Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Bag 'em"

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Episode Information

Title: "Bag 'Em"
Writer: Marjorie David
Director: Vern Gillum
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: January 28, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


In this episode, Max begins taking up her responsibility for the Manticore "creations" that she freed in the previous episode.

In the previous episode when the bosses of Manticore decided to burn down the facility and kill all of its soldiers, they sure weren't kidding. Just because some of those soldiers escaped the flames doesn't mean that Manticore wants them any less dead. In this episode, we see that the remnants of the Manticore organization (or is it another organization that's taken over?) is signaling the escaped soldiers, telling them to regroup. When the kids (by and large the escaped soldiers are teenaged or younger, since the first truly successful generation were the X-5s, and they are approximately 20 years old) dutifully report to the rendezvous coordinates, they are unceremoniously massacred.

Meanwhile, Max has a happy reunion with Original Cindy. I wonder how Cindy managed to "pay" for their apartment without Max's help? Max also gets her old job back at Jam Pony, after she proves her heart transplant story to Normal by showing him the scar. To say that he gets an eyeful is understating it, from his reaction.

Max's back-to-normal routine doesn't last long, because Logan contacts her about the Manticore operation. One of his contacts has stumbled on the regroup signal, and Max and Logan deduce that the returning soldiers are being slaughtered. Of course, Max feels responsible and takes off for the rendezvous point to try to stop it.

We take a peek at Alec, the X-5 soldier that Max was partnered with at Manticore. He might not be happy to have his free mealticket ruined, but at least he has some experience dealing with the normal world. He runs into a group of Manticore kids who are planning to head to the rendezvous. He tries to convince them that Manticore will kill them, but they won't listen. The kids march off to the rendezvous and are fortuitously rescued by Max. They and Max flee together and go back to hiding in the abandoned warehouse that Alec found them in; he's still there and none too happy to see Max.

The older generations of Manticore soldiers apparently have authority over the younger generations, so Max uses that to her advantage to order the kids to stop thinking of themselves as soldiers and get used to the real world. She gives the kids names and puts them to work fixing up an abandoned truck so that they can escape. Alec alternates between making snide comments to her and picking on a silent X-7 child who has been standing in the corner. When Max starts getting too mushy for him, he takes off.

In the mean time, we learn that Manticore's "clean up" operation is being run by a man named White, who has quite a temper. He is using normal soldiers and X-7s to search and destroy the kids returning to rendezvous. He comes into possession of Renfro's computer and data, including the crucial information about Max. He orders his soldiers to find Max and bring her back alive. He receives intelligence on Max's whereabouts via the X-7s: the X-7 in Max's hide-out has communicated ultrasonically with other X-7s outside, who brought the information to White.

The regular soldiers storm the hide-out. In the confusion, Max is able to get the kids to escape in the fixed-up truck. But she is captured and taken to White's field camp. White tells her that her DNA test shows that she has no junk DNA. But, it's not clear what all her DNA does, which is apparently why everyone is so interested in her.

The kids Max helped escape decide to break her out, and Alec comes along to help. In short order they disrupt White's camp, take out many of the regular soldiers, and break Max out. Max insists on changing the Manticore rendezvous signal that's being transmitted into a "go to ground" signal, then she destroys the transmitter. They all make a clean getaway. The next day, Max gets Logan to get all of the kids IDs and passports so they can escape into Canada. Based on her own experiences, she urges them not to lose track of each other, because they are family.

This episode was a pretty straightforward example of some of the ramifications of Max's actions in the previous episode. It's hard to believe that Manticore would just massacre soldiers that are dutiful and loyal enough to obey a regroup order, but I suppose this is the same organization that tried to burn them all to death. It is hard to believe all the regular soldiers obeying orders to murder normal-seeming people.

Max may have helped this group of kids to escape, but it seems like a drop in the bucket of all the ones that were at Manticore. I realize that she sent the "go to ground" signal, but logically it seems that Manticore should have also had a "come out of hiding" signal that could now be used. Sure, the transmitter is destroyed, but they could build another one. So has Max just delayed the inevitable? I suppose that in the interim, many of the escapees could adapt to normal life and just not return if a return order was given.

Why are the X-7s working for White? Did they not flee in panic during the fire in the last episode? Were they off-base at the time, so they were never out of control? They certainly have some unusual abilities, ones that White clearly isn't that comfortable with.

We got a bit more information about why Max is special. In fact, once Lydecker snuck into White's camp and stole the report on Max, he knew immediately that she was in a lot of trouble. I still don't understand what's going on, even with the junk DNA explanation. I guess we'll find out eventually.

The interaction between Max and Logan is still very painful. Max seems almost afraid to talk to Logan, as if she could infect him by sound. Of course, Logan was very careless in almost touching her - if I would die from touching someone, I would certainly be watching out!

Logan has made some additional problems for himself vis a vis Asha. The government has reported the burning of Manticore as the work of Asha's protest group, which is not violent. But now they have gotten this bad reputation. Asha wants Logan to get Eyes Only to set the record straight, but he's not sure what to do. I'm not sure he realizes that having the government say Eyes Only was wrong (about it being a genetic manipulation facility, not a Veterans' home) is hurting his credibility. We'll see what he does.

The two episodes so far this season have been good, but they haven't yet had the emotional punch that many of the episodes did last season. How will things shape up as Max has to deal with more of the Manticore escapees?

Actress sighting: Nicki Clyne, who played Fixit, is now on the new Battlestar Galactica.

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