Dark Angel (2000-2002): The Loose Ends

Contains Spoilers

The Dark Angel season 2 finale left us with more questions than when it started…Do the transgenics ever find equality in the dystopian future? Do Max and Logan find a cure to their no-touching-or-you’ll-die virus? Do they EVER find out what Sandeman and the Conclave Breeding Cult were planning? With some characters and concepts completely forgotten about, this well-written and well-casted show was cut-off from a proper ending after James Cameron had believed he would have a third season to tie up loose ends and conclude the story.

With a third season apparently planned, the sci-fi US show set in a dystopian future and starring the beautiful Jessica Alba playing the genetically engineered super-soldier, ‘transgenic X5’, Max, was cancelled after a quick two seasons, leaving fans pondering on the unexplained and unresolved events that had been hinted on throughout the season. I, after arriving a little late to the party and watching the show a massive 14-years after it first aired, was fairly disappointed by the semi-cliff hanging ending and was entirely curious about what the writers were planning to do next before they were cut. Obviously, I did the only thing I could think off, and I went on the internet discovering masses of ‘Season 3’ fanfiction and hints from the writers on the intentions of the show had it continued running.

There was the release of Max Allan Collins novel ‘After the Dark’ which tried to conclude the events after the ending of the show which gave fans some relief. However, it was criticised as being too rushed, and the questions irritating the fans were answered hastingly, some even being resolved within the last few pages.

So, what were some of the many, many problems created by the ending of this well-loved show? Well…

Max and Logan and their never-ending, never-starting love:

Despite the struggle for the genetically enhanced soldiers, or transgenics, to try and find a place in society (being an overwhelming, and probably the most important, aspect of the show,) many fans, instead, fell concerned with Max and Logan’s relationship. After, quite pathetic but also enticing, flirting and friendly encounters in season 1, we return in season 2 pumped up for some actual romantic and sexual interaction to be set back once again with a (honestly stupid) gene specific virus planted on Max intended to kill Logan meaning the couple can not even touch each other. After many close encounters throughout season 2, I, as well as many other fans, expected some sort of solution when the season finished. This did not happen. It sounds silly but the main two characters, and the main romantic relationship in the show, had a relationship which would take two years to build, and create expectation amongst the fans, leading up to a climatic failure. As shallow as it sounds, the couple only ever kiss and hug, if that. For me especially, I expected some sort of fix to the divide between them and then just one romantic night giving the fans all that they wanted.

The solution presented in the ‘After the Dark’ novel involved Max and Logan’s virus problem being fixed rather quickly, not really giving a legitimate explanation, again dissatisfying fans. Additionally, not much had been hinted by writers about the circumstances after the last episode between the two favourites to be together. Season 3 would have, most definitely, killed the virus, giving them their relationship back but, for the fans, all they had was of the last shots of the finale:

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We leave Max and Logan showing their undying love for each other through holding hands with rubber gloves. How…romantic. Yeah, this is not what fans wanted. Not to mention, Logan is still under the belief that Max and Alec are in, or definitely had, a relationship. Do Max and Alec keep up that lie forever so Logan doesn’t risk his life getting close to Max? Surely not.

And then there’s Eyes Only, the untraceable TV hacking network run by Logan with the aim to expose the corrupt government and their covert operations to the general public. The network eventually get’s found and temporarily taken down by Ames White, the main villain of the season. Logan explains near the end of the show that he will get it up and running again, so we can’t really complain that that particular plotline wasn’t already concluded. It can also be guessed that Logan uses the network to help fight for the rights of the (now public-knowledge) transgenics.

There is also Logan’s sudden ability to walk which is not fully explained but I enjoyed seeing him being super strong due to his lower body exoskeleton. The explanation the show gave was that Joshua’s genetically enhanced blood (which he transfused Logan with in order to temporarily fight off Max’s virus) completely cured Logan’s spine even though when Max gave Logan a blood transfusion last season it didn’t work out because his body was rejecting the treatment. So…I really don’t know what they were thinking when they wrote that. There could be many reasons why Joshua’s blood worked when Max’s didn’t: Joshua was the first transgenic to be made? He’s a male? He’s a part-human, part-canine? I really don’t know but Logan’s stab in the dark was that it was his second blood transfusion so maybe, somehow, there could be a chance it would work this time.

