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Positives And Negatives - Season 1

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  • #46
    I've just rewatched a couple more.


    Positive - I really like the connection between Faith and Angel, it makes a lot of sense to me. Arguably Angel has more separation from the crimes he has committed than Faith because of the unsouled/souled distinction. But whilst this is on one level true, there is meaningful distinction, the personality continuity between both states relates. Angel's human issues/weaknesses play such a relevant part of what he still struggles with as a souled demon and of course also fed into the things that he did unsouled too. So the understanding he offers Faith works well alongside his story focussing on his own ongoing struggle with his inner darkness and why Faith would feel she could look at herself differently around him in contrast to the others who know her well and come to believe that she could still make a change.

    Negative - It is always for this episode going to be Buffy's appalled/shocked look because Angel hit her. It just doesn't work after she slammed her fist into his face and whilst I understand that it is tied to her feeling that he is already showing a lack of care/consideration for her that hurts, I object to her horrified hypocritical response.

    War Zone

    Positive - I appreciate the background to Gunn really emphasising that he has come from a tough background, it is needed to understand all the attitude and shoulder chips he carries.

    Negative - They don't look like 'kids' and hearing Cordelia call them that when most look to be the same age as her is ridiculous.


    • #47
      “City Of”

      Positive: I love Cordelia in this episode. Her realizing that Russell is a vampire due to common sense (no mirrors, lots of curtains), much of his shock, is not only the best moment of the episode but it works as a parallel to Buffy in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” realizing Willow’s date was a vampire due to common sense (his outdated clothing), much to Giles’s shock. While watching this episode, I noticed there are a lot of similarities between the Cordelia of the AtS pilot and the Buffy of the BtVS pilot.

      In “Welcome to the Hellmouth”, Buffy came to Sunnydale trying to forget her old Los Angeles life, where she lost everything she held dear – her good relationships with her parents and her social standing – and had her life drastically changed by the supernatural. And in “City Of”, Cordelia comes to Los Angeles trying to forget her old Sunnydale life, where she lost everything she held dear – her good relationships with her parents (in the sense of being financially supported by them) and her social standing – and had her life drastically changed by the supernatural.

      However, both Buffy and Cordy find themselves unable to fit in their new environment (Buffy’s out of place with the Sunnydale kids; Cordy’s out of place with the Hollywood wannabes) and their encounters with vampires (Luke and Darla; Russell Winters) cause them to realize they can’t run from their past. So, both former princesses befriend fellow outcasts (Willow and Xander; Angel and Doyle) and resolve themselves to fighting the good fight.

      Likewise, there are some similarities between the Angel in “City Of” and the Angel we saw in the flashback scenes of “Becoming, Part 1”. In “Becoming, Part 1”, we see Angel cut off from humanity and approached by a prophetic agent of the Powers That Be (Whistler), who introduces Angel to a shallow young girl (Buffy) who will be his new connection to humanity. In “City Of”, we see Angel cut off from humanity (though not in the rat-eating capacity anymore) and approached by another prophetic agent of the PTB (Doyle), who (re)introduces Angel to a shallow young girl (Cordelia) who will be his new connection to humanity.

      The reunion between Angel and Cordelia in this pilot is amazing. Hilarious (their scene at the party) and heartwarming (when they agree to team up professionally), which is remarkable considering they probably had about five minutes of screen time together in all of Buffy S1-S3. They have great chemistry and both of them are really at their best here.

      Despite being a Buffy parallel, I love how this episode establishes Cordy as a character in her own right and shows the ways in which she is NOT Buffy. Her lack of filter in this episode is a huge contrast to Buffy’s rather reserved attitude in “Welcome to the Hellmouth”. And while Buffy came to Sunnydale trying to be a normal girl, Cordy goes to L.A. trying to be a famous actress. Because she’s Cordelia and that’s her view of being normal. Like Buffy, Cordelia also realizes that she can’t resist the urge to fight the things that go bump in the night – but she sure as hell can make some cash from doing so!

      Negative: I agree with Stoney. Glenn Quinn is extremely charming, but Doyle’s introduction and recap of BtVS did feel a little clunky in the way it was written and delivered.

