Derek’s Review – 2.12 “Blood Money”

The Good:

Case of the week episodes haven’t fared so well in Angel up to this point.  There have been some stand outs, the fantastic “I Will Remember You” is certainly an outstanding standalone. However on the whole its more likely that the episode will be mediocre to bad. So I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. This didn’t ramp intensity of the Dark Angel storyline but it did keep him at a steady, interesting place.

The thing that really works for me in this episode is that Angel, while helping her, really does care for or respect Anne very much. In his scenes with her, he does a pretty convinced job of acting like his old self but there is no sincerity behind it. She really is just another tool in his plot against Wolfram and Hart. Anne herself though is so much more than a tool. The show doesn’t rely on the characters past on Buffy and barely even mentions it but Anne is a fully rounded character.  She’s compassionate but tough, caring but naïve. Unlike many pretty blonde girls that Angel have saved there is a definite sense she had a life before Angel and that she will live after him.

The scene in which Angel threatens Lilah in the car, he channels Angelus in a big way and it was incredibly effective. I think Angel’s performance in that car, is just that a performance, but it was completely believable that it frazzled Lilah so much. Angel’s plan here isn’t really that bombastic. This is probably a relatively low level scheme for Wolfram and Hart. But the fact that Angel foils is still significant. If I had to write out Angel’s revenge list, I suspect Darla and Dru are at the top but Lindsey and Lilah are not far behind. There is no denying that this is a filler episode but it does let Angel strike at his two lawyer nemeses as well.

The Bad:

I’m of two minds at the end of the episode when Angel gives Anne the money. On the one hand I very much want her to get that money. On the other hand I think it has a stronger ending if Angel denies her that money, telling her she really doesn’t want it. In some ways this episode explores the fact that Angel is still suffering with his identity. Can he really sever all ties to his humanity? But it a much stronger, albeit darker, ending when Anne loses all the money and she was nothing but a pawn to Angel.

The Unknown:

I really liked the stuff with the new Angel Investigations team or whatever they will end up calling themselves. It was just very brief. It was the appropriate amount of screentime for this episode. If there was anything more it would have felt divergent and distracting from the main plot. I was just left wanting more. It’s something I could say of every Wesley, Cordelia and Gunn story so far this season.

I suppose it is confirmed in this episode that the world is set up in a binary system. On one side there is the Powers That Be and on the other the Senior Partners. I say this because it appears the Senior Partners are beholden to fate. Though Lindsey does it in the whiniest way possible he does make a good point about why they don’t just kill Angel, even if he is a great many prophecies, killing him certainly takes care of the mystery of which side he will be on in the end. The Powers That Be and the Senior Partners are the closest that the show has gotten to any kind of straight religious mythology. Though from what we’ve seen of the Powers That Be I don’t think it will be a wholly good vs evil conflict.

Favorite Moment:

The moment where Anne confronts Angel really hit me as the strongest moment of the episode. She refuses to be used but Angel is rather unabashed his attempts to use her. Yet at the very end of the scene when Angel tells her that unlike him she still cares, there is a real sadness in her voice. The reason this storyline has been so continuously effective is that they constantly show Angel being self aware. He knows he is not behaving correctly and in some ways he doesn’t want to be this way. He just can’t help himself.

Bottom Line:

While not a particularly exciting or even memorable episode, it was certainly solid. Anne is a great character whether you know her past appearances on Buffy or not. This episode accomplished its most difficult task in having Angel help someone without cutting the tension or intensity of the Dark Angel arc.

63 out of 100

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