Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Borrowed Time"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

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Episode Information

Title: "Borrowed Time"
Writer: Jose Molina
Director: David Straiton
Rating (out of 4 stars): **
Reviewed on: February 18, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


Max and Logan finally get the chance to be together, but their opportunity is blown by the most ludicrous monster of the week yet.

Max has been working hard to recover her notes on the virus that Joshua painted over in "Medium Is the Message". She thinks she's making some progress, so she takes her work to a scientist she has located who is willing to help her, for a price. Turns out that her work isn't quite right, but it gives the scientist the idea of trying to encapsulate the virus particles with proteins, so that they cannot do any damage. He'll work out how to do this, for $20,000.

Max doesn't want to ask Logan for the money, after losing his cash previously in "Proof of Purchase", so she asks Alec to help her with a pricey theft. We get a laugh about the item to be stolen: Star Wars: Episode VII (you know, the one where Kirk dies, as Alec says), which was in production when the pulse hit, so it was never released. Alec is dubious about helping her, but the price is right: $20,000 for each of them. So they follow Max's plan for the robbery, and end up being stuck in a closet for an hour while waiting for the guards to change shifts. Alec yaps and bugs Max incessantly, and manages to find out that Max is going to use her share of the money for the virus cure. In the end, they are successful with the theft.

Max pays of the scientist, and he injects the would-be cure into her. Initially, it seems to work, but then he observes that the virus is gradually breaking through the protein barriers. He estimates that in 14 - 15 hours she'll be deadly to Logan again, but advises her to call it 12 hours, just to be safe. (Wow, finally, a scientific deadline that isn't absolute!) While this is a serious disappointment, Max realizes that she and Logan still have a rare opportunity.

By the time Max gets to Logan's apartment and explains the situation, they have over 10 hours left. Logan is surprised, to say the least, but he's willing to seize the chance to be with her, even for a short while. Max doesn't want to just have a quickie, though, she wants things to be "perfect". Logan goes along with it, of course, and so they have wine and dancing and candlelight. Argh. We, the viewers, know the other shoe is going to drop, and given the events in their lives the past year or so, they should know it too. With 10 hours, have the quickie and then do things perfectly. Sheesh.

Meanwhile, there are two developments. Alec meets Asha in Crash and tells her about Max and Logan, although Alec doesn't know the virus fix is temporary. It's been an ill-kept secret that Asha is interested in Logan, so she and Alec end up drinking and talking about Max and Logan. They both guess that Max and Logan will be commencing their affair "perfectly", although Asha seems to think this is romantic, while Alec is ready to puke. Alec has had his eye on Asha for awhile, so he seizes his chance now that Logan seems more unavailable than ever. Asha ends up going back to Alec's apartment, although nothing happens because she falls asleep.

The second development is that so far we have had random scenes of people being attacked and dragged off by some kind of monster that spits snot. One attack happens near Joshua's house, and he smells it and tracks it through the sewers for awhile. He recognizes that it's a Manticore monster, so he goes to find Max at Logan's apartment so that they can stop it.

Needless to say, Max and Logan are not at all happy to have their evening interrupted. Max tries to put off finding the monster, which Joshua says is a Gossamer, but Joshua is adamant that it could be killing people. Max finally agrees, with 8 hours of her virus deadline remaining. She insists that Joshua stay at Logan's (so he's not seen by the public) and goes to Alec's apartment to enlist his help. It's not clear why he agrees to help, but ends up tromping through the sewers with Max. He does know what the Gossamers are, and says some were bred to kill and some to capture, but all have snot that stuns their victims.

Logan has been trying to find any correlation between the attack sites, and realizes that all the victims so far have had fillings in their teeth from a certain dentist who uses a kevlar-related metal for the fillings. Leaving Joshua at his apartment, Logan breaks into the dentist's office to get samples of the fillings and records that might indicate other targets for the Gossamer. While he is there, the Gossamer attacks him and drags him off.

