Dark Angel

Dark Angel 2×12 – Borrowed Time

"Can my life suck any harder?"
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Borrowed Time is the single most uneven episode Dark Angel ever.

On one hand, there’s a poignant and emotionally satisfying storyline with Max and Logan finally coming together for the first time since the season premiere. However, this development is severely tarnished by the worst storyline Dark Angel’s ever done: Gossamer. That creation just might be the dumbest, stupidest, most laughable trash that’s ever existed. The cheap prosthetics, the concept – it’s all so ridiculously embarrassing. In fact, I hate to say it, but it makes you feel like the show deserved to get cancelled when it was churning out tripe like this. Could you really picture Gossamer in season one? Think about that for a moment, and how much the writers tainted the show’s DNA with this horrid abomination. Oy.

Still, it’s worth reiterating just how beautiful the Max-Logan stuff is with the 12 hour virus-free window. The two have experienced so much angst this year, that it’s tremendously refreshing to watch them actually touch and enjoy each other’s company. Yes the writers ruin it and interrupt the lovey-doveyness eventually, but they can’t take away from Weatherly and Alba’s electric chemistry (and it’s all the more satisfying to recall that they were dating/engaged around this time). And the final scene between the couple in the junkyard is one of the show’s finest – brimming with aching regret and tragic nuance. I love how Logan kisses Max even after their time is over, proclaims that he loves her, and she still can’t bring herself to say it until after he’s gone (and a tear streams down her cheek). Woah.

Post-Pulse Bits

– Was there a hint of love triangle there with the opening pool-game? I guess I spoke too soon.

– Max’s papers are still stuck on Joshua’s painting thanks to his escapades with Alec in Medium Is The Message.

– Max and Alec in the closet is one of my favorite gems from the show. The dialogue is exceptionally witty, and Alec really speaks for the audience when he criticizes Max for waiting a year with Logan.

– I love the musical score when Max and Logan finally touch again. It’s also heartwarming to see them drink wine again together and have a romantic dance (which is conveniently interrupted by dog-boy).

– Although Asha is still the most useless character around, she has a great scene with Alec in Crash who calls her out on wanting Logan for herself. He even invites her home but she falls asleep. Tsk tsk.

– Joshua really doesn’t deserve to go wild on Logan’s fridge after interrupting the most epic love story of all time.

– Alba tries her best with the material, but it’s embarrassing to watch her in the episode’s “climactic” fight scene. How did that sequence even go on the air? And then she just traps the beast and the parking guy ADOPTS it? What a resolution. I have no words. Really.

– Seriously what were the writers smoking when they cooked this episode up?

Barbs & Barcodes

Cindy: Silly boys playing with their sticks and balls. I may vomit.

Tech: You never told me where this virus, uh, came from. Do you mind my asking?
Max: A secret government agency gave it to me, hoping I’d give it to a friend of mine they were looking to kill.
Tech: Okay, fine. You don’t want to tell me, don’t tell me.

Cindy: How you gonna get the money?
Max: I’m gonna sell my soul.
Cindy: (towards Alec) There’s the devil.

Max: Got word from this fence I know. There’s a collector willing to pay top dollar for Star Wars: Episode VII. After the Pulse, they shut down production. Apparently this is the only footage that exists.
Alec: Is that the one where Captain Kirk dies?
Max: I guess.

Alec: Max, are you asking me to steal something with you?
Max: It’s a two-man job.
Alec: I’m shocked. I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore, Max. I mean, you yourself showed me the error of my ways.
Max: Did I mention your take is twenty grand?
Alec: What time do I pick you up?

Alec: (to Max) Does this qualify as stealing from a bad guy, or do you have a new handy excuse for swiping something that doesn’t belong to you?

Alec: Hey, wanna know what I’m doing with my share of the money?
Max: No.
Alec: Fine. Rude, but fine. What are you gonna do with yours?
Max: Donate it to charity.
Alec: Yeah, right. I’m thinking, what? New motorcycle? New apartment? New boyfriend? New DNA markers for current boyfriend.
Max: He’s not my boyfriend.
Alec: Argh! I can’t believe this. I’ve been stuck in this closet for over an hour to facilitate you having sex! That’s what I’ve been reduced to. I’m a pimp.
Max: It’s not even like that.
Alec: Yeah, yeah. Tell me that he’s worth all this trouble, Max. I mean, tell me how he rocks your world. Something. (Max says nothing.) Maxie. Hey. You and Logan have done it, right? I mean, before the whole virus thing, you knew each other for like, what, a year? Max? (Max still says nothing.) Oh, could you two be more lame?
Max: Not that this is any of your business, but…with me and Logan, it was just never the right time.
Alec: Oh yeah, yeah, sure. I can see how the right time might elude you…for a year.

