Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Angel: That Old Gang of Mine
"Don't go reading me!"
"I wouldn't, but, sweetie, you're a billboard!"
Interesting, this one. It's a Gunn episode, of course, finally resolving the dangling thread of his divided loyalties between Angel Investigations and his old gang, and a chance for J. August Richards to shine. And yet, arc-wise, I think the moments to remember are Wesley's steely warning to Gunn at the end, even after showing he emphasises- he's getting gradually more badass- and Fred's not only venturing outside but actually being rather brave. She is, I think, in a quiet way the character who develops the most in these 43 minutes.
Still, Gunn... we get lots of flashbacks to his late sister Alonna and a lot of references to her; it's obvious that this episode sees Gunn's past being firmly put to bed so that the character can move forward. His alienation from Wesley and co is out of character, and supposed to be; the character gets done good development here.
This is the first time we're invited to disapprove of Gunn's old gang, who are now indiscriminately hunting down all demons, harmful or not, out of sheer racism. They have, as Gunn says, "lost the mission". And, while the new thug from Miami, Dio, is the obvious psycho, it can't all be blamed on him. The behaviour of the gang in Caritas puts them beyond the pale and gives Gunn a chance to pick his side.
There's a happy ending, with Angel saving the day and a demon killing Dio with CGI. It's not a great episode, this, but a necessary one, and with an anti-bigotry message.
Except... is it me, or is there a bit of a subtext here that casts suspicion on working class political activity...?