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Thread: Positives and Negatives - Season 4

  1. #41
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    Shiny Happy People

    Positive: I mentioned this in the rewatch thread but I think it's just so correctly played yet subtle that when Jasmine arrives at the Hyperion, Lorne is the first to kneel and start worshiping Jasmine, then comes Fred, then comes Gunn, and Wesley remains standing until the scene is almost over. I think it's a great contrast of the gang.

    For another thing, I think it's a great commentary on the image consciousness of LA and frankly, AI. Jasmine is worshiped because people see her as beautiful. Once they realize that she's ugly, her power is gone. In addition, Jasmine fights back against John who calls out her ugliness by disfiguring his own face. Because people won't be listened to if they're not attractive. Later on, Jasmine's focus on beauty is particularly highlighted in how she mentally enslaved the bug dimension population but just as practice for her real desire to control the earth's more beautiful human population. The bugs were just abandoned, no matter how much they loved Jasmine or how much they deeply missed her.

    Negative: It bothers me that Fred leaves John strapped to the hospital bed even though he's begging her to untie him and Fred knows that he's not crazy but instead saw Jasmine's true face and they're in the same boat. It's like he provided Fred confirmation of what she saw.. and then, he was useless to her. But she still goes off on her own solo mission while humble-bragging that she's not the called type. In fact, I kind of think Fred saw John as Not An Ally and Not Worth Releasing *because* he was disfigured. Fred really didn't have to be as alone as she was in this story. So, Jasmine's plot worked that way even on Independent Fred. Once again, though, we get to one of my frequent frustrations with AtS- it's a brilliant plot point if read subversively as a critique of Our Heroes and it's a bad-writing plot point if we're not supposed to see it as a flaw.

    For a more straightforward negative, there was a missed opportunity for Fred to call her parents to get help and/or warn them before Jasmine got herself on national TV.

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  3. #42
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    The Magic Bullet

    Positive: This is a weird episode that's both scary and ridiculous. I really like Fred here; 'anything for a fan' is a great line, and I liked her as a fugitive roaming through the countryside and that she is the one who de-programmes the others.

    Negative: The tone of this ep is all over the place. It's a comedy and a horror, like a lot of Angel episodes, but feels far more disjointed, with Fred alone in a big scary world, while Angel and Connor sing Manilow. It could have been written to show the differences between Fred's reality and Jasmine's fantasy I guess, but I don't think it works.

    Fred and Angel kissing . . . reminds me of Gwen and Angel kissing, neither had any reason to happen within the script and I just think it was shipper bait or testing the audience reactions to a possible relationship. It's horrible and completely unnecessary.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sacrifice

    Positive: You can feel Connor's absolute hatred of his father and his need to cling to Jasmine. Their relationship feels as incestuous as Connor/Cordy. Like how Fred say's 'I'd take that over being a shell any day', that's some good foreshadowing there.

    Negative: I don't like this Angel or how he wants to cut himself off from his feelings so he can fight, or how the others seems torn about what they want to do and who they want to be. Once again we have to go over the cold remains of the Gunn/Fred relationship, and Fred behaving like she's so superior to Gunn. And when did Fred become such a proficient warrior.
    Last edited by Priceless; 11-11-18 at 03:20 PM.

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  5. #43
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    The Magic Bullet

    Positive: As Priceless said, this is such a great Fred-episode. It calls on so many motifs and themes around Fred's character. The scavenging cave-dwelling fugitive. The genius physicist who utilize the "magic bullet." The recovering teen conspiracy theorist interacting the bookshop conspiracy theorist. A person who thinks of Angel's vampirism first but is comfortable with it and doesn't need to dress it up with humanity. The only person in AI who was really raised and formed by grounded, home-spun values and therefore ironically, seems like a novelty. As Priceless said, the resistance to being the mere shell for a higher being to control. Her battle with Jasmine over who's the Beloved Mary Sue around here.

