I’ve always had the impression that Out was one of Dark Angel‘s weaker episodes. While it’s true that the hour doesn’t even feature Manticore or Lydecker, it does an impeccable job of further building Max’s world and the characters that inhabit it. In fact, quite surprisingly, Out is a pivotal hour of the show that gets a lot of things right.
Before I delve into the episode’s main plot, I have to mention that the teaser is one of the best the show’s ever done. It does a superb job of setting a romantic mood (that we don’t get to see much of on Dark Angel) with Max preparing a romantic dinner for Logan in her dingy apartment. Of course Logan arrives with a bottle of “Pre-Pulse” wine and cancels, ruining Max’s mood in the process. As a result, she botches the infiltration (by popping gum no less), and lands face-first in a pile of mud. It’s a hilarious teaser that culminates with her returning to Logan and exclaiming: “Don’t even think of speaking to me.” Ha!
It was wise of the writers to show us that Logan couldn’t carry on his crusade without any ramifications, as Eyes Only had been causing quite a bit of chaos in Seattle. This week, a smug criminal who has the “DA in his pocket”, feeds Matt Sung information in order to capture the cop and Eyes Only. Of course Logan can’t bear to see his friend suffer and immediately gives up his identity. It further conveys what a heroic soul Logan is, and cements him as a guy worthy of our heroine.
Max’s heightened intellect and resourcefulness are also perfectly showcased in this episode. To save Logan, she carries out the genius plot of uploading an Eyes-Only hack and sending Broncks’ people to gang-land (there’s a great fake-out where you think they’ve found Logan’s place). It’s brilliant how a tiny scene earlier in the hour (Max and Sketchy dropping off a package) ends up providing the resolution to the hour. And let’s not forget that she tracks down the airfield by isolating various sounds. Simply awesome.
There’s a lot of romance in this one, and I’m not just talking about Max and Logan. We discover that Normal is dating a woman who’s actually a man (or a “mister-sister” as Cindy calls her). It’s a pretty forgettable storyline but I like how it shows a different side to the post-pulse world with that grimy restaurant (probably the classiest thing around). We also learn that Normal has a PHD from Harvard, which explains why he’s so evil with the Jam Pony gang; after all it can’t be easy going from an Ivy League school to bip bip bip-ing. Of course the storyline has an amusing twist at the end with Louise (or Louis) revealing that she’s in fact a lesbian and asks Normal to pass on her number to Cindy! Naturally, Sketchy takes the number for himself. It’s all so nutty (and harmless).
It’s not just Normal who gets the added focus this week, as we also get to see a ton more of Kendra and Bling. The former does her best to help Max prepare for her date, while the latter threatens Logan when he’s feeling sorry for himself (in an excellent moment). I do wish both characters were developed more throughout the series, as they provide nice parallels for each other as the lovers’ respective sidekicks.
– Max and Logan’s first ever fight is a joy to behold – particularly as she purposely wets his floor. And Jessica Alba in a towel? Yum.
– Great continuity: Bronx is selling blood on the black market, which is why Logan’s doctor couldn’t get a hold of any in Blah Blah Woof Woof.
– Max and Cindy investigating Normal’s “booty call” was highly amusing.
– There’s an awesome little gem of a sequence that I have to comment on: Max and Sketchy cycling through their post-pulse world on their way to a delivery. It’s one frame, and it’s so REAL. Little moments like Sketchy almost running into a guy and catching up again to Max, really set the mood and enrich the show’s world. When they do reach the recipient, the guy is casually beating up a tied-up prisoner (since this is total anarchy after all). Plus I love that Sketchy needed Max or Cindy to protect him.
– Great moment with Max flashing back to the gum and magazines when she sees little girls being herded into a van. Manticore definitely isn’t the only evil in this world.
– Broncks forcing Logan to do the Eyes Only monologue in between slaps was a cool touch. And he wants to “gouge his eyes out”. How fitting.
– “What I always do: make it up as I go along.” A wonderful reference to the pilot when Max first said this line.
– The action is unfortunately the weakest part of the episode. It’s so awkwardly filmed with Max’s flying legs towards the camera and severely slowed-down moves (when she’s supposed to be super-fast). I do like the final plane moment though, where she hops on board and kicks Broncks out. And of course it’s touching when she saves the imprisoned girls.
– As always, beautiful ending with Max telling Logan he doesn’t need to hide behind a mask when he’s with her. He reciprocates by postponing a job so they can finally enjoy their dinner. I just love these two more and more with every episode.
Barbs & Barcodes
Max: I hope I can pull this off.
Kendra: Max, you can do this. I’ve watched you tear down and rebuild a motorcycle in under two hours.
Max: Different skill-set.
Kendra: Where did you find cold-pressed virgin olive oil from Tuscany in this economy?
Max: I broke into the Italian embassy.
Max: (to Logan) Let’s get this bitch over with.
Logan: This guy’s up to something very bad, Max. I can feel it.
Max: Not my problem.
Logan: That’s a pretty selfish way of looking at things.
Max: Yeah, well, we can’t all be obsessed with saving the freakin’ world.
Max: If you think that you were put on this earth to be the world’s most pissed-off TV news reporter, and hide behind some silly red-white-and-blue Halloween mask, then I feel sorry for you.
Logan: If you think you were put on this earth to be the world’s biggest cynic, and hide behind some tough-ass attitude, then I feel sorry for you.
Max: Why is it guys are all so task-oriented? I mean, it’s work, work, work, work, work.
Sketchy: ‘Cause otherwise, all we’d think about is sex, sex, sex, sex, sex.
Cindy: You look nice today.
Normal: Thank you.
Max: Going to a funeral?
Matt: What did you find out last night at the airstrip?
Logan: When some girls don’t eat dinner, they get real cranky.
Logan: I was wondering when we were going to get to the hitting part.
Bronck: Oh, dear. It looks like we’re going to have to re-fry Detective Won-ton.
Max: (before knocking out the pilot) Turbulence.
Cindy: Damn. Normal just gave me that half-a-heifer’s phone number.
Sketchy: Well, you going to call her?
Cindy: Mm-mm. ’Cause when you get right down to it, Original Cindy’s just too damn straight to kick it with a science-fiction girlfriend.
Logan: I’ve got everything we need to whip up a pasta tricolore.
Max: I can boil the water.
Logan: You can?
Max: Don’t hold up the world on my account.
Logan: The world will still be broken in the morning.
While it doesn’t advance the show’s mythology, Out is a surprisingly insightful standalone hour of Dark Angel.