Williams Review – 1.11 ” Somnambulist”

The Good

Somnambulist I found pretty entertaining. Yes it has Hawkeye, but more importantly it does something that I always gravitate towards and focus on a bit of Angel’s past.

Whereas Parting Gifts showed a dark mirror of Doyle with Barney, I enjoyed the inclusion of Penn who was a dark mirror of Angel. Penn being a faux Angelus worked well in exploring Angel’s current relationship with his darker half. I love how emotional Angel seems throughout the episode. He’s equal parts pissed and distraught. You can see that he feels a sense of responsibility for these deaths, even after he knows its Penn. Three moments in showing Angel’s attitude in the episode really stand out. First is the scene between him and Cordelia where he is extra pissy and ends up almost walking out into the sunlight because he’s so out of it. Two is when Angel sees the police photos and says “he’s reliving it” he seems genuinely shaken up which we really haven’t scene. Three is when Angel comes out to Kate. Again he is rougher around the edges, but I really enjoyed how direct he was and the visual of him grabbing her cross was very effective.

I liked Cordelia a lot in this episode. She is so supportive of Angel throughout the episode. I loved the bit with Wesley where she’s defending him till Angel says Wesley’s right. She does immediately flip script, but in a very Cordelia way. None of her comedic beats in this episode came from her being vapid or her old self. Everything was very pragmatic. Her scene with Penn was also nice. She caught on very quickly that he was pumping her for information and I loved how quickly she went to the window to defend herself. Lastly her scene at the end with Angel was just great (see favorite moment).

Even though Wesley is now in the opening credits, I’m glad he’s not a member of the team quite yet. We got very little of him in this episode and that was actually good. Maybe Doyle left more of a mark on me than anticipated, but I’m glad they are taking their time bringing Wesley into the fold.

The Bad

Two scenes immediately jump to mind. First being Kate’s monologue about the killer that perfectly describes Angel. Stylistically this bothered me, but other than that it’s the writer trying too hard to convince you that Angel is actually responsible for these murders. I don’t think they ever sold that throughout the episode. Secondly the scene that montages Kate researching, Angel walking/brooding, and Penn thinking was just terrible. It was a complete waste of time and really took me out of the show for a bit.

The Unknown

With Kate and Angel now at odds, what does that mean for our Batman Commissioner Gordon dynamic?

Favorite Moment

Cordelia and Angel’s last scene on the roof resonated with me the most. Where it seemed like the typical Doyle scene. I loved getting a sense of Cordelia and Angel’s friendship growing. Cordelia is completely there to pick him off the ground and get him going with a new job. She tells him everything he needs to hear including “oh I’ll kill you dead.”

Bottom Line

While not without its flaws, Somnambulist was rather entertaining on rewatch. I loved getting to explore more of Angel’s past and I liked him and Cordelia’s friendship growing. Also it’s an interesting wrinkle with Kate and Angel now at odds.

Score: 66 out of 100

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