      “Lonely Heart”

      Positive: The character interactions between Angel/Kate and Doyle/Cordy were solid and there are great bits of humor in the scripting – Angel’s awkwardness at the bar and being mistaken for gay, everything out of Cordelia’s mouth, etc. I don’t think the chemistry between Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle is as immediately awesome as the chemistry between Buffy, Willow, and Xander was, but that kind of adds to the theme of the episode for me. Whereas best friendships are so instant in high school, it takes a little more time to 'click' with people in the adult world.

      Negative: I felt bad for the poor bartender. He’s going to be remembered as a rapist and murderer when he seemed like a fairly nice dude in earlier scenes before being possessed by the Screech demon.

      “In the Dark”

      Positive: Angel and Oz’s reunion. And the obvious – Spike’s monologue.

      Negative: It was way too early to do a crossover episode. As much as I love Spike and Oz, they detracted from Doyle and Cordy. The writers should have taken more time establish Angel the series before doing a crossover episode. Also… Cordy, Doyle, and Oz spent the night hanging out together and we didn’t get to see it?! Bah.

      “I Fall to Pieces”

      Positive: I liked seeing Angel identify with the villain. One of those things that distinguishes the series from BtVS and shows he’s not the typical male hero.

      Negative: While the premise is genuinely creepy, I don’t really see how it connects to any of the main characters. Even in the worst BtVS monster-of-the-weeks, it always seemed like a character received some kind of catharsis or emotional development from the villain they battled (Xander in “Teacher’s Pet”, Willow in “I, Robot…You, Jane”, Cordelia in “Some Assembly Required”, etc). While Melissa receives development and overcomes her fear of D'Hoffr--uh, Ronald, our main characters don't. Angel, Cordy, and Doyle are the same people at the end of the episode that they were at the beginning, which makes it feel kind of pointless.

      “Rm w/a Vu”

      Positive: The little character interactions. Angel’s obvious annoyance at Cordy’s incompetence; the self-awareness of Cordy’s ‘I’m sorry I missed your call, Aura; it was that incompetent girl at work’ showing she knows what a shitty secretary she is. I particularly enjoyed Doyle in this episode and he’s a great balance between Angel and Cordelia. As much as fun as they are to watch and as well as they play off each other, Angel and Cordy don’t seem like they would be easy people to actually be around. Between Angel’s depressed, antisocial demeanor and Cordy’s self-absorption and constantly-running mouth, Doyle provides a nice balance. He’s equal parts charming (like Cordy) and mysterious (like Angel).

      Cordy reclaiming her inner bitch is a classic moment and one of my favorites. I agreed with something that Dipstick said in another thread about Cordy’s force of personality being a superpower that she can sort of summon when need be. This is one of those moments that show Cordy’s bitchiness is really just a coping mechanism that, while not always a great one, allows her to be the self-possessed force of nature that she is.

      Cordy’s ‘sniveling, whiny little cry-Buffy’ comment is, I think, an admission on her part that Buffy puts up with a lot of shit (she’s seen Buffy complain about being the Slayer, she’s seen Buffy cry over Angel). But while most people would think of Buffy as a strong person for putting up with the stuff that life throws her way, it makes sense that Cordy, in her own Cordy-logic, would put Buffy down for it. She’s not going to be like Buffy and put up with some shit that she knows is unfair. She takes crap from no one!

      Negative: I agree with vampmogs on Charisma’s fake cry and this episode is the first instance of the lack of range she has that will become worse as the series goes on. In addition to humor and fierce bitch, I think CC excels at playing *subtle* vulnerability. Like, in “Lovers Walk” and “The Wish”, Cordy was supposed to be equal parts bitchy and hurt and she played that really well. Same in “City Of” when she goes from the low place of her ‘What do you want me to do?’ to Russell back to the hilariousness of ‘Hey, you’re a vampire!’. And here, CC does a good job going from the emotional depth of Cordy confessing to Angel that she feels like she’s being punished to the typical Cordy-ness of ‘I meant you used to have that mansion'.

      She’s great at playing Cordy as hurt but self-composed, which results in one of my favorite things about the character (her ability to keep herself together in spite of her emotions/bad things happening to her). But when it comes to the (thankfully, rare) moments when Cordy is supposed to be breaking down (like here, her crying in “Five by Five”) or overcome with emotion (her declaration that she’s in love with Angel), her acting is, yeah… bad.

