Saturday, November 01, 2008

Angel Wednesdays

So, tyranist and I have watched a bunch of "Angel" episodes lately.

When I was blogging about my Buffy Wednesdays, I'd often beg him for a week off so I could catch up. But I'm probably more than a month behind on "Angel" now, and I really don't mind if we watch the show twice a week.

I guess I'll try to be brief and say a few words about three or four episodes. First up was "Unleashed," by Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft.

So, Angel and Company are running Wolfram & Hart, and don't know if their co-workers can be trusted. They go to the park to talk about their feelings unobserved. But a blonde goes running by, pursued by a werewolf, and before Angel can slay the monster, she is mauled. Angel kills the werewolf with a silver fountain pen*, but the victim gets away.

He and the others try to track down the woman the next day before she becomes a werewolf herself. The girl's name is Nina, and . . . how do I put this . . . she's dubiously attractive. But hey, she's also about to become a werewolf. She starts craving raw meat and thinks about eating her family.

They bring in a monster expert, Doctor Royce, who's played by the doctor on "Enterprise," John Billingsley, and he tells them why the werewolf in the opening scene looked so much cooler than the one Oz used to turn into. Gunn is able to track the girl down using traffic cameras, and Angel rushes over to her house.

There is a subplot of Spike asking Fred to see what she can do about recorporealising him. He keeps disappearing and reappearing later, but it seems to be taking longer to come back now. He really turns on the charm, and Fred appears to be charmed. I know she's the regular female cast member, but with Wesley, Gunn, Knox, and now Spike after her, I'm starting to wonder what kind of perfume she wears.

Nina turns into a werewolf, but our guys shoot her with a tranquiliser and stick her in a cell at Wolfram & Hart. Angel tells her about her condition and tries to comfort her. He tells her that he's a vampire, but he chooses not to kill, and she can do the same. I honestly don't know if he would have cared if she looked like Barbara Walters, but I guess we'll never know.

During the day, Fred takes Nina to her house to get some stuff. Her family isn't very understanding of where she went at night, but soon they are attacked by a bunch of dudes, who take Nina back to a mansion and hose her down.

Angel is sure someone at Wolfram & Hart betrayed them, and Lorne makes people sing for him. Everybody passes the test, though. Later, Spike's ghost appears in front of Fred, and she follows him into Dr. Royce's office, where she finds some kind of drug that enabled him to pass Lorne's singing test.

Angel beats Royce up, and finds out Royce sold Nina to a bunch of rich dudes who like ultra-gourmet meals. They head to the mansion, where all the people there are salivating at the thought of eating a werewolf.

Well, Angel and company arrive and unties the girl, but she transforms and attacks the first person the script has her see, who is Doctor Royce. They shoot her with tranquilisers and get her out of there, then tell the hungry guests that they can wait a month to eat Royce, since he'll become a werewolf too.

The gang leaves, and Angel takes Nina home, telling her that although she becomes a monster three nights a month, she doesn't have to be evil. Actually, they talk a lot, and I guess there's supposed to be some kind of sexual tension there, and she's reassured by his words and tells him she'll see him in a month.

Fred thanks Spike for leading her to the answers, and he claims to not know what she's talking about. He's worried because, when he disappears, he goes to a very bad place, and thinks that one of these times, he won't come back at all. The end.

During the end credits, I asked tyranist if a) we'd ever see curiously hot werewolf girl again, and b) if they'd resolve the whole Spike Ghost thing in the next episode. He said, "Yes" and "No" to the questions.

It wasn't as though I disliked that episode (though I did), it's just that it didn't feel like an "Angel" show, and it certainly felt divorced from the continuing plotlines of the show's last three episodes.

And yeah, why did she have to be that attractive?

A rather dubiously attractive werewolf.

Tyranist thought the concept of eating a werewolf was dumb because she'd revert to human form as soon as they killed her. I disagreed, considering the whole episode dumb.

Next up was "Hell Bound," written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight. I liked it a bit more than the last one.

Basically, we get to see where Spike goes when he phases out of our world. And that place looks very much like Hell.

Tyranist commented throughout that this was easily the scariest "Angel" episode yet. I'd still give "Shiny Happy People" the nod, but hey, it scares me that I used to actually like a song called that.

Spike is feeling pretty sorry for himself, since as a ghost he can't really move or touch anything, and Fred hasn't figured out a way to give him his body back yet.

He keeps encountering some really disturbing stuff in what looks like a basement: mostly people who are mutilated or undead

Eve, that nasty little liaison to the Senior Partners, tells Angel that Fred is spending too much money on Spike, and Angel tries to convince Fred to abandon her little Spike project. In a neat moment, Fred explains to Angel that Spike is a hero--a champion just like him--who deserves whatever help she can provide so he can assist them in the fight against evil. Angel, however, thinks that the moment Spike gets his body back, he'll go running back to Buffy.

