William’s Review – 1.18 “Five by Five”
These crossover episodes seem to have a certain energy to them that standout. Both the writing and acting were taken up a notch and made for a really entertaining episode.
Hey, we actually have Wolfram & Hart doing stuff in this episode! I actually don’t mind jumping straight into the storyline as it gave the episode a frantic start. It was nice to get the three familiar lawyers we’ve seen thus far. All of their interactions were great and popped. Lindsey and Lilah seem to be the most entertaining with them being fully entrenched in the gray, morally. Creep Sheldon Cooper(Lee) is a bit too mustache twirly, but then again it was great to see Faith trounce him. The Angel and Lindsey scene was a nice verbal standoff. I like how neither of them stands down and it was a great machismo moment. Equally as entertaining was the scene between Lilah and Faith. It was wonderful to see Lilah, a character that doesn’t startle, truly scared and helped to sell the threat of Faith.
I found that the flashbacks worked well in this episode. I liked that they contrasted well with the energetic flow with the episode. They explored a time we haven’t really scene with both Angelus and Darla’s relationship and a recently ensouled Angel. The first flashback was able to show us the sexual depravity that a vampire couple would have and clashed well with the future flashback that showed how Angel(now ensouled) had changed. I also find it really interesting that once Angel gets cursed with his soul the first thing he does is go to Darla for comfort. It makes perfect sense when they’ve been together for around 140 years. The rejection Angel receives from Darla in that scene worked well as contrast with the end of the episode when Angel was then able to comfort Faith.
Faith was more developed in this one episode than anything we had previously seen on Buffy. I think mostly because she was actually given the opportunity to show some range. I love how they were able to show everything about Faith you needed to know in very few scenes. The club scene especially stood out as it was able to effectively show her fractured state. I can completely see where Faith is mentally, that she feels the need to do this nightly to keep running away from what she has done. I really loved the scene where Faith shows up in Angel’s office. It was great in ramping up the stakes and there was really on screen energy between the two. That scene was able to add an emotional weight to the fight at the end of the episode. Again like the Penn fight in Somnambulist this was two super beings going to town. I thought it was well choreographed and well shot. The ending was fantastic (see favorite moment).
Wesley’s journey in this episode was great. I loved how it contrasted with Angel’s story in this episode. Wesley first stands up for helping a “sick girl,” only to turn around, with knife in hand, ready to kill her. I thought his torture scene was an interesting development for his character. Anytime they’ve had him play a scene straight it stands out. I love the moment when it looks as though he’s going to try and reach Faith one last time for him to finally turn on his torturer.
It is a little strange having Angel Investigation act like they’ve been constantly dealing with Wolfram & Hart. I’m all for jumping straight into stories, but if they are going to be our only overarching thread in season one, then we need to see every interaction they have with each other.
I’m not usually a huge stickler for things like this, but Cordelia’s crying scene to Angel didn’t work for me. Both writing and acting were questionable. Didn’t take too much away from the episode, it just was something that stood out in an otherwise fantastic episode.
After being brutally tortured how will Wesley respond to the current situation? I’m also unsure how to read the last moment with him. Is he dropping the knife out of shock of how Angel is now holding her or is he hit with the fact that he was completely prepared to murder a human being.
Faith breaking down into Angel’s arm was very emotive. Part of me didn’t know how well Eliza Dusku’s acting was going to hold up in the scene. I’m happy to say she played the scene great. I got exceedingly choked up at her line “Please Angel, just do it.” I thought the scene was very striking with the use of rainfall and as the emotional climax of the episode I don’t think they could’ve done a better job.
I was really surprised how much this really hit me on Rewatch. Of course I knew this would be a good episode, but was surprised how emotionally effective it was. The way the episode was able to tie Angel’s flashback and Faith’s fall was very well done. I’m so excited for next week.
Score: 82 out of 100