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Positives And Negatives Season 3

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  • #31
    Forgiving

    Positive: Pretty dull episode apart from the little girl in the White Room, Sahjhan and Angel trying to smother Wesley with a pillow

    Negative: If Cordy were here it would all be different. What terrible timing sending her and Groo away And how long can you survive with a slit throat? All this searching for Wes got a little bit tedious, as we knew where he is and why he did what he did.

    Comment


    • #32
      Provider

      Positive - I do like the general point of Angel's switch in outlook as he views his responsibility to provide for Connor and showing how it affects his perspective on what they do (he and Cordy having swapped roles from the first season in wanting to focus on cash vs helping the helpless). Taking on the responsibility of a child is a life changer and seeing Angel respond to that works I think. It also is interesting against his own background and how he then responds to Connor when he returns from Quor'toth.

      Negative - I think the episode fails as much as it succeeds. Some of the humour is all right but a great deal misses the mark as the characterisation is pushed to extremes for it. Angel's uber mercenary attitude as he presses on the guy's fear for losing his life to see if he can get him to sell anything to realise the cash for example. I get that it shows how passion for your cause can lead to extreme behaviour, but rather like the ridiculous test of determination and endurance Justine undergoes with Holtz, but it's way over the top to try to make a point.


      Waiting in the Wings

      Positive - I love Angel's enthusiasm for the tickets and Gunn's response, it's a really great scene. It also shows one of the main points of continuity in Angel's character, souled or unsouled, in his interest in the wider world through arts that is sometimes missed. Obviously it plays later into revealing the secret of the ballet corps, but it's even directly referenced around him having seen and responded to the performance unsouled too.

      Negative - The constant champion referencing from Cordelia is incredibly irritating as they steer towards the two of them considering being a couple. I dislike this 'better than the rest' aspect to it and I don't think it's a positive thing for either character to fall to considering themselves above others. Although the character continuities in the hubris and it leading to downfalls works well I think, I still find it aggravating to put up with.

      Comment


      • #33
        Double Or Nothing

        Positive: Cordy and Angel broke my heart, the way she sits with him while he mourns, and how he takes the cot apart I liked Fred going to Wesley to tell him what was really going on, and that he should have trusted them and then tell Gunn to be honest with her. This is the best Fred has been.

        Negative: The whole story about Gunn, felt like filler. We've had so many Wesley-centric eps, it feels like the writers were trying to show that Gunn isn't the great hero either, he's also got secrets and plenty to atone for. It was just a bit dull after all the high drama of the last few eps

        Comment


        • #34
          Couplet

          Positive - I find Angel's misunderstandings who others are talking about because he's so focused on Groo's sudden arrival and his jealousy the best aspects of this ep. DB's great and makes it really amusing.

          Negative - Groo/Cordelia and Fred/Gunn, I just don't like either couple to be honest. Fred and Gunn seem too old to behave as cutesy and irresponsibly as they do, I find it irritating, and Groo is such a tedious character. I don't find the way he talks generally and about/to Cordelia romantic or endearing.

          Comment


          • #35
            The Price

            Positive: Spike and Buffy had the back steps, well Angel and Cordy have the hotel steps They have such meaningful chats on and around those steps. This was actually a creepy little episode, but Connor's appearance at the end was great.

            Negative: Angel's emotions turn on a dime, from mourning Connor to being all chirpy with the new client. The change of tone felt jarring. 'I'll help cos it's Fred' - Wesley's obsession still in place. If it had been Cordy, would he have really let her die?

            - - - Updated - - -

            A New World

            Positive: Angel's desperation and rationalisation of Connor's behaviour. This episode is so good at introducing Connor, we learn everything we need to know about him straight away and we can see how he's been brainwashed. Wes/Lilah verbal sparring was great.

            Negative: The CGI seems dated. It was directed by Tim Minear who on the whole does a great job, but the shootout scene was over long and felt like Minear was just practising his skills, not adding anything to the episode.

            Comment


            • #36
              Benediction

              Positive: Angel trying to bond with his son, and bragging to Cordy about him, was so sweet. I really like psycho-Connor, giving Lorne the evils and attacking Cordy.

              Negative: Really enjoyable episode, but Holtz's death to frame Angel was a bit extreme

              Comment


              • #37
                Loyalty

                Positive - Wes gets a lot of things wrong in his choices about the prophecy but like many characters I love how complex and flawed he is. Despite how badly things go and all that muddles in to why Wes makes decisions he shouldn't, I don't doubt that he wants to get it right and protect Angel and Connor, that he genuinely cares. Oh, and Angel is just adorable with Connor, especially at the Drs.

                Negative - So I don't just complain about Fred and Gunn behaving like teens again I'm going to complain about the blood plan. That's a tiny phial of blood. I don't remember if they say, but I'll have to assume that they magically reproduce it somehow because that's not a quantity that can keep getting added in any quantity to blood deliveries that you'd consider it spiked and likely to have an effect.

                - - - Updated - - -

                Sleep Tight

                Positive - I *love* this episode. I find the build up of tension really effective as the action unfolds. And it includes another occasion where Lorne gets that sudden insight into what's about to happen that injects additional drama. Excellent ep.

                Negative - Just that very last shot on Angel after Connor has gone doesn't work perfectly for me. I think he is devastated, hollowed by the suddenness of his loss, shocked, but despite thinking all that it just doesn't quite connect for me. After I've really felt/seen Angel's emotions for his son in the episodes just before and especially since his birth, it's a little disappointing at such a key moment. Oh, and Angel saying Connor was smelling like food from the teeny bit of his blood that must be in the mix seems daft.
                Last edited by Stoney; 10-10-18, 02:13 PM.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Tomorrow

                  Positives:Absolutely love Connor's plan to sink Angel at sea for eternity. It's so brilliant and horrible and cruel. Still love Angel's joy over his son. Love Cangel, Cordy brings something out in Angel that no one else can and Angel has helped Cordy become the hero she is. Like the image of her rising and him sinking.

                  Special mention for poor unloved Justine, who never made it into the bedtime story Holtz told Connor about the ranch in Utah.

                  Negative: Wesley's dive into depression, his poor me attitude, his staring into the middle distance, just make me want to slap him. He reminds me of Angel season 2 and that just version of Angel annoyed me too. Wesley lived through that, so you'd think he'd know better.

