“Dollhouse” 2×06 – The Left Hand

After forcing myself to sit through the first couple of episodes of Dollhouse this season, I’m glad The Left Hand proved to be a remarkable installment that showed momentum in an otherwise disappointing series.

My main problem with this show is that it keeps treading water without making us care about any of the characters. Luckily, this season is about to become much more interesting now that Echo is out in the real world on her own. I must say, I’m finally excited about finishing this show, and I hope the last few episodes don’t disappoint.

The biggest surprise here is Enver Gjokaj’s outstanding performance. While he usually plays Victor (and mostly Sierra’s love interest), I love that he was imprinted with Topher’s brain this time. Everything from his body language to the tone of his voice was a near-perfect imitation of Topher, and it was surprisingly amusing to watch these two characters interact.

I know the world was obsessed with Summer Glau (especially when she was on Firefly), but her performance hasn’t been that great on Dollhouse so far. While the actress is undoubtedly stunning, I do wish she gets to do more than swoon over Topher (and she reminded me of Fred from Angel a lot with her stuttering). Luckily, it seems like there’s potential with the hints that she’s had a complicated relationship with Caroline. Hmm, I’m intrigued.


Bits

– It means so much to me to see Alex Denisof and Eliza Dushku in the same scene together after just finishing the Buffyverse recently. I hope we see more of the Senator in future episodes.

– I think the show has no idea what to do with Madelyn (November/Mellie). Sadly, I think the actress is horribly cast for this role as I find myself cringing during most of her scenes.

– I didn’t understand why Bennett erased “assassin” and replaced it with “puppies” into the Senator’s brain. How random was that?

– How badass (and icky) was Adelle grabbing Littman’s balls?

– I always find it annoying how easily people’s necks can be broken on television and film.

– Chilling moment with Senator Daniel going on live television and saying the Dollhouse isn’t real while simultaneously accusing Madelyn of being locked up in a mental institution for the past 3 years. Wesley would not approve!!

– I’m afraid the show is just about to get into its stride, but I honestly don’t know whether to blame FOX for the early cancellation or Joss Whedon for taking too long to get here? But mots likely FOX.

Quotes

Echo: Does it matter who you were? All what matters is who you decide to be.

Victor: Then you’d have a second opinion.
Topher: No, it would be the same opinion twice.

Rating
A-

“Angel” 5×22 – Not Fade Away

That was one of the greatest series finales I have ever seen.

Despite a couple of mishaps in the first half of this season, Angel never forgot that it was always a show about its characters, often putting them through hell (sometimes literally) instead of letting the plot twists take over. Luckily, the past few episodes have seen the show return to its noir-form, culminating in a goosebumps-worthy ending that I don’t imagine I will ever forget.

But Not Fade Away is not just epic for its nail-biting ending; in fact, it’s one of the truest, pulse-pounding Angel episodes I’ve seen since the pilot. Gunn’s exchange with Anne (who returns for a shocking cameo, last seen in 2×14 The Thin Dead Line) is symbolic for everything Angel the series and Angel the character ever were (the quote itself is found below). It’s little moments like these that have always made a show about a vampire with a soul more humane and real than any other show on television. Granted, Gunn might be the least developed character on Angel (Lorne excluded, but we’ll get to that), but at least the writers stay true to this character in more ways than I could’ve imagined.

Then there’s Lorne. I’ll never understand why he joined the show full-time because this character was always better as comic relief and, quite frankly, he never really mixed with the dark and gritty aspects of this show properly. With that said, him shooting Lindsey to death is a terrific and jaw-dropping moment–again, it’s not a plot twist meant to reveal Lorne’s evil side; in fact, one of the last things our green demon says is that he’s going back to his old self. Killing Lindsey was more about Lindsey than it was about him as the previous Wolfram & Hart employee is more stunned than the rest of us that he dies in the hand of Lorne, of all people–err, creatures. It’s raw, stunning and without a doubt one of the most creative sendoffs I’ve seen on television.

