If It's Sweeps Month, Max Must Be In Heat
"Meow" Plot Summary:
Sebastian suggests that Logan have Max steal a secret government chip to power the exoskeleton he got from Phil. Too embarrassed to tell Max what he really needs it for, Logan tells Max the Taliban may use the chip to launch Star Wars defense missiles if she doesn't get it first. Max agrees, but when she has an erotic dream about Logan, she realizes she's in heat again. Original Cindy promises to smack her if she starts to act badly, and demonstrates that some men are perfectly willing to be used for sex -- Sketchy being a perfect example. But Max wants lovemaking, not a quickie, and can't come up with a good answer when Cindy asks why she doesn't want Logan. She has to meet Logan that night to steal the chip and is afraid he'll find out about her condition.
Lydecker asks Madame X why he wasn't on the last Committee meeting; she says the others blame him for Tinga's escape, though he blames her. Spying from a distance, Zack watches their argument and reads Lydecker's lips as he calls his boss a "pissy little bitch." Lydecker interrogates Brin about Tinga's escape and gets jumpy when she assumes he knew of Agent Sandoval's involvement. Then he meets with a South African agent who wants to trade Manticore genetic research for Max, whom he says he can track through the deactivated red soldier implant that's still in her neck. Madame X tells Sandoval that Lydecker has been compromised and asks the other agent to set up the drone. But Lydecker, who has arranged to spy on Sandoval, learns of her plans.
Max has to struggle not to throw herself at Logan in the car. She steals the chip for him, but the next morning at work, Cindy has to drag her off Normal. Breaking a date with Logan to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the night they met, she goes out on her cycle, runs into a cute pizza delivery man, and has frenetic sex. This action probably saves her life, for she's out of her home sector when the South Africans sweep it for her implant. But she feels terrible afterwards, crying in the shower. Cindy tells her she needs to deal with the fact that she loves Logan.
Sandoval lures Lydecker to a meeting with Madame X's drone, but Lydecker has superimposed the other agent's photo over his own on an official document. The drone kills Sandoval, leaving Lydecker free to catch up with Madame X as she tries to order the South African agents to report directly to her. Zack overhears this dispute as well. Max visits Logan late at night to explain about her estrus cycles. He reveals that he can walk using Phil's suit, and says she has nothing to be sorry for or ashamed of. Then the suit shorts out and Logan falls. Max tells him that he has nothing to be sorry for or ashamed of either. They kiss, and are on the verge of going further when Zack barges in. He tells Max they need to save Tinga, whose whereabouts he discovered while shadowing Sandoval.
Logan tries to help the X5s with overhead surveillance, but cloud cover obscures the fact that Lydecker and the South Africans have tracked Max's whereabouts and assembled a convoy. Max rappels into the building where Tinga is imprisoned in Madame X's giant experimental test tube. By the time Logan sees the Manticore team following them, Zack has been shot and Max is paralyzed inside as she stares at Tinga. Lydecker is temporarily distracted by the realization that he has stumbled into a secret Manticore facility, but Max cannot flee; instead she smashes the chamber holding Tinga. When Lydecker bursts in, he is shocked to find both women limp on the floor.
This excellent episode undoubtedly turned off many viewers with its gratuitous use of sexuality. One can argue that her unruly biology makes Max a more sympathetic character, exploited by Manticore in the most intimate aspects of her life, but there's no question that the network is exploiting her as well, relishing the opportunity to show her throwing herself at four different men in the course of a single installment. If Max had simply had a mindless encounter with the cute pizza deliveryman, that would have been one thing, but we get a dream-sequence attempted rape of a policeman and the sexual harrassment of her boss thrown in, which makes her attraction to Logan in the car seem tame by comparison and casts doubt on whether, in fact, he's man enough for her. This is TV sexploitation at its worst. It's a real shame to see it on Dark Angel.
That said, there are some wonderful developments on the arc front. Madame X tries to kill Lydecker, who in turn discovers the magnitude of the secrets she's been hiding from him. The South Africans driving around in an animal control truck demonstrate that as long as Max has her implant, they can track her anywhere in Seattle, sector by sector. Max and Logan finally admit how they feel about each other, and get over their insecure refusals to share their weaknesses, which have been the biggest stumbling blocks to a romantic relationship -- not the weaknesses themselves. Max is correct, however, when she says her presence in his life could get Logan killed; any time she is in his apartment, her implant could make him a target as easily as herself. And Logan has already demonstrated that he's willing to risk her life to regain the use of his legs.
Now Lydecker has Max and Tinga within his sights, but the Manticore to which he always expected to return them has suddenly ceased to exist. His boss has tried to have him eliminated and has taken one of his "children" for her own experiments, outside his purview, something he cannot tolerate -- particularly not after Madame X made him break his word about not pursuing Tinga's son if she turned herself in. How much of an ally will Zack let him become? I was pleasantly surprised Zack wanted Max's help to pursue Tinga, given that meant risking the lives of two X-5s to save one; that sort of math usually deters him. He's changing, but is this the wrong moment for him to learn to trust? Right now Max's future may depend on that question.
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