The Conclave and Max’s Destiny:

The obsessive breeding cult, The Conclave, was a storyline which confused me from start to finish and I had to do quite a lot of research before I even partially understood it. This is what the show told us: The breeding cult, founded thousands of years ago, are under the belief that humans are weak therefore they organised years of selective breeding, involving killing the first two born (for reasons unknown) and then the mother, and completing an initiation involving snake’s blood (breed unknown) targeted inside the body, causing them to fall ill (again, for an unknown reason). Those that survived the initiation would be told of ‘the coming’ which was, once again, not explained.

The Conclave’s members, called The Familiars, are skilled in hand-to-hand combat and can apparently not feel pain. An appearance of two of these Familiars in episode 2.09 “Medium is the Message” demonstrated their strength and superiority even to transgenics, as they manage to overcome and defeat Max. The race’s complete power and arrogance is also shown in their hatred for the transgenics, referring to them as ‘scum’.

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In episode 2.16 “Exposure” Max finds out more about The Familiars as she, quite stupidly, breaks into an initiation of, coincidentally, the son of the season villain, Ames White, who is also a Familiar. Max manages to retrieve White’s son and gets him to a safe home to which he is never seen again in the season even though White strives to get him back. Before this happens though, Max gets captured and endures the snake’s blood used in the ceremony, however, she is shown to be immune to the symptoms and unknown effects. Whilst imprisoned, she is guarded by a boy who can strangely subdue Max up against the wall using his mind when she tries to escape. So one, if not more, of the cult have telekinesis.

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Later on, Max wonders about what else The Familiars can do. But, don’t worry people, it is not mentioned again throughout the show. In fact, the concept that The Familiars are stronger and more powerful than the transgenics is completely disregarded in the last episode “Freak Nation”as Max, the lizard-like transgenic Mole, Joshua, an injured Alec, and Logan (who is not a genetic mutation and only had the advantage of his strength-enhanced legs due to the exoskeleton) manage to fight off and capture White and five others, who were not only Familiars but were highly-trained and a pretty badass group called The Phalanx. Obviously, this was the only way to happily end the episode and, simultaneously, the show, but it does seem unlikely, especially since throughout the episode tension had been built over the brutality and strength of these assassins. It is also known that, until the finale, The Phalanx had never failed any missions ordered by The Conclave. I really doubt that only four transgenics and Logan could have overthrown them.

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Getting back on subject, The Conclave were definitely planning something and Max was rumoured to be the only thing to stop them. Like the opening title’s voice-over says “She can not run, she can only fight to discover her destiny”. However, after hearing that statement over twenty times, she does not, in fact, discover her destiny. Season 3 was absolutely going to reveal Max’s true purpose and what all those markings that were suddenly appearing on her skin meant.

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According to external sources, this was what the writers were planning to reveal about The Conclave but never got the chance:

The Conclave, was an organisation set-up thousands of years ago due to a comet passing close to earth, expelling a viral, biological toxic instantly killing 97% of the human population. The remaining 3% were then somehow genetically mutated to be immune to this virus. The Conclave, then began stargazing, discovering that the comet’s cycle would return near to Earth in approximately 2,021 years time (which is around the time the show is set), which would again kill off any humans that were not immune. The cult began selectively breeding so as to survive the next comet encounter, meaning that The Familiars are all immune to this virus. However, this explanation does not make clear the reason for the snake ceremony’s or why the first two children are killed or, in the case of White’s children, are stillborn. If I had to guess, I would say that the breed of snake somehow holds the comet’s biological virus in it’s blood so the initiation could then be seen as some sort of inoculation to make certain that the new recruits could survive ‘the coming’, referring to the comet.

When hearing this explanation, even though there is still no reason why the first two selectively bred children for each pairing are killed, I could definitely understand where the writers were coming from and, if they had been picked up for a third season, I think it would have been very successful. I began to understand a bit more about White and why in episode 2.21 “Love Among the Runes” he was studying a meteor shower, almost passionately. Basically, The Familiars can’t wait for this comet to come and kill all of the human’s so that everything can, in their opinion, be perfection and they can rule the world.

