Stand and Deliver
"Rising" Plot Summary:
Logan learns from his doctor that his blood contains undifferentiated stem cells, which may be the reason he has regained some feeling in his feet. Logan thanks Max, who offers him another transfusion. She is happy to help, but disgusted when she discovers her roommate Kendra is sleeping with the cop who used to harass their entire neighborhood. Meanwhile, Red soldiers look for "the Manticore girl," following Original Cindy, who has just gotten a new job selling insurance. When Cindy and Max go out drinking together to celebrate her new job, the soldiers attack her.
Logan meets with the wheelchair-bound contact who communicates via voice synthesizer. As he watches surgery on a Red soldier Max killed, he speculates that the creators of the implant want to harvest Max's ova. She despises the idea of becoming the mother to a super-charged army and is appalled to learn that the current Red soldiers were death row inmates recruited to test the deadly implants, which burn them out in less than a year. Johanssen, their leader, reminds the soldiers that killing him would be suicide even though he treats them with contempt. He puts them back on Cindy's trail; they take her hostage at work. When Cindy calls to lure Max to the office, she mentions a new boyfriend, alerting Max to the ruse. Certain the soldiers have found her friend, Max takes the implant removed from the dead soldier to give her strength to fight the rest.
The man with the voice synthesizer tells Logan that he must short out the implant or Max could die in a matter of hours. Logan follows Max to Cindy's office, where with blood streaming from her eyes she throws one Red soldier out a window and blasts two others with their own grenades. Johanssen believes his men are dead and describes them as expendable, admitting he wanted Max for her ova, not to save his disposable army. The surviving soldier kills Johanssen before succumbing to his own injuries. As Cindy gives him directions from the man with the voice synthesizer, Logan cuts into Max's neck to find the implant, then gives her an electric shock to short it out.
At Logan's, Max wonders whether she should turn herself in to Manticore before she gets her friends hurt. Cindy is shocked to learn that her colleague is not completely human, but Max cries and explains she couldn't tell her before because she was afraid of losing their friendship. Hugging her, Cindy says Max's bar code is kind of hot. The two arrive late to the Jam Pony the next morning where Cindy asks for her old job back. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till its gone," says Normal.
Logan says he has a surprise for Max and asks her to close her eyes. He stands. She says it's like some kind of miracle; he says she's the miracle, she gave him back his life. Though he collapses quickly, he says he doesn't want to take it slow, so Max offers to do something she's wanted to do with him since they met: take him on her cycle. Now that she has to deal with issues she and Logan never had to face before, she muses that it's funny what a person can be scared of.
From the new opening mentioning the modified Red soldiers seeking Max's DNA, "Rising" raises the stakes and steps up most of the major plot threads of Dark Angel thus far. I understand from an action standpoint the rush to get Logan back on his feet, but I'm a little disappointed -- it's so rare on television to see a character with major physical handicap, I was hoping that we'd get to see Logan demonstrate all the things he can do despite the disability, rather than making statements about how Max gave him back his life, like it wasn't worth anything without the use of his legs. The show tries to compensate by including a character with cerebral palsy so severe that he can neither speak nor move his arms, and I was happy to see him again -- wish I knew his name.
If Max has a replenishing supply of stem cells, I wonder if that means she'll never age. She doesn't appear to suffer any long-term effects from the transfusions she gives Logan, nor from the implant that is apparently still within her body, though inert. It seems logical that Lydecker is somehow connected with the Red program, but it wouldn't be like him to leave Johanssen in charge of the local soldiers -- and if he was able to develop the stem cells for Manticore, I'm not sure why he'd need Max's ova. The mantra of the soldiers, however, does sound like Lydecker: "I found freedom in service," they recite as they die, and chant, "No regrets." I don't really understand the bleeding eyes, other than to make a damaged soldier look like Frankenstein's monster and Max look like Eric Draven from The Crow.
Dark Angel is not squeamish about showing blood, but unlike The X-Files, it saves its gory shots for maximum effect. We don't see much blood when Logan puts the knife in Max's neck, but it's still utterly horrifying. We also don't see much when the axe goes through Johanssen's head, though I'm sure absolutely no one regrets it at that point. As always, there's a lot of humor -- mostly from Cindy trying to master the cold-calling patter of the insurance agency, then deciding to explain that in case of injury her bosses "will drop twenty large on whatever's left of your ass" instead. Herbal tries to speak The King's English to impress his woman, but gets over it by the end of the episode. It's not so funny anymore to hear Kendra talk about "Mr. Multiples" now that we know who he is, but maybe he really has changed...or maybe she's the dupe Max thinks she is.
Maybe Max will be looking for a new roommate. Suddenly the sex question she thought wouldn't be arising with Logan looms a lot larger. No puns intended. It isn't only Cindy she's worried about when she says she should turn herself in before someone close to her gets hurt. Yet Logan sees only the miracle that she has saved him the use of his lower body; Max twice tells him to thank Manticore. It's a very mixed blessing.
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