William’s Review 1.04 “I Fall to Pieces”

 

The Good
This felt like what an “everyday” of Angel would probably feel like. It fits a typical noir storyline then injects a little supernatural into it. However there was no real depth to the episode, nothing that really stood out. By the end I found it very forgettable.

Doyle actually had a good episode in my opinion. He continues to be a pleasant surprise on rewatch and I’m enjoying seeing his interactions with both Cordelia and Angel. His opening with Cordelia he continued his very flirty charms and had a couple of good lines. I also like the subtlety they played with him in a later scene with Cordelia. She is complaining about her being unable to find a date and that you either “like them and they don’t like you or you hate them and that just means they hover.” The way he is flirty before that line and then says “I hate guys like that.” Seems hurt and defeated and pulls away really worked for me. Doyle’s scene convincing Angel to charge his clients was actually pretty clever. I liked how they were able to ease the audience to the idea the same way they were able to ease Angel into it. It was also a nice touch that at the end of the episode, when both Cordelia and Doyle are coughing for Angel to ask Melissa for their payment, that the check is already written out.

Again on this episode our three leads played off each other well in each scene they were in. There were some witty lines dropped throughout that kept the dialogue moving. I liked the lines Cordelia: “What is stalked the third most popular sport among men?” Angel: “Fourth behind luge.” It just had a nice clever flow that kept the episode moving.

Our villain of the week actually worked pretty well, as far as creepy stalkers go. His first scene with Melissa you got the full range of how this guy has been ruining this poor girl’s life and a little bit of his threating demeanor when he leans in to kiss her and is rejected. The scene where we find out he’s watching her with his supernatural ability was really quite disturbing. It had a very voyeuristic effect which had me really creeped out. Admittedly an argument can be made that this could come across as trying to be titillating, however I think for me personally it was effective in getting its desired effect across. His ability to separate his body parts was an interesting concept and worked for me in the first half of the episode when they showed as little of the effects as possible. The most effective scene being when Ronald’s hands entered Melissa apartment. The implied act of violation under Melissa covers was enough to illicit the feelings of extreme uneasiness and of being highly disturbed.

The Bad

Melissa’s storyline fit a nice structure, but was unable to really get me on board. I liked the idea of the story that they were trying to tell. A woman gains the strength to stand up to her stalker and is able to move past it. This seemed very good on paper, but never got me to care about the character. Part of the blame needs to fall on the actress. From her opening scene, to her rock bottom of feeling trapped, to when she is supposed to be happy at the end, her performance was very one note. I’m not asking for much or even that she need to resort to melodrama, but a little emotional range from her would have been nice. As it was I felt nothing when she finally stepped up to Ronald at the end of the episode. It is also quite possible that the material just wasn’t there for her.

The effects for Ronald were passible for the first half of the episode when they resorted to keeping most of his parts concealed in the dark; however by the end of the episode it became laughable. Part of the problem was that the acting just wasn’t up to snuff so the problems with the effects seemed to stand out a bit more. The other is that the show is just a bit dated. There is just something absurd about a guy launching his teeth at someone. And I did literally laugh out loud when Angel kicked his head across the room. FATALITY!

The Unknown

We still don’t know enough about Vampire anatomy, so once Ronald drugs Angel with a powerful tranquilizer we really don’t know what effect it’s supposed to have on him. It wasn’t a glaring plot hole. I just was left asking “huh?” afterwards. Just a little dialogue clarifying would have helped.
Although Ronald is imbued with a supernatural ability, he still is very much human. Are we meant to believe that he is still alive in those separate boxes that Angel buries? Angel does state that once separated his parts will deteriorate. If that’s the case, then Angel has just sentenced a human to his death. Up until this point both Buffy and Angel have given human’s passes when it comes to death. That’s something that is conveniently not addressed and just swept under the rug. I don’t see them revisiting this episode, but it is something that is kind of dark on retrospect.

Favorite Moment
The opening was very funny. I liked the fact that they continue to acknowledge the troupes they are falling into. Making fun of Angel’s batman-ness and just giving Doyle the funny line “Maybe I’m a little attracted.” Just made me really happy going into the episode.

Score: 55 out of 100.

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