Dark Angel

Dark Angel 2×10 – Brainiac

"Well if she's not happy and you're not happy then I'm not happy. Max are you happy?"

What a terrible, terrible episode.

I can always find moments, lines and scenes to appreciate in the weakest Dark Angel episodes. Hours such as Boo and Shorties In Love were filled with hidden gems that made those episodes worthwhile. Brainiac however has absolutely zero saving graces. It’s a horrible hour, that’s both pointless and painfully unnecessary.

The main reason this episode’s a flop is due to the introduction of Brain: an X series who sees the future using probability. It’s an awful concept, and it’s moronically executed. His puppy-dog love for Max (since she broke out of Manticore and left him all alone) falls flat, as does his climactic death scene which lacks any sort of emotional resonance. The writers also try to shoehorn the whole “magnificent” shtick a couple of times but it fails miserably (not to mention the fact that Max cries in the hour’s closing moments over someone she just met). It made me wish season-one Max was around to smack this mopey version of our heroine around. A pity.

Asha get a little a bit of spotlight this week with her useless S1W group. However, the mystery of the “traitor” also doesn’t work seeing as how we know none of the group’s members and the actual mole turns out to be yet another nameless character. Seriously what were the writers thinking? Even Alec and Max’s banter isn’t quotable this week.

Post-Pulse Bits

– The teaser is a flop, with a distinct focus on Brain whom we could care less about.

– Normal’s suspicions of Max being S1W could have been interesting but nothing really stems from it.

– So Brain is stealthy because he’s fat and can blend in? How fascinating.

– The kid in the arcade says the “hottest chick he’s ever seen” would come looking for him. I guess the writers have a crush on Alba? (don’t we all).

– The “break an egg” bus chase tries to be a different kind of action scene for the show, but it just ends up being awkward.

– Alec’s standout moment of the hour: mouthing off “be careful” and making fun of Logan as he talks to Asha. “What in the world do they see in you?” Hilarious.

– Max carrying Brain on her back while disguised as a cop is an admittedly funny sight.

– Max beating up the cops isn’t the greatest fight scene, but I do like how she charges at them by popping a wheelie on her bike. And Alba of course looks gorgeous in all that leather.

– Even though the writers establish that Brain uses probabilities and doesn’t see visions of the future, he still has one of Max’s death not once but twice. It’s pretty insipid, as if we’d forget that wretched hallway.

– I guess Max hugging Brain as he dies (and he hides her) is a semi-touching moment.

– Max is perched on a chair in the final scene. We all know how much I love it when our feline heroine does that.

– Well I guess this episode gave us one long-term development: Alec got himself a new apartment!

Barbs & Barcodes

Max: You WHAT? I’m dying because you turned yourself in on purpose?
Brain: Well I thought you were supposed to be strong.
Max: I’m not superwoman!

Brain: (to Max) You look so beautiful when you run.

Max: Brain! Watch the hands.
Brain: I’m just trying to hang on here.
Max: Hang on a little lower…. not that low.


Aggravatingly dull, Brainiac is a dreadfully disposable hour of Dark Angel.

Nad Rating


  1. Not so much. Brain's obsession with Max was certifiably creepy (how did she not run screaming in the other direction?) and his death was so stupid. He could've just said “hey, Max, duck when you kick down the door” and everything would've been fine. Poorly written. Stupid concept. 'D' is a good grade for this one.

  2. “He could've just said “hey, Max, duck when you kick down the door” and everything would've been fine”

    God yes, sunbunny. That was really contrived, I suppose because the writers wanted Brain to take a bullet for Max and save her in this dramatic fashion instead of just giving her a proper warning. We've seen Max zip and zoom out of the way of bullets before. I'm sure she could've ducked out of the way this time. It didn't make any sense that Brain had this specific “vision” of the door and the sign on the door and everything. What does that have to do with him being engineered to calculate probabilities? He said he wasn't psychic…but that's what it looked like.