Max: I can’t believe I’m gonna go girly on you, but I don’t want to blow this on a quickie. It should be perfect.
Logan: Perfect. How about a perfect quickie?

Alec: Yeah, that sounds like them. I mean, why consummate two years of unbridled passion when we can have pasta?

Alec: Have they ever even once said “I love you”? No. No. Max…Max would choke on the words. Logan…eh, he’d say it, in an email. (Mocking Max) “He’s not my boyfriend. We were never even like that. It was never the right time.” No, Logan is a repressed WASP and Max is a…a broken toy. The two of them will never work out together.

Conclusion
Borrowed Time
is the perfect showcase of the best and worst that Dark Angel has to offer.

Nad Rating
C

9 comments

  1. Great review! How can the same episode give us witty dialogue with Max & Alec, then make with the cringe-worthy slapstick cheese of Gossamer and Joshua? Plus the angsty love story. You're right, it does feel uneven.

    If I didn't already dislike Joshua, this ep would've done it! I *hated* him for interrupting Max & Logan. A rare opportunity for our selfless heroes to experience a little happiness, and Dog-Boy has to wreck it. (Why doesn't Logan ever lock his door?! People are always barging into his apartment. What about your secret identity, Eyes Only?) If the writers wanted us to accept this new character, why did they use him as an irritating obstacle keeping Max & Logan apart and painting over important virus research papers? If this keeps up, I'm gonna think Josh *does* have an icky crush on Max and is being a passive-aggressive saboteur. πŸ˜‰

    I just realized Joshua belongs on a sitcom as one of those “lovable” screw-ups who bursts through his neighbors' doors uninvited and generally messes up the lives of his friends who inexplicably stay friends with him. Anyway, In keeping with the unfortunate mother-child dynamic between Max and Joshua, he acts like a kid who's embarrassed to see his parents getting mushy, then insistently tugs on “Mom's” hand to pull her away from what she's doing, to get her to do what *he* wants her to do, with total childlike self-centeredness. NOT CUTE.

    I don't even care about the Gossamer possibly hurting people. Max & Logan needed a break! They can't save *everyone*. As I've ranted before, Max is *not* responsible for the actions of the other transgenics. And, like you pointed out, the Gossamer ends up being some harmless pet at the end of episode, which makes it all the more infuriating that M & L missed their chance to be together…for nothing! You can see the sadistic audience-torturing influence of Joss Whedon all over “Borrowed Time”. πŸ˜› (Written by Jose Molina who joined Firefly, so there ya go!)

    Blogger won't let me post all my very important thoughts, so …I'm gonna have to split this comment in two. πŸ™‚

  2. “Was there a hint of love triangle there with the opening pool-game? I guess I spoke too soon.”

    Nah, I still don't see it. Max was clearly rooting for Logan to win. Can't be a real triangle if she's not torn and knows exactly who she wants. (Whew…love triangles usually ruin female characters and they're way too common on TV.) I'll interpret that scene as Alec enjoying teasing Logan with a “you're a square goody-two-shoes! Bet you don't know how to play and have fun”, and Logan responding with “oh yeah, Mr. I'm-So-Cool? Watch me beat you at pool. I have hidden talents. Don't underestimate the quiet guys, ya big loudmouth show-off!” It was cute. πŸ™‚

    “The dialogue is exceptionally witty, and Alec really speaks for the audience when he criticizes Max for waiting a year with Logan.”

    Jensen was hilarious, the way he delivered that line about pasta! Now don't tell me the actor is wasting his comic skills on a show like “Supernatural”? I've heard it's a really dark, violent show that always kills off female characters, so it doesn't sound like my kind of thing. Guess I'll just have to enjoy his performance on Dark Angel while I can.

    “Joshua really doesn't deserve to go wild on Logan's fridge after interrupting the most epic love story of all time.”

    Right on! Aww but he made himself sick, the poor fella! Again, NOT CUTE, show. Kids need some discipline or they'll turn into spoiled brats. Josh should've been scolded, not just for making a mess, but for being so greedy and over-indulging like that…in a post-Pulse world, no less. He should pay Logan for that food (and any damage to the apartment), with money he made on his paintings. If Dog-Boy was an *actual* child, it would be easier to accept. But he looks pretty fully-grown and keeps reminding us he's The First of Father's creations, so, sheltered life or not, I have no patience with him and his childish antics. I sympathized with Josh's situation in the season 2 premiere, but it's been all downhill from there.