      “Sense and Sensitivity”

      Positive: Loved Doyle’s line “[Cordy] thinks you’re insensitive. Consider the source.” Ha! It’s just like her infamous moment with Buffy in “When She Was Bad”. If the highly insensitive Cordelia is calling the hero out on being insensitive, the hero must *really* be acting out.

      Negative: Although I liked the stuff with Kate and her dad, I wasn’t a fan of the scenes with the police officers. And I agree with vampmogs that the episode isn't as funny as it thinks it is. Although, Boreanaz's delivery of 'PAIN-BOW' was cringeworthy in all the right ways.
      Last edited by Andrew S.; 07-11-18, 12:48 AM.


      • #48
        City Of

        Positive:This is a great premiere. Instead of a moment, I'll pick Doyle's premise that Angel requires human connection in order to become a real hero that saves people instead of regarding them as food. Angel, as constructed in BtVS, only had eyes and attention for Buffy. By design, his only desired connection to humanity was his romantic ties with Buffy. However, the perfect happiness mythology limited Angel's ability to romance because his detachable soul. As we first find him in City Of, Angel isn't a natural candidate to lead an ensemble cast. After three years of character development, he really doesn't have these natural urges for friendship. However, BtVS did set up that Angel has an urge to be a hero. Doyle successfully makes Angel into someone who can lead an ensemble cast.

        It's also poignant given Doyle's status. Doyle was ex-communicated from his human life when he found out that he was half-demon. Then, he so rejected his demon side that he didn't help when his kind was massacred. As a result, Doyle goes out to find Angel, a full-on demon, and form a partnership of heroism. Based on his entire arc, I think Doyle needed a connection to "good" demonness so that he could overcome his self-loathing of his demon side. He needed that positive marriage between his demonic visions and Angel's demonic strength doing something positive to gain some peace and reconcile both sides of himself.

        Negative: I didn't need Angel's history, especially the Buffy-focus.

        Lonely Hearts

        Positive: A great thing about S1 is that it really captures big city living in a way that BtVS can't. I think this episode does that well. It really gets the vibe of being a single person, desperate for connection, but only feeling lonelier when "putting yourself out there" if you're just going to be "used" for your body and thrown away in terms of an actual relationship.

        Negative: After the pilot, the show should be in Team Building Mode but Doyle and Cordelia have little to do here. It's annoying after all of the talk about human connection and Angel making friends.

        In the Dark

        Positive: On first watch, I didn't care for Angel's explanation for destroying the Gem of Amarra. I agreed that he should destroy the Gem- but because he shouldn't be invincible when he has a detachable soul. Not because he won't see what happens after dark if he gets to be out during the day- because like, Buffy seems plenty of pertinent stuff in the dark even though she also walks in the sunlight. However on rewatch, I think it brings up a very poignant aspect to Angel's character that comes up throughout the series. He's in search of the big cosmic sign that he's forgiven for his prior bad acts. That's what he's mainly striving for on this series. Angel feels like he needs to be Batman Champire as he is. He cannot be a hero in a different way- be it an invincible vampire that can be in the sun during the day or a mortal without superpowers who dates Buffy in Sunnydale. He feels like he needs to earn his redemption as himself, with all its limitations and advantages. Moreover, he's expecting his redemption to be some physical universally recognized sign. At the end of the season, Angel will like the idea of Shanshuing and becoming human but IMO, entirely because Wesley interprets the prophecy to be a *reward* for excellent Champire-ing.

        Negative: I agree with Andrew S. There should have been more Oz. He schlepped all the way out there but barely appeared.

        I Fall to Pieces

        Positive: This ep had a B-plot running along its A-plot all about AI operating like a true detective agency which means charging clients. Again, Doyle is my MVP. As Andrew S said, he balances Angel's and Cordelia's sides in a number of ways. He straddles Angel's supernatural side and Cordelia's human side. IMO, that enables him to convince Angel to charge clients when Cordelia could not convince Angel. As part human, Doyle can identify with Cordelia's need for money to survive. As part demon, he can identify with Angel's need to not be the Eternal Savior for every Tom, Dick, and Harry because Doyle knows that his and Angel's demon-relating self-loathing can't abide that kind of feeling of being guilty about too much adoration for accomplishments. They need to draw those kinds of boundaries.

        Negative: The A-plot is gross and meh.

