Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 1: "Art Attack"

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Episode Information

Title: "Art Attack"
Writer: Doris Egan
Director: James A. Contner
Rating (out of 4 stars): **1/2
Reviewed on: November 7, 2007

Synopsis from TV.com


This episode has more of a character focus by sending Max and Logan to a wedding. There's nothing really wrong with this episode - it just lacks the punch of the previous few.

Logan invites Max to his cousin Bennett's wedding, in which Logan will be the best man. Logan warns Max that it's a formal event, so Max steals a $6000 designer dress from a local boutique. While on the way to the wedding, Max's cynicism regarding weddings surfaces: how can anyone promise to love another person forever? Logan is not amused, as he is trying to rehearse his speech. Max's doubts about weddings is partly a reflection of the fact that she wasn't raised in a normal family, where she would have absorbed many cultural traditions. And she does have a point: given how many divorces there are, apparently a lot of people can't love someone else forever. Society and law still strongly encourage this tradition, but is it becoming outdated?

At the wedding, Max gets to meet Logan's various condescending relatives. Of course, none of Logan's relatives know that he is Eyes Only (and probably wouldn't approve of it if they did know), so they think he is a small-time liberal journalist and look down their noses at him. What's interesting about this is Logan's reaction to this disdain: he just sits back and takes it. Just like many other people, he lets his family walk all over him. Max has a hard time sitting still for it. She also doesn't care for their attitudes toward her, although they are led to believe she's from a similarly aristocratic family. One of Logan's old, serious girlfriends attends the wedding, and they begin some serious conversations about old times. Max is just a tad jealous, and wants to know their history.

Meanwhile, the contents of two tubes that Jam Pony was delivering got switched because of some screwing around between a couple of the messengers. A very imposing gangster-looking dude is eagerly waiting for his original Norman Rockwell painting to be delivered. When some architectural plans arrive instead, he sends his henchmen down to Jam Pony after hours to search for the painting. They cannot find it and kidnap Normal as a hostage. Normal contacts Original Cindy and convinces her to try to find the real painting so that he isn't killed.

Cindy calls up Max at the wedding, and she ducks out. They figure out where the other tube was sent, which must have the painting. When Max breaks into that office, she discovers a man about the jump out of the office window from many floors up. He is suicidal because the architectural plans didn't show up, so he lost his client and will probably lose his job. When he reveals he has a wife and kid, Max whacks him upside the head for being so stupid to think about suicide. Have to love Max's straightforward psychiatric treatment! The man says that he threw the painting out.

This leads Max to some dumpster diving. Of course, she doesn't want to ruin her dress, so amusingly she takes it off for the search. Eventually she finds the painting, gives it to Cindy to take to the gangster, and heads back to the wedding. However, the gangster's analysis (how did he learn to do this?) shows that the painting is a forgery. He kills the guy who set up the painting deal by having him thrown out the window in front of Normal and Cindy. Then he tells Cindy to find the real painting, or Normal will (still) be killed.

Max had returned to the wedding just in time to mouth Logan's speech to him so he doesn't screw up. She has to slip out again to meet Cindy for a situation update. They deduce that the guy the originally gave Jam Pony the tube with the painting must have kept the real thing and slipped in the forgery. They find this man celebrating, because he sold the painting to the Koreans. (North or South? Or are they united now?) Max needs Logan's help to track them down, so she and Cindy head to the wedding.

Logan uses the computer at the estate to track down the most likely place for the painting: on board a Korean ship scheduled to leave very soon. He is very miffed about American paintings and other culture being sold off to foreigners, so he definitely wants Max to go after the painting. Max leaves Cindy at the wedding, ostensibly to find out the story behind Logan's old girlfriend, but really to keep her from seeing Max's abilities.

Max sneaks onto the Korean ship and finds the painting. She has to fight her way off the ship, but it's no problem, not even with the dress. She takes the painting to the gangster and gets Normal released. She even gets the gangster to give her the accidentally delivered architectural plans so she can return them to their rightful owner. Then, she's back to the wedding.

Logan is upset that Max actually gave the painting to the gangster, who is scheduled to fly to Singapore within hours. He insists on going to procure it immediately, so they leave the wedding. Max is upset to miss the wedding cake, although at least the bouquet was already tossed: Max deflected it away from Logan's old girlfriend and to Cindy.

It seems Logan has a plan, because he stops by a morgue where one of Eyes Only's informants there shows him the body of the "art dealer" that was killed by the gangster. Logan shoots the body in the head and directs the medical examiner to say that the shot is what killed him. Then Logan and Max head to the airport and slip the gun into the gangster's coat just before he goes through the security check. He is held by security, and Max sneaks away the painting.

At the very end, Max and Logan sum up events at Logan's apartment. The episode ends with a big tease, as Logan accidentally whacks his leg on the coffee table - and feels pain! Is he on the road to recovery from his paralysis?

This episode is a little ho-hum, but there are some nice points. Max's attitude toward weddings is amusing. Although she's cynical about them, she sees the bride and groom's sincerity during the ceremony and it actually moves her to tears. It seems likely that she hasn't seen that many married and truly committed couples in her life... certainly not at Manticore or in the "foster" home we saw in "Flushed". Once she moved in to her neighborhood in Seattle, probably many of the residents are in more fluid relationships. So does she think marriage might be worth it?

The plot involving Normal also had its amusing moments. It's not too surprising that Jam Pony might occasionally get a miffed customer. Cindy's negotiation with Normal for her help (no more "bip, bip bip" ever!) was a hoot - talk about negotiating under duress. Parts of this plot really highlighted the truths of their society. First, no one even thought about contacting the police in order for them to help Normal. Are the police that ineffective? Did Cindy and the others think the police might be on the take from the gangster? Second, the gangster had no problem with killing someone right in front of them. Again, the police were apparently not a threat. I was surprised that the gangster let them all go in the end. I suppose that since he was heading out of the country, he wasn't too worried about what they might say.

The idea of foreigners buying up US culture was good for a laugh in the episode (picture carrying away the Statue of Liberty, after all), but is a serious issue. Apparently the government or private owners of the items are in such serious straits that they are willing to sell them for the cash to use for more basic needs. Logan's desire to keep all these culture artifacts in the US brings to light a conflict that occurs even in real-world society: when people are starving, is it right to spend money (or not sell something) on intangibles, such as art? As an astronomer, I run into this moral quandary a lot, because it can be hard to justify spending millions on space exploration or telescopes when there are homeless people in the US. Clearly Logan (and I) think that the benefits of such intangibles are worth the possible sacrifice.

The other aspects of the wedding were a little frustrating, probably because they were so realistic. Logan being walked all over by his family (which I discussed above), the snide comments between family members, and the jealousy that surfaces when old flames appear. I don't really think these things brought out the best in either Logan or Max.

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