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Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 1

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    I used to think Wesley was the man who always made the wrong choice, but I'm starting to see why he and Angel became friends. They both have a proclivity for making the wrong decisions; so far Angel has smashed the ring of Amara and wiped out Buffy's perfect day. Two terrible decisions imo. I think Angel is too rigid in his thinking and Wesley too emotional, but both make very questionable decisions throughout the show, and I think this is one of the things that bonds them together, as they have no-one but themselves to blame for the terrible things that happen in their lives.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Day 9 - Hero

    Positive: Angel hitting that punching bag is the sexiest I've ever seen him, and once again DB's performance is good, he's definitely getting more likeable and sympathetic. Doyle passing the visions onto Cordy was a touch of genius, gives Cordy more depth and reason for becoming a Champion in her own right. I wish the writers had done this earlier, though of course there are problems of consent, I think it was necessary to the story.


    Negative: I'd never really taken to Doyle, he seemed to unbelievable to me; a school teacher, demon, vision-having, gambler, drinker, ex-husband, Cordy-crushing . . . it was too much 'personality' for 8 episodes, so he death didn't really affect me, though I'm glad he went out as a hero. Cordy not realising Doyle was a demon was stupid, and made Cordy seem like a fool, which she is not.

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    Day Ten - Parting Gift

    Positive: Really like the build up to Wesley's entry into the show, and he does a fantastic comic turn as a rogue demon hunter. Liked the bluff that neither her nor Barney were what they seemed. I wonder if anyone thought Barney was going to be the new Doyle when he appeared?

    Negative: My favourite episode so far, with only the tiny criticism of wishing Cordy would be more physical and fight back, though she did get to kill the demon. And why is Angel so accepting of Wesley straight away? He's immediately kind to him, and yet so stand-offish with everyone else, but it works in the episode so I'm not complaining.

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    Day 11 - Somnambulist

    Positive: Cordy and Wesley are great. Cordy brings the energy and Wesley brings the humour. Also a fan of Jeremy Renner.

    Negative: This episode feels really disjointed. DB's acting goes back to bland, when it really had been improving. Kate is worse, holding eye contact far too long and unable walk and talk at the same time. She's faintly ridiculous in this episode - leader of a task force searching out a serial killer, yeah sure, facing him all alone with a handgun - as I keep saying, it's as though she's on a different show!

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    Day 12 - Expecting

    Positive: Angel and Wesley are just great together. They're building a lovely odd-couple relationship that's really fun and sweet.

    Negative: Felt like jst another Buffyverse episode about how women are punished for having sex. I know it's Angel's show, but I'd like Cordy to be more aggressive in solving her own issues and not being such a damsel all the time.

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    Day 13 - She

    Positive: The scenes at Cordy's party were funny and a great way to build the Angel/Wesley relationship and show they have more similarities then at first thought. Liked the use of the dancing scenes as the closing credits played

    Negative: Jhiera's cut out top, just completely unnecessary, as was Angel's description of her. This whole episode was pretty terrible.

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    As always, it's a while since I watched these so the thoughts are brief and not greatly expanded on.

    Hero

    I adored Doyle and was really sad to see him go, particularly in what I find to be a pretty weak episode.

    Positive - I love the repeat of the video at the end.

    Negative - The over the top 'Nazi' links were as heavy handed as most aspects of this episode, especially the romance development which was just cheesy. Clearly subtlety wasn't a priority.


    Parting Gifts

    Positive - The follow on from Doyle's death was well done. I really felt Angel's reactions were very relatable in the different responses/shifts that he experiences. Cordelia's grief and vision at the audition was brilliant

    Negative - Having Alexis' name in the title sequence spoiled who the rogue demon hunter was.


    Somnambulist

    Positive - I really like this episode it is one of my favourites of the season and a great deal of that is because of how Angel handles the situation and faces his enjoyment of the dreams openly, showing trust towards the others and exposing his worry.

    Negative - The lack of Doyle! I don't know, I really like this one and I don't remember the details of the episode clearly enough to pick out a 'dislike' when none obviously left a great impression. I had a quick look back at my first watch/review and I expressed a dislike for Wes' suit, so I'll go with that.