        Rm w/ a Vu

        Positive: Best Cordelia-centric episode in this series. Really good. I think it gets a TON of emotional scaffolding from BtVS, though. The most poignant aspect is Cordelia believing that she was suffering in poverty in LA because of the karma of how she treated people. For someone so mean-spirited in high school, Cordelia consistently articulated and/or indicated she understood how being mean people will be punished for their behavior. When she's punished by Marcie. Her "Spank your inner moppet speech" where she warned bitca Buffy that she won't even keep her loser friends if she keeps treating them badly.. She wonders aloud in Some Assembly Required why these horrible things keep happening to her, and Xander coughs back "Karma." When she lost her money, she pretty much assumed that Xander would run back and gossip to the Scoobies about "how Cordelia finally got hers" and how she's a "name-tag person" now. Xander doesn't do that instead buys Cordelia the prom dress and that really surprises Cordelia because she didn't think she deserved generosity because she knows how she treated the Scoobies. Here, AtS really benefits from how it's a spinoff. Cordelia's breakdown is three-seasons of TV in the making even though AtS is a brand-new show. She's not just being a martyr to assume that she's being punished for how she was in high school- she's advancing a long-held belief.

        Andrew S, very interesting way of reading the "sniveling, whiny, Cry-Buffy line."

        Negative: I think early S1 over-does these jokes about Cordelia being bad with filing or computers or even taking messages. They're not funny or particularly character-building. I actually have trouble believing them. The office seemed quite organized to my eyes and I understand that Cordelia was doing pretty much all of that work.

        Sense and Sensitivity

        Positive: S1 Cordelia is observant enough to say that Angel uses his "tortured creature of the night status" as an excuse to be rude to anyone trying to be his friend. I think that's SO, SO true.

        Negative: I don't find this ep particularly funny either.

        Bachelor Party

        Positive: I agree with past posters that Angel is a much more personable, present character here. I think it's because Doyle is a flattering mirror for Angel in many ways. Irish, dealing with a demon side but the presence of a soul and a human body, just getting over a serious romantic relationship which failed because of his demon side, disconnected from their demonic roots/Fanged Four family which leaves a certain hole in their soul. That really comes out in Bachelor Party.

        Negative: The brain-eating party wasn't funny or scary to me. I think it's because it was trying to be both.
        Last edited by Dipstick; 07-11-18, 09:56 PM.


        • #49
          I finished up the season.

          Blind Date

          Positive - I really enjoy this episode so there are a lot of things I see as positive in it. I'm going to go with the emphasis that is given to the path that each person chooses to walk. Choices and redemption are such a heavy focus in the show and this episode is great for showing both focused determination, the sense of constant struggling and wavering uncertainty. That Lindsey surprises them in finding something he is asked to do so unpalatable that it makes him turn from everything he has been living by, but then his own insecurities and the chip on his shoulder pulls him back under after he's taken his stance on that one thing is such a great example of human weakness. The characters of Brewer and Holland and the cold brutality of their attitudes against the contrasting presentation of seemingly weak/gentle manners is excellent alongside this to expose how people present themselves may hide who they are within and that really falls within this sense of when choices often are knowingly, intentionally dark.

          Negative - I didn't think Cordelia finding details on Brewer so quickly was realistic (whereas their need to call Willow to fix the encrypted files was great).

          To Shanshu in LA

          Positive - Again a great episode and it really pulls the season full circle as we get to see Angel's emotional response to the people that he has drawn around him and his established purpose as a champion being threatened. I enjoy the inclusion of Kate's character and her struggle with accepting her new found knowledge of the demonic side to life against this and really like the moment when Angel, fired and focused on checking on Wes/Cordy basically tells Kate to stop blaming him for what's bad in her life. It's a point in his story when Angel is showing some determined forward progression when he so often is held static by his inner struggles and guilt looking back to his past. I enjoy his bluntness with Kate and that it shows I think that there is a part of him that wants to put all that aside and look beyond it too. It fits well within an episode where he has that glimpse forward to the potential of a future that he finds a positive notion tied into his destiny, the possible reward of choosing the path he has. Which follows neatly from the previous ep too. I very much agree with Dipstick that it is the element of reward tied in to the prophecy which satisfies him. It works against him having his mortality removed in IWRY too as it wasn't something that he had earned which got to wipe clean the past he is so often fixated on/in.

