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Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 2

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    Default Positives And Negatives - Season 2

    I hope more people will join in . . . but I'm quite happy talking to myself, so here we go with Season 2

    Copying Stoney's excellent Buffy thread Taking one episode a day, try to choose one thing about the episode that you think is positive and one thing that is negative. They don't have to be big things about the story, plots, characters (although they can be). This isn't intended to be an overview of what you think about the episode/season critically as a whole, so more superficial observations are also very welcome and may bring up some variety.

    Feel free to comment/discuss any thoughts posted too (and also to join in ad hoc or play catch up too if you miss a day or so and want to).

    1. Judgment
    2. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
    3. First Impressions
    4. Untouched
    5. Dear Boy
    6. Guise Will Be Guise
    7. Darla
    8. The Shroud of Rahmon
    9. The Trial
    10. Reunion
    11. Redefinition
    12. Blood Money
    13. Happy Anniversary
    14. The Thin Dead Line
    15. Reprise
    16. Epiphany
    17. Disharmony
    18. Dead End
    19. Belonging
    20. Over The Rainbow
    21. Through the Looking Glass
    22. There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb

    - - - Updated - - -

    Judgement

    Positive:
    Powerhouse opening. Lorne was great, Cordy and Wes being 911'd and they and Angel marching to rescue the innocent, fantastic. Loved the ending too, that was unexpected and emotional.

    Negative: Why didn't the pregnant woman tell Angel that the demon was her friend before he killed him? She just stood there, silent, she should have opened her mouth. Her stupidity was used to further the story, but it was too unbelievable.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been

    Positive: All the minor characters were so well drawn, it felt like we really knew them. It was interesting to see a soul having Angel trying to help, and his slowly emerging conscience be destroyed by the hypocrisy of people. I also liked the ambiguity of a woman of colour encouraging a lynching, and the demon having a Southern American accent, I thought that was really interesting.

    Negative: Angel seeing Judy and her dying at the end was deeply cheesy and unnecessary. It felt odd that she asked forgiveness for something she only thought she'd done (killed Angel) while Angel actively encouraged the demon to destroy everyone in the hotel.

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    Ugh, I'm sorry that I've been participating so little. I only got up to 16. The Ring on Season 1 and really like some of the remaining episodes, especially with Faith and I remember liking Blind Date and to Shanshu too. When I get some spare chunks of time I'll try to remember to go back to it. There's just always so much to do and I'm always so slow at all of it.

    It has been long enough since I saw AtS that I'm having to look at a summaries or my original notes from when I first watched to jog my memory. I just don't know them anywhere near as well as BtVS. Strangely I can't even remember Judgement well enough, even after reading my original review notes, so I'm missing that out. I do remember AYNOHYEB though. In fact I think it's one of the best of the whole series...


    Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been

    Positive - There are so many good things that could be said about this episode. The character of the bellhop was great for seeing the darkness that some have within them that can be revealed/rise to the surface. A great inclusion right at the start of this season and alongside Angel exploring helping and yet turning his back on the people in the Hyperion. I absolutely have to give a nod to the cinematography of the episode too, it was wonderful.

    Negative - My main complaint about this episode was Judy still being in the hotel, although I liked the notion of offering forgiveness as something that frees you. But to offer something different, the only other thing I noted when I first watched it was that Gunn felt shoehorned in.

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    Very much agree Judy was unnecessary, and her dying at the very end was just silly. I didn't think about Gunn being shoehorned in until you mentioned it. You are right, but I like him so I don't mind and I'm happy to see him there

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    Hey, Priceless,

    Sorry that I haven't participated in these threads lately. Season Two of Angel has many of my favorite episodes and I wanted to respond to one episode in particular.

    Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been

    Positives:

    Many of my favorite episodes feature the fanged four before they landed in Sunnydale and this one is no exception. I always love to glimpse into the past of Angel, Spike, Dru and Darla and find this episode to be exceptionally strong. I love how much the episode is indebted to fiction of the time period. The colorful residents, the tawdry decor, the stench of hypocrisy and mendacity and death - it's a hotel right out of a Tennessee Williams play. Love the bookstore owner who tries to take out Angel and the obnoxious bellhop who disposes of the despairing - they're right out of Nathanael West. Judy the tragic mulatto who steals the money is vintage Robert Penn Warren - or Fannie Hurst's Imitation of Life. The hard-boiled atmosphere of LA Noir, the claustrophobia and paranoia within the Hotel representing the social mood outside - it's all marvelous. Angel's "lynching" is haunting here in light of Judy's background - and her never-ending nightmare of having to "pass" plus the monstrous actions of the hotel inhabitants reflect directly on Angel's own existential dilemma as to his moral meaning as a vampire with a soul.

    Negatives:

    The plot was so interesting that I found the introduction of the Thesulac to explain it all to be somewhat of a letdown. Problem is - humans can turn into monsters on their own - as Angel tells Spike, they don't need another demon to let the monster out.

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    First Impressions

    Positive: The Angel/Darla scenes are great, so surreal and the music is so evocative. Really well done. I also enjoyed Cordy, she's changing and maturing and it's really working for her.

    Negative: So much . . . I didn't really like this episode. Gunn is so angry and violent, he's suffering the way Kate did in S1 - his scenes/lines are so overblown that if feels like he's in a different show, just as Kate did in the previous season. I hated Gunn's patronising tone towards Cordelia, I thought that was over the top. Cordy's 'white panic' at the party and her talk about 'blending' just felt as though it had racist overtones, although pretty believable. The episode's fight scenes were over long and dull.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've thought about this and I think my issue is with Cordy's character in this episode. They try to show her being mature and responsible and caring. She fought demons, she saved that girls life without panicking, she spoke to Gunn normally, though perhaps treating him as a disruptive child, but even so. Beyond that, this is still Cordelia Chase, the biggest bitch in Sunnydale history, and yet, with this combination of traits at play, she goes to a house party and becomes someone totally different, she starts rambling like an early seasons Willow might, and seems to suggest there is a connection between black women and prostitution . . . Cordy may have come from whiter than white Sunnydale, but she's in LA now, she's an actor, she's protecting Gunn and they're working together, I just don't see her falling apart like this when faced with a room full of black people. And it wasn't even funny

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    Untouched

    Positive: Angel playing the cop was great. He's obviously learnt something from Kate. Gunn was much more likeable. The Darla/Angel scenes were good.

    Negative: I think this ep is of its time, when every tv show featured a child abuse story line. (Nowadays its Trans characters/story line every tv show has at least one) It feels really manipulative now, especially the Angel/Bethany bedroom scene 'looked like you were having a happy dream, or maybe it's the way the covers were laying' - really?? Terrible terrible dialogue and a completely misjudged scene

    - - - Updated - - -

    Dear Boy

    Positives:
    So many. This is such a good episode. Every scene between Darla and Angel is electric. Angel's anger is great and this is some of DB's best acting to date. His conversation with Lorne was great. Round of applause for W&H for the extremes they went to, with the Darla/Steven scenes. Even Kate was good in this episode.

    Negatives: I can't think of one. There was nothing I disliked about this episode, everything worked really well.

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    Judgement


    Positives

    The Angel/Faith scene is so lovely It's great that they brought Eliza back for such a minor cameo and that they kept it a secret. It's also so sweet that Angel continues to visit and support her and both DB & Eliza play it perfectly. This, and Angel's surprise appearance in Forever, are my two favourite cameos in the Buffyverse.