I was skeptical about Wesley’s fate from the moment I started this finale. In a way, his death seems inevitable and slightly predictable, but it’s still heartbreaking to watch him and Illyria (who becomes Fred for him one last time) in each other’s arms. The goofy little Watcher from Buffy easily became one of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse, but his bittersweet tragic ending is still much more satisfying than, say, Cordelia’s entire existence on this show. My only complaint is that Illyria joined the season way too late, and I would have loved to see how she moves on after Wesley’s death (she does admit to feeling grief and heartbreak at the end).

Angel gets a pretty pulse-pounding fight sequence with Hamilton, who isn’t a very well-developed antagonist but still embodies everything that is evil: Wolfram & Hart. The fight scene itself is longer than usual and still manages to incorporate witty banter, a Joss Whedon signature. I was more impressed by how Angel eventually takes down the Big Bad by sucking away his powers (in a goosebumps-worthy moment where we see Vamp Angel for one last time), a brilliant and thematic move that brings everything together perfectly.

Finally, there’s that epic ending that everyone keeps talking about. I refuse to see that final scene as a ‘cliffhanger’ or a cop-out ending; in fact, it’s a fantastic way to bring the show’s mythology to a bone-chilling finish. We take away from it whatever we want, even if it might actually leave us hanging, but at least we’re left knowing that Angel Investigations will always be fighting the good fight. The new team prepares to take on a dragon and more than a dozen of demons and unearthly creatures–it might be a fight they know they’re not coming out of alive, but it’s a fight worth taking. Leaving the conclusion up to the viewer’s imagination is the most powerful way to bookend this flawed yet always-fully-realized show, and if there’s anything I’ll miss the most about the Buffyverse as a whole, it’s that it never ceased to keep me on my toes while leaving me to interpret things on my own.

Thank you, Whedon, for creating a universe so ugly and beautiful. I’ll miss it terribly.


Bits

– Harmony betraying Angel is hilarious and, again, very true to her character. I’m so glad she makes it out of Wolfram & Hart alive.

– Eve is still the worst, but how about that ending? Angel tells her that Lindsey won’t be coming back for her and then the building literally starts to crumble and collapse onto her.

– Spike was terrific in the finale. His fight scene while holding the baby was mighty amusing, and I’m sad to admit that I’ll actually miss him a lot more than I expected.

– Spike’s poem is actually the same one used in the Buffy episode Fool For Love. Nice continuity there.

– To make myself feel better, I will pretend that Wesley and Fred are in the same ‘heaven’ that Buffy was in befoe Willow brought her back in season six. You do the same if these deaths still bring you to tears.

– I thought the Connor-centric episode was a fitting closure to his entire storyline, but I still didn’t mind seeing him in the finale. His transformation is truly amazing. It’s sad we only got to see a horrible side of him last season.

– Chilling moment with Fred turning into Illyria and punching the demon in the face to death. Wow!

– Shortly after the finale aired, The WB aired a “Thank you for watching” video that honestly gave me goosebumps. You can watch it here.

– Despite its slow start, season five really turned out to be a great season. The Angelus/Faith and Gina Torres’ arcs in season four make it much more riveting, but there’s no denying the past few episodes were badass.

Quotes

Wesley: The first lesson a watcher learns is to separate truth from illusion. Because in the world of magics, it’s the hardest thing to do. The truth is that Fred is gone. To pretend anything else would be a lie. And since I don’t actually intend to die tonight, I won’t accept a lie.

(Gunn is helping Anne pack stuff for the shelter into a truck)
Gunn: What if I told you it doesn’t help? What would you do if you found out that none of it matters? That it’s all controlled by forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive, and they will never let it get better down here. What would you do?
Anne: I’d get this truck packed before the new stuff gets here.

Wesley: There is no perfect day for me, Illyria. There is no sunset or painting or finely-aged scotch that’s going to sum up my life and make tonight any… There is nothing that I want.

