Dark Angel 2×14 – Love In Vein

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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.

Post-Pulse Bits

– 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.

Conclusion

 Thoroughly atrocious, Love In Vein is Dark Angel at its worst.

Nad Rating
D+

6 comments

  1. “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”

    That was my favorite scene too! Logan knows Max so well. 🙂

    I couldn't agree with you more about this episode. Wacky!Josh and his stoner buddies. Dog-Boy really does belong on a sitcom. But I wouldn't put all the blame on Alec…Joshua is never held accountable for his mistakes and it's driving me crazy. Okay, in this case, Alec was taking advantage, but Joshua didn't have to go along with the idea. He could've done the smart thing and said no to Alec. He also could've said no to the stoners. It's like the writers want to have it both ways and portray Joshua as goofy comic relief *and* a tragic figure. We're expected to see him as an innocent blameless child led astray. And then somehow accept him as an adult capable of romantic love and pathos (2×17, 2×18). Um. Mature or immature, wacky or angsty…make up your mind, show!

    “I love that she proclaims that she's “done being miserable” and “feeling sorry for herself”.”

    Me too, Nadim. So Max's character arc this season is deliberate and will hopefully lead somewhere positive.

    You said it all so well about the Vampire nonsense. I must add, I couldn't help noticing that only Marrow's *female* followers were shown “sipping” his blood from that phallic symbol of his. 😛 Afterwards, one of the male followers (the jerk who yelled about concubines at the club earlier), deeply kissed one of the girls who had just sipped, and presumably received his dose of Marrow in that way. Or maybe he drank from Marrow offscreen. Anyway, God forbid we show two guys engaging in a sexually suggestive blood-sucking scene! It seems cowardly and homophobic for a show I thought was admirably inclusive of all sexual orientations in season one. Sure, this season we have Normal with his crush on Alec (while still enjoying lapdances from female strippers and Max flashing him, so don't worry, homophobes, you can easily ignore the Alec thing) – but Normal/Alec is played for comedy relief, typical of most “mainstream” network TV shows that are afraid to alienate viewers or advertisers. Gay humour wherein one guy is shown to be uncomfortable by the attention of another guy…that's okay. Serious portrayal of an actual relationship between two guys? Nuh-uh. And even though lesbians are considered “more okay” because straight men may find it titillating, season 2 has less emphasis on Original Cindy as well… and only one real mention of her *being* a lesbian, that I can recall. I didn't wanna think her screentime was reduced so they don't have to deal with her sexuality and personal life, 'cause some FOX suit found it too controversial/offensive to advertisers, but now I'm starting to wonder. Another crappy network TV mandate? Another reason to prefer season one. 🙁

  2. You're so right about Joshua, and I didn't notice that only the female followers were sipping the blood. Very interesting observation. But I'm not surprised, especially since Dark Angel aired at a time wasn't same-sex interaction on TV wasn't nearly as explicit as it is today.

    Ditto on your Normal/Alec observation, and that Cindy and her lifestyle have been COMPLETELY ignored this year.

  3. I didn't hate it as much as you did, although I did fast forward through most of the Joshua parts. I really can't stand him.

    Another OUAT crossover…the actress who played Rain is the Blue Fairy.

  4. Ouch, the number of terrible episodes this season really increased lately :/ what a shame.

    This was just as embarrassingly bad as the rest of this season's weak hours. The Joshua/Alec subplot was so difficult to watch. I don't know if there's anyone out there who enjoys that kind of comedy but it was too cheap for me too. I never got so bored watching Joshua before. Ugh.

    Yeah, the vampires didn't do it for me either. But I do have to agree about that Logan scene “it kills her inside”. Such a great moment that was indeed misplaced in a very convoluted hour. In fact, I hated this episode so much I couldn't bring myself to finish it in one sitting. So, now I kinda just forgot most of the things I came here to rant about.

    Will not remember this one. But the good news: looks like the rest of the season is great! I'm so nervous about someone spoiling the ending for me right before I reach the finale (I'm cursed that way).

  5. Yes atrocious episode right? Although Max was a badass with her one-liners and general attitude, this was just a sloppy cheap episode on every level. It's best we forget it!

    Yes please be careful! You don't want to waste the few surprises left! I believe the rest of the season is a strong run to the end 🙂

  6. I’m sick of episodes that don’t have any meaning & all these minor characters like Marrow & Brain who die in their episode. I just feel like, with these episodes, I’m wasting my time if there’s no continuation. And sadly there’s a lot of them in season 2. At least Logan’s car ride with Rain meant something but I want episodes that are important again. And Joshua running out of the restaurant was hysterical. But I always love Max telling Joshua that he’s important no matter what he looks like. I think that’s crucial because I think it could apply to any human, no matter what they look like or what anyone thinks of them based on appearance alone. That’s the most important lesson I appreciate about this season & why I like the transgenics let loose. It’s also why I hated when that innocent transgenic was shot in episode 4. The whole Joshua “people are afraid of what they see” thing may get annoying but there is a meaning behind it for anyone whose been judged based on appearance. Max being non-judgemental is the best & I wish there were more shows out there that said it’s okay to look the way you do instead of bullying characters that aren’t as attractive. This all makes me love & appreciate DA & its whole Freak Nation so much more!

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