I've also avoided all discussion of this ep. Even after seeing it for myself, I didn't rush to read others opinions. I have no idea if it was universally loved or hated or fell somewhere in between. So, without further adieu,
The show starts out with several discussions about the current state of Fred. They address others having come back from the dead (Buffy). Even without benefit of a 'shell' (Spike or "Flash fried in a pillar of fire saving the world. I got better" Hee :) Then there is this exchange:
Angel: "Then we'll figure out a way to fill it back up"
Spike: "The thing only took over her body. It's the tip of the theological"
Angel: "It's the soul that matters. Fred's soul is out there somewhere."
What's my point? I made all these points last week. It's official. I can write an episode of Angel. :) Now that I've self aggrandized, I shall continue.
I think my thoughts can be summed up as uh...huh...what?...but....ah...yeah...so
I'm confused. In some respects I think this was the most confusing episode ever. Not in terms of plot because there wasn't much, but in terms of character.
Was Wes' behavior disturbing? Oh, yeah. Though more disturbing for me was I found him incredibly annoying (Gunn and Knox too, but more on that in a moment). Wes annoyed me to the point I didn't like him. To the point I lost sympathy for him. I don't think that's what Deknight intended. This isn't just DarkWes, this is how the Hell do we save Wes?
Actually, I'm pretty damn sick of seeing him whip out his gun to shoot people. It's lost shock value. And I don't care how upset he was, shooting Knox does not only show his moral bankruptcy, but utter stupidity. At that point who knew more about Ilyria than Knox? Um, no one. So you kill him?
Anyone else envision the 11 year old Knox as a brilliant but lonely, isolated, picked on kid who came across something/someone that would let him get even with the world? Mentally unstable with delusions of grandeur I believe. Pure evil needing to be executed I con't. Does Wes even realize he just became his pupil, Faith. He just killed a human and didn't care.
Let me not forget that Fred was Wes' reason for living. I could theorize that with Fred, Wes had his moment of happiness and has now lost his soul because of it (hey, that ain't bad!). Yet, all I could think was pathetic loser. It's a tie as to which Wes I like less - this one or the Wes we saw on Buffy.
Speaking of pathetic, let's talk about Gunn. Actually, who were these people I watched tonight? Angel and Spike seemed OK. But the rest? Harmony was insightful and intelligent. Lorne couldn't deal so he gave up and hit the bottle. (Get thee to an AA meeting Lorne.) And while I get that we are suppose to see how Gunn has been corrupted by W&H, all I saw is a dupe - a coward with no self-esteem. He couldn't go back to being just 'the muscle'? Sweetie, you were always more than that to your friends. ME I think you missed your mark.
And what about our newest edition to the Angel family - Ilyria. Family you say? Yes, I say. Because after Wes teaches her to be a good little girl and fit into modern day society, I'm sure she'll want to jump in and help fight for truth, justice, and the American way. The (current) oldest living source of evil walking the planet goes from 'I'm getting my minions together and destroying you all' to 'Will you help me fit in?' AND HE AGREES!!!!! Because she has Fred's face. I feel like that woman in Aliens. No, not Ripley. The one hanging from the wall with the chestburster about to spring forth going "Please, kill me.". This just makes no sense. Yeah, fine, maybe it's an act, all part of some grand plan. I don't think so.
Believe it or not, I did actually like parts of this episode.
Need a soul restored? Call Willow! And Spike's mention that it "Won't be the first time she rattled the dead". Hmmm, I don't think he's still completely forgiven her for bringing Buffy back - disturbing her peace.
Giles gets a mention too! "No...no...Don't put me on hold." LOL. Anyone else wonder if Giles may have had Buffy on another line asking what he should do? Especially because of the next comment from Angel...."Yes, I'm still at Wolfram & Hart, what does that have to do with anything?" It also serves as a nice confirmation that Andrew wasn't just blowing hot air - they really don't trust Angel. To the point they aren't eager to help rescue one of his people. (In fairness, how do they know Fred wasn't evil?)
Angel getting tossed out the window. Nice continuity moment that takes us back to the series premiere.
Ilyria returning to her Temple expecting to find her "army of doom" still there worshipping her, ready to destroy the world for her and finding it.....empty. A 'shell' of it's former glory. Her image destroyed, the temple in ruins. It's a great visual and, thanks to AA, I actually sympathize with Ilyria. She's been abandoned and forgotten. She's alone in the world.
"That's what I want." There's an OMG moment for audience *and* Spike. He's made a decision based on what he wants, not to please someone, not to get something out of it, just because it's what he wants to do. About damn time!
"The fight's coming Angel....and it's going to be a Hell of a lot bigger than Ilyria". *If* SMG opts to make an appearance on Angel (no spoilers folks, just the same old talk we've heard for months) I can see a glimmer of a reason now if Joss is opting to go with some huge epic good vs evil battle for the finale.
I'm going to reiterate a comment I've made a few times before, Angel just may be the Big Bad this season. All of this we are seeing now - it's his fault. He did chose one life over many when he decided to save Conner. And let's look at what has happened since. Fred's dead. One of the oldest living embodiments of evil is walking around loose. Gunn's a broken 'shell' of a man. Wes is a murdering, borderline sociopath. Hell, Angelus couldn't create this kind of devastation and destruction on a good day.
One last thing - can anyone tell me what the song was that played at the end? I think it may have been Aimee Mann singing, but I'm not 100% certain. Thanks.
Now, off to read what the rest of you had to say. :)