Dark Angel

Dark Angel 2×11 – The Berrisford Agenda

"Sometimes the right thing can go so wrong."


Do my eyes deceive me, or did this feel like a good ol’ season one hour?

There’s no denying that Alec is the year’s MVP, and The Berrisford Agenda gives season two’s standout character an excellent opportunity to show off his dramatic chops. There’s no freaks of the week, breeding cults, or virus drama here, just a well-executed standalone hour with some much-needed backstory.

ย What starts off with Max and Alec on a routine Jam Pony run, soon turns into a traumatic experience for the latter as we slowly uncover the details of a deep-cover mission he underwent back at Manticore. His target was a Manticore subcontractor whose daughter he eventually fell in love with. It’s an intriguing storyline, and Jensen Ackles sells it with a beautifully nuanced performance. It’s also a turning point for his relationship with Max as she finally gets to see why he is the way he is (and it’s remarkably similar to the old-her). In fact, their relationship comes a long way when she sympathetically approaches him at the end and he defensively insists that he’s “always alright”. No tough facade there.

I love the fact that the writers never really paint Alec as an all-out good guy simply because he’s one of the show’s primary protagonists. This is most evident in the cemetery sequence where Rachel’s dad reiterates his hate for the X5. It’s a brave move from a writing standpoint, as other shows would have you take Alec’s side even if he’s the wrong party. But no, our hero is far from innocent.

Thankfully, the episode doesn’t completely drown itself in misery as there’s a wonderfully lighthearted (albeit short) sequence with Joshua throwing a dinner party for Max, Logan and Cindy. I absolutely love the conversation between Max and Logan as they drive over (it feels very normal), while Joshua sets everything up with Cindy. Michael Weatherly in particular is awesome as Logan brings along his bottle of wine and reacts to Joshua’s colorful “table manners”.

Post-Pulse Bits

– The look on Weatherly’s face after Joshua says “Virus bitch going, Max and Logan getting busy”? is just beyond priceless.

– Say what you will about Manticore, they sure know how to educate and culture their X5s – as evidenced by Alec’s incredible piano skills.

– Joshua’s painting is a nice bit of continuity from Medium Is The Message. This time he draws Alec whom he labels as “complicated”.

– Agent Sandoval in the flashbacks! It’s been a while! For those of you who’ve forgotten, Lydecker had him killed with the crazy hoverdrone in Meow.

– The fact that Alec has animosity towards Max escaping Manticore is nothing new. And I like that she still saves him from Berrisford’s guys in the alley (wish we got a better fight scene though).

– I commend the writers for not forcing a love triangle. In fact, Logan even urges Max to check on her brother.

– Alec screaming at Berrisford to shoot him is a strong moment for the character and his undeniable death wish. Thankfully, Max knocks the crap out of Rachel’s dad at the last moment.

– Touching scene with Alec visiting a comatose Rachel. She later passes away, and I guess we’re to assume she was waiting for Alec’s apology before heading off into the light?

– What is it with this show and quick fade-outs? Slow them down a bit and let us bask in the final moments people.

Barbs & Barcodes

Normal: (to Alec) Should have expected when I hired a man in possession of your raw animal charisma that there’d be some kind of future, uh, l’affaire du coeur.

Max: You think they encouraged dating within your unit at Manticore? They didn’t.
Logan: Aside from the whole breeding-partner thing.
Max: Oh, totally different situation. And also, may I add, disgusting.
Logan: Well, I am looking forward to spending some time with Joshua.
Max: Yeah. Yeah, I think you two will get along. Just you know, remember to act natural.
Logan: As opposed to the unnatural way I normally act?
Max: No. You know what I mean. Just don’t stare.
Logan: Oh, okay. Don’t stare at the genetically-engineered part-man, part-dog guy. Got it.
Max: He just has weird table manners. And his hygiene’s a little questionable.
Logan: Max, I know how to handle myself at a dinner party.
Max: I know. I’m just saying… Of course you do.
Logan: Fix myself a dry martini, and politely ask after his stock options.

