Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dark Angel Season 2, Episode 14: Love in Vein

Max and Cindy are going to hit the town, dressing up and determined not to be miserable; Max is out for some fun and Cindy has an in at the hottest club in town.

Well, in theory, once she finds her Bouncer friend Boom Boom to get them out of the queue. In the meantime a group of kids drive up and barge into the club and cause a bit of chaos inside, stealing, kicking and punching anyone who challenges them – moving with surprising skill, speed and strength for people that slight. Even more surprising is how easily they take out the bounces – and one of them slams Cindy into a wall. Watching, Cindy sees that 2 of them have barcodes on the backs of their neck.

Later at a hospital one of the young women from the gang staggers into a hospital, she’s blurry and hurting and tells the receptionist she’s sick. While she’s huddled in the waiting room, one of the doctors notices a barcode on her neck – the doc, Beverly Shankar, is part of Logan’s network.

At work Max sympathises for 2 seconds over  Cindy’s broken arm before angsting about being responsible for what the escaped transgenics did and then angsting over Logan and her and the virus and – wow, you couldn’t last more than 5 seconds on Cindy?

Max speaks to Logan who gives us a nice summary with his rumours – revved up gang with barcodes, CDC still causing fuss over the transgenic they almost had – and girl with a barcode in a clinic. Max plans to go round to the clinic, show off her barcode to the girl and tell her to lay low.

At the clinic the girl, Lida, is grabbed by the other 3 members of her gang who are angry with her for going to the clinic. They tell her that only Marrow can help her. She refuses to go back but they drag her out – just as Max arrives. Outside at the car she tells them they need to talk, they laugh and the 2 men get in the car with Lida, leaving the other woman, Rain, to take care of Max. She tries to hit Max and Max easily drops her. She tries again and again and Max smacks her around as if she were human. She’s just ready to take down the other two when Logan screeches in in his car – spooking
them, they drive off leaving Rain behind. Max checks Rain’s barcode while asking what she is – X6? Rain doesn’t know what she’s talking about and objects to her tattoo being touched – she’s just had it done.

At Logan’s they question Rain on what she’s taking to make her so strong and where she got her barcode. She isn’t co-operative and warns Max that Marrow will come for her.

Speaking off, to marrow, the transgenic with prominent veins and unusual eyes. They’re in an abandoned church and he’s taking collection from his followers who tell him about Max and that she mentioned Mantecore. Marrow pauses at this but goes on to work on Lida, blaming Rain’s loss on her, telling her how useless and how much of a nobody she was until she met him and how much he’s done for her (but in more dramatic terms) he turns tat to the whole group with a  nifty sound effect voice. She shakes and begs to “sip”, he tells her it’s too late – once she starts shaking and she’s shut away.

At Logan’s apartment Rain is having problems, hyperventilating and babbling, chanting “I give my life to the Marrow”. She babbles about having to go back to Marrow. Max takes off her coat when she starts burning up and finds a collection envelope for a church full of money and jewelry. While Logan gets Dr. Shanker, she decides to go to the church.

Marrow comes to Lida and says he’s not cruel and can’t stand to see her suffer – and suffocates her. He takes her dead body out to the body of the church to say a eulogy over her with his followers, while Max watches from above. He tells them that her death was senseless since she knew that this is forever – and holds up an odd glass tube, that she couldn’t survive without it. He rolls up his sleeve and stabs the sharp end of the tube into his arm, the bulb at the other end fills with blood; his followers sip the blood from the top of the tube. At which point someone manages to sneak up on super hearing Max and knock her out.

She wakes chained up, alone with Marrow. He’s a super duper blood donor with amazingly perfect blood that doers all kinds of good stuff. She accuses him of having the kids think he’s some kind of “holy vampire”. She mocks him and he does his interesting voice trick again. He points out that they’re both mutants, freaks and sooner or later the world will find them – and what will Max do who has been hiding? While she hides he is building a following, resources, an army.

