Derek’s Review 1.05 “Rm w/a Vu”

The Good:

The fact that Cordelia was essentially our damsel of the week hopefully marks an end or transition to that formula. Making one of our leads being the source of the supernatural trouble this week not only made it a lot easier to care but moved the episode along nicely. There was no struggling to connect an abused woman to why Cordelia’s life just isn’t fair. This was Cordelia’s story and it was refreshing and entertaining chain of pace. There were some logic problems at play here but the core emotional story arc here was pretty strong. The episode maybe relied a bit too much on knowledge of events of Buffy and who Cordelia was there to get you through it but Angel’s exposition worked well. Every character felt involved from the start.

I also really liked how they portrayed Cordelia in this episode.  Even if you didn’t watch Buffy everyone can relate to the “resident bitch” of the High School, Cordelia really shouldn’t be as likable as she is but she was pretty sympathetic in this episode. Part of that is Charisma Carpenter’s acting which I thought was strong throughout but it is a big part of how she is written. Cordelia is extremely self-aware and she knows how she treated people was wrong but “Rm w/a Vu” also portrayed Cordelia’s “bitchiness” as a strength. The episode manages to portray Cordelia’s past actions as wrong but still show there is nothing wrong with her speaking her mind.

The Bad:

When Cordelia was confronted with death in “City Of…” she still fought back. Even after learning the apartment is haunted she doesn’t give up (for shallow Cordy reasons but whatever). So I didn’t really feel how quickly she gave up here and resorted to straight on hysterics. I know she very nearly dies but that is isn’t an uncommon event for her. I feel it’s very much a construction of the episode to get her to rise up and as a result I don’t feel connected to her “fall”. When the bitch does come back, I’m all kinds of on board with it and it works for me, wonderfully, it’s just a slight bit disappointing beforehand.

The Unknown:

Doyle’s subplot feels very much the part one of a later episode. If last week’s episode ended my tolerance for damsels with zero agency, so helpless I’m surprised they could even find the office building. This week ends my tolerance for lack of Doyle information and background. Even without the Buffy show, Angel and Cordelia fit enough of archetype that you know them or character like them. Of course Doyle as the petty criminal with a heart of gold is archetype too but we need more.

Also speaking of our new secondary characters what is Kate’s deal? Is she merely there to be a potential love interest or Commissioner Gordon for Angel or as some disturbing Batman fan fiction would paint it, both. The ease in which Angel ropes her into this particular investigation is plot convenience but she should be asking more questions.  Especially since they really have portrayed as a pretty sharp detective and character. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Kate especially since the romantic tension actually sort of worked between Angel and her this week. Well better than any previous week which is not saying much.

Best Moment:

Cordelia has a lot of great moments both funny and dramatic but my favorite has to be when she is talking to Angel about she is being punished for the way she acted in high school. It fits in great with the redemption theme of the show and Charisma Carpenter plays it beautifully as always. It’s a scene that much better depicts Cordelia’s headspace then when Mrs. Pearson is taunting her.

Bottom Line:

This was Cordelia’s “In the Dark”, there were some logical issues but at its core the emotional story and character study of her character was good. Just not as good as “In the Dark”

63 out of a 100

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