Williams Review – 1.02 “Lonely Hearts”
This was not a perfect episode and it’s a good reminder that we are still getting introduced to this world. A lot of this was good in concept, but lacked a certain level of polish.
I’m continuing to enjoy seeing our three leads interact. I think they all play off each other quite well. There is however still a balancing act going on with having two out of the three being comic relief and our main character being the straight stoic type. But the little interaction we got in this episode between our leads helped the episode from completely falling apart. Doyle and Cordelia’s interaction at the bar was fun. I especially liked Cordelia being her brash self while promoting Angel Investigations. The fact that Doyle hasn’t disclosed his half demon heritage with Cordelia is a slightly annoying TV contrivance, but I actually buy them having a connection.
The introduction of Kate was “interesting.” I think there were problems with how she was introduced and not being clear what her purpose was here, but once she flashes her badge I thought her characterization made a lot more sense. It wouldn’t be a Joss Whedon show without introducing a strong female lead and I liked the scenes where that shined through. In particular the grappling hook scene, this not only was a great comedic moment, but also served to show that Kate could take care of herself. I liked the idea of Angel having an in with the police by the end of the episode. I think this inclusion could add to different types of storytelling which I would be a fan of.
The demon in this episode I actually thought was a pretty interesting concept. It definitely gave me an X-flies vibe, I also liked that the demon was more adult for a more adult show. The concept for the demon seemed solid enough with something that body swaps which turns into a mystery of who it is, still the execution here was spotty. I thought a lot of the misdirection worked. Was it Kevin? Was it Karen? It just seemed to get a little cheap by the end of it.
Ok, so there was a level of cheesiness here. Funny enough it had nothing to deal with our demon effects and everything to deal with the one liners that were dropped throughout this episode. On the one hand, I like that our demon that’s trying to hook up constantly is actually terrible at picking up people. Still though, lines like “You have to believe that someday you’re going to meet someone special.” “I think I have.” Or “I just want to make a connection.” Were really groan worthy. I know they were trying to tie together a theme, but it really took me out of the episode at times.
I also wasn’t sold on all the action scenes. They were used to try and inject some energy in to the episode, but I don’t think it worked that well. The bar brawl was pretty uninspired. Also the first fight with the Burrower Demon in “Screech” I thought didn’t come across that well. It seemed like that actor just didn’t quite pull his punches and really sell it. The swan dive out of the window once Kate showed up was still pretty cool! Once the demon jumped into the bartender I thought the action got much better. Still why was there a flaming hobo barrel?
Because there was a lot of misdirection in this episode, I don’t think they did a good enough job of selling Kate to the audience. The decision to pair her with Angel is good, because she is a nice foil to our protagonist. Still their awkward conversations at the bar failed at giving sexual tension and instead were exactly what they were, Awkward. It also wasn’t entirely clear by the end of the episode if D’Oblique was really a club she frequented after work or if she was staking out the club this whole time because of the missing persons. I’m sure it’s the latter, but I think they could have spelled that out better.
Angel states about the demon that it requires a sex act to jump from person to person. How is the demon then able try and jump into Kate at the end of the episode? That’s something that wasn’t explicitly clear.
The last scene of the episode did it for me. It was another moment of subversion that added some levity to the end of the episode. Angel is so broody that they really got to play off that. The “Oh thank god” really had me laughing. And again I really liked seeing our leads interact with each other and hope we get more of this.
This wasn’t perfect and had its problems, but I really didn’t hate it. It certainly didn’t dissuade me from continuing on with the show and had enough moments to keep me interested. It’s going to take a while for this show to find its footing and I think the episode could have been pretty good with a little more time put into it. Still, I’m liking some of the conventions at play here and am still interested in our group. The introduction of Kate adds another level to our story and keeps us fully invested into the noir elements.
Rating 60 out of 100