Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Radar Love"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

If you have any comments on this review, please email me at the address at the bottom.

Episode Information

Title: "Radar Love"
Writer: Jeff Woolnough
Director: Michael Angeli
Rating (out of 4 stars): ** 1/2
Reviewed on: February 3, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


This episode mixes together three plot elements: Max and Logan's relationship, the transgenics with unknown abilities that are now on the loose, and White's mission to kill them all. However, I don't think the mix is completely successful, and there are some small detractions in my opinion.

Asha continues to enlist Logan's help for her personally and for her protest organization, S1W. She resents Logan's relationship with Max - it's not clear at first whether this is because of any personal feelings she has for Logan or because it's taking resources away from her goals. She manages to put her foot in her mouth with Max (so far that she has teeth marks on her knee, as she says), and Max clearly has no personal affection for Asha. Nevertheless, when Asha is arrested by the police for a minor infraction, Max breaks her out as a favor to Logan.

Max is annoyed with the attention Logan is giving Asha, and jealous that Asha can touch Logan and she can't. So throughout the episode, Max is generally pissed off with Logan and seriously re-thinking whether she and Logan really have any future together. She runs into (literally) the guy she had a one night stand with at the end of last season ("Meow"), Rafer, and he does seem to be an interesting and reasonable sensitive guy. Meanwhile, Logan is having second thoughts as well and does nothing to smooth things over with Max. He's realizing that Asha is interested in him.

While Max and Logan are having their respective snits, the world is moving on anyway. We get intermittent looks at a very strange trangenic who has come to town. He is rather hunchbacked and has numerous cysts and open sores on his body, especially his face. Not surprisingly, he is being shunned and heads to Chinatown to try to find a place to stay. There are also numerous deaths apparently caused by some kind of virus that seem to be occurring wherever this hunchback transgenic has been.

Logan's detective friend informs Logan about the situation so far regarding the deaths, and that the strange transgenic has been sighted. Logan and the detective believe that the transgenic is spreading a disease. Logan calls Max to try to enlist her help, but Max explodes in a fury that Logan just assumes a transgenic must be to blame, and refuses to help.

We learn that Max is right. Mr. White has hired a rogue scientist, a very young guy who appears to be an expert in engineering viruses, to create a virus that will kill transgenics. The deaths so far have been two trial runs to test viruses that the scientist created to kill only people with specific genes. They have been successful, so White orders the scientist to conduct a final test: he has a captured X-6 (?) he will release, and he wants the scientist to release the virus and see if it will kill the X-6 on the run.

The detective tracks down the hunchbacked transgenic and circumstances force him to shoot the transgenic dead. I think this situation was quite forced in order to underline Max's point. The transgenic had just saved a young boy from falling to his death, but as a result, had the child in his arms as if he had a hostage. The autopsy proves the transgenic is not the source of the virus, which is a bittersweet victory for Max, because she was right but the transgenic is still dead.

Logan and the detective uncover additional information that lead them to the scientist's lab, but he is not there because the last test is about to begin. From the scientist's computers, they are able to deduce that he is the creator of the virus, what the ultimate virus is about to do, and that the test is about to begin. Logan calls Max for help, and also to warn her since she could be killed if she is in range of the test.

We see the scientist release the X-6, who runs off immediately. Then the scientist shoots off the canister that releases the virus (it's something like a Chinese firecracker). Logan tells Max that there is 1 minute before the virus reaches ground level, and then it's deadly for 4 minutes. Max uses the 1 minutes to chase down the X-6, and then they both jump into a pool of water, staying underneath until the 4 minutes of danger have passed. (This is nice continuity, since it is well-established that the transgenics have amazing lung capacity.) The scientist is shot dead, and White, who was observing the test, makes a clean getaway.

Max and Logan decompress in Logan's apartment like usual, but they are still uncertain about their future together. At the end of the episode, they ignore calls from their potential new beaux, but is that really their final decisions?

I'm not sure what order to deal with these plots, so I'll tackle Max/Logan first. I think it's very realistic for Max and Logan to have doubts about their future, given the very large barrier that is currently between them. However, the fact that they both started having these second thoughts at the same time and with very similar situations with other people "tempting" them seemed forced. Also, watching them snap at each other isn't much fun, since it just makes them both look petty.

I have to think that Max was being distracted by her situation with Logan, because otherwise she is being remarkably oblivious to the threat from White. In every episode so far this season, White has had some kind of plan to kill/capture her in particular and transgenics in general. Does she think he has just given up and disappeared since the events with Alec in the last episode ("Proof of Purchase")? She had a point that the virus wasn't necessarily a by-product of a transgenic, but she really should have been suspicious that something was going on. I suppose since the original victims didn't have anything in common with the transgenics she thought it was unrelated.

White is continuing to be a clever and ruthless adversary. Given the biological work that had been done at Manticore, it makes sense that he would come up with a similar idea for killing the transgenics. I also liked that the development of the virus was presented relatively logically, with successive testing of more difficult aspects. Sadly, I suspect this kind of logic was evident only because it worked well for the plot.

However, the action involving the release of the virus at the end of the episode was frustrating. It had an error that is all-too-common on TV. Logan says that once the virus is released into the air, it's 1 minute until it reaches ground level and can kill. So what does Max do? Set her watch for 1 minute, as if she had exactly that long and then the virus would instantly kill her. This is ridiculous. Currents in the air will cause the virus to move around randomly so that in some places it might reach the surface sooner and other places later. Heck, if you stood over a vent blowing strongly upward, the virus might never reach that area.

This error is repeated when Max carefully times 4 minutes while they are hiding underwater, since they will be safe after that time. Again, depending on currents in the air, the virus might linger in some places longer. Even if this time is somehow "programmed" into the virus, not all individual virus organisms will "shut off" or die at exactly the 4 minute mark. This kind of plot device is used often, especially in science fiction, and it's very frustrating.

The hunchbacked transgenic was essentially a red herring in the episode. His only purpose was to show that an ugly, scary mutant could actually be a good person, and then he died to prove Max's point. This was unsatisfying.

So where do things go from here? Hopefully Max will be more aware of the threat that White represents. His plan for using the virus was foiled this time, but now that he knows the idea is viable, there's nothing to say that he won't find a new scientist and try it again. I'm sure he also has other ideas that he's working on. When will Max decide to take the fight to him?

When will things get ironed out between Max and Logan? Given that they are the two stars of the series, it seems unlikely that they would break up permanently, but things could be rocky for awhile. I can't really blame either of them for the problems, since I don't think I could be in such a relationship. Hopefully they will make some progress on the retrovirus Max is carrying.

Return to my Dark Angel reviews page.