    I couldn't resist so I checked TVTropes.org, and I can't believe they think Joshua is “The Heart” and a Genius with a high IQ! I was guessing he was The Scrappy or something. πŸ˜›

  3. You might think I've really gone 'round the bend with my conspiracy theories *this* time, but do you think it's possible that Joshua might be some sort of …tribute to… Joss Whedon? πŸ˜› When I started calling him “Josh” I realized that's similar to Joss. Okay, I'm probably crazy.

    But Jose Molina is a definite Joss fan…his eps, like Borrowed Time, show JW's writing style influence, plus, (sorry don't mean to harp on it), he joined Firefly after DA. What if the character of Joshua was Molina's idea? In any case he seems to love writing lots of scenes for him, in “Two” and “Borrowed Time”. There could be other Whedon/BTVS fans on Dark Angel, of course. Someone else wrote “Medium Is The Message”, Joshua's big Art Extravaganza ep.

    Is this why the writing lays it on so thick that Joshua's such a wonderful, talented, misunderstood soul who's just Too Pure and Too Good for us mere mortals on this earth? I'm paraphrasing the speech Rita, the art dealer, made to Josh. When Rita calls Joshua an artistic genius, and TVTropes tells me he's a genius, period, with a high IQ, it reminds me of the way people talk about Joss Whedon. The more I think about it, the more it reminds me of the kind of Whedon Worship I've read about that boggles my mind, from co-workers/cast members/former business partners like Gail Berman.

    I didn't quote ya everything from that Alan Sepinwall book… there's more interviews in there with people raving about Genius Joss and how quickly he masters any new art he undertakes (like composing music), not to mention some bizarre descriptions of people sitting around him at work, in rapture, listening to Joss speak… OH MY GOD… this *just* occurred to me as I was typing this… not only did “Buffy-Speak” become a popular thing, with fans adopting BTVS characters' quirky catchphrases…but there are also all these anecdotes I've read of Whedon's staff going around imitating the way Joss speaks…y'know that sorta slang-y language he created for BTVS, and apparently uses all the time in real life?

    Doesn't that remind you of the way *Joshua* loves to repeat his (annoying) catchphrases, and the way we've seen him adopt/imitate the things he hears other people, like Max, say? I'm in love with my theory now. Joshua has got to be some sort of tribute to Joss Whedon. That's why the writers are laying it on so thick that Joshua can do no wrong (which nauseates me). Heck, this might just be another example of Gail Berman/FOX sucking up to JW while Dark Angel was on the air. You told me he was pissed about the competitive timeslot issue with DA and his own Angel, so maybe they were writing in more Buffy references, and more Josh/Joss similarities to…flatter his ego and appease their Angry God? πŸ˜›

    I've been ranting about how Joshua acts like a bratty and self-centered kid, but we're supposed to find it cute. Is it such a stretch to say the same thing about Joss Whedon? πŸ™‚ He's been known to act petulant when he doesn't get his way, and lord knows he's got a huge ego and can be a real jerk…buuuut… many people excuse his bad behaviour because they find him cute and amusing, and I admit that Joss can be a funny guy. Joshua's behaviour is supposed to be cute and amusing too…I'm just not buying what the writers are selling there. πŸ˜›

    Max and Rita coddling Joshua and telling him he's so different (but wonderful!) and that people are afraid of what they don't understand, is kinda reminiscent of the way Joss Whedon's fans insist he's “too good for TV” or comfort him about his shows getting cancelled with “People just don't understand your genius!” So what do you think? Am I off my rocker or is this my most brilliant analysis yet? πŸ˜‰ Geez, if this is true, I hate Joshua's character even more. Josh/Joss ruined/killed Dark Angel, you bastards!

  4. Last post tonight, I swear. πŸ˜‰ If my theory is correct, then Joshua preventing Max & Logan from “getting busy” in Borrowed Time, (and the angsty nature of their relationship) might be a reference to Joss keeping Buffy & Angel apart? A sort of joke-y shout-out to that famous storyline/couple and all their frustrated shippers? We've spotted other BTVS references in DA season 2, so I would not be surprised if the writers were using Joshua to work some more references in. Could be sincere tribute to Joss by writers who admired him… could be at the instruction of Gail Berman. Could there even be a little bit of Gail & Joss' relationship in the Maternal Max protecting her Dog-Boy-Genius Joshua scenes? πŸ˜‰ Oh, I'm mean. But changing/cancelling Dark Angel was meaner.

