Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 8: Blah Blah Woof Woof

 Max has a whole new problem. After last week Lydecker is now sure about what she looks like – and is determined to find Max. Using a photofit ID, they set a $50,000 reward for her, framing her for the murder of Vogelsang (killed by Zack). The poster is quickly distributed across the city and at all the check points.

As Max moves through the city she has several close calls and does her best to hide but, ultimately, she is spotted . She quickly has to fight her way through several police, but Lydecker has locked down the area and sends in troops. She manages to get a call to Original Cindy – which Zack picks up. Yes, Zack is back in town having noticed the many posters for Max’s arrest – he plans to get her out of town. (Original Cindy and Normal both confused by his reappearance)

Zack drops in on Logan and enlists his help – Logan calls Matt Sun, his contact in the police to run as much interference as possible – then they both head out to South Market, where Max is hiding and dodging the huge police and Mantecore presence. Max’s escape involves a lot of running, a lot of very inaccurate gun fire and Max grabbing a line Zack left and swinging up and over the barricade – right into Logan’s hands.

He drives them out of the city, to his cabin in the woods, where Max and Zack can lay low until they leave the area. Max says goodbye to Logan and offers him a chance to join them – of course he can’t, he’ll slow them down and he has Eyes Only to run – it’s a stilted but highly emotional goodbye, especially the kiss.

Of course, Zack is extremely pleased with Max leaving Seattle as he always advised her and has a nice trip down memory lane of the escape and his first glance of the real world

Her friends notice the resemblance in the photograph but, despite some wavering on Sketch’s part (settled quickly by Original Cindy). Unfortunately, Normal has no such loyalty. He heads to the police station – and runs right into Matt Sun. He gets the run around and Matt Sun uses the corruption of the force against Normal, pretending to extort money out of him.

Logan also has problems – one of the bullet fragments in his back is migrating. He needs an operation to remove it to stop it causing further damage to his spinal cord. The day after Max escapes, Bling finds Logan unconscious. He’s rushed in for emergency surgery – he’s bleeding internally. Max calls to check in and gets Bling – and learns about Logan’s condition. She instantly rushes back to Seattle, but Zack tries to stop her – she has to stick to the mission and there’s no way she’ll get out if she goes back. They end up fighting – and X5 fights are nicely choreographed, and Max puts Zack on his back and insists on going.

On the operating table Logan is bleeding out quickly and, of course, has the extremely rare blood, AB negative which the hospital has very little of. Max rushes in and learns that Logan needs a transfusion or he’ll die – and they’re out of blood.

Luckily, Mantecore made all the X5s universal donors – so they could always provide transfusions for each other when needed, and she quickly sets herself up. We have a woozy dream that, I assume, represents blood loss – and she wakes to find the police pointing guns at her. And Logan’s blood pressure returning to normal.

Max is put in a cell – and let go. Zack went to the police station and confessed to the murder, giving them information about the crime. Losing the excuse, the manhunt on Max is removed – but they still have Zack to deliver to Mantecore by helicopter.

Max gets to see Logan and, predictably, she backs off quickly on all the professed affection during the goodbye. Normal returns to Jam Pony, greeted happily by Sketchy who never realised how hard it was to herd all the bike messengers – and Max sees a news piece that a helicopter has crashed with no survivors found. Zack didn’t let himself be taken easily – whether he died or not she doesn’t know.


Again I have to praise Dark Angel for its subtlety. It doesn’t have to show Max moving mountains every episode to remind us of her enhanced genetics, or give us a laundry list of her skills – but it shows us them through constant little moments; like Max beating Logan at chess 5 times in a row (showing her enhanced mind that we don’t often see) or her winning bets with bike stunts. Just these constant reminders without having to overly lampshade her transgenic abilities.

The same thing applies to the poverty and the corruption of the dystopia. They don’t have to say everyone’s poor, just show the run down ruin of the city and the ways people are trying to make a living. They don’t have to say how repressive the government is, they just have to show the check points that divide the city or the hover drones patrolling. They don’t have to overtly say the government is corrupt – but they show the police trying to solicit a bribe from Lydecker. The world is built from hints and examples rather than overt description.

Max’s character and relationships continue to develop as well. We don’t actually see her interact with Original Cindy, Sketchy, Kendra and Herbal often, but when they do they’re very good at establishing and building the friendships so you can see how strong they are. I also like how vehemently Max refuses to tolerate cat calls or leers; she’s a great character.