There’s no two ways around it, Gill Girl is an embarrassing episode of Dark Angel.
Mermaids? Really? Am I still watching the same show? The mere notion is groan-inducing, and it’s the worst thing the show’s ever produced (Boo is exempt from comparison). Sure the writers try to give the mermaid a serious edge, being “designed for amphibious sabotage and laying mines”, but it feels painfully forced. And if the mermaid AND merman weren’t bad enough, the writers had to throw in the fact that they had EGGS too. And don’t even get me started on that terrible ending with Max and Logan sitting under a full moon as they watch the Mer-family swim off into the ocean. Ugh. Where’s the thrilling and daring Dark Angel of last season? Because this cheesy mess is unacceptable.
It’s a shame the hour’s main plot is so atrocious, because the episode surprisingly gets a lot of things right. The virus scare, the banter between Max and Alec (the strip club scene is comedy gold) – but it’s all for naught because of the severe lows in the freak of the week plot. In fact, without the humor, the second half of the episode is a disaster as it has nothing but the mermaid garbage to keep it afloat (pardon the pun).
I also have another major beef with the hour: why half-delve into Max’s religious beliefs when you could dedicate an entire episode to this fascinating exploration? The last time she confronted religion, it was in the outstanding Pollo Loco (when she wasn’t much of a believer), but now, all we get is that little scene in the church with the disappearing old lady and an all-too brief conversation about miracles with Original Cindy. It’s a truly wasted opportunity.
But the episode’s worst element? Max nagging about wanting a happy ending and “going for the Disney version.” It’s just so heavy-handed and terrible, and it’s NOT Dark Angel. We get it, she wants to see the Mer-Family happy because she can’t be happy with Logan; you don’t have to bang that notion on our head with a flaming sledgehammer… twice.
Speaking of Max, this episode features one of the show’s most iconic scenes, and that’s our heroine stripping in slow motion to gain entry into the club. While I won’t deny that it’s one of my favorite scenes from the show (Alba’s NEVER looked better), it’s enormously gratuitous. In fact, I can’t help but always flash back to Alba’s DVD commentary from the season one finale, where she mentions that the first season “was the show” with obvious disdain for network interference in the second season. I’m sure this sequence was ridiculously uncomfortable for her to film, and it’s admittedly irritating to see such a badass character being served up on a platter so callously. But on the other hand, Max is a badass, and she’s often used her beauty because of the power it wields over the opposite sex. So I’m torn…
Although Max and Logan are Dark Angel‘s endgame couple, Gill Girl effectively showcases why so many people ship Max and Alec. Whether they’re throwing zingers at one another, or kicking ass side by side, they’re always an utter joy to watch. In addition, Alba and Ackles do a great job of elevating whatever material they’re given and supplying it with a real sense of gravitas.
– The teaser has an awesome fakeout with Logan calling Max for help, when it turns out he’s just babysitting. We don’t see Max interact with kids enough, and it’s VERY amusing (I particularly love the brownie seduction).
– The transition from Max reading about the little mermaid to the actual mermaid being captured is pretty stupid. And the gills are disgusting.
– Why do I feel like Max would have let Logan die if she knew beforehand that Asha was his emergency speed dial? Still, Alba’s performance is incredible. It’s heartbreaking to watch her helpless on the sidelines as the doctors try to save Logan.
– White is back and he’s jumping rope. Funny, and so not threatening.
– Although it’s very angsty, I do like Max walking away from Logan in the hospital in slow motion. There’s an added detail with him in the wheelchair for the first time in a while that makes it even more powerful.
– How hysterical is Max’s attempt at “fitting in” with the lap dance? Patting Alec on the head and fiddling with his ear.
– Normal is quite hilarious like a giddy boy enjoying his various lap-dances at the “burlesque hall.” I especially love it when he and Sketchy spot Max in Alec’s lap and assume she’s a stripper.
– The merman reveal is an effective twist, but only because you wouldn’t think the show would jump the shark so preposterously.
– Interesting tidbit: White apparently has a wife and son. God help them with his tantrums.
– This is the first appearance of White’s right-hand guy, Otto. He seems… nice.
– Good to know there isn’t much animosity between Max and Asha anymore as they both work to fix Mr. Merman’s water tank.
– I’m a sucker for shows going meta, so it’s pretty cool that Alec acknowledges out loud the fact that Logan always has a solution for everything. He really is the perfect embodiment of the audience this week.
– Love the scene with Max and Alec climbing and infiltrating White’s base (although the stunt doubles are quite visible).
– The worst wirework the show’s ever done is Max hopping the barrier and FLYING to the lower level. It’s so awkward and badly-staged. Seriously the entire action sequence with the steam explosion is a big flop. The one saving grace is the funny bit with Alec knocking the same old guard out as they leave.
– Anyone else notice the horrendously CGI-ed gun when White watches the eye-cam feed? Ugh.
– It sure looks like Alec has his sights set on Asha now.
– I never noticed before, but Alba and Ackles both have the same initials (JA). There’s another reason to ship the couple.
Barbs & Barcodes
Max: Hi. What’s your name?
Girl: Go away.
Max: Nice name. I’m Max.
Logan: Brittany, say hi.
Logan: Max is here to help me take care of you.
Max: Took the word right out of my mouth.
Logan: I’m exhausted. She won’t take a nap…she won’t eat anything I give her…
Max: Oh, she doesn’t like bruschentta with a crisp pre-Pulse sauterne?
Logan: Look, it’s one thing for Manticore to give you a retrovirus tailor-made to kill me, but I seriously doubt that they factored a six-year-old into their evil plan.
Alec: There’s one problem. There’s no ladies allowed inside unless they’re working.
Alec: That’s okay, there’s a line around back. Girls show up, and management picks the good ones.
Max: No way!
Alec: Come on, Max, don’t sell yourself short. I mean, you’ve got a decent shot.
Max: Forget it!
Alec: All right, fine, be a prude.
Bouncer: Get a look at the catch of the day. You ain’t never seen seafood this fresh.
Alec: (noticing Max) All right, that’s good, sweetie. Thank you.
Stripper: But the song isn’t over yet.
Alec: You know, you’re just so beautiful I can’t take it anymore.
Max: Can we concentrate on coming up with a plan?
Alec: I’m thinking.
Max: You’re talking.
Alec: I can do both.
Max: I doubt that.
Alec: Well, you just lost your tip. (She hits him)
Alec: It’s a shame.
Max: It’s sick, is what it is.
Alec: No, I mean her all alone out there in the ocean, nothin’ but fish to talk to…
Max: He touched my ass, someone get him outta here.
Alec: (grabbing him) Alright you’re going.
Max: (dramatically shouting) That’s right this is a decent place!
Alec: So uh, the girl in the tank, she’s just a friend right?
Alec: See, I told you – he’s not gonna die for anybody. He’s going right back into the water. He’s gonna swim away and meet a nice flounder somewhere.
Max: Pay attention!
Alec: I got us a gun, didn’t I?
Must Download Tune
One Minute Man by Missy Elliot
Gill Girl is an entertaining but extremely uneven hour of Dark Angel.