"Female Trouble"
Original airdate: March 13, 2001
by Michelle Erica Green

In A Word: Men

"Female Trouble" Plot Summary:

When Logan keeps blowing her off, Max follows him to the seedy offices of Dr. Adriana Verite, a former Manticore scientist who performed excruciating experiments on Max and other genetically altered children. But before she can decide how to punish the doctor for her past crimes, Max must save her from Jace, a Manticore operative who chose not to flee when the other kids ran away years earlier. Jace collapses in the middle of a fight, and Adriana discovers it's because she is pregnant.

Although Max believes "Dr. Mengele" probably deserves her fate at Jace's hands, Logan insists that Adriana is the only person within his sphere of contact who may be able to keep him out of a wheelchair -- his body is rejecting the stem cells he received from Max's transfusions, and his nerves are degenerating. He insists that he won't live like that anymore and is upset that Max seems more concerned with helping Jace -- who initially tries to kill her, but admits that she misses her baby's father and wants to keep her child safe from experimentation.

Adriana contacts her former lover "Deck" to offer the two Manticore survivors in exchange for her own life. Though Max hides Jace, the other girl insists when caught that she intended to destroy the doctor and was trying to earn Max's trust so she could hand her over. Lydecker completes Jace's mission by killing Adriana, then orders Jace to help him catch Max. But Jace warns Max away, and the two women escape together. Logan gets Jace a fake passport so she can sneak across the Mexican border. Jace promises that whether the baby's a boy or a girl, she'll name her child Max.

After taking Logan's file from Adriana's office, Max recalls Logan's threat to end his life rather than spend it in a wheelchair. While she rushes back to his place, Logan pulls out a gun to commit suicide, but is distracted when he finds his upstairs neighbor collapsed on the floor of her bathroom. He realizes he still has a lot to be thankful for. When Max arrives, Logan puts away his gun and says he's all right.


Original Cindy warns Max at the outset that most female trouble stems from men, and in the case of the women in this episode, that's certainly true. Adriana believes she can trust Lydecker's word to protect her life, even though he suggests that if she turns herself in, he'll use her corpse for experiments; she reminds him that he used to have better uses for her body, but Lydecker has no nostalgia. Jace apparently knows enough of love to develop a maternal instinct that overwhelms her programming to kill Max and Adriana, yet her love child jeopardizes her position and her life at Manticore. Meanwhile, Logan asks Max to protect the doctor he believes can help him, even though that same doctor performed horrific experiments on Max. It's a tremendous amount to ask in the name of love or any other bond.

Although all the discussions thus far have been about Logan's legs, Logan's feelings of despair aren't just about his inability to walk -- he makes that clear when he snaps that he thinks Max prefers him the wheelchair. Despite being paralyzed, he has a full-time assistant and can afford therapists, he can drive a car and run Eyes Only -- and he knows other wheelchair-bound people living productive lives that help others. Even when Logan's in peak form, Max is much stronger and has physical abilities he'll never comprehend, let alone imitate. His feelings of powerlessness aren't about not being able to walk, they're about the whole range of physical limitations his disability makes him face. Given the degree to which he associates potency with physical prowess, I doubt Logan will be truly comfortable with Max even when he's sure that his legs and what's between them are in top form.

"Dr. Mengele" doesn't deny breaking children's arms to help in osteo-regeneration research, and doesn't seem to feel revulsion when she reminds Lydecker of their sexual past together. Her regrets apparently stem more from the hit list on which her Manticore ties have put her than from genuine remorse about what she did to Max and others. It's chilling, but also easier to swallow than if she made some passionate speeches about her sorrow, then went and used her Nazi-esque research to help Logan anyway. Adriana also shows little sadness about Jace's "reprogramming," but Jace proves to be far less limited than Max initially believes. It's Adriana who can't escape from Manticore in the end, proving to Jace that Max is right: no matter how corrupt things look on the outside, at least the people on the outside choose their own limitations.

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