Cindy: (to Logan) Men. (to Joshua) Dogs. No difference.

Normal: Let’s go, people! These packages aren’t going to sprout little feet and walk home by themselves!

Joshua: (to Max) Alec only outsmarts Alec; he doesn’t know himself. Look… (gestures at his painting) outside lots of pretty colors – tricks and treats. Inside darkness, confusion… Alec.

Alec: You can’t understand; you weren’t there. You ran. You and your little rugrat brothers and sisters. You think life was rough when we were ten? A little schooling, a little brainwashing, some maneuvers outside? You think that was tough?
Max: Sucked pretty hard.
Alec: Take it from me. Later on, it got a whole lot worse. But you did what you had to do. Then you tried to forget. And when you couldn’t forget, they had ways of making you not care.
Max: I’m sorry.
Alec: I don’t want your pity. I want your absence.

Max: (to Logan) I know… “be careful.”

Logan: Might want to look out for him the next few days.
Max: He doesn’t want me looking out for him. He wants to be left alone, pretend like it never happened. He’s so cut off.
Logan: Sounds like this girl I used to know. She was just looking out for herself. No responsibilities, no entanglements.
Max: Yeah. ‘Cause she kept thinking if she ran far enough and fast enough, she could forget all the things they made her do. But sooner or later, it always catches up to you. Learned that the hard way.
Logan: Now it’s Alec’s turn.

The Berrisford Agenda is an engrossing and tragically poignant hour of Dark Angel.

Nad Rating


  1. Much better. Lots of Jensen, who seemed to have ben channeling Dean Winchester a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, Meghan Ory from Once Upon a Time! I barely recognized her without her red lipstick. It's nice to get some backstory on the heretofore snarky sidekick. It's contrived, to be sure, but it's better than just letting Alec exist without reason or drive.

  2. Oh wow Sunbunny I'm totally ashamed to say but I didn't even recognize Meghan Ory! It's crazy I usually spot familiar actors immediately but it didn't register until you just pointed it out! Crazy!

  3. One of the best of the season, for sure, even though it was kinda predictable that he'd fall in love with Rachel for real, that it was her father, not her, trying to lure “Simon” back to the mansion, etc.

    “The fact that Alec has animosity towards Max escaping Manticore is nothing new”

    Oooh…I didn't even think of that. This ep sheds new light on his attitude! He resented Max for escaping because he wishes he had, to save/be with his first love. So Max acts like she hates Alec (or did, before this episode anyway) because she really hates herself. And Alec “hates” (probably too strong a word, but, y'know) Max because he hates/blames *him*self. Cool. I can see a lot of fanfic fodder here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now which would be the healthier relationship for Max? Logan encourages her to be more of a DoGooder like him, but he seems to accept her, including her “flaws”… although you could argue that Max feels not-good-enough and wants to be more “normal” because of Logan, it's not really his fault, or a case of him trying to change her. Should Max be with someone who complements & challenges her (Logan), or someone she has more in common with (Alec)? But Max has changed quite a bit from season one to two. The Old Max has more in common with Alec. Would The New Max be to Alec what Logan is to her? Meaning, someone who encourages him to be more of a DoGooder/his best self? She already is, in a tough-love sort of way. Hmm. I'd love to read more opinions on the pros and cons of both relationships…

    “Agent Sandoval in the flashbacks! It's been a while! For those of you who've forgotten, Lydecker had him killed with the crazy hoverdrone in Meow.”

    I miss the hoverdrones… and the Eyes Only cable hacks are infrequent. Season 2 is lacking in reminders of the Pulse and it's aftereffects. I read something about 9/11 causing the showrunners to minimize the terrorist attack aspect of the show? So people just tuning in to season 2 might just say…oh look, bike messengers…how quaint. Those wacky environmentalists! There's a visible economic/class divide, and some poor people are robbing the rich, but it doesn't look too different from our real world. The setting doesn't really feel like a dystopian future anymore…

  4. “Would The New Max be to Alec what Logan is to her? Meaning, someone who encourages him to be more of a DoGooder/his best self?”

    Fascinating notion.There really are so many layers to the show and I love that.

