"Art Attack"
Original airdate: February 6, 2001
by Michelle Erica Green

To Catch A Thief While Wearing a Formal Dress

"Art Attack" Plot Summary:

After a wheelchair basketball game, Logan invites Max to be his date at his snobby cousin Bennett's wedding, where Logan will be best man. Max takes Cindy and Kendra shopping to find the perfect dress, which she steals after hours when she learns she can't afford it. Meanwhile, Sketchy and another messenger get their packages mixed up. An original Norman Rockwell painting gets delivered to an architect. Blueprints for a meat processing plant wind up with a wealthy thug named Duvalier. The thug has Normal kidnapped, and demands the painting as ransom for his life.

Max thinks everything about the wedding seems phony, so she is surprised when the sincere, happy speeches of the bride and groom move her to tears. After the ceremony, Logan introduces her to his wealthy Uncle Jonas. Max says her last name is Guevara..."of the Greenwich Guevaras," Logan adds helpfully. Jonas asks his nephew if he's still wasting time and money as a journalist instead of getting a "real job" and making millions. Logan points out to Max that his Aunt Margo is wearing a locket she stole from his dead mother's jewelry box. A pretty blonde, an "old friend" who went to Yale with Logan, approaches and remarks on Max's expensive dress.

Cindy calls to ask for help retrieving the painting. When Max tells Logan she has to leave the party to deal with some gangsters, he is too busy chatting with Daphne to care. Breaking into the apartment where the painting was accidentally delivered, Max finds a man on the ledge preparing to jump. He has lost his architectural plans, his job, his hopes, but thinks she's an angel sent to stop his suicide. She promises to get his blueprints back. Not realizing the Rockwell painting was an original, the architect threw it in the dumpster, where Max finds it after taking off her dress and sorting through rubbish. Unfortunately, when Cindy delivers it, Duvalier discovers that it is a forgery. He has the art dealer thrown out the window, saying Normal will be next if Cindy can't get the genuine artwork.

Max rushes back to the wedding with the text of Logan's toast in her purse, and has to mouth the words to him. Afterwards Logan demands to know whether she stole the dress; Max demands to know whether Daphne was his girlfriend. Cindy calls back about saving Normal again. Max tracks down the forger who shipped the Rockwell via the Jam Pony to Duvalier's dealer. He admits he sold the original to a wealthy Korean. Back at the wedding, Logan learns a vessel from Korea is set to sail in an hour. Max goes after it, asking Cindy to divert Logan's ex until she gets back.

On the ship, Max finds the painting and fights off some Korean officers. She delivers the painting to Duvalier, and sends Normal to give the blueprints to the suicidal architect. But back at the wedding, Logan is furious Max didn't save the stolen artwork, and insists on pursuing Duvalier. On the way out -- after knocking the bouquet toward Cindy to keep it away from Daphne -- Max steals Logan's mother's locket from Aunt Margo. At the morgue, Logan shoots the dead art dealer in the head to make it look like he was thrown out the window to cover up murder by gunshot. Then he heads to the airport to plant the gun on Duvalier. When the thug is stopped by airport security, Max swipes the Rockwell from his carry-on bag.

The wedding over, Logan admits Daphne was his fiancée once but she dumped him, and he never could figure out why. Having watched her with Cindy, he now has an inkling. Max says she did steal the dress so she could fit in at the wedding, but planned all along to return it. She gives Logan his mother's locket. He tells her to keep the dress, he'll pay for it, because she's the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. He wants to take her to his family's for Easter. After Max leaves, Logan accidentally smacks his foot against the table and winces, then smiles broadly that he can feel the pain.


This surprisingly lighthearted romance demonstrates that traditional storytelling models can still make for great stories. Like any good classical comedy, "Art Attack" focuses on a wedding and features many chivalric themes -- "swordfighting" with packing tubes, a "damsel" in distress (Normal), a "princess" who wants to hang out with the peasants (Daphne), a peasant who dresses up and is mistaken for a princess. Logan delivers a lovely speech to Max about how marriage is act of daring and love is the province of the brave; it's under the pretext of giving a toast, but even they acknowledge what's going on between the two of them, Daphne or no Daphne. The scapegoat, Duvalier, richly deserves his fate.

"What a girl has to go through to look good," sighs Max as she breaks into the exclusive boutique to shoplift a dress, which she will spend the rest of the episode struggling with; it's hard to back-flip through an open window, rummage through a dumpster, or knock out half the officers on a military vessel in heels and crinolines. She doesn't buy into the femininity crap, the lovey-dovey speech crap, the marriage crap...except she wants to, and has the sneaking suspicion that never having been to a wedding, she can't really know what she's missing. Of course she misses most of this one as well rescuing Normal, who starts the episode calling his workers idiots and morons but stays calm under death threats and remembers to thank them. He's a heck of a lot more likeable than Logan's uncle, who got rich selling chips for the hovercraft used by the corrupt cops.

In an episode like this, a suicide scene can become hilarious -- the architect announces that he's listening to The Lion King for the last time when he meets the dark angel, who doesn't bother to disabuse him of his beliefs about her, even though in her red dress she looks more like a devil's disciple. She tells the aristocracy that her name is the same as that of a legendary Latin American Marxist; they're so oblivious that they repeat Logan's "...of the Greenwich Guevaras" to their friends. "Marriage is an act of desperation," says Logan when he hasn't got his speech in front of him, and can't remember the bride's name.

That wedding goes on forever -- Max has time to leave and come back twice before it's time to cut the cake, and then she misses that because of Logan's crusade to keep American art in the USA. He's still upset that the Baseball Hall of Fame has moved from Cooperstown to Kyoto, and that the Sultan of Brunei shipped the Statue of Liberty overseas! Let's not even wonder why none of the Korean officers had a gun, nor why Max always seems to find a convenient zipwire when she needs one. The comedy ends the way it's supposed to, with people paired off -- bride and groom, Cindy and Daphne, Max and Logan.

Duvalier defines "defenestration" with an out-the-window demonstration. We've all seen Max defenestrate before, but she always lands on her feet. Let's see how the balance changes next week when Logan recovers the use of his legs.

Dark Angel Reviews
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