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Positives And Negatives Season 3

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  • Positives And Negatives Season 3

    Copying Stoney's excellent Buffy thread Taking one episode a day, try to choose one thing about the episode that you think is positive and one thing that is negative. They don't have to be big things about the story, plots, characters (although they can be). This isn't intended to be an overview of what you think about the episode/season critically as a whole, so more superficial observations are also very welcome and may bring up some variety.

    Feel free to comment/discuss any thoughts posted too (and also to join in ad hoc or play catch up too if you miss a day or so and want to).

    Day 1 - Heartthrob
    Day 2 - That vision Thing
    Day 3 - That Old Gang of Mine
    Day 4 - Carpe Noctem
    Day 5 - Fredless
    Day 6 - Billy
    Day 7 - Offspring
    Day 8 - Quickening
    Day 9 - Lullaby
    Day 10 -Dad
    Day 11 -Birthday
    Day 12 -Provider
    Day 13 -Waiting in the Wings
    Day 14 -Couplet
    Day 15 -Loyalty
    Day 16 -Sleep Tight
    Day 17 -Forgiving
    Day 18 -Double or Nothing
    Day 19 -The Price
    Day 20 -A New World
    Day 21 -Benediction
    Day 22 -Tomorrow


    Positive: I really liked this Angel. He was so calm when he returned from his retreat and so sweet and protective with Fred and Cordy, and trying to get over his sadness at Buffy's death.

    Negative: Would any woman, putting on a necklace, ever say 'And look how it brings out my breasts. You know you were all thinking it,' Anyone? Amy Acker's performance is just too manic for me.

  • #2
    Oh I wish I'd been able to keep up with these threads. I'm intending to go finish off the S1 eps I didn't do and then to the S2 thread as I rewatch them (just watched Somnambulist but Five by Five was where I stopped), but I can try to do this one as I recently rewatched these with the rewatch we're doing here (yes I have two rewatches running at the same time). So...


    Positive - I like the flashbacks and I like the general conclusion that Cordy and Angel discuss that carrying on living and still fighting and helping people is more respectful to Buffy's memory than dramatic one off gestures which are supposed to show depth of love (I also like how this sits against Spike's choice to honour his promise too of course. ).

    Negative - Still, I find the idea that Angel's trip away to deal with his grief was something he should bring gifts back from really strange and somewhat distasteful.


    • #3

      Positive - I also really liked how Angel coped with Buffy's death and also just the episode's exploration of grief in general. Angel's guilt over being able to continue on despite Buffy's passing when he feels like it should have destroyed him, and that he feels like he's betraying her in some way because it didn't, is really honest and it isn't something I've seen depicted on TV before. It's a little reminiscent of how Dawn lashed out at Willow and Tara for suggesting that "life goes on" and Dawn interpreting this as them telling her to "forget" Joyce. We feel like we should be frozen in the moment in a permanent stasis of grief where we can't go on without that person because, if we can, it's as if we've forgotten about them and that they didn't matter to us and we've let them down in some way. But Cordy is right that Angel is honouring Buffy by continuing to fight as she was his original inspiration for doing so and Buffy would never have wanted her loved ones to be immobilised or destroyed by grief. She wanted them to "live. For [her]"

      Also, it just makes sense that Angel would be able to deal with his grief and get on with his life. He's already lived away from Buffy for 2 years at this point. It almost felt like he was grieving her more in Angel Season 1 when he first "lost" her. He's acclimatised to life without Buffy for some time now and he isn't faced with a Buffybot which prevents him from truly moving on or is surrounded by an entire group of people all mourning her passing.

      Negatives - Cordy's banning of "The B Word" seems kind of mean? Now, the truth behind this line was that it was actually an inside joke. Buffy had just moved to UPN and the writers now had an actual limit on how many times they were allowed to say "Buffy" on Angel as The WB was bitter about the whole thing and didn't want to continue giving free press to what was now a rival show (they even marketed The Gift as the "series finale"). So mentioning Buffy's name was now saved for special moments and her name couldn't be mentioned as flippantly as before. But IMO they threw Cordy under the bus a little here. Why can't Gunn mention Buffy's name? It's not for Angel's benefit as Angel hadn't returned yet (as far as they knew) so there was no need to worry that he'd hear Buffy's name and be depressed. It comes across more as if she's just tired of hearing about Buffy's death and doesn't want to mention her anymore. I could fanwank it as this being Cordy's own coping mechanism to deal with her grief but Cordy has spoken quite venomously and resentfully of Buffy throughout Angel so it's hard for me to believe it would have effected her that much.

      I don't think Cordy hates Buffy and I'm certainly not suggesting that she wasn't sad about her death. She is very genuinely happy to hear that Buffy is alive in Carpe Noctrum. But she was probably the wrong person to give this line to given how she's spoken about Buffy in the past and how it could come across.
      "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina


      • #4
        That Vision Thing

        Positive: I really like this Angel. He's not broody or beige, he just seems to really care about the people around him, in a way we've not seen before. In my head I think that Buffy's death has made him value them more then ever and that's why he doesn't seem so wrapped up in himself, but seems to openly care about them more. I also wonder if Fred being so childlike (perhaps reminding him of young Buffy in some ways?) encourages these feelings within him?

