The Bachelor Party was an episode I could actually get behind. The plot has Harry, Doyle’s wife, show up to ask for a divorce before marrying her new husband, who is also a demon. It does two things fairly well, even if the writer, Tracey Stern, does a bit of a cheese-fest with it. First, it shows what happens to the girl that goes for the wrong things in a guy. Now, this may be a bit of personal triumph for me, but growing up I was loved by some really beautiful women. Unfortunately, it was always followed by the words “…like a brother”, which was not what I wanted to hear. When the beautiful Cordelia realizes Doyle might be worth ten of the types of guy she’s busy dating, there’s a glee that fills my soul. Alas, this is a fantasy series…
The other thing I thought it did really well was with the creature feature of the week. These demons are not actually bad guys! The whole “eating the ex-husband’s brain” thing was silly but when you break it down, they won’t do it without the blessing of the intended victim. Of course, it’s terribly silly because they never actually say what the blessing is and when Doyle offers it, he has no idea what he’s getting into. But barring being a bit shady in their dealings, they are not evil and I like that. I hate when the “ugly” thing always has to be a monster. In fact, one of the things I really like about this show is that Angel and Doyle are both monsters that are actually the good guys. (Of course, they stay in human form most of the episode, so the fact that they are considered very handsome men doesn’t help my cause, but at least I know they are creatures under an exterior that probably didn’t get the words “like a brother” when talking to the ladies!)
Still, the show hits high notes even in a fairly silly episode. Cordelia recognizing that change could be a good thing is, actually, a good thing. References to the parent series are nice too, with Xander and Buffy both getting name checks. And I really like that we are getting more about Doyle’s backstory. This is especially noteworthy because it was just an episode back that Doyle promised to let Angel in to some of that backstory. Glad to see this show will be following Buffy’s footsteps in keeping continuity whole, where they can. One thing I’d question as a pretty embarrassing oversight, however, is the divorce papers Harry has come to get signed so she can marry her new demon lover. News flash, and I know from experience, even with an amiable divorce, months can go by before the divorce is legalized. So Harry wasn’t about to get married so quickly, even if this episode takes place close to that marriage. This is one bachelor party that might have to be months before the actual wedding!
As for the requisite comedy, there are always a few chuckles, but the absolute best was Cordy beating Doyle up while he was in demon form, only for Angel to pull him away allowing him to change back so Cordy never notices. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to root for Doyle if he’s basing his relationship on a lie, but so far, there is no relationship to really cling to. It’s just the idea of one that has Doyle excited. Frankly, this is a bit like Buffy too in that I am rooting for them. Even if I am a bit jealous.
The episode ends with Doyle getting a vision of something happening to Buffy and I can only assume we’ll see Angel appear on Buffy in the next episode. I’ve heard that this show is in some ways superior to Buffy. I don’t buy it… yet. But it’s definitely doing some things right. I just don’t agree with the idea of getting rid of that ring a few episodes ago that worked as such a brilliant plot device for being able to go outside in the daylight. But I’ll rely on the wisdom of the series creators’ to see where that all leads. It hasn’t disappointed me yet. ML
With all the TV episodes and films over time depicting all the wrong things that a girl should go for in a guy, and vice versa, the supernatural genre in this case can be the best use of metaphor for the Buffy/Angel universe. It’s a vulnerability that many can relate to, hence such repeatable dramas in soap operas and especially crime shows like Law & Order: SVU. So the fulfillment in being made to feel like you’re worthy of someone’s true love, specifically in a most astonishing way, is what keeps sci-fi and supernatural classics thriving with how they might challenge our sense of fulfillment. In the wisdom of a vampire like Angel, there’s certainly a lesson in vigilance. Thank you, RP, for your review.
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