    You're right about the Post-pulse thing. It's very sad that so many touches that were so prevalent in season one are kind of missing this year. I read the same thing about 9/11 although I have no idea if it's true or not. It could be…

    By the way songspin, whenever you comment on a review, click on subscribe by email below that way you get an email notification of my reply ๐Ÿ™‚ You have to do it every time you comment but it's much more effective.

  5. Actually, I hardly ever login to my email anymore…only really use it to sign up with other sites/forums or retrieve lost passwords. It's probably quicker and easier for me to just check your blog for replies by visiting my bookmarks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Re: layers. Yes, the more I think about it, the characterization is pretty impressive in season 2. I have to give the writers credit for putting more thought into character motives & dynamics than a lot of shows I've seen. The change in Max does make sense based on everything she's been through. And there are still flashes of her old self. If the writers planned out a deliberate character arc for her and she ends up in a good place at the end of the series, I'll forgive everything!

    I'm happy there are more references to the Pulse in the last few eps I've seen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don't know the filming schedule of DA, or whether they paid much attention to fan/internet feedback back then, but I'm wondering if some of the improvements near the end of season 2 might be due to addressing viewer complaints? If I felt the lack of post-Pulse signs of dystopia, no doubt other fans back then noticed and voiced their displeasure too. You're very kind to encourage my comments but I'm sure I'm so late to the fandom that almost everything I could say has been said before. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still feels good to express and discuss though. Thanks for making me feel not-too-late-to-participate-after-all and providing this great place to do so!

  6. Max starting/having a sexual relationship with Alec? This is completely out of character for Max and would be incestuous, since Max sees her fellow transgenics as brothers and sisters. So Max kissing/sleeping with Alec is just yuck and perverted. Sorry!
    Besides, if you like it/him or not, Logan is Max's love of her life and vice versa!

  7. Wow, that was a very compelling hour of television. Jensen truly shows that he can act and do more than just joke around and be snarky. But I must also mention how much the music played a part in me loving this episode. It's gotten so addictive to hear, and yet every time it's absolutely captivating. It's so dark and intense and exhilarating. What a great episode.

    Not my favorite though because very little Max, but nevertheless a very big deal and I'm glad the show did this one. It was much needed for a character that truly shined and elevated the show's second season. Although, maybe I'm starting to see why those rumors about Michael Weatherly being annoyed with Alec taking over his screentime surfaced. It does make a lot of sense especially after watching an episode like this.

    I can't thank you enough for introducing me to this show. Damn, I loved seeing agent Sandoval again! Ahhh, continuity! DA's best field.

    Fantastic ending indeed. Max has truly grown up SO much. When I look back one day and want to rewatch an episode, I'll probably have a hard time deciding which season. Season 1 would sound like an obvious choice, right, if only because Max as an amazing thief is just so amusing to watch. But I'd have a hard time making a choice because season 2 has had quite a good amount of character development, especially with Max. What a truly well-developed and layered character indeed.

    Haha totally agree about the quick fade-outs. Very weird.

  8. Totally agree about the music. It's so gorgeous and haunting and perfect!

    interesting thing about this episode: I didn't use to like it because it featured SO LITTLE Max. But when I rewatched the show last year, I gave it this positive review and enjoyed it quite a bit. It just took me time to appreciate it I guess.

    Also love what you said about unsure what eppy to watch. That's why I don't think it's so clear-cut when people say season one is better. Sure it's probably more consistent and coherent, but season two has awesome stuff as well in a different way! You're reaching the final half of the year ๐Ÿ™‚ Can't wait!

  9. You used the perfect picture for this review! Jensen is amazing! Great episode showing Alecโ€™s backstory & more of Manticore. How he & Max relate to one another is such a great touch. I liked how you said in the end that Rachel probably waited for his apology before passing away. Using the music to call Alec was haunting & disturbing. Also love the beginning with Jam Pony & Max & Alec going to the house & Alec falling off the bike. Oh and Joshuaโ€™s dinner party, every line in that by every character was gold!

Share Your Thoughts