Derek’s Review – 1.21 “Blind Date”
This episode that gives us backstory of a character that exactly no one was asking for, Lindsey’s. This a competent episode. The story of Lindsey’s childhood humanizes him but like Angel I’m not invested in that story. I appreciate that the episode doesn’t try to make Lindsey sympathetic. They stress that this change in him isn’t genuine, he doesn’t really want to turn away from Wolfram and Hart. The way the episode ends it confirms, Lindsey goes back to being evil. However the episode doesn’t feel pointless. This serves as a nice counter-point to the Faith arc, except with a character who we know and care about far less. But it’s not a bad or boring episode it just sort of coasts along.
The introduction of Holland though is the big moment though. While he mostly just has philosophical conversations with Lindsey, essentially about the same topic. “We’re evil but we cool with it.” He is really unsettling. He is kindly old uncle with a soul of blackness. The actor does a magnificent job of promoting a friendly exterior but that warmth never meeting his eyes.
It was also refreshing to see a female villain (and not one that is super sexualized). Vanessa Brewer is effectively creepy and unsettling. We also get another human villain. The show hasn’t delved too much into the moral aspect of this but I like that the fact that psychotic people exist in this world and they aren’t demons. That is just a sad fact of our own world and Angel doesn’t need to justify it, well not that much anyway.
It is really hard for me to feel tense when watching anything. Obviously this being a rewatch the chance of me getting caught up in a scene so much that I forget the outcome, is next to impossible. Still I can’t say the multiple moments in this episode where you think they might kill off Lindsey or Angel might be caught do nothing for me. They are simply too drawn out that it becomes clear that nothing that serious is going to happen. Even Lee Mercer’s “unexpected” killing did little for me.
The bizarre thing about this episode is that it is the penultimate one of the season because nothing about it seems penultimate. I suspect Holland wants things to happen exactly as they do in this episode. Meaning that Lindsey turns on them, Angel sneaks into Wolfram and Hart and he gets that prophecy. All of this a very cool idea and adds even more mystery to Holland but none of it feels like it is building to something climatic. This feels like a middle of the season episode placed at the very end and that’s just weird. But yet again the show just figured out what kind of show it was three episodes ago. The show is definitely serialized at this point but I don’t know what to except or how I am supposed to feel going into the finale. I don’t know if it is a good or bad feeling to have, hence the title of this section.
I suspect we will see Lindsey in the finale, so his new position will play into events. I also suspect that prophecy will play a role but nothing about those elements feels like they have to address them. There is a lack of urgency in this episode and while not bad it is weird.
My biggest problem with Gunn last episode was that J. August Richards just seemed to be hating the character he was playing. Gunn had no life in him but I loved Gunn in this episode. The scene where he breaks into Wolfram and Hart is among the funniest scenes the show has produced thus far.
This an average episode, there is nothing awesome about it. There is also nothing terrible about it. I should be a bit more critical of it because this is episode before the finale and almost nothing is set up for it. Yet I still found myself enjoying this episode, Vanessa was creepier and Holland even creepier. Unfortunately Angel proved in this first season that it can be quite terrible and this episode is not anywhere near that bad.
66 out of 100