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So, what does this have to do with Max?

Well, writers were set on using Max as human race’s saviour in that Sandeman, Manticore’s founder, made Max to cure all human’s of the virus. Let’s backtrack a little bit here:

The show starts and, so far, Manticore, the place which builds genetically enhanced soldiers, and where our main character of Max grew up and escapes from, is shown as a corrupt and tortuous place whereby assassins and murderers are created and monsters or ‘anomalies’ are kept imprisoned in the basement. At this point, Manticore is run by The Council, Donald Lydecker and, later on, Elizabeth Renfro and Max believes it to be all-bad, which is typically the main concept of the first season.

However, in season 2, we discover more about part-human, part-animal transgenics, meeting the human-dog, Joshua, and the other anomalies. Joshua reveals to us that he was the first transgenic to be made by somebody named Sandeman who he calls “father” and tries to locate him with no luck. Joshua’s affection towards Sandeman is strange, hinting that Manticore may not have always been corrupt and evil. Staying at Sandeman’s old, abandoned house for the majority of the season, Joshua does not give up on the idea that his “father” was a good man. Throughout the season we also learn that Max’s DNA is different to all of the other transgenics in that she does not have any junk DNA, meaning all of her genetic make-up was meant for a purpose; her destiny. In the first episode of season two, “Designate This”, Elizabeth Renfro even says that “you’re the one we’ve been looking for” before dying.

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This must mean that Renfro knew what Manticore’s original aim was and must have been working for Sandeman. This would explain why Renfro needed to take over from previous boss of Manticore, Lydecker, (even though it made her look like the villain). Lydecker was making the organisation unethical, straying from what they actually wanted to achieve and Renfro’s aim was to take over, capture all of the Manticore X5 escapees from 2009, including Max, and keep them monitored and when she finally finds Max she saves her life by taking a bullet for her. She dies as she tells Max to find Sandeman which Max would have done had they not cancelled the show.

Overall, season 2 makes Manticore a lot more confusing. It is later shown that Sandeman was a member of The Conclave, so must also be a Familiar and had two sons: Ames White and CJ. Yes, that’s right. Whilst White survived the cult’s initiation Sandeman knew, due to being a genetics nerd, that CJ would not survive the process so refused to go through with it and, becoming furious with the cult’s distaste for humans, left the organisation. Obviously, Sandeman knew of ‘the coming’ and The Conclave’s plans so strove to stop it. To be honest, Sandeman needed to be more appreciated in the show. For starters, his only appearance in the show was a short flashback that didn’t even reveal his face:

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Sandeman proceeded to create Manticore, using his DNA knowledge, to try and create the perfect weapon against the cult. This is where Max comes in, I guess. After many attempts, resulting in the anomalies, Sandeman finally creates a soldier whose DNA, in some way, saves the human race from the comet virus. This is where the theories are a bit wonky suggesting that the writers had not thought this part all the way through.

Some explanations say that Max’s body releases some kind of air burst dispersing throughout the human race or an immunity that would have spread through a common cold, making the world immune by the time the comet came close to earth again. The novel ‘After the Dark’ instead went for the conclusion that Max’s blood contained antibodies that could become a vaccine. Whatever the details, Max’s destiny was most definitely to save the world. How typical.

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Obviously, this plan was fraught with plot holes such as Why did Sandeman choose Max to bear this burden and Why not insert world-saving DNA in all of the X5’s so that there is more of a chance that his plan would actually be carried out? The Conclave knew that Sandeman had left the organisation and disagreed with their terms so Why didn’t they try and stop him from exposing their group or of stopping their plan? Okay, that one can be partially answered through episode 2.03 “Proof of Purchase” which introduces Sandeman’s old house which still contained many of Sandeman’s possessions indicating that he must have left in a hurry, which could have been due to The Conclave discovering his plan. But, if this were true, why didn’t The Familiars try and take down Manticore and capture all of the transgenics earlier, or maybe they couldn’t get into the facility and so could only start killing them off when they had all escaped. Do you see the problems here?

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Was Sandeman ever going to show up?