          Negative - The importance of the demon coming to perform the ritual is totally undermined and called into question when Lindsey is able to just grab the abandoned scroll and just finish off the incantation.

          As a point of interest that only occurred to me on this rewatch, the contrast to how Angel responds to both Wes and Cordy being hospitalised in later seasons is interesting. Obviously he feels very specifically betrayed by Wes in S3 (which I am also currently rewatching) and the writing wish to drop Cordelia's character for S5 is in truth at play, but it also feels somewhat like the betrayal he felt over Connor in regards to Cordelia too put up a barrier to the open care he felt at this earlier stage when they were both so connected to who he was trying/wanted to be.


          • #50
            Starting this one as well, gonna catch up to the other thread.

            City of...

            I love the first scene where Angel pretends to be drunk and then immediately drops the act and fights like a badass. It's such a great introduction to a show that will be both hilarious and awesome.

            Negative; Angel having a reflection, also in the first scene. *tut-tut*

            Lonely Hearts

            The entire dynamic and banter between Cordelia and Doyle.

            Negative; Introduction to Kate. Even though it wasn't a bad introduction, I just never liked the character.
            "Gay, straight, retarded, why do we have to put a label on everything?"


            • #51
              Originally posted by Puppet View Post
              Negative; Angel having a reflection, also in the first scene. *tut-tut*
              Ha! I never notice things like that, where is it?

              Introduction to Kate. Even though it wasn't a bad introduction, I just never liked the character.
              Aw I always liked Kate and how they played her against Angel's story/development. I also liked that they included the police when they wanted to play the noir detective thang as Angel set up his LA mission. Was it anything in particular about her you disliked?


              • #52
                Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                Ha! I never notice things like that, where is it?
                That shot that shows up in all the opening credits, where his coat fans out as he leaves the alley; he is reflected in the puddle of water on the ground

                Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                Was it anything in particular about her you disliked?
                I just never felt she fit in with the show. Someone else once mentioned how she acted like she was on CSI instead of a fantasy show and I gotta agree. Plus, after she finds out about Angel being a vampire, her annoyance factor goes through the roof. Either she should have been written very differently or just not existed. I have no issue with the actress, though, Elizabeth Rohm did her best with what little she was given.
                "Gay, straight, retarded, why do we have to put a label on everything?"


                • #53
                  Ah, that's great. I'm going to be staring at every puddle that appears in both shows from now on. I'm really amused I never noticed it.

                  It really worked for me with Kate. The connection to the police department and interaction on occasion was a good choice I think, having a bridge with the local law as Angel is trying to set himself up as the local supernatural detective. I think her awakening to the supernatural as he builds up his human group works as a compare/contrast too. Plus it gives some contrast to the turn-a-blind-eye/oblivious approach of the Sunnydale cops. We've just got different mileage on this one it seems.


                  • #54
                    In the Dark

                    Definitely gotta go with Spike's mocking of Angel on the roof. Just beyond hilarious.

                    Negative; You can argue that it was Spike's lack of foresight (he's so damn impatient) that was responsible for how things wound up, but I think we can also blame the writers for 'dumbing down' Spike for the episode. So I'm gonna make my negative the writing for the final Spike scene when he's confronted by the gang. (granted, I had a hard time picking a negative, so this is not such a big deal)
                    "Gay, straight, retarded, why do we have to put a label on everything?"


                    • #55
                      I Will Remember You

                      Positive: It's a very cute detail that Angel starts craving different types of actual food once he becomes human. It's a cute S1 trope that Angel is a good cook, even though he can't taste human food as much as before (the breakfast in Parting Gifts, the brownies in I've Got You Under My Skin). I wish they kept that trait of Angel's in later seasons because it really meshes with his artistic talents that he could feel his way around being a good cook even if he can't taste food like a human. There could have been such comedy between Fred and Cook!Angel. But yeah, it makes such sense that a vampire good cook would want to sample everything once he regained human taste buds.

                      Negative: It's frustrating that Angel was never brought to task for taking the day away from Buffy. It's a real kick in the teeth, especially since Buffy went to LA to rightfully yell at Angel for stalking her in Sunnydale and created an unequal relationship where he can see her but she can't see him. Then, Angel goes ahead and does that very thing but on a grand, mystical level.