    I think AA really nails that scene where she's in the hole with the little Smurf demon. Those relatively short scenes nail a lot of different moods. Fred is beyond on-edge and she's the hard captor of a Lil Smurf Demon. Still despite the stress, the scene is mostly comedic but the suspense over whether that demon is as innocent at he appears is kept alive through the comedy. Even though Fred is the hard-edged captor, the scene further shows Fred's essential goodness. "Hey, I'm as new to this fugitive thing as you are." Then, the scene appears to reach a climax where the suspense has paid off. Fred is trapped with a completely creepy demon that's snacking on people's fingers. But then, Fred defeats the Smurf demon which results in her epiphany about how blood/wounds can defeat Jasmine. It's very efficiently told story.

    Negative: Coma!Cordelia grabbing Angel's hand felt like a very mean tease that Real Cordelia could be restored. I mean, that's all it is. A cruel tease. It didn't advance the plot at all.

    Also, I think it's a plotting error that Gunn/Wesley/Lorne were de-thralled without having to look at Jasmine after getting the blood while Fred/Angel had to look at Jasmine after getting the blood in order to see her true face.

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    Peace Out

    Positive: Connor. He has been manipulated and groomed by everyone around him and I feel so sorry for him. He's reached the end of the road and he's empty and just wants it to end. He breaks my heart. Also liked the surprise ending. AtS can do a surprise ending better than any other show I've seen.

    Negative: OMG now we've got Jasmine kissing Angel! What is it with random women kissing Angel? I know he's a good looking guy, but seriously, what purpose does it serve? What are the writers trying to say?

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  9. #45
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    Sacrifice

    Positive: I really enjoy Wesley's conversation with the spider-demon. The spider demon and its blood magic ritual with the vampire really feels gross and visceral. It's a nicely written demonstration of Wesley's strengths and weaknesses. Fear of being the prisoner of a giant, beyond gross looking angry Spider-demon doesn't put Wesley off for a second in solving the mystery. BAMF. He just gets right into having an academic conversation about the nature of love and sacrifice and blood-magic so it doesn't feel like an interrogation but instead, an invitation to get the Spider-demon to talk about what he really wants to bloviate on. The Spider-demon's various threats or halting difficult speech doesn't slow Wesley down at all from conducting the conversation- and Wes perseveres until he hits valuable information about Jasmine's name and brilliantly deduces that it can kill her.

    ...And then, Wesley is so carried away with his ideas and role here that he just blabs about his discovery while the demon approaches him and through the demon throttling him.

    For all of the grisliness, it's also really funny in parts. AD's delivery cracks me up here.

    WESLEY: Jasmine. That's what we call her. The superior being that (seeing the demon menacingly approach and goes for suck-up tone)....that you loved first.

    Negative: I think Angel's speech about cutting himself off from all feelings works in terms of Angel's upcoming S5 arc. He's getting into position to give up his son, give up Cordelia, and mindwipe and boss his alive friends so they can't really be friends anymore. I just think it's uncharacteristically stupid of Angel to up and say it as leader of the group, The whole appeal of taking down Jasmine is the value in having authentic feelings and emotions. It would have been more subtle if Angel pretended at having emotional reasons to fight Jasmine, even though he's internally given up on his human connections. It does suck for Gunn that he tries to carry Angel's dog of an argument and Fred handily beats him in the debate. However Angel, the one who advanced the argument, gets Fred prompting him to be a hero and jump through the portal to the bug-world because "Hearts get in the way." It's easier to be Angel than Gunn on that level. However Gunn brought that suck on himself by carrying Angel's dog of argument that they should fight a mind-controlling goddess by....willing themselves to not feel emotions.

    For another possible Negative, I don't believe that Seidel's death eats Fred up inside when she thinks about it. If we're supposed to take her at face value, that's a Negative. That kind of remorse really wasn't baked into how Fred deals.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 12-11-18 at 08:05 PM.

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    Home

    Positive: What a great twist. I love this concept and I love how Lilah presents it, she is the best thing in this episode. Her arguments are so persuasive. You can see she's enjoying herself and is fun to watch. Connor balances out the episode, where Lilah is fun, he is misery, his pain and anger is so sad, and in the end his father kills him.

    Negative: There are whole threads about my feelings towards the action Angel takes in this episode Angel did the wrong thing in wiping Connor's mind, and if he truly wanted to be a good father he'd take the next 80 years and devote them to caring for his damaged child. Instead he takes the easy way out, wipes his mind and the minds of everyone he supposedly cares about and takes over W&H.

