Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Gill Girl"

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Episode Information

Title: "Gill Girl"
Writer: Marjorie David
Director: Bryan Spicer
Rating (out of 4 stars): ** 1/2
Reviewed on: February 11, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


This episode is yet another monster of the week, but at least this week the monster needs to be rescued instead of needing to be stopped.

As the episode begins, Logan begs for Max's help in babysitting his young niece, Brittany. Max quickly gets on the child's good side and begins reading her the fairy tail "The Little Mermaid". When Brittany leaves, she kisses Max and then Logan goodbye. Within minutes, Logan has a fever and develops a rash - it seems that somehow Max's virus got to Logan. Fortunately, Max is able to contact Asha, who can load Logan into the car and take him to a hospital. Logan's doctor friend (last seen helping Zack in "Some Assembly Required")discovers that Logan has contracted chicken pox, so he'll be fine very soon. The incident has given Max quite a scare.

Meanwhile, some fishermen have caught something very unusual in their net: a woman with gills in her sides. The fishermen sell her to a local strip club, who displays her in an aquarium and advertises her as a "mermaid", despite her relatively normal appearance. Alec, Sketchy, and Normal happen to be visiting the strip club. Alec notices the "gill girl"'s bar code - she's a transgenic. Even the self-centered Alec realizes two things: first, it's wrong for her to be kept in as a sideshow, and two, very soon White will find out about her and kill her.

Alec goes to Max for help. The only way women can get into the strip club is if they work there, so Max quickly takes a job. (This leads to a quick laugh when Sketchy and Normal run into her.) Max and Alec case the club and quickly pick up on someone they believe to be White's agent. When the agent makes his move, they quickly snatch him outside and subdue him. But they discover that the "agent" is actually a transgenic male with gills, and they have accidentally ruined his breathing apparatus that allows him to be out of water for extended periods. Moreover, while they were distracted, White's people really did come and snatch the girl.

Max and Alec take the "gill guy" to Logan's apartment and try to keep him wet while they fix the breathing apparatus. Asha is there, and she very calmly takes the odd situation in stride, even coming up with an idea for the repair. Logan manages to track down where White is holding the girl - a steam power plant.

Max, Alec, and the gill guy head to the power plant. The security is very tight, especially since much of the perimeter and building structure is extra strong because it's a power plant. Fortuitously, the interior of the plant can be accessed by a larger water intake pipe, which the gill guy swims up. Max and Alec climb to the roof, where the gill guy lets them in.

The three of them manage to get past White and his minions and break the gill girl out of the crate she was about to be transported in. They head down to the beach, where the two gilled transgenics take off for whatever life they have ahead of them.

This episode was OK for what it had, but it was again a stand-alone episode with little effect down the road. At least it had a happier ended than some of Max's previous encounters with odd transgenics.

The beginning scene involving the child and Logan contracting chicken pox was kind of odd, because having a close call for Logan didn't seem to have much point. However, there were some incidental bits that contributed to the overall plot. First, it introduced the mermaid fairy tale, which Max referenced several times later on. Second, it reminded us of Max's weak spot for children, which we have seen a number of times (the last one that occurs to me is last season's "Red").

The other interesting tidbit from this introductory plot is when Max goes with Logan to the hospital, she stops by the hospital's chapel. She bargains with God for a miracle to save Logan, and then immediately afterward she learns that Logan will be all right. Later, she starts to discuss with Original Cindy whether or not this is a miracle, but they are interrupted by Alec. Max's uncertainty about religion was brought to light last season in "Pollo Loco" - did her conversations with the Father after that episode give her any enlightenment? Unfortunately this interesting look into Max's thoughts on the subject is cut short and not revisited.

We get a look at a different aspect of White in this episode. He is his usual ruthless, blunt self in regards to the welfare of the gill girl, until he gets on the phone with his wife and son. It's hard to imagine such a person having a normal family, and it does humanize him a bit. It was also effectively incongruous to watch him talking almost baby talk to his young son while standing over a dying woman in a cage. I have to wonder how such people can rationalize their deeds and sleep well at night.

White also has to be getting pretty miffed at Max and Alec. Max has now been involved in wrecking his plans twice, as has Alec. White was surprised to see Alec alive, since White had planted the tiny explosive in Alec in "Proof of Purchase"; the timer had expired, so White assumed Alec was dead. Frankly, this seems like overconfidence and arrogance on White's part unless he had actually seen the body. He should realize by now that the transgenics are extremely resourceful. At any rate, I would think he might start placing more of an emphasis on searching for Max and Alec.

On to the "gill girl" herself. The idea of Manticore creating a person with gills is reasonably plausible, given other things we've seen in the series. I don't understand why they were not created to be able to survive better out of water, but perhaps they were a beta version. The part that bugs me is that we supposedly get a look at the girl's eggs in a pool of water. Eggs, really? Creating a person with gills is a whole heck of a lot different than altering the complete reproductive system. And are we to think that each of those eggs could potentially grow up to be a gill person? That's a bunch! Or are the infant mortality rates for fish also acceptable for the "gill people"? This was a silly idea that just should have been avoided.

Where does the series go from here? Nothing in this episode had much direct effect. White should be even angrier. Max is a little more skittish about hurting Logan. A couple transgenics have been saved. We need a more long-range goal or issue for the characters to deal with!

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