Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 1: "Haven"

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Episode Information

Title: "Haven"
Writer: Jose Molina
Director: Michael Ray Rhodes
Rating (out of 4 stars): **1/2
Reviewed on: November 16, 2007

Synopsis from TV.com


This episode was a little slow, but provided some background about the pulse and more friction between Max and Logan.

Max and Logan had planned a "country" get-away, leaving the city for fresh air, campfires, and s'mores. Logan has his job in mind, however, so he takes them to a small town, Camp Haven, where he can track down a possible informant. Camp Haven was a resort town before the pulse, but now it is a small, insular community very wary of outsiders. Nevertheless, Logan has rented a quaint house from the town doctor and her young nephew, Sage.

Max was not aware of Logan's ulterior motives and blows up when she finds out. She makes him pursue his job on his own, while she relaxes. These leads into two separate storylines for awhile. Logan is trying to find a former Seattle police officer who may have been involved with, or know information about, the massacre of 18 unarmed civilian protesters shortly after the pulse. That police officer is now the sheriff of the town. When Logan meets him, he denies that he's the person Logan is talking about.

Meanwhile, Max is trying to relax, but her seizures have suddenly picked up and are more severe than usual. She and Sage end up bonding during one of her attacks, and then later they hang out together. Sage is a little odd, and over the course of the episode, Max pieces together his history, which even he doesn't know. Just after the pulse, some of the town jerks decided that the foreign family that lived in town must somehow be to blame for the pulse. These men attacked and beat the husband and wife and set fire to the house. Sage was the couple's child, who was hiding in the closet. He was barely more than a toddler at the time, but he managed to get out of the burning house. The town doctor found him in the woods and took him in. The rest of the town believes the fire was accidental and the whole family was killed; only the doctor and the attackers know the truth (they deduced Sage's identity).

The sheriff visits Logan at the rental house and reveals that he is in fact the police officer Logan is looking for. However, he denies that the people in question were massacred. He provides a lot more detail and color to the events that happened just after the pulse. Society was in shambles, and people were scared. First, they began attacking and killing people that were "different", then they began looting in general. The police had the impossible job of trying to maintain order and protect people, despite being attacked themselves, and so sometimes they might have gone too far. Intellectually, I can imagine that anarchy must have developed after the pulse, but his description makes it much more real, especially since he includes small, anecdotal details on an individual level. He denies that the police committed a crime by killing the people. Logan is unmoved by all this and stands firm by the fact that when the people were killed, they were unarmed, and so the police massacred them. Logan wants to know who gave the order and who did the actual killing. The sheriff says he doesn't know.

Max's and Logan's separate investigations occasionally cross, and the tension between them increases. Max is on edge because her seizures have been so bad and so frequent. Logan is on edge because he's back in his wheelchair again. Everything that one of them says to the other, the other interprets as being some kind of insult.

Things come to a head when the murderers of Sage's parents decide that Max and Logan know too much and come to confront Logan at the house. From previous encounters with them, Logan knows to arm himself with his pistol; good thing he has it, because Max's seizures have incapacitated her. Sage looks after her. The men demand that Sage be turned over to them (we're not sure what for), but Logan refuses. Coincidentally the sheriff arrives and asks the men to leave. They wrestle with the sheriff and shoot him. Then they leave, with the explicit intention of returning. (Frankly, I didn't catch the reason why they were leaving, but it seemed stupid - why wait until someone notices the sheriff is missing?)

Just before the sheriff dies, he tells Logan he doesn't know who ordered the civilians to be killed, but that they "all" did the shooting. This is a really unsatisfying ending to Logan's quest, and it happens in just a few seconds. Logan knows the men will return, so he sets up so traps for them, a la MacGyver. Max is still out of commission, so it's up to him to fend them off, with a little help from Sage.

The men return after dark (just what were they doing?). True to character, Logan warns them he will use force for defense, but then he wastes no time using it. He set up the sheriff's abandoned SUV to explode (with a trail of gas, something a recent episode of Mythbusters showed wouldn't actually work), and then uses his shotgun to good effect. However, there are several men, and they eventually get up to the house and begin breaking in.

During the fighting, Sage has flashbacks back to the original attack on his parents, which adds even more urgency to the scene and nearly incapacitates him. Logan finally manages to kill the last of the men, but not before he starts a fire in the house. Sage unfreezes and gets the fire extinguisher just in time.

At the end of the episode, surprisingly few questions are asked by the townspeople. After all, their sheriff and four other men are dead. And the four men were killed by a guy in a wheelchair? I guess there was enough evidence to support Logan's story. Sage now knows the truth about his family and past.

This episode suffered from being pretty slow to get going and from the fact that its consequences didn't mean much. I suppose it was good that Sage learned the truth and the murderers got their comeuppance, but those effects were only felt in the town. There weren't really any consequences for our main characters or the series as a whole. This fact isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the episode also wasn't hugely engrossing, either.

One of the good points of the episode was more description of what things were like after the pulse, which I mentioned earlier. The other good thing was the continual development of the relationship between Max and Logan. As I said earlier, they were snapping a lot at each other because of their personal problems. But we also saw some of the happy side of their relationship when they were shooting pool at the bar. Of course, that turned into a fight with the town jerks, which brings up another issue between them: just what exactly are their roles vis a vis each other? The jerks begin cat-calling Max, so Logan does the chivalrous thing and tries to get them to stop. Of course, they don't take Logan seriously because he's in a wheelchair, and we and Logan know Max is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, as she kindly demonstrates. Does she want Logan to stand up for her this way? It's uncomfortable for both them and us as they work out their expectations of each other. When Max is incapacitated, it's gratifying to see Logan take charge and arrange their defense without hesitation.

Smaller comments: I'm not sure that I think Sage's age worked out right. In the flashbacks, he seemed to be maybe 3 years old; since the pulse happened 10 years ago on the series, he should be 13 years old now. I really don't think he looked that old.

What's up with Max's seizures? She says that their severity must be from residual effects of the implant she had temporarily in "Rising". Why did the effects take so long to manifest? This needs to be followed up on, or it will just be a convenient excuse to take Max out of the picture.

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