                  Special mention to Gunn 'you finished the jumbo tub . . . I love this woman'. I hate the way Fred and her relationship to food is written.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    So, I really like these Positive/Negative threads. I took a sabbatical from the boards but I'm going through these threads. Since I'm actually presently rewatching S3:

                    Heartthrob

                    Positive: This is a really boring ep. I guess, I was entertained by Wesley withdrawing bills from Merle's bribe to force Merle to give up his information immediately.

                    Negative: Ugh, a lot. The flashbacks are dull. I don't care about James/Elizabeth. I later come to like Fred but she's annoying as a crazy child in early S3. I think it's ridiculous that Angel broke up with Buffy two years ago but he needs a three month retreat. It leaves a worse taste in my mouth because Angel only recently spent months and months abandoning his team because of his Darla-angst. Then, he abandons his team again, not to Sunnydale to actually honor Buffy's legacy by helping Buffy's friends and Dawn, but to sit and feel sorry for himself for the entire summer. And then, this entire episode is pretty much all about Cordelia taking like two scenes to articulate such a Basic message- Angel's love for Buffy isn't lessened because Angel went back to his life. That is not a complex message by any means. Cordelia could have just said it instead of devoting loooooong scenes and an entire episode to the concept.

                    That Vision Thing

                    Positive: I really like Gavin Park- and I think his strategy to undermine AI by getting them evicted from the Hyperion was a good one. Yeah, it wouldn't be a defining blow but striking at AI's ability to do business because their (actual) leader is not legally recognized can be very effective and WELL WITHIN W&H's wheelhouse. AI only avoided having to deal with this mess because Lilah gave Angel documents to cure the Hyperion's status. To paraphrase Breaking Bad, getting AI into this mess was the purview of a CRIMINAL LAWYER and they needed a CRIMINAL LAWYER to get them out of this mess. Because there's a truth to it. Angel just isn't legally recognized by society, and he profits by that.

                    Also, I really like the scene where Angel walks in on Lilah playing computer-golf. And then, how Lilah enlists Angel to rescue Billy by puffing up the whole mission as "why I chose you for this mission, I needed a warrior of good, a man of character, a champion!" with the full force of her prodigious sarcasm.

                    Negative: Cordy's resistance to her friends tracking the source of her maiming visions was moronic. I mean, evidently moronic because W&H hacked into Cordelia's visions to torture her. Sound like a good thing to find out! However, I get a creepy suspicion that we're supposed to admire Cordelia for submitting to TPTB torturing her and never questioning them for choosing to torture her. It really strikes against the feminist themes in the 'verse. Cordelia's choice of words just make her sound even more ridiculous. The gang knows that Lorne is good and they've sent many a person to be read by Lorne. However Lorne tracking Cordy's vision is disparagingly referred to as ""It's not like I'm morally against letting a demon into my subconscious for a quick lookee-loo. Hey, might be fun." However in bizarro Cordy-world, the unseen, unknown TPTB are given carte blanche to torture Cordelia without asking questions. Ugh.

                    That Old Gang of Mine

                    Positive: This ep deals with a complex question and I really like the Gunn/Wesley deal with the complexities here in a realistic way. It's particularly understated but powerful with Wesley. Wesley directed the gang to investigate these murders of demons but then, Wesley upped and said that he didn't know whether to thank or stop these demon-killers because a number of the demons killed *were* evil. It feels very real that Wesley never answered that conundrum. However when Gunn's old gang's lust for violence came at the doorstep of AI by threatening Angel, Lorne, Caritas, and Merle and Gunn enabled those threats, Wesley found the clarity to harshly threaten Gunn from interfering with AI business, which very much involves protecting certain demons/demon structures.

                    Negative: I agree with TTB (on another thread round these parts) that the racial politics are offensive. Moreover, I think there was a missed opportunity to reflect on how AI can mistakenly kill the wrong demons. Just last episode, Angel/Gunn/Wes killed the Asian "demons" and boil covered demon who were actually agents of good to rescue Billy for W&H in order to save Cordelia. Angel/Gunn/Wes didn't know the Asian demons and boil covered demon were good until they were dead. Gio was certainly an *******. However, I remain unconvinced that the rest of Gunn's gang is any worse than AI or that they have better alternatives as a street gang, without visions or a reference library, to suss out which demons are good and which are bad.

                    Carpe Noctem:

                    Positive: As much as I liked Gavin's plan to legally strike against AI, I also enjoyed Lilah foiling Gavin by helping Angel with the Hyperion's legal status. It works with the read that Lilah sort of knew that Gavin was onto something- so she was sabotaging Gavin from succeeding and beating her at W&H. However, Lilah really is drawn to a more dramatic defeat of Angel- either killing or corrupting him. She wants the melodramatic defeat instead of the petty one. So, unlike other posters, I completely bought how Lilah Just. Went. With. "Angel" having sex with her on Wesley's (LOL foreshadowing!) desk.

                    Negative: Marcus isn't interesting- he's just a garden variety evil shallow selfish hedonist. So, he just does stupid shenanigans in Angel's body. Angel-in-Marcus's-body is restrained by the nursing home from doing anything cool. And frankly, Angel is a dull character when he's just in good old-fashioned mystery solving mode. The interesting sides of Angel come out in other contexts- as opposed Buffy who is interesting and quirky and funny when she's good old-fashioned mystery solving mode. So, there was nothing interesting about seeing Angel trapped in Marcus's body.

                    Fredless

                    Positive: Wesley/Cordy acting out Bangel has already been mentioned. The best part is how AD squints at the ceiling, pushing out his brow, when he's saying "Buffy." On point! For greater positive, I like how the ep seemed meta-aware of how Fred was such a wooby/damsel so they introduced this plot that her parents were abusive but then, it was subverted as Fred's parents were actually good people. Fred's parents as solid, good, working class normal people was the start in really forming Fred's character as someone coming in with her own widely accepted human values which could ground and challenge the stranger members of the gang.

                    Negative: I think Fred's dad was scripted to be meaner than he should have been to keep up the suspense. Like, his accusatory "Who's fault is that?" for Fred changing or the "Is it time?" "Not yet" creepy exchange between the Burkles which was never explained.

