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[personal profile] lookingforoctober
Wow, I'd forgotten how depressing Angel can be. Fred and Gunn were the only points of not completely depressing, and they were pretty beleaguered here.

This episode was mostly exposition, so...in terms of exposition, it did a fairly good job of reminding me of what was going on, which I needed because it's been a while since I watched Season 3.

I thought the hallucination stuff was overdone, but I always do think that about dreams, etc. Dreams are pure emotion (and symbolism, is that generally the same thing?), and I like a little more grounding in some kind of reality with my doses of emotion. But it does pretty much work with the context of what's going on here.

In terms of plot, there were a few little turn-arounds, most notably Lilah killing her boss. Surprise! Now Lilah is a direct enemy with underlings. Wesley going after Angel was framed as a very minor surprise -- he said (to Lilah) that he didn't know anything, he didn't care, and then immediately proved otherwise. But really finding Angel, Angel confronting Connor, those were the only real plotty elements, the only movement forward. Everything else was establishing where we are and where we came from. (Even if it hadn't been a while for me, this would have been useful narratively, because there was a whole summer's worth of time to cover.)

If the theme of Buffy Season 7 was power (was it? or did I just want it to be?), then I feel like I need something to analyze what's going on with Angel, and so far the only things that have stood out are:

1) family. Is Connor like Angel? Is Angel like Connor? What does family mean? Connor didn't even want to pretend that he was like his father, even when he was pretending that he was okay with Angel being his father...

Also, would it be fair to call Angel Investigations at some point or another a surrogate family for many of the characters, as good teams often are? Granted, there have always been tensions, this was never really an easy or unquestioned team that I can remember, even before the whole Wesley kidnapped Connor debacle, but I feel like there must have been a point or two where they all got along for a while (and Angel's meal hallucination at the very beginning supports that, meals are a very family-like thing, right?). And Fred and Gunn's loyalty to Connor has something of that kind of family loyalty to it too, perhaps? There's definitely a mom and dad and kid vibe to some of their interactions with Connor in this episode.

And Angel uses "Daddy" more than once, invoking the strict father...

And the structure of the episode is more coming together than pushing apart (but it would have to be, since everything starts out pretty separated), and ends on a "must find Cordelia" note, which if it doesn't say something about family at least says something about them as a team? Fred and Gunn have already been looking for Cordelia, and now we have Angel as the core of the team reiterating the importance of that...team and family look out for each other...

Which Wesley has also done, despite his current status as outsider...

2) the role of a champion. This is mostly out of hope, because I find the subject interesting. I liked Angel's little speech about a champion acting as if the world were better, to show it what it could be. I'm not sure this is really going to be a theme, but maybe?

This could also, possibly, be called the role of emotion vs. the role of ideals? In which Fred, who just wants to hurt Connor for what he did, pretty much fails in this episode...assuming of course that ideals are better to act upon than emotions...

Yeah, that's a really unfair framing. I'll have to work on that.

Date: 2014-05-09 12:26 am (UTC)
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
Also, would it be fair to call Angel Investigations at some point or another a surrogate family for many of the characters, as good teams often are? Granted, there have always been tensions, this was never really an easy or unquestioned team that I can remember, even before the whole Wesley kidnapped Connor debacle, but I feel like there must have been a point or two where they all got along for a while (and Angel's meal hallucination at the very beginning supports that, meals are a very family-like thing, right?). And Fred and Gunn's loyalty to Connor has something of that kind of family loyalty to it too, perhaps? There's definitely a mom and dad and kid vibe to some of their interactions with Connor in this episode.

I think they try to frame AI as a surrogate family, with varying degrees of success. Specific instances of imagery that I recall: there's some S1 episode either when (or maybe shortly after) Wesley joins AI ("Parting Gifts"?) where Wesley is being all dramallama about riding off into the night (morning?) and it turns out Angel is calmly, matter-of-factly making breakfast for him and Cordelia, and Wesley eagerly joins them at the table. That always felt like a very familial moment to me, although they don't really return to the let's-all-sit-down-together thing much at all in my recollection.

I too got the mom-and-dad vibe from Fred and Gunn this ep. I think they set up the Fred-as-mom thing earlier, in that scene in S3 after Darla stakes herself...I cannot for the life of me recall the ep title, but I have this vivid memory (because I vidded that clip) of Angel and Fred standing there in the rain, with Fred clutching baby Connor to her.

Date: 2014-05-11 11:35 pm (UTC)
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
That's a really good analysis of Wesley. It's like he's so hung up on this image of what he thinks he should be that "is this really a great idea?" doesn't occur to him.

I have to confess, I was super-surprised they did anything good with the character after his bumbling opening on Buffy, and then I was stunned by how much the character grew (and of course, I came to realize just how scary-good Denisof was in the role).

Date: 2014-05-24 03:25 am (UTC)
yhlee: (AtS no angel (credit: <user name="helloi)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
Yeah, Spike gets a lot of arc. (I'm not a huge fan of the character outside of Angel S5--I found his dysfunctional relationship with Buffy too painful when watching because I felt so bad for Buffy--but this is undeniable!)

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