Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Angel S5: Eps 19, 20, 21

5.19 Time Bomb
5.20 The Girl in Question
5.21 Power Play

For my lengthy analyses of these episodes, follow along in Once Bitten.

Late again, sorry! I've always been a fan of "The Girl in Question," which appears in the middle of this week's episodes, although it's not typically a fan favourite, mostly because of the very fake Buffy in it (fans had been led to believe SMG was going to make an appearance in the episode, and rumour had it she was supposed to, and then they couldn't get her to come back to film the scene). Oh, and about that Buffy being there? Um... actually, no, I won't spoil it for you, but there's a whole other side to that story that's unveiled in the Buffy Season 8 comics. Including what was up with the Immortal.

Cynthea Masson, who was involved in our Buffy Rewatch, gave a paper at the 2008 Slayage on The Girl in Question that ended up winning the award for best paper of the conference, so she could probably say a lot more on it, but all I wanted to point out was the very quick black and white scene of the painfully hip Dru and Spike in 1950s Italy going, "Ciao, ciao..." Joss Whedon was a huge fan of British comic Eddie Izzard, and that scene (and the HILARIOUS scene of Spike and Angel on the scooter) was an homage to this clip from Izzard's extended European history bit in Dressed to Kill:

Also, I meant to mention this a few weeks ago, but it was during "You're Welcome" filming that the cast and crew got the news from the WB that Angel had been cancelled, and the writers were already working on story lines for Season 6. One of those crucial story lines was the Black Thorn, which was supposed to be set up at the end of S5 and then compose much of what S6 would be (at least, that's what Alexis Denisof told me during a long interview I did with him). But then they found out they were going to be cancelled. So they pretty much introduced it in "Power Play" and resolved it in the next episode. Sigh.

Which brings me to the very sad news that this is the penultimate week of the Buffyverse rewatch, for next week is the finale. And while I won't spoil a darn thing for you, I will say that where I liked "Chosen," I LOVED "Not Fade Away." It's definitely in my top 3 series finales, after those for Lost and Six Feet Under. So I'm looking forward to next week and what y'all thought about it.


Dusk said...

In case anyone thought Andrew's exit was a little odd, here's what I've heard:
There was supposed to be men and women there, not just ladies.
Once they couldn't get Sarah, they tried for Dawn but Michelle was busy also. The "People change" line was meant for her to say, as it would have been akward for Angel and Spike to see her going clubbing because they've always seen her (or rememeber seeing her) like a little sister. Geeky Andrew partying kind of works.

As badly as they damaged Cordy in S4, I give them credit for making it so her and Doyle as well are their in the final battle in a way.

Gunn is back.

The Rome part is so-so for me, but as usual I love Amy going back and forth from Fred voice and Illyria.

Marebabe said...

I may as well admit it. This week I’ve been suffering from an acute case of writer’s block. (Also a big-ol’ snotty cold.) I watched all three Angel episodes and read all three chapters on them, and didn’t pick up my pen even once. I remained hopeful that something would float to the surface for me to comment on, and, thankfully, two things did. Two overall impressions.

The first is surprise at how Illyria has mellowed and meekly taken up a position in the background. After her invincible debut, I never expected her to be killing time playing a video game. (Although her frustration over it was wonderfully funny!) And that reminds me, WHAT is Hamilton? I mean, besides stronger than Illyria. And all-seeing, and black-hearted and evil.

The second was fascination over the way they caused me (and Wesley, and Gunn, etc.) to doubt Angel. I was wearing a frowny-face until Angel explained what he had been up to. It’s all so very dangerous. Seriously, could there BE any greater peril for our heroes?!

I was so tempted to go ahead and watch the series finale early. There’s an awful lot of Story to resolve in the one remaining episode. And I know that, however they wrap it up, I’ll be surprised. Because right now I have no more idea than a rabbit how it will end. (I’m so glad I’ve never seen or read anything about the Angel finale. All I know is that Nikki LOVES it!)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

When Angel says that they might get Gunn killed, Wes gives him his 'so what' face. I think Alexis does a great job, but I really don't like Wes.

Gunn can dress in street clothes, but he can't keep the lawyering out of his head.

That pregnant woman is David's wife.

I enjoy how the pov goes from the team to Illyria's and we see the time distortion.

Angel says the word "speechifying" - how Mal.

I shall call this episode "the wibbley wobbly timey whimey" one. :)

Gunn knows so much legal/demon history. Why doesn't he know about The Immortal?

This is co-creator David Greenwalt's last episode of Angel. I find this season of W&H similar to his show Profit. It's also the last we hear of Angel's Irish accent.

Once again - shirted Angel, shirtless Spike. Though you can see David's getting into better shape in the PP racketball scene.