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    Peace Out

    Positive: The end of S4 gives Fred some very organic ways to be the hero. End of S4!Fred is my favorite Fred. Last episode, she was bothered that AI left Cordelia and Connor with Jasmine and Angel responded that AI can't retain their emotions and caring and defeat the villain. In this ep, Fred's genuine concern and caring about Coma!Cordelia was the key to get Connor to turn against Jasmine. Connor was prompted to go to the church and check on Cordelia because Fred queried about Cordelia's safety and health. Connor had gone along with Jasmine's lie because he thought it was the trade-off for a family- him and Cordelia as parents to their child, Jasmine. However, Jasmine throwing away Cordelia convinced Connor that this wouldn't be a family, and thus, pretending to believe the lie wasn't worth it.

    Negative: It's odd that Jasmine doesn't mention that she has Fred/Wesley/Lorne/Gunn in custody right when Angel appears. The only reason why she kept such troublesome threats to her reign alive was as bargaining chips in case Angel was successful in his mission. However she just stands there, gazing at Angel with the Keeper's head for a good minute.

    The Jasmine-kiss is weird. Still, Angel and Jasmine are both so weird together that it almost makes bizarro sense. IMO, it sucks that Angel believes that Jasmine already murdered Fred/Wesley/Lorne/Gunn, put Cordelia in a coma after controlling her all season, and had orchestrated all of the apocalypses this year. However, he STILL gives Jasmine a pitch about how he and her can work together to make the world a better place. The language that he uses echoes how he told Connor that Connor COULDN'T be part of making the world a better place and threw him out on the street after Angel came back from his ocean-imprisonment. Jasmine's kiss and Angel's special deal for Jasmine does work to support Connor's hurt that his dad lives a rarefied life of privilege and he'll always be the outsider to his own father's world. Now, his father and his daughter are starting to connect in that In-Group, leaving only Connor out in the cold.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 13-11-18 at 04:55 PM.

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    Home

    Positive: I agree that Lilah is a the highlight. What's more, this episode renders her one of the most effective villains in the 'verse. As far as I'm concerned, AI was absolutely destroyed and hallowed out by taking over W&H and Angel was completely ruined as a hero. Taking this deal killed Fred and destroyed Wesley. Angel's temper tantrum because he took his deal finished Wesley off and killed Gunn. I always have a niggling doubt in my mind that Cordelia could have been restored to health from her coma if Angel had bothered to get a second medical/mystical opinion instead of dumping her care with the villains who had a vested interest in cutting Angel off from the powers.

    Moreover, I don't think anyone but Lilah could have gotten Angel and Wesley in that limo. Wesley took the tour to try to save Lilah from damnation. As for Angel, it's not entirely clear why he took the tour. Getting to make a new Connor is why Angel took the *deal* but Angel didn't start thinking along those lines until Lilah showed footage of Connor holding the sports store hostage. IMO, Angel took the tour out of curiosity to assess generally what W&H could do for him even though Angel knew that the curiosity was bait to be corrupted. Angel always had a peculiar camaraderie with Lilah. A big part of it is that Lilah is fun to be around, even if she's stone-cold evil. He's also much more inclined to try to see goodness or underrate the danger in women as opposed to men. It's symptomatic of Angel's double-standards that Angel was sat down next to Lilah at that bar in Sleep Tight to calmly preach to her about becoming a game face after he learned that she was spiking his blood with Baby Connor's blood. If Lindsay or Gavin came to AI to offer this tour, I don't think Angel would have gone along or he'd be a lot more sure about walking out on the tour instead of making his "I'm leaving" noises but allowing Lilah to complete her tour.

    To me, it adds a whole other creepy level to the "It means something that you tried" Weslah scene. Lilah is basking in the glow of Wesley trying to save her while she's orchestrating a plan to damn him.

    Negative: Most of my issues with Home are S5 issues- namely that I lose my connection to the supporting players because their memories were wiped and it feels like a big cheat for Angel's crucial story about being a father to be resolved by Angel making a fake Connor and shipping him off to another family. S5 had interesting concepts and great production value but it's my least favorite season by some measure partly because of those issues. Wesley's consent to take the deal is particularly obscure to me. Dude didn't even take the tour- he knocked out his tour guide and then, went to rescue Lilah.

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