Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Angel: Reprise

"You know... I've... Well, I really couldn't help but notice the goats. Yeah, a lot of goats. Goats, many. Those are goats, guys!"

After watching this rather witty and excellent episode, it’s easy to see Angel’s recent character development as a metaphor for addiction. This is the episode where he hits rock bottom. It’s not just Angel, though. Kate gets fired from the job that is her life and, devastated, overdoses on pills. Meanwhile, Wesley, Cordy and Gunn realise that life without Angel is not so easy as a fraudulent client refuses to pay. Compared to these genuine misfortunes, Angel’s “hitting rock bottom” is somewhat more abstract. The climax, however, hints that his resulting relapse may have devastating consequences. Oh, and this is one of the episodes that I vividly remember from my original, blog-free marathon of Buffy and Angel, a very scary ten years ago.

It’s not just Angel and his erstwhile friends who have problems this episode; Wolfram and Hart has it’s highly plot-convenient seventy-five year review, which is causing the most fear amongst its employees since the “purge of ‘68”. Do you think that Lilah and Lindsay might feel a little bit worried?

Kate, too, has consequences to face up to, as her employers finally want to know why she is spending all her time at work pursuing her own hobbyhorses at the expense of her job. What’s tragic here is, although Kate’s superiors are wrong to assume that the supernatural does not exist in LA, this doesn’t really matter. Kate really is losing it in exactly the way they suggest, as she goes to prove in the most tragic way possible. Tragically, I genuinely can’t remember whether she lives or not.

One thing with watching Buffy and Angel back to back is that one notices those little awkwardnesses of continuity. For example, why should Darla be so much more affected by Angel’s little bit of pyrotechnics than Drusilla? Nevertheless, I’m not sure it’s wise of Lindsay to be illegitimately sheltering her at a time like this. W&H employees are cacking themselves about the review to the extent that the Host’s karaoke bar is absolutely full of people in suits. It’s a depressing time for everyone.

Wesley, himself at a low point, is dumped by Virginia. It’s clear that the business that he, Cordelia and Gunn have set up is not working without Angel as its focal point. Angel is too interested in his own obsessive pursuit of Wolfram and Hart, which reaches a climax this episode. Angel gets the guided tour from none other than the late Holland Manners, whose contract seems to extend beyond death. The big reveal here is that the senior partners are in fact humanity itself, or rather the evil that lies within. As a concept, this isn’t anywhere near as deep as it seems to think it is, but as a character point it works brilliantly. Angel is convinced by this that there is no point to anything and he might as well just shag his brains out with Darla. As we know, however, there are consequences to this sort of thing.

Angel, awakening from his night of meaningless sex, feels himself changing. Oh dear…