Angel: I want you, Lindsey. (pause) I’m thinking about rephrasing that.

Spike: First off, I’m not wearing any amulets, no bracelets, broaches, beads, pendants, pins, or rings.

Angel: I knew you’d turn on me. I just didn’t know when.
Harmony: What do you mean you knew?
Angel: Loyalty really isn’t high on your list.
Harmony: Oh, is that right? I’ll have you know I am damn loyal, dumbass.
Angel: You betrayed me. You are betraying me now, even as we are talking!
Harmony: Because you never have any confidence in me!
Angel: No, because you have no soul.
Harmony: I would, if you had confidence in me!

Connor: Come on. You drop by for a cup of coffee, and the world’s not ending? Please.

Lindsey (to Lorne): You kill me? A flunky? I’m not just… Angel…kills me. You don’t… Angel…

Illyria: Would you like me to lie to you now?
Wesley: Yes. (closes his eyes in a slow, pained blink) Thank you. Yes. (opens his eyes and sees Fred)
Fred (smiling through her tears): Oh, Wesley. My Wesley.
Wesley: Fred… I’ve missed you.
Fred (kisses him): It’s gonna be ok. It won’t hurt much longer, and then you’ll be where I am. (crying) We’ll be together.
Wesley: I-I love you.
Fred: I love you. My love. Oh, my love.

Gunn: You take the thirty thousand on the left.

Spike: And in terms of a plan?
Angel: We fight.
Spike: Bit more specific?
Angel: Well, personally? I kind of wanna slay the dragon.

Angel: Let’s go to work.

Rating
A+

“Angel” 5×20 – The Girl in Question

How incredible was Amy Acker in this? She had to portray two completely different characters in The Girl in Question and she gives another one of her career-best performances as both Fred and Illyria. Her entire subplot with Wesley and Fred’s parents was gut-wrenching and painful from start to finish, and a part of me is glad those poor Texan folks never found out their girl died. I don’t think I could handle watching that scene break down.

Even Angel and Spike’s cartoonish adventures in Rome proved to be delightfully amusing. All the Buffy teases were exceptionally done as I was getting increasingly more hopeful of seeing her, but this hour proved that the Buffyverse is never-ending. While it literally ends in only two episodes (which, by the way, I am completely unprepared for), The Girl in Question reveals that Buffy might have been dating The Immortal, one of Angel and Spike’s biggest arch-nemeses, and it adds a whole lot of interesting layers to the Angel/Spike dynamic. Plus, that final scene as the two brooding vampires pretend to admit that they’re moving on (just like Buffy) was a brilliant way to bookend this near-perfect hour.

TWO EPISODES LEFT!


Bits

– The slow-mo fight sequence at the Rome club, punctuated by an elegant violin-like score, was pretty nifty. Why couldn’t this show be more creative like that before?

– How heartbreaking was it to watch Wesley tell Illyria never to be Fred again? I’m still in denial about Wes and Fred not getting their cheesy happily ever after.

– Andrew was kind of annoying in this one. I liked him a lot better when he showed up in L.A. a few episodes back.

– With the show ending soon, I’m very pleased with all the cameo appearances we’ve been receiving. Both Darla and Drusilla show up in Angel and Spike’s flashbacks, and they’re just as amusing as ever.

– I understand we couldn’t have Buffy (or Sarah Michelle Gellar), but why couldn’t we at least see Dawn for one last time?

– I didn’t review the Connor-centric episode, but I have to admit it was just as amazing as this one. Connor leaving Angel’s office, supposedly unaware of his old memories, and calling him “dad” in the final scene gave me goosebumps. I’m glad the show decided to give that entire storyline the proper closure it deserved.