It would seem there's still issues there.

Spike begins seeing dead people all the time that no one else can see, and soon the corpses tell him that the Reaper is on its way. Spike and Angel talk, and Angel tells Spike that their kind doesn't get to escape from Hell, they only get a reprieve before their check has to be paid up. But Fred has explained to Spike about the Shanshu prophesy (that's first season stuff for you, kids), and Spike thinks it could be referring to him, since he also is a vampire who played a major role in the Apocalypse.

Or "an" apocalypse, as these shows are wont to show us.

Before Spike gets sucked down to Hell again, he and Angel share a moment of almost friendship, when Angel admits that during their time together a hundred years back, he kind of liked Spike's poetry. That was cool.

Spike disappears again and when he comes back, no one can see him. He figures that if he concentrates hard enough, he can move a penny up by Demi Moore's face. He uses this ability to write the word "reaper" on Fred's shower door.

This reaper turns out to be some evil dude from England
named Pavayne who was very much a Jack the Ripper-type in the 1800s. On the grounds where the Wolfram & Hart building now stands, Pavayne was killed and his blood was used for deconsecration. But Pavayne has used black magic to avoid going to Hell and haunts the building, sending other souls to Hell in his place.

As a spirit, Spike confronts Pavayne and fights him, claiming he's not ready for eternal torment just yet. Spike realises that he was able to communicate with Fred because he really concentrated, and concentrates on beating the snot out of Pavayne.

Meanwhile, Gunn goes to the white room and gets information from the black panther on how to recorporealise a ghost. He and Fred make a circle and tell Spike to step into it. Pavayne attacks Fred and tells Spike he can either step into the circle or save the girl. Spike chooses neither and pushes Pavayne into the circle, where he comes to life in the lab. The others grab him and, instead of killing him, restrain him. Angel locks him in a tiny vault in Wolfram & Hart, keeping him alive with machinery forever. A fate worse than death, in his case.

Spike ends up still a ghost, but with no more danger of being sent to Hell prematurely. Fred tells him that she'll keep trying to help him, because he's worth it. The end.

Like I said, this one was better than the one before, but it still seemed pretty mean-spirited (that makes two in a row). Fans of the show or the writers could argue that a) I am a whiny little weakling, or b) Angel and company have now spent several weeks working in the den of well-dressed evil, and that evil has rubbed off on all of them a little.

Except Fred, of course.

I believe that's all the "Angel" we watched on one particular Angel Wednesday, but that was at least a month ago, so I should probably continue blogging, since I'm already sitting here.

Next up was "Life of the Party," written by Ben Edlund, and it was a Lorne-centric episode. It began with him on his cellphone, wheeling and dealing with celebrities and snarking it up and calling people "babe" and awful nicknames and using even more pop culture references than usual. Once he's alone, though, we see how much of a toll it's taking on him, planning to throw a huge Halloween party for Wolfram & Hart's staff and clients, and the constant effort to be cheery and on top of things.

He glances in the mirror, and a trapped-looking Ali Larter is staring back at him. No, actually, it's a different Lorne, the Lorne he is on the inside. But Lorne pushes it all deep down and goes back out there, convincing Angel that he needs to personally invite one of the evilest and most influential demon lords (a dude named Sebassis) to the party. Archduke Sebassis has been displeased by Angel and company's takeover of the lawfirm, and Angel gives him a special invitation. Oh, and this guy is just revolting. He is ultra-decadent and white-skinned and keeps servant boys on leashes wearing only a leather speedo.

I know you're thinking this is just like the Vatican, but that's just offensive. These weren't human boys.

So, the party happens, and Lorne runs from guest to guest, trying to get them into the partying mood. Soon, Spike is laughing it up, Fred and Wesley are drunk despite not having imbibed, Angel starts making out with Eve . . . and Gunn begins to pee on things.

It would seem that, in order to get everything done around there, Lorne has been going without sleep, and his subconscious starts to manifest itself, first by psychically causing people to do what he says, and second by creating a giant Lorne Id that tears things apart.

The people affected by Lorne's suggestions snap out of it, and do battle with the huge inner Lorne. The employees, guests, and Sebassis seem to enjoy all this, and finally the gang is able to defeat the giant Lorne by putting the normal-sized Lorne to sleep. Afterward, everyone is a little embarrassed by what went on at the party . . . but that is exactly what office parties are for. The end.

I neither liked this episode nor disliked it. But I can't say I was thrilled with Angel hooking up with Eve. The episode made it look as though they actually had sex, but I choose to ignore that 'cause . . . well, you know, I suppose Angel could have sex with someone he disliked with absolutely no chance of a perfect moment of happiness, couldn't he?

Maybe this episode was better than I thought.

Rish Outfield

*Which shouldn't bother me, because at least one vampire on "Buffy" was killed with a pencil.

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