Derek’s Review -2.15 “Reprise”
I can’t say enough good things about the last ten minutes of this episode. There’s a very Shakespearean feel, it’s been seeded for such a long time and everything comes crashing down at once. It’s David Borenaz’s best acting to date, it’s extremely tense and it’s moody and dark in all the best ways. It never really hit until Rewatch that Angel’s storyline is a depression metaphor. So this really is his suicide attempt. If you look what Holland says to Angel in the elevator it isn’t jaw dropping or incredibly deep. It’s some pretty basic school of philosophy stuff, man is inherently evil. But inside the episode it works incredibly well.
The performances are instrumental in that, I’ve declared this is Borenaz best performance but I’ll back that up now. He’s done a great job all season of showing Angel’s internal struggle. He’s taken his level of brooding acting to a whole other level this season. We’ve seen Angel do some heinous things, but we’ve also seem him demonstrate an emotional pain with very little facial expressions. He has been so edge, the way many who suffer from depression are, that it all really does take is Holland to make that little push. In that “home office” reveal moment everything in Angel’s world comes crashing down and it’s immediately apparent. Holland does similarly excellent job but more on that in a bit.
The sex scene with Darla could have been very tricky. Again most of it is on Borenaz’s shoulders and he rises to the occasion. He’s given up fighting, he’s given up being Angel and just wants to be Angelus and we see him transition in that scene. One moment he is incredibly brutal with her and then he gently strokes his face. If done incorrectly this could feel and look ridiculous but it feels very natural transitions in Angel’s breakdown.
As for the rest of the episode, it does a good job of translating Angel’s emotional headspace to the screen. This is a dreary episode as it should be and there is a sense of impending doom.
But, it’s also pretty standard and boring. The glove is so unabashedly a McGuffin, a magical object that Angel needs to get to drive the plot forward. There is something successful about that formula, practically every Marvel movie besides Captain America Winter Soldier has used it in one or another. Marvel has made it work because of their quippy dialogue, funny characters and action set pieces but while this episode has the characters and the writing it’s not that engaging. I don’t particularly care if Angel gets the glove or not, or even what the glove does, most of the episode is pretty safe. I don’t think should have been something different, if you’re expecting the elevator scene to happen, the elevator scene loses almost all its appeal. It’s the shocking nature of the elevator scene, Angel’s reaction and subsequent actions that make this episode work.
The episode ends in a cliffhanger. It’s very much a part one of a two parter, even if they aired a week apart. So it definitely serves its function of making you want to watch the next episode. Though I think Angel’s story in this episode has a definitive end despite his drama queen gasp. (That was not one of Boreanaz’s best acting moments.) But the Angel Investigations stuff feels very incomplete. The scene where Wesley literally stands up to Angel is excellent but after that there is a lot of stalling. There is a general feeling of time filling until those last ten minutes because they are the proverbial money shot. Though a lot of the effective of those last ten minutes will be determined by the fallout in the next episode.
I also haven’t mentioned Kate once in this review. Her story is actually quite good. Even if the rest of the police believe in demons she should have fired a long time ago. She has been incredibly reckless and a danger to herself and other for a long time. Her story makes me sad in another person is suffering type of a way not because I care about her character.
In the elevator scene there is a moment where Holland smiles and it’s almost as if his entire face contorts. I almost positive there are no special effects involved but it’s incredibly effective. Boreanaz deals with the fallout expertly but without Holland’s truly disturbing performance that whole scene, this whole episode, fails.
This is an okay episode that the end manages to turn into a great one. The end is among the best sequences the show has ever done but this episode as a whole is far from the best.
67 out of 100