        Negative: There never was such a cutsie physicist/librarian in all the world like Fred. I know she's suffering from PTSD, and no one has suffered from ptsd in such a cutsie way either, it's somehow regressed her to being 8 years old. Gunn is also pretty unbearably ott and aggressive. This is also the first episode we see Fred and her relationship to food, and how it just annoys me


        • #5
          That Vision Thing

          Positive - I really like this episode for what we see of the strength of connection now between Angel and Cordelia. Angel's strength of regard for her is there in the choices he makes and her for him in the fortitude she was showing in trying to manage the visions and carry the burden. I appreciate seeing the people closest to Angel being used against him because it's just logical that they would be. But his violent response to that in eliminating Fez guy and threatening Lilah works to draw a line at that point. I have to give a tip of the hat to the conversation between Angel and Skip too, I really enjoy their exchange.

          Negative - I also struggle with the infantilising of Fred, but in particular that Wes and Gunn are being shown to find her attractive at that point when she is so often behaving like a traumatised child.


          • #6
            Positive - I really like this episode for what we see of the strength of connection now between Angel and Cordelia. Angel's strength of regard for her is there in the choices he makes and her for him in the fortitude she was showing in trying to manage the visions and carry the burden
            I agree. It's good to see the crew and Angel finally seeing the bravery and dedication Cordy shows and how valuable she is. I loved Cordy thinking that she was only valuable to him because of the visions and he says her value is so much more than that. Such a sweet moment.


            • #7
              That Old Gang Of Mine

              Positive: Sweet Cordy/Angel moment when he asks her to talk to Fred. Liked the re-use of Wind Beneath My Wings, nice call back to Buffy. I like Wes giving his divided loyalties speech to Gunn, knowing what's going to happen later in the season, and how Wes withholds information and compromises the safety of the team you should follow your own advice Wes

              Negative: Angel in shiny pleather pants for a day in the office Generally this was a dull episode I thought, just a set up for the future


              • #8
                That Old Gang of Mine

                Positive - That there are demons that aren't a direct threat to humans and live alongside them or keep under the radar just makes sense and gives layers/variation and those all important greys to the supernatural world that fits in both shows. I really like this aspect in this episode and think it has importance across the verse as a clear example of how and when they could/would always have let some demons pass by.

                Negative - I always thought the depiction of Gunn's background and gang was far too clich├ęd and the blind prejudice of the gang feels like more of the same. As I don't have personal experience of the cultures depicted I fear I'm being presented with shallow stereotyping.


                • #9
                  Carpe Noctem

                  Positive: DB is definitely at his best when he doesn't have to play Angel. He's so much more fun when he's playing anyone else and he's great here, when he's allowed to be broader and comedic.

                  Negative: Fred you are a scientist and educated so stop behaving like an eight year old child. But maybe I'm reading Fred completely wrong and the writers are deliberately making her so annoying as a comment on what's considered attractive in the world - that even though she's a scientist (and suffering ptsd) she still thinks she has to behave in this ridiculous manner (her 'oh why do women think they have to look like that?' comment - so annoying) to attract attention from Angel (later Wes and Gunn) which seems to be all she's actually about (does she spend her entire time on this show just going from one male character to another?) That works in an episode about the obsessive need to cling to youth and beauty and the importance society puts on those things


                  • #10
                    I really like Angel's character so I like DB playing him a heck of a lot, but I do know what you mean about liking when he plays comedic roles, he's fun at it.

                    Carpe Noctem

                    Positive - I like the nudges to the reveal to come that Angel slept with Darla in Cordy's assertion of the (false) belief Angel couldn't have sex without losing his soul and in her assumption if Angel had been caught with someone they would have been blonde.

                    Negative - I haven't just watched this so I'm not certain this is fair, but I vaguely remember being disappointed at the acting of 'Angel' in the other body. I think SMG and Eliza (but especially SMG) really ruined body swap stories for me by 'being' the other person so fantastically. DB had the easier role of course because we don't really 'know' Marcus. On the off-chance that I'm misremembering and this isn't a fair comment I'm going to provide a 'lesser' second, Lilah's instant passion for Angel kind of bugged me.


                    • #11
                      I think you are right Stoney, Marcus didn't seem like 'Angel' at all. That might have been because of the physical issues of old age, as physicality is very much part of Angel's character.

                      Did you think Lilah's passion for Angel was instant? I thought that had been a subtext of their relationship from the start (same with Lindsay, but Kane and Boreanaz had more chemistry) I wouldn't say it was necessarily sexual passion, but it was definitely a passion to 'have/own' Angel and if sex gave Lilah a hold over him, she was definitely going to us it.


