Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dark Angel Season 2, Episode 9: Medium is the Message

 Max and Logan are both working through the notes the doctor left them on trying to fix the Logan-killer plague: Logan by calling various doctors who think he’s making it up and Max trying to interpret the notes despite them being scrappy and incomplete – aided not very-efficiently by Joshua who she sends off to find a pencil to get him out of the way. This leads him to searching the house and making a mess with art supplies which turns into a genuine interest in painting modern art. Max supports that since it’s a hobby that will keep him out of way.

Meanwhile, with our old enemy Ames White, we have another transgenic being killed (they’re not even pretending the animal transgenics had a purpose at this point) with Ames proving how ruthless and cold he is, again.

Alec arrives at Joshua’s with a gift of ham-hocks to make up for the times he tried to kill Joshua (and to give him a reason to be in the house) where he notices the picture frame on Joshua’s new painting. He praises it and says it could be worth a lot of money – Joshua assumes he’s talking about the painting, not the frame. Joshua gives it to Alec as a gift.

He takes the painting to a gallery run by Rita, who, to the surprise of absolutely no-one, doesn’t care about the frame – but loves the painting. And she’s willing to pay $7,000 for it. She also wants to meet the artist but when told that’s impossible, at least hopes Joshua is prolific.

Alec goes back to Joshua and encourages a frenzy of painting (while knowing nothing about art of course) and in the chaos he grabs Max’s doctor notes to use in the painting. Alec sells it for even more than the first but gets another request to meet Joshua. He tells Joshua who wants to meet her – but Alec bluntly points out he’s a dog-boy and she’ll run in terror – and stop paying money. Which is also when Max arrives looking for her papers – Alec and Joshua realises what they’ve done but duck out of telling Max

And Logan calls Lydecker’s answering machine to remind us that he’s dead (sorry, missing. Personally I think the actor saw the scripts for season 2 and ran as fast as he could to one of those shopping channels where he can spend the rest of his life that they really really really need a dedicated tool for slicing aubergines). He passes on the police report that points to Lydecker being dead but includes the pictures he took of the Manticore dig site. Logan’s also got a case, a fan of Eyes Only has reached out to the informant net for help in finding her missing son – and promises to make a large donation if they help. Yes, destroying his uncle’s company has really hit Logan’s pocket.

He goes to meet her, Wendy, and learns that her husband doesn’t know she’s there because he thinks Eyes Only is subversive. The boy is extra-special to her because he’s super talented and they lost their first 2 children in childbirth. Oh and that husband? Is Ames White.

Max isn’t very sympathetic for him or her – Logan protests that Rebecca doesn’t know what Ames does and Max lashes back with “doesn’t she see the blood on his shirt when she does the laundry?” Max has no intention of helping Ames – but Logan shows her the security camera from the kidnapping. While it shows nothing since they managed to dodge the camera, Logan sees a reflective surface he can catch the kidnappers on with his super-duper-impossibly-good image resolution technology (I love what TV thinks image software can do with crappy CCTV images) which shows them easily leaping to the third storey – pointing to transgenics. As an extra bonus, the imaging software can not only show clear pictures of 2 men at a distance reflected in a glass sphere, but can also get a close up of the guy’s teeny tiny ID badge. I don’t know why they bother with the badge, just focus closer and get his DNA strands!

Max and Logan go to talk to Wendy and tell her what Ames is involved in which she doesn’t believe and Max is less than sympathetic about. She believes a lot more when Ames comes home and holds them at gunpoint – especially when he won’t deny what Max told Wendy Max uses transgenic speed to knock Ames down and hold an arm to his neck. She won’t kill him though (whyyyyy? You could still get the boy back but CRACK and one problem is solved) and promises to get their boy back. She wants Ames to suffer (crackle crackle – easy. C’mon at least break a kneecap!) but not his wife and son.

Back to Logan’s apartment and Max is shaken by the normality of the life her arch nemesis leads. But Joshua gets an update from the identity badge (which they wore to a kidnapping?! They wore ID!) and gets Max an address where she finds 2 guys and the kid. She assures them she’s Manticore and shows off her barcode. They don’t listen to her and attack – working as a beautifully choreographed team (though some of those moves seem more for style and showing how eerily they work together than usefulness). She fights them and seems to get the upper hand – until she checks one of their necks and finds no barcode. She seems to be winning, but no matter how many times she hits them they don’t go down, until they manage to knock her down a hole into the basement – she watches them leave with the kid.

In the basement she finds the dig site that Lydecker had photographed, complete with the Manticore symbol. She goes to report to Logan that their fighting style, lack of barcodes and immunity to pain means they’re not transgenics and he adds further mystery with the dig site dating back to the 1800s. And that he’s found several other similar tombs around the world – the oldest dating back 5,000 years (literally all over the world. Early Manticore must have had space ships or something).

At the White household, Ames and Wendy receive a ransom demand telling them to go to a location – Ames grabs his gun and they both drive off. Watched and followed by Max. Logan calls Max to fill her in on what he’s researched just as Ames tells Wendy that the kidnapping was faked, their son, Ray was taken by him and isn’t her son any more. He adds that she was chosen for him (the same as the legend Lydecker discovered, complete with 2 miscarriages). Logan explains that they’re old fashioned transgenics – through selective breeding and explains the legend to her. Ames is annoyed that he has to kill his wife now according to tradition since she won’t stop looking for Ray – he shoots himself in the arm as part of his cover story, not even flinching. He starts to shoot Wendy – and Max bursts in. They fight but Ames is every bit a match to Max with the added bonus of not feeling pain. He disappears (fast enough that even Max doesn’t see it or hear it?) when he hears sirens.

Max takes Wendy to Logan and they realise they can’t get Ames through the police, he’s untouchable.

Ames sends his son off to be with “people like us”.

Meanwhile Alec returns to the art gallery to get the painting back but Rita won’t part with it – unless Joshua asks for it personally. Alec bargains and she agrees – if Joshua paints 3 more paintings. He goes to Joshua and heckles him into painting though Joshua’s heart isn’t in it. Alec takes the painting back to the gallery but she rejects them – she can tell they’re forced and lack passion, much to Alec’s bemusement. Rita again asks to see Joshua

Back at Joshua’s Joshua talks about stealing the painting but Alec refuses – Rita will know who did it and then they won’t be able to sell more paintings

Joshua doesn’t listen and sneaks into the gallery at night, tripping the silent alarm. Rita confronts him at gun point. She realises who he is (hiding behind the painting) and tells him she would have given him it if she had had the chance to speak to him. He panics that she wants to see him and she promises him that it doesn’t matter what he looks like. He shows his face and she understands – relating his condition to his art. She doesn’t panic and tells him to paint for himself, that he’s special and that the world doesn’t deserve him.

He returns home, with the painting, to find Max exhausted and asleep and begins painting her.

And that sound? That was the cannon collapsing. Your selective breeding 5,000 year old cult who managed to be on every continent before 1,000CE (yet still produced white people) and have managed to breed people who are physically on par with genetically engineered super soldiers.