William’s Review – 1.05 “Rm w/a Vu”
There was some solid stuff in this episode and at the crux of it was Cordelia. Getting focus on one of our leads made this much more compelling than the typical damsel in distress. I liked getting her background story very simply with the scene between Angel and Doyle. Her “riches to rags” story makes her more interesting as we get to know her now that she has lost everything. The first scene that gave me real incite on the depth to Cordelia’s character was when she is talking to Angel about her punishment. This scene helped give her a real human presence as we see Angel isn’t the only one looking for some redemption. She has believable motivations, she’s self-aware of where she is at as a person, and it showed just how much she’s changed. The end of the episode was equally as strong. Cordelia’s moment to stand up for herself did a lot to add to her character. It helped me get behind her as it showed Cordelia’s inner strength. As much as we’ve seen her change, she still is a b*tch and she still talks her mind. I loved how they crafted her character in this episode. She went through a lot of personal growth, but still stayed true to who she was.
A particular scene with Doyle rubbed me the wrong way. When he assumes Angel and Cordelia slept together, his outrage and use of the phrase “wearing her down” bothered me. It was supposed to be comedy, but it didn’t come across that way. His dialogue in the scene makes Cordelia come across as some prize to be won and that Doyle is owed something for all his “nice guy” behaviors. I know this is a real world feeling that some guys feel they’ve been “friend-zoned,” but the fact that no one calls him out on his behavior is disappointing. It would have been a good moment to point that out and from a Joss Whedon show I expect better.
The pacing at the end of the episode was a bit of a problem. During the climactic scene with the spell/ghost/demon fight there was too much going on. I do like the escalated nature of this scene, but they didn’t handle it very well. They were still trying to drop exposition while all this was happening, so a lot of things got lost along the way. In particular Angel drops a line that the ghost had made some sort of connection with Cordelia and that only she should break it. That line is pretty important and they could have done a much better job of just trimming the fat earlier in the episode so we could get a more cohesive ending. Similarly we rush through Cordelia’s fall and rise rather quickly. If not for the strength of that moment I would have more of an issue with that scene. We then go to the Phantom Dennis reveal, which again felt rushed. I didn’t have a problem with each of these scenes individually, this just felt like an execution problem.
With us visiting Cordelia’s background and them continuing to tease Doyle’s shady past, I’m just left asking when we’ll finally learn more about him.
Cordelia’s “I’m a b*tch” speech was the scene resonated with me the most. Her finally coming to grips with who she is and standing up for herself was a great moment.
64 out of 100