Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Hello, Goodbye"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

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Episode Information

Title: "Hello, Goodbye"
Writer: Jose Molina, Cindi Grossenbacher
Director: Jeff Woolnough
Rating (out of 4 stars): ****
Reviewed on: March 3, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


This is an excellent episode that has a lot of changes for the character, and should set up the rest of this season.

Max and Logan are having a reasonably normal conversation at Crash. Max runs into Alec, who has just had the realization that they (the transgenics) should not get involved with anyone, because they are just putting those people in danger. He has just blown off Asha on this premise; Max disagrees, but it ruins her mood so she decides to go home. Logan makes the inevitable mistake of touching her, and quickly falls ill from the anti-Logan virus.

Max gets Logan to the hospital, where Logan's friend Dr. Shankar (last mentioned in "Exposure") tries to help him, but doesn't have much hope. She and Max come up with the idea of using the antibodies in a transgenic's blood to try to fight the virus; Max obviously cannot be the blood donor, but she calls up Alec, who instantly agrees. But when Alec leaves Crash, he is arrested. (Back to that plot in a moment.) When Alec doesn't show, Max sneaks Joshua into the hospital. Fortunately, the antibodies in Joshua's blood successfully fight the virus, and Logan recovers.

This incident is the last straw for Max, though. She can no longer deal with the possibility of killing Logan with a single touch, and tells him it's over. Logan tries to talk her out of it, but she is determined. She proceeds to be moody and depressed for the rest of the episode. Who can blame her? The whole situation is rotten. They've spent months with no real sign that the virus might ever be stopped, so how can either of them expect to go on forever like that? It's just not realistic.

Back to Alec: he was picked up by the police when he left Crash and is put into an identification line up. A witness picks him out as the man who murdered another man. Original Cindy informs Max of Alec's situation; Max is depressed enough that she's willing to let Alec rot, but Cindy convinces her of the obvious truth that Alec in prison could expose the transgenics. Max poses as Alec's attorney so she can talk to him. Alec claims he is innocent (at least in this case), saying that he could never kill anyone in cold blood. Max is so annoyed that she almost leaves him, but then he mentions that his alleged murder was over a year ago, and the victim had all his teeth pulled out. Max realizes that the murderer was Ben, Alec's twin brother, from last season's "Pollo Loco", and so she breaks him out of jail.

Alec lays low in Max's apartment for the night. He asks Max to tell him about Ben, and eventually she reveals that she killed Ben because he didn't want to go back to Manticore. The look on Alec's face when she says that is priceless - clearly he didn't think she had the capacity to be so ruthless, since she's always come off pretty sensitive and touchy-feely to him. Alec has really turned into Mr. Sensitive in this episode, as he comforts Max here and then later on. I found it kind of odd that he wasn't upset that Max killed Ben, but I forget that he didn't really know Ben and frankly it's hard to argue with the logic of killing a transgenic serial killer. Alec leaves in the morning, giving Max one last hug, just as Logan shows up to come to see Max. Of course, Logan gets all the wrong ideas.

Meanwhile, we have been cutting occasionally to Joshua, who has met one of the people on his street: a young blind woman named Annie, who has a seeing-eye dog. Since Annie is blind, she's not scared of Joshua, and they meet a couple times. In a touching scene, Joshua shows her (by feel) his paintings. Joshua has never had the attention of a pretty girl and loves it. Annie respects the fact that he doesn't feel sorry for her. This was a nice observation, because Joshua knows so many beings with so many different abilities, that it probably wouldn't occur to him that someone different might be someone to feel sorry for. Alec shows up at Joshua's house to hide out until the police give up on him; he finds out about Annie and tells Joshua that he should stop seeing her before she gets hurt, and more than just emotionally.

Also meanwhile, we having been cutting to White, who still has the transgenic that was captured in the previous episode. The transgenic also survived the snake blood used by the breeding cult, although he got very ill from it. This transgenic is not very bright, and it was speculated in the previous episode that he was created has some kind of worker. (This really doesn't make sense to me - why waste lots of scientific work to create a being that could be replaced by normal soldiers? Surely a transgenic isn't needed to polish shoes or clean latrines.) White sets up a situation to expose the transgenics: he tells the transgenic that he is free to go, if he gets past the guards at one of the gates between sectors. Of course, the transgenic ends up attacking the guards and drawing a scene with his enhanced strength; in the end, he is shot dead by the guards, but not before the whole scene has been videotaped for the evening news.

When the video is played on the news, all the transgenics and their friends knows that they are now in deep trouble. The news also reports on rumors, such as Manticore and barcodes, that we know are true. The news and the imminent threat draw them all together: Logan tries to contact Max (but she ignores his pages), Alec and Joshua contact Max.

