Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 1: "411 on the DL"

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Episode Information

Title: "411 on the DL"
Writer: Doris Egan
Director: Joe Ann Fogle
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: October 25, 2007

Synopsis from TV.com


Both Max and Logan meet someone from their past, but the meetings do not turn out as they might have hoped.

We join Max joyriding in the middle of the night on her motorcycle, with a stranger also on a motorcycle. Just when they part ways, Max gets stopped at a checkpoint and her motorcycle is arbitrarily impounded. The next morning, she learns that the fee is $3000 to recover her motorcycle from the impound lot.

Meanwhile, Logan's ex-wife, Valerie, has showed up at his apartment. Apparently they divorced over a year and a half ago because Valerie was an alcoholic. Valerie claims she has been sober for about eighteen months, and she has arrived to apologize to Logan. She is pretty and well-dressed, as an upper-class woman Logan's family might be associated with. She seems nervous, but that's understandable given the situation. She and Logan seem to hit it off.

At Jam Pony, Herbal is fired for smoking marijuana in the restroom. Fortunately, Normal has found a replacement: a new guy in town named Sam. Max notices a classified ad in the newspaper that has her barcode number and instructions for a meeting. She shows it to Logan, who warns Max not to go because it's probably a trap from Lydecker.

Max goes anyway. It turns out that Max's former private investigator placed the ad. He has recently come into a great deal of information about Manticore and the escaped children. He will sell it to Max for $15,000 in two days, and then he intends to get out of town and away from Lydecker. He reveals to Max that Zack is in Seattle right now, and so Max is desperate to get the rest of his information.

The next day, Max meets up with Logan and Valerie. She privately asks Logan for the $15,000 to pay for the information, but Logan refuses to give her money that will probably get her killed in a set up by Lydecker. Max is annoyed, but liked the chance to look over Valerie. But, she noticed small things that made her suspicious of Valerie, so she follows her home and discovers Valerie and her boyfriend planning on how they are going to scam Logan out of $1000. That night, Max breaks into the impound lot where her motorcycle is being kept, frees her motorcycle, and robs the office's safe, which apparently has at least $15,000.

The next day, we learn that Lydecker is onto Max, because he had a bug implanted inside of the private investigator's ear. Lydecker readies his operatives to capture Max when she meets with the private investigator again. Meanwhile, Max is ordered to show Sam some directions for a delivery and en route she stops to set up the meeting to pay off the investigator. Sam tries to ingratiate himself with her, but has no luck.

When Max approaches the meeting location, she sees a crowd and police: the private investigator has been shot to death. And right on schedule, Lydecker and his minions arrive. Max retreats to Logan's apartment; she thinks Lydecker killed the investigator, but Logan disagrees, since the timing of it didn't guarantee that Lydecker would capture Max. Max is determined to use the information the private investigator did give her to track down Zack, but Logan is sure it's a trap. Max is worried that this is the case, too, but will not wait. Just in case she doesn't make it back, she tells Logan about Valerie's deception.

Max finds where Zack is staying and breaks into his hotel room. She finds many way too obvious clues that a sibling of hers is living there (such as a bottle of very clearly labeled tryptophan). Zack returns, and surprise, surprise, it's Sam. They don't have any time for a reunion, though, because Lydecker's forces show up. Max and Zack have fun fighting through them as a team, and they escape.

They finally have time to talk, and Zack says they both need to leave the city as soon as possible. Max protests. Zack tries to enforce his authority as leader of the escapees and therefore his right to give orders, but Max refuses to obey. He refuses to tell Max about any of their other siblings, and says that if Max won't obey, then he washes his hands of her. He takes off, and Max is heartbroken.

Meanwhile, Valerie has showed up again at Logan's apartment. Logan tells her that he knows about her plans, and she confesses. He gives her the $1000 and tells her to leave. He is also deeply hurt.

At the end of the episode, Herbal is re-hired at Jam Pony because "Sam" has disappeared. Max and Logan commiserate on their disappointments, then go for a walk in the rain.

This episode was satisfying because we finally got to meet Zack, who Max had been idolizing in her mind. But the episode also kept things moving in the series, because Zack did not turn out to be who Max expected. Max was hoping to find her siblings and form some kind of family, but Zack sees all of them as a military unit. As Logan says, both points of views have their advantages and disadvantages. Max's ideal is more stable and emotionally satisfying, but leaves open the possibility of capture by Lydecker. Zack's view would probably make the transgenics safer by keeping them on the move, but how long can even super-soldiers keep up that kind of paranoid life?

Zack claims that he's been keeping tabs on all of the Manticore escapees. I'm not sure how believable that is, because it seems like if he's known where Max was, he would have been eager to re-establish his authority over her, and if he'd done it sooner, maybe he would've even been successful. More likely he's been spending the past years simply tracking them all down. How many of them has he found? Have they been receptive to his orders? Presumably we'll find out more about all of this as the series progresses.

The plot involving Logan's ex-wife was not really connected to Max's plot, but it did give a nice parallel between them. It was interesting to see Logan being more vulnerable to another person and how he reacted to it. I don't think we really got to see Valerie enough to get to know her, so our focus was on Logan's reactions. Logan can't be that old, so when did he get married and how long were they together? An amusing aspect of this plot was the touch of jealousy exhibited by Max, mirroring Logan's jealousy of Max's "boyfriend" in "Heat". Do they really have any feelings for each other?

The subplot concerning the impound of Max's motorcycle seemed superfluous. It did illustrate the arbitrary and capricious nature of law enforcement in the city. I wondered why Max didn't break out the bike right away instead of contemplating paying the fee. Of course, since she did break it out, she's going to have to do something to disguise it in the future, or presumably the police will recognize it as having been stolen. Breaking out her bike gave Max the chance to rob the safe, but why in the world would that much cash have been stored in that office instead of in a safer location?

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