Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 1: "The Kidz Are Aiight"

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Episode Information

Title: "The Kidz Are Aiight"
Writer: Rene Echevarria and Charles H. Eglee
Director: Jeff Woolnought
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***1/2
Reviewed on: November 11, 2007

Synopsis from TV.com


This is another excellent episode, bringing the conflict between Lydecker and his "kids" back to the focus of the series.

We find out that Zack did not die in the helicopter accident at the end of "Blah Blah Woof Woof". Lydecker has been pumping him for information on the location of the other X-5s, but has been unsuccessful. Zack looks awful. Lydecker wants to step up his interrogation to include the use of some type of drugs, but the doctor will only administer them under protest because of Zack's condition. The drugs apparently make Zack susceptible to suggestion, and Lydecker stages a scenario where a fake Max comes to rescue Zack. Zack realizes it's a setup when "Max" begins asking him for information about the other X-5s.

The next thing we know, Zack is dead and being buried. However, the reports of his death were premature, because he wakes up in his coffin and manages to dig up to the surface. He stumbles to the road and is flagged down by the doctor: apparently the doctor faked Zack's death in order to get him out of Manticore, and now he provides Zack with some clothes and a bit of money as they drive toward the state line. Even though Zack is suspicious, the doctor convinces him that he's helping Zack so that he can live with his conscience. Somehow, Manticore's operatives track them down and run the doctor's care off the road. The doctor is shot, but Zack manages to escape into the woods.

Meanwhile in Seattle, Logan is walking, albeit with a cane. Regaining the use of his legs has definitely made him and Max more aware of the possibilities between them. They agree to have dinner, which they both insist to their friends is not a date. This is done in a nice scene which intercuts essentially the same conversations between Logan and Bling, and Max and Original Cindy. It provides some movement to the scene and some humor value as we see that both Logan and Max are protesting way too much.

Zack contacts Max and Logan's apartment and asks for his help - he's still stuck in the woods somewhere not far from Manticore. Max immediately heads out, over Logan's very strong protests. She rides her motorcycle to somewhere not too far from Zack, and then manages to evade Manticore's operatives and locate Zack in a cave (where presumably they agreed to meet). Zack is still very paranoid and when Max arrives, he feels some deja vu from the setup Lydecker arranged previously and attacks Max. Max manages to convince him that she's real.

Once Zack is over his paranoia, he becomes positively voluble. He has realized that if something had happened to him, he's the only X-5 that knows where the others are, so they would all be separated again. His memory is still spotty from all the drugs, but he quickly tells Max all he can remember, which is information on about five other X-5s. Then he remarks to Max about how Lydecker tried to trick him with a "rescue by Max" before, which really starts bells ringing for Max, for some reason.

To test her suspicions, Max tells Zack that she's going to go to a nearby gas station while he rests. When she scopes out the gas station, sure enough, there are lots of Manticore operatives waiting just out of sight. Apparently there is a microphone and transmitter somewhere on Zack. We get a glimpse at Lydecker and the "dead" doctor waiting in a command center, recording the information Zack told Max and waiting for their next move. Max returns to Zack, and they find the transmitter, which was implanted in Zack, and dig it out. They use send it downstream as a decoy while they escape, eventually returning to Logan's apartment.

Zack and Max realize that Lydecker could now be tracking down the other X-5s that Zack compromised. Logan sends a nation-wide Eyes Only message warning the other X-5s. Tinga, one of the other X-5s, contacts Zack for help, since Manticore operatives have tracked her down in Portland, and Lydecker must be en route. Max, Zack, and Logan head to Portland - once Max and Zack team up with Tinga, they manage to take out Lydecker's forces, and Logan drives their getaway car. Zack and Tinga steal another car and plan to head for Canada.

At the end of the episode, we get some setup for the future. We see Lydecker informed that the "Committee" isn't happy with his repeated failures to bring in the X-5s, and that deadly force is now authorized to be used to make sure the X-5s are neutralized. Lydecker claims he doesn't have any qualms with this approach. We also see that Logan's mobility may be only temporary, as his legs begin to fail him, but he tries to hide that fact from Max.

This episode has wonderful consistency and logic from events that have happened prior in the series. Since Lydecker did have Zack in custody, it makes sense for him to do everything possible to get information from Zack, especially since he knows Zack was a leader among the X-5s. I was impressed by the lengths to which Lydecker was willing to go to set up Zack's escape so that he could see what information Zack would reveal. Did he know that Zack would turn to Max for help? I don't think he could be certain of that, although he does know that Zack and Max are relatively close. Lydecker definitely underestimated the X-5s cleverness, though, since he didn't think they'd figure out that Zack was bugged.

Zack himself suffered tremendously in this episode (and the torture leading up to this episode). He obviously was put through all kinds of physical and psychological abuse; Lydecker definitely has some strange ideas about what's good for his "kids". Apparently Zack still managed not to reveal any information, which is what forced Lydecker to set up his "escape". We could tell that Zack was at the end of his rope by how he completely surrendered control of the situation to Max when she arrived. He didn't try to tell her what to do or how to plan their escape, he just rested until she said it was time to leave. This was a very different side to him.

But Zack was back to his old self by the time they got to Logan's apartment. He was obviously very taken aback by Logan walking and definitely realized that this would make it that much less likely for Max to leave Seattle. He called Logan "miracle boy" - does he realize that Max's blood transfusion is what has helped Logan?

Later when Zack and Tinga are preparing to depart for Canada, Zack is in fine form. He is hugely sarcastic of Max's refusal to leave Seattle and plays his commander role with Tinga to the hilt, barely allowing her to even speak. I felt like Zack was being extra nasty here, but he's probably overcompensating for his vulnerability and weakness earlier in the episode. One last bit of interplay between Zack and Max that was nice: Max thought Zack left his contact number on Logan's phone accidentally, but then discovers that he remembered the number was compromised and disconnected the number. If Max won't play by his rules, Zack is going to leave her out in the cold.

Lydecker is now also out to get Eyes Only. Previously, Eyes Only's messages were confined to the Seattle area. Will Lydecker make the connection between Max and Eyes Only since they are both in Seattle and Eyes Only is sympathetic to the X-5s? Heck, will more national law enforcement start trying to stop Eyes Only now that he's gone national?

Back to the consistency of the episode: we actually saw some personal fall-out from the events of the previous episode ("Rising"). Original Cindy was evicted from her apartment since the Reds killed her landlord and trashed her place. Max's former roommate, Kendra, has moved in with her policeman lover, so Max invites Cindy to live with her. Before she agrees, Cindy inquires about whether attacks by bad guys chasing Max might be imminent - a sensible precaution!

Where do things go from here? Lydecker's efforts to find the X-5s should be ramped up, with the new possibility of deadly force coming into play, although I feel like Lydecker would prefer to bring his "kids" home alive. Either way, it seems like Lydecker needs a "victory" in order to maintain credibility at Manticore, otherwise it's going to start to be hard to believe that he would remain in charge of this project. Max and Logan's relationship keeps moving forward in spurts, but the regression in Logan's leg function could cause problems in many ways. Does he just need frequent transfusions?

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