Derek’s Review – 3.19 “The Price”
While maybe not my favorite case-of-the-week episode, it was certainly one of the best in a long time. “The Price” managed to pull something off that Angel has typically struggled with and Buffy was excellent at doing. This was a mostly standalone episode that connected to the mythology but all the characters got something to do. They had individual arcs. This could easily be considered Angel, Cordelia, Gunn or even Lilah’s episode rather than one specific character. This alone separates “The Price” from the typical standalone episode which are definitely character-centric.
This quite a bubble episode, which I almost always love, but I love that it took place mainly in the Hyperion. We saw new rooms and hallways of the hotel which we almost always do if something happens there. I liked the Scooby-Doo aspect of it. The splitting up into pairs, discovering mysterious rooms and everyone coming together for the final action.
As I mentioned though this wasn’t just demon-buggy hijinks. This was a fun episode that connected to the deep drama of Connor’s disappearance. Obviously it helps off the top that Angel caused this infestation by trying to get Connor back but it was more than that. I loved that Gunn’s reckless desperation to save Fred allowed him to understand Angel better. We got Cordelia’s feelings about Wesley’s betrayal and Connor’s kidnapping. Speaking of Wesley, while I absolutely wanted to smack him across the face for his immature response to seeing Gunn, Alexis Denisof acted the pants off that scene. I love what they are doing with Dark Wesley so far even if the road getting here was bit rocky.
I’m not infuriated by the damseling of Fred. It allowed Amy Acker to do something very different with her performance for the first time. She also managed to be Fred for the majority of the time and wasn’t ever really taken over by the bug thing attacking her brain. So while I didn’t mind that Fred became someone they all had to save, I didn’t necessarily like it. I enjoyed Amy Acker getting to play creepy because she is probably my favorite actor on the cast and has the biggest range. It was just slightly disappointing.
I’m going to bend the spoiler-free rule here a bit. I don’t think it’s a radical opinion to say that I hated Connor once he came back from Quor’toth. So Connor coming back as a teenager fills me with a certain amount of dread and it has nothing to do with him aiming a crossbow at Angel. I will try to remain open-minded but my overwhelming emotion at seeing Connor at the end of “The Price” was one of disappointment.
I really love the Lilah and Gavin scenes in this episode. This is probably the most I’ve enjoyed Gavin and it’s probably because Gavin is enjoying himself. I appreciated the robot Gavin because he was such a stark contrast to Lindsey but I appreciate it even more that he actually appears to like messing with Lilah now. The best thing about their interactions is how Gavin indirectly gets Lilah to succeed while thinking he has won. Gavin gets Lilah into hot water with Linwood but in the grand scheme of things Linwood is a pawn. Lilah probably impresses the Senior Partners by trying to save Angel’s life. She wouldn’t have just done nothing if Gavin hadn’t said anything and while that would have pleased Linwood. The Senior Partners would be furious. The politics of being a Wolfram and Hart are just endlessly fascinating.
Hands down, it was Angel and Cordelia venting their feelings about Connor. It’s not just the symmetry of them both losing it and comforting each other but finally understanding how Cordelia feels about the whole situation. She went into nursing mode when she returned from her vacation. Cordelia was so concerned about fixing everyone else’s problems that we never got her perspective. She’s just as distraught about the whole situation and not being help. It’s such a lovely moment between the two characters showing how similar they are while still being tragic.
I have very little problems with “The Price” has an episode. It achieves nearly everything it is trying to achieve. The goals are just not as lofty as previous episode, it makes complete sense, but I did score it extremely high for that reason. This is a perfectly enjoyable episode but not quite a great one, just very good.
73 out of 100