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Angel Season 5 Rewatch - #19 Time Bomb (SPOILERS)

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  • Angel Season 5 Rewatch - #19 Time Bomb (SPOILERS)

    Greeting rewatchers! I hope you enjoyed viewing our nineteenth episode, Timebomb

    Rewind: for conversation on ‘Origin’, click here

    A prompt to get us started:
    • What are your general impressions of this episode?
    • What did you like/dislike about it?
    • What did they get right and what could have been done better?

    Optional talking points:
    • What do you think Illyria’s motivation was to save Gunn?

    RL has been hectic, so again I will utilise some bullet points to discuss this explosive episode:
    • Illyria rescuing Gunn from the hell dimension was fantastic. She seems to be the only one strong enough to defeat the demon there, and her replacing Gunn with his torturer was a stroke of genius. Loved that moment so much.
    • Wesley and his “full-strength” crazy are something to behold. He is most definitely “a bit odd”, and his bizarre relationship with Illyria is just getting weirder. He broke the Orlon window with the purpose of bringing back Fred, but he doesn’t want Illyria dead? This goes down as the strangest problem of any character in the series.
    • Gunn, on the other hand, was a little quick to forgive Wesley for “a jab in the gut”, but I also kind of get what he means. How odd.
    • Meanwhile, Lorne tailing Illyria has to be the cruellest assignment Angel has ever dealt; Lorne was barely together a few episodes ago.
    • “Have you got a problem with that (killing Illyria)?” “…No”
    • Every scene with Wesley and Illyria is stunning. Their chemistry is off the charts, and the score isn’t helping break the tension one bit. An amazing effort with the score this season, and something I should have remarked on earlier.
    • Time; it doesn’t exist until it breaks apart =
    • The reveal of the time traveling is CLEVER.
    • Gunn empathising with Amanda was such a great idea. I don’t think Gunn will ever forgive himself for his part in Fred’s death.
    • “Is that all we’re doing here? Hiding the horror?” Certainly seems that way.
    • Cancer is a W&H client?? Angel has really gotten involved with the wrong “people”…
    • Wesley laughing bitterly all episode is so sad
    • Called it: Illyria is too powerful for her mortal form. I had a feeling something bad would happen with regards to this.
    • Illyria killing everyone? One of the most shocking and brilliant moments of the season for me.
    • Illyria, wearing the shell of a friend, inspiring action in Angel? I LOVE THIS SHOW.
    • “I’m not in love with this thing, Angel. But, for some reason, I need it right now.”
    • “Angel? What are you doing…?”
    Thanks to those who have continued coming back for the second half of this season; it's appreciated
    Last edited by Involvere; 16-10-22, 10:12 AM.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." ~ Anais Nin

  • #2
    As always, the latest Villainy poll is here, and it's a head-scratcher!
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." ~ Anais Nin


    • #3
      I've made sure I vote in the poll in time but it's looking likely that I may be looking at the back end of the weekend or early next week before I post here on Time Bomb. I will get to it though. I'm looking forward to rewatching this episode.


      • #4
        I really like this episode. It does a good job making Illyria into a character that can stay. The gem of Amara had to be destroyed or the show would have been pointless because angel would have been indestructible. Illyria needed some checks and balances in order to become a workable character. I'm glad she saved Gunn before that happened.

        "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."


        • #5
          I agree with GoSpuffy that Illyria had to be depowered somewhat for the character to stick around. Seeing how easily she dealt with the cellar demon that Angel and Spike together had struggled with really emphasises her strength. Hearing later how many torture units she’d destroyed finding Gunn emboldens it further. But with where they take her, I think there is a little bit of a logic gap on why she isn’t actually doing more to gain power and why she already hasn’t been. Suggesting that she is sticking around W&H because of the power there makes sense, but her lack of action at the same time, not so much.

          When she arrived she was hellbent on returning to her army and was tunnel-visioned and determined. Her deflation at the empty temple and subsequent days mooching and wondering about how to fit in and wanting Wes to guide her on how to get by are a very quick initial stepping down really. But I shrugged at it because it works really well for her dynamic with Wes as he was going through a similar crisis in the wake of what happened to Fred. That he would stick with Illyria just to have the little ongoing connection he could in his grief was very believable, both finding new direction and focus.

