Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dark Angel, Season 2, Episode 7: Some Assembly Required

The steelheads from last week – the ones who had their little run in with Alec – are busy robbing a store and trashing the place in their usual less-than-elegant fashion. The action is being caught on Camera and Logan is showing the security tape to Max. Why? Because the gang has 4 members now – and one of them is the newly patched together Zack with extra metal implants. Yes, Zack, X5 Zack, her brother Zack, the guy who has disappeared, presumed dead, a fair few times now. He should start his own religion.

When last we saw Zack he was being kept semi-alive in Manticore labs so they could harvest him for organs. Max falls into angst and they moot the theory of why Zack is here and not dead (and by “moot the theory” I mean “desperately spackle over the plot holes”. Renfro moved him to a different facility where they experimented on cybernetic and fitted him out as he is now – including new heart, live, kidneys, oh and helped him recover from the gunshot to the head – and when Manticore shut down after Max killed on facility, they sold this VITAL SUPER TECH THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH TRANSGENICS on the black market, apparently within the price range of a street gang. As you do). Logan, of course, isn’t fond of “British Eddie” and his steelheads who are harvesting and selling human organs.

At work, Original Cindy is making excuses for Max being late again and settles on Max needing to see a psychiatrist to deal with work stress and that she has violent fantasies involving the work place (oh, fun, mentally ill as dangerous and violent – c’mon Dark Angel, you can do better than that). This causes Normal to put on his kid’s gloves and be warily polite and nice to Max.

When Cindy learns about Zack and the Steelheads she remembers Sketchy having trouble with them and bellows for him. After Max threatens Sketchy he reveals Alec’s connection and Max goes to make his day more difficult. Getting the fully story about him trying to sell steroids she drags Alec to place he met the Steelheads and demands (in the face of his reluctance – he thinks the Steelheads will come back with guns) he pretend to start his business again to antagonise them into showing up. He also is amused/bemused at Max considering Zack her “brother.”

In the Steelhead base one is testing his cybernetic arm against Zack’s muscle and losing when the news that Alec is back comes in. Max and Alec easily take down the Steelheads who arrive – and then Zack grabs Alec by the throat and lifts him and points a gun at Max. He doesn’t recognise her at first, she keeps saying his name and hers and finally shows him her barcode. He recognises her as 452, from his unit and goes with her (ignoring poor Alec).

They go to see Sam, a doctor friend of Logan’s who, among other things, concludes that Zack’s memory is damaged because of the bullet to the head, but there’s an implant in his head that may bring his memories back – albeit confused and possibly out of order or context. Zack comes through, sees Logan and remembers him – but the shattered flashbacks he remembers largely consist of him warning Logan that Max’s attachment to him is a threat to her (no surprise since he was a bit of a one track record before).

Max takes Zack home (Cindy is staying with friends) and they begin to piece together bits of his memories about Manticore and the others and he breaks down over the people they’ve lost. Unfortunately, he also seems to be interpreting his fractured memories to imply he and Max were together – and not as brother and sister. He also has a lot of hostility implanted in Manticore against Eyes Only.

After a night’s sleep, the nanites in his implants start regrowing the skin around the cybernetics, now the Steelheads aren’t filtering them out of his blood.

At work, Normal continues to tip-toe around Max, still believing her to be unhinged and violent. Zack reconnects with Sketchy who was apparently his friend (they were? How did he show Sketchy shortcuts? He was inept as a bike messenger and didn’t even try! That’s how Herbal got his job back) and the gang moves to Crash and Alec notices that Zack doesn’t look at Max as a sibling but as a potential girlfriend. Max goes to the bar for more beer – and is drugged by the Steelheads and kidnapped.

She wakes tied to a table while the inept Steelheads argue and Zack roars in for the rescue, easily restraining the Steelheads and moving to untie Max. Only he tries to kiss her first and she stops him. Zack decides it’s Logan who has taken Max from him – and that Logan is a traitor who ruined the mission at Manticore that got them captured. He rushes off to hunt Logan, ignoring Max’s protests that Manticore has brainwashed him.

Max struggles free and calls Logan to warn him. Logan makes a run for it and escapes down the lift, Zack closely following. Luckily, Zack takes time to stand still and randomly shoot in Logan’s vague direction several times (bullet to the brain must have taken out any advanced shooting skills and training he had) rather than just use his super-speed to catch Logan and break his neck. Logan hides in the car park but takes a bullet to his artificial servo-legs – before Max arrives on her bike just in time. They fight dramatically (X5 fights are fun) until Max is forced to electrocute him with a mains wire to stop him shooting Logan.

Take him back to Dr. Sam who says he’s fine, but Zack’s memory implant has been wiped clean, he’s been reset as if the episode never happened. But the brainwashing Manticore implanted will still be there, waiting to rise again. Max doesn’t want to lose Zack but realises he’s a threat to Logan.

Logan sets him up with a new identity. Zack wakes in hospital to be greeted by his friend “Buddy” who says he had an accident. He’s now Adam who works on Buddy’s ranch and I hope Buddy’s a damn good actor who can keep that up. And Mary his wife. And any of Buddy’s other workers. Let alone what Logan’s told them all to believe they have to pretend they know this complete stranger with amnesia…

Closing scene. Max waah waah angst angst.

Zack is back! He’s been brought back for story reasons and to expand his storyline and help Max grow in this new open-transgenic world and… nah. Spoiler, but that’s it. Why was he brought back? Because Max needed an angst top up I guess. The whole “me and Logan can’t touch because of the virus” and “people are drying because I let the monsters out” were apparently not enough.  I’m sure season 1 didn’t depend on wall-to-wall Max angst. She actually had friends and a social life and fun (rather than using Crash as another place to angst).

Also, America – you need to get over this peculiar fetish you have with Britain and punk. The 80s are over guys, let them go.