Sunday, 17 March 2013

Angel: Darla

“Now it’s time for you to return the favour.

“Favour? Is that what you think?”

It’s clever: this episode, like the corresponding episode of Buffy, is extremely flashback-heavy, so the flashbacks for both shows were obviously filmed back to back. There are one or two scenes which are used in both shows, but the clever thing is how both shows, with their very different perspectives, provide a very different context to what we’re seeing. It’s a brilliant idea for a crossover.

Obviously, this episode gives us a thorough deconstruction of the relationship between Angel and Darla. We open with Angel sleeping loads while Darla is suddenly plagued by the massive dump of guilt that has caught up with her, now that she has a soul and that.

The episode is framed by the apparent reveal of what Wolfram and Hart have been up to all this time regarding Darla. It seems the idea was to get Angel to sire her, thus becoming his own mother’s farther, sort of, and giving Wolfram and Hart a shiny new evil vampire for their nefarious schemes. At least, I think that’s what’s going on. It’s deliciously evil of Holland Manners to manipulate Lindsay’s conscience so cynically, but that’s Wolfram and Hart for you.

The climax of the episode, Angel being such a goody goody, of course revolves around the fact that he refuses to sire Darla, cue much emoting. But the meat of the episode is all those juicy flashbacks.

We see Darla, waaaaay back in Virginia, 1609, getting sired by the Master, a real blast from the past, with your actual Mark Metcalfe.  After this, though, we see flashbacks which echo those we’ve just seen in the most recent episode of Buffy, although this time from the perspective of different characters, and it’s fascinating how the same scenes can appear so different in a different context. There are some interesting titbits, of course: we see yet again that Drusilla is so very, very kinky. And we get a juicy few scenes of the recently ensouled Angel facing an inevitable dumping by Darla, what with her being evil and all.

We end, though, with Darla running away, we know not where. What happens next?

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