Discussion, critique and fannish obsession over the works of Joss Whedon and his band of merry geniuses

Catching Up

So I think I'm gonna have to give up on reviewing "Just Rewards" and "Unleashed" as lost causes for now. Perhaps at some point (like rerun season) I'll go back and give it a try, but for now the memory of them is fading and I haven't the time to re-watch them.

So. "Hellbound," then. And a memo to writer/director Steve DeKnight: Having your characters notice and comment on the horror movie clichés doesn't make them any less cliché, and the self-referential horror thing has been done too many times (including by your own Mutant Enemy) to be cool on its own anymore. So what else have we got here? Well, um... a confusing mish-mosh, really.

Re: Pavane feeding the other departed spirits of Wolfram & Hart to hell so he didn't have to go there himself. Um... how does that work, exactly? I mean, I'm pretty sure that all the souls Pavane was feeding hell would have gone there anyway, so by my calculation there's no cosmic register being balanced out. Hell is still one soul short — Pavane's. If he was feeding heaven-bound souls to hell, that would make sense, but not this way.

And I'm still largely unclear on one of the major points of the episode, to wit: Was it Pavane causing Spike's involuntary disappearances (and, by Spike's account, trips to hell) all along, or is that an independent phenomenon that Pavane was merely taking advantage of? We still don't know what Spike actually is (not a ghost?) and what he's doing at Wolfram & Hart, but now that we've gotten that last scene between Fred and Spike of companionable resignation, where do the questions go from here?

What was good about the episode: Spike and Angel sniping at each other like 5-year-olds in Angel's office. Gunn (whose role at Wolfram & Hart is getting cooler every week).

More bad, though: I thought the bit with Wesley and the South African volcano was pushing it a bit — an obvious joke that was beneath the ME standards. Eve was wasted. Sure, she's like the zeitgeist of W&H, and so the deal with Pavane precipitated her being there I suppose, but her actual presence seemed more designed to remind us that she exists (for purposes of the future) than 'cause she had anything concrete to contribute to this story. The astounding amount of technobabble (which, to my somewhat-educated ears, sounded like 75% BS) made much of the episode a little too Star Trek-y for my tastes.

And finally, I may be starting to come around to Jason's way of thinking less-than-optimistically about the show. See, to my mind the show should, in the larger general sense, be about Angel's quest for redemption via saving souls in L.A., and while all the other characters should have inner lives and interesting stories of their own, it should all play into that central theme in the end. And I can't see how this season's increasing focus on Spike and Fred does that, so I'm starting to get a little worried. Especially in light of the preview for next week's episode, which I honestly couldn't make heads or tails of.

Hm. The weather's gray today, and maybe that's what's making me so cranky. Or maybe it really is just Angel...

  posted by Brian @ 13:00

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