Dark Angel

Dark Angel 2×07 – Some Assembly Required

"I'd give her a hand but she'd probably just bite it off."

It’s no secret that I never liked Zack, but Some Assembly Required succeeds in making the unlikeable X5’s return a worthwhile affair with some action-packed moments and good emotional beats.

The Steelheads (from Two) are back, and they’ve recruited a retrofitted Zack into their midst. Naturally, Max takes it upon herself to save her brother, but his acclimation to a normal life is short-lived; it’s soon revealed that Manticore had brainwashed big brother as he instinctively finds his sights set on Eyes Only / Logan. There’s a powerful message here as Max ultimately decides to give up her brother for the love of her life, leading to a poignant moment when she denies knowing him (after he somehow recognizes her). Our Maxie’s been through a lot this year, and this heartbreaking decision further adds to the long list of responsibilities and sacrifices she’s had to endure. So long Zack, you won’t really be missed.

Thankfully, no freak-of-the-week in this episode which is an enormous relief. With a distinct focus on Zack and Max’s relationship, Some Assembly Required feels like Dark Angel season one which is pretty awesome. In addition, we get a bunch of enjoyable moments with Cindy and the Jam Pony crew while Alec gets to spout off his usual array of amusing one-liners. In fact, the show feels much more confident this year with regards to the group dynamics (I never really enjoyed Herbal or Kendra last season) so that’s a real plus.

Post-Pulse Bits

– The teaser is very effective with the Steelheads robbing an electronic store as we transition to Max and Logan watching them on the security footage. And then Zack shows up and smashes the camera as we cut to the credits.

– I love how Cindy gets Normal terrified of Max and her violent “work-related” fantasies.

– Raise your hand if you think Alec deserved to have Max slam the locker shut on his hand.

– It’s awesome to watch Max and Alec double-team the Steelheads with their super-speed. That is, until pretty boy gets choked by Zack upon arrival.

– Dr. Sam Car is back! We last saw him in Rising, and he’s been great on Mad Men this year.

– I did not miss seeing those zillion Manticore flashbacks again. Thanks a lot Zack.

– I believe the last time Max and Zack were on that beach was in Hit A Sista Back.

– Alec noticing Zack’s kinky hots for Max made me laugh.

– Max got kidnapped a bit too easily for my taste. The dumb Steelhead just poked her with something and knocked her out? Where’s the advanced X5 immunity?

– How creepy is Zack moving in for the kiss on a chained Max? His incest has always been tremendously unsettling.

– The episode’s most exciting sequence is definitely Max breaking free of her chains and warning Logan as Zack hunts him down Terminator style with the red eye (in true James Cameron fashion). It’s a well executed chase beginning with Zack crashing through the skylight, and culminating with Max arriving on her motorcycle and the little fight between the duo. However, the climax fizzles out as Max very conveniently fries Zack with the spilled soap/water. That just made me cringe.

– Wonderful visual touch that’s been consistently reused since the pilot: Max sitting on top of the chair in the doctor’s office like a cat. I just love this subtle reminder of our heroine’s feline DNA.

– Woohoo, back to the Space Needle for the first time since the season premiere. Sadly, the voiceover is just not very insightful or necessary. Oy.

Barbs & Barcodes

Cindy: Fact is, she had a doctor’s appointment this morning.
Normal: Yeah, I don’t pay you people enough to see a doctor.
Cindy: Look, she made me promise to keep it on the low-low, but, um…this doctor that she’s been seeing is a shrink.
Normal: I see. Has the stress from her eleven-to-four job finally become too much for her?

Sketchy: (answering Cindy) You bellowed, Your Originalness?

Sketchy: (after Max grabs him) Have you been lifting weights, Max?
Max: Who?
Sketchy: I made a promise.
Max: I promise you if you don’t tell me in five seconds, I’m gonna introduce your face to your colon.

Max: Guess we’re just gonna have to get their attention, then.
Alec: Please tell me you’re gonna get naked.

Zack: We abandoned our mission.
Max: We got a new mission. It’s called getting a life.

Well: I don’t want to know what goes on in that sick little mind of yours.
Alec: That hurts.
Max: Truth always does.

Cindy: Wonder what’s keeping my girl.
Alec: I’d give her a hand but she’d probably just bite it off.

Alec: There goes her knight in shining armor. Oh, God forbid our little Max have to lug a big, heavy pitcher of beer with her delicate little hands, huh? (Original Cindy gives him a look.) What?


Some Assembly Required is a surprisingly moving and often thrilling hour of Dark Angel.