Interesting contrast of the comic A story and the tragic B one.

How long has it been, and Wes hasn't told the Burkles that their daughter is dead? Or Angel as her employer for that matter?

Andrew is wearing a luchador shirt.

I don't think this episode really fits too well with the comics. They try, but I don't think it works.

Spike was cuckolded by a Chaos Demon with literal antlers.

It's Angel's fault - he left the head on the bar.

I LOVE the Dean Martin fight. This is one of my very favourite Angel episodes.

When I was in Vegas for Writercon, my friend and I went to the M&M museum, where we saw a short film called "I lost my M in Vegas". An M&M loses his M and he and another one go searching for it - on a Vespa,

'Not going to be his shemps' - an Evil Dead production reference.

I find Amy playing Illyria looking like Fred chilling.

That ski jacket is the funniest thing on Angel ever. "Is Angel Crying?" "No. Not yet."

I think it's nice that Andrew went out to a gay club with his lesbian friends.

Illyria says "As you wish" to Wes - which any Princess Bride fan knows means I love you.

I like the subversion of expectations - Angel bursts through the fire to save a helpless man being beaten - and then kills him.

We know things are bad for Angel when he isn't afraid he might be happy - and I think he cares for Nina a great deal - he told her about Buffy.

Isn't W&H afraid winning over Angel is too easy?

I've never understood Nina's reaction - something terrible is happening or Angel wouldn't send away her sister and niece - that's not just a brush off.

When Illyria says "I'll play this game" does she mean Crash Bandicoot or life?

Is Lindsey in jail, or a W&H holding cell? If jail, what were the charges?

I refuse to believe that Cordy's kiss was about passing on visions.

Christina B said...

Marebabe, YES! It was so hard for me to turn off the TV after Power Play.
I just wanted to keep watching.

I'm completely unspoiled, too...I'm so worried I'm going to hate the finale! LOL

Time Bomb-
Scary--the part where we watch Illyria kill everyone. That was horrible!
But a good episode.

The Girl in Question-
Aside from the really bad fake Buffy, I liked this episode!
I laughed my face off at the zaniness...and I'm not usually a fan of capers/Three Stooges-type stuff.
It was difficult to try to switch my brain from laughing to sadness when going from Spike/Angel to Wes/'Fred'. The pain on his face was just heartbreaking.

Power Play-
I was MAD! This whole episode, I was mad. I didn't understand WHY Joss was doing this to me, WHY he would make Angel go bad for the finale, WHY he'd make me suffer like this (again!).
And then the glamour, and I honestly cried tears of relief (yes, I'm the crazy-emotional one, remember? :P).
Great, awesome ending.

One week left, everyone. :(

Quarks said...

We have another really good week of episodes here, before we come to the incredible finale next week. I really like ‘Time Bomb’, as we get a bit more insight into Illyria and what the team are going to do about her. ’The Girl in Question’ has never been a favourite of mine but I don’t dislike it as much as some people do and it is fairly enjoyable. Like ‘End of Days’ in ‘Buffy’, ‘Power Play’ serves to set things up for the finale, and personally I think it is done fairly well considering it apparently had to be a bit rushed.

One of the things I like about ‘Time Bomb’ is how, even in just a few episodes, we see how Illyria has become a fully-developed character. She isn’t human by a long stretch but there are elements of her which are becoming more human, and there are clearly some remnants of Fred still in there. I like the scene where Illyria admits that she is bothered by Wesley’s ‘betrayal’, and it shows how she has started to feel something for the people in Fred’s life.

We also see in this episode just how much of an effect Fred’s death and Illyria’s rising has had on Wesley’s sanity. Although I think the scene in his office with Gunn is a touch overdone, it does make the point that what happened has changed Wesley a lot. Around other people he is more withdrawn and serious, but there is a certain amount of Wesley still there, but when he is on his own he gets completely lost in his grief over Fred.

I find the time shifts that Illyria is experiencing quite an interesting plot point, and thankfully 6 seasons of ‘Lost’ have got me fairly well prepared for the slightly confusing nature of this episode.

I have always loved the scene in which Illyria kills Spike, Wesley, Lorne and Angel, as it’s such a shocking scene and it shows just how easily our beloved characters could lose their lives.

Quarks said...

I have mixed feelings about ‘The Girl in Question’, although it doesn’t bother me as much in light of the comics (obviously, I won’t give any spoilers as to why). It’s quite a fun episode, and seeing Spike and Angel running all over Rome looking for the head and Buffy is often very funny, but it does feel a bit of a strange episode to have this late in the season, especially considering what Angel is at this point trying to convince the Circle of the Black Thorn of.

