Meow is my absolute favorite episode of Dark Angel, beautifully showcasing everything I love about a show that still resonates with me 14 years later.
The reason this hour works so well, lies in how masterfully it balances comedy and drama to incredible effect. Meow is tremendously funny (thanks to Max going into Heat again), yet it’s also remarkably gut-wrenching with Tinga’s capture (Hit A Sista Back) at its forefront. It’s everything a penultimate episode should be, skillfully laying out the chess pieces for an explosive finale.
Alba in particular does a spectacular job in Meow, and it’s probably the single best piece of acting she’s ever done. She goes through a whole spectrum of emotions and it’s a joy to behold. Not only does she get to tap into her comedic side by chasing every guy in the vicinity, she gets to display her dramatic shops during that extraordinary shower breakdown, and an unforgettable turning-point of a scene with Logan.
And that scene is the real reason this episode is such a stunner, because it finally places Max and Logan’s relationship front and center after a season of immaculate buildup. I love how it begins with Max shamefully telling Logan the truth about her “mating cycle” and one night stand, until he surprises her by rising up from his chair behind her. It’s a terrific, touching moment – punctuated by a powerful turn as Logan’s exoskeleton malfunctions and he crashes to the ground. It’s here in HIS weakest and most vulnerable state, that Max reciprocates that he has “nothing to feel sorry about” before a wonderfully long kiss. “This isn’t Manticore. This is me”. Yep, it’s perfect, and the show’s most glorious emotional climax.
I can’t stress enough how much I adore the episode’s final scene. In fact, it’s one of those rare breathtaking sequences that cemented my love for television at a very young age. The way Max freezes when she sees Tinga in the tube while all hell breaks loose around her (Zack getting shot, Lydecker closing in, and Logan calling out her name), is a thing of utter beauty. The musical score is ridiculously haunting, culminating in one of my favorite moments of all time: Max desperately picking up a chair in slow motion (it’s impeccably edited), charging towards the container, and letting out a howling scream as she shatters the glass and Tinga falls out of the green liquid into her arms. Over a decade later, the scene still gives me goosebumps with its spine-tingling awesomeness. And then of course Lydecker and his men arrive and surround a sobbing Max as Logan calls out to her over the credits. Mind-blowing TV at its finest.
– Logan is downright hilarious, tricking Max by making up a mission about the Taliban and stopping “The Star Wars Defense System“. Of course she couldn’t care less, because she’s practically stripping in his kitchen (being in heat and all).
– The teaser does a hilarious job of setting a lighthearted mood. First there’s a glamor shot of Max in her catsuit getting ready, which sort of tips you off that she’s having a dream (although the show loves sexualizing her). Then Max kicks some ass, until “Hot Boyz” kicks in and she ends up ordering a Manticore operative to strip and get on the bed (in an alley?). It’s all very amusing as the poor guy transforms into Logan, and Max wakes up all panicked and sweaty.
-I think Max using her zoom-in eyes to check out a guy’s butt is probably frowned upon in the superhero code. Thankfully Cindy threatens to beat her up.
– Rafer’s first line: “Did someone order a large sausage?” Yeah that’s not heavy-handed.
– Max is a supersoldier; she can’t possibly be doing pushups on her knees like a regular girl. I do love Cindy ordering her around though: “Drop and give me 20”.
– The episode amusingly breaks into slow-motion when Max checks out Logan in the car. It’s a very funny little moment as Max mistakenly thinks Logan is saying “Will you make out with me while we wait?” when it’s really “Can you make out anything past the gate?”.
– This week’s burglary gone wrong: Max stealing the Star Wars chip and that brilliant escape dive into the water.
– Max aggressively coming on to Normal is one of the show’s funniest moments. Everything from her slow-mo admiration of his muscles leading up to Cindy punching the heck out of her best friend is just great. “Damn I didn’t know this condition of yours was THAT bad”.
– It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment, but Lydecker swipes Sandoval’s pen and that’s what helps him overhear the plan to kill him using the psychotic hoverdrone (I And I Am A Camera).
– I have to admit, the scene with Max speeding through Seattle, running into Rafer, and then completely throwing him around like a rag-doll in the hallway (literally jumping his bones) is very hot. However, the giddy tone comes crashing down the moment we see Max vulnerable (looking almost violated) in bed with intense guilt. It’s a beautiful moment as Max miserably returns at home and sobs while Logan sits at home all alone.
– The South Africans return this week in a great bit of continuity as Max still has the implant from Rising. They track her down sector by sector until Lydecker ultimately closes in.
– It’s the first time she outright says it, but Max feels responsible for Logan being in the wheelchair. After all, she could have protected him in the Pilot.
– Lydecker reprogramming the drone to take out Sandoval = the ultimate badassery. “Consider yourself fired”. Indeed.
– Max sure is a romantic cat-burglar isn’t she? Since it’s the one year anniversary of her original break-in, she enters Logan’s apartment the same way through the roof.
– With everything going to hell, it’s commendable that Max still won’t use a gun.
– It’s probably the biggest goof in TV history, but as Max descends into the silo, she swings off a wall and kicks down two operatives. If you look closely, you can actually see a crew member pushing Alba’s stunt double and running out of frame. It boggles the mind how this scene was even allowed to air. Seriously!
– Lydecker looks genuinely sad when he sees a lifeless Tinga cradled in Max’s arms. John Savage is just phenomenal.
Barbs & Barcodes
Logan: And how am I supposed to get a hold of one of those?
Sebastian: Could always ask your in-house cat burglar.
Logan: She’s not in the loop on this little project, and I want to keep it that way.
Sebastian: No reason she needs to know what the chip is for.
Logan: That’s sneaky. I like it.
Max: I could use a little mirth in my life.
Cindy: So, basically, because of this feline DNA that you got in you, every few months you run around acting like an average male?
Max: Somehow guys can pull it off. I just turn into this freak show.
Cindy: You could always lock yourself in a closet until it’s over with.
Max: Tried that. Blew the door right off the hinges.
Max: If you see me going to the dark side, do me a favor. Smack me really hard right in the face.
Cindy: For real?
Max: It’s the only thing that seems to work.
Cindy: (to Sketchy) Get away from me, fool, before I put you in a world of hurt.
Logan: Did you get it?
Max: No, I just won a wet T-shirt contest. Of course I got it.
Cindy: Okay, that’s it.
Cindy: We’re done with this game.
Cindy: Look at your words.
Max: Like a noose around your neck.
Max: Like with a needle. You have a dirty mind.
Cindy: Yeah? Well, then, what about this one? Which I’m not even gonna say, ’cause I kiss my momma with this mouth.
Cindy: Where you goin’?
Max: I’m gonna put 600 cc’s of raw power between my legs. Gotta clear my head.
Cindy: Now you gonna have to step to the real about you and Logan, sooner or later, or your little head’s gonna explode. But what do I know? I’m just a big ol’ lesbo.
Logan: I’m sorry.
Max: Logan…you’ve got nothing to be sorry for or ashamed of. It’s never been about you being able to walk. Not for me.
Logan: Will you look at us.
Max: Lucky we hooked up.
Max: This’ll wait right?
Logan: We have all the time in the world.
Must Download Tune
Hot Boyz by Missy Elliot, Nas, Eve & Qtip
With equal parts comedy, romance and thrills, Meow is Dark Angel’s crown jewel and my personal favorite episode of the show’s run.