And we’ve finally arrived, Love In Vein is quite possibly the worst episode of Dark Angel ever made.
Somewhere beneath the vampire crap, there’s an interesting concept about a crazed Manticore escapee hellbent on building his own private army in anticipation of transgenic exposure. Unfortunately, the storyline is horribly executed, and we’re left with a mess of an episode that feels like it’s from a whole different show.
Marrow could have been a compelling villain. Unlike mermaids and Gossamer, the reason behind his design actually makes sense (although Max awesomely points out that they’re all universal donors). However, the writers decided to jump on the vampire bandwagon, while saddling Marrow and his useless gang with embarrassing dialogue and dreadfully-long scenes. Even the climax is anticlimactic, with a three second long fight-scene that culminates with Marrow getting staked (oh look, another vampire reference).
In addition, the episode’s subplot is terrible, with Alec quite irresponsibly making Joshua a Jam Pony messenger. What follows is dog-boy’s escapades as he befriends a bunch of stoners and gets high. It’s painful to watch, and the kind of comedy that cheapens the show and reminds you what a grave detour Dark Angel has taken this year. This season has a few highs that match those of the first year, but the lows (much like in Brainaic), are the worst the show’s ever encountered.
The episode’s sole saving grace is the admittedly fascinating insight into Max’s psyche which Logan beautifully puts into words in his scene with Rain. The reason Max is so affected by the barcode tattoo as it turns out, is because she can’t understand why anybody would willingly brand themselves with a symbol that’s haunted her all her life – one that cements her enslavement. As Logan poetically states, “it kills her inside.” Really it’s a shame that such a standout moment is wasted in a ridiculously unnecessary hour.
– The episode surprisingly starts out on a high-note with a different sort of teaser (Max getting ready to go clubbing with Cindy). I love that she proclaims that she’s done being miserable and feeling sorry for herself. However, the optimism doesn’t last long as we find ourselves in the hideously-realized nightclub sequence with Marrow’s idiots running amok. And Max, what does “party like it’s 2099” mean exactly?
– I do like Max being snarky and beating up Rain. It’s always good when she’s not a straight-up do-gooder and living up to the show’s title.
– Joshua holding the cat was admittedly funny. As was all the stoners screaming when they saw his face. But that’s it, really.
– My biggest beef with the hour? Max getting jumped in church by someone who’s not even a transgenic! Seriously? Where’s the super-hearing? It’s a horrendously contrived way to get Max captured and allow Marrow to spout off exposition. Do the writers think we’re morons? You don’t build up a super-soldier over the course of two seasons for stupidity like this. Unacceptable.
– Max realizes it’s “all inside their head” thanks to Logan’s speech to Joshua. Well, at least they connected both storylines.
– Couldn’t we have seen Max kicking around the annoying brats instead of just hearing it? Ugh. Give us something to make this episode worthwhile people!
– Another quick fade-out to end the hour. But hey, at least we get a non-angsty Logan/Max moment. She really is obsessed with being a regular girl lately isn’t she? Someone’s in denial!
Barbs & Barcodes
Bouncer: You’re going to have to wait in line like everybody else.
Cindy: That ain’t waiting in line; that is doing time.
Cindy: Sounds to me like somebody needs to smack some sense into ’em.
Max: Believe me, if I can find them, I will.
Alec: (to Joshua) I thought your kind liked to take walks.
Max: Hey! Uh, children? We need to chat. Let’s skip the Manticore handshake and cut to the chase. You and your playmates have been naughty little transgenics, not to mention stupid. Maybe I should just bend you over my knee. (Max knocks Rain to the ground.) That was for my friend. (Max kicks her in the gut) All that clubbing’s slowed you down, hon. (She punches her again). Guess you missed some training, sweetie.
Max: You gonna hit my fist with your face again? Why don’t you be a good little bad-ass and tell us what we want to know.
Marrow: What are you doing here?
Max: Came to light a candle.
Marrow: Miss…I’m sorry, I never got your name.
Max: Kiss my ass.
Marrow: You’re cute. You’re also a freak.
Logan: His blood? That’s what they’re amped on?
Max: What can I say? Once you’ve had transgenic, you never go back.
Joshua: New day…same problems.
Max: Not for Alec, especially when I get my hands on him. (Waves her fork to imitate hitting) Whack, whack.
Joshua: Joshua sees life go by through window. Life looks back and screams at Joshua.
Max: I know who you are; I love who you are.
Thoroughly atrocious, Love In Vein is Dark Angel at its worst.