Derek’s Review – 2.16 “Epiphany”

The Good:

This was another stellar performance by David Boreanaz. Once the incredibly misleading and teasing opening there is an immediate change in Angel. He holds himself differently, he is less tense, even when threatening there is a softness that wasn’t there before his epiphany. “Dark Angel” has been a fascinating character to study and watch this season but I was really happy to see Angel back. The wonderful, dorky and lovable character the show managed to find in the first season.

Angel’s awkward attempts to try to ingratiate himself back with his friends reminded me how much I missed them together. Though I am glad that none of them accept him right away and by episode’s end at best the tolerate him. Angel working for them is great way to continue to develop Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia without being tied to the Dark Angel story.

This does function as, and essentially is, a finale for the “Dark Angel”/Darla story arc. We still have six episodes to go in the season which is not a lot but I deeply appreciate that the show didn’t drag out this story. It feels an appropriate time to end it and while this isn’t action-packed this arc never was much about the action. It was about the emotions.

The Bad:

Lindsey is not only in another episode, he is another show and possibly planet. Lindsey dressing up in his hick attire and beating Angel with his shovel in the streets of LA might very well be the most ridiculous thing the show has done to date. This saying quite a bit because the show has included nazi demons, zombie cops and gypsies curses. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve done such a good job with Darla or such a bad job with Lindsey but the soulless evil vampire is way more sympathetic than the conflicted human lawyer. It’s probably both. He’s at such an extreme state at all times and it is really grating.

In a way, this scene makes sense. Lindsey has cast himself as the romantic hero in Darla’s life. He sees himself as white male protagonist #52 from a Nicholas Sparks novel. This where that scene would feel at home. The problem is this is not an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel and the whole thing feels incredibly over the top in concept alone. When you add on Lindsey’s overacting it just makes it so much worse.

The Unknown:

I’m very glad that Angel will be working for the new Angel Investigations and not be the boss again after his epiphany. Cordelia really needs to be given a spotlight in these next six episodes. With these new status quo they can easily find a way to do it. While I like Wesley’s lecture to Angel about how the visions have damaged Cordelia because of the performances, I would have really liked to see that occur before now. This is really the first time we are hearing about it and that’s a mistake. Cordelia was the closest one to Angel and she appears to be the most hurt when he cut them off. I have confidence in the show that their mending relationship will be an ongoing focus of the show and it should be.

I suppose that this the last time we see of Kate and Darla for quite a while. Julie Benz did yet another amazing job of humanizing her character. I really did feel for her “getting used” yet again which is impressive feat for a character who ruthlessly kill anyone if they annoyed her slightly. I understand why she leaves in such an unspectacular fashion then, but it does feel slightly anticlimactic.

Despite all her many troubles as a character, they write Kate a pretty good send-off. She had so many identity issues because of her erratic writing, it’s nice that she leaves the show trying to find herself. Yet because of the erratic writing I can’t feel anything but relief that this is the last we will see of her.

Favorite Moment:

“If nothing we do matters than all that matters is what we do.” Angel’s speech at the end to Kate is incredibly popular among fans and watching it again it’s easy to see why that’s the case. It encapsulates the philosophy of the character so incredibly well and it is a pretty beautiful sentiment. It’s not overly complex but there is depth and sweetness in its simplicity. The world can seem like a terrible and gigantic place but the good actions of a few do matter.

Bottom Line:

This the end as well as a beginning. There’s no big moment in this one like Angel sleeping with Darla but this episode moved much better than last week. It was far enjoyable mostly because of its lighter tone. Though Angel attempting to rejoin his friends was much more interesting than a search of mystical gauntlet.  The prevalence of Angel’s speech in the fandom means it loses a bit of specialty on Rewatch but that popularity is well warranted. The episode should be graded appropriately for that even if it a rather uneventful episode otherwise.

71 out of 100

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