Monday, 4 March 2013

Angel: Dear Boy

“No matter how good a boy you are, God doesn’t want you. But I still do!”

So, at last this ever-simmering Darla subplot boileth over. It’s exciting, intriguing, and nicely hostile to the idea of a status quo. I like it. Stuff is happening very quickly and these ever-moving subplots have already become part of Angel’s own unique style, just a few episodes into Season Two.

Unfortunately it’s also a Kate episode. Why? I became sick and tired of her stubborn and frustrated attitude eons ago. I don’t care how “realistic” her attitude is; her problem ids, essentially, racism, and however much people may have reasons for being racist it is not something which can be justified. Also, characters such this are only useful for frustrating the viewer and padding out the narrative with artificial obstacles. The tiresome plot by which authority figures pointlessly refuse to believe the hero is a tired old trope that should be used seldom, and glossed over on those few occasions when it is needed. There are good reasons why this trope is notably less common in more modern dramas.

Still, the concept of Darla (as manipulated by Wolfram and Hart) trying to frame Angel while at the same time stalking him is a deliciously twisted one. But at least this episode ends with Cordy, Wesley and Gunn all on-side: Angel Investigations (including Gunn, now officially on the payroll, his gang seemingly and conveniently forgotten) is now officially aware that Darla is back. What a pity that Angel Investigations is also skint. We’re getting increasing hints that its viability as a business is in doubt. The only glimpse of a case is a nicely genre bending alien abduction case. Naturally, it’s a hoax: there are no aliens in Angel. There are merely demons from other dimensions, which are obviously not the same thing at all. Yeah, right.

The meat of the episode is about the relationship between Angel(us) and Darla over the centuries. We get flashbacks, including a pre-siring glimpse of Drusilla; Angel only vamps her for purposes of “eternal torment”. Lovely. And this is paralleled during the climactic conversation between Angel and Darla, revealing that both are tragic figures. Angel may be tragic for, well, the usual reasons, although it’s interesting that an angle of religious angst is now being emphasised: however virtuous he is, Angel is seemingly damned. Darla, though, still carries a torch for Angel. Oh, and she might well now have a soul. Oh dear…

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