Moving on, due to Sandeman’s disappearance he could not finish the job and Manticore was taken over by The Council which continued to unethically use the X5’s as soldiers and assassins using torture and mind control to their advantage. This means that Sandeman did not get a chance to teach Max the ancient Conclave language, which later randomly shows up on Max’s body, also due to her unique DNA. Writer’s had hinted that Sandeman had planted the tattoo’s as a warning that ‘the coming’ was close and it would explain how Max would go about saving the world. As Max can not read these symbols, Sandeman was planned to make a bigger appearance in season 3. I assume he would show up or Max and Joshua would find him and he would explain all the questions that fans were riddled with, help Max save the world and dismantle The Conclave’s organisation. (However, due to the lack of a character at all, I’m sure many viewers believe Sandeman to already be dead.)

The only thing Max finds out about the markings on her body is when Logan manages to translate a section in the last episode: “When the shroud of death covers the face of the earth, the one whose power is hidden will deliver the helpless” The gang take this to mean that Max will be the one to stop something apocalyptically, biblically bad happening and, well, they’re not wrong.

The only thing I noticed about Max’s heightened ability to save the world was a moment in 2.21 “Freak Nation” whereby it was apparent that Max could, in some way, sense that The Familiar’s were close and got everybody to safety before they could attack. This definitely happened but can not be explained by the plans for season 3 so maybe it was just a coincidence and Max just used her feline senses to get everyone out. However, it could also be apart of her planted DNA from Sandeman making her able to, somehow, sense The Conclave and their movements. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.

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There is also the fact that, when Max is captured and is branded with the snake’s blood she shows no symptoms or effects. It is later revealed that Sandeman made all of the transgenics immune to the snake blood, which must mean they would also survive when the comet came close to earth again. However, when White brands a captured transgenic he observes that they showed symptoms but survived whereas Max was completely fine, showing absolutely no symptoms. This was most probably once again because of the unique DNA Max holds that the other transgenics do not have.

But what happened to Donald Lydecker?

Donald Lydecker, the fairly awesome villain, in my opinion, set the evil-guy standard in season 1. At the end of the first season he turns to the good side after Renfro takes over his authority at Manticore, and he ends up helping Max, Zack and Logan, who were also aided by Syl and Krit.

Remember them? Syl and Krit? Both fellow transgenics were planned to return near the end of season 2 but new characters were created instead due to the actors not being available. Krit was planned to return in episode 2.20, “Love Among The Runes”, but instead Biggs was created and was beaten to death in the same episode. Syl was planned to return in episode 2.21, “Freak Nation”, but instead Cece was created and was shot to death in the same episode. These deaths would have been a lot more impacting if the older characters were brought back but they were still very tragic and were essential to show the severity of the situation and the struggle for the transgenics to fit into society.

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So, anyway, Lydecker does end up joining forces with Max by helping blow up Manticore’s lab in the season 1 finale, which didn’t seem odd as he always seemed close to the X5’s, showing them affection, especially towards Max which may have been because he had included some of his wives DNA in Max’s genetic make-up. As creepy as it sounds, Lydecker did want the best for his kids and was glad to help out … just as long as his job was out of the picture.

Appearing briefly in just the first three episodes of season 2, Lydecker discovers the secret that Max has no junk DNA and manages to find a burial site, guarded by Familiars, where a skeleton of a mother and her first two children are seen. With pictures of the site in hand, he drives off determined to find out what this is and what Renfro had to do with it, as she also had access to the site (most probably because she was apart of the cult or Sandeman somehow got her access). However, this was Lydecker’s last appearance; episode 2.03, “Proof Of Purchase” as Familiars start a car chase to stop him. Lydecker’s car is later found, crashed into a river with the pictures drifting in the water but his body is never found and, as the novel ‘After the Dark’ explains it, he was planned to return and most probably help Max and the others find Sandeman and save the human race. Later on in the season, Max and Logan are seen discussing Lydecker’s absence and Max, purely because he had previously tried to hunt down and kill her for the last 10 years, confesses that she misses him.

