Retro TV

Dark Angel Recap Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

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Back in October of 2000, James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee created an America science fiction future-cyperpunk show called, Dark Angel, which introduced the world to Jessica Alba on the small screen. The show was very successful in it’s first season and won several awards, yet the season season to a sharp decline and was eventually cancelled. While it may not hold the cult status of Firefly, Dark Angel was a smart, diverse, and engaging dystopia that, at least in it’s first season, rivaled plenty of shows on today.



We open with several young children escaping a heavily armed facility in the snow, shaved head and clothed only in nightgowns. As they silently group together to play their escape the camera reveals barcodes on the base of their necks. These children are weapons. Part of an experiment called Project Manticore to create super soldiers and the people that made them want them: back dead or alive. Their leader Zach, says they should separate and despite the heavily armed guards the final tally is three wounded and two killed most of them manage to escape and split up, entering the world alone.

Max Guevara (X5-452) is doing her best to live as a “normal” person, living on the run, looking over her shoulder, and hoping that her siblings are alive somewhere. Along with her paranoia, Max also suffers from PTSD and seizures from her childhood torture and genetic makeup flaw.
Future Seattle is a bit of a dump back in ’09 terrorists hit the United Stated with an electromagnetic pulse bomb that destroyed all electronic devices nationwide, plunging society into poverty with the loss of most of the nation’s money. Most people live poor, sick lives, performing dead end jobs and heeding government restriction. Yet there is some joy, as Max notes: “I don’t know why they call it a depression. Everybody’s broke, but they’re not depressed.”

Our heroine works as a delivery girl for Jam Pony with some of our supporting characters showing up: Original Cindy, Sketch, Normal and Herbal. News feed flares up of Food Riots, but it is interrupted by Eyes Only a whistle blower hacktivist who exposes the cities crime lords.

Max is a very complex heroine, she’s selfish but noble, greedy and selfless, sarcastic and compassionate. She is trying to find her missing family members and is working with a PI to find clues. He finds information on a car owned by the woman who helped her escaped, but since all the computer records were wiped out during the Pulse, it’s going to cost her. On a delivery run, Max spots an Egyptian cat statue using her super vision and decides to grab it. Girl’s got to eat.



Of course the cat statue belongs to Eyes Only who is helping to protect a witness Lauren and her daughter, Sophie, who is exposing a gangster named Sonrisa of replacing a drug for war veterans with placebos in order to make real money on the side. After taking down a man twice her size and jumping down several stories, Eyes Only had eyes for Max.

Theo, Max’s friend is sick veteran who needs the drug and Sonrisa is screwing over. It’s such an amazing example of how modern the show is when dealing with the political issues. Treatment of veterans is still something we as a society do not deal well with.

Logan aka Eyes Only uses his creepy cyber stalking and wealth to track down Max to recruit her to be a body guard. Max isn’t having it. Logan may be a good rich white dude, but he’s still a rich white dude and even before the pulse he would have his golden spoon.

There is a fun sidestory of Sketch needing help with being blackmailed by his lover Lydia (played by Pam from True Blood!) to expose his cheating ways to his girlfriend Natalie. Max and Original Cindy make it clear that Sketch is the villain, not Lydia, but help him out out of solidarity. It’s nice to see the girls sticking together.

Creeper rich dude leaves the statue in Max’s room in order to bring her to his apartment. He uses his knowledge of Manticore to try and coax Max into helping him, but he doesn’t seem to realize that his actions, while flirty in nature, are super creepy and Max is not having it. Unfortunately, it’s not just Logan whose hot on the trail. Her PI has beaten and his office has been bugged.

The hits keep on coming when Theo is dead due to the fake drugs and, at work, the news shows Logan being shot, his security killed, Sophie kidnapped and Lauren is on the run. Max berates Logan for getting people hurt and involved with his “bored rich kid” activism, but she feels enough guilt to get involved and saves Logan’s life. She tells Lauren she’s going to help get Sophie back.

Her abilities help her infiltrate Sonrisa’s house part, looking very sexy doing it, and double crosses Sonrisa and his idiot hit man Bruno turning the against each other saying one is trying to kill the other. Classy.

Max and her PI trace the number where Sophia is help and it is discovered that is her old drill sergeant, Donald Lydecker is behind the bugging and is looking for the Manticore kids: starting with Max.

We do get to end on a happy note with mother and daughter reunited and Sonrisa get’s got by his goon Bruno. Logan is back in action, wheel chair bound, but still trying to play his part in playing hero. Max isn’t interested, until he drops the Zack bomb, proving that one of her siblings is alive.


+ Max’s awesome powers so far include: super strength, super vision and hearing, agility, and does not need sleep. On the down side she gets seizures.
+ Class issues are very much on the forefront and the cast is very diverse. They aren’t afraid of tackling gender and class on this show.
+ Logan is super creepy and I love that when he tries to school Max she out schools him because sometimes RWD’s need to be taken down.
+ Best lines of the episode: “Xena’s on” and “Girls kick ass. Says so on a t-shirt.”


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  1. Pingback: Dark Angel Recap, Season 1, Episode 2: Heat – What The Fangirl

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