                    Billy:

                    Positive: Like past posters, I agree that the Wesley/Fred scenes and the Cordelia/Lilah scene are the best parts. Wesley is scripted very well to deform his personality as a misogynistic monster. It's entirely right that an infected!Wesley would dwell on how he felt embarrassed that he wants Fred so badly and become paranoid that Fred was trying to excite him but then laughs at him. Or that infected!Wesley would raise up the myth of Adam & Eve to articulate an elaborate speech about the fallen, evil nature of women from the beginning of humanity.

                    Negative: Also like past posters said, it's complete bullshit that Angel/vampires "evolved" past anger or misogyny or whatever. To contribute my own negative point, I wish that Lilah got a chance to articulate why she brazenly went against W&H to shoot Billy, especially after she desperately wanted the credit for rescuing him/protecting him because Billy's family is so powerful. I did like the Cordelia/Lilah scene because of what it said about how Lilah was a road-not-taken for Cordelia who's also sharp and likes her pretty things and got into exclusive colleges.

                    However, I don't quite believe that Lilah would risk getting herself into trouble with her superiors just because of a "rah rah vicious bitch girrrrl power" speech as Cordelia communicated it. It's unstated- but IMO, Lilah didn't want Billy continuing to infect the men that she worked with at W&H. Billy seemed to be welcome by any male attorney at W&H so men at W&H could always be infected with violent cosmogony- and well, climbing the sexist corporate ladder is hard enough for Lilah. However, it was still a big career risk for Lilah to blatantly shoot Billy. There should have been more story attention paid for her risks and motives. They could have removed the emotionally empty scenes of Angel talking to Billy's former buddy.

                    Offspring:

                    Positive: This ep kicks off the Connor-story- so it's very important to what I ended up loving the later seasons of the show. Gunn juggling the artifacts was hilarious.

                    Negative: However, there's a LOT of crappy stuff in this ep. First, it's counter-intuitive to point of being all wrong that Darla craved purer blood because her baby had a soul. Second, it was the climax of last season that Angel tried losing his soul by having sex with Darla. Then, Angel lied to his team like, several times, about sleeping with Darla. So, Darla showing up knocked by Angel should have been a key dramatic point because it revealed that Angel betrayed his team/the mission more deeply than they knew. However, all of that is ignored primarily because Cordelia decided to be stupid and treat Darla like just an innocent woman that Angel got into trouble instead of powerful vampire. Stupid begets stupid because Cordelia forgetting Darla is a demon is cause for supposedly Evolved!Past!Sexism!Angel to ban Fred and Cordelia from interacting with Darla unless menfolk are around to protect them. The episode after Billy!

                    It's weird how Cordelia decided to rub Wesley's face in not correctly translating the Shanshu prophecy. Like, this was a year and a half ago and Wesley corrected his own error in the same damn episode. It's petty and rude for Cordelia to bring it up now in front of everyone. It'd be cool if this was meant to serve some character note of conflict between Cordelia and Wesley but instead, it just seems like it's continuity-porn coming ahead of characterization. However typical for Season 3, this weirdly sour moment co-exists with the also weird saccharine-ness of the ENTIRE GANG telling Angel that they love him. Which was bizarre. And to be honest, that's a lot of how I see the group dynamics in S3. Weirdly cruel/sour and then, weirdly sugary-sweet.

                    I wonder if I'm the only one to not like the "You're evitable!" speech. It's very meh speech that says little. It's also OTT for Lorne announce after the speech that he likes Fred So!Much!.

                    Quickening:

                    Positive: Darla is well played as an expectant mother but still a vicious vampire. When the cult wants to kill Angel's friends to feed her blood- "Guess I'm gettin' dinner!"

                    Negative: Eh, it's a lot of running around and set-up. I think it was necessary but it was a filler episode to start doling out exposition on the humanity/sex of the baby, the recording devices at the Hyperion, the cults after Connor, getting Angel to meet Holtz. It adds up to a dull ep on rewatch. There should have been better dialogue and more emotionally impactful moments to make this exposition, transition episode worthy in its own right.

                    Lullaby

                    Positive: The alley scene was mentioned so.... I like putting Lilah into the confrontation between Angel and Holtz. It could easily be dull because nothing consequential to the plot actually happened. This first meeting between Angel and Holtz is just exposition of facts already known to the audience- Angel's soul and Darla in the neighborhood. It really livened the scene up for Lilah to come in and start cracking wise as she does. "I said I'm a lawyer. I don't care about the law." "Look if I'd known that you were torturing him, I wouldn't have interrupted. Please continue."

                    It also lets Lilah tell Holtz about Angel's soul instead of Angel immediately blurting out that he has a soul as a Get out of Jail Free Card with Holtz. Which is a very nice understated moment for Angel. However, it's also natural that she'd be there to clean up the botched operation to seize Darla/Connor.

                    Negative: I think it's silly that Wesley was bent on getting the scrolls at a time like this. Darla and the gang were on the run and they were being given chase 24/7 since they left the Hyperion. Darla was in labor. He didn't have the time or the reference books to sit and translate. This was stupid busy-work at a bad time.

                    Dad

                    Positive: Wesley and Gunn imagining themselves as movie action heroes. I also like Files and Records.

                    Negative: Eh, it's just an episode of AI quickly destroying some villain cardboard-cut outs out to get Connor. None of these small time villains are built up as a real threat. There's no way W&H gets Connor this early. So, the ep is largely empty plot.

                    This could be taken as a positive or a negative- but the emotional heart of the ep is how the audience is likely to believe that Angel would abandon and not care about the safety of his team because he has a new obsessive love in Connor. This ep ends with a pat end that OF COURSE Angel wouldn't abandon his friends for Connor. However by the end of the season, Angel tried to kill Wesley and he did black magic which vividly endangered Fred's life for Connor. By the end of the series, Angel mindwiped his friends for Connor while also making an executive decision that they'd sell themselves out to W&H. So, the emotional thrust of this episode rings hollow to me even if it works as bitter foreshadowing.

