William’s Review – 2.16 Epiphany
The homage to “Surprise” and “Innocence” was a nice touch at the beginning of the episode. It kept up with the misdirection of the soul just a bit longer. I question the need for Angel to dramatically breath in a thunderstorm, still it added to the dramatic effect. Seeing Angel truly hit rock bottom was enjoyable to watch. Him finally waking up felt like a long time coming and was a relief to see. I thought it was interesting how human Darla appeared after she realizes Angel still has a soul. The fact that she feels used after was sad and sympathetic which is impressive considering it’s about a soulless demon. I also found it chilling/dark for Angel to tell her to pack her things and get out or he’ll kill her. But in a way it was him showing mercy to someone who will inevitably go around killing other innocents. Overall a gray scene that was really interesting. Darla continues to grab my attention in these episodes as she continues to question my thoughts on vampires in this universe. She has some really human moments in this episode. The fact that she is so broken up by Angel that when she goes to Lindsey she actually humors him by telling him what happened and doesn’t just immediately kill him I find interesting.
Getting goofy Angel was different. It felt a little abrupt, but it was helped along with some key scenes. Having Angel go to The Host after the opener helped in this transition. The Host continues to be entertaining every time he’s on screen and I love how he plays off Angel. It was refreshing to have Angel bounce off the rock bottom and eased the tension we had been amassing for weeks now. Having Angel seek redemption from his friends was also something relatable. While we haven’t all hooked up with our evil vampire girlfriends or locked lawyers in with vampires, we have all messed up and hurt friends along the way and have seeked for forgiveness. Having the case of the week thrust Wes and Angel together also worked. Having Wes unable to save Cordelia by himself or even attempt to helps explain why Angel is even allowed to help in the first place. I liked Wes’s refusal to show interest in Angel’s life. Having Angel painfully try and relate was hilariously awkward. It was a also a moment where we got to see that goofy dorky Angel that we got in season 1 that has yet to make an appearance. It was also interesting once Gunn shows up. To see how defensive of Wes and Cordelia he is really shows where the gang is at.. I don’t think Gunn was personally hurt by Angel leaving, but he sees how it hurt Wes and Cordelia and stands up for them. It was just interesting to see how our different characters bounced off of Angel. I also found Cordelia’s “You really hurt my feelings” surprisingly effective. It’s a cheesy line, but I’m invested in that relationship so it kind of worked.
The end of the episode when Angel humbles himself before the group was nice. It was great to see the Angel we like show up again and it was satisfying having our group join up again. It was a sweet and selfless moment and I loved the line “No, I want to work for you.” Simple and completely likeable. I like the Cordelia still doesn’t accept Angel. She was the one most hurt by Angel stepping away and the most resistant to him coming back as we saw when he visited Wes in the hospital in “The Thin Dead Line.” But after Angel catches Cordelia after her vision maybe he can help out. It was a nice promise that after a bumpy ride the group can get back together, and that Angel can make amends.
Lindsey, oh god Lindsey. I mean I guess the writers were really aiming for him to appear pathetic here. If so it definitely worked. His hurt child acting was pretty outrageous. Having his angry jealously come out just made me keep saying out loud. “Darla just bite him already!” And did he literally just cowboy out to take on Angel? Wow…that was just special. Though it was satisfying seeing Angel beat the crap out of him. Why is he so obsessed with details about Darla and Angel doing it again?
I’m not a fan of the demon storyline here. For one the damsel Cordelia again and demon impregnate her AGAIN. I get that it needs to be Cordelia for them to rescue for the sake of the story. And it makes sense that Angel would have a special need to save Cordelia since that’s who he was closest with in the gang. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m not thrilled with her being in a scene where she gets the third eye put into her head. The one thing it does do is “put a clock” on the episode. Having a timer slowly countdown for the audience. It just feels like they could have done it in a different way. Also the demons didn’t feel threatening enough. It’s nice that they’ve had this story in the background for a while, it just would have felt better to have a bigger threat to drive Angel and the gang back together. That way it felt truly needed. But for continuities sake with the third eye I’ll try and just shrug it off.
It was really quick, but Lindsey does drop the bomb that the earth isn’t the “home office.” The fact that they needed to disenchant the ring during the entire elevator speech from “Reprise” was really interesting. Angel was in fact really close to a climatic fight and it’s interesting that W&H had to stall with Holland to keep that from happening.
So Stephanie and family got murdered? Are they ever going to address that? It was a shocking image, but they glossed over that REALLY fast.
Alright the “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do” speech still gets me. It’s probably the most popular piece of dialogue from the whedonverse and for good reason. It so eloquently and beautifully sums up what the show is now. I think it’s a great bit of writing and a great performance by Boreanaz. I don’t even mind Kate in the moment. Actually she does a great job as well. It is the most atheistic thing written on the show and I love that its immediately contradicted with Kate’s “I never invited you in.” It lets the moment stay genuine and not preachy.
While I don’t think this had enough emotion after last episode, it was still satisfying seeing Angel and the gang reunite. It was nice for the episode to feel a little lighter as we bounce back with Angel after hitting rock bottom. I only wish the demon story would have been a little more interesting to help with the transition back.
Score: 67 out of 100