Dark Angel 2×02 – Bag ‘Em

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I love it when a show goes meta, and that line perfectly encapsulates what this episode tried to accomplish: introduce the show’s brand new big bad. Unfortunately, Ames White isn’t nearly as subtle as Lydecker was, and Martin Cummins doesn’t get to do much besides throw tantrums like a 12 year old. Nevertheless, he gets some fun banter with Max, and the show admittedly needs a straight-up villain now that Lydecker’s harmless and Madame X is dead and all. On that front, Ames is sufficiently ruthless; the first thing he does is have his men gun down defenseless Manticore escapees after luring them with a false signal.

It’s also important to note that we finally learn why Max is so special when White gets his hands on her file: she apparently doesn’t have junk DNA. Thus, our little Maxie has some sort of special purpose which feeds into the Chosen One shtick. Compelling stuff (really).

Alec continues to be a highlight, and he’s even funnier than he was in the premiere. He starts the hour by living the life with a hooker in a dingy motel room, and then finds himself reluctantly aiding Max in saving the young transgenics. Ackles gets a ton of amusing zingers and still manages to remain likeable throughout (an impressive feat). The guy just adds a real sense of fun that’s been missing from Dark Angel since Max got all angsty.

Sadly, this week perfectly showcases how the virus will affect the Max-Logan dynamic: it’s ridiculously irritating. These two were a joy to watch in season one – each episode peppered with playful banter and heartwarming moments. But now? We get a whole lot of drama with Max moping around about how they shouldn’t be near each other. It’s not fun to watch and I kind of wish they never went there.

Post-Pulse Bits

– It’s way too brief, but Max and Cindy’s reunion hug always gets me warm inside. And then Max hilariously shaves her legs as Cindy finally discovers Logan is Eyes Only. ‘Bout time.

– It’s pretty random (but funny) to watch the couple escaping from LA deciding to head back after they run into transgenics.

– Max gets her job back by flashing her “scar” to Normal. Ha! And my God Alba looks gorgeous this year. Seriously.

– Asha and the S1W are being framed for burning Manticore. I feel like I should care; thankfully, neither does Max.

– I love the sequence with Max coming to the rescue on her bike. It builds up slowly with cuts of her zooming through the woods and then she thrillingly slides her Ninja and takes out a whole wave of soldiers. Epic!

– Does White have a little thing for our Maxie? “Not bad looking for a freak”.

– Alec throwing “hydrogenated imitation pork product” at the X7 never ceases to crack me up.

– The comedic highlight of the hour is Max addressing the troops. I like the reasoning behind her naming each of the kids (Zero, Fix-it, Bullet) and Alba does a great job with the delivery.

– Lydecker sure swiped the Manticore database from White’s room quite easily didn’t he?

– So there’s a very cool technology tidbit with White’s operative drawing a picture of Max using the sound-waves emitted by the X7s. However, the moment is TOTALLY ruined by the hilarious use of that same 3D render of Max from Blah Blah Woof Woof. I still can’t believe they had the nerve to use that horrid depiction TWICE. God help us.

– My favorite scene of the episode is definitely the barn attack. I love how Max takes out White’s soldiers one by one (like a ghost) and Alba looks downright perfect in that black leather getup. However, she’s defeated way too easily with one blow to the head. The lasers pointed at her fallen body is an undoubtedly cool visual though.

– I don’t know how I feel about Max bonding with Sand-freak in the cell by giving him a cockroach to eat. Heavy-handed much?

– So who is White working for? It doesn’t seem like he’s on Manticore’s side. Is he just a random government hire?

– While I like the thematic resolution of Alex and the kids saving Max, the climax felt devoid of any action besides the fact that Mr. Sandfreak saved the day and got shot by White. Wow he has a heart of gold, how lovely.

– Max and the transgenics paying their respects at the end with the song could have been extremely corny (and it kind of was), but they salvaged it by including shots of the fallen X5s we already know (Tinga, Zack etc…). Thank God they didn’t just focus on the nameless ones who died in the teaser.

– Well at least Logan had something to do this week as he predictably came through at the end with new “papers” for Max’s crew. Poor Weatherly. Perhaps the rumors of him being displeased by Ackles taking the spotlight were true?

– I did like the final glance between Max and Logan as she rides off on her bike. However, we did NOT need that last voiceover. It didn’t say anything we didn’t already know (a common flaw with this show), and it just felt remarkably forced. Ugh.

Barbs & Barcodes

Cindy: I see they don’t let you do your nails up at Manticore, either.
Max: No respect for the girly arts, that place. I had to torch it.

Cindy: It’s gonna be all right. It’s all good.
Max: It doesn’t feel all good. It doesn’t even feel a little bit good.

Max: Can I use your phone?
Normal: What about the package?
Max: I’ll get to it.
Normal: It’s like she never left.

Hooker: (admiring Alec’s barcode) This is so cool. Does it say how much you cost?
Alec: A lot more than you, sweetheart.

Male: Why would Manticore try to get rid of us?
Alec: I want to get rid of you, and I just met you.
Man: We should be going, sir. They’re waiting.
Alec: Okay, what part of “they’re trying to kill you” did you not understand?

