Derek’s Review – 2.05 “Dear Boy”

The Good:

This is my favorite episode of the season so far. If it was just 40 minutes of Angel and Darla in the convent, it would be my favorite episode of the series. There is something so mesmerizing toxic about Darla and Angel together. I never really found this quality in the flashbacks. I think because they are both vampires so we except the worst of them. In this episode though Angel is fully ensouled and while he’s been screwed up by these dreams, he is fully conscious of his action. Angel knows that he is behaving irrationally but he doesn’t care. He is legitimately terrifying in this episode and I feel as if he really is a man/vampire on the edge. Angelus can be a terrifying figure and he definitely has a predatory nature, but he kills you with a smile. This is effective but there is something far more scary about the unaltered rage that Angel exhibits in this episode. Yet the “good” Angel is still in there. This episode really shows Angel’s dual nature in a terrific way, especially in the convent scenes. He often switches between the “good” Angel, to the “bad” to Angelus in the same sentence.

Angel only covers one half of the pair though, Darla is on full display here. In the dreams she was seductive and slightly creepy. Here she gets to spread his wings as a master manipulator. Kate has become a repugnant character but Darla’s manipulation of her is expertly played. Wolfram and Hart whole plan works out wonderfully in this episode. There are loopholes which Gunn points out but you can’t deny it’s working.

The appeal of Darla isn’t just in her ability to play bad so very, very well but in her complexity. The revelation that she is human in this episode didn’t hit me like it did in first watch, because I knew it was coming. Yet there is something really disturbing about a human acting and believing herself to be a vampire. If Angel’s dual or triple nature is on display in the convent so is Darla’s. The moment where she cracks and her humanity shines through are great to watch. She can’t help but be petty and jealous when Angel mentions Buffy. It’s clear in the flashbacks and present day that Darla is really in love with Angel or Angelus. On Angelus (or Angel’s)  part he seems to be attracted her on just a sexually level for Darla there seems to be genuine affection, twisted and dark affection but affection.

The Bad:

Kate is basically at an irredeemable place as a character. It’s possible they could turn her around but only if they completely change her trajectory and just ignore her actions since her father’s death. Kate’s spiral was alright in the beginning of the arc. It wasn’t my favorite decision but there was some thought behind it. Kate would twist facts to support her narrative that all demons, including Angel, are evil. Now Kate is straight up ignoring facts. The moment where Gunn, Cordelia and Wesley lay out the events and point out all the plot holes in Kate’s theory should be a return to logic for her. It should be her “Come to Jesus” moment. Instead she stubbornly clings to her illogical theory that Angel attacked a defenseless woman and killed her husband when she knows it is not true.

I do have problem with how dorky they play Angel in the beginning of the episode. There is a problem with tone there. They do a great job of building up to him going completely psychotic but he should start the episode a bit unstable. He shouldn’t start it off making jokes and being the dorky Angel, who I love, but this isn’t the episode for that guy.

The Unknown:

I have no real problem with the flashback scenes in themselves. They are well done and they certainly illuminate some things. I just don’t feel they belong in this episode. I don’t think they have any revolutionary information revealed in them. It’s true we see Angelus at the height of his cruelty but I don’t understand what Drusilla’s origins relate so closely to present day.

Favorite Moment:

“God doesn’t want you. But I still do.” Is one of my favorite lines in the entire series. It is economical and so informative. No matter what Angel does his nature and deepest urges will always be that of a vampire. He will always want to kill, his instincts are to kill. Yet Darla doesn’t care she wants him. There should be something tempting in that for Angel, he is constantly at war with himself and here is Darla giving him an out. It is obviously the completely wrong path for him but it tells us so much about their relationship in eight words.

Bottom Line:

This episode gets out to an unsteady start. Kate is the worst human being ever to live. The Drusilla flashbacks are unnecessary. Yet I could watch Angel and Darla interact in that convent forever. If it was nothing but that I would score the episode in the 90’s. As it is I have to give a lower score, besides Kate nothing is really bad, it’s just not amazing.

75 out of 100

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