                    Birthday

                    Positive: There are these good little moments in what's a weak episode. The Cordy! credits mocking Friends. Crazy!Angel sending Wes and Gunn to save people that Angelus killed hundreds of years ago. I also think that the concept is incredibly ambitious to show an alternate universe and alternate Cordelia where Cordelia never joined up with Angel. So, points for ambition. However, it failed in the execution.

                    Negative: Ugh. CC sucks at performing her disembodied spirit as she monologues around the hotel. It's impossible that Cordelia's CAT scan from a month before is the CAT scan of a cucumber but she's been high functioning this entire time.

                    More fundamentally, the alternate universe fails in its main ostensible goals. It doesn't really convincingly show a Cordelia who never joined AI. She's too quickly drawn into the supernatural. Birthdayverse!Cordelia just doesn't have a distinctive personality. Compare it to Wishverse Buffy who never went to Sunnydale and found her friends- and as a result, developed completely differently as a hero. Wishverse Buffy doesn't appear until late in the ep and only really has two big scenes where she talks but she's a vivid, unforgettable character. Meanwhile, the whole ep is supposed to be about comparing Birthdayverse Cordelia and Regular Cordelia but frankly, both are just the same bland kyrumption Champion.

                    In addition, it doesn't convincingly show a world that needs Cordelia as a Champion. As opposed to the Wishverse, the Birthdayverse seemed fine for your average Joe on the street. Cordelia's only real expressed reasons to take back the visions are to save Angel from being crazy and so Cordelia can have the positive experience of being a hero. That's fine but I get the impression that the ep is also selling that the world requires Cordelia but not selling it well at all.

                    Provider

                    Positive: This ep is garbage. One of my least favorite in the 'verse. All I can come up with Holtz torturing Justine with the knife through her hand and Justine willingly submitting to it sets a tone for their relationship.

                    Negative: Like Heartthrob, the theme is so, so basic. "Money isn't everything." Did we really need a whole ep for that morality play? I don't get why Angel having an infant should dramatically change how AI does business. The A and B plots are really disgusting- Angel trying to extort an innocent, recently laid off guy for his car or house or credit just to kill a few vamps and Angel/Cordelia/ to a lesser extent, Lorne being so dumb that they just accept demons paying $50,000 for Fred to do a puzzle.

                    The C-plot of Wesley/Gunn helping the murderess deal with her zombie victim boyfriend is not gross and more characteristic of AI. They were hired by a seemingly innocent woman who claimed she was being haunted. I believe a non-money-grubbing AI would take it on faith that she's an innocent victim and then, be surprised that she was the murderer. However, that begs the question on why the plot is part and parcel of the "AI lost sight of the mission because Angel wants to get hockey sticks for his infant son who can't even roll over yet" episode. Plus, this C-plot is dull and cringe-worthy, especially with Wes/Gunn mooning over Fred the whole time. The Cangel scene at the end is poorly scripted and acted, even by romance!Cangel standards.

                    Waiting in the Wings

                    Positive: A lot of good. My favorite scene is between Angel and the ballet dancer but that's been covered. Wesley is being bashed A LOT 'round these parts now, especially for Fred/Wesley. I don't ship Fred/Wesley but Wesley is my favorite character on the show. On first watch and this latest rewatch, I felt very badly for him in this episode. I think the whole thing ended up feeling worse than a simple case of romantic rejection. Although, the romantic rejection alone is incredibly difficult when a crush is incredibly strong and powerful as it was for Wesley. "That's why they call them crushes" and all. However while I do think Wesley's feelings for Fred on their own are intense and even obsessive, those feelings and his feelings of pain at rejection are consistently exacerbated by other stuff going on in his life. This ep is no exception.

                    Wesley actually did have issues with office romances. It wasn't just hypocritical disapproval created for Gunn. At the start of Billy, Wesley confided in Cordelia that even though he REALLY likes Fred, he had an issue asking her out because an office romance is a bad idea even under "normal circumstances". Cordelia came back with a humdinger of an argument that I think really gets to Wesley especially after his break-up with Virginia- it's near impossible to find someone who gets their supernatural, adventure life unless they're on the same team. Wesley was considering that but then, his supernaturally aided outburst in Billy made him gun-shy about even interacting with Fred, let alone asking her out. The adventures surrounding Connor's birth forced everyone into working together so Wesley got used to dealing with Fred in close quarters but without the time to get over his Billy-issues.

                    By Waiting in the Wings, Wesley was trying to get over his reservations. He had been confiding in Cordelia about this. I think Cordelia did him a huge disservice. She strongly advocated that Wes ask Fred out. Then, Cordelia was so busy REALLY LISTENING [/Reptile Boy] that she didn't listen to a damn thing that Fred was really saying at the dress store and then, led Wesley to believe that Fred shared his feelings. As a result, Wesley was proceeding in Waiting in the Wings with the putting on Fred's wrap and the putting his hand on Fred's knee like a romance was imminent because that's what Cordelia led him to believe.

                    Wesley falls to his knees when he sees Gunn and Fred kissing because the heartbreak but it's also getting all of this false hope knocked out of him and feeling humiliated that he was making passes at a Fred who wasn't interested in him. When Wesley falls to his knees, it leads him straight into feeling all of the anger and possessiveness and evil of the Count because he hit that hot-spot. Right when Wesley is most suggestible to taking those emotions in because he JUST saw Fred kissing Gunn. However, Wesley was making a visible effort to not let Count Kurskov emotions dominate him. Yes, he instinctively glares at Gunn after the "man with the plan" remark but in his actions, he tells Fred/Gunn to stay together for safety and bandages up Gunn at the end of the ep.

                    Moreover, in Provider (just the ep before), Wesley and Gunn are both unusually open and zen about telling the other that they have a crush on Fred. I think because it's just a crush at that point but they both believed that their friendship would withstand this competition over the same girl.* But IMO Wesley believed that Gunn was an open book to him and they were in the same place in their efforts to win over Fred. You know, *no place. But then, right after Cordelia said Fred was into him just before the ballet, Wesley thought Fred would be his girlfriend. Wesley felt wrong-footed in how he knew Gunn to see Fred making out with Gunn in Waiting in the Wings. Then this is more a Couplet thing, but Wesley's feelings of being wrong-footed by Gunn's success with Fred metastasized into hurt feelings that Gunn didn't tell Wesley about his relationship with Fred even though Gunn knew that Wesley also had a crush on her.