                      Also, I also find it annoying when Buffy describes the non-supers as "sidekicks." I think she does it here and in Selfless to Xander. Who is she to define Doyle as the "sidekick" after two minutes in Angel's new office? I guess it's in character as Buffy's mentality- what Willow was talking about in Fear, Itself like 2-3 weeks prior to this ep. But I dunno, it feels oddly gauche for Buffy to up and *say it* about a guy she hasn't met in a team that she doesn't work with.


                      Positive: I liked Doyle a lot. He only had nine eps on the show and yet, his arc feels outsized in importance despite his limited time on the show. He's unique that way. Usually, the issue with Buffyverse characters (and frankly *many* TV characters) is that their arc feels small given how much time they had on a TV show. He did so much to form Angel's mission and Cordelia's arc. He was set up with a tragic, seemingly irreconcilable difference where he feels like he failed to live up to both his human side and his demon side. However, he still managed to give demon Angel a guided, organized mission for his redemption with the visions and mediate AI's purpose to give human Cordelia sufficient money to live. Then, on the final yardline, he inextricably tied human Cordelia to the supernatural mission of AI/Angel by giving her the visions.

                      Doyle martyred himself in such a way that he ended up taking care of humans and half-breed demons. In terms of narrative relevance, dying for a cause after nine eps is an "easy" way to go out where Doyle will always be remembered as a martyr instead for how he dealt with living on the front lines of the fight for years and years. However it fits in the theme of the verse that Doyle is forever trapped in amber as a saint-like character to Angel and Cordelia well into S5.

                      Negative: First person to invoke the Nazis in an ethical argument loses. First TV show to use Nazis in a plot about demons loses.

                      Parting Gifts

                      Positive: This is an episode that exemplifies what's great about AtS S1. We have really fantastic exemplars of Down to Earth! Kind!Angel, Sharp Witted! Actress!Cordelia, Slapstick Funny!Wesley, incredible use of the plot and character development from BtVS so that Wesley can have a huge emotional breakthrough and fill Doyle's enormous shoes without it being a sudden cheat, a *great* MOTW in Barney in keeping with AtS S1's strong run of MoTWs, great humor all around, subtly showing how W&H has its hands in a number of different pies throughout the city in the lady lawyer's attendance at the auction, and taking the characters to wildly different parts of Los Angeles from an audition to Koreatown to a secret auction in a fancy hotel. I miss Doyle- but AtS S1 can have Wesley or Doyle but not both. Parting Gifts, though, pays great homage to Doyle.

                      The foreshadowing for Wesley is really strong. It's like the light comedic version of his S4 arc. He was fired from his position and he's feeling incredibly wrecked and guilty about all of it. However, he still perseveres to fight demons on his own as a rogue demon hunter even if he can't fight with a structured group. He dresses up like a bad-ass to better play that role. There's something terrifying about his unfettered relentlessness that strikes empathic demon Barney. However, there's a tragic ineffectiveness to how he was chasing the wrong demon across multiple states. Wesley arrives as an apparent threat to Angel, cross-bow pointed right at him. This is more foreshadowing for AtS S3 but Wesley romanticizes being solitary and making all decisions on your own as the way to truly be strong even though he longs for the support and comfort of being in a group. He'll lie to himself and everybody else about how he doesn't need nobody and how it's great to be a ROGUE demon hunter instead of following his true wants and asking to be invited to breakfast or into AI. He even straps a knife to his leg underneath his clothes ala the S4 collapsible swords under his clothes. Wesley saying that he's surprised the Council didn't cut his head off for his incompetence is also foreshadowing for his neck being slashed.

                      On a small note. I like that the Korean Kungai demon went to Koreatown to die in peace, soothed by a Korean woman who knew and understood the demon. It brings up an interesting point on whether demons feel cultural affinity to their native land.

                      Negative: I don't even know. This ep is really good. I guess, the Oracles are cheesy-looking and oddly acted/directed.


                      Positive: This is another great episode. I love Kate here. (I'm generally a fan of hers.) I love her profiling the serial killer- and seeing how the profile (loner, just came off a serious relationship, charming, attractive, white male who could easily gain the trust of victims) could apply to Angel as much as Penn. That's my favorite scene in the episode. In addition, we see that Penn decides to hunker down in an old hotel in LA which as emotional meaning to him, much like Angel will pick the Hyperion as his base. Penn and Angel are both obsessed with the *artistry* and *creativity* of murder. Angel knows that it will sting Penn to hear that his murders are hack-job with no beauty and creativity because that would hit Angel where he lives as well.

