Derek’s Review – 2.07 “Darla”

The Good:

There is something oddly tragic and romantic about Darla and Angelus’ “love story” as it plays out in this episode. Now obviously they are both fifty shades of screwed up and evil sociopathic monsters but there is a real sense of love there. At least from Darla, Angelus seems more possessive of her than anything but Darla truly seems to love him. This episode doesn’t quite reach the climax of something like “Dear Boy” but it does give us some wonderful background into Darla and develops her in present day.

The most interesting to me is probably Darla’s views on vampirism. I think for Angelus and Angel both being turned is a punishment, Darla and unknown human name believe it is a gift. They drive home Darla’s age a lot in this episode. In all honesty it was pretty clear they hadn’t figured out the exact dates before but now that they did the audience must know immediately that she is 400 years old, so say it every other scene. However it works because there is a sense of experience and regal-ness to Darla that isn’t seen in younger vampires. At this point they’ve really developed Darla, in the past, as a fully developed character and it makes perfect sense why the newly human Darla wants to go back to that at the end of the episode.

Darla’s soul finally catching up to her was another oddly tragic thing. In “Dear Boy” it was clear that her dogged pursuit of her Angel mission was all that was keeping her together, so it makes sense that when Wolfram and Hart give her a week off she crumbled. I loved her wrestling for who or what she is, is she a vampire or human, is she Darla or the nameless whore that was killed by the Master. It is different reaction than Angelus suddenly and harshly coming to terms with everyone he’s killed when he gets a soul but it’s no less effective, probably much more.

The Bad:

As a character I don’t like Lindsey, but just because someone is unlikable doesn’t mean they are a bad character. Wesley has plenty of unlikable character traits, how he treats Gunn on a regular basis is rather repugnant, but he is one of the most complex characters on the show. Lindsey, however, is not. They are desperately trying to give him depth and twisted moral compass and it isn’t working. The show’s damsel obsession is off-putting but to its credit Angel is always completely chivalrous. There is never any sexual attraction with the truly helpless ones, so it makes Lindsey’s attraction to Darla who is going completely insane rather gross. I believe they are trying to draw parallels between Lindsey and Angel but what they are actually doing is make me hate Lindsey even more.

The Unknown:

Holland Manners is a walking question mark. The show seemed to have laid out Wolfram and Hart’s season long plan, use Darla to make Angel lose his soul. Now that might still be the endgame but for now it just seems like the cover plan. I suspect when Holland saves that Angel needs to save Darla’s soul, his definition for that phrase doesn’t line up with any other decent person’s. The Master, in his priest disguise, saying the same thing before he turns the woman who would become Darla is no accident. While “Dear Boy” was the definitive conclusion of the Darla dream storyline, this is very much the start of a new storyline, I just don’t know. All the Darla stuff has been at a consistently high quality that season one was never able to reach so I’m looking forward to it.

Favorite Moment:

Before Lindsey ruins it by sticking his gross tongue down Darla’s throat, Darla wrestling with his identity in his office manages to reach the heights of something like the end of “Dear Boy” or Faith doing the same thing in “Sanctuary”. I’m pretty sure Julie Benz can make any line work but her asking Lindsey what he brought back when he raised her, gave me chills.

Bottom Line:

This a very solid start to new Darla centric arc. It’s exciting to change gears so fast from Darla working for Wolfram and Hart to running from them and Angel; but I have no clear sense of where this story is going. This is not a bad thing I just can’t be as excited by this episode as I was by the other Darla-centric episode of this season “Dear Boy”.

71 out of 100


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