Derek’s Review – 2.01 “Judgment”

The Good:

From scene one, this feels like a very different much better show than season one. It’s not just the great Angel Investigations team montage where we see how successful they have been in between seasons but that fantastic introduction of the Host. Caritas itself is a wonderful location for the show to establish and revisit in the future. It’s very fun but it’s also very Angel. One of the problems with season one is that they tried to sell us on LA being very much like our own world, but with a seedy demon underbelly. Technically Caritas is in that underbelly but overall LA is being to feel like a very different alternate comic book-y version of itself which is much more appropriate.

You could say that the show has struggled in it’s introductions of original characters. Gunn has basically become a different person since we first met him. Lindsey still feels like a work-in-progress to me. But with the exception of Lilah and Holland, no characters haven’t felt fully realized in their first appearance. The Host can now be added that number. He’s flamboyant, swaggering, charismatic and all around just engaging to watch.

This episode really solidified the group dynamics and stressed the Cordelia and Angel relationship. Wesley is present and I love him as a character but Cordelia and Angel scenes pop in a way that Wesley and Angel scene do not. The growth of their relationship and the loyalty they developed is one of the best things that season one did, amidst all its many misfires. It was also great see Faith at the episode end because there can never be enough Angel and Faith conversation.

The Bad:

Nothing really but some questions….

The Unknown:

I wasn’t gratified to see another women Angel had to save but part of me feels this was definitely a critique by the writers of their previous tropes. Jo, the pregnant women, isn’t an amazing character but she definitely had personality. She didn’t immediately accept Angel’s help. Angel was actually quite of a mess. It played almost like a parody of season one plots and I feel that might have been intentional. Hopefully, it was signal that this type of story is done. It’s doesn’t make Jo’s story a great one to tell, but it was better than the previous damsel episodes.

Darla’s brief scene was intriguing but confusing. I assume though that is exactly what the episode is going for though. Season one wouldn’t have had Wolfram and Hart reappear until episode ten so it was nice to get them right upfront but the Darla scene didn’t move that story forward. She definitely a bit unhinged and much different from the Darla of the past but we don’t know anything about her or what Wolfram and Hart are planning.

Favorite Moment:

As if there could be any other, Angel singing Mandy is one of my favorite moments of the series, period. It’s so amazingly funny and honestly one of Boreanaz’s best performances. So many different facets of Angel are played in that scene. Also I’ve mentioned it before but Angel being a socially awkward dork always wins with me.

Bottom Line:

This episode does very little wrong but it’s really trying to be anything truly exciting. It’s trying to be a great premiere and refresher and it is. The pilot of Angel was pretty strong but that was very different show to the once that season two is opening. “Five by Five” breathed new life into the show but it came far too late in the season. This really feels like the show relaunching itself and making a great first step.

66 out of 100

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