          To then try to return to the idea that she won’t stop trying to be a ruling god was a little bit jarring against how lost she was at first. It could be her seeing the bigger picture more maybe and wondering how she can utilise things around her to regain power. I think it was the more believable response to be honest. But she doesn't seem to be aiming high. That idea makes it a little difficult to believe that she would hang around and not be just trying to use her power to raise a new army, but instead she’s rushing off rescuing members of Wes’ group so that they are in debt to her. It’s not the most ambitious and commanding approach. To look at things her way.

          That element aside, I can find a lot to like about this episode. I really enjoy when Angel pulls Spike out of the training room and points out that he thinks Illyria is testing them. I was wondering at the end of the last episode, Origin, wherein they'd been testing Connor’s strengths and Wes was testing and studying Illyria, if there was a repeated theme of ‘testing’ in the season. I was thinking back to Spike’s weird ‘taste test’ with Cordelia as that seemed a bit odd (although I can accept that if they can smell fear that taste might reveal something to vamp senses). And I thought about the times when people’s intentions were being tested, such as the plan with Hainsley. Or their morals like Spike choosing to rescue Fred. Or, in contrast, Gunn’s deal with Sparrow. I had intended to have a think back through the episodes to consider if there had been other occasions, but hadn’t remembered to do so. So, I was interested that the idea of testing each other appeared straight away in this, the very next episode.

          Hidden intentions and what lies within have been a constant theme. Often too unseen to be tested. Here the two overlap as Illyria challenges Wes over his intentions because he did try to kill her through his actions in Origin, and then her time shifts seem to reveal a new hidden intention to kill her again. It turns out that she’s right in terms of what some of the team are attempting, but not Wes, who was actually hiding his plan from Angel as he had found a way to depower her and save her. The way this theme of intentions and tested loyalty muddles around the different characters works so interestingly alongside the time jumps and I love this element.

          It also fits the hidden intentions of the Fell and what Gunn says about the most difficult part of the torture being the false front that hid the horrors. Of course he’s wanting to feel that what they are doing will make a difference and this comes before Angel talks about figuring out the big picture and plotting their next move. More hidden intentions building. Then there's the theme of power and the fact that Illyria has to be partially depowered to save her. This could be seen to fit with Angel’s change of plans perhaps. Seeming to compromise to fit in to W&H’s wants for him in order to be able to keep fighting. But this is where I have always hit a brick wall with this season as I think he should just leave and don’t feel that he can’t do that.

          I can see why you might feel like you can take some big hits while you are in the belly before going when they don’t expect you to start direct attacks. That definitely makes sense to me. But there is just such a kamikaze ‘blaze of glory’ mentality to where his plan goes that it is a world away from helping the helpless on ground level and protecting his team. They have said time and again that Angel can’t be touched, the senior partners want him alive, and I think that can then make him seem careless with the lives of those around him. Sure he gives them the choice to follow, but often he hides his full intentions and he isn’t in the same position as they are in the eyes of their enemy. So, it all seems quite cavalier to me and based back again on despairing at the state of the world that seems very despondent to the fight. “Next time you go out there, take a good look around. ‘Cause it’s true, Gunn.”

          Illyria’s comment on ambition definitely seems to hang over a change in Angel here as he seems to stop trying to battle on the small fights in seemingly stepping back on fighting with the Fell Brethren. Instead, he’s going to take on a more ambitious way to thwart things. But at what cost for the same potential result? Sure Angel is wanting to take down more players in one swoop, but what does that really achieve to be so risky about it rather than a dramatic gesture? It seems we're into grand gestures rather than all the smallest acts mattering. The idea of power going to one’s head feels somewhat applicable to the plan and not being able to let go of the idea of the power held, even as it destroys you. When we see it all explained again I’m sure we’ll get into the whys of the plan Angel embarks on and, to be fair, I don’t remember the exact reasoning well enough to be sure I'll view it the same this time.