                    Negative: Cordelia/Angel is very annoying. Their friendship grew organically. However, there was no faith to allow their romance to grow organically. Instead, Cordelia and Angel never date but some great, grand passion is imputed on them by other characters like Fred or Lorne. The appeal of Cordelia/Angel's S1-2 friendship was that she grounded him and connected him to humanity. However the romance undoes the value of friendship by positioning the value of romance as kyrumption, two great champions meeting on the battlefield.
                    Last edited by Dipstick; 17-10-18, 05:21 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Hey Dipstick, great to see you on the board again! I've got a lot of love for some Wes appreciation and I forgot how much you deepened my appreciation of Lilah. Hope you stick around.

                      - - - Updated - - -

                      Forgiving

                      Positive - So many things about this episode are great and I'm caught in the emotions and responses of the characters throughout it. The end of the episode is just so powerful and I feel for both Wes and Angel. After Lorne says to Angel earlier that the way to start forgiving yourself is to start to forgive Wes, it really adds in a layer to how violently Angel rejects that idea.

                      Negative - I watched this only a couple of weeks ago and I'm struggling to recall something about it that I disliked. It's even a noticeably better performance from Justine too... Okay, I've read through the transcript and I might be not remembering something that explains this, but Holtz having a Resikhian urn handy seemed far-fetched.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Couplet

                        Positive: DB's performance really redeems this episode. He really nails "quietly bitchy" Angel excellently. Wesley gives his speech about how Angel is rare and wonderful like a rare book but then the bookstore owner has three copies of the rare book. In this series, we'll see three souled vampires- Angel. Spike, and I'd argue Darla when she became human in S2.

                        Negative: Groo isn't funny; he's annoying. JAR and AA are both such great actors. I bet they could have chemistry in well-written love scenes but the Gunn/Fred love scenes are so sappy and boring. It's ridiculous that Gunn and Fred were trapped in a life-force sucking tree but they had to call Angel in order to SPECIFICALLY request that Groo save them. And like, they had to waste time by asking Angel to put Groo on the phone. It severely undermined Fred/Gunn's intelligence to make a stupid joke and further hammer home that Groo is a social/romantic threat to Angel.

                        [/B]Loyalty[/B]:

                        Positive: Really excellent. One of my favorites in the series. That's particularly stunning given that this is a transition/exposition episode before the fireworks of Sleep Tight/Forgiving and quite a bit of it is just Wesley *thinking*. The ending scene where Wesley is hysterical with relief after Angel gives a beautiful speech about his love for Connor but then suddenly, every single portend that the Loa predicted happens immediately and then, Angel jokes about snacking on Connor is like, Top 10 for the whole show.

                        It's a cool note that Wesley and Lilah are so closely mirrored here just before they become sexually involved. In Loyalty, all of Lilah's scenes are preceded by a Wes-scene. They both go rogue from their company at the same time even though their default has been to be dyed-in-the-wood Company Guy/Girl- Wes with the kidnapping and Lilah with agreeing to help Sahjhan kill Angel even though her company has this "policy." They're both interested in taking Connor from Angel. Wesley meets with Holtz behind Angel's back; Lilah meets with Sahjhan and Angel behind Linwood's back. Linwood and Angel become furious at both of them. Wesley and Lilah glorify their company, WHILE they go rogue from the company by secretly meeting with the enemy.

                        "He's not Angelus anymore. He's a good man."
                        "There's a girl downstairs, she's got records on everything that ever happened. My company rocks."

                        Wesley at the end of Loyalty and Lilah in Sleep Tight have scenes with Angel where they get very existential and "what's it all about" until Angel does something fundamentally characteristic but particularly disturbing to these two characters (is a vampiric threat to baby Connor, makes a stab at preaching to Lilah as a misguided naive girl who hasn't become her game face) which hardens their resolve.

                        Negative: The Gunn/Fred "Wesley is keeping us apart!" scenes are stupid and not earned. It feels like Gunn and Fred WANT triangle-drama as a relief from the tedium of their relationship. Also, it's completely inappropriate that Fred tried setting Wesley up with Aubrey, a bereaved mother who just lost her child last week. I think it's a steady pattern through the series that Fred acts bizarrely with Wesley. However, Fred's emotions towards him are so underwritten, despite the importance of their relationship, that it's very hard to figure out why and to what end.

                        Sleep Tight

                        Positive: Best ep of the season! I think the best payoff is the standoff at the end between Angel, Holtz, Lilah, and Sahjhan. It's an incredibly complex stand-off with different moving parts and motivations but everything's been earned.

                        Negative: The singing demons are lame.

                        Forgiving

                        Positive: So, the end has already been mentioned. I love the White Room. The little girl is brilliantly performed. Replacing her with the cat was a big downgrade. I can't believe that they had a child actress say such vicious lines. Also, Angel willing to snap Lilah's neck mainly as a step to get revenge on Sahjhan.

                        Negative: Sahjhan is a weak villain. Like, he's kinda funny and has pizzazz. However he's been inscrutable all season, claiming some big feud with Angel. However, turns out, he doesn't have a feud with Angel but was just trying to avoid Connor killing him, as prophecized. It's a let-down that the season indicated some rich history with Angel but Sajhan just wanted self-preservation from some unseen, unexamined prophecy. IIRC, we never learn why he wanted Connor's blood and what W&H should have been looking for in the blood.

                        Double or Nothing

                        Positive: The best scene is easily Fred going to see Wesley in the hospital. I disagree with Priceless about well, most everything on AtS. But I agree that this is the best scene Fred had so far and she really comes alive here. I believe very pro-Wesley/anti-Angel people AND very anti-Wesley/pro-Angel people and all in between would love this scene because it's cathartic to hear everything that Fred is saying whether it's criticizing Angel for attempted murder or yelling at Wesley for kidnapping alone.

                        This isn't a positive or a negative but on rewatch I was thinking that this could have been a Cordelia-scene exactly as scripted. That would have paid more respect to Cordelia's longer history with Wesley and her present status as Leading Lady. In addition, we had plenty of other scenes showing that Fred feels conflicted between anger and sympathy with Wesley. Cordelia doesn't have any other scenes showing such a conflict. Making it a Cordelia-scene would have been good for Cordelia but it certainly seems like part of a move to a new era of the series where Fred is the Leading Lady while real!Cordelia is not long for this series. Plus if I were the writers, I'd rather give a meaty dramatic scene to Amy Acker than Charisma Carpenter.

