Derek’s Review – 4.01 “Deep Down”
All things considered this was a solid season premiere. I may be unfairly positively influenced while watching this episode because it’s the first Angel episode I’ve watched in over a month but I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the time jump and how Angel was able to tell us very succinctly how things have changed in three months. In particularly, the new family dynamic between Fred, Gunn and Connor popped for me. All three actors were able to convey quite nicely how the last three months have played out by their demeanor and character interactions.
Absence hasn’t exactly made the heart grow fonder of Connor but it has made him more tolerable. He’s not sympathetic (yet) but I did feel like understood Connor more and think he is an interesting place to begin Season 4. Angel has been the focal point of Connor’s life since he came back to Earth. I’m interested to see how Connor deals with having that safety blanket ripped away from him. Yes, he hated Angel and wanted him dead but that also gave Connor a purpose. Despite Connor’s messed up feelings about his father, I believe he genuinely did care about Gunn and Fred. Now he has no one.
Wesley was similarly interesting. I have no idea how affords any of this but I thought it made perfect sense that he was looking for and able to find Angel. As dark as Wesley as become, there is that glimmer of goodness within him. I find it really compelling that he would risk so much to save Angel but still doesn’t find himself to worthy of redemption at the end and leaves the Hyperion.
I really didn’t enjoy the Angel dream sequences. I found them repetitive and pretty lazily written. It was excuse to keep David Boreanaz in the episode and I found it all very boring and transparent. There was nothing new really learned about them. In fact, their sole purpose seems to be misdirection. They took to be seeding the fact that Angel’s time in the coffin has hardened him and he’s lost the mission. When in fact it just helped him confirm it even stronger. Obviously I like the end result but I don’t enjoy being tricked to get there.
I don’t have much interesting critique to add to this next point but it needs to be said. Fred was way too taser happy when she found Connor had been lying to them. Yes, Connor is snot but Fred shocked him multiple times in the heart. Supernatural being or not that is a kill shot. It is an odd moment that doesn’t seem to fit with Fred’s overall character.
I remain hopefully optimistic about Lilah and Wesley’s relationship. I honestly don’t remember Lilah’s arc for the rest of the series. I do hope though that her feelings for Wesley don’t turn her “good”. I can see a way it could work but I rather Angel avoid it altogether. I much prefer the complicated character who is capable of affection and flirtation in the bedroom and cutting her boss’ head off without blinking an eye. Speaking of which…
I really did love Lilah’s takeover of Wolfram and Hart. The fact that Linwood has been acting cowardly and out for his own interests has sort of lurked in the background of Angel for a while. They’ve actually made it seem like Lilah is in trouble for trying to do what the Senior Partners want because she is betraying Linwood. It makes Lilah going behind Linwood’s back for the Senior Partners help wonderfully well seeded.
This is a good premiere. The score may not reflect it but I actually enjoyed this more than the Season 3 finale. My shakiness about Season 4 hasn’t gone away but I at least know for sure now that it won’t be all terrible. That’s a step in the right direction.