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The reason behind the burial site or, again, why the first two children are killed (other than tradition or custom) is not touched on or fully explained however writers have discussed that season 3 would have revealed that Egyptian tombs were built as a way of preserving genetic DNA of survivors so this could partially explain why The Familiars were guarding skeletons.

Personally, I very much missed Lydecker in season 2, I thought he was a brave, courageous character and the best villain the show created..

Alec, Joshua and the other transgenics:

This was actually a fairly easy one to resolve as the last scene of the show does kind of foreshadow that the transgenics are accepted into society, the last shot of the flag indicating their strong attitude now that Max is going to lead their fight. Writer’s plans for season 3 were most probably along the lines of (a few hiccups down the way but) an inevitable happy ending with transgenics living peacefully alongside humans.

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The novel ‘After the Dark’ describes the transgenics as finally being officially recognised citizens of America, as high ranking officials have publicly announced their equal position to normal humans. Within six months, the transgenics are fully integrated into society after the public are persuaded of their equality. The transgenics also purchase a building opposite Terminal City, where they have based themselves, turning it into a mall with transgenic workers and an art gallery is created and becomes popular. I don’t know if it’s just Joshua who creates artwork or if it’s a gift that all of the mutants have but the novel should be praised for wrapping that up.

The cheeky X5, Alec, would no doubt stay with the group of transgenics but I was really hoping he would get together with Asha.

Wait, where did Asha go?

I was very much under the belief that Logan’s good friend, the beautiful and rebellious Asha, would definitely end up in a relationship with Alec. No? It might have been just me but I felt that the chemistry being created by the writers was obviously foreshadowing some sort of romance, and it would have perfectly mirrored Max and Logan’s relationship between a human and a transgenic. But well that didn’t happen either.

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So, where was Asha in the finale? Long story short, she wasn’t in the last episode to air with no explanation to where she had gone or what she was doing that was more important. Asha’s last appearance in the show was episode 2.18 “Dawg Day Afternoon”whereby she helped Logan uncover raw hover drone (futuristic CCTV) footage of the capturing of a transgenic which blew up the media, terrifying the general public. This was Asha’s last scene and was nothing special which is why I was hoping she would return for the season finale where Max and Logan could have really used the extra pair of hands whilst trying to fight of White and the authorities from the safety of the Jam Pony post office. She never turned up but hopefully the writers were planning her season 3 return.

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It is also good to note, Asha was a member of the S1W, a terrorist group aiming to overthrow corrupt government decisions and injustice which, again, would have been useful in the finale. This storyline was left hanging most probably to be picked up in the next season. It was also hinted that Logan had been apart of the group for at least a little while, and I was anticipating some sort of confession to Max that he had been involved with the hasty, unethical group, maybe at the same time that he confessed to Asha that he was Eyes Only. Yeah, after many collaborations, the show ended with Asha still oblivious to most things including Logan’s secret on screen identity which he apparently didn’t trust Asha with even though she had been exceptionally helpful to Max and Logan throughout the season.

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 Original Cindy, Sketchy, Normal and The Jam Pony Crew:

Personally, I actually really liked the character of Normal, Max’s bossy, annoying yet loveable post-office manager, and how his story was concluded. After learning of the transgenics in the midst of his mail messengers in the last episode, including his favourite Alec and his not-so-favourite Max, he has a change of heart, forgives, forgets and helps deliver an X5’s baby. Not only a cute, sweet character development being shown here, but also a caring personality which kind of makes me wish they had included it earlier in the season. Most of the time I was waiting for Max to kick the hell out of him but now I almost feel sorry for the man.

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The last time we see the adorable manager is when he talks to a reporter about his experience with the transgenics during the season 2 finale. I was surprised, firstly, that he didn’t follow the main characters to Terminal City. I know Normal didn’t really like, well…any of the main characters, but I felt after their shared experience he would re-think his life principles a bit. Normal’s last scene is absolutely heart-wrenching as we see him defend the transgenics explaining how they are not monsters (“no more than you and me”) and being so very happy at delivering the mutant baby girl whilst he was being ‘held hostage’ by Max and the gang. He then continues to clean up his post office with a sweeping brush whilst yelling fondly at his members of staff; some things never change. I really couldn’t image them making a season 3 of this show without including Normal. He would have needed to be in it in some way, definitely.

