they were taught more combat skills – and Donald Lydecker able to control them with a look.

And I liked Max’s squeamishness about guns – even as a genetically engineered killing machine, since she saw her sister shot during the escape, she won’t use guns.

The debate about Herrero giving up the cause was wonderfully meaty. Is it selling out to want a life? Is it selling out to want to be safe? To want your family to be safe? But if everyone gives up then what happens? Yet again, isn’t it easy to say for Logan who, despite the violence against him, ultimately is a very rich, well connected man who is more insulated from reprisals than man he is judging for giving up. There’s a lot of angles to it.