Quotes

Angel: I helped save the world, you know.
Spike: Like I haven’t.
Angel: Yeah, but I’ve done it a lot more.
Spike: Oh, please.
Angel: I closed the Hellmouth.
Spike: I’ve done that.
Angel: Yeah, you wore a necklace. You know, I helped kill the Mayor and, uh, and Jasmine and—
Spike: Do those really count as savin’ the world?
Angel: I stopped Acathla. That saved the world.
Spike: Buffy ran you through with a sword.
Angel: Yeah, but I made her do it. I signaled her with my eyes.
Spike: She killed you. I helped her! That one counts as mine.

Spike: I had a relationship with her too.
Angel: Sleeping together is not a relationship.
Spike: It is if you do it enough times.

Wesley (to Illyria): Change back. Be blue. Be anything. Don’t be her. Don’t ever be her.

Rating
A-

“Angel” 5×16 – Shells

Shells might be one of my favorite episodes of Angel.

There have been way too many changes this season, what with Cordelia gone and an increased focus on Wolfram & Hart (plus, when’s the last time Angel actually fought a vampire?), so it’s nice to see that Shells, which is a brilliantly written hour of television, goes back to what made this show so good in season two. In a world where there are vampires and demons, it’s the show’s interpretation of human connection that makes it worth watching, and this episode makes a terrific point of exactly why we grieve and yet keep on living afterwards.

I know Illyria will probably be around for a couple more episodes, but Shells is truly the perfect sendoff for Fred, despite the fact that she isn’t even in it (if you don’t count the final flashback at the end). Once again, Wesley proves that he is the real MVP of this show, refusing to simply cry over the love of his life and actually asking the right questions. Considering the universe this show exists in, I’m beyond pleased that he doesn’t accept that Fred is just ‘dead’. As Angel later repeats as well, death is not the end in this world, and even if Illyria isn’t Fred (although the similarities, physically and otherwise, are uncanny) there’s no reason not to keep her around. Clinging on to a loved one even after their death is one of the first steps in grieving, after all, and I’m honestly very excited to see how the writers tackle Wesley’s subplot with Illyria moving forward.

Of course, what helps make this episode a true success is the tension. The fight sequences between our gang and Illyria herself are visually incredible, whether it’s Angel’s slow-mo fall off a building or Illyria’s teleportation to her world and realizing that everything has been destroyed. I believe Angel had plenty of chances to write good female characters, but somehow still seemed to drop the ball with Cordelia (still not over what they did to her last season), Kate, Lilah and Fred; luckily, I have faith that the badass Illyria might be the one true exception.

Let’s hope the last few hours of the Buffyverse are even half as clever and amazing as this one.


Bits

– Shocking moment with Wesley stabbing Gunn in the stomach. It’s very true to his character, but it’s still unexpected.

– There’s a lot of symbolism in Shells, some of which are hard to notice at first. I love that the episode starts and ends with Wesley and Illyria. Whereas their first interaction is that of anger and hatred, it’s quite comforting to see them come together by hour’s end.

– The episode ends with another Fred flashback. While the previous hour starts with her packing her bags and saying goodbye to her parents, the ending here shows Fred in her car on her way to LA. It’s sad, knowing exactly where this path is going to lead her.

– I’m not satisfied with that brief mention of Willow. I need to know why she’s in the Himalayas, what she’s doing there and I just want to know more!

– I complained about Spike last time, but now I see absolutely no reasonable explanation for Lorne’s existence on this show. And let’s not talk about his ‘powers’. They have been wildly inconsistent ever since they were introduced.

– Angel saying ‘I lost Cordelia because some thing violated her’ bothered me. His choice of words are always kind of icky, aren’t they?

– I like Spike’s idea of sending Gunn away. As far as possible, fellas!

– That said, it was heartbreaking to watch Gunn want to turn into a vegetable if it meant bringing Fred back.

– I need to see more of Harmony, writers! She knows how to bring some positivity back into this gang.

– Impressive fight scene in the end, but did Illyria have to ask how Angel wasn’t affected by her time wave? The fact that she says “sneaky” after she gets her explanation is so cheesy.

– Illyria getting fragments of Fred’s memory to remind Wesley that her final line was “Please…Wesley, why can’t I stay?” was gut-wrenching. Ouch.