  5. Hope you don't mind me going a bit off topic for this thread, but I couldn't wait to watch more of the show and now I must get some things off my chest even though your reviews aren't up yet… I'm still really looking forward to reading your thoughts though! Not trying to rush you…I know such awesome detailed reviews take time. πŸ™‚

    So I just saw ep 2×17 …Exciting plot developments and great continuity, but it was like Borrowed Time (same writer! and I see he's story editor too, so I guess he's responsible for the story arc this season?) in the sense that Molina wrote fun interaction for Max & Alec, heartbreaking angst for Max & Logan, and a lot of heavy-handed “you WILL love Joshua!” scenes. This time we got less Wacky!Josh (still could've done without the Fleascapade at the beginning) and more Aww!PoorJosh (saccharine blind girl insta-love) and Hero!Josh (donating blood to save Logan). I'm so darn sick of Joshua. The more focus and he-can-do-no-wrong type writing they give this character, the more I'll resist the brainwashing. πŸ˜‰ I mean he *does* do wrong, and I want the show to acknowledge that dammit, instead of always excusing his behaviour and expecting us to sympathize with him.

    Case in point..ep 2×18. I totally blame Joshua for Annie's death, even if the writers don't. Alec warned him that he'd get her killed, but did Josh listen? Nooo. He acted like a selfish willful child again, going out to see her at the worst possible time when he really should've known better, and just making mistake after mistake throughout the ep. Like a dumb, stubborn kid who wants what he wants, and must have it RIGHT NOW, and consquences be damned. I have very little hope that he'll actually *learn* from this though. Show will make White the bad guy and Josh the poor victim. Well, it's not that simple, show! Josh is largely responsible for what happened. Aww!PoorJosh, my fanny. Real victim is Annie, not Josh, but it looks like yet another case of that horrible trope where the barely-developed female character love interest dies in order to further the “more important” male character's story. Ugh. The Joss Whedon influence rears it's ugly head again, so ep 2×18 goes for the Shocking!Death and angst. It might've been shocking once, when Angelus killed Jenny on BTVS, but Joss (and many other showrunners since) have overdone it, so it's very predictable now.

  6. Thought you got rid of me, didn't you? Haha I'm back!

    Yeah. The whole Gossamer thing was pretty darn dumb. I was okay with the concept, but the execution? The special effects were capital A Awful and the guy adopting it at the end was idiotic. But the episode was worth it for the end scene in the car at the junkyard, which was lovely.

  7. The first 15 minutes were pure GOLD. I can't believe how clever it was to bring Max and Logan back together for just this one episode (I'm assuming the REAL get-together will be in the finale?). It was all just so darn compelling, especially the first moment they touch and kiss – speechless and absolutely beautiful.

    And then everything else happened. SO, SO embarrassing, I couldn't believe what I was watching. Huge jump the shark moment, one minute after the other. Why would anyone in their right mind make an episode like this? I agree, someone in the writers' room was cooking something that day. I still can't believe it.

    So yeah, this is a really confusing hour for me. I feel like it's something I definitely would watch again but probably skip all the freak-of-the-week crap. Because man oh man, that last scene at the junkyard was MARVELOUS. Max and Logan's chemistry is electrifying and breathtaking, and the music that played was the perfect dose of intense and drama. Also, very depressing.

    And whoa Jessica Alba looked freaking gorgeous in that scene. Dakhil alba! (Sorry, I'll stop being Lebanese-funny now).

  8. DAKHIL ALBA! AHHAAHAHAHAHHAAHH That's the most epic thing I've read all year! Hilarious.

    Yes I knew you couldn't possibly disagree with me on this one. Some stuff was great, but GOSSAMMER? I will never understand how this was even APPROVED by so many people. It's the kind of horrendous thing that shouldn't even be allowed to air on television. So darn bizarre.

    The final Max and Logan scene though… yeah the music, the acting – perfection.

  9. I believe this is the first freak of the week I don’t like. At least with the one believed to wreck havoc in Chinatown had a purpose when it was shot & so did Isaac. The gill girl one was meaningless but didn’t take away anything like gossamer does here. Hate how the show has gotten so Buffy-like in this episode & not in a good way.

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