                        Negative: I don't like this ep but IMO, this episode could have been sorta decent with just one little change. Have Gunn sell his *life* instead of his *soul* for the truck. I'm absolutely here for an ep that indicated that Gunn lived incredibly dangerously when he was in charge of protecting everyone in his neighborhood without any resources to speak of. I'm absolutely here for the S5 foreshadowing of Gunn entering reckless contracts with usurious, corrupting entities of evil who want to prey on him. However, it's too damaging for the mythology for Gunn to be able to sell his soul or that falling in love is the equivalent of giving a soul away. Especially with Angel's story about the intersection between his soul and love.

                        I mean, it still would have been imperfect. I feel like Alonna gets forgotten in the later eps even though she was fundamental to Gunn's origin. You wouldn't imagine that the gun of War Zone would sell his soul OR his life if there was Alonna.

                        This isn't really a positive or negative. Well, it's more a negative. Gun going OTT with making the Perfect! Day! for Fred but then, lashing out at her for her body when she expresses concern was bizarre. It's odd to hyper-sell this saccharine Pancake!Kisses! romance of Gunn trying to make the perfect last day with Fred before his soul is stripped but then, Gunn flips out over mere concern from Fred. However, it is very in-character with Gunn's temper and it was nice that Fred was tipped off that Gunn must be in trouble by the way he spoke to her.

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                        • #42
                          The Price

                          Positive: Wesley banning Gunn from coming to his apartment ever again. It works for me on a number of levels. Frankly, I don't see how Wes could act any differently without being a doormat. If Wesley is banned from the hotel under threat of murder from Angel and that threat of murder is condoned by the human members of Angel's team, Wesley simply can't have an open door policy to his own domicile. Gunn made it crystal clear where his feelings and loyalties lie- Gunn would not extend a scintilla of kindness or human-to-human concern after Wesley almost died because of Gunn's deeper loyalties to and sympathies to Angel. Gunn indicated that this hostility would be ongoing and continuing with his "I don't want to be here" as he was asking for a favor.

                          And yet, *I* think just based on the scene itself, it's by no means conclusive that Wesley only helped because Fred was in danger. Wesley was angry at Gunn asking for help and then, insulting him practically within the same breath. When Gunn put a person to his request for help, Wesley helped. So happens, that person was Fred. However, given S4, I think it's pretty impossible to make the argument that Wesley only helped because it was Fred when Wesley spent his summer trying to rescue Cordelia and Angel.

                          So, I say that Gunn is mainly full of shit when he bans Fred from asking Wesley for help closing the portal or refuses to call Wesley for help finding Angel/Cordelia. He should have been able to suss out that Wesley would help in those instances. However, I do think that Wesley banning Gunn for ever coming to the apartment again gave Gunn pretense to convince himself that Wesley wouldn't help so Gunn could lie to himself that he wasn't letting grudges and jealousy interfere with leaving no stone unturned in dire circumstances.

                          Negative: AtS S3 Cordelia is actually helpful for this challenge because even in a good episode, she's around to be a negative point! ;-) So, Cordelia. It's really something how her hideous clothes and hair go along way to destroying her character. Usually, clothes aren't a huge deal to me when assessing character. I mean, my favorite character in the 'verse is Willow Rosenberg. (Although, Willow pretty much always looks lovely from the neck up even if her outfits frequently suck.) But with Cordelia, it really feels like a dereliction of her raison d'etre- to be this sunny, funny, personification of youth in LA. Her ass-pull save-the-day of getting glowy on the Sluths is annoying on first watch, but actually reasonably cool foreshadowing as interference from Jasmine to keep everyone alive until she got there.

                          A New World

                          Positive: I think I got this idea elswhere (maybe the Rewatch thread) but it really works to explain Connor's character that Sunny was a morally grey character who OD'd on her own drugs but Connor can't conceive of that and instead, clings to blaming the drug dealers. Connor can't understand shades of grey and if someone (usually a woman but Holtz too) gives him even the tiniest taste of the domesticity and comfort that he craves, than this someone simply can't do anyone wrong and EVERYTHING has to be the fault of the (usually men but sometimes Fred too) who challenge the special someone. It's a microcosm of what goes wrong later. I also love the vividness of how Sunny ended up meaning a lot to Connor in a short period of time. VK's faaaace when he has sugar for the first time!

                          Favorite Groo moment- When Cordelia rejects Fred's plan to call Wesley and instead just sit around while a portal to hell is crackling above their heads because calling Wesley would hurt Angel's FEEWINGS, earnest Groo learns sarcasm for the first time. "Yes, we must always consider Angel. Angel is our leader." I think Groo was mainly talking from his romantic angst but still...hilarious.

                          I get down on Angel a lot, especially for how he dealt with Connor. But it's actually a very nice moment when Angel says that he did everything to rescue Connor but he couldn't find a way into Quor-Toth and then, Connor rejoins that he found a way out, Angel reacts with very sincere guilt that he didn't try harder instead of defensiveness or not considering Connor's point.

                          Negative: Angel/Gunn/Fred running around the city gets boring on rewatch. Also, this ep hammered home how S3 Cordelia increasingly didn't do anything other than apply her deux ex machina superpowers. There was a little plot of her learning to fight in Billy but after Birthday, she doesn't fight at all other than a bit in Double or Nothing. More to the point, she doesn't research even though research used to be a big part of what she brought to the table in BtVS and AtS S1-2. Here in A New World, Angel/Gunn/Fred are hitting the streets looking for Connor. Lorne is actually the biggest hero of the day because he SOLVED the whole damn portal issue by finding an outside contractor. Groo was in battle-position to take anything that came out of the portal. Meanwhile, Cordelia was just sitting there pondering her love triangle while the portal to hell crackles above her head. The writers couldn't have placed Cordelia with some portal-closing book to try to research how to close the portal on her own? We were told so often that Cordelia was awesome, that she no longer has to actually act awesome.