He actually makes sense in a way. Though he is awfully dramatic about it. He lets Max go because he wants Rain back – and points out she’ll die if Max doesn’t let her return to him, and that’ll be Max’s fault.

At Logan’s, Rain is sinking deeper and deeper into severe withdrawal and there’s nothing Dr. Shankar can do about it. The doctor says she might not survive the night. Rain begs to be taken to Marrow. Max hates it but doesn’t see any alternative. Logan agrees to take Rain back while Max goes to see Joshua

While all this has been happening, Alec has been causing trouble (isn’t he always). Irritated with work getting in the way of his illicit dealings, he gets round it by recruiting Joshua to deliver his packages – wearing a motorcycle helmet to hide his face. Yes it’s a bad idea, of course it is. His first delivery is to an old woman with a cat that scratches him and a fellow Jam Pony messenger offers him cannabis to make the day go smoother.

He then joins a group of them, eating, laughing and getting high. Until he takes off his helmet and everyone starts screaming. Joshua runs back home in a panic, in time to run into Max. Fun. Max has to try and calm down panicking, stoned Joshua.

Logan drives Rain back and Rain says Max is special like Marrow and just trying to ruin what they have. Logan tells her the truth, including what the barcode actually means – a brand of owndership, of being a thing, a number, a weapon and not a person and why Max is… irritated to see kids voluntarily wearing them. As they stop he wishes her luck and she says that even if she did wanted out she can’t leave.

Logan returns to Joshua’s and tells Joshua that it’s all in his head, just the drugs – and Max has flashes of what Marrow said and leaves abruptly.

At the church Marrow asks Rain if she’s shaking – she says no (she blatantly is) and he says there’s still time. He urges her to sip but she won’t. She refuses, shaking harder and harder – until it stops and she’s fine. She gasps “you lied to us?” He tells her he can’t risk her telling the others that going without the blood won’t kill them and prepares to stab her.

But he’s interrupted by Max knocking through his gang and throwing one of them through the wall. He and Max fight – but in dramatic slow motion because vampire man has to do everything dramatically (why would super blood donor have the strength, speed and skill to last 5 seconds against an X5?) until Rain bursts through and tells everyone he’s lied to them. He blurs to her to silence her, throwing her at a conveniently placed sofa. Max blurs to intervene, knocking him back onto a great big spike that impales his heart (yes, he got staked).  He’s dead.

the kiddies think they’ll die with him but Rain tells them the truth, that they’ll survive (but without the super abilities). Rain didn’t sip – and Marrow killed Lida.

Next day at Joshua’s he has a bit of angst about how isolated he is, how he can’t interact with others. She worries about leaving him behind when Logan calls to update her about the group. They’re all clear and none of them wanting to talk or expose what happened.

This episode reminds me of the Charmed episode with pirates – gimmicky. The writers suddenly realised that vampires were hot property and managed to dump in a vampire themed episode. Now, the whole idea of a transgenic that was designed entirely to produce awesome blood for transfusions isn’t flawed (it certainly makes more sense than “let’s make dog and cat people, because REASONS!”) – that blood being ideal for DRINKING, however…  and how that would give him remotely the same abilities as an X5. And coming with fancy voice tricks? Still, it was nifty so I’ll let it pass. But not the ultimate blood donor having blood that creates severe withdrawal symptoms – because that’s one hell of a design flaw.

And I’d like to see Max and Cindy spend some time together when it’s not being used as a plot hook – like they used to when they actually behaved like friends. In fact can we have more of that and less “oh look Alec/Joshua has done something ridiculous again”

Actor clash! Don’t you just hate it when you see an actor in a different role and can’t divorce the original role from it? I could just about manage Sam Witer (Aidan from Being Human (US)) playing Marrow – but The Blue Fairy/Mother Superior from Once Upon a Time playing Rain? *brain screech* That said, they both were really really good at their roles.