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Then there’s Max’s friends, Original Cindy and Sketchy, who obviously want to fight and stand with Max and the other transgenics. There’s only one problem though: how do they help the mutants from Terminal City? Although it is not absolutely verified in the show, it is definitely speculated and used as a threat and defence that Terminal City is a radioactive zone, causing harm to humans, and even The Familiars according to Max. All of the transgenics, however, are immune to the harmful effects making it a perfect base for their community. I guess, Original Cindy, Sketchy and Logan can help the transgenics from somewhere else or even go back to where they lived before, assuming that the authorities didn’t notice their devious assistance in helping the transgenics. However, it could be that the idea that the area is radioactive and dangerous is just a rumor to scare the public, and regular humans can safely live there but the fear scares them away.

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Minor humans that had just been forgotten about:

Thinking about it, there are many characters that seem to just vanish into thin air and the fates of some quite prominent characters are uncertain. Max’s room mate, Kendra, was the first to disappear due to her moving in with her new boyfriend, Walter, who Max disapproves of due to his slimy blackmail towards her and the other residents squatting in their building. Max and Kendra’s friendship was almost like family and seemed so full-proof that I really don’t know why the writers took her out of the show except that the actor may not have been available anymore. It seemed that Kendra was just replaced with Original Cindy, including taking over the room mate position and living with Max.

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Bling, Logan’s physiotherapist and friend, is another character who deserved much more screen-time. With absolutely no explanation to why he disappeared from the show both him and Kendra do not even make it to the second season. Bling’s last scene actually involved him bringing a crate into Logan’s apartment that had been delivered which was the exoskeleton that Logan would repair and then wear later on in the season to help him walk. It’s a very nice last appearance because it’s almost like, now that Logan has a means to walk again, Bling’s work is done. However, I would like to have seen more of him later on in the season. Bling and Logan seemed like very good friends and Bling also gave support and advice about how Logan should confront (flirt with) Max.

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There is also Herbal, a Jam Pony messenger like Max and her friends, who seemed to just vanish, without any reason or even a word to whether he was fired, skipped town or just stopped hanging out with Max and the gang. This was a shame as Herbal was, in my opinion, one of the better characters with a cheeky, live-in-the-moment personality and rastafarian background; he was very interesting to watch. His last scene was technically in the last episode of season 1 when Max, after having just been shot whilst trying to blow up Manticore’s lab, dreams that she had succeeded in her mission and is celebrating at the pub with all of her friends however when she has a romantic moment with Logan later on she snaps back to reality where she is close to death in Logan’s arms. So, as a character, Herbal’s actual last scene is earlier on in the season when he is shown mourning over the death of one of his close friends, with the sympathy and support of the rest of the gang which is sweet. He seemed pretty upset about it so he could have easily recoiled or something because we have no idea why he’s not in season 2.

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Detective Matt Sung, Logan’s ‘inside man’ and good friend, made it a bit further by occasionally appearing in season 2 but slowly faded away and was also not around for the finale. Considering he was one of the smaller characters he was actually developed really well. In season 1 we learn that he has a young son which gives him an incentive to fight against injustice and help Eyes Only by retrieving police files for Logan and helping Max disappear from the system at times. I’m sure the writers didn’t even mean to make the character so complicated and probably just wanted an aiding character for Logan to bribe (with money for his family and presents for his son) in order to find out more about the government’s decisions. However, Matt seemed like a lot more than just a source of information and showed moral, trust and loyalty towards Eyes Only and even risked his life for Logan at one point. However, in season 2 he appears less and, as viewers, we don’t really connect with or care about his story anymore.

Additionally, Matt is another character who could have been very useful in the show’s finale as the gang are trapped in Jam Pony with the police ready to arrest the transgenics. Instead of waiting for the police to move in, Logan could have called his mate up and asked for some assistance at stalling or even calling off the police battalion. Matt had shown to be very useful in carrying out almost any task that Logan asks of him indicating that he’s probably high up in his profession. This position really should have been taken advantage off in the last episode.

