Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 20: Meow

Logan is still fixing his mechanical leg brace and is very frustrated by how long it’s taking to get all the parts. Sebastian points out somewhere that may have the part – if he knows a super cat burglar who might be able to acquire it. Logan wants to keep Max out of the loop and Sebastian advises a little white lie (personally, I advise telling the super-soldier killing machine the truth – but I have this pesky insistence of trying to keep all my organs in their proper places).

Max agrees after Logan makes up the most ridiculous lie you can imagine. Is keeping the being able to walk again so necessary a surprise that it’s worth asking Max risk her life for a lie?

That night Max sees Mantecore attacking. She knocks one soldier unconscious and takes the gun off another – holding him at gun point she makes him strip (well, shirtless – you’d think Mantecore soldiers would be able to follow orders better than that) and lay on the suddenly appearing bed – Max crawls on top of him… and he turns into Logan and Max wakes up. Yes, a not particularly fulfilling sex dream.

Yes, the title of this episode is “meow.” Why? Because Max is a transgenic super soldier. And to give her super fighting abilities the clever clever people at Mantecore gave her the reflexes of a cat. Literally. And in doing so also gave her the hormonal cycle of a cat – sending her into heat and basically making her very very horny at random intervals. Frankly, it doesn’t make the tiniest bit of sense and I’m bewildered as to why Dark Angel, that does so much so right, looked at this programme and decided that Jessica Alba in tight leather wasn’t sufficient appeal to the straight male gaze and they needed to drop these episodes in as well.

There follows multiple times of Max lusting after men and Original Cindy stepping in to stop her even while giving Max the advice “if you have an itch, go scratch”, no understanding why, if Max wants sex so badly, she doesn’t have it (and teasing poor Sketchy). This continues through her work day (including her fixing on Normal) and getting the chip for Logan. This means Logan gets on his feet again because the exo-skeleton works – but his surprise for their date goes on hold as Max calls and cancels, unable to control her horniness.

Over at Mantecore, Lydecker is getting pouty because Renfro has managed to blame him for Tenga’s “escape.” All the while he’s secretly being watched by Zack. Lydecker questions Brin about what happened and gets confirmation that Agent Sandoval (one of his lackies who has gone over to Renfro it seems) was one of those working with Renfro.

Lydecker meets one of his contacts for the South African government who has been trying to buy transgenic technology for some time – though he’s always refused. This time though, they say they can find Max because of the chip in her neck – if he’ll trade some technology on their older prototypes. He agrees – and signs the authorisation pointedly using Sandoval’s pen. Sandoval passes the information to Renfro who believes Lydecker is getting desperate to restore his reputation – and believes it’s time tom set up the killer drone to neutralise Lydecker.

After driving out into the city, luckily avoiding the Red tracking beacon, Max meets up with the sexy pizza delivery man, Rafer, and ends up in bed with him. Afterwards she regrets it bitterly and cries in the shower, then beats herself up over it the next day. Thankfully, Original Cindy is there with a whole double handful of reality checks.

At Mantecore, Renfro is eager to get her hands on Max – still watched by Zack – and Sandoval arranges a quiet meeting with Lydecker to set him up for the drone. The killer drone arrives – and kills Sandoval, Lydecker switched the pictures.

Renfro tries to take over the Red team searching for Max, but the surprisingly alive Lydecker beats her to the punch and they draw their battle lines.

Max goes to see Logan and tells him about going into heat, Rafer and how much she hates it all – and Logan stands up ; the surprise and Logan’s reassurance helps a lot – but it’s broken by the exoskeleton bugging and putting him on the floor. Max tells him it was never about him being able to walk, not for her, and they kiss. I’d believe this more if they kissed before he found another way to walk, just as their relationship heated up before when he found his last cure – and fizzled out when the cure did. If it’s not about Logan being able to walk, why does their relationship heat up when he’s walking and cool down when he’s in the chair?

Before the kissing can develop into more – Zack arrives. He wants to save Tinga and knows where she is and he wants to do it tonight. Off to the silo where Tinga is being kept. But at the same time Lydecker gets a hit on the Red radar – and he and his team follow them, establishing a perimeter and getting ready to move in. They charge in, knocking the guards aside, but Zack takes a bullet to the leg – and as they get inside Logan, through a satellite, spots Lydecker Mantecore on the move. Logan yells at max to pull out – but she’s transfixed by the site of Tinga in the tank.

Lydecker finds the guards Zack and Max took out and realises they’re Mantecore special ops – guarding a facility he doesn’t know about. Max smashes the tank as Mantecore move in – and holds Tinga’s body as she’s surrounded by Lydecker’s troops and guns.

I’ve already said above and before why I’m not impressed by the whole idea of Max going into heat. I really don’t like it that it forces Max to have sex she doesn’t want to have. In this episode she ends up in bed with Rafer and clearly regrets it afterwards, she actually cries  – it’s clear she wouldn’t have slept with him without that push: something we’ve seen before. One thing that is partially redemptive is that max openly labels how horrible it is to lose control like this.

Similarly, I’d give Dark Angel far more props for including major disabled characters if Logan wasn’t constantly searching for – and finding – ways to cure his disability. Especially since Logan being in a wheelchair is constantly used as an excuse for Max and Logan not taking their relationship further – why can’t they be in a relationship AND have Logan in a wheelchair?

After a shaky start, it picked up a lot – which just made the whole “heat” storyline even more pointless.