    Negatives

    I'm bored to tears by the plot of the jousting, demon protector, sacred baby etc


    Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been


    Positives

    I adore this episode! It's in my Top 10 for the series The acting, cinematography, set design, costuming and dialogue are all perfect. And unlike everyone else it seems, I love the scene between Angel/Judy at the end and cry like a baby every. damn. time. But my favourite moment is Judy turning on Angel ("he's got blood in his room! He's a monster!") and then Angel abandoning everyone in the hotel ("Take them. Take them all") which foreshadows him locking the lawyers in with Darla & Dru later in the season. So, so dark

    Negatives

    I didn't necessarily want a huge fight sequence as I don't think it'd have suited the episode but the demon's death scene is very anti-climatic. It's all over very quickly.


    First Impressions


    Positives

    Ummm.... the Angel/Darla dreams are fairly interesting, I guess, and I also like Wesley's "stop being such a wanker and put it on!" And Angel head-butting the "victim" and revealing that she was really a vampire was a nice shock.

    Negatives

    I really don't enjoy this episode. The gangster demon is really corny and embarrassing and the Gunn/Cordy plot is pretty underwhelming. I think this is one of those occasions where the writer's staff could really have done with some more diversity in the team.


    Untouched


    Positives

    The Angel/Darla scene sex is not only really hot but superbly directed. This episode is very peculiar as it's the only episode directed by Joss Whedon in either show that he also didn't write too. I also think they did a good job writing Bethany's character.

    Negatives

    So, apparently Wesley thinks it's a good idea to trigger an abuse victim by throwing her abuse in her face which, non-surprisingly, ends in disaster. Wesley is thrown into a wall and Angel is tossed into the sunlight. He nearly got them both killed and he did all of this without sharing this plan with either Angel or Cordy. This is the kind of behaviour that makes me dislike Wesley. It's so reckless, arrogant and unnecessary. Like, what on earth made him think that was a good idea? And why not share his plan with Angel or Cordelia first?


    Dear Boy


    Positives

    I absolutely LOVE all the Drusilla scenes. The scene where Angelus first spots Drusilla is a retcon from Becoming I but I don't even mind. You can easily fanwank both of them so it makes sense and it's so creepy that Darla found Dru for Angelus to toy with and that Drusilla "sees" what Angelus is going to do to her. That whole scene is so superb. Plus, "snake in the woodshed! Snake in the woodshed!" is just horrific when you know what it implies...

    Negatives

    The Angel/Darla scene in the converted convent is one of the very few scenes of there's that just doesn't work for me. It's so awkwardly written, staged and acted. Angel goes to bite her but then doesn't (does? I can't even tell), and then they randomly kiss, and then we cut back to both of them and they both are panting heavily and look exhausted? Are they meant to be exhausted because they've been up all night fighting? Is Angel meant to be panting and weakened because the sunlight is close by because they haven't done that since What's My Line II? I don't get it. And the emotions are all over the place in a way that doesn't feel organic at all. One minute Angel is threatening, and then aroused, and then angry, and then smug, and it all just feels disjointed However, I do like the Buffy reference and "God doesn't want you! But I do!" is a great line.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 09-08-18 at 01:23 PM.
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    Guise Will Be Guise

    Positive: I like that Gunn is now a part of the team. Angel and the Swami were fun and I enjoyed the psychobabble. I admired Wesley's commitment to the role in drinking the blood. Cordy is always pretty great.

    Negative: This was such a disappointment after Dear Boy. I hated Wes pretending to be Angel, it was just too silly. Hated Virginia and her poor little rich girl problems, hated the seduction scenes, it just all rang so false and stupid. Surely one touch of Wesley's skin would inform Virginia he wasn't a vampire?

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    Darla

    Positive: So clever seeing Angel's history from a different perspective than what has been shown on BtVS and how different it is. Darla leaving the Masters lair with Angel. Does she care about him? Does she love him in some strange way? Lindsey falling for Darla adds an extra dimension to the story and I really liked his need for her, and her reading of that. Great performance by Julie Benz.

    Negative: I find it hard to believe anyone would forget their name, even after 400 years.

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    Hey, Priceless!

    Following along with Angel Season Two and enjoying the responses.