    Really, really badly written. I got the impression that Brain was supposed to “represent” the writer's idea of The Typical Jessica Alba Fanboy (and that's why Max was flattered by his obsessive “I know you better than anyone!” fixation, instead of being creeped out. Wouldn't want to alienate the fanbase, right?)…you know… all you overweight (but loveable!) geeks out there who sit around watching TV, playing video games, and feeling overlooked/invisible. You, yes YOU, can be Jessica's hero! You have a 100% chance… of not even getting a farewell kiss from her before you die after saving her life. πŸ˜‰

  3. Haha that's very funny about the fanboy and probably extremely accurate. That really cracked me up πŸ™‚ Especially the farewell kiss part!

    But yeah, glad you agree it's an atrocious episode.

  4. Lol, what did I just watch? πŸ˜›

    Yeah, that was just…boring and VERY, VERY unnecessary. I kept rolling my eyes at all the exposition. I've realized while bingewatching this show that it's actually very well-written but this one was a huge mess, writing-wise. I could not handle all the “magnificent” crap they were shoving down our throats and Brain was more creepy and annoying than lovable and cute. What a flop.

    Still though, I couldn't but smile at some of the banter that makes this show so unique and different from other TV shows (I know, I'm unstoppable: I keep making comparisons to other shows) But let's face it: Gotham pulled over 15 terrible episodes in its first season (more is yet to come) and none of those were even watchable. I feel like DA is always watchable to me and again, for once I'm at a loss of words, unsure what makes this show so “lovable” to me. That even an hour as embarrassing as this one (I know I'll never watch this one again), it's STILL nice to watch!

    It took a terrible episode like this one to make me realize that I love this show so much more than half the crap that's on TV now. Again, that's a testament to how unique the DA universe is. Enough ranting, I'm off to watch more now πŸ™‚

  5. Haha whew at least you still hated this one πŸ™‚ But yeah, I'd pick a BAD episode of DA over half the crap on TV any day!

    Oh and just cause we haven't said this enough… DIE GOTHAM!

  6. I haven't seen this episode (or any Dark Angel, really) since its original run on FOX, but it's one that left a deep impression on me. I think that if you've lived the hyper-conspicuous yet invisible life of a fat person, it speaks to you in ways that a “normal” isn't going to understand. Just the fact that a sympathetic fat character exists in the Dark Angel universe makes the show special to me in a way that Buffy (despite its endearing cast and killer dialogue) is not. (Only demons and cursed ex-boyfriends are fat in the Buffyverse.) I'm proud to be a member of Freak Nation.

    Brain's death may have been contrived, but it was also inevitable. Hollywood must've passed a law about that time dictating that every sympathetic fat character on TV had to die, just in case the makers of Diet Shlock got the idea that you were “glorifying obesity,” or at least suggesting that being fat wasn't the worst possible thing that could happen to you. From St. Elsewhere and Boston Public to American Horror Story and Game of Thrones, the corpulent carnage continues.

  7. Wow thank you so much for such an insightful comment. You made me look at the episode in a COMPLETELY other way. Much appreciated and I hope you rewatch the show soon πŸ™‚

  8. This episode shares my same thoughts about Boo. Nothing memorable but it is funny thanks to Logan, Max & Alec. At least with Boo the comedy kept going. I was more annoyed by this episode because it tried very hard to be dramatic when it wasn’t. I especially hated Brain saying he knew Max more than anyone & everything about her. I thought I’d never say this, but even the music irritated me, because they tried so hard to use it to sell Max/Brain. But one thing I do like is the diversity of characters in this show by including someone like Brain. This episode proves that the main characters are so developed & blend well together, that they make any bad episode enjoyable. I’d re-watch this & any bad DA episode again instead of any bad Buffy one, because I don’t think those episodes/characters are as good as these.

  9. Well, I also enjoyed this episode because, as Anonymous said, it expresses the hyper-conspicuous yet invisible existence of the geeks no one else pays attention to. I especially appreciated the scene where he talks to the woman at the apartment mailbox, and she does’t notice him at all. You people who live in the center of others’ attention would not notice the scene.

    I also agree with you, Nad, about the emptiness of the SW1 plot and the traitor. And Asha who never seems to do anything at all.

    Overall, I’d give it a C+

    1. I definitely see your point Jeff. Great perspective. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚ Always to meet other DA fans!

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