If I were to categorize Dark Angel, I’d probably label it as a sci-fi action drama. But one thing the show does very well (which it doesn’t receive nearly enough credit for) is comedy. In fact, the show often balances drama and comedy to incredible effect, which is perfectly showcased in Red – one of the season’s strongest hours.
The primary reason this episode works so well is the utterly hilarious dynamic between Max and Bruno. When our heroine is tasked with protecting the sleazebag, the two take off on a mini-adventure across Seattle as she tries to keep him alive for a witness testimony. The banter, the one-liners, the married-couple act (he squeezes her ass) – every line uttered between the two is comedic gold (as the quotes section below will attest to). The on-the-road feel of the hour coupled with their electric chemistry make the episode tremendously memorable.
Clearly the episode can’t survive on humor alone, and I adore the seamless shift to an ominous tone when The Reds come into the picture. The three imposing soldiers are introduced as “South African disposables” who don’t feel pain (they can punch through steel elevator doors) thanks to neural implants in their necks. They’re an intriguing addition to the show’s mythology as we discover Manticore isn’t the only corporation interested in engineering humans. However unlike Manticore creations, The Reds burn out within six months which is why Johanssen, their leader, is so hellbent on acquiring Max. They’re a remarkably creepy threat, particularly since they prove to be more than a match for Max.
Red is also a captivating episode for Logan, who is essentially fighting for the man who paralyzed him and put him in the chair. There’s a terrific scene where we realize our cyber-journalist is far from perfect, as he obsessively watches the video of his shooting over and over again. As Bling points out: “a normal person might even entertain the idea of revenge”, but Logan sees the bigger picture – and the “disease” infecting his city which he strives to cure. Plain and simple, his journey is just as heroic as Max’s.
The episode’s final scene with Logan treating Max’s wounds is terrifying. After all, it’s the first time we’ve ever seen Max injured and scared. The battle is far from over as The Reds are still out there (with her pager no less). It’s a haunting ending that’s superbly executed on every level.
– The teaser with Max, Kendra and the hot water is a very real moment in a dystopic world. Love it.
– Very cool transition from Max submerging in the bathtub to the motorcycle. It’s awesome how she rescues the witness so casually (crashing out the window on her bike ) and of course, it’s none other than Bruno. “Great, now I need another bath”.
– Jessica Alba’s delivery of “Who forgot their thong?” cracks me up every time.
– Lots of nods to the pilot in this one with references to Sonrisa and Theo.
– There’s a beautiful character moment for Max when she chokes the concierge not because he thought she was a hooker, but because she concludes he’s been taking a cut from the working girls even thought he doesn’t do anything. It’s really admirable.
– The bar fight-scene is a great little sequence. Lots of nifty aerial acrobatics.
– The look of fear in Max’s eyes when she first spots The Reds entering the hotel effectively makes them a scary presence as we never see Max scared.
– Original Cindy’s standout moment: saying she’ll beat Logan “chair or no chair” if he hurts Max.
– Bruno’s ex-wife, Mary Joe, thinks Max is a stripper pretending to be a “bodyguard”. Naturally, Max saves Bruno in the park from a sudden gunshot like the badass that she is.
– What did we learn from Bruno? Just because you’re a dirtbag, doesn’t mean you can’t love your daughter or be a vegetarian.
– This is Sebastian’s first appearance as a quadriplegic informant for Logan. I seriously love the diversity on this show.
– Super-cool moment: Max storming the courtroom on her bike. “Your witness”.
– So Bruno set up the fight/demonstration in the biker bar and then screwed over Max for a quick buck. Ultimately, he gets shot outside the courthouse and dies a hero.
– Max vs. The Reds is the most impressive fight scene the show has produced thus far. The choreography is kickass and swift, and the scene perfectly conveys how resilient Max is when faced with the first challenging foes of the season. It also allows Logan to come to her rescue for once as the odds stack up against her.
Barbs & Barcodes
Max: Where does he get off thinking he can jack our power on bath night?
Kendra: Says he needs it for his space heater so his cannabis crop doesn’t die.
Max: Tough. I’m gonna have a hot bath. His weed’s gonna have to chill. I mean, we stole the power first – it belongs to us.
Max: You can’t bang the gong for twelve hours.
