Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Angel: The Shroud of Rahmon

“Au contraire. His day is packed: Brood about Darla, brood about Darla, lunch, followed by a little Darla brooding.”

I feel a bit guilty for not liking this episode more. The structure, with its misleading opening of Wesley seemingly in a lot of trouble, and it’s often repeated brief clip of Angel seemingly killing Kate, is a genuinely clever piece of misdirection. The problem is that an overly abrupt ending comes as a disappointment after the promises made earlier in the episode. Still, this is a promising debut from new writer Jim Kouf (co-creator of Grimm). He can handle structure well; with more experience I good things from him.

This is a Kate episode. Meh. Kate is one of those characters that exist purely to annoy and frustrate the viewer; the authority figure who stubbornly refuses to believe the hero under any circumstances. Worse, her dislike of Angel, however realistically developed over the last season or so, is, essentially, racism. I find it hard to sympathise with her. Still, I agree with her about Darla. She’s mortal, conscience-stricken and lost, but there’s no reason why she should not have to face justice for her crimes. All should be equal before the law.

This episode’s McGuffin, the shroud itself, causes our series regulars to behave rather differently. Cordelia provides the comic relief (and, as usual, all the best lines; I love her nicely metatextual bit of feminism about the sacrificing of virgins), but it is also interesting to see the conflict between Angel and Gunn. We’re left to wonder how much of this is genuine, if normally suppressed.

A few mentions of Darla aside, this is an episode of the week, without much arc stuff going on; a rarity these days. You just know that the next episode will be arc-heavy.

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