Opinions have been all over the place on this one. Some have thought it hilarious. Some a bore. Some simply mediocre filler. Of course, much of one’s opinion of the episode is based on how one feels about the character of Harmony. Me? I’ve never given her much thought. I neither love her nor hate. Which probably is why my opinion of the episode can be summed up the same way.
One thing I have found a consensus on is Angel. His indifference and bad temper is no shock. The thing I fine funny is that for the last two years of Buffy, Joss and the writers were criticized by many fans for making the heroine so unlikeable. This season on Angel, the writers again have been attacked for giving us a Spike that no longer resembles the Spike they grew to love on Buffy. So, my question becomes, why is it no one seems quite as upset when the ‘hero’ of Angel comes off as a complete asshole? Or, in my opinion, that Angel (the character) has been written inconsistently since the conception of the show. Maybe others don’t see it that way, but just how many times has Angel flip-flopped in his views? Or is seeking redemption one minute but saying he’s doomed the next?
And Harmony is another good example in contradictions. She desperately wants to be a strong, independent woman. As we have seen in the past, she immerses herself in self-help books and positive thinking. Yet, she’s a sheep. I’d go so far as to guess that if Angel told her to get on her hands and knees and go “Baahhhh” she would. The girl has definite self esteem issues. She’s always the follower - never the leader. Alllowing herself to be treated like crap in order to belong. First there was Cordy, then Spike, and now Angel. I know Angel telling her to go get coffee at the end was his way of showing all is forgiven, you still have a job. We’re supposed to accept that’s the most reassurance she’ll get. Personally, I would have liked to see her get the coffee and dump it in his lap. :)
Putting aside my psychoanalyzing, I didn’t feel this was a bad ep. There were many things I liked about it. The opening montage depicting the ‘new and improved’ Wolfram & Hart was hysterical, especially Angel’s acting (or lack thereof) in it. My other favorite comedic moment was seeing Fred, Lorne, and Blood Testing Guy holding bags of ice to their heads and topped off by BTG’s warning to Harm “But I’ll be watching you”.
The interaction between Fred and Harmony was quite nice. Fred and Cordy never really clicked as girlfriends. And while Fred and Harm might seem like polar opposites I think there is a lot of familiarity there - loneliness coupled with feelings of social isolation. Harm saw herself become an outsider after being vamped. For Fred, she always has been. People perceive her intellect and emotional makeup as outside the ‘norm’. Fred seemed to genuinely enjoy hanging out with Harm and eager to do it again. Now that the pesky murder has been cleared up, maybe Harm will take her up on her offer to do lunch sometime.
Don’t have much to say about either Gunn nor Wes. What exactly was Wes’ role in this episode? I did find it interesting that when Harm mentioned to Fred that she felt Knox and Wes were both interested in her, Fred seemed neither surprised nor displeased by this. Sure, having two guys after you is flattering, but she also seemed to be considering the possibilities with each of them. Unless ME wants to throw a major curveball at us, I think we can eliminate Spred.
Speaking of Spike and Fred, I liked that Spike thanked Fred for all her efforts in trying to recorporealize him. He was genuinely appreciative. I think especially to know someone cares about him again.
As for the closing scene, I fail to see what the big deal is. Yeah, his reasoning for not going to see Buffy is lame, but at least it’s a reason. Plus, the logical part of my brain tells me they needed to find a way to keep James on the show when his film fell through. Otherwise, maybe he really would have gone off to see her and when he returned we may have *really* heard something we didn’t wish to. As it is now, the Spuffy door is still open. And I’ll except that Spike chickened out; afraid to find out Buffy really didn’t love him. Living in ignorance, he still has the hope that she does.
And I have a question for everyone. Is it just me or has James/Spike’s accent gotten sloppy? James really did sound as if he was faking it tonight. I could fan wank it if I really wanted to, but, I really don’t want to.