– I generally hate montages, but those final 2 minutes were heartbreaking. This show got real dark, real quick.

– So many cleverly written lines this week, I hope I got the best ones.

Quotes

Wesley: Look. Humans rule the Earth. They will last for millennia, like roaches crawling everywhere. Crying and sweating and puking their feelings all over you. Go back. Sleep until the humans are gone. They are stupid and weak. They’ll kill each other off and you can return to the world you deserve. Leave this shell.

Spike: In the world of men, a person dies, they stay that way.
Angel: Unless you’re a vampire.
Spike: Or the ghost of one that saved the world.
Angel: Or Buffy.

Gunn: Where do we start?
Angel: We need the big guns.
Wesley: Willow.
Spike: Won’t be the first time she rattled the dead.

Angel: (to phone) Himalayas? I thought she was in South America.
Spike: We’ve got a branch in Tibet? How about a couple of sherpas?
Angel (to phone): All right, look–what do you mean she’s not on this plane? You just said… Astral projection? Well, is there any way to get her astral over to L.A.?

Wesley: Never a witch around when you need one.

Spike: I fancied I saw a blur just before she went Houdini.
Gunn: Yeah, like she was pulling a Barry Allen. (Angel looks at him) Jay Garrick? Wally–like she was moving really fast.

Harmony: Come on, I got a degree in tearing things up.

Harmony: Wes, the girl of your dreams loved you. That’s more than most people ever get.
Wesley: I know. But it isn’t enough.

Angel: You’re about as low as it gets, Knox, but you’re a part of humanity. That isn’t always pretty, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what came before. And if it comes down to a choice between you and him, then yes, I would fight for his life, just like any other human’s. Because that’s what people do. That’s what makes us—
(Wesley shoots Knox)
Angel (turns to face Wesley): Were you even listening?

Wesley: If I were to help you find your way, you have to learn to change. You mustn’t kill.
Illyria: You killed the Qwa’ha Xahn in defiance of your leader.
Wesley: He murdered the woman I love.
Illyria: And that made it just.
Wesley: No. It wasn’t just.

Illyria: We cling to what is gone. Is there anything in this life but grief?
Wesley: There’s love. There’s hope…for some. There’s hope that you’ll find something worthy… that your life will lead you to some joy… that after everything… you can still be surprised.
Illyria: Is that enough? (looks at Wesley) Is that enough to live on?

Rating
A

“Angel” 5×15 – A Hole in the World

Of course, just as Fred and Wesley were about to get their ‘happily ever after’, Joss Whedon comes in and destroys every inch of that happiness, ripping our hearts and emotionally scarring us in the process.

Fred’s slow death is utterly painful to watch, even if it’s foreshadowed by the flashback in the teaser of her pre-LA days with her parents. I never thought I would be so saddened by this character dying, but Amy Acker delivers a career-best performance all throughout A Hole in the World, often making this episode increasingly harder to watch even as we know what we’re heading towards in the end.

However, this hour is still a very flawed one. While I admit that Fred singing and puking blood all over Wesley was a jaw-dropper, followed by Lorne’s shocking facial expression, nothing really happens in the second half of the episode. Much like the first 10 episodes of season five, A Hole in the World treads water and ends up hardly entertaining us as it reaches its predictable (and sadly horrific) conclusion. While Cordelia’s death was shocking and powerful, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that Fred’s painful demise didn’t mean anything in the long-term. Of course, the ramifications of this game-changing move could have everlasting effects over the show’s final few episodes, but I’m still not very pleased with how they killed off a major character.

Plus, it saddens me that all three of Wesley’s love interests are now dead (if you count Cordelia and remember that they briefly had a thing on Buffy). This is a character that is truly brought to life by Alexis Denisof’s powerful performance, but there’s only so much pain and suffering you can stomach before it becomes unrealistic. Is anyone else reminded of Paul Blackthorne and the countless times he’s had to watch his daughters die on Arrow?


