At first glance, Art Attack could very well be described as a “filler” episode.
Much like Out, nothing monumental happens in Max’s life and there isn’t any forward momentum where Manticore is concerned. However, since Dark Angel had a very short run, I’ve grown to appreciate every single episode, and Art Attack effectively expands the show’s world ever further. Plus, it puts a great deal of focus on Max and Logan’s terrific dynamic, making it a worthwhile (and highly amusing) watch.
Logan asking Max to be his date for a family wedding provides the perfect backdrop for some further insight into Max’s psyche. Our killing machine is lovably naive this week, as she tries to piece together the notions of marriage, weddings, and bouquets. She then tries to come to terms with Mr. Eyes Only’s unimaginable weakness in front of his spiteful family – particularly when he doesn’t even try to retrieve his mother’s stolen locket. It’s all wonderfully realized, with an eye-opening depiction of Seattle’s elite who aren’t nearly as affected by the Pulse as the rest of society.
Unfortunately, the subplot with the switched Jam Pony packages (and Normal getting kidnapped) isn’t the most exciting adventure. After the Manticore trials and Max’s vicious encounter with The Reds, it feels like a jarring tonal shift (albeit an enjoyable one). Nevertheless, the quest for the painting showcases another fascinating reality: America has been slowly losing its culture (!) to the highest bidders. And we’re not just talking about art here, as even the frickin’ Statue of Liberty was shipped off by the Sultan of Brunei. Thankfully, Max and Logan save the day with a brilliant plan: Logan shoots the “defenestrated” body and throws the gun into the gangster’s bag, thus framing him for a murder he already committed (while Max swipes the painting). It’s a standalone plot, but it’s a serviceable one at that, with some compelling nuggets of world-building.
The episode’s final scene between Max and Logan the morning after is one I downright adore. Alba and Weatherly ooze charm and sexual tension as Logan offers to buy Max the dress, while she gives him his mom’s locket (which she stealthily swiped from dear Aunt Margo). And then, as a beautiful final note, Logan hits his leg and realizes that he’s regained some sensation. It’s an unexpected and genuinely hopeful ending.
– The opening with Logan playing wheelchair basketball is a very commendable one. My cousin was paralyzed around the same time the show started airing and I remember loving this positive portrayal of paraplegics on screen.
– The awkward banter between Max and Logan as they agree to their “date” is a hoot. Both are dying to get together, yet they’re also hesitant of giving away too much power.
– How awesome is Max visiting the upscale clothing store (with Kendra and Cindy in tow) before robbing it? “Could you put this on hold? I’m going to come back for it later.” She’s a bad girl that one.
– One of Dark Angel‘s most memorable moments: Logan in a tux in Jam Pony watching a gorgeous Max in a red dress approach him in slow motion.
– Priceless look from Logan as Max inspects the ring and says she can “fence it for 10,000 easy”.
– Interesting tidbit: Logan’s uncle Jonas manufactures the hoverdrone chip. I guess that’s one way people make zillions in a dystopic world.
– It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but the priest declares the couple married by the power invested in him by “the military authority of the state of Washington”.
– Love how Max can’t fathom why someone would cry in a wedding, and soon finds herself wiping away tears (which naturally catches Logan’s eye).
– Logan introducing Max as hailing from “The Greenwich Gueveras” always makes me smile.
– Thanks to Sunbunny for catching this awesome touch: Daphne says she’s wearing Allegra Versace, Donatella Versace’s daughter (who didn’t end up following in her mother’s footsteps).
– Cindy tells Normal she’ll save him if he stops saying “bip bip bip”. That sounds like a fair trade.
– “Found ’em“. Love the way Max lies to the valet and swipes the keys to a fancy ride.
– Hilarious sight: Max in her dress hopping and breaking into the building. And then stripping to search a dumpster for the painting.
– Max’s encounter with the suicidal jumper is bizarrely amusing. Thankfully she later asks for his package back from the gangster since she’s a “professional.”
– Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. I guess you learn something new every day.
– Cheesy yet touching scene with Logan reading Max’s lips who saves his speech at the last second.
– What’s funnier than Max dunking the sleazeball in the jacuzzi? Cindy rolling up her sleeves and doing the same so Max doesn’t wet her dress.
– Max infiltrating and kicking ass on the ship is highly entertaining. The “me love you long time?” line always rubs me the wrong way, but Maxie tripping on her dress and falling on her ass more than makes up for it.
– This is the first appearance of Logan’s contact, Dr. Beverly Shankar (the coroner). And if you’ve watched the second season of the show, you’ll recognize Otto as the airport security guy.
– Normal tries to have a touching moment with Max. She hilariously reciprocates by ordering him out of the car.
– How funny is Max deflecting the bouquet towards Cindy in mid-conversation so Daphne doesn’t catch it?
– So Daphne (Logan’s ex-fiance) is a lesbian! I honestly didn’t see that one coming. Bravo Cindy.
Barbs & Barcodes
Max: (to Logan) Are you dehydrated or something? ’Cause you’re not making a whole hell of a lot of sense.
Max: Don’t talk to me about snooty. With my DNA, I’m pretty much a blood relative to everybody who’s been anybody, ever. Winston Churchill, Einstein, Pocahontas.
Cindy: (looking at the dress) Wonder how much cheddar they want for this bitch?
Normal: I just called you and the rest of your colleagues here idiots. It’s from the Greek idiotes, as in one afflicted by idiocy, a feeble-minded person having a mental age not exceeding three years.
Cindy: I want an apology.
Normal: Is that right?
Normal: All right. Perhaps I was unduly harsh calling you people idiots… when in fact you’re morons. From the Greek moros, as in feeble-minded, or mental defective, having an age of between eight and twelve, capable of doing menial tasks under supervision. Now get out of my sight, or you’re all fired.
Logan: I’m no good with public speaking.
Max: You deliver cable hacks to millions of people.
Max: See, that’s what I don’t get; how can you promise you’re gonna love someone forever?
Logan: Well, it’s a declaration of intent. A vow.
Max: You took it, and look how that turned out.
Logan: You and Uncle Jonas are going to get along famously.
Cindy: Well, what’s in it for me?
Normal: Money. Lots of it. Ten bucks.
Max: Junior’s doing just fine.
Jonas: Of course, if you’re shacked up with him, you’re probably one of those free thinkers, too, and think I’m talking through my hat.
Max: (smiling sweetly) Not unless you wear your hat on your ass.
Max: You have a wife and a kid, and you’re about to take a header into the no-parking zone? (Slaps him upside the head)
Guy: My job-
Max: Is just a job! Get over it!
Logan: So about the dress…
Max: (at the same time): So about Daphne…
Logan: You stole it, didn’t you?
Max: I borrowed it. Was she an old girlfriend?
Logan: Yes, actually. Borrowed it from whom?
Max: Store downtown. Were you guys serious?
Logan: We were engaged for all of five minutes. You gonna return it?
Max: None of your business. Why’d you guys break up?
Logan: None of your business.
Max: So what’s the dealio with this “catching the bouquet” thing?
Cindy: Whoever gets it is supposed to get married next to the man of her dreams. Some kind of bent heterosexual thing.
Logan: How did you–
Max: Genetically engineered pickpocket.
While it’s not the most significant hour of Dark Angel, Art Attack is still a charming and pleasant enough episode.