Derek’s Review – 3.20 “A New World”

 

The Good:

As always Boreanaz did a great job in Angel’s scenes with Connor. In fact, he probably did an even better job because he was acting against another actor rather than a doll/baby. I’m iffy on Connor as a character which I’ll get into later. As far as Angel’s side of the situation, I was really wrapped up in the drama. Angel’s mix joy and desperation now that Connor is back, tinged with the sadness that he is no longer a child was really emotive.

I thought Groo and Cordelia’s scene was equally strong though in a very different way. I’m continually surprised by how much I’ve connected to Groo on rewatch. Maybe it’s because Angel doesn’t pretend he’s something that he is not, Groo is totally a secondary even tertiary character. He’s not deep or complex but that’s intentional. He’s so genuine that is unbelievable but it works. There is also this real sad and really human quality to his story. Groo is so in love with Cordelia but he recognizes she doesn’t feel the same way.

The Bad:

There’s not a strong physical resemblance between Connor and Angel. I guess we know he’s his son for certain though because a woman has to die to further Connor’s story. I really enjoyed Sunny as a character and an actress. So it’s not just rage that they killed a character I liked. It’s this repeated pattern in Angel that I’ve ranted about before about fridging women or turning female characters into plot devices. It’s not as frequent as it used to be, say in Season 1 where it happened almost every episode. It happens frequently enough that it is clear on rewatch that Angel never saw its attitude towards women as a problem.

The Unknown:

There are glimpses where I find Connor really fascinating. There are also times where he comes off as an every other whiny teenage brat on TV show. He’s a really hard character because he comes from the extraordinary circumstance and he is so messed up mentally because of it. It requires a lot of an actor. Vincent Kartheiser has the talent or at least he developed by the time he got to Mad Men. In this particular episodes there are glimpses of the character Connor could become. It’s just not consistent enough for me to be fully hopeful about Connor as a character.

So much of this is set-up and I do wish there was less mystery. I could be proven wrong in the next two episodes and there could be some amazing twist I don’t remember. The amount of mystery could be absolutely necessary. In this episode, in the moment, it just feels like filler and stalling. It’s really not that big of a surprise when Holtz steps out of the shadows in the final moments. It’s clear Connor is here to kill Angel, there’s no need to pretend any different.

Favorite Moment:

The Wesley and Lilah scene is set-up that I absolutely enjoy. Not only is it two characters interacting who I’m pretty sure have never had a scene together, it says so much about Wesley. I really do believe that Lilah could seduce him over to the dark side and that’s a credit to Angel’s writing. I still hate the love triangle aspect of Wesley’s story but they’ve done an excellent job of turning the shrieking rogue demon hunter into a conflicted morally questionable actual badass.

Bottom Line:

This wasn’t a satisfying episode. It’s a lot of place setting for the final two episodes and that’s fine if the meal is great. I honestly don’t remember but it’s irrelevant. As an individual episode this was OK episode, not good or great. It was just OK.

59 out of 100

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