I didn’t expect Angel to revert back to standalone cases so soon after having one of the most serialized seasons on television, but that’s exactly what Conviction was: a somewhat forgettable standalone hour.
First, the good stuff. I appreciate what the writers have done here by shuffling the status quo a bit and separating the Angel Investigations team. It’s clear just how distant they’re all becoming with each member out doing their own thing, often without consulting the others. Even better is how they’re all slowly becoming slightly evil (much like Wolfram & Hart wanted): Angel alone kills a whole team of special ops in a harrowing and relentless shooting sequence, and it’s unlike anything even Angelus has ever done. So at least that’s fascinating.
The case, on the other hand, bored me to tears. I didn’t care about Mr. Fries’ ridiculously awful personality, his son or the legal aspect of the show. The fact that they had Gunn, the character I often detest the most on this show, enhance his mind so they could win a case was such a contrived twist that I did not care for.
Another thing that absolutely rubs me the wrong way is the way this show has dealt with Cordelia. Not only is Charisma Carpenter no longer listed as a cast member, but Cordy is STILL in a coma after all this time. This is seriously character assassination, and if we truly never see her on this show again I will be pissed.
Finally, I love that they brought back Harmony as Angel’s new assistant as this is a subplot that is full of comedic potential. Spike’s return in the premiere’s final moments, however, was underwhelming because James Marsters was already listed as a regular in the credits so no surprises there. Let’s hope the show has better and more original twists up its sleeves in its final season.
– The teaser highlights just how much things are changing for Angel this season: after saving a woman from a vampire, they are swarmed with reporters and lawyers from W&H.
– The special ops agents calling the vampire “a hostile” felt like a nice nod to Buffy‘s fourth season and its Initiative arc.
– I was surprised that an episode written (and directed) by Joss Whedon doesn’t have a sharp script to at least save it from being completely boring. Where did all the witty dialogue go?
– Seriously, the puns were horrible. Eve and the apple? Angel biting into the apple? Then later saying he has no problem spanking men? Good lord, make it stop.
– Also, Fries repeatedly telling Angel “to get him off”: really, writers? How did this make it on the air?
– Gunn is bald now, and Angel’s hair is longer and pulled back. I find it funny how older shows never try being subtle about the actual real-life time jump between filming seasons.
– Already don’t like Eve and really miss Lilah.
– Hilarious scene as Angel geeks out over all the cars he can drive.
– I find Knox surprisingly likable. I even like him as Fred’s possible love interest. #SorryWes
– Hilarious final shot as Harmony peeks her head into the office and cries out “blondie bear?” after Spike returns from the dead (or undead?).
Wesley (to Fred): Your run-on sentences have got a lot less pointless.
Angel: You’ve been working here?
Harmony: Well, duh! I’m a single undead gal trying to make it in the big city—I have to start somewhere. And they’re evil here, they don’t judge. They’ve got the necrotempered glass—
(dances in front of the window) no burning up—a great medical plan, and who needs dental more than us?
Spanky: You know what I’m doing now? I’m applying pressure to your windpipe. You’ll pass out, and then I’ll let Mr. Fries decide if he wants you to wake up again.
Angel: Do you know what I’m doing now? Not using my windpipe.