Derek’s Review – 4.03 “The House Always Wins”

The Good:

I found this to be an entertaining albeit un-revolutionary hour of Angel. I suppose “The House Always Wins” could be better, much, but I still enjoyed it. It could just be the ensemble doing something mostly cheery or the on-location aspect of it but this was a passable hour of TV. There’s not much bad to say about it.

Lorne hasn’t really been missed too much this season so far. It hasn’t been that long that he hasn’t appeared and he was always an infrequent presence. Still it’s nice to have him back at the Hyperion, in LA as a quasi-member of Angel Investigations. The reason I enjoy “The House Always Wins” might solely because of Lorne. This isn’t an important episode in Lorne’s development but I think it’s a good showcase for his character. There is the singing and charisma of The Host on display. There was the vulnerability of Krevlornswath and there was the passion and heart of Lorne.

The Bad:

Gunn has wanted to go to Vegas since the beginning of Season 2. So pretty much ever since Gunn was introduced on the show. So shouldn’t he have done a little bit more in this episode? Like anything? He does become the muscle and sort of leader when Angel is cursed but it’s not enough. It also just further underlines that Angel has no idea what they want to do with Gunn. I guess he’s back-up Angel but it so rare the show needs back-up Angel. Gunn needs his own identity and not one connected to other characters. This is not a problem just with “The House Always Wins” but just a series-long problem with the character. “The House Always Wins” just reminded me that Gunn’s place on the show is in a constant state of limbo.

The Wesley and Lilah phone sex scene is interesting. I’m not sure what purpose it serves. We know that that their relationship is twisted, dark and just filled with sex. A really grimy and demanding Wesley saying dirty things to Lilah wasn’t necessary. Speaking of which, it didn’t help that Lilah’s voice wasn’t heard. It just made Wesley seem really unsavory and creepy. He can be both of those things at times but I am not sure that was the intention of the scene.

The Unknown:

I really don’t the concept of Cordelia coming back without her memories. I also recognize it is unfair to judge something, especially on this show, on concept alone. It also is merely introduced in the very final moments. So I’m not qualifying this as bad as much as I don’t like it. The fact is that as rushed as Cordelia getting assumed into Heaven was in the Season 3 finale, where does the character go after that? I feel like that might not have been the end of Cordelia’s story but it certainly could’ve been a closing of chapter. Now that she is back, not glowy and without memories, the whole thing feels pointless. So whatever.

Favorite Moment:

I struggled with this one because there is nothing I really loved (or hated). I really do like the sequence of Lorne, Fred and Gunn try to leave Las Vegas. I think there is a lot untapped potential in that trio and I enjoyed that “The House Always Wins” explored it.

Bottom Line:

I can’t really passionately defend “The House Always Wins” but I enjoyed myself throughout. It was a fine episode. It was another in a line of procedural episodes in Season 4 and I hope that changes soon. Or at least the procedural / cases of the week stuff becomes less boring and generic.

64 out of 100

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