Original airdate: October 17, 2000
by Michelle Erica Green

Max's Recovery Program

"Flushed" Plot Summary:

With her supply of tryptophan dwindling, Max has seizures. To buy pills, she takes the money Kendra has collected to pay off Walter. When he doesn't get his money, the cop threatens to throw everyone on the seventh floor into the street. Kendra and Cindy flush the pills down the toilet, thinking they are doing Max a favor by confronting her addiction. Desperate, Max breaks into a hospital dispensary and is arrested by security.

Walter makes good on his threat to have the seventh floor squatters evacuated, so Kendra goes to stay with Cindy. At the local prison, Max gets the shakes, arousing the sympathy of a big man who bullies the officers into leaving her alone. Because he's involved with one of the guards, the man is able to get her milk, and tries to create a distraction so that she can escape. But Max is too weak to climb the fence around the prison. When the warden spots her being subdued, he has her sent to his residence. There Max is cared for by Rhea -- a young girl who reminds her of Lucy, with whom Max shared a room when they were children. Their foster father sexually abused Lucy, just as the warden abuses Rhea.

Logan looks for Max at work, but Cindy believes he got Max addicted to whatever was in her pills, and refuses to help him. Logan explains that Max will die without medication and immediately starts searching hospitals and prisons for her. In return for Cindy's help, he can help them with Walter. Cole gets a contact man to find tryptophan for Max, then has the guy "arrest" Cindy to get her inside the prison with the pills. Cindy finds Max's benefactor when she recognizes Max's hat on his head. He helps her get a job as a cleaning girl in the warden's house.

Meanwhile, Max has flashbacks of her foster father assaulting her sister, and confronts the warden when he tries to take Rhea. Alerted to the presence of a prisoner with a bar code on her neck, Lydecker and his thugs storm the jail. Cindy gets the tryptophan to Max, who nearly kills the warden when she regains her strength. Her friend forces him at gunpoint to help them escape, but when he tries to turn the tables, Max knocks him down and drives over him. Back at the police station, Lydecker discovers that all records of young females arrested within the last two days have been erased.

Kendra and Cindy demand to know about Max's condition, but when she tries to explain that she's genetically engineered, they scoff about how special she thinks she is. Logan finds a wealthy family that wants to adopt Rhea. He also sends a Streaming Freedom dispatch to Walter, warning the cop that he caught him taking a bribe on video, so he'd better leave the squatters alone. Impressed that Max did a good thing in saving Rhea, Logan wonders whether she's ready to become his lieutenant...but Max demurs, saying that now that she has her tryptophan, "The b*tch is back."


For the third week in a row, Dark Angel recaps the story of the Project Manticore escape and the Pulse explosion, which suggests that FOX hopes to pick up new viewers who need to be brought up to speed on the story. That's fine for now, but I'm wondering how many times we're going to see the same footage of kids having siezures and climbing fences. This show must walk a fine line, continuing the arc story of Max's search for her roots with the weekly escapades Logan asks her to take on. At some point, each episode won't be able to explain all that has gone before.

Unlike the tired flashbacks of John Savage looking ominous, the understated scenes with Max and her foster sister are horrifying. We never see either the foster father or the warden touch Lucy or Rhea in a sexually suggestive manner, yet the way the men put their hands on the girls' shoulders leaves no question that they consider the girls property. I don't think the black eyes and slammed doors are necessary -- we know what the men are doing to their charges from the expressions on their faces, which are more disturbing than any outward manifestation of the crimes.

After two weeks of Dark Angel demonstrating Max's super-powers, "Flushed" focuses on the fine line she walks between savior and victim. Though she could have stopped her foster father from abusing Lucy, it would have exposed her as different, and Max must fit in to survive. It's very revealing how much trouble she has telling her secret to her friends, even after Cindy has risked her life for Max, who looks enormously relieved when they don't even believe her. Her relationship with Logan is weirdly unbalanced -- though he's in a wheelchair and engaged in terrorist activities, we get no sense of him as vulnerable, while she seems like a helpless child when she goes to him with the shakes. Cindy asks him if he likes Max, his assistant asks whether he has a thing for her, but Logan's only reply is, "Why does everybody keep saying that?"

This episode has some clever but very dark humor, particularly when Max's roommates borrow the language of addiction treatment as they take the pills she needs to survive. Logan is genuinely clueless what Cindy means when she informs him Max is off the candy. Then there's Max's friend in jail, who at first seems like another predatory male, but it turns out he's a gay fashion maven and "her home girl too," as he explains to Cindy. When Max asks what he's in jail for, he says, "Cannibalism," and she makes a joke about getting enough protein. Then he sings opera to distract security, certain that his lover the guard will keep him out of real trouble. It's a hopeful sign that even in this world, love and friendship can offer salvation.

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