    Expecting

    Positive - AD's tender compassion when talking to Cordelia about whether there was a chance the babies were going to be human was perfect.

    Negative - Have to agree with Pricey, being conned into being used as a vessel for demon children seems to be a punishment for sexual freedom.


    She

    Positive - The dancing at the party is great.

    Negative - I remember when I first watched it King made some good points about the issues of FGM that were raised but it was a missed opportunity to explore this. I really disliked how the episode presenting there being this 'siren' allure that had to be controlled. I think this episode is possibly the worst across both shows.
    Last edited by Stoney; 09-07-18 at 11:04 PM.

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    Day 14 - I've Got You Under My Skin

    Positive: I really liked the fake-out, with the audience being directed to the 'bad father'. I thought it worked well. I also liked Angel calling Wesley by Doyle's name, I thought that was very 'human' and showed that Doyle wasn't being expunged, as happens in a lot of tv shows when a character leaves.

    Negative: This is the first episode when I've felt Cordy's enthusiasm and energy didn't quite fit with the story, which the writers were appearing to take very seriously, except for Cordy who was far too flippant.

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    Day 15 - The Prodigal

    Positive: Cordy and Wes are great again. They bring the funny. Great to get some more of Angel's backstory, and where his issues come from. The scene between Angelus and his father and Angelua/Darla's are both quite powerful

    Negative: I just find it odd that Xander, Willow and Cordy took to the 'other worldly' stuff so much quicker and with more understanding and common sense than Kate does. Her character just doesn't work in the show - it's not a police procedural.

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    Day 16 - The Ring

    Positive: Angel is so cool in this episode, the way he grabs that guy's gun, lights his cigarette with the money, all designed to make him noirish. Then he bonds the slaves together, becomes the biggest man in the prison yard, which all works for him. This might be one of the few S1 episodes where Angel is more engaging than Cordy or Wes.

    Negative: The story is blah. Slaves rise up against their masters, Angel is Sparticus, prison yard etiquette etc. etc. Nothing very new here

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    I've Got You Under My Skin

    Positive - I think this is a great episode and there is a lot of personality built up for Angel in this episode that works really well with seeing how sharing his life is touching him. I think the insight the episode gives to Wes is definitely one of the highlights as it starts to really expose the effect his own childhood and the expectations and perceived failures has had on him. His determination is one of his strengths but it can also limit him as he doesn't necessarily adapt as well as he should when things don't work as he assumes the lack is his own effort.

    Negative - When I wrote up on watching this the first time I'd noted a complaint that it was hard to tell what the possessed child was saying at times.


    The Prodigal

    Positive - Flashback episodes are often favourites and this is no exception. I'd even argue for this being possibly my favourite episode across all of AtS. On my first watch of it I picked out the line “sometimes the price we end up paying for one bad choice isn’t commensurate with the offence” as key and I love how this plays against so many characters in the episode; Angel, Kate's Dad, Angel's Dad and his sister. The scene with Darla pointing out that his actions were driven by his love for his father is one of my favourite ones for understanding Angel's character across this whole series. It belies the interpretations of Angel as being emotionless unsouled and brings great depth into his character which ties so much of his behaviour and underlying responses to his human personality. There's such great coherency to so much of what we saw of him souled/unsouled in BtVS and what we will see in this series just from having had this episode and especially that scene. It's just superb.

    Negative - Without having just rewatched it is hard for me to think of a negative because I love it. So I'm going to acknowledge that it took me a good while to get used to Julia Benz's voice, I found it really irritating for a long time.

    I haven't just rewatched of course but I'd say Pricey that Kate's uncertainty about the supernatural and her rigidity is supposed to give contrast to the gang. It's hard for people to change their world views and as a professional in law enforcement in the same city her struggles do sit against Angel setting up and establishing himself, needing to engage with the human world and with the work he wants to do. The reality of the shift in outlook for Kate was forced in a way she couldn't turn from finally. I suppose that works with Angel unsouled facing the ties that remain to his humanity. I always really liked Kate and was sad to see her go.


