Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dark Angel Season 2, Episode 4: Radar Love

 Joshua is staying at Sandman’s house when he wakes up and follows his nose all the way across Seattle to Max’s flat, meeting Original Cindy (we assume he didn’t have to cross any checkpoints to reach her). While briefly stunned, Original Cindy quickly adapts to the dog-faced man. They both reiterate their plan to find Sandman for Joshua and so he can cure Max’s anti-Logan virus, but until then Joshua needs to lie low.

In Chinatown, a heavily deformed and bleeding man walks through the streets, wrapped up heavily to hide his appearance. A firework goes off and an Asian man staggers through the street, bleeding from his nose and eyes. He collapses and a young White man runs to him and shouts for someone to call an ambulance. We cut to the deformed man wrapping his wounds and see that he has a barcode on the back of his neck.

Logan is trying to track down Sandman but every lead turns up a dead end. They’re pretty sure he didn’t run because if he did he would probably have taken his stick with him – but Logan is concerned whether he’s a good guy if his stick has the Manticore symbol. As far as Max’s concerned, Joshua thought he was a good guy so that’s what counts. They plan to ask Matt Sung – Logan’s police contact, to check it for DNA or prints. Oh and Asha shows up to say something careless about Manticore so we can establish Max hating her.

And time for some damn weird and unnecessary camera effects to fill some time – until she runs her bike into a truck that comes out of nowhere and goes over the handlebars. The man gets out and checks her over, it’s Rafer, the man she slept with last time she was on heat. He says he’s a paramedic, Max accuses him of copping a feel and flips him off her easily.

Rafer approaches her at Jam Pony, in his paramedic uniform, confirming his story. He brought lunch as a peace offering. They agree to forget all about that night and Max talks about her boyfriend situation (Logan, and it’s “too intense” for them to be together) intercut with Logan telling Asha about how hard their relationship is. Both discussing how hard it is and why they think the other may be better without them. With Asha and Rafer flirting – and Asha hurrying out without ID

Meanwhile Matt Sung gets the stick off Logan but also has to brush off the young man who saw the Asian kid fall and die in Chinatown, he’s a biochemist and wants to know more, get autopsy reports if he can. Matt’s boss also hands him a sketch artist impression of the deformed man and asks him to keep rumours down before a panic starts – Matt tells him there already is a panic in Chinatown.

In Chinatown, the deformed man checks into a hotel and another firework goes off that night. In the morning Sketchy and Original Cindy are delivering a package to Chinatown (and Sketchy continuing to ramble about mutants) when several people around them collapse, bleeding from their eyes and nose.

Matt Sung arrives on the scene and calls Logan – 22 people dead, all Chinese. He also tells Logan that there’s a rumour about a transgenic in Chinatown that bleeds out through its skin and that may be a connection. Logan goes to see Max about it and Max is instantly defensive about the idea that a transgenic would be behind it, she also points out that all the victims are Chinese and Manticore was always behind killing anyone regardless of race. Sensitive after Asha’s comments, Max won’t listen to any implication it’s a transgenic behind the deaths.

More relationship angst with Max talking to Joshua and Logan running into Rafer in a bar. And Asha gets herself captured trying to sneak past a check point. Logan calls Max to help rescue her, though Max is still snarling angrily, she goes and rescues Asha from the guy who is slapping her and trying to make her talk about the S1W. Max takes them down easily – and we see that Asha has no combat skills at all.

In Chinatown the police arrive at the hotel where the transgenic man is staying and the hotelier’s son sneaks up the fire escape to spy on him. he nearly falls, crying for help and the transgenic grabs him and helps him up – the police misunderstand the situation and shoot him. At the autopsy Matt, Logan and Max await the autopsy result and the pathologist (in Eyes Only’s loop)declares him clean – there’s not a trace of the pathogen. They go in the room and Matt comments on the barcode tattoo – eye flicks with everyone else and Matt realises everyone else in the room is keeping a secret from him. Max tells him he killed an innocent man and leaves. The pathologist tells them that they have the tests on the dead from Chinatown and it’s not infectious – they were directly exposed to the pathogen and that it’s man made, not natural.

Max shows Joshua a picture of the dead transgenic and he says he was one of the transgenics locked downstairs – one that didn’t turn out so well, that they kept around in case they needed transplants. Max says this is why Joshua needs to keep his head down. And we see the young biochemist who was at the first infection and it’s clear he is behind the pathogen – and is looking for test subjects. Logan talks to Matt about a blackmarket weapon that can single out populations and Matt wonders if it’s part of an anti-Asian hate group. Logan thinks it’s more a test given the lack of anyone claiming responsibility and the escalating targets.  

Max and Logan have more relationship angst and silly camera tricks I can’t begin to care about.

And we see that the genocidal biochemist is working for Agent White. And yes, Logan’s correct, he’s only using Asian people as a test subject so he can create a pathogen that will kill transgenics – and yes, White has a captured X5 to test it on but he wants to test it in the field tomorrow. He also uses a special launcher to disperse the pathogen over a large area. These are rare and expensive – and Logan has tracked the three that were sold to his address – but when Matt Sung and co arrive, genocide guy has already left. But Logan uses his computers to track what he is planning.

Genocide guy, Cyril, gets ready to test his pathogen and White leaves the area just in case Cyril is wrong and his chemical kills the entire sector and not just all transgenics in the sector.  Cyril releases their test subject, an X6 (really? One man and an X5? Why doesn’t the X5 kill him? They took no precautions on him just beating Cyril into chunky salsa?) and he runs.

Max, Logan and Matt arrive at the sector to see the launch, Max is determined to save the X5, she only has 4 minutes to find him and both of them get to safety. She chases him down, a nice X5 chase and pushes him into a deep cistern of water. She jumps in after him and shows him her barcode and signals to him not to surface, to stay underwater using super X5 lungs until it’s safe

Good thing the pathogen isn’t water soluble or persistent.

When they surface, Cyril is waiting on the edge of the cistern pointing a gun at them – Matt shoots him in the back before he can fire on Max.

Max camps the X5 down with Joshua until Logan can get him to safety across the border.

And we close on more relationship angst in their little 4 way.

Max and Asha hate is really unnecessary in this. Especially since she has always turned prickly whenever a woman came near Logan anyway (look at her treatment of Val in Season 1).

And I really don’t see the need to have some exposition on their relationship. We have seen it, time and again, every battle, every moment of angst, every fight, every attempt, every set back – we now need to revisit that and introduce some we-know-it’s-really-not-going-to-happen love triangles? Does anyone really believe this epic on the cards since season 1, episode 1 romance is not going to continue? Dump the obviously fake conflict.

I think the whole concept of a racial specific pathogen is a horrendous and difficult one that needs to be handled carefully and with respect – and also with greater attention to the horror and vileness of it and the potential evil it could cause. I feel that this episode didn’t come close to doing that justice, focusing far more on a potential pathogen that could wipe out the transgenics in Seattle than on the actual pathogen developed that targets Asian people. Matt seemed to be the only one who was concerned about an anti-Asian hate group, and it was passed over quickly.