Annie shows up at Joshua's house, but Alec convinces Joshua that he's got to end their friendship because now he could put Annie in real danger. Joshua tells Annie he has to travel home (to Manticoria, in France); Annie asks to touch Joshua's face so that she can remember him. With just a look, Joshua gets Alec to stand in for him so that Annie can feel a normal face - this is such a heartbreaking scene because of Joshua giving in to the reality of the situation and realizing that his wishes can't come true, at least not yet. Afterward, Alec calls Max to come and talk to Joshua. Max tells Joshua that he did the right thing - that sometimes you have to do the right thing for someone you love, even if it hurts. We know that she's trying to convince herself, as well.

While talking to Joshua, Max notices that the necklace he wears (given to him by Sandeman) has the breeding cult symbol on it. She realizes that this is the connection between Manticore and the breeding cult that Logan had been seeking way back at the beginning of the episode (when things were relatively normal). She sneaks into Logan's apartment, thinking he's not home, to leave the information. But Logan knows her, and he'd been waiting for her. He tries to convince her that their relationship isn't over, but he's drunk and obviously very upset. He confronts her about seeing Alec leaving her apartment and asks her to tell him he's drawing the wrong conclusions. After a lot of internal deliberation, Max says that she "can't" tell him that. She didn't blatantly lie, but obviously believes she can't tell him the truth because then he would see no reason to end their relationship. So she encourages him to think the wrong thing so that he'll let her go. Logan's devastated look is matched by Max's tearful one.At the end of the episode, she and Alec ponder the age-old wisdom that "life sucks" while atop the Space Needle.

Wow - there was so much happening in this episode. It seemed like there were a huge number of plot lines, but they all wove together coherently and added up to a great episode.

First, let me discuss the complete upset in the status quo for the transgenics: White has purposely blown wide open the existence of the transgenics. I mentioned in my review for the previous episode that he had the information to take down the government agency he is working for, and this is precisely how he would go about doing it. So I expect a huge flurry in the government as more and more information about the transgenics is confirmed as fact and not mere rumor. But why did White do this? It doesn't seem like he actually cares about his government job. The breeding cult leaders are concerned about the fact that the transgenics can survive their snake blood. We don't know why they are so worried, but presumably White is hoping that by making the existence of the transgenics public, they will be eliminated more quickly.

With all the information about Manticore revealed, it's obviously much more likely that Max and/or Alec will be exposed. How many of their friends (that don't know their secret) have accidentally seen their barcodes, especially Alec's? I'm wondering in particular about Normal and Sketchy - after all, Normal watched Alec fight in cage matches, where it would be hard to hide that barcode.

The revelation of the transgenics has the potential to completely change the series. Will the transgenics try to slip deeper into hiding? Or will they finally decide enough is enough and confirm their existence? Max and some of the others have been hinting at this possibility. We'll have to see where it goes.

Onto other plots. The breakup of Max and Logan was very painful, and had an air of finality at the end of the episode, despite the fact that it's hard to believe they could ever be apart for long. As soon as one of them gets into trouble, the other is certain to come help. However, it does provide some progress in this particular situation, which has been stagnating for awhile. I find it hard to believe that Logan would believe Max would take up with Alec so quickly, but I suppose he's trying to find some kind of alternate explanation for Max leaving him.

Alec has definitely been changing, mostly for the better, I think. He's finally starting to be comfortable about caring for his friends, especially Max. He was willing to head off to help Logan in an instant, and he truly was trying to help Joshua in advising him to break it off with Annie. I just hope that he doesn't start to fall for Max like all the men in the series do - it's much more interesting to have them as friends. His repeated declarations that the transgenics shouldn't get involved with regular people seem to imply that he's limiting his possibilities to other transgenics, though.

The one part of the episode that was a bit off to me was Alec's abrupt arrest by the police - they've been searching for Ben for over a year, and they happen to decide to take down Alec at the exact moment he went to help Logan? And then there doesn't seem like there will be many consequences of this arrest, since Max busted him out promptly. It feels like the only point of this part of the episode was to get Max to tell Alec about Ben in a somewhat natural manner. Why is Max telling Alec about Ben important for the series? Hopefully we'll find out.

Overall, this was an excellent episode. There is the promise of major changes to come, and there have already been serious effects on our characters. The episode conveyed a real sense of desperation on the part of the characters, underlining that events are getting out of control and something major is going to happen. Let's hope that the series follows through on this.

More genre actors: the actress who played Annie also played the character Elizabeth in the first season of Jeremiah, and also plays Dualla in the new Battlestar Galactica.

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