After the third episode of Angel where I found myself laughing withing minutes, I was looking forward to the next story with a lot of excitement. Within minutes, however, I was bored. The silliness of getting missions because of a vision is tedious. Lucky those visions include names and addresses of the businesses where the problem resides, huh? Is this the best they could do?
Then the stalker turns up and things start to get creepy. That level of invasion of personal space is very disquieting. And as if that wasn’t enough, this guy can pop his eye out and make it float around to watch his prey. Now that was a shocker and one that woke me right up. This guys was proper creepy and that’s exactly what I want in a series like this.
The down side of it all is that one thing really bothered me a lot and it’s again one of those things that the production crew really needs to think about or it speaks ill of what they think of their audience. It’s pretty clear that Angel goes to investigate during the day. Now, I know he’s supposed to have tunnels under his office that lead around the city, but it’s not magic tunnels, so there’s a limit to how far Angel could get without having to emerge and walk in the light. That could have been resolved easily in episode 3 when Angel gets the ring of Suntanning where he wouldn’t have that pesky disability. Instead, he smashes the ring so he’s effectively forced to go out during the night only. And yet, he’s in that police station chatting with Kate in broad daylight. It’s a disappointing oversight.
Speaking of disappointing oversights, I knew our stalker didn’t kill Angel because there’s no blood flow to help circulate the poison – and we were so close to the 42 minute mark that I knew we were coming in to the final moments of the episode. Still, when we see someone fiddling with the lock of the trap door in the floor, I was expecting it to have been Angel, having tricked our friendly neighborhood stalker. I mean it couldn’t be the stalker because one hand was seen elsewhere while his other opened his eye to allow the floating oculus to go back into his head. So where did his 3rd hand come from? Was this guy more of a freak than we realized?
Still, as much as I can’t stand oversights like that, the idea of him sending his hands into Melissa’s room to molest her while she slept was deeply disturbing stuff. So this episode falls firmly in a middle area between some really bad oversights and some really great storytelling. As usual, the cast is fun to watch but they are definitely not as much fun as the Buffy cast. Angel was less brooding this time, which did improve his character. Doyle is ok but I realize I’m more neutral towards him than anyone else. And Cordelia still has some great lines, but she’s a bit too ditzy for me to really connect with. (Although, full disclosure, she could probably start reading the encyclopedia to me and I’d be ok with it because I still say Charisma Carpenter is lovely. However I don’t know if it gives her a free pass for calling someone “a retard”. These days, that’s rather offensive.)
I haven’t quite put my finger on the moral of these tales yet. Do they have the added meaning like Buffy episodes do? I do see a thread in this one about obligations and paying off debts but is that mean to be some special moral? It did get me thinking about the nature of debts owed and what constitutes a deed that should be paid for, but it wasn’t like a deeply hidden meaning. You help someone, you should be thanked; hardly a news bulletin. But then Buffy’s concurrent episode, Fear Itself, hardly had a well hidden meaning; it was just about overcoming fears, so should I expect different from this?
I realize this is one of those shows that need a little time to find its footing. I can’t make anything akin to a fair judgment in just 4 episodes, but I hope to see some of the mistakes corrected. Buffy certainly came a long way so I have to assume this show will too. I guess it’s the debt I owe Joss Whedon for the great product he produced so far. ML
The first season of Angel was a slog to get through, but it does get much better.
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I can certainly relate to how offense the word ‘retard’ is, having heard it way too many times in my school years. Quoting William Petersen for a CSI episode, the exact meaning of the word ‘retarded’ is ‘hindered’ or ‘held back’. Thankfully that level of wisdom can help to shape up a lot of television and movies for this century.
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