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Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 2

  1. #41
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    Guise Will be Guise

    Positive: This ep really has a tight but complex theme about how certain masculine presentations are so heady and ingrained that the presentation ends up creating the reality. The Swami spells it out with Angel. Wesley gets the A-plot on the gulf between how he functions as Wesley, Uptight British Dork versus how he functions when he's viewed as Angel, Sexy Dark Avenger. However, Magnus Bryce ties it all together. On first watch, I didn't predict that he was the MOTW even though the clues were all there. He's an incredibly wealthy businessman who trades in magic i.e. altering reality for profit. What's more, his business competitors operate like criminal gangs out to gain a business advantage by murdering his innocent daughter from the start of the ep which gives an indication as to his choice of business. He obtained Wesley's help by holding Cordelia at gun-point. Virginia complained in the middle of the ep that her father is by turns coldly distant but also so possessive that she can't move out or have a job. However, people really respond to the commanding, "cold captain of the industry-type" (Tony Soprano) with an Achilles heel soft spot for his daughter to the point that this soft spot can render such a man trustworthy. Ivanka Trump has been tarnished by becoming a Special Adviser to the President in the last two years but IMO, she played a huge role in getting Trump elected because people are pretty primed to ignore or excuse a man's cruelty or callowness or horrible treatment of other women if he has a good relationship with his daughter.

    Relative perception of the masculine image also creates the reality. Magnus Bryce plays the whole "Tough guy on the outside but teddy bear doting daddy on the inside" role but he's really the most teddy-bear doting daddy on the outside as his feigned act to keep Virginia compliant but he's hard and cold as nails to his daughter on the inside. He keeps playing that role through the end of the ep when he plays fatherly disapproval at Virginia having sex but by then, we all know that it's really just frustration from thwarted greed because Magnus wanted his innocent, virginal Virginia dead five minutes ago while he was powered up from Yeska's mystical power. It ties in with Wesley. Wesley unconvincingly plays the rogue-demon hunter bit at the start of the ep to a prospective client to hammer home a surface perception that Wesley plays a rogue demon hunter badass on the outside to cover up a bumbling effeminate weakling on the inside. However the end of the ep encourages another perception- that Wesley's rogue demon hunter badassedness actually is his authentic core while the silly effeminate weakling is merely a persona brought on by how he's not good at playing the outer persona like say, Angel.

    Negative: I really like this ep even though I agree that Wesley's plot hinges on the dubious contrivance that he'd pass as "Angel" for a whole night...after getting to chase off one set of assassins with mere verbal threats and another set of assassins through a fight scene where there's a convenient spell uttered to weaken his supposed vamp strength so Virginia isn't suspicious that he didn't fight amazingly....after having sex with Virginia. Just from the get-go, I don't think vampires need glasses because their predator senses supernaturally enhanced once they're turned so they can even see in the dark perfectly. Dalton wore glasses- but I read that as an aesthetic choice because his whole profession was being a research nerd and Dalton was going for a specific look. "Angel", per his reputation as a professional fighter, would not wear glasses because he wouldn't need them to see so they're just a hindrance in a fight. It's much more realistic in Doppelgangland when Willow is exposed as an impostor playing Vamp Willow in like, five minutes. The Swami, on the other hand, was a realistic impostor.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 04-01-19 at 05:59 PM.

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  3. #42
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    Dipstick that 'My Sexuality' clip is absolutely brilliant, so funny.

    Christmas has passed, I've caught up in the rewatch and I've now remembered I forgot to post on Darla and I've just watched Shroud so....

    Darla

    Positives - It's great getting Darla's history and seeing someone who appears very cynical and lived a troubled life plausibly accounts for her less dramatic shifts between what we see of her souled now against who she was soulless. I love that the show gives character depth which delivers logic as to why individuals respond differently to the same situations when considering their experiences and personalities. It also puts weight to this through understanding more of how Angel responded at first to being souled against Darla's current transition to being a souled human again. Seeing how he struggled with his identity, even trying to return to living with his vampiric family and selectively killing gives depth to his past as well as what Darla is going through and additional factors that can play into who she is now, even without a demon still in her internal mix. All this culminating in her wish to return to what she knew, what she knows more clearly than the uncertainty and insecurity she currently feels by asking Angel to sire her and his refusal and outright statement that it isn't a gift. So excellent and complex.

    Negatives - I'm with Priceless, the whole notion of having forgotten her own name is hard to take, even after 400 years. I know it is there to emphasise how lost she feels, but I find it too contrived and an unnecessary addition.

    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    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.
    Do you really think 400 years is long enough to forget?

    I agree with you all that the mix with FFL and the various flashbacks were fantastic.


    Shroud of Rahmon

    Positives - I'm behind Angel's impatience with Kate. I don't think he should have threatened her over getting between him/Darla, although I understand we're supposed to be seeing the darkness within coming more to the surface, but showing less consideration for her now I think is something that she has earned and so simply knocking the cross out of her hand after she'd broken in to emphasise how easily he could overpower her I think was justified and understandable (although he did take it too far in manhandling her, although that is for plot reasons of course).

    Negatives - This could well be the weakest episode of S2. There are so many plot holes to it that it is hard to know which to pick. The inconsistency in how people were responding to the influence (am I supposed to assume Wes and Cordelia have no real badness within them because that's ridiculous), that the heist gang were affected before it was even released properly but it had been in the museum and caused no issues so far, the ease with which the crate broke, and above all these (and this still isn't an exhaustive list) the idea that Angel's brief moments of lucidity just so happened to come exactly when he needed them most so that he didn't kill Kate and he destroyed the shroud.

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