Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Harbor Lights"

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Episode Information

Title: "Harbor Lights"
Writer: Robert Doherty
Director: Kenneth Biller
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: February 22, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


A good episode that shows us more about White's cult and brings in a new possible adversary.

At the beginning of the episode, we see that Logan has withdrawn from contact with Max as a result of the events in the previous episode ("Borrowed Time"). Max decides that she needs to get out of town for the day and clear her head, so she goes to score some gas for her motorcycle. An altercation takes place in the line for gasoline, and Max is accidentally shot in the abdomen. (This happens because she is trying to get a little boy out of the line of fire. OK, we get it - she really has a soft spot for kids.)

Max is seriously hurt and losing a lot of blood. Emergency workers take her to the Harbor Lights hospital. She panics about the tests they might run on her, but she is in no conditions to leave. Luckily, Logan had paged her, and a nurse calls him back as the last number on her pager - Max had no other identification on her. Logan quickly sets up an identity for Max and himself, as her husband. Then he calls his doctor friend (Dr. Carr, last seen prominently in "Some Assembly Required"), who promises Logan that he'll take over Max's case and head off any unusual test results. Logan pays Max a brief visit in the hospital.

Unfortunately, there was a mix-up in paperwork, and the blood that Dr. Carr took to prevent tests from being run on it was not Max's. Max's blood is tested, and the results reveal the anti-Logan virus in her system. The hospital doctor calls the CDC about this potential infectious virus, and the CDC quarantines the hospital and Max. Max tries to convince the head CDC doctor that she's not infectious, and she tries to leave, but she is unsuccessful at both endeavors.

The notification to the CDC is overheard by White's minions. White poses as an FBI agent and demands that the CDC doctor turn custody of Max over to him. However, the doctor still believes that Max is potentially dangerous, and the threat of the publicity involved if Max is removed by the FBI, thereby endangering the public, forestalls White. Some time later, the CDC doctor tells Max that she really isn't infectious (duh!), but that her DNA is absolutely perfect, making her an object of interest to him and the CDC. He intends to take her to CDC headquarters; he mentions that the FBI is looking for her, trying to entice her to willingly stay with the CDC.

Meanwhile, White has not given up. He's worried that if Max finds herself in a desperate situation, she will tell the CDC all about herself and Manticore, just as he is trying to eliminate all trace of Manticore. White uses his connections through the breeding cult he belongs to (first revealed in "Medium Is the Message") in order to contact another member in the hospital. His contact is a nurse, and he orders her to kill Max.

Logan had seen White in the hospital and so he knows White is up to something. He has been able to electronically eavesdrop on enough of White's conversation to realize that Max is in trouble. He manages to signal Max through the beeps on her EKG monitor. Max manages to free herself from her restraints just as the nurse comes at her with a deadly syringe. They scuffle, and we learn that the nurse is also some kind of super-human, like White, and is very strong and can't feel pain. Max is not in her usual fighting form, but she manages to throw the nurse out the window, from many stories up. (Interestingly, bystanders are surprised to find the nurse survived the fall. Presumably this is due to her enhancements.)

Now Max is on the run in the hospital. She is able to briefly talk to Logan on the phone, who tells her to get to the roof of the hospital. She is easily able to evade the security and get to the top floor, which is abandoned. However, she is caught up to by White, who has decided to take matters into his own hands. Interestingly, he tries to chat her up and convince her that they should work together to prevent the CDC from learning any more about Manticore; but this chatter is just a distraction, as we see him planning to shoot her.

Max manages to get up to the roof, but can't avoid a fight with White. Her injured condition keeps her from being very effective, but at a crucial moment, she breaks White's knee. He may not be able to feel pain, but it sure is hard to walk with a broken knee. Logan has gotten a friend of his in the TV crew filming the situation at the hospital to use a helicopter to swoop down and pick up Max.

Logan makes sure Max is safely back in her apartment with Original Cindy so she can heal; besides her gunshot wound, she has a sprained ankle and broken ribs from fighting White. When he leaves, his words to her sound rather final - is he going to continue their separation? At the very end of the episode we see important-looking men perusing Max's CDC medical files in Washington, DC.

Well, this episode was enjoyable, but it was pretty straightforward, so I don't think I have a lot of comments. Max getting shot in a random incident is pretty arbitrary, but it does highlight the precariousness of life for everyone, and especially for Max. We all have to life with the possibility of dying rather suddenly and senselessly. For Max, though, there is the added problem of having her identity revealed. She's lucky to have the support system of Logan and his contacts.

We find out more about the breeding cult that White is a part of: they have a silly chant to identify each other, and women can be a part of it, too. It wasn't clear to me what part women might play in the cult, since the mothers of at least some of the children are traditionally killed. I guess some of the special children can be female as well as male.

I am ambivalent about the introduction of the CDC doctor as a new potential adversary. At first, he seemed like a dedicated doctor just trying to do the right thing, but when he learned about Max's DNA, he changed his stripes. Is he really only considering benign testing of Max, or does he have more sinister ideas? Why should he necessarily be an evil or power-hungry person, just because he is in charge? Is the government so generally corrupt that only such people can rise to powerful positions? On the other hand, a new adversary that is not aligned with White would be an interesting addition. Max could potentially play them against each other, if she has the opportunity.

When is Max going to try to figure out what's going on with her DNA? Everyone else is so excited about it, but she just doesn't seem to care. I think she's had so many weird things happen in her life that she just doesn't want to find out about one more strange aspect of herself. I don't think she's going to have much choice, however.

Max does have an interesting monologue at the end of the episode, when she talks about how "we" (presumably the trangenics from Manticore) aren't going to be able to run for much longer. Does she have some kind of plan? The last time we heard such sentiments, between her and Zack, at the end of last season's "Hit a Sista Back", they ended up taking out Manticore shortly thereafter.

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