                      However with a soul, Angel has turned some of those similarities around. He's not a loner anymore and he trusts Cordelia/Wesley to chain him to the bed. Most crucially, he trusts Kate to tell her the supernatural truth about Penn. This is a tremendous leap of faith- despite the limitations described below. At the end of the ep, he trusts Cordelia to stake him if he ever turns again. Later, Angel turns his own old hotel into a location to do good instead of to hunker down and do evil.

                      However, there's still a darkness to Angel. Angel believed he may have committed those murders because he had killing dreams. However when Wesley and Cordelia confront him about it, Angel does a whole display where he grabs Wesley and puts him a chokehold to demand their trust in his story. While Angel was honest with Kate about Penn in their conversation, he did not tell Kate about his own vampirism and Kate had to find out on the streets. There's a great mirroring of Angel telling Kate about Penn in this episode and Angel telling Buffy about Drusilla in Lie to Me. Angel had not been candid with Buffy or Kate before. However suddenly, the Apt Pupil Boy/Greatest Creation Girl came knocking on Kate's and Buffy's turf. Angel tries to take care of business on his own. However, he has to come back to Buffy and Kate to resolve big things. Angel wants to be honest. However, he won't give up on his information until he gets some proof from Buffy/Kate that they'll still hold him in high regard. In Lie to Me, he asks Buffy if she loves him before telling her about Dru. In Somnabulist, he asks Kate if she trusts him before telling him about Penn. Once Angel's gotten assurances of Buffy's love (but Buffy states not her trust) and Kate's trust (but Kate isn't asked for her love), he feels the space to disclose the information.

                      Negative: It's hard to find a problem. This is more a critique of future eps, but it's disappointing that we never see Angel sharing dreams with other vampires that he was close to in the future.
                      Last edited by Dipstick; 16-11-18, 03:11 AM.


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Puppet View Post
                        Negative; You can argue that it was Spike's lack of foresight (he's so damn impatient) that was responsible for how things wound up, but I think we can also blame the writers for 'dumbing down' Spike for the episode. So I'm gonna make my negative the writing for the final Spike scene when he's confronted by the gang. (granted, I had a hard time picking a negative, so this is not such a big deal)
                        I find the dumbing down of Spike in AtS a fairly constant irritation. Sometimes it bugs me less than others, but when his hair catches light at the end of ITD it's just the icing on the cake of laughing at him in this ep for me. But I don't hate the ep overall, he's just a bit too thoughtless in it for someone who is also often played for his insight (although often lacks it when looking inwardly).


                        • #57
                          I Fall to Pieces

                          I love the scene between Doyle and Melissa at her job, where they talk about how outgoing she used to be before Dr. Meltzer made her constantly afraid. Take away the supernatural element and that's such a scary and realistic part about our world. Also, Doyle is really funny in the scene, too

                          Negative; I would go with the cop that finds Meltzer by the fence, and then let's him go cause he doesn't have any hands. Bitch, he's still staring through someone's windows, wth are you doing just leaving him there?
                          "Gay, straight, retarded, why do we have to put a label on everything?"


                          • #58

                            Positive: I actually defend the mystical pregnancy story. I think this is a solid (but not brilliant) episode. AtS is about being an adult in a big city. IMO, an unwanted pregnancy is a fundamental fear of young adult women in a big city. Being manipulated and left by lovers after they've used your body is another adult-fear. I almost feel like it would side-step women's experience to not include a terrifying mystical pregnancy in a horror TV show (although, maybe AtS didn't need like, four...). I get why the mystical pregnancy is a classic horror trope, completely aside from sexism. Almost ESPECIALLY looking at it from a woman's POV, there's something terrifying about pregnancy especially if it's not planned but even if it is planned. I don't think the episode was punishing Cordelia for having sex. In fact, it was stated like three times that Cordelia was not being punished. Maybe there should have been some references to Cordy getting some casual no-strings sex that didn't end with an MOTW (as there were for Wesley in S2) but I think S2 wanted to get her to a "I haven't had a good com-shuck in awhile" hornyness with Groo. But that's a S2 issue.

