Derek’s Review – 1.13 “She”
I thought Jhiera was a very cool idea for a demon. With the exception of Buffy there have been very few female superheroes on Angel so far. I also was big fan of her fighting style and I like the world building. The idea that there are other superheroic creatures doing good in the world besides Angel and Buffy is a nice one that I hope the show comes back to again. And while the metaphor couldn’t exactly be called subtle I thought it worked, at least a bit.
I also really liked how Cordelia and Wesley integrated into the plot. Wesley displayed another advantage over Doyle in this episode. While Doyle and Cordelia were content to merely sit and do research because they were sane human beings. Wesley has a hyperactive eagerness to please that draws both him and Cordelia into dangerous situations. Wesley wanting so desperately to please Angel was not only amusing in itself but led to interesting situations and dynamics. A statement that could describe Wesley’s presence in his episodes thus far except “Expecting” where he was a total tool.
While the idea of Jhiera as demonic Wonder Woman was cool, in execution it left a lot to be desired. If they had removed the Angel and Jhiera sexual tension it probably would have worked better but the actress didn’t help matters. Bai Ling had almost no facial expressions the entire episode. She was meant to be a bit emotionally closed off or at least suppressed like Angel. However there were moments where she was supposed to be losing control and I felt none of that.
The most glaring issue is the supposed sexual tension between Angel and Jhiera. Not only was it unconvincing it was distracting. I understand by having the two character become more and more attracted to each other it was supposed to spice up the exposition being delivered. I can’t fault David Boreanaz. He has had three and half seasons practice playing a character who desperately wants to bone but can’t after all. I just didn’t understand at all why Jhiera was losing her control around Angel or buying that it was happening. Jhiera just seemed to bored no matter than the situation and here she just was bored and having an asthma attack.
They haven’t really played up the romantic angle to Angel much on the show. This has been two episodes in a row where they’ve made a point of showing Angel struggling socially and introducing a love interest for him. I’m not that concerned about every woman introduced being a potential love interest for Angel but it is a bit concerning.
It’s just a confusing decision why introduce romantic relationships for a character who can’t consummate them. I understand it is a TV convention but why does it need to be a factor in Angel connecting with the world. They don’t have to make Angel asexual but why have it be a topic at all.
Which brings me to my next point, Jhiera and “her girls” do have a literal sexual attraction power, right? Unless Wesley is incredibly msyongonistic and inappropriate that is how I interpreted his drooling over the demon ladies at the end. So what portion of Angel’s attraction is real and what is magically induced? Is Jhiera deliberately using her power to control Angel? Because the attraction it becomes strongest in moments of argument. Who knows? Bai Ling with her dead eyed performance surely isn’t going to tell us.
The biggest question of all though, how did Jhiera think her stripper outfit would be an adequate outfit to fight evil? Or is the biggest weapon in her arsenal not powers of spontaneous combustion but BEWBS.
I love Cordelia and Wesley in this episode, most specifically when they break into Tae’s hideout. Despite his problems at times Wesley’s inclusion into the group has really transformed the group dynamics into something that feels fresh. I especially liked that even though he is officially a member of Angel Investigations he isn’t about to settle down anytime into Doyle’s role. If anything Wesley having a paycheck will probably make him more awkward.
Obviously better than last week’s episode but that’s not a huge feat. The only way this episode could be worse was if Wesley and Angel decided women really were evil and started breaking off Jhiera’s sexy spine bone themselves. That being said Jhiera was more confusing and boring than alluring and powerful. She’s definitely built for future appearances but I wouldn’t be surprised if she never appears again. And honestly I hope she doesn’t.
54 out of 100