    First Impressions:

    Positives:

    Loved, loved, loved all the dream sequences of Angel and Darla - despite the romance of Bangel, it's always struck me that Angel's true love was Darla - their scenes together are so emotionally charged with pleasure and pain.

    Negatives:

    I really find Nabbit to be annoying - he's a character that they're trying to make happen - but he doesn't really seem to fit. The party scene is borderline racist.


    Untouched

    Positives:

    Agree with Priceless that the opening scene with Angel is terrific. I especially enjoy the black humor of Angel unable to enter a would-be rapist's apartment because he's still on the critical list - and then, suddenly, Angel falls through the doorway. "I guess someone is off the critical list."

    Negatives:

    The "abused woman" trope is a bit run-of-the-mill with every dramatic button pushed for maximum effect. Not a big fan of Bethany's weirdly aggressive sexual advances (another cliche of an abused woman) or this awkward dialogue from Cordelia:

    Cordelia: Don't bone my boss."
    Bethany: "What?"
    Cordelia: "Angel. He's strictly a no-bone."

    Ugh.


    Dear Boy

    Positives:

    Almost everything about this episode is excellent from the Drusilla/Angelus flashbacks to the Darla/Lindsay relationship to the way in which Darla gaslights Angel. Another terrific episode in Season Two.

    Negatives:

    A bit too expository in the end scene with Angel far too sure of himself: " So you're what Wolfram and Hart brought back in that box. And they brought you back as a human - they think I won't kill one. - You want to know what I think? - I think - they don't know me that well." It makes his other actions in the scene seem a bit off-kilter.

    But it's still a great scene with some superb lines - Darla's just so deliciously wicked even as a human. "You're hurting me. I like it."


    Guise Will Be Guise:

    Positives: Lorne. Always love him - always will. I've known guys like him all my life - especially here in New York.

    Negatives: The plot itself is kinda trite - it's not really believable that anyone would mistake Wesley for a vampire and - whoops - there goes another "sacrifice the virgin" plot defeated by her own impurity - all to set up a lame joke that Angel is a eunuch. Har-har. It's a companion piece to all the flaccid, neutered vampire jokes for chipped Spike. A chipped/souled vamp is apparently an Incel vamp - hah!


    Darla

    Positives:

    It's my favorite episode of Angel. The ways in which it plays with the past and contradicts Fool for Love is sensational. The acting is top-rate, the dialogue is pointed, the direction is smart. From Angel trying in vain to remember the past by drawing Darla over and over again in various configurations to the terrific flashbacks that give more insight into Angel's character than a dozen other episodes to human Darla unable to even remember her name and then begging Angel to sire her, this episode gives again and gives upon repeated viewings. One of Tim Minear's very best episodes.

    Negatives:

    Too Damn Short. More Whirlwind flashbacks, please.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 13-08-18 at 02:45 AM.

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    Guise Will Be Guise:

    Positives:

    I think the Swarmi has some interesting things to say about Buffy/Angel & Buffy/Darla.

    Negatives:

    Pretty much everything else. In theory, the premise behind this episode could have been Buffyverse gold (the same way Dopplegangland was, for instance) but somehow this episode just completely misses the mark. It's not remotely believable that they'd mistaken Wesley for Angel, Virginia may be the most bland and forgettable secondary character in either show's entire run, a lot of the comedy misses the mark, and it always bugged me that a regular guy is able to give Angel - the vampire - such a run for his money during their sparring sessions.

