William’s Review – 2.21 “Through the Looking Glass”

The Good

The humor in this episode worked a lot better than last week. Maybe there being less overall problems let the jokes hit that much harder. Or it’s possible that the writing was just a bit cleverer. In either case I found myself enjoying the pace of the episode and having a bit of fun. The Numfar dancing scene is one of the most memorable moments in the series. It was very funny and I even loved the build up to the moment with Angel mouthing “Mom.” There were little clever lines sprinkled throughout the episode. They had a lot of meta jokes about the show from Lorne commenting on “I fall to pieces” or Cordelia pointing out the demon pregnancies. There were even just lines like Fred commenting on the Pyleans making Cordelia princess. The writing was definitely much improved this week.

So we finally know the girl in Cordelia’s vision is Fred. I thought this was a very strong episode for this character. She already has a great sense of history. She seems like her psyche is very fractured after five years in Pylea and experiencing unknown tortures. While this story is pretty dark there is something very sweet about her and I like how even though she does end up getting saved in the episode by Angel, she still shows herself to be resourceful and intelligent.

Angel’s story worked here. He had already seemed to fantasize about Pylea being a place that he would enjoy in previous episodes. So him reveling in his hero worship felt like a natural occurrence for the character. I liked Lorne getting to give Angel words of wisdom again. Of course Pylea is not just the fantasy land and has some actual darkness to it. I liked Angel finally getting to snap out of it once he has to save Fred. I liked his interaction with her in the cave. He treats her very gingerly, but sweetly. It worked very well in contrast once Angel goes vamp face and the Hulked out roid vampire comes out. The sight of him becoming just a brutal vampire that even rips that palace guard was actually pretty shocking. Props to the makeup department because I think this is the best they’ve done for demon make up in quite some time. I really enjoyed the scene when Angel returns to his human form. It was a believable performance from Angel. It may have been on the nose for him to talk about Wes and Gunn seeing his “true self,” but the scene still serviced Fred very well. I loved her comforting him and showing a very real need for human interaction.

The Bad

Please forgive me I’m going to try and not nitpick.

The beginning of the episode was very strange. I felt pretty out of character for Cordelia to joke about killing the guys. I didn’t find it overall very funny. It may have been a bit of hang up from last week or maybe I was going into the episode with the wrong expectations, but the beginning of this episode felt pretty flat.

The direction of Gunn and Wes’s story felt pretty scripted. It was bad, but it was the weakest of the stories in the episode. Gunn mainly serviced to react to things, Wes mainly was exposition man, and of course they would run into the rebels mentioned several times in the episode. I think it’s obvious where there story is going and I felt the writers finger prints here.

I was not a fan of the over dramatic moment of Fred raising her bloody hand in the hair with Braveheart music blaring. I could have just been overly sensitive to the music in the moment, but it did seem over the top and take me out of the moment. Still I liked that it was another moment to see that Fred is clever and resourceful, though I don’t know how she knew that would attract Angel. Meh.

The Unknown

I highly doubt they killed Lorne off screen when this arc has been a big part about him, but we did have Doyle in season one. I can’t honestly remember my initial reaction to this moment on first watch so it’s been interesting on rewatch.

Favorite Moment

For my favorite moment I choose Cordelia sticking up for herself to the Covenant. I was nice getting Cordelia back to her old self. I liked how it worked thematically with the episode and how it followed Groo talking her up. She seemed to have gotten her backbone back. It was also the most threatening the Covenant has seemed and solidified them as the main bad guy going into the finale.

Bottom Line

This was solid and had some great moments. I thought the beginning was a bit clunky and there were some moments that I felt detracted from the overall episode. That being said I still enjoyed this and it was a step back in the right direction after last week’s episode.

69 out of 100

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