Dark Angel: C.R.E.A.M.

"A genetically-engineered killing machine... squeamish about guns?"

I'm not usually a fan of standalone episodes but this was admittedly entertaining in a disposable sort of way.

Lydecker and Manticore were nowhere to be found this week which was an odd decision. Instead it was Sketchy who took center-stage with his Russian Mafia subplot. It's as bland as it sounds but I appreciated the further efforts at world-building and the increased focus on our eclectic cast of characters. In fact, the dynamic between Max and Cindy is what saves the hour as their chemistry (while hilariously undercover in the casino) makes the hour worthwhile. The tone of the scenes is unlike anything Dark Angel ever produces again, and they're remarkably entertaining. In addition, it's always great fun when a superhero uses their powers for something other than "good" and I love the scenes with Max gambling using her skills (predicting where the ball will drop and memorizing whole decks of cards).

Logan's quest for Herero unfortunately didn't prove to be especially riveting either, but it further conveyed Eyes Only's idealistic mission. And we did get one surprise twist - the reveal that Alana was evil as she blew daddy and his girlfriend up.

The one significant addition to the Dark Angel mythology that this episode does provide is the reveal that Max "doesn't do guns". An ensuing flashback shows us the source of this trauma: Lydecker gunned down one of her siblings as a child. It's a pretty admirable touch-point of the character that sticks with Max throughout the entire show's run.

Post-Pulse Bits

- How bizarre is the flashback of Max finding a balloon as a kid and Lydecker making her release it with one death-glare?

- Max giving Logan a grapefruit - as if it's so very valuable - was a very amusing little touch. Another rare jewel in these times: the Game Boy that Logan gifts Matt Sung for his son.

- Love Max's entire break-in: putting on chapstick mid-heist, hanging from the ceiling, playfully toying with the guard then knocking him out, and crashing through the window and driving off on her motorcycle.

- Anther Max skill: she "excelled in telecommunications as a child" as she casually lists the various components of Logan's snooping device.

- Alba sure looks hot in that gold casino outfit.

- Hilarious moment: Max kicking everyone's ass and Cindy thinking they're actually scared of her.

- Really sloppy scene with Max confronting Alana on the train and the money flying. How exactly did weakling Alana manage to shove super-powered Max?

- C.R.E.A.M. = Cash Rules Everything Around Me - which explains why Sketchy wants to start a business with Max ripping people off using her skills. He's an honest boy that one.

- If only we could all pick our birthdays on top of Space Needles.

Barbs & Barcodes

Max: (to Logan) Sounds like a story right up your alley - it's so depressing.

Logan: It's a kick or be kicked in the ass world out there.
Max: Now kicking ass, I got no issues with.

Cindy: (to a naked Sketchy) Whatever you do, keep your hands where they are. Original Cindy just ate.

Cindy: (gambling) 17 black like me.

Max: You know somebody's been eating french fries cause these cards are greasy kinda like my ex but we won't get in to that.

Max: (winning at poker) More hearts than an organ bank baby.

Creep: Don't rush off.
Max: We live with our parents.
Cindy: They worry.

Creep: You know what, you don't play so well with others.
Max: I was home-schooled.

Herero: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Max: Funny guy, Logan. Lot of rules. But maybe he’s right about one thing, maybe I should pick a birthday - just to have something to celebrate in this short, brutal life. How about April Fool’s Day? Well, maybe not. My life’s enough of a joke. Yesterday. Yeah... born yesterday. And the best part is I have a whole year not to think about it.

- A lighthearted hour that's enjoyable, but ultimately kind of pointless.

2.5 out of 5 rare grapefruits.

Previously posted on Nad's Reviews.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spot on review Nadim. As you said not a great episode and a little boring. I didn't really like the whole girl and her father story. The parts with max and cindy were comedy gold. They are actually re-airing season 1 over here in the uk on a network channel. Dark Angel among being the most underated shows also had the best season 1 in history. This and an episode called haven where the only episodes I did not entirely like this season.

Nadim said...

Thank you Anonymous. I'm eager to continue my rewatch soon but from what I remember: yes Haven is another weak episode in addition to Shorties in Love and I Am A Camera. I'm intrigued to see if I still feel that way years later or I'll enjoy those eppies more.

ChrisB said...

In this short, brutal life, you've got to seize any opportunity you can to celebrate. Wow! This is number one on my list of life rules. I love it, love it, love it.

I struggled with Jessica Alba's acting in this episode. A lot of it felt forced, especially the scene in the train with Alana. Both of them failed miserably in what should have been the climax of the show.

Not the most exciting of episodes, but every freshman show is allowed a few clunkers.

Nadim said...

So true Chris. That climax sort of fizzled out (and the acting & writing didn't help). This episode is widely considered to be one of the weakest episodes of the show but I tried to find stuff to appreciate in it all these years later :)

celticmarc said...

Chris,

You night enjoy (or not) this gem I came across the other day :

"TheTweetOfGod Time flies when you're having fun, so the more you enjoy life the quicker you'll be dead."