    Darla:

    Positives:

    What a fantastic episode! It's pure genius how they showed scenes from Fool For Love from a different perspective ("Angelus" comes across as jealous and spiteful in Fool For Love as it's shown from Spike's POV whereas the truth is he was disgusted by Spike's act - a great example of the unreliable narrator) and all the flashbacks were wonderful. I also love all the references to past episodes such as The Master, the Order of Aurilias, the gypsy man from Becoming II (played by the same actor), and the "last time [Angel saw Darla] she was in kimonos" as said in Buffy Season 1. I also agree with Whedon that it's absolutely genius how the episode completely buys into the vampire's "twisted logic" when Darla scolds Angel for not being a killer ("While Spike - Spike! - was out killing a Slayer you were saving missionaries! From me!") and it's played so convincingly by Julie Benz that you almost feel like Angel has done something wrong by her. It's all wonderful


    Negatives:

    The present scenes let the episode down for me. I like Darla crumbling under the weight of her identity crisis and she ponders if she's still the same person throughout all her life; who she was before being sired - Darla the vampire - and now the sick human they've brought back (it's a really interesting debate), but the Darla/Lindsey scenes are pretty tiresome and repetitive. I always just want to get back to the flashbacks!
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    The Shroud of Rahmon

    Positive: Really liked the Kate/Angel scenes, they felt like there was real menace there. I think this might be the first episode I've really appreciated Kate. Angel saying to Gunn 'Don't want a guy like you jumping in . . . ' speaks to how Angel perceives Gunn in a not too flattering light, so it was great when Gunn showed up and their relationship could be further explored and Gunn become more integrated.

    Negative: We've already had one heist episode, and this episode is just a bit dull, especially following one of my favourite episodes. I just wanted more Darla.

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    The Trial

    Positive: Angel might say he wasn't capable of love pre-soul, but he certainly seems to love Darla now, and if he didn't love her them, why is he so quick to care now. I like that Angel wants to save Darla's soul and the trials were interesting and I loved that Darla is already living her second chance, that was clever and cruel.

    Negative: I'm not sure I believe Angel would give up his existence for Darla. Or go so crazy when it didn't work.

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    Reunion

    Positive: Darla's awakening and the fight scene. Angel pausing every time he gets a chance to stake her, and being stopped by Dru, just so entertaining. Darla and Dru together are great. I enjoy the ambiguity of Angel's choices, it adds layers to his character and shows that the road to redemption isn't easy and under certain pressures even champions made bad choices.

    Negative: I don't really understand why Angel tell's the group what he did. I'd much prefer it he just walked in and told them he was making changes, and they were all fired, and they had to work to discover what he'd done. That would have made Angel darker. Telling the group makes him look like he feels guilt, and I'm not sure he does

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    I think he did it to scare them and encourage them to turn from him.

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    Redefinition

    Positive: I am really enjoying Lindsey. He is so grey, I have no idea how he truly feels about anything or what his true goals are. Kane's performance is so sparse and minimal, but it really works.

    Negative: How do Dru and Darla survive when we've seen other vamps turn to dust from one little spark. I also disliked Darla suggesting Angel now had a third persona when it's all the same man.

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    Blood Money

    Positive: Really enjoyed Angel in this. He was so sweet, charming and then charmingly psychotic. Angel's a lot of fun in this episode. There are a lot of similarities between him and Lindsey. Special mention to the cuteness that is Wesunn . . . Wunn . . . Gesley . . .

    Negative: I really like seeing Anne and it's one of the strengths of the show that they bring back characters. But how did she get that job? Do the authorities not check out the people who work with kids? She seems like a totally different person, and where has her tat gone?

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    Wow, it’s really easy to get behind in this thread!

    The Shroud of Rahmon

    Positives:

    Agreed that the relationship between Angel and Kate was the most interesting part of the episode. I loved the end when Angel seems positively mesmerized by drinking human blood again – linking his increasing blood lust to the memory of Darla.

    Negatives:

    Angel and company going after a demonic burial shroud that alters the mind is just too convenient for plot dramatics, isn’t it? Next, we’ll have spores that make everyone delusional or a virus that makes everyone cry.


    The Trial

    Positives:

    Love, love, love this episode – another winner in the Darla run of Season Two. More flashbacks of evil Darla betraying Angelus! The scene where Darla tries to get the idiot vamp to sire her – wonderful. The reveal of Darla’s illness – devastating. Lorne. The swimming pool. Jeeves eating a cookie. The three trials. Angel giving his life for Darla – and Darla actually begging Angel not to do it. The bastards who deny Darla her second chance. DRUSILLA. It’s just an overload for me of wonderfully inventive fantasy tinged with tragedy.

