Derek’s Review – 2.22 “No Place Like Plrtz Glrb”

The Good:

This wrapped Cordelia and Angel’s stories in really satisfying ways. It also continued to use Fred really nicely. All along this Pylea arc has been good at servicing these three characters and wrapping things up here made for a solid finale. I’m still very much interested in this four part standalone episode as a finale experiment. It wasn’t perfect but they’ll pulled it off pretty nicely. Everything in season two falls under the umbrella of identity but I like that the majority of the season was devoted to Angel struggling with duality and the remaining episodes covered Cordelia and her visions. I respect that the creative team didn’t drag out the Darla stuff so there was grand showdown lined up with the end of the season. They told that story in the time it needed to be told and didn’t have to pad for time.

As for this finale, like I said it was solid. There is always something exciting about a castle being stormed. I enjoyed the dual action scenes as Wesley led the charge to save Cordelia, only for her to save herself (thank God) and Angel challenging the Groosalug. They also pulled off the emotional side with dealing Fred’s bond with Angel and Cordelia telling Groo she’d never give up her visions. The latter such a great scene proving how far that character’s come but more on that in a bit (see: Favorite moment).

Lastly the final moment is rather necessary from a larger Buffyverse perspective without being overshadowing. The finale doesn’t rely on that moment where Angel realizes Buffy has died. It simply needs to recognize because it happened. It’s a sad reminder that the world these characters fight in is a dangerous one, even if Pylea was a rather bloodless adventure as far our heroes are concerned. If next season, Angel is mourning Buffy for half a season then it’s a problem. This moment is an appropriate, economical and most important effective moment that needed to happen in some way.

The Bad:

Wesley and Gunn continued to be a problem here but in a different way. I can now besides some funny reaction shots and lines there was really no reason for Gunn to go to Pylea. He should have had his own adventure in LA and have been at the hotel with Willow in the final moments. They managed to give him a few lines that connected bad to his guilt over leaving his gang and that was fine. It was as much as we could have hoped for at this stage.

On the Wesley side, I didn’t feel we got a complete story here. He was perplexed at being chosen as leader again and then the next scene he’s hardened battle commander giving out the harsh orders. There was no scene that transitioned us there or any reflection afterward, it just happened. I’m perfectly willing to accept that Wesley has confidence issues but really is quite a competent leader when he is forced into that role. That’s not the story that was told here. It was cool to see that pretentious side of him transform into that ruthless resolve but it happened too abruptly in this episode.

The Unknown:

I’m not sure what to make of Cordelia and Groo. Groo is a pretty face with a pleasant personality, he doesn’t have much of a character. However, there are so many female love interests that are exactly that, they’re sex appeal and they’re boringly pleasant. So while I may not like Groo too terribly much, I appreciate how much dominant Cordelia is the relationship. The only thing that I could really describe as problem is Cordelia’ pronouncement of love. It exists to tease/joke about a romantic connection between Angel and Cordelia. It’s just not a particularly funny joke because there is believability to Cordelia actually loving Groo. I have no problem with her being sad about leaving him behind in Pylea but accelerating the relationship to love in two days is way too much.

Cordelia designating Gunn to explain racism is a weird moment. I like his speech and Gunn deserves to deliver it. I would have preferred he took the initiative and did it on his own. In the actual episode it feels way too transparent that the token POC is going to speak about racial injustice.

Favorite Moment:

As mentioned before it is Cordelia telling Groo she can’t give up her visions. It started off shakily at first but the last quarter of the season did a good job of exploring the relationship between Cordelia and her visions. They have impacted her life in a rather negative way but she can’t let them go. She’s willing to take the pain in exchange for the reward of helping others. We are only two seasons into the show and Cordelia’s transformation to selfless heroine is already impressive.

Bottom Line:

This is a pleasant episode. I enjoyed myself but don’t very overly positive (or negative) about it. It was fine and wrapped up the Pylea arc nicely. It just didn’t do much for me on an emotional scale.

64 out of 100

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