Dark Angel continues to defy my expectations beautifully.
The first time I watched Dark Angel, I was sure Max wouldn’t ever cross paths with Lydecker until the season finale. That was just how TV shows worked back then; they’d set up a bunch of arcs in the pilot, and then indulge in stall tactics until the epic collision come finale time. I distinctly remember these preconceptions being shattered with this episode when Dark Angel‘s big bad, Donald Lydecker, took a seat right next to our heroine in one of the show’s first ever jawdropping moments.
A lot of credit goes to John Savage who pulls off the Lydecker role with such immaculate precision and a ton of dimension. The guy isn’t unlikeable, in fact he’s quite charming as he discusses the Pulse (he believes it strengthened the species) and his gifted children. Jessica Alba is also excellent as she maintains her composure with just the right hint of fear and inherent strength. The chemistry between our heroine and big bad is off the charts, and that’s a joy to behold.
Just when you think there won’t be any more complications, a rebel faction called The May 22nd Movement takes everyone hostage and viciously throws the speaker Dr. Tanaka off the roof. It’s all quite exciting culminating in one of the show’s most iconic moments ever: the superb set piece (that’s sadly quite dated in 2013) with Max hurling herself off the building after Logan as they embrace mid-air and crash onto a bed. It’s all very action-y and romantic. And then of course they banter.
The episode is also notable for the fact that Max has the opportunity to let Lydecker die, and yet she still chooses to save him. We soon learn that it’s not about her being “high-minded”, she just wants to know what makes her so “flawed” (besides the seizures) and if she has an “expiration date”. It’s an interesting question that I wish the show had the chance to answer.
– Max knows molecules and very complicated science-babble. Shocking!
– It says a lot about Logan that he falls off his chair and hides it from Max. And then snaps at her.
– God Logan’s penthouse is freakin’ fantastic. What an elaborate set.
– Max fixing Sketchy’s tire as Cindy babbles is a very cool blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.
– Hilarious bit: Max fake-coughing and telling Normal to “feel” her “forehead”.
– How great does Alba look in that classy beige business suit?
– The flashback with Lydecker chaining the kids underwater as they drown still horrifies me today.
– I love how Max relied on her training (know your enemy) to keep her cool with Lydecker.
– Nice continuity: Max hesitant of giving Lydecker the gun knowing his history.
– Love the little moment with Max eying Logan when he surrenders and faking a sprained ankle.
– If you look closely when Max and Logan are on the bed, you can spot Weatherly pulling Alba down. It’s supposed to happen accidentally, but the actors obviously thought it would get a genuine reaction from Alba if he actually pulled it.
– World-building: Toothpaste is rare (as are tomatoes and endives), and the military is remorseless.
– Max kicking ass: love the hallway flip and her swiftly snapping a thug’s neck.
– Note: This is the second time in six episodes that Max carries a child to safety. She’s made to be a mother that one.
– Lydecker effectively regains his creepiness by brutally shooting the terrorist leader at the end.
– Another heartwarming ending with Max and Logan. Now she regrets not “swiping towels”. Ha! Appreciate your towels people!
Barbs & Barcodes
Max: I was hoping we could score some towels.
Kendra: If I get invited to shower with anyone, I’ll see what I can do.
Logan: You have that “Logan, I need a favor” look on your face.
Max: Don’t I always? I mean, isn’t that the only reason why I come around?
Max: Don’t ask me how I got here.
Kendra: Your rich boyfriend, that’s obvious.
Max: At Manticore, Lydecker used to tell us the same thing. “There are no limits. What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, with the right training.” Only we could still get shot and killed like Eva, starve to death, or even drown. I’ve often wondered why we didn’t just turn on him. We were stronger, faster; any one of us could have snapped his neck before he knew what hit him. But we were too scared, and he knew it.
Cindy: Look, Herbal, it’s one thing for me and Sketchy to play pretend gourmet ’cause we broke. But that bitch for real.
Max: You’re such a gentleman (slams the guard against a wall) Too bad I’m not a lady.
Max: I just kept my head down and let the mens fight it out.
Logan: Taking a header off that building was above and beyond the call.
Max: Just lookin’ out for my meal ticket. How many guys can cook and save the world?
Logan: So… that was Lydecker.
Max: Yup. My own private antichrist, up close and personal.
Thrilling and thoroughly absorbing, this is the strongest episode since the pilot.