Nad Rating


  1. Jensen steals every scene he's in, doesn't he?

    I would've liked this one much more if William Gregory Lee was a better actor. You could actually see him struggling to get the right expression on his face and it was painful. Still, I liked the general story. I'm glad Zack's creepy incest thing was finally addressed.

    Like you, I'm really like Jam Pony more this season. Having Alec there to tie the Jam Pony people to the X5 people really helps. Jam Pony feels less like an afterthought.

  2. Yay you're back to watching. You're right, William is atrocious. And I'm so glad you've loving Alec. He really is the highlight this year!

  3. Songspin wrote:

    First I wanna say I'm so glad I found your reviews…they really get me analyzing my own reactions to the episodes. Mostly agree with you, sometimes disagree, but it's always a fun and stimulating read. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you don't mind my bombarding you with comments!

    “feels like Dark Angel season one which is pretty awesome.”

    Yeah! Interesting thoughts on the group dynamic. Herbal was underdeveloped but I'd still prefer him over Joshua. ๐Ÿ˜› Kendra… something about the actresses delivery bugged, so I don't miss her. I feel like we don't see enough of Jam Pony this season, and Original Cindy needs more to do…but I agree with you that Alec's interaction with the group is enjoyable.

    I never really liked Zack either, mostly 'cause he was so bossy with Max. And remember the cruelty of not giving her the contact number he gave all the other brothers & sisters? He knew how much it meant to her, being able to get in touch with her family, but he withheld that info and changed the number and basically told her she wasn't trustworthy enough to have it! All because she refused to leave Seattle/Logan as he instructed. Grrr. It was so hypocritical too because, oh, Max was trustworthy enough for *Zack* to contact when *he* needed help escaping from Manticore… and yet, she's a “security risk” who's not allowed to have the number to be able to call for help if *she* needs him/her family? Right. Clearly the jerk was just punishing her for being in love with Logan instead of him.

    And yet…like you…I ended up feeling sorry for Zack at the end of this episode. Even though he *was* creepily insistent in trying to kiss Max (twice!) while she was chained up and resisting his advances. I don't know if *technically* they're related and it would be incest, but she only sees him as a brother, so it would feel squicky to her, and he should respect that. Too bad the conclusion only reinforces Max's angsty state in season 2. Why couldn't she have a happy ending for once instead of another loss/sacrifice? (I totally sympathize with her determination to give the mermaid a happy ending in the next episode. I loved her little rant about writers who prefer unhappy endings. My sentiments exactly!)

  4. I'm watching DA again and just can't get why they had to cancel the show.Anyways, I don't think the X5 units are related at all. They still felt like brothers and sisters to each other and Zack being the CO unit was seen as the eldest brother.Leaders always have an hypocritical side to them and don't always follow what they preach but they have to make sacrifices for their team which Zack did ; with the others and particularly with Max.
    I wonder if they were still at manticore if Max and him would have been paired for breeding since they are the top of X5 group. Or if they would have created the next generation of X5 with their genes.

    As sick as manticore is, I think the idea should have been developed a little bit more. TV producers are really running out of ideas and it's shame that they put an end to such an interesting show, now you can watch all the remakes of twilight etc.

  5. I already mentioned this in the last ep but I love all the unexpected twists this show keeps throwing at us!

    First there's Zack's return. Well certainly didn't see that one coming and it was surprisingly compelling to watch him piece up his old memories. Even better and more shocking though was Max shooting him down like that. Wow. The shot of Max tearing up as she sacrifices his life gave me goosebumps! Love this woman.

    And Max telling Zack she doesn't recognize him was heartbreaking and awesome.

    Indeed this felt like a season 1 episode but now I'm ready for more Joshua, Alec and Father sandman storylines haha! I guess I grew up just as much as the show ๐Ÿ˜€

    Can't wait to see more but at the same time I'm very scared of it ending on a bad note and leaving me desperately wanting more :/ I'll take your word for it though.

  6. See? Even Zack was great here! Love the whole chase/fight underground sequence!

    Prepare yourself to get disappointed Chris! My review will hopefully take the sting out of the cancellation as I Tried to see the bright side, but it STILL pisses me off that we never got a third season and more when so much crap (Gotham Gotham Gotham) stays on TV!

  7. What a heartbreaking episode. Iโ€™ve never had any problem with Zack before & he was good here imo. Poor Max has to always let her brothers & sisters go. The chase scene was great & I always love the flashbacks. The jam pony crew is one of my favorite parts of the show. The music was amazing as always. Steelhead Eddy reminds me of Spike from Buffy. Canโ€™t wait to re-watch the rest! But one issue I do have with this season is, unless Max is angry, her lines are delivered very monotone, slow & depressed, especially when she & Zack talk by the water.

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