          I also wanted to comment on Gunn’s visual step back into his old style. His discomfort at the price he paid for the knowledge he has makes total sense and the decision to stop dressing in a sharp suit possibly shows some degree of shame at what is within him. His outerwear isn’t there just to cover that though I don’t think, even if it serves to do that as well. I think he’s also trying to be who he was a little more again. Before he seemed ashamed of who he had been and now he’s come to feel shame in what he has become. So, this amalgamation where he seems more the Gunn of old but is using the knowledge he has been given to try to help still seems a positive attempt to meld the two. Again a seeming partial depowering to find a way to exist better where he is now.

          Wes is clearly a little more rogue again now that he’s struggling with both his grief and the other painful memories that he’s regained. He outright lies to Angel now in wanting to execute his own plan and there is certainly the sense of him not being fully controllable. The fractures in the group that have come since they made their deals and started at W&H have come more to the surface and that feels stark in this episode. The previous mention about Wes’ lack of sleep and the way that he has papers strewn across his office and is obviously struggling mentally, actually reminded me a lot of Fred’s writing on the walls of her room. He’s lost in the problems that engulf his mind. A lot of what is inside is on display (even if he is also holding some things back). It seems he's not going to be constrained by the role he is supposed to be playing as he looks to use the resources around him for his own purpose. Again this seems to sit alongside Angel’s hidden intentions and the willingness to put up a front of compliance to continue with his own agenda.

          Lorne seems really lost and struggling to find a purpose. The task he’s given he is trying to perform but seems out of step with the others. Similarly, Spike is ‘testing’ Illyria as planned but then that gets set aside. We later see him helping Wes to seemingly take out Illyria, but we come to understand that isn’t what happens there either. So again, he seems to lack a meaningful role. Both Spike and Lorne come across as being a little bit adrift on the edges, but trying to gain purpose from those around them even when they don’t really have the full picture.

          I would also like to give a nod to the scripting in this episode, for Wes and Illyria in particular. I especially like this line, “But then, what comes out of her mouth, pure unadulterated vertigo. We look so tiny to her.” And I agree the chemistry in their shared scenes is incredible. The ending of this episode does leave the question of how changed Illyria will be going forward. She remains an intriguing highlight of the season.

          What do you think Illyria’s motivation was to save Gunn?​
          I think they are wanting us to go with Wes' explanation that it was something that would place them in debt to her but that doesn't really make much sense to me as why would she even need them? Especially at that point from her pov. I think I can make some sense of why Illyria sticks around and is trying to almost ingratiate herself by the idea of her feeling some disconnection from the world now to the one she knew and not being certain how to fit in to the new world or regain the old one just yet. The restraint and quiet contemplation/consideration still seems a bit odd though. But the idea of her being somewhat affected by the shell she's moved into too helps I think. That some of the memories that are Fred's which she's gained automatically somewhat changes her (linking back to that idea of our memories making us who we are). So she isn't the person she remembers being even as she still struggles to completely give up on the idea.

          I'd also say on that front it was a display of power to try to gain more respect and be acknowledged and feared again as she used to be by those around her. They are clearly not awed in the way she wants and this could have been an attempt to shift that somewhat too.

          ...the score isn’t helping break the tension one bit. An amazing effort with the score this season, and something I should have remarked on earlier.​
          I don't tend to notice the background music although I know of course that it adds to the tone of the scenes and I'm certain it affects me. I just rarely consciously consider it. I'll try to pay attention going forwards.

          Although I do think we see the divides in the group in this episode I think it does also deal with the elements that keep them bound too. Your point about Wes and Gunn managing to move past Wes stabbing Gunn is a good example of this and the strange tie that Wes continues to feel with Illyria that he actually describes as needing right now in his grief. The question comes then in how much cohesion they can manage over the fractures as a team just based on the history that continues to bind them even when those fractures fail to completely break them apart.


          • Stoney
            Stoney commented
            Editing a comment
            Hopefully I'll get to watch and comment on TGIQ before the end of the weekend.