“Angel” 4×18 – Shiny Happy People

What a riveting hour.

Gina Torres is one of the few actresses that I can never get tired of seeing on TV because of her amazing on-screen presence, so I was just as fascinated by the unnamed Higher Being as the rest of the Angel Investigations gang. And then the show drops another twist: what if Jasmine was actually the real Big Bad this season?

There’s so much to love about Shiny Happy People, but my favorite thing is that it really allows you to see both sides of this mystery and leaves the judgment up to the viewers’ imagination. Having Fred, the one person who was stuck in another dimension alone for five years with evil and hatred all around her, be the only one to question Jasmine’s true motives is a stroke of genius. Because what if Jasmine really can just bring peace and get rid of all evil? What if Fred is just used to living in hatred and refuses to see the good in people? It’s a head-scratching, thought-provoking theme that this show has never truly delved into before, and while the next few episodes might immediately answer all of these questions (I’m leaning towards Jasmine as the Big Bad), this is still quite an impressive feat.

Finally, the cliffhanger with Jasmine (a name she probably ended up choosing herself after the flower) appearing on a TV talk show in order to cast her spell (or not, however you may look at it) to a wider audience is a chilling twist to bookend this near-perfect hour. Fred, the only one clearly unaffected by this Higher Being’s powers, walks out of the diner defeated, a fascinating juxtaposition to the uplifting, positive tone the episode had previously kicked off with. Wow.


– Angel was wearing bright colors during this episode! And after Fred shoots him with a crossbow, he changes into a gray shirt. What a nice little detail.

– The way everyone falls down to their knees in front of Jasmine is quite intriguing, right?

– As atmospheric the bowling fight scene was with Fred and Jasmine having a nice conversation while everyone around them is in full attack mode, I wish the editing was smoother here.

– I wanted Cordelia to wake up while Fred was crying by her bedside, just to tell everyone to stop acting like idiots. I miss badass, sassy high-school Cordy.

– Eerie montage with Jasmine delivering an uplifting speech about fighting evil once and for all with scenes of the entire gang killing vampires while Fred is simply struggling to get the stain off Jasmine’s clothes.

– How twisted was Jasmine telling Wesley and Gunn that loving the same woman should bring them closer together? I had to make sure I wasn’t mesmerized by Gina Torres as well because that kind of made sense to me. Oops?

– If anyone needed more reason to hate Connor, look no further: he twirls with a stake in his hand while attempting to kill a vampire Buffy-style, but ends up twisting its neck.

– Who else got the chills when Wesley whispered to EVERYONE what Fred had told him earlier about Jasmine? Dear God, I actually thought they were all going to kill her.

– I think Angel’s “we have to kill her” was a bit exaggerated, especially in an episode that’s supposed to have us question which side is truly right.

Quotes

Lorne: My God!
Jasmine: People keep saying that.

Jasmine: No one born to this earth can choose their own name. They’re named by those who love them.

Lorne: Well, I’m tickled as, uh, someone so tickled they’re out of similes.

Lorne: I should’ve let her cut my head off. My species–decapitation loophole.

Rating
A

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