Derek’s Review – 1.04 “I Fall to Pieces”
This is an episode I probably will never watch again but it wasn’t terrible. This might not be the most compelling story idea in the world but I can’t say it was executed poorly at least the Ronald/stalker side. Ronald was meant to be creepy and he certainly was that. It is a testament to how well the episode was paced and shot that despite not looking like much of a threat and being a glorified Thing the basement scene was pretty tense. Let us not forget the bedroom scene too, to quote Xander on Buffy “Hands! Hands in new places!”
I was also extremely gratified to see all of Angel Investigations playing a significant role in the proceedings. Sure Angel still is the only competent fighter of the gang and needs to save the day but Cordelia and Doyle weren’t just sitting at home alternating between twiddling their thumbs, researching and flirting (?). Doyle also did an excellent job crafting an argument of why getting customers to pay not only makes sense but helps them in the long run.
I thought the actress playing Melissa did a fine job capturing the fear of her situation and the sadness of being forced to live a demure life than she did before. (Though of that might be her inability as actress to emote anything.) So I was really disappointed despite Kate telling Angel the only way that Ronald was going to stop was if Melissa fights back. She did yell at him but Angel had to be the one to actually get rid of him. I suppose given his strength it would have been a bit ridiculously if Melissa did all the fighting but it would have been nice if she was the one who delivered the final blow. It would have broken up the monotony of Angel: Savior of Helpless Women. The fighting back moment we got didn’t feel particularly earned either.
The moment when Melissa stands up to Ronald is supposed to be the emotional climax of the story and it wasn’t. This episode had no real emotional climax for me it pretty much stayed at the same emotional level with a few creeps thrown in there. Melissa was not a big enough focus, she had no real agency. Her situation was sympathetic just not empathetic. In the revolving door of damsels she has to rank as the worst thus far but far from unwatchable. So there’s that.
Angel seems to be a lot bitterer about Wolfram and Hart then we should guess based on what we know. I believe that is this the first time they have mentioned since the pilot and based on Angel’s reaction they seem to be a big force in this town. When will be see more of them? What is their goals besides seemingly representing all the agressors of the subjects of Doyle’s visions.
Is this episode the inspiration between the best worst movie of all time “The Room”? Did Tommy Wiseau see that scene in the office with the cake and think more of this please?
Doyle explaining to Angel why they should charge. It was a graceful and logical way to settle this concept that has been hanging in the air since the pilot. It might be a bit hard to swallow for some viewers to swallow that a hero is charging people money for saving their lives but this explanation really worked.
Despite Ronald’s creepiness this won’t be an episode I remember. It is the definition of ambivalence what I watched was fine it didn’t make me feel very engaged but I wasn’t bored either. It just something that happened. Despite a few laughs from Doyle and Cordy jokes no real emotions were stirred in me.
Score: 53 out of 100