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The many unexplained plot points:

Dark Angel is one of those shows where sometimes plot details get so confusing that the writers decide to literally give up on them, not really giving the concept a legitimate exit. This includes things like Max’s regular seizures which Zack and the other 2009 escapees were also subject to due to the lack of serotonin in their blood which was probably because they are highly-empowered soldiers but this wasn’t verified. These seizures became an increasing problem for Max and was a significant similarity to Logan and his disability throughout season 1 but apparently was completely fixed by the time season 2 aired. Max also has some feline DNA in her which sends her into a ‘heat’ a couple times a year making her easily aroused and horny which also is not even touched on in season 2 despite it giving her and her relationship with Logan more problems in season 1.

Doing research on Max’s seizures, they were apparently fixed when Max gets captured by Manticore at the end of season 1 however this was never expressed anywhere on the show and that could mean that her annual feline ‘heat’ may have also been fixed which would explain how it didn’t seem to affect her after she escaped Manticore the second time.

There is also the strange concept that the X5’s that were made at the same time as Max, including herself, all have clones. This is first seen in episode 2.01 “Designate This” where Max first meets Alec who she finds visually similar to her recently-deceased psycho brother, Ben. This is mainly because they are twins. This was apparently purely due to the fact that Jensen Ackles was a very good actor and writers, producers or whoever decides these things really wanted him back on the show but his character had already died so they created the contrastingly loveable Alec.

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This made a whole other segment to Manticore and led to the creation of Sam, Max’s identical clone who only appeared in one episode, 2.19 “She Ain’t Heavy”, when White accidently tracks her down instead of Max and then uses her to get to the real Max.

Sam was no where near developed enough which was a shame as she had a husband and adopted son which would have made her such an interesting character and the whole idea that all of the X5’s had been doubled does seem a little odd. I mean, for what purpose? Although, I did enjoy that storyline as viewers learnt more about the repercussions of Max and her unit of X5’s escaping in 2009. Sam states “we got the worst of it, your twins” referring to how Manticore brutally experimented on all of the contained soldiers, particularly the clones like Alec, to check that they would not carry out similar actions as the escapees. This was very dramatic and chilling but I wish Sam had appeared in the show for longer because she seems to just retrieve her son and husband from White’s men, with the help of Max, and then takes off, to continue with a normal life now that Manticore is history. I mean, I know I’ve already said this but, her twin sister could have used her help in the bloody finale.

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Finally, To conclude:

For those of you who are still reading this over-analysing article, I conclude that, although I heavily enjoyed Dark Angel, the show should have been picked up for a third season so that the writers didn’t have to rush the ending, and they could have brought back half of the cast that had gone missing in a third season. Massive ideas were scrapped suddenly, with Max’s overbearing destiny in the mud and The Conclave seemingly given up on their plan. Characters with huge potential were brushed to the side, including Zack, Max’s beloved and loyal brother, and many other transgenics who appear to ‘go their own way’ instead of seeing the big fight through. Most, apparently faithful, characters decided to sit back and watch the explosive second season take place

The future of the society seems hopeful but uncertain and most definitely strange especially if interbreeding with transgenics was encouraged. Whichever way you think it went, it’s going to be one hell of a screwed up world. Although, season 2 did try to end it on a high for the mutations with minimal deaths and a strong community in Terminal City which is where they can grow and start to achieve equality. Joshua, bless his soul, spends most of his screen time going on about finding ‘father’ to no avail and other complex characters are purely used as a source of information or an aid to be used by Max and Logan when they are needed.

Many concepts which were an important part of season 1, such as Max’s brutal seizures and her touch-and-go relationship with Logan, seem to be completely forgotten about as if they never happened to make way for new confusing storylines when part-human anomalies make an appearance and The Familiars take over as the villains and use their only threat of ‘the coming’ which doesn’t materialise and is never even revealed. Romantic relationships, particularly Max and Logan’s, are ruined when we endure an entire season of hinting and flirting but still have no closure by the end of the show.

Giving fans a great show is important, but giving them a great ending is essential.