                          Benediction

                          Positive: Holtz having Justine kill him and framing Angel for his murder after he just had a long ponderous conversation to reassure Angel that he was done with vengeance is a master-stroke of villainy. It's also CLASSIC Holtz in the sense that he never technically lies to Connor in his letter. However, his whole staged murder is nothing but a huge lie and abusive mind f*ck to Connor. I think it's a great example of the bullshit that Holtz mouths and tries to believe. That Holtz doesn't do evil but instead executes justice even though his actions are evil. We could picture him going to his staged death, telling himself that he never lied to his son Steven.

                          Negative: Gunn's views on murder are oddly opaque. Here, it's evident that Angel sent Gunn/Fred away to distract Connor while Angel goes to "see" Holtz. It's naturally and widely predicted and intuitive that Angel intended to kill Holtz out of vengeance. That's certainly the content of the conversation with Angel and Cordelia.

                          Cordy: Angel, please think about this. In fact, don't go there at all.
                          Angel: I have to.
                          Cordy: I know. But don't.
                          Angel: I'm not gonna kill him even though he deserves it.
                          Cordy: Oh, I don't care if you kill him. He stole Connor's childhood, so kill him. But don't lie to your son. He's been here like a day. Way to build the trust.
                          Angel: I'm not lying to him.
                          Cordy: No, you're just sending him off to be distracted while you go confront the man he thinks of as his father.

                          So, I know that Cordelia is cool with vengeance-murder except where it can create unhappiness for her little family with Angel and Connor. But then, Gunn and Fred also discuss what Angel will do to Holtz.

                          Fred: I wish Angel was here.
                          Gunn: Yeah. His kid seeing the ocean for the first time, too bad he had to miss it.
                          Fred: That's not what I meant. I just - feel sort of creepy, keeping him busy and distracted while Angel...
                          Gunn: Confronts the kidnapper?
                          Fred: Well, if you're gonna put it like that. - What do you think he'll do?
                          Gunn: I don't know. I know what I'd do. But Angel will deal with Holtz in his own way.

                          Like, what would Gunn do? What does Gunn consider Angel's "own way"? What's the meaning behind the euphemism "confront of the kidnappers." Gunn and Fred are having this conversation of moral import, which will ultimately foreshadow how they break up but it's impossible to tell how Gunn feels about anything. It's frustrating to me. In another negative point, the conversation seems to only exist so that Gunn and Fred can idiotically tip off Connor that Angel went to deal with Holtz even though their WHOLE JOB HERE was to distract Connor from that. YOU HAD ONE JOB! (Also silly since Fred made the same mistake before when she told Darla how she was just bluffing with carving up the Miracle Child but the vamp cult worshippers heard Fred's whole stage whisper because vamps have great hearing.)

                          My instinct tells me that Gunn just doesn't want to challenge Angel if Angel chooses to kill Holtz. He's thrown in his whole lot with Angel and will just do whatever. He doesn't outright support murdering Holtz but he won't speak out against it either. The lie here is that I don't think Gunn knows what he'd do. IMO, you have to be in the situation to know what you'd do. I do believe that everyone behaves terribly in Supersymmetry. However, Gunn's moral position in that ep is REALLY hurt by how he'd apparently support Angel murdering Holtz (just pure unadulterated vengeance) and he went along with Gwen electrocuting Morimoto to steal LISA (murder in order to commit robbery) but he opposes Fred murdering Seidel (pure vengeance but also self-defense because Seidel was opening portals all over the place to send Fred back to Pylea).

                          However, this is all just instinct. Noise comes out of Gunn's mouth here but it's very hard to figure out what any of it means. Which is why it's a "Negative" because I'm trying to file "bad writing" under my negatives instead of just characters behaving badly. This is why I didn't file Cordelia's support of murdering Holtz here.

                          Tomorrow

                          Positive: "I'm not one of the doe-eyed girls from Angel Investigations. Don't be thinking about me when I'm gone." "I wasn't thinking about you when you were here."

                          OK, that was obvious from me. I like that Lorne recently released an album of songs. It adds to the veracity that he could headline a show in Vegas. I also like that Lorne warned Angel to watch out for Connor. Emmie wrote a great post on the Angel rewatch threads that there's a S3-4 Prophet/Seer contest between Cordelia and Lorne and it turns out, Lorne was the better prophet but he was the one who Angel didn't listen to. Cordelia predicts, "Connor's gonna LOVE you because you have the BIGGEST, BEST HEART!!1!" Lorne tells Angel to watch out. I think it's obvious who was right.

                          Negative: Even with S4 proving that Cordelia was conned by Skip instead of the S3 read that ONLY CORDELIA IS TOO GOOD FOR HUMANITY, those scenes are still nauseating on rewatch.

                          However, this is kind of a positive. On first watch, I wasn't sure why Cordelia saw Future!Mirage!Cordelia while she was reflecting on whether she was in love with Cordelia. It just seemed hopelessly corny and like one of the worst performances in the 'verse. On rewatch, it's evident that Jasmine spliced these clips of Cordelia and Skip's conversation where Cordelia agreed to be a higher being and actually abandon Angel into an apparent epiphany where Cordelia had realized she was in love with Angel in order to manipulate Cordelia to head out on her fateful drive where she leaves the earthly plane. When Cordelia says "I'm in love! With Angel!" to Skip, it's part of her resistance to ascend just now. However when that clip is projected to Cordelia in her apartment earlier that night, it reads to Apartment!Cordelia like it's an epiphany as a foundation of future romantic bliss.

                          But it's a positive for being tricky and slick if you rely on S4. It's still poorly acted and emotional empty. Moreover, it's unclear mythology-wise how Jasmine has these clips of Cordelia saying word-for-word what she'd say to Skip before Cordelia's made her decision to confess love to Angel yet. Also, I don't know why it was important that Cordelia be on her way to confess her love to Angel in order to convince her to Ascend. Couldn't Skip have done it another time?
                          Last edited by Dipstick; 20-10-18, 06:11 PM.

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                          • #43
                            It's been so long since I posted on this thread but alongside Entropy I watched the next S3 ep of course, so I'm back with...