                            Rather, Cordelia has a horrible run of luck through her tenure on the show in everything from her actress career to her work with Angel to her health. It's horribly unfortunate but that's a really big part of her characterization. This actually really works for me in S1-2 when it's about Los Angeles's power structure kicking around Cordelia. There, Cordelia is incredibly representative of hordes of idealistic, beautiful young women who go to a big city to find their career, fame, fortune, and love and then, the big city just kicks them around extracting their youth and sex appeal because it's so hard to really Make It. The story fell apart when it was about the universe/TPTB kicking around Cordelia in S4, after S3 made it look the universe was rewarding her. However, I really respond to the human element of Cordelia's tragedy in S1 even as I find her hilarious and heroic.

                            The cute team stuff is this episode's real strength though. Speaking of big city tales, I love that Cordelia's friends bluntly assume that Angel and Wesley are gay right in front of them while over in lil ol' Sunnydale, everyone (except Faith) will be clueless about Willow and Tara being an item right up until Willow verbally comes out.

                            Negative: The monster is cheesy looking.


                            Positive: To pick something other than the dancing, it's a nice character touch that Wesley has these hobbies here like knitting his own sweater or getting all excited about the etymology of flower names. I think it's a series character-note that S1-2 Wesley has all of these hobbies like board games and darts and motor biking riding and favorite movies. In the last ep, he'd first get to know his opponent by asking about his hobbies. However, it seems like he has no hobbies at all in S4-5 as he gets darker. He just fights and has very sad relationships. It's all to the point that he doesn't know how to spend his last day of earth beyond bandaging Illyria in preparation for the night's battle.

                            Negative: This really sucks. The pacing is horrible. We don't even learn about the main warrior lady character until really late in the ep after some pointless misdirection. As a result, the exposition on her is just shoved down our throat

                            I've Got You Under My Skin

                            Positive: This is a really great scary MOTW. To contrast it with She, this is an example of *great* pacing. We see the subject family and we're warned of the dangers within before the opening credits but it's not just a dry demonstration of danger because the subject family is so effectively compared to the Angel/Cordelia/Wesley trio. Angel and Wesley go to the house and see that there's a Ethros demon there before Act 1. This makes room for lots of twists in the subsequent acts- the son and not the father is infected by the Ethros demon, the priest dying from a past exorcism, a lot of action and character development for Angel and Wes in the exorcism, the Ethros demon escaping and then the chase to get the demon, the Ethros demon delivering the humdinger of a twist that the little boy is too soulless for the demon and the gang just freed the demon to infect an actually normal person, the little boy setting the family on fire, and then a bit of cold comfort that at least the boy will be institutionalized.

                            Negative: I feel like it's innate human biology within the 'verse that all humans have souls. I have to stretch the Ethro's demon's point that the child's soul is defective because he's a sociopath. I'm uncomfortable with taking the demon literally to say that some human being are born without souls entirely because the presence of a soul aka humanity has been presented as the red line that protects even evil human beings from retributive murder for their bad acts in the Buffyverse time and time again. I don't think we're supposed to start wondering whether Lilah or Holland or Linwood have souls at all because they're so evil and show no remorse for their actions.

                            If we're meant to take the Ethros demon literally, I call it a Negative because I think that screws with the mythology. Taking the stance that I do, there's a little controversy because I read this boy as having a "defective soul" in the sense that he's a sociopath and thus, mentally ill. Meanwhile, our W&H lawyers don't strike me as mentally ill but just people who made choices to ignore their conscience for profit and glamour. However, I think that's far less ablest than taking the Ethros demon at his word and saying that this little boy isn't fundamentally human because of an accident of his birth. While the little boy does have a defective soul because he's a sociopath, I think that reflects a reality of life that you can't cure a sociopath. You can only manage them so they do less harm- but they're still human beings.
                            Last edited by Dipstick; 16-11-18, 10:59 PM.


                            • #59
                              In fact, it was stated like three times that Cordelia was not being punished.
                              I think the fact that it has to be stated three times actually means the writers could see how it looked


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                                I think the fact that it has to be stated three times actually means the writers could see how it looked
                                OK..All's the better then. My point still stands. Risks of unwanted pregnancies and being used for sex and left are still horror shows for young women. Just because it's horrible to see doesn't eliminate its value as a story. Expecting represented the horror of consequences resulting from sex while the characters communicated that it wasn't a punishment for Cordelia acting on her sexual desires but rather unlucky terrible effects.