Angel: Parting Gifts

angelI’ve been trying to figure out what bugs me with this show.  I like it a lot actually and find myself looking forward to it immensely, but there is something that bugs me and it finally hit me.  It’s like the little brother of the Buffy-verse.  It often feels like Cordy is a little kid in the way she speaks; she’s cute and dippy rather than showing signs of having started to grow up.  Without Doyle to take some of the energy from the 3 character series, it stood out more with Cordy’s behavior and Angel is just a bit too broody to carry that load.

Having said that, I still thoroughly enjoy the show.  Parting Gifts opens with Cordelia giving me a hearty guffaw when she says she’s looking for Doyle’s favorite mug.  Angel says he never had one.  “Don’t you think he should have?”  The thing is, what I actually really like about this series is that it does continuity very well.  We’re still mourning the events of the previous episode and that’s brilliant.  I confess I had a sinking feeling when the episode opened and Angel was confronting the PTB (Powers That Be).  This is a shortcut to the writers and I can’t see it as anything more than that.  (Admittedly, the caveat to that is “yet” because maybe that’ll change!)

The plot on this one was a little weak, but I fully accept that they can’t all be winners.  A demon comes to see Angel to get help against a “rogue demon hunter” but ends up being the villain hiding in plain sight.  When he finds out that Cordelia has the gift of visions, he kidnaps her and tries to auction her off.  Wolfram and Hart, the Torchwood-like villain of the season, turns up and bids on her.  They win and ask the demon to extract her eyes but in one of those awful “clip back and forth” sequences, Angel eventually gets to her on time to save the day.  I hate those sequences when it’s abundantly clear that the villains had plenty of time to do their nefarious deed before the hero waltzes in.  Why do that if you can’t time it better?  While Doyle’s death was a shock, I didn’t see them writing Cordelia out in the first season.  

If I have a concern with this episode, it’s that it reintroduces Wesley, the Watcher from Buffy.  He’s happy to see Cordelia again but he’s only mildly amusing.  I really hope we didn’t lose Doyle just to have him replaced by Wesley.  Hadn’t people learned from Star Trek: The Next Generation: the name Wesley isn’t going to work on any series!  (Don’t worry, I have the humble pie by my side, because I’m sure I’ll be eating that eventually too!  I just hope I don’t need to!)  It’s just that, if we lost the resident Irish guy to be replaced by an Englishman who I didn’t really like to begin with, I’d feel cheated.  

What I didn’t feel cheated on was the comedy.  While this episode has been among the weakest of season one for me, Cordelia has a few great lines but my favorite was her complaining about the gift of visions.  “Why couldn’t it be mono or herpies!”  However the scene that really made me laugh was when the demon came out of the massage booth and, just as we think he’s about to attack Angel, he asks a well-mannered question.  And that’s actually something I really like about this series: there are monsters but they are not all bad.  I remember when I’d see Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, I was so impressed by the idea that the ugly creatures were not the bad guys.  Since I was a child, I loved monsters and that hasn’t changed but I love it even more when the ugly, scary monster can be shown as just another person.  If this series can do that, it’ll always get a few extra credits when I review even the weakest episodes!   ML

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1 Response to Angel: Parting Gifts

  1. Roger Pocock says:

    I think you will change your mind about Wesley. If there’s one thing you can be certain of in the Buffy universe, the characters always grow as individuals and change over time.

    Liked by 1 person

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