Max: This is happening because of me – I forced them to go, that’s my family. Some of them are screwed up; some of them don’t look like you or me or anything anybody’s ever seen before… but I’m responsible for them just the same.

Max: (when Logan tries to grab her) Careful!
Logan: Now see, you took the word right out of my mouth.

Max: (to Alec) I’d kick your ass but we don’t have time for that right now.

Female: I’m gonna be sick.
Alec: Bet that one flunked field med.

White: Help me to understand how a girl on a motorcycle got the drop on you and all of your men?

Max: You must be the new bad guy in my life.
White: You know 452, you’re much prettier than in your picture.
Max: Gee, miss the old bad guys already.
White: I had a chance to peruse the DNA workup done during your most recent stay at Manticore.
Max: Let me guess. My insurance didn’t cover it and you want me to go out-of-pocket.
White: Are you familiar with the term “junk DNA?”
Max: Layman’s terms for base pairs that don’t contain viable genetic information. Doesn’t do much more than fill space. Kind of like that gray, squishy thing in between your ears.
White: Would you be surprised if I told you that you didn’t have any junk DNA? Seems every single base pair is coded for some specific genetic purpose. Now the money question is…what does it mean? What is it that your genes are coded to do?
Max: Kick ass mostly. After that, wouldn’t know.

Alec: Still wanna kick my ass?
Max: Maybe later. Hurry up.

Max: (to Alec) If you wanna be the hero, you can’t be half-assed about it.

Conclusion

Bag ‘Em is an enjoyable follow-up with enough intriguing moments to make it worthwhile.

Nad Rating
B

8 comments

  1. This one was okay. I think Alba's gotten better, and of course Jensen Ackles is always a treat. The non-human looking things freak me out. I've been conditioned by Buffy and Supernatural to think 'demon' when I see something like sandfreak. It's hard for me to remember that on this show, they're still people. Mostly.

  2. Hahha I feel you as I was a Buffy watcher before DA so I would also forget they're considered people. You're going to love this season if you're an Ackles fan. He's awesome!

  3. I totally agree with you about missing the playful banter between Max and Logan. I hate the non-stop angst. I also agree that Lydecker was a more subtle and interesting villain.

    “Poor Weatherly. Perhaps the rumors of him being displeased by Ackles taking the spotlight were true?”

    And poor Jessica Alba…since Alec took Max's more fun character traits too! Did she want to do more drama/angst, as an actress, I wonder… I've heard there's a lot of Max/Alec fanfic out there, since Logan's character was kinda wrecked. I'm gonna delve into it after I finish watching the series. I just hope some of the fanfic writers portray Max as more like her season one self!

  4. I really loved this one too! Since the show was very short-lived, I think I'm appreciating the “good” episodes more as this one was solid (even if it wasn't exactly groundbreaking in any way). But I am worried about Alec taking over Logan :/ I like the guy a lot, he's extremely hilarious (especially when he was “bonding” with that X7) but I need my healthy dose of Max/Logan screentime soon!!

    Yay, I'm so glad the show addressed Max and Cindy right in the beginning. I guess I was being too harsh in the premiere because their premiere was everything I wanted it to be…down to the shaving scene and opening up about Eyes Only. Max's scene with Logan as she tells him to stay away wasn't as bad as I thought this storyline was going to be. I'm still kind of enjoying this dramatic plot, especially when he tries to touch her and she screams “Careful!”. It was powerful and real.

    This time, I didn't like the Sandfreak but that's really mostly the character's fault. Had zero personality. But man did I enjoy seeing those kids! The BEST moment of the episode: Max naming them. I laughed so hard when she named the first one Zero. I think Jessica Alba would be PERFECT in a comedy. She has perfect comedic timing.

    Haven't warmed up to the new Big Bad because I just miss Lydecker so, so much. This guy is too young what the hell! It's so hard to take him seriously because he was just whining the whole time. Idiot.

    So maybe the show isn't what it used to be in season 1, but I still love this universe. My only problem with it so far isn't that it's gone too sci-fi or Max/Logan have a depressing subplot that keeps them apart. It's that the Big Bad is annoying, and Lydecker has gone “soft”. If the villain becomes slightly better, I'm still I'll be able to enjoy the rest of the show just as much as I did season one. Let the marathon begin!

  5. Yay so pleased to hear that!

    Very valid point that the Big Bad is the weak link. White is quite lame in this hour and whiny. But did't you love Max's banter with him? One of my favourite all time lines is the whole “you must be the new bad guy in my life / miss the old bad guys already”. But that's all due to Max's kick-assery!

    And Alba's comedic timing is excellent I agree! She's sooooooo funny naming them in this hour. Her and Alec are just hilarious together!

  6. I enjoyed this one. To me, there was no filler & it was action-packed. Especially loved the opening scene. As I said for designate this, when I first watched season 2 I didn’t really care for it. But now that I’m rewatching it, I really love it so far. White is ruthless & doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t have a soft spot like Lydecker did. I’ve never been a Max/Logan fan so I don’t care as much about the virus. I’ve always loved Max & Alec’s chemistry & all their time together.

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