                            Double or Nothing

                            Positive - I think the focus on the future that comes with this ep is a good way of moving the characters on literally if not emotionally from the heavy events of the recent eps. The cost of the past remains and the weight of what has been lost, particularly when Angel talks of how Connor gave him a sense of future rather than just the continuation of his long existence. But time moves on regardless, life keeps happening anyway as Cordelia puts it. Seeing Angel accept the loss as well as continue to mourn as he packs up the crib at the end is really powerful.

                            I agree with Pricey that the quiet support Cordelia offers Angel is lovely and agree on the positive comments about the Fred/Wes scene too. Fred telling Wes it was all for nothing hits heavily on the cost of what has happened against the future now being faced and is really underlined when Wes goes home alone.

                            Negative - This isn't a good ep and looks so much worse for following such incredible ones. The Fred/Gunn aspects of it are generally the biggest weakness overall. But to be specific, ugh Gunn's whole sold his soul for a truck because he had no vision of a future for himself plotline to reflect Angel's situation is just terrible. The worst aspect for me being the idea the debt is getting called because he is starting to tie his soul to another by looking to sharing the future with Fred. It's just so corny.
                            Last edited by Stoney; 16-01-19, 05:38 PM.

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                            • #44
                              The Price

                              Positive - The price for Wes in the isolation he is now enduring and his resulting resentment are the most impactful aspects of this episode for me. But despite making it clear that he is returning the rejection that he has felt so stung by, and despite what everyone says about how difficult and unrecoverable the situation is, they still turn to him in the end and he still helps. The connection remains and doesn't feel as dead as they all insist it is, but there's no doubt that it is stuck in a very painful and very bleak place at the moment. It's gripping because of all that is churning within and how deeply affected they all are.

                              I agree with Pricey that Connor's arrival at the end is great.

                              Negative - Fred's ability to fight past the control of the sluk to have conversations with Angel about them is just way too convenient. As is the willingness of the sluk to then chat with Angel to give the tip off for The Destroyer.

                              Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                              Angel's emotions turn on a dime, from mourning Connor to being all chirpy with the new client. The change of tone felt jarring. 'I'll help cos it's Fred' - Wesley's obsession still in place. If it had been Cordy, would he have really let her die?
                              I think the tone of Angel's switch is supposed to be jarring, that we're being led to see that Angel is being false, trying to force himself past his grief. With Wes, I agree with Dipstick and think he would have helped Cordelia too and even Gunn himself, he was just being cold at first in response to being used to help solve the general problem when he was being shut out and disregarded otherwise.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I'm finally watching AtS for the first time *ever* - I'd previously only watched eps from S5 (and not all the eps at that). Hope it's OK if I jump in with positives and negatives from episode 1. I'm just beginning AtS S1, I know I should probably start with the first season, but I've somehow not managed to do this chronologically yet. I'm visiting Angel S3 for a fanfic I'm writing so that's why I'm here first instead of S1.
                                Anyway, here goes..

                                Hearthrob

                                Positives: I *love* the subway scene. I think it was a great choice to dramatise and explicate his grief in this setting because Angel (as he comes across to me) is so much about stillness - there's a stillness to his physical presence, even in his acting that, combined with the opacity of his silence for most of the episode about Buffy, feels like he's stuck in a heavy cloud of inertia (which is underscored by how Cordelia - on a Doylist level in this ep - has been assigned the task of bringing up the elephant in the room, Buffy's death.) So for it to be addressed in a moving subway train - in the middle of a fight - is cathartic, powerful and affecting. I love how he blurts out "the woman I love is dead", a stunningly romantic moment. The discussion about whether being able to continue - to go on living - to not crumble and fall apart - represents real love or invalidates that love was interesting. The implication that the choice to continue is braver than to just crumble, was authentic and moving. I love how gently protective Angel is towards Fred and Cordelia and I love the little comic touches studded through the ep- "I want to talk to you but I can't come in unless you invite me" as Fred's shutting the door on him, then again later telling her it's safe to come out and hang, and we hear a blood curdling scream from Cordy and his deadpan delivery of "Hold the thought." Hilarious. I love David Boreanaz's comic timing - he's genius at it, even in Buffy. I loved Fred's acting too - she really seems kind of manic with the trauma she's been through and it shows how versatile she is as an actress.

                                Negatives:

                                I found the premise that Angel goes to a Sri Lankan monastery to process his grief kind of cliched (like I wonder what Edward Said would say.) It just comes close to reminding me of this bitingly satirical portrait of a pretentious money-grubbing scumbag in one of Woody Allen's films (I love buddhism, the point I'm making is that it's a tired orientalist cliche that east=spiritual cleansing):
                                Spoiler:
                                Did you study art at school?
                                No, I didn't. I often think I should have. I studied literature.Then inevitably wound up as a stockbroker. Then I dropped out, went to Japan, became a Buddhist, blah, blah, blah. And then, yeah, I did teach art at Amherst for a bit. And then the vineyard.
                                It might have worked really well for bringing up the depth of his sorrow and the lengths he'd go to to try and work out his grief, but then his immediate return feels underwhelming. I mean, it's been hammered home that this is NOT a "vacation". But then his buying holiday gifts for them all cheapens the premise of his trip. And Cordy's atrocious lines don't help: "It really brings out my breasts! Hey, you were all thinking it!" She doesn't say it with irony, either. I don't think Cordy's *ever* been given lines this crass and it does a disservice to her character - yes, Cordy is vain and snarky and elitist - but there's a huge difference between being vain and being someone who'd say "it really brings out my breasts!" - which really does feel like it was written by a man. And...I just realised this episode was penned by David Greenwalt, on whose conscience lies the florid script of Teacher's Pet. But while I can rationalise Xander's cheesy lines in that episode on account of his being a horny teenage guy, here it's especially tone deaf in light of how Cordy *knows* Angel's back from a trip where he went to process Buffy's loss. Coupled with her otherwise apparent emotional perceptiveness in this episode (which, let's face, is really just a way to have one character do all the emotional heavy lifting of addressing Buffy's death, reminding the audience that "yeah, we haven't forgotten Buffy's dead, neither has Angel" in every other scene) it just sits oddly here and makes her character sound kind of schizophrenic. I also don't love that she has to do so much talking - she seems to function like a mouthpiece for broadcasting Angel's emotional state.
                                Last edited by SpuffyGlitz; 03-03-19, 03:16 AM.
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