    Negatives:

    Made me feel that Spike’s trials towards the end of Season Six weren't as exciting in comparison – they should have been more like this – with Buffy involved (in his mind, anyway) and far more psychological in nature.


    Reunion

    Positives:

    Angel waiting for Darla to awake so he can stake her immediately. The awesome fight between Drusilla and Angel. Drusilla and Darla taking out Mr. Pickup Truck. Wicked, evil Darla after killing everyone in the shop: “Service in this place is really unacceptable." The whole chilling scene at the W&H winetasting where Drusilla says to Lilah: “You have beautiful skin.” Lilah: “I moisturize.” Angel locking the door – fantastic. The shock of his crew and their firing. It’s all done so well.

    Negatives:

    Too much exposition between Gunn and Wesley to get the audience up to date on what’s happening and who the hell Drusilla is. Crazy Morgog monologue – ugh.


    Reunification

    Positives:

    Angel’s crew all claiming they want to be alone and ending up singing drunkenly at Caritas. Darla kissing Lindsay and then jerking his chain as Lilah watches. Darla’s annoyance at Drusilla’s crazy thoughts. Angel setting the two vamps on fire – really well directed. W&H pitting Lilah and Lindsay against one another. Really like the last scene between Wesley and Angel.

    Negatives:

    Wesley and Virginia – boring, no sparks at all compared to Wesley and Fred. Darla and Drusilla getting their vamp band together – it’s all too cliché when Darla rips the demon’s head off and is a pale imitation of Spike’s masterful dusting of the Annoying One.

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  37. #19
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    Made me feel that Spike’s trials towards the end of Season Six weren't as exciting in comparison – they should have been more like this – with Buffy involved (in his mind, anyway) and far more psychological in nature.
    This is such a good point and I hadn't thought of the differences between these and Spike's trials. Perhaps it's different and more psychological because Angel is fighting for someone else, while Spike is seeking something for himself. His mental/psychological strength isn't as important, because the demon doesn't want him to physically survive so he doesn't have to return his soul.

    Whereas Angel is being forced to question his love for Darla, and how much he's prepared to suffer on her behalf, to save her. The demon in this case doesn't care if he lives or dies so much as wanting him to understand what he's doing and to change his mind and decide that Darla isn't worthy of having a champion fight for her.

    Or that's how I'm now going to think of the trials

    - - - Updated - - -

    Happy Anniversary

    Positive: I like that it brings Lorne more into the fold and pairs him with Angel, his opposite in so many ways. The odd couple are then placed in a race against time to stop the end of the world. I really enjoyed that aspect. I also like Lorne drawing parallels between Angel and Gene's situation - the song changes, time moves on, things won't always be like this, which makes a lot of sense when you know Gene and his girlfriend have only been together for a year and now he wants to spend the rest of eternity with her.

    Negative: Gene wants to freeze himself and the woman he loves for all eternity (after a year together!) but even worse is that he wants them frozen just as he comes. There's a yuk factor, even more so when he's portrayed as so ordinary

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    The Thin Dead Line

    Positive: Angel was my favourite part of this episode. Everyone else was so over the top and in this episode DB's dead pan acting style really works to lessen the melodrama. I also liked how lost he seemed, realising that he's got used to having people around and he's missing the gang. Loved the last shot of him walking away.

    Negative: That 'bugging street slang' just sounds fake and dated Is Anne meant to be the pretty blonde replacement for Kate or a mirror of her, the version of herself she wishes she were? There's also something racist-adjacent about the pretty blonde girl (who's about 20 years old with no qualifications) helping to rescue all these black teens, which undermines what the episode is partly trying to do by looking at institutionalised racism . . . but we've still got to have Jackson to even out the blame. I really don't think a lot in this episode could fly today.

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