The flashbacks in this episode are fairly amusing, but the plot with The Immortal seems a bit of a stretch. I’ve never really bought that Buffy would be dating a (presumably evil) vampire, especially after what happened with Angel and Spike. Also, I’m not a fan of the idea, as was mentioned earlier this season, that the Scoobies are now separated and are living all over the globe. You would think that after the ‘Buffy’ finale and what happened throughout the whole of ‘Buffy’ that they would stick together.

I do love the B plot of this episode, however, with Fred’s parents visiting Wolfram & Hart and Illyria taking on her form. It’s heartbreaking to see the effect it has on Wesley, but once again it shows how amazing an actress Amy Acker is. Even without the outfit and the blue hair and skin, she can easily switch between Fred’s and Illyria’s personas and you are never in any doubt as to who it is that’s saying the line. Her voice, her facial expressions, even her posture all show perfectly who she is playing at that point.

As a sidenote, I was in a shop a couple of days ago looking at some DVDs, and I saw that you can get ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ boxsets for specific characters. They are complete rip-offs, each with only four episodes on, and they are presumably supposed to be the four ‘most important’ episodes for that character. Anyway, I was looking at Fred’s to see which episodes they had chosen; I agreed mostly with the first three which were “Over the Rainbow” (although that could probably be substituted with any from the Pylea arc), “Fredless” and “Supersymmetry”, but the fourth one was “Shiny Happy People”. I understand that Fred was important in that episode (assuming it’s the one I think it is), but more important than “A Hole in the World” or even “Shells”? Of course, that got me thinking about which episodes I would choose for the other characters of ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’, and I do not envy whoever it was who had to select those episodes, especially for characters like Willow and Xander (I’m assuming there isn’t one for Buffy herself).

“Power Play” is another good episode, setting everything up for the finale next week. Personally, I’m kind of glad that it had to happen so quickly; I don’t think I could have dealt with another season playing the “Is Angel Evil?” game. Instead, we just have one episode causing us to question whether or not Angel is being corrupted by the power of Wolfram & Hart, and then the fantastic reveal at the end of Angel’s plan. He knows that they’re never going to be able to take down the Senior Partners and stop the apocalypse all together, but he also knows that they cannot just stand by and watch it happen. So they decide, even if it is just for one moment, they are going to make life difficult for the Senior Partners, regardless of what happens to them

The episode is perhaps a touch slow; about 20 minutes into the episode I thought they were already going in to have the fight and revelation that I remember from my first watch. Nonetheless, it is a very enjoyable episode, and does a good job of setting things in motion for the finale.

I love the scene of Drogyn and Illyria playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.

Overall, I don’t seem to have much to say about this week’s episodes, even though I did enjoy them a lot. Next week, we have the finale, which is certainly one of my favourite TV finales of any show ever.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I don't think there's any indication the The Immortal is a vampire. I think he's, well, an immortal. I remember at the time there was some debate whether he was Methos or Duncan...

Cynthea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthea said...

The basic argument in my paper on "The Girl in Question" (which Nikki mentioned in this week's introduction) is that the episode works in similar ways to existential and absurd theatre. I use Sartre's "No Exit" and Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" to build theoretical comparisons. I wrote the paper originally in response to a colleague of mine who said he loathed the episode. To rebut his criticism (and the negative comments made on various fan sites), I aimed to illustrate the episode's importance to the series at that particular point in the plot progression. Spike and Angel need to move forward from a place of stagnation--to make the choice to change rather than to repeat patterns indefinitely. The paper will be published in the forthcoming A Joss Whedon Reader (ed. Wilcox, Lavery, Cochran, and Masson).

Lisa (UFN) said...

The flashbacks of Spike and Angel with Drucilla and Darla regarding The Immoortal is unique to the series, at least as I see it. They are acting very much like the Spike and Angel we know today. Comedic, in a way, and pals. Not the serious and bloodthirsty flashbacks we've seen in the past. I also love the comment Spike makes about never having "been" with Angel before, except for that one time. How i wish THAT was on film.

I also liked Andrew in this episode. Him telling them that Buffy led BOTH of them was important and led to some sort of closure.

Poor Wes. He really is in the thick of it, isn't he? It's so sad to watch.

I do SO miss Cordelia. That kiss was NOT just about passing on the visions. That was love. And it was lovely.

Suzanne said...

I enjoyed this week as I have most weeks during Season 5. It really is such a consistently good season of Angel, which makes me glad that my husband gave me the DVDs as a gift last year. "Time Bomb" contained a good story with many surprise elements. It wasn't quite as good the second time around, though, since I remember really being awed by the killing of Spike and then the rest in succession that first time I saw it. This time knowing what was coming took some of the fun out of it. The first time, I couldn't believe my eyes when Spike got staked and turned to dust. They filmed it perfectly since there was a bit of a lag before she killed the others, enough to make use believe that Spike might actually be dead the first time.

