William’s Review – 2.19 “Belonging”
The focus on the rest of the gang was the strength of the episode. All of the gang seems to be a little lost and down. I liked each individual story as they set up the arcs going forward. Gunn was the weakest of the Angel Investigation stories, but I still thought it worked well enough to show his splinter from his old gang. I’m happy that they are at least spending some amount of time addressing each character. Wesley was next up the chain. I liked getting more insight into his relationship with his father that they’ve hinted at in the past. Even though we get only one side of the phone call conversation, it was still pretty effective seeing Wesley’s expressions continue to drop more and more. That conversation had such a profound impact on him throughout the episode. For the most part Wesley has seemed to be a competent leader. But after this conversation he loses almost all of his confidence and falls back to his season one self. It was a nice bit of regression from the character and I thought worked in exploring some of the faults that Wes could have in this new position.
Cordelia by far got the most development out of the gang. Her getting one last crack at being an actress was interesting to go back to. We haven’t heard her talk about her acting career for a while now so it caught me off guard at the start of the episode when she is jumping back into that line of work. AND Oh boy did I feel really uncomfortable with the commercial scene. It’s impressive the level of hatred the writers made me feel for that director. It’s weird that there’s this meta thing going on with the objectification of Cordelia. We have her disrobe wearing this skimpy bikini and then immediately shame the audience by having this director be the epitome of misogyny. I’m not exactly sure what the writers are trying to say here, because we then jump to a joke about how great Cordelia looks when the rest of guys seem to drift off thinking about her. And then we immediately jump back to the sexist director from hell. The scenes were effective in making me feel super comfortable and angry so I guess that’s a plus? Ultimately I would have liked seeing someone stand up to that director. Or maybe Angel actually ripping his head off would have been nice. But really getting Cordelia thematically to be lost like the rest of the gang and trying to find her place in the world worked.
Hey we can call Lorne, Lorne now! I like every time they have Lorne on screen. I liked the inclusion of his cousin and getting a sense of history of where he comes from. They mined a lot of humor out of the differences between Lorne and Landok. Heck even Lorne’s real name worked as a joke they kept using. Obviously with Cordelia getting sucked into Lorne’s home dimension there will be more stories to be told. I was a fan of the start so I hope they can keep the laughs coming.
There was something sort of flat about the storyline here. Not a whole lot happened that was actually that interesting or took that many steps forward in any particular direction. The basis of the story was basically hunt down the monster and Cordelia getting sucked through a portal.
Gunn’s development worked alright, but I’m having an issue connecting with him. We don’t know enough about him. Unlike with the rest of gang I don’t get a great sense of what Gunn does when he’s not working at Angel Investigation. I get that his character is lost as he’s transitioning away from his gang, but I think they need to do a better job of getting me invested in his character. Hopefully they can drum up some more interest with this divide from his gang. As it is it felt pretty uninspired when George died.
The Drokken demon wasn’t exactly threatening. They did their best to make him strong and quick. I just found him lacking because of how cow like he was. He kind of had boar tusks and made an almost moo sound at one point. About the only scene I liked of the demon in was once the gang gets into the maze at the end, the shot of the demon on top skulking about worked pretty well.
Wesley’s conversation with his father was interesting. They’ve hinted about his relationship with his father before this on a couple of occasions. I’m not sure if they are building to something, but they’ve at least sparked my interest.
Angel throwing a sword through the Drokken demon. I don’t usually go for the action scenes but I thought this was different enough from what we normally get and was just cool visually. Also there wasn’t a lot of substance to the episode, so I just went with this.
This was a serviceable episode. There weren’t a lot of lows or highs. It couldn’t help, but feel a little lack luster as it feels like a part one to the arc of a longer story.
61 out of 100