                      • #12
                        I agree that it has been subtext yes for sure and what she was doing was greatly in possessiveness because of Gavin, I didn't mean instant in that sense, I meant instantly responsive. I don't know, I think Lilah would have been more suspicious and wary, especially with the 'beautiful woman' line being used and wouldn't have just thrown all in to the moment like that.


                        • #13

                          Positive: Cordy and Wes re-enacting the Bangel relationship. Angel once again is cool, calm and collected, with that sweet half smile, and I really like it. I'm here for Season 3 Angel, he really is the best version of himself (starting at the end of S2 with Pylea) He's cute playing with that severed head, and I loved Cordy calling him a dork and saying she could soothe his ass off

                          Negative: Fred. I just don't get the way she was written, as though a grown woman, an educated woman, behaving like an 8 year old, is a compelling character. They're pushing the ptsd aspect, and her meeting with her parents worked well, it's the first time I've felt sympathetic for her, though she later spoils it by making it all about 'the handsome man' again. I'm hoping now she's made the decision to stay with AI, and they have shown they need her, she'll start improving.


                          • #14

                            Positive - There's a lot to like about this episode. Plenty of individual scenes and moments throughout that are really great. Normally when discussing this ep I would select the character continuity of Fred's natural fascination with the crystals in the tunnel foreshadowing what happens in S5, but for a bit of variation I'm not going to this time. There are plenty of lovely bits of scripting/delivery and Fred's breakdown with her parents has to be the best.

                            Negative - The effects with the bug fights weren't great at all.


                            • #15
                              That Vision Thing:

                              Positives - The moment Angel hurls the crowbar into the demons (?) head is brutal and shocking and I love how unnerved Lilah is. I find the Angel/Lilah dynamic so interesting because Lilah is genuinely frightened of him. I also love how concerned Angel is for Cordelia throughout the episode and Charisma's acting is genuinely good here. I can't tell if she really was losing her voice or it was an acting choice on her part, but it really worked.

                              Negatives - I understand that Angel is preoccupied with his concern for Cordy but he really does show complete disregard for Lorne most of the time. I actually dislike Lorne a lot of the time but I've never been comfortable with how aggressive Angel is towards him. He bullies and intimidates him a lot.

                              That Old Gang of Mine:

                              Positives - The opening with Angel goading Merl is really funny. I love petty Angel.

                              Negatives - I agree with everybody who says the writers really don't know how to script Gunn's gang. It always comes across as so stereotypical. I also always really dislike Gunn at the end of this episode when he concedes that he can never be friends with Angel on account of what he is. I find it terribly depressing how accepting Angel is of that due to his own self-hatred. I also am a bit perplexed as to the timeline of Angel's relationship with The Furies. It's heavily implied he's slept around with them but Angel wasn't aware that he could sleep around with anybody and not lose his soul until Epiphany. So does this mean Angel has slept with them some time towards the end of Season 2 or early Season 3? It doesn't feel right to me.

                              Carpe Noctem:

                              Positives - There's a nice call back to Lonely Hearts with Angel pointing out how he used to always be criticised for wanting to stay home alone and now none of the others want to join him for a night out. I also thought Cordy's sheer joy at Buffy being alive was really sweet and the Angel/Fred conversation at the end of the episode is well-written and beautifully shot.

                              Negatives - I mean, most of the episode is pretty bad overall. But something that has always bothered me in the timeline of the offscreen Buffy/Angel crossover and how this episode fits with Flooded. In this episode it is night time and Willow calls Angel to tell him that Buffy is alive but in Flooded it is morning and Angel calls Buffy? It's pretty confusing. Why didn't Willow immediately put him onto the phone with Buffy when she called him? Why did it take till the next day for Angel to call Buffy? Was Buffy aware that Willow had called Angel? It's odd and has never made much sense to me


                              Positives - Cordy and Wes reenacting Bangel is really funny and Cordy's "Shut up Fred" never fails to make me laugh. I also love Angel's dorkiness throughout this episode. Especially his excitement at getting his battle wounds patched up. The final scene with Fred painting over the drawing of her and Angel on horseback is also genuinely moving. I also love Cordy's look throughout this episode. It's a pity she doesn't keep it throughout the entire season.

                              Negatives - I agree that there's something Mary Sue-ish about everybody being so in love with Fred. I have no problem with the gang liking her but the writer's insistence on having it stated repeatedly is a little grating.


                              Positives - This is a great episode but it makes for some pretty uncomfortable viewing. The actor who plays Billy is very good and I love the Cordy/Lilah scene. The Wesley/Fred scenes are particularly unsettling, especially at the beginning before Wes turns into a blatant killer.

                              Negatives: The explanation for why Angel wasn't effected by Billy's touch is just straight up bullsh*t. Angel is still more than capable of having a lot of hate and anger in him both for others and even for himself. They should've just said that his power doesn't work on vampires and left it at that.
                              "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina