William’s Review – 3.04 “Carpe Noctem”

The Good

Fred was good in the episode. I liked the decision that they needed to deal with her crush as they’d built up her hero worship for the past couple of episode. I found Fred as sweet as always, so it was pretty emotive seeing her heart crushed when she walks in on Angel (Marcus) and Lilah. I also enjoyed Cordelia finding her afterwards (see favorite moment). Fred coming to the realization of the crush and it not going any further was alright. It’s nice that she could come to that realization herself.

But…

The Bad

Oh Carpe Noctem, how I hate you. Let me count the ways.

Every once and a while an episode will come a long and push all the wrong buttons for you personally. I found myself truly hating this episode. I tried wracking my brain and thinking of something in Buffy or Angel that had had this kind of effect on me. I’m hoping I don’t come across as overly sensitive or nitpicking, but I found this mean spirited, homophobic, sexist, and voyeuristic.

I’m not sure exactly what the episode was trying to do. It acted like this body swap was supposed to be fun and funny. After all getting to see Angel act differently than his normal self can be a plus, just look at Sense and Sensitivity from season 1. But it doesn’t help when Angel becomes a pretty pathetic individual. I get the point of Marcus getting live these young fantasies, but how the episode decided to tell these awkward and uncomfortable jokes bothered me greatly. I didn’t find the jokes about Marcus thinking Angel was gay were funny. I mean it’s not the first time we’ve teased that before, but this took a different tone entirely for me. I hated the moment when Marcus was breaking up with Wes. It was supposed to be uncomfortable sure, but I found this hard to watch not funny. I asked myself several times through this episode why are they subjecting me to this.

I was also not a fan of every girl Marcus came across he did his horn dog shpeal. He looks up and down every girl in the episode and all our characters either brush it off or ignore it entirely. I’m sorry, but even a weirded out look would have helped. OR we have characters like the girl from the club who just goes a long with it. I felt like the depiction of both men and women in this episode were pretty bad.  The episode seems to think it’s funny and they even acknowledge it at points when Marcus comments women are more than pieces of meat. I also got uncomfortable once Marcus goes on the prowl in the episode. It’s intentional, but the episode never seems to bring up that it’s creepy or predatory.

Ok I get that it’s a conceit of the episode that we can’t have people get that it isn’t Angel right off the bat, but this did zero favors for Cordelia. Gunn and Wes have the benefit of being gone for most of the episode (besides the Wes and Marcus scene *fiery rage building*), but how does Cordelia of all people not get that something is going on here. They even have her say “We were all thinking it, he’s Angelus again.” I’m sorry what?! If she truly thought that there would be fear and she would have an entirely different reaction. It was one of the dumber logical issues with the episode and something that definitely stuck out like a sore thumb.

I didn’t like how they tried to wrap this storyline up. Fred basically talks to herself at the end of the episode with Angel there. I get that it’s an awkward conversation to have, but this is a moment where you can even have Angel take some ownership in the situation. If the beginning of the episode had Cordelia telling Angel to do the mature thing and talk to Fred, then at the end of the episode Angel should probably have some input on that conversation. You know besides saying “I’d probably screw it up.”

The Unknown

Lilah gives Angel everything he needs for Gavin. I would think Lilah smart enough to not go near Angel after messing with Cordelia. I mean it works out for her because Marcus has control of him, but if that were actually Angel at the very least he’s throwing her out of the building.

Favorite Moment

Cordelia coming to Fred after seeing Marcus and Lilah I thought was the best scene in the episode. The episode had already built up a lot of rage from me, so I did sympathize a lot with Fred after they hurt her in the episode.

Bottom Line

I hated this. I thought characters didn’t act like they should. I didn’t see the point in portraying characters this way. I also hated that it dodged the Fred crush issue entirely. They even fumbled the end where they could have tried to salvage this garbage. Yes I’m probably being too harsh, but ultimately this hit me in every wrong possible way.

35 out of 100

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