On the side of the unexpected, it turns out that Normal is a great fan of rule-less cage fighting and we open at one of these brutal matches. And the grand champion steps in the ring to fight a new challenged – Alec, fighting under the name of Monty Cora, using his X5 genes and Manticore training to beat his opponent easily, and win Normal a lot of money.
Not being entirely a fool, Alec tries to retire after this big win – but it’s too late. A transgenic fighter called “Monty Cora” has attracted Agent White’s attention – and he sends his goons with tasers to bring Alec in.
He wakes up in a cage and, to save his life, he offers to make a deal. He will hunt transgenics for them if they don’t kill him. White agrees – but gets some insurance. He implants a tiny bomb next to Alec’s brainstem timed to go off in 24 hours. In that time he has to kill 3 transgenics and bring back their barcodes.
Meanwhile Max and Logan are enjoying a great evening at his home, joking, laughing, making dinner. Until Max tastes the food and they realise that this may pass the virus that kills Logan – quickly dampening the mood pretty severely. Max leaves after they have a scene over their frustration (well acted enough not to hit my angst alarms).
Joshua is out and about, tracking down the last known address of his “Father,” Sandman. He’s moved though and the current residents are an enterprising couple combining a porn shoot and housework. When he rampages through he not only ruins the setting but gets photographed.
Logan also gets a cryptic message from Lydecker – and Lydecker tells him Max has odd DNA which has attracted attention, but he doesn’t know why. He also puts Logan in touch with a Manticore lab tech who worked on creating the virus and they set him to work finding a cure.
At the bar, Max hangs out with Original Cindy, sees Asha and, far more worrying, hears Sketchy talk about what he thinks about Manticore from Eyes Only’s bulletins – he gets a lot wrong, transgenic monsters that want to feed – but he knows about the barcodes. He also has a tabloid newspaper – with the picture of Joshua on the front cover. Max grabs it and sets off to ride to the rescue.
Max goes to see Logan and ask him to use his contacts to find Joshua – and Alec drops in (not knocking of course, transgenics never do) and after much banter he offers to help, claiming exposure hurts all of them. Max agrees to take him to Terminal City – where she’d go if she needed to lie low. It’s a place where there were a lot of biolabs, when the Pulse hit they lost containment and nasty stuff escaped, not a worry for transgenics but it keeps most of the general population at bay, leaving the closed off area only to the desperate.
2 homeless men tell them about a lizard man and a panther woman – which Alec scoffs at, but Max wants to see them in the sewers. While down there Max gets a call from Logan telling her the address Joshua broke into – and that it is owned by a Sandman, a name Max recognises. She leaves Alec in the sewers and goes to the address. Alec stays down in the sewers, hunts down the panther woman, fights her, kills her and takes her barcode. He pastes the skinned barcode into a book and checks his watch – 8 hours left to get 2 more.
As Alec walks past the homeless in the desperate area he is recognised by an X6 sleeping rough who greets him as a commanding officer. Alec tells the teenager to follow him. After establishing he’s alone, he chokes the kid unconscious and cuts off his barcode.
Alec takes the barcodes to Agent White and asks for more time but Agent White isn’t happen. He opens a box and dumps the unconscious X6 – Alec left him outside a hospital, alive and bandaged. Alec says that he was just a kid, Agent White isn’t amused and plans to kill him. Alec asks for one more chance but he has to get 1 more in the remaining time and gives him a taser.
Max finds the poor porn filming couple and realises they’re not Sandman. Max consults with Logan and they catch each other up – Lydecker, DNA, Sandman etc until a police call comes in about a man/dog. In comes Max on her bike, beating up cops to allow Joshua to escape.
Max returns to Logan and Logan realises all the addresses Joshua has gone to were owned by Sandman – in a pre-pulse directory. They’re out of date. Using the same directory, Logan gives Max 2 more addresses.
As she heads off Alec, disturbed, appears and tells her she needs to talk, it’s life or death. She says she doesn’t have time and she has a lead on Joshua. Alec realises he can target Joshua rather than Max – in the last hour he has – and agrees to go with her. They go, find Joshua and Max agrees to help him check the last address – but Alec tases Max and Joshua. Max goes down but Alec has to tase Joshua a second time to put him down. He goes to cut his barcode – but Joshua was the first one Sandman created, he doesn’t have a barcode. He turns to Max to stab her but can’t – instead plunging the knife into the ground by her side.
Max takes Alec to see the lab tech working on the cure for the virus and he recognises the bomb – Manticore used a few themselves. Max chewing Alec out all the way and Alec agreeing with what she says in classic, shameless fashion. The doctor agrees to disarm it but it will cost $10,000 – Max gives him the money they raised to cure her Logan-killing virus. With the money, the Manticore doctor will be able to leave town and run away from anyone trying to wipe out the Manticore brain trust (as happened before) – which will leave Max’s virus cure only partially finished, she’ll have to find another expert to finish it off. Reluctantly she agrees. He saves Alec with seconds to spare.
Max tells Alec to go away – she can’t look at him right then. And he even looks guilty as he leaves.
Max and Joshua check the last Sandman address. It’s empty but strewn with papers and books and a walking stick with a Manticore on it that Joshua recognises. Max has a flashback and remembers a man walking to her as a child with that stick. He holds her and calls her his “special one.” Max agrees to help Joshua find Sandman – and adds that Sandman can definitely cure the virus.
Lydecker continues to hunt down Refro’s cover stories and finds an old, apparently abandoned building. He enters and takes many stairs down until he finds a guard he knocks out. At the bottom is an archaeological dig with many skeletons of adults who died by violence and of very small children. On the wall is a cave painting of a Manticore – the exact same painting that became Manticore’s symbol.
Lydecker consults an expert on the symbols and hears that it’s a Native American burial site from the early 1800s and that the pictures represent a story. A group of White fur traders kidnapped a Native American girl and forced her to have a child with a 14 year old boy – 14 but already 6 feet tall. The baby was stillborn and they repeated the process until the 3rd born then took the child and killed the mother. Lydecker matches the story to the skeletons he saw in the basement. He doesn’t know the design but wants to see the symbol.
As he drives to the meeting a car repeatedly rams him. He struggles to hold the wheel – and next we see the police dragging his car out of the water, empty.
I kind of think that Max should break non-essential parts of the Manticore doctor’s anatomy and advise him to change his travel plans
And this begins the overlay of Dark Angel canon with some very dubious woo-woo.
Still, some nice references to the Pulse and class creeping back in in between fuzzy monsters and ill-fitting woo-woo