Kendra: You can, Max. You so can.
Max: Well, that’s not been my experience. I mean, men always have to stop and talk. They need to hear what a good job they’re doing or whatever. And then they do this weird cuddle thing.
Max: I’m preparing myself mentally for the task at hand.
Logan: Where are you?
Max: I was in heaven but you’re bringing me right back down to earth with this whole “urgent tone” thing.
Bruno; I got shot up pretty bad taking out Sonrisa, thanks to chicky here, but I pulled through.
Logan: You were going to get greased. We didn’t want that to happen.
Max: Speak for yourself.
Max: Take a look at the fruits of your labor. You might have an easier time recognizing him through the scope of a grenade launcher.
Max: Logan, I’m begging you to let me turn this hump over to the people who wanna grease him.
Bruno: So from what I remember, you can hold your breath for quite a long time. You know, guys pay a lot of money for that. And settin’ me up against Sonrisa — I forgive that.
Max: I’ll sleep better now.
Bruno: And I thank you for saving my life back there.
Max: Don’t rub it in.
Max: Bruno, how about you and me take a vow of silence for the next twenty-four hours, hmm?
Max: Let me connect the dots for you. There are people out there that want you dead. Logan wants to keep you alive. I myself am on the fence, but I’m gonna make sure nothing irrevocable happens to you until you walk out of that hearing. That means that you are going to stay here even if the accommodations aren’t to your liking.
Max: Are you a complete idiot or do you just have a death wish?
Bruno: You take the middle…I’ll take the top.
Max: You get the floor, pal. (Knocks him out) Honeymoon’s over.
Bruno: You pack a big wallop for a little thing.
Bruno: I’m bored.
Max: Watch television.
Bruno: Well, what’s the point? You won’t let me order any movies.
Max: Hose Monkeys: The Next Generation is not a movie. It’s excrement.
Bruno: Easy. The leading lady is a personal friend of mine.
Max: Dinner’s on its way. Why don’t you take a nap or something ’til it gets here?
Bruno: I can’t sleep!
Max: Do you want me to put you under again?
Bruno: I’m gonna take a shower.
Max: Take your best shot, but some dirt just doesn’t wash off.
Bruno: Why don’t you come help me?
Bruno: There’s no water pressure. I piss harder than this.
Logan: Why am I not worried about you being able to take care of yourself?
Max: The only thing you need to worry about is me snapping his neck.
Logan: Just get him to the courtroom in one piece and able to talk.
Max: Does he need to have all his teeth?
Max: You puttin’ the touch on the working girls? You think you deserve a piece of the action for sittin’ here on your can, lookin’ down your nose at them? I don’t think so.
Concierge: I can’t breathe!
Max: I ever hear about you shaking down my sisters again, I’ll come back here and slap you like the bitch that you are.
Bruno: Not bad for a girl.
Max: I was just pretending they were you, sweetheart.
Max: You actually have offspring? Is it considered Homo sapien?
Bruno: Come on, I just would like a glass of ice water on my bedside table at night.
Max: So open a vein.
Sketchy: I resent being called feckless.
Cindy: Me too. What’s it mean?
Normal: Hi. I couldn’t help overhearing you use the M word. Did you inquire as to her whereabouts?
Cindy: She’s at the doctor’s. The good news is, they caught it before it turned into chronic multiple progressive brain dysfunction syndrome. She’ll be in as soon as they’re done testing her.
Normal: Oh, for the love of Mike.
Bruno: (to Max) You look at me like something people scrape off the bottom of their shoes.
Bruno: I figure a girl that can run faster than a speeding bullet, who can hold her breath forever, and take out guys three times her size… Well, I figure she might be one of these, uh… whaddayacallits.
Max: You figured that out all by yourself?
Johannsen: You have two choices. You can come quietly…
Max: Bite me.
Johannsen: …or not.
Max: You shoulda brought more guys.
Max: One at a time, boys. There’s enough ass-kicking to go around.
Logan: They got you good.
Max: I need to get my ass kicked once in a while. Just to keep me real.
Logan: These guys aren’t going away, Max.
Max: Kinda pesky like that.
Max: You don’t have to tell me to be afraid. I’m already there.
Action-packed and frequently hilarious, Red is a standout hour of Dark Angel.