Like Nikki, I enjoy "The Girl in Question" a lot. Any time I get to see Angel and Spike working together and giving each other a hard time doing so, it is a joy. The opportunities for humor in these situations are boundless, and this episode does a good job of mining those opportunities. Add to that one of my favorite minor characters from Sex in the City (Carrie, Carrie, Carrie!) in the form of the Italian head of Wolfram and Hart, and the show has me laughing at every turn. The Italian demons were great, too! My only complaint about this episode is the way that we are supposed to so easily buy the idea that Buffy would hook up with another Vampire and one who doesn't have a soul or a chip. Are to believe that like Dracula, he has cast some sort of spell on her. This was just a bit much. The comedy that comes from it, though, is wonderful. My favorite part is when Angel and Spike continue their argument about who has better credentials as Apocalypse fighter. Spike's retorts to Angel were so sharp, as usual, pointing out that Buffy had to stake Angel in order for him to save the world in Becoming. Then Spike taking credit for helping her! :)

"Power Play" is excellent television. I really enjoyed it and even on second watch I was surprised by some of its twists. Again, I have one small complaint, though, (and maybe it will be addressed in the finale since I seriously don't remember much about it), but why was it acceptable for Angel to kill Drogen (name?) just because he was doing so in order to carry out his plan. Isn't his killing of Drogen still a problem? In the Buffy world it would have been. I know this world is more gray, but it still bothers me.

Suzanne said...

@Colleen/Redeem 147, I saw your comment about the Immortal after I posted since I didn't have time to read everything first. Your point is interesting, and I see it now. That point even came up when I was discussing this with my husband and son, and one them questioned whether he was a vampire. I assumed he was and thought they had said it, but I can't really think of a time when they explicitly said it. This would explain a lot.

Blam said...

Grr! Arrgh! I did catch up with the viewing by Tuesday night but still haven't been able to comment in timely fashion.

I'm so glad that Nikki has continued to provide forums for watching Angel Season 5, however, and I really look forward to going back over the past few weeks' worth of conversation. I don't know that I have anything to say about this week's episodes that hasn't already been said, or the wherewithal right now to say it even if I did — stuffy head cold make thinking even harder — but I will add that I too have a love/loathe relationship with "The Girl in Question". I love the buddy-caper aspect of it; I loathe what we hear about Buffy.

Nikki: I won't spoil it for you, but there's a whole other side to that story that's unveiled in the Buffy Season 8 comics.

There sure is. As uneven as they were I will be forever thankful for that.

Colleen: I find Amy playing Illyria looking like Fred chilling.

Yes. So yes. Miss Acker Fantastico.

Colleen: I think it's nice that Andrew went out to a gay club with his lesbian friends.


I appreciate everyone else's comments, too, from Dusk's info to Marebabe and Christina B's newbie views to Colleen's always-fun lists o' stuff to Quark's insights, but I'm not able to muster any more of a reply to them than that.

I did bring some quotes.

Angel 5.19 "Time Bomb"

Wesley: "I stabbed you. I should apologize for that, but I'm honestly not sure how. I... think it'll just be awkward."

Amanda: "Excuse me... I'm here about the demon pact?"

Angel: "Spike and I were dealing with it."
Spike: (faux chipper) "We're motivated go-getters."

Illyria: "I blame this on the weakness of your species."
Wesley: "Fair enough."

Angel 5.20 "The Girl In Question"

Spike: "Ciao."
Off-Camera Woman: "Ciao."
Drusilla: "Ciao."
Off-Camera Woman: "Ciao."
Spike: "Ciao."

Andrew: "I part my threshold. [pauses] I mean my apartment... obviously."

Angel: "That's why he had us tossed — so he could violate..."
Darla: "He didn't—"
Angel: "Violate! Our women!"
Spike: "Violate! In succession!"
Darla: "Concurrently."
Angel: "Concurrently? You never let us do that."

Angel 5.21 "Power Play"

Drogyn: "It is a test — a task of some sort. You must collect those crystals... and fruit."

Lindsay: "It's a secret society."
Gunn: "Never heard of 'em."
Lindsay: "That's 'cause they're secret."

Suzanne said...

Blam, I am glad to see you back despite your head cold. I hope you feel better.

Blam said...

Thanks, Suzanne. And I'm sorry for not mentioning you in my rundown. I typed my comments the night before they got posted and hadn't seen that you'd stopped by in the interim; I'm with you that Spike + Angel = gold.