    The Ring

    Positive - This is a great episode for really digging into how both humans and demons can be evil and how this is presented and questioned throughout is great. An enjoyable episode and a great snippet of seeing how competent Wes can be when he isn't worrying!

    Negative - I really dislike the whole 'bad girl drawn to the good guy' aspect they play with Lilah towards Angel. It works so much better when she eventually gets drawn into a relationship with Wes and it is his darker side against that draw she has. With Lilah's responses to Angel it just plays as so much more cliched.
    Last edited by Stoney; 17-07-18 at 02:05 AM.

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    I haven't just rewatched of course but I'd say Pricey that Kate's uncertainty about the supernatural and her rigidity is supposed to give contrast to the gang. It's hard for people to change their world views and as a professional in law enforcement in the same city her struggles do sit against Angel setting up and establishing himself, needing to engage with the human world and with the work he wants to do. The reality of the shift in outlook for Kate was forced in a way she couldn't turn from finally. I suppose that works with Angel unsouled facing the ties that remain to his humanity. I always really liked Kate and was sad to see her go.
    I wish the writers had understood Kate's character more as she seems to flip flop from episode to episode. She gets deeply involved in hunting the vampires and demons in one episode but the next it's as though she still doesn't want to accept their existence. I'm also not a fan of her dropping hints about her and Angel being in a relationship, which seem really heavy handed. It seems the writers felt the character didn't really work either and it was the right decision to write her out. Lilah is a much better fit for the show I feel, and her character is more understandable from episode to episode.

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    Kate was only written out of the show because Elisabeth Rohm got a full time role on Law & Order SUV. It had never been their intention to have Kate leave in Season 2.

    I thought she fit the show perfectly in Season 1 & 2. The contrast between Kate and the supernatural and that clash in tone was very deliberate. And seeing as how they were going for a very noir feel in the earlier seasons, a cop character is practically essential. I thought Rohm played her very convincingly and she was such a tragic figure. The scene in Reprise where she is fired breaks my heart. Kate becomes one of the very victim she was trying to save ("Meanwhile while you're all playing your big battles of good vs evil it's the innocent that get caught in the cross fire") as the supernatural world takes it's toll on her.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

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    I know when I first saw it I was hoping they weren't going to end up putting Angel and Kate in a relationship and they were obviously teasing it even if it was never intended to go anywhere. They do it with Lilah/Angel too really and I wasn't keen on that idea either. I think Kate worked for contrasting parallels with Angel in the first season particularly as he is settling in to the area, building up AI and trying to establish some connection to others. Kate's awakening to the supernatural I think works fine with that and to show how the others with Angel are more able to accept it within their own lives too heading on into season two as well.

    The deliberate denial/ignorance that went on in Sunnydale was always a bit extreme. Having a period of time where Angel was rubbing shoulders with the police seemed realistic as he was deliberately going to be stepping into their cases on occasions with that labelling of themselves as private investigators. With Faith heading over there too whilst 'Wanted' it worked well too. It wasn't something that was likely to be kept as a permanent feature but I think it worked well and had purpose in the early two seasons. I don't think Kate could have stayed longer unless the character was going to have a distinct shift. But I think in The Prodigal and Epiphany in particular (as far as I recall) her inclusion was really well used and her choice to leave seemed right as a decision she'd reach when it happened. I thought she was coherently used with the stuttered introduction to the supernatural and her issues accepting it. I really think she works.

    EDIT: Sorry I hadn't read mogs' post before I did mine, I wasn't being intentionally repetitive.

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    Different strokes for different folks I guess. I found Kate very out of place. She was written, for me, as though she were in a police procedural, which I felt didn't work within a supernatural show. I didn't like the fact that she's another cool blonde to add to Angel's harem of cool blondes, it didn't work for me, not did all the flirting then withdrawl. Her daddy issues, which I guess were meant to mirror Angels, were just painful to watch. Rohm's performance was good, but the character just didn't work and I felt it was written poorly, in that her character and attitudes didn't progress, but rather flip flopped from episode to episode. Didn't work for me, or hasn't so far in my re-watch. Maybe when I see more, I may feel differently.

