Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 9: Out

Logan is very busy doing important Eyes Only work. So busy he is going to be late to go to Max’s – where Max has actually cooked a meal. He decides his works is simply too important and he’ll have to cancel, at the last minute. Bling tells him how much of a bad idea that would be.

So he arrives at Max’s – where Max is busy making pasta and panicking because she has no idea how to cook and is relying on Kendra – and tells her he has a hot lead on Eyes Only work – dinner can wait. He has a lead on Bronk who is moving stolen blood out of the country – time to get changed and move out, no time for the fancy dinner she’s cooked for him. It’s at this point I think Logan should remember that Max is a genetically engineered killing machine and there are less painful ways to commit suicide.

Max goes along but is… cold and a little stompy. Inside Max finds sweets (which she helps herself to) and teen magazines and sees the plane leaving. She does attract the attention of security (a poorly timed bubble gum bubble) and finds, to her surprise and against Logan’s information, a lot of very well armed security. Which involves lots of fancy footwork, running, hitching a lift on the plane and falling face first in mud to get away.

Back at Logan’s, Logan is considering what he could be smuggling since it’s a lot of firepower just for blood, and max is showering, drying off and splashing water on Logan’s hardwood floors. She is Not Amused. She calls him obsessed and says she’s done – no more crusading to save the city, no more finding Mantecore, nothing.

Both of them are in a sulky mood after that. Logan whining to Bling and giving up on physiotherapy (which Bling isn’t tolerating) and Max complaining about men while Kendra tries to set her up with her big black rolodex.

Meanwhile, Bronck, the man Logan has been exposing, is running his own game to try and catch Eyes Only. He’s been leaking information about himself to different police to see which ends up in Eyes Only’s hands – exposing Matt Sung as Logan’s informant. When Matt tries to meet Logan with more information, both of them are kidnapped by Bronck’s thugs, witnessed by Bling

Max, meanwhile, sees several teenaged girls being herded into a police wagon by several cops. But she recognises one of them as one of the security guards at Bronck’s airstrip. She calls Logan to let him know but gets Bling who tells him Logan’s been kidnapped.

Bronck wants to know who Eyes Only is, not realising it’s Logan. By electrocuting Matt Sung, they force Logan to reveal he’s Eyes Only and even say the opening lines. He wants everything that Logan has – but Logan is sure that Bling will have destroyed the informant net when he’s captured. Bronck points a gun at Matt Sung but before he fires the television goes to an Eyes Only bulletin – Max playing with Logan’s computers.

She calls Logan’s phone and, using the voice cloning software, talks to Bronck, demanding Logan and Matt (Eyes Only operatives) back and a large sum of money or Eyes Only sends Bronck to prison. He wants 20 minutes to think over Max’s offer since he thinks he’s traced the call.

He sends out his goons – to a local gang headquarters Max has sent them to. And, as a bonus, she gives the gang members a heads up. This gives her time to analyse the phone call for background noise, pin-pointing exactly where Bronck is. An airfield, near the harbour.

So Max can drop in on them and take out several thugs (not the best choreographed fight scene on the show, the bad guys spend a little time standing still and waiting their turn). Max frees Logan then runs out after the plane, just in time to see Bronck kill his guards rather than pay them. They could have been useful delaying Max when she leaps on the plane, takes out him and the pilot and rescues the teenaged girls in the hold being trafficked abroad.

In the aftermath, Logan and Max make nice, discuss his obsessions and why he is so focused on his work, while Max reflects how happy she was that she got to save the girls.

At Jam Pony the whole gang is both intrigued, and vaguely horrified, that Normal has a date. With Louise who he actually has a romantic date with. But she leaves her purse behind and Normal has Original Cindy take it back. Pushed by curiosity, Cindy dips inside to see who Louise is and shares with Sketchy and Max. Both chide her for her terrible invasion of privacy – but also want to hear the gossip. Louise is a trans woman. They think that this will be extremely entertaining when they tell Normal

Except Normal knows, because he’s done his own purse diving. He goes on a date with Louise, apologises profusely for invading her privacy but makes it clear he has absolutely no problem with her being trans. Which is great – except Louise has realised she’s a Lesbian. And she wants Normal to put her in touch with Original Cindy. Original Cindy is both unimpressed that Louise would use Normal to get her a date and not willing to date a trans woman.

This show never misses a chance to point out the strength of its female characters – with Sketchy actually asking Max or Cindy to go with him on a run since it takes him into gang territory and he’s afraid to go alone. That’s not just Max with her Mantecore abilities, he’d be happy with Cindy as well.

Louise is one of the few trans women on TV, the show makes a point of dispelling several stereotypes about trans woman. It makes it clear she’s attractive, desirable – AND has Normal be completely OK with her being trans. I’m much less happy with Original Cindy’s behaviour and language – and rejection. Reject her for using normal would have been fine – but not just because Louise is trans. It would have also cured Cindy’s perpetual singleness.

We have some stereotyped roles of POC on this episode but because Dark Angel is so very diverse, they don’t stand out because we have a very large number of counter examples to contrast.

I do like how Max and Logan's relationship is developing - because it is developing. There is sexual and romantic tension, ups and downs and that nebulous "are we, are we not a couple" thing they have going. It's not love at first sight, it's something that's building.