x Episode Review of "Dark Angel" Season 2: "Dawg Day Afternoon"

Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Dawg Day Afternoon"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

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Episode Information

Title: "Dawg Day Afternoon"
Writer: Robert Doherty
Director: Kenneth Biller
Rating (out of 4 stars): ****
Reviewed on: March 7, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


Another excellent, if tragic, episode, following up immediately on White's and Joshua's actions in the previous episode.

In the previous episode, Joshua had been convinced my Alec and Max to give up Annie, his new blind friend, for the safety of both of them. In the days following that episode, however, we see Joshua pining over Annie, and finally he can't stand not seeing her. He sneaks out of his house and goes to peek at her in her house; some local punks notice him and are actually protective of their neighborhood blind girl, so they go to beat Joshua up. When they discover that he's a "mutant", they are more determined to chase him down. Joshua manages to evade them overnight.

Meanwhile, Logan has gotten hold of the un-cut surveillance video of the altercation between the transgenic and the police at the end of the last episode. The un-cut video shows that the transgenic was hesitant and did not make the first violent move - the police did. Of course, that part hasn't been made public. Logan also notices White's car in the video and deduces that White set up the whole situation by dropping off the transgenic there. He tries to tell Max about this, but Max is still refusing contact with him.

White gets further instructions from his breeding cult masters that he needs to further expose information about Manticore and the transgenics to keep feeding the public's panic. It's not clear how the cult is benefiting from this - maybe they just want to use public panic to help kill all the transgenics, and the resultant fear to keep any more from being created? White has been feeding information to the media about Manticore, such as the fact that the transgenics have barcodes and that some look human.

After a night of hiding, Joshua is discovered in an abandoned lot by Annie walking her seeing-eye dog. Unfortunately, she leads the punks right to Joshua; he takes Annie with him as he flees into the sewers. The punks call the police and tell them they saw a mutant kidnap the local blind girl, which becomes an instant news story. The police arrive, seal off the general area, and begin systematically searching the sewers. The description of Joshua in the news is good enough for Logan, Alec, and Max to realize what has happened, and so they all head to the scene. Max heads into the sewers to try to find Joshua, while Logan hacks into the police systems to track where the police searchers are and notify Max. White is on the scene, and eventually heads into the sewers himself reports come in of a girl attacking the police searchers.

In the sewers, Joshua makes Annie avoid getting detected by the police, which finally makes Annie demand to be told what's going on. Joshua reluctantly tells Annie what he is, and Annie is very upset at how he tricked her (substituting Alec's face for his own in the previous episode). After some time to calm down, she says she understands why Joshua felt he had to keep his secret from her. Joshua wants to somehow lead her out of the sewers to safety, but Annie has the only logical idea: she will wait where she is for the searchers to find her, while Joshua escapes on his own. Although Joshua is reluctant to leave her, it appears that the searchers are approaching and should find her shortly, so he agrees.

Max and Joshua finally find each other, and Logan manages to direct them to a safe escape. The final part of their escape involved overcoming some of the police, so it's instant news that the "mutant" escaped and had help in the form of a young woman. Logan drops Max, Joshua, and Alec off and Joshua's house.

The end of Max's search and then their escape apparently took some time, as we see night fall. During all that time, Annie has been waiting patiently to be found. She finally thinks she will be safe when White discovers her. The next thing we know, Joshua, Max, and Alec are watching a news report of Annie's body being discovered in the sewer, killed in a method that would only be possible for someone of enhanced strength. Joshua nearly goes crazy in anger and grief, and Max and Alec can only try to comfort him.

This episode really escalates the tension and emotion between the normal people and the transgenics in the city. White does an excellent job of fanning the flames of impending panic. We know that he's the despicable one for killing a blind woman, but all the city knows is that there are savage mutants loose that will prey on anyone. Once Joshua realizes that White killed Annie, I have to think that he'll be out for revenge. Of course, he will probably also be in for a healthy dose of self-recrimination, since he caused the chain of events that lead to Annie's death.

How long will White be able to keep up his double life, working for two masters? He clearly considers the tasks given to him by the breeding cult to be his true job, but that doesn't mean that his government subordinates couldn't realize something is going on and kill or capture him before he can save himself. I thought White was acting suspiciously to them in this episode when he washed his hands of trying to capture the alleged transgenic in the sewers and said the police could handle it.

There were some nice continuity touches here. The information about Manticore barcodes was revealed, so we see Max and Alec using a laser to remove theirs temporarily. Max gets Alec a new passport and birth certificate saying that he has an identical twin and giving him an alibi for the murder for which he was arrested in the previous episode. (I can't say I think it would be that easy to get rid of that charge, since Alec did bust out of prison, but at least the writers have acknowledged the issue.)

The death of Annie was tragic, and not just for herself. I can imagine the scenario if she had been rescued by the police: she could tell him that the "mutant" was her friend and not violent, and she wasn't kidnapped at all. I don't think most people would believe her, but it would have made at least some people think again, and it might have slowed the rising tide of panic in the city. There was a bit of humor in the episode, as we saw poor Sketchy traveling through the sewers looking for a mutant story, but getting knocked out by everyone, including Max. Max behaved oddly toward him (besides punching him) in this episode, so I would think he would start getting suspicious of her. We'll see.

Max is still doing her best to avoid Logan, although they both agreed to help each other out in times of trouble. Logan is obviously hoping for more, but he seems to have calmed down enough to realize that patience may be needed. We could see his obvious frustration in the beginning of the episode when it seemed that Max was always with Alec; I was kind of surprised that Logan didn't ask Alec about it later on. If the situation deteriorates for the transgenics, how will Logan proceed?

There was some nice directing in this episode, an aspect which doesn't usually stick out to me. While Max, White, and the searchers are traveling through the nameless sewer tunnels, we continually get shots between them that seem to imply they are about to come upon each other, which really heightened the tension of the scenes.

Where will the series go from here? With all the tension in the city, it seems that something bad, violent, and sudden is bound to happen. Someone is going to find a real transgenic, or a person they think is a trangenic, and bad things are going to result. Personally, for Max and the others, the normal people they work with might find out who they are, and who knows how they will react. We saw Normal in this episode rooting for all the anti-transgenic propaganda and police actions, and he can't be alone.

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