Episode Review of Dark Angel Season 2: "Two"

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Episode Information

Title: "Two"
Writer: Jose Molina
Director: Allan Kroeker
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: February 5, 2008

Synopsis from TV.com


This is Dark Angel's first "monster of the week" episode for season two, in which a Manticore monster shows up and Max must stop it. When I watched the series during its original airings, I felt like there were a lot of these in the second season and that they were bad. This episode isn't that bad, but it's definitely not the best this series has to offer.

A monster is on the loose killing policemen in Seattle. One that survived described his attacker as a combination man and dog, which of course makes us think of our favorite dog-man, Joshua. Max doesn't think Joshua could possibly kill anyone, but Joshua's strange behavior makes her worry. First, Joshua has a strange injury that he claims he got from venturing outside to find food. Later, he disappears completely.

Meanwhile, Alec has returned to make Max's life miserable. He manages to score a job (and bike) at Jam Pony, because Normal remembers seeing his victorious cage fights in "Proof of Purchase" and he is a fan. It's clear to Max and to us that Alec is using the job as a means to several ends. First, a little cash. Second, he is obviously scoping out the houses he delivers to in case there is anything valuable to steal. Third, he's running some kind of probably-illegal racket on the side that he employs Sketchy in temporarily. Max's moral judgment on some of Alec's actions is dubious, since she frowns on him potentially stealing from their customers, but obviously has no problem being a thief herself when it suits her. She justifies it by saying she only steals from bad guys; even Logan can't hide a smile when she claims this. We're not clear on exactly what Alec's side business is, but by the end of the episode he manages to beat up some ruffians and steal their cash, thereby repaying Logan for the cash used to save Alec's life in "Proof of Purchase".

Logan has heard reports concerning the murdered policemen and tries to prod Max into action, but she refuses to tell him about Joshua's behavior and obstinately refuses to do anything until there is proof that a Manticore escapee is involved. Logan might have been wrong about the transgenic being responsible in "Radar Love", but he's right this time. We have a scene where someone who looks just like Joshua kills a policeman. Logan visits the one surviving victim, and the victim identifies Joshua from tabloid photos. He also says his attacker has a barcode. When Logan relays this information to Max, it's a clear tip-off to her and us that Joshua can't be the killer: as we saw in "Proof of Purchase", Joshua doesn't have a barcode, since he was created first.

Max tracks Joshua into the sewers and neglected subway system and eventually encounters both Joshua and his look-alike, whom Joshua says is his brother Isaac. Isaac tries to attack her, but the whole affair is broken up by the police, who have somehow found them. Isaac and Max escape (separately), but Joshua is captured by the police. He is treated rather roughly, since he is the suspected cop-killer. He learns far too late that he should've heeded Max's warning to stay out of sight. Even in the police station, the police beat up Joshua until he speaks - they are so shaken by that that they leave him alone.

Max tells Logan about Isaac, and then leaves it up to Logan to try to stop Isaac while she breaks Joshua out of prison. Logan calls Alec for help. The two of them find Isaac in his lair in the sewers, but Isaac flees and manages to lock them into the dank room. It has a lovely collection of stolen tongues.

Meanwhile, Max busts Joshua out of jail. She finally confronts Joshua in Sandeman's house, and Joshua reveals the truth: he has a younger "brother" named Isaac. Isaac was created after Joshua (hence the episode title "Two"), and looks a lot like Joshua. However, Isaac is psychopathic. When their "Father" left them at Manticore, Isaac would not stop crying. The guards physically abused him to try to quiet him, and eventually cut out his tongue. Joshua believes that Isaac sees the policemen as Manticore guards, and is getting even. Max tells Joshua that Isaac must be stopped from killing anymore people, but Joshua won't let Max hurt her. We see that Max doesn't know Joshua as well as she thinks, as Joshua pushes her around, finally shoving her hard enough to delay her following him.

Max catches up to Joshua confronting Isaac. It's not clear whether Isaac is violent toward Joshua or even recognizes him, because Isaac immediately attacks Max. Joshua pleads with him not to kill her, but is force to kill Isaac so that he will stop. The threat to the city is neutralized, but Joshua is heartbroken. He buries Isaac in Sandeman's back yard, and finally makes up with Max.

As this episode shows, the responsibilities never lessen for Max in her role as freer of the Manticore mutants. She personally takes responsibility for all the bad things they do. I suppose there is some truth to that, but she did not make all the transgenics be like they are, nor did she tell them to go out and kill. She also needs to take responsibility for all the good things the transgenics will eventually bring to society, and the fact that they will have somewhat normal lives. Logan tries to point this out to her, but she's not listening.

The story behind Isaac is tragic, but unsatisfying. If Joshua had this dear brother, why wasn't he mentioned before? For that matter, why didn't Joshua stick with him when they were all running from Manticore? This is a bit convenient for the plot.

The part of the plot involving Alec is clearly set-up for later on when we find out what trouble he's getting into. Does he have a plan, or is he just feeling out different kinds of criminal rackets? I did enjoy his comment to Logan when they were looking for Isaac in the sewers that they were only doing it because Max was "hot". I did wonder why he agreed to help Logan - I still think it has less to do with hotness than Alec trying to get on Max's good side as insurance on future events. I don't think he feels much sympathy for the non-human Manticore escapees, even Joshua.

What does this episode do for the series? Not much. Another strange transgenic was introduced and killed. Joshua should have learned a lesson about interacting with the public. I had been wondering if the dark areas Logan and Alec were wandering through might lead them to Lydecker's "archaeological dig" that he found in "Proof of Purchase", but it doesn't seem like that was the case.

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