But, on a positive note, this was the show that found the award-winning,Fantastic Four’star, Jessica Alba, and accurately represented the LGBT and racial minority communities as well as still being appropriate today despite airing over a decade ago. I take my hat off to this witty piece of television that gave me young and shirtless Jensen Ackles but (probably more importantly) an engaging, action-adventure story about super soldiers, starring a strong female lead, set in the future and filmed in the past, that I could connect with more than some television shows today.

Sources:
http://worldofentertainment.info/2013/05/29/from-screen-to-print-dark-angel-after-the-dark/
http://darkangel.wikia.com/wiki/Dark_Angel_Wiki
http://darkangelkyre.8m.net/transcripts/index.html
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2 thoughts on “Dark Angel (2000-2002): The Loose Ends

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  1. Greetings! I’m glad that one of my Dark Angel reviews was of good use in your sources for your review of the series.

    I was really impressed with your assessment of the series. You gave a really detailed analysis of the unresolved storylines and some minor things that I didn’t really think about, such as Matt Sung and some of the mysteries of the Breeding Cult’s traditions. Your information was much more extensive than most of what I have been able to find on the internet, and I was impressed with how much thought you put into this. Most reviews I’ve found about the show were that it was pointless or how Jessica couldn’t act, but I have a feeling those reviewers were just missing out on some really good television. Also, you and I appear to have noticed some of the same thoughts and assessments on certain topics like Max no longer having seizures or falling into heat (which I mentioned in my own review on World of Entertainment).

    Like you, I was also late to the party in watching the series. I was 11 when I remember seeing the ads for Dark Angel, mainly the promos that were hyping it up with James Cameron’s first big project since Titanic, but I never watched it. I ended up watching it in early 2013 after a friend told me that I needed to watch it for a fan fiction idea crossing over Smallville and Dark Angel. I never thought I’d get into the show as much as I did.

    I think we’re in agreement that Fox should have green lit a third season of the show just to get a chance to answer the unresolved plot threads that the books did their best to tie up. I still blame Fox for bumping the show from its successful 9 PM Tuesday slot to Friday nights at 8, but I have also read that the change in tone from Season 1 to Season 2 was a possible reason for the ratings drop. If you go with the latter argument, I think the blame still falls on Fox. Reportedly, they were unhappy with how expensive the first season was and tmight be why Season 2 introduced more of the Transgenics and the Breeding Cult, or maybe James Cameron & Charles H. Eglee had this in mind from the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was really creative about how they planned to tie together Manticore and the Breeding Cult, but it makes you wonder if it was a last minute change due to the show’s production budget or if it was planned in advance. I have a suspicion the budget had an effect since I felt Season 1 was more structured and planned out.

    There was another source I read that the budget was also the reason for the casting changes from Season 1 to Season 2. Short of asking Alimi Ballard (who played Herbal) or one of the former writers/producers of the show, I doubt we’ll know the reason for his departure (or Kendra’s for that matter). I wish I could find these pages, but a lot of the pages I found within the last two years have disappeared or been absorbed into the depths of the Internet.

    I did find an archived article that mentioned Ashley Scott’s future on Dark Angel that was uploaded in 2011, but the tense of the article indicate it was written in 2002 (Here’s that source: http://scifiandtvtalk.typepad.com/scifiandtvtalk/2011/07/sci-fi-blast-from-the-past-ashley-scott-dark-angel.html). I touched upon this in my own series review that Scott starred as Helena Kyle in the Batman spin-off series Birds of Prey (which I watched first before Dark Angel) and that maybe her casting in that was why the writers simply just wrote her out of the show. Birds of Prey didn’t last a full year, so who knows if she would have been available had Dark Angel gone through a third season.

    There’s so much I would love to go over and discuss, but I don’t want to bore you. However, I will say it sounds as if you haven’t read the novels? If you haven’t, I highly recommend reading all three of them. They’re a must for Dark Angel fans. Also, there’s “The Eyes Only Dossier” that’s fun to read that expands on Manticore, Eyes Only informants and the Conclave, but that’s up to you. Same goes for the video game adaption.

    Anyways, I’m glad one of my reviews was of good information to your article. Thanks again for the source credit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou for reading my analysis of the show. I wrote this about a year ago and completely forgot that I had sourced you! I will definitely consider reading some of the books, thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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