William’s Review – 1.09 “Hero”

The Good 

The beginning of the episode was nice. Cordelia’s commercial was cheesy and fun as she tries to get Angel out of his post Buffy meltdown. Cordelia then relying on Doyle for her commercial was funny, but I can’t watch the scene without knowing the end and feeling the impending doom. I’m exceedingly grateful they spent the time dealing with the aftermath of last week. If you are going to have a very emotive episode I like getting to see the fallout afterwards. This was demonstrated noticeably in the first scene between Angel and Doyle (see favorite moment).

I thought both the build up introducing the Scourge as well as the backstory of Doyle worked nicely. It gave us a clear motivation of why Doyle is so readily willing to help. And the panning to each dead Brachen demon helped establish the Scourge as a viable threat (too bad we couldn’t have ended that there).

But this really was Doyle’s last hoorah. And I thought he shined throughout. Every scene with him seemed to have a certain level of conviction that added depth to each scene he was in. I loved the comradery between him in Angel earlier in the episode. The scene where he talks Rief into coming back was also nice in both humanizing the Listers and Doyle. Loved him emotionally standing up for Angel and telling the kid that running solves nothing. Also the scene between Doyle and Cordelia on top of the boat worked for me. It showed that there was actual chemistry between the two of them. Yes, they had to accelerate much of Doyle’s storyline in this episode, but I thought this scene was earned and long overdue.

The end was quite possibly the best part of the episode. The initial shock of Doyle making the sacrifice and the heartbreaking conclusion of Angel and Cordelia alone watching the commercial was very nice. I didn’t quite connect emotionally when Doyle gave up his life,  but I certainly felt the emptiness with our leads when we hear “Is that it? Am I done?”

The Bad

Ok, the Scourge were bad. Very bad. We get it. But no we had to make sure we knew that. It was like getting hit over the head repeatedly with a giant sign that said “Nazi Demons.” They literally are in gray nazi garb goose stepping down the streets of L.A. How does that work? No one notices them? Angel’s never heard of them? It’s a shame they couldn’t deliver after a pretty successful build up earlier in the episode. If that weren’t bad enough with them goose stepping down the streets of L.A, we then get the Listers who are hiding under floor boards.

A little subtlety would have served this episode a great deal. As it was having such a silly villain really took something away from Doyle’s sacrifice. I also equated the lack of emotional resonance with Doyle’s sacrifice because this was episode 9. Also just a small pet peeve, but killing a character the same episode that you develop them fully is bothersome. I’m looking at you Walking Dead.

The Unknown 

The Listers may be our first “friendly” demons we’ve met apart from Doyle. It’s an interesting concept to introduce for the show and I’m enjoying the focus on demonology.

With Doyle’s passing where does this story go?

And will we ever see the return of our Nazi demons? Personally I hope not.

Favorite Moment 

I decided not to go with the obvious one and instead went with Doyle and Angel’s first interaction recapping the events from last week. Their chemistry has been something I’ve really enjoyed on Rewatch. I like having Angel finding a genuine friend in Doyle and their male comradery has been refreshing to see. Doyle lifting up Angel’s spirits by state how heroic he was for giving up everything he wanted was very strong. I also loved the line about not knowing your courage till you’ve been tested that they would call back at the end of the episode.

Bottom Line 

This was a good Doyle episode as it should be. If not for a silly over the top villain, I would have really connected with it. That being said this still had some very strong scenes that stuck out to me.

Score: 69 out of 100

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