Max and Alec track the Gossamer to a junkyard where we saw the first victim attacked. They find Logan and the other victims alive, but wrapped up in snot inside the junked vehicles and unable to move. The Gossamer attacks and neutralizes Max and Alec, encasing them in snot, too. They are stuck until Joshua finally decides they've been gone too long and tracks them down, despite Max's orders to stay out of sight.

Joshua manages to free Max before the Gossamer stuns him. Max fights with the Gossamer and uses some of the kevlar substance Logan got from the dentist's office to lure the monster into a car, which she then locks and lifts up with a crane. With the Gossamer neutralized, she is able to release the others.

By the time everyone is free, Max and Logan's deadline has just minutes left. Logan says that he still thinks they were right to have tried to be together at this opportunity, but that losing her like this is just as painful as when he thought she might be dead, and he can't keep doing it. They pledge their love, and their time is up.

Well, this episode was a tremendously mixed bag. My rating is a combination of a nearly 4-star plot involving Max and Logan's almost-consummation and the 0-star plot involving the Gossamer.

First, the good. It's nice to see some progress being made on combating Max's virus. The scientist that helped her appeared out of the blue from our point of view, but I thought the protein-encapsulation plan sounded relatively plausible. (I don't have a lot of biological knowledge, however.) And it was eminently believable that Manticore's virus would have some nasty adaptive traits that would help it fight anything trying to neutralize it.

This all set up a tragic storyline for the rest of the episode: Max and Logan getting the chance to be together, but only for a short time. This could have been extremely moving, and it was, to some extent, but was marred by the stupidity of the monster plot. As I said earlier, I do think they were foolish to move so slowly at first, but really, that's a small nitpick.

Now the bad. Everything to do with the Gossamer was awful. The special effects for the monster were the worst ones I think I have seen in this series. The snot-spitting was just stupid and disgusting, and reminded me of Jurassic Park way too much. I find it impossible to believe that Manticore could have created something so alien in appearance and somehow think that no one would ever notice it being used. What animals exactly was the Gossamer developed from? It looked like an anteater on chicken legs.

OK, so the Gossamer was a dumb idea, but if it was actually out slaughtering Seattle, it would have been a worthy task for Max to stop it. But, no. Max and Logan give up their unique opportunity in order to help people, and it turns out that the Gossamer isn't actually killing anyone. I realize that life doesn't always provide satisfying endings to heroic actions, but the viewers really deserved it in this case. Not only do our heroes sacrifice to stop a monster that isn't very horrible after all, but then they are forced to suffer the indignity of being wrapped in monster snot. Give me a break!

The final straw is the end of the episode: apparently Max didn't actually kill the Gossamer when she trapped him in the car. Somehow it makes a transformation into a pet. The man that owns the junkyard teaches it how to fetch, and he's going to use it as a guard. So Max and Logan (and Alec) went through everything to stop the monster, only to see it hopping around in a friendly manner at the end? Give me a break! Oh, wait, did I already say that?

Other points. Alec was extremely sarcastic and biting toward Max in this episode, especially about how she didn't take advantage of her time together with Logan (in the first season) while she could. If I gave the writers more credit, I would say that this attitude from Alec is a reaction to the events of the previous episode, when his true love died: he's jealous and angry that Max had this opportunity staring her in the face, but didn't take advantage of it, while he is stuck without his love forever. However, after the Gossamer plot, I don't know that I give the writers that much credit.

The scene between Alec and Asha when they discuss Max and Logan is very much like two jilted lovers commiserating, but Alec was not jilted by Max (or Logan, I suppose). Alec could be just playing things up in order to get to Asha, but I wonder if he has another motive. Perhaps he is starting to fall for Max. It would explain his attitude in this scene. It would also explain why he is so scathing about Max's lack of initiative in her relationship with Logan. And, it would explain why he keeps helping Max out for no apparent reason in this episode, in "Medium Is the Message", and others. It also fits with his wondering question to Logan in "Brainiac" about why women find him (Logan) so attractive - Logan is frustrating Alec's efforts with Asha and possibly Max. This may be complete speculation, but it fits pretty well.

Well, I don't have much more to say. The overall idea of Max and Logan having some "borrowed time" which is interrupted was good, but the plot that interrupted them was just ridiculous.

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