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    Day 17 - Eternity

    Positive: Angel, Wes and Cordy are so good together. The opening of this episode, with Cordy in the play, was great.

    Negative: All that flirting just made me cringe and if Rebecca is so rich and successful, why does everything in her life look cheap - her furnishings, the restaurant she eats in etc.
    Last edited by Priceless; 20-07-18 at 11:33 AM.

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    Day 18 - Five By Five

    Positive: This episode is so good, there is so much packed in, I can't pick one positive. Crazed Faith is great in every scene, dancing, fighting, torturing, crying. Some excellent Lindsey and Lilah. Darla and Angel are great in the flashbacks. It's good to see Angel struggling with his soul, showing he has a particular understanding of Faith. Love Angel not holding back and blaming Wesley for some of Faith's issues, and Wesley making a great victim. Best episode of the season so far.

    Negative: There really isn't anything negative here really. Maybe Faith's 'I'm bad. I'm bad' was a little cringey and lost some of the power of the alley scene, but it still worked really well. I feel bad for even writing that, but if I have to come up with a negative that's it.

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    19 - Sanctuary

    Positive:
    Another fantastic episode. Great to see Buffy and she works really well here. Wes and Cordy were great again, and ED's performance was perhaps even better than in the last episode. I think my favourite thing is that DB is really stepping it up, his performance is so good, and the character of Angel is being set out for us so perfectly.

    Negative: Angel has a terrible line 'Where you gonna go, back out into that darkness? I once told you that you didn't have to go out into that darkness,'. I don't know who wrote it, but the repetition is awful and the line, in an otherwise pretty good script, took me right out of the action.

    - - - Updated - - -

    20 - War Zone

    Positives:
    Nice introduction to Gunn. At first he felt like Kate, as though he were on a different type of show, that he lacked the humour and knowingness to be on AtS, but he and Angel have chemistry and that goes a long way to insinuating Gunn within the show.

    Negatives: Alonna is killed to further Gunn's story. It works within the episode, but it's still annoying because it plays into one of the problems this show has, killing the female characters to further male characters story.

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    21 - Blind Date

    Positive: The positive is Lindsey. He does good and bad, and although he tries to rationalise what he does, I like that he didn't gloat at the end. He takes his new job, sits, takes the phone off the hook, but there's no big smile on his face, as though he may have orchestrated all this. He know's he's living in that grey area, and I really like that. He and Angel have such great chemistry too.

    Negative: The 'heist movie' section did nothing for me. Angel, who is so combustible, with an acetylene torch, seemed a bit risky. But those are just nitpicks because it was another good ep.

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    22 - To Shanshu in LA

    Positive: Another good episode, and a great ending to S1, setting up S2 nicely, we have forward movement in character and a plot that makes us want to see what happens next.

    Negative: Was David Nabbit meant to show us that he was more alone and disconnected than Angel? That Angel had friends and something to strive for, even if it didn't seem like it? That scene felt a bit odd.

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    Okay I'm going to try to keep popping back here to finish off S1.

    Eternity

    Positive - I love Angel when he is 'soulless' repeating Rebecca's line to her about being mistaken for the character you play. It raises this notion of a side which is inherently within him and how the inclusion of the soul restrains who he would otherwise be, whether this makes souled!Angel somehow the false front. I may not like the fact the drug works (I'll get to that), but I like this line/delivery and the thoughts it brings over the soul as an 'unnatural' element and the internal struggle that is always there.

    Negative - Either the curse is broken or it isn't. I do think how Angel struggles with the darker urges he has is one of the most interesting aspects about the character and it is referenced and plays a significant part in the series. I've just now been reminded of it when looking at AYNOHYEB from S2 in the other positives/negatives thread in fact. As I said above, I think it raises interesting questions, but not ones the episode is plotted to deal with. It behaves as if soullessness can be temporarily achieved because of a drug and then fixed by just coming down and that's a nonsense. If Angel is becoming 'soulless' in his behaviour from a drug induced sense of euphoria it has pretty dark implications that he is looking for an excuse to behave like this because, importantly, his soul wouldn't have actually lifted temporarily and then be able to return itself. That's a step further, and I think it is too much.

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