Bits

– I like that the title of the episode refers to the literal hole in the Earth as well as the one that Fred’s death will have on her friends. How very Whedon.

– Much like Spike himself, I’m beginning to wonder why James Marsters is even on the show anymore.

– Eve is back. Ugh.

– If everyone sits and sulks for the remainder of the series, I will be very pissed for not getting ANY reaction to Cordelia’s coma and death all season long. Not cool, writers.

– This is the last episode Joss Whedon wrote and directed.

– It bothers me that Fred repeatedly says she is not the damsel in distress and yet she was. She didn’t die a hero, trying to save the world like Spike, but was instead weak and powerless in her final hours. But maybe that’s why this was even more traumatizing?

– So, Knox was evil…sort of? Someone’s a sore loser.

– Gunn finding out that he had something to do with Fred’s death is actually a huge plot twist. Why couldn’t he be the one to die, though?

Quotes

Angel: You and me. This isn’t working out.
Spike: Are you saying we should start annoying other people?

Fred: I am not—I am not the damsel in distress. I am not some case. I have to work this. I lived in a cave for 5 years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle. I am not going to be cut down by some monster flu. I am better than that!

Angel: I’ve never seen Les Mis.
Spike: Trust me, half way through the first act, you’ll be drinking humans again.

Rating
B+

“Angel” 5×14 – Smile Time

That was unique and downright hilarious.

I love when TV shows break the mold and attempt to do something completely different, but to have an entire episode based on puppets with the main character actually becoming one as well is a huge, creative risk. I can’t imagine any other show pulling this off and actually succeeding.

What works about Smile Time is that the Angel puppet was just very amusing to watch. His facial expressions, dark coat, and broodiness are all spot-on that I must give credit to the show’s creative team for pulling off this daunting task in such an effective and fun matter. While I thought the Nina/Werewolf stuff was odd and random for an episode that already felt a bit overstuffed, I was thoroughly engrossed by puppet-Angel’s adventures this week. And, for an experimental episode like this one, that’s an achievement of its own.

Then there’s Fred and Wesley. It’s no secret I’ve been dying for these kids to get together for over a season and a half now, but all the buildup this season certainly helped make their first kiss absolutely electrifying. It’s crazy how Angel never had a real love interest for its main character (much like Buffy, one can argue), but that leaves room for us to ship whoever we want, and I say if we can’t have Angel and Buffy together then I will still be satisfied with Fred and Wesley getting their happily ever after. After everything they’ve been through (including a groan-inducing love triangle with Gunn), they certainly deserve it. Pretty please, Whedon?


Bits

– Shockingly, I’m also intrigued by Gunn’s new subplot. Why is Wolfram & Hart messing up with his head, ripping him of skills they’d already given him before? Hmmm.

– Hilarious moment with Spike and puppet-Angel fighting.

– Priceless long shot of the gang walking out ready to fight as we pan out to find puppet-Angel with a frown and a sword. I died!

– There’s even a vampire version of the puppet-Angel, with fangs and everything! How in the world did they come up with this stuff?

– At first, I thought this was going to get a bit cheesy and childish, but there was some deep, creepy PG-rated stuff in here. Those puppets were downright terrifying, I have to admit.

– I had to look it up, but Flowers for Algernon is a reference to a story about a retarded man who gets experimented on and becomes a genius before it all starts to fade away and he loses everything. As much as it pains me to say it, I wouldn’t mind if Gunn bit the bullet anytime soon.

– Framkin, the puppet creator, was also the mustard guy from the Buffy musical episode! He’s played by David Fury, a writer and director on both Buffy and Angel.

– The smiling kids reaching out to touch their TV screens is a nightmare-inducing visual.

Quotes

Angel: She asked me to breakfast.
Wesley: Breakfast. Right. How did you respond?
Angel: Well… of course, I—ahem— ignored it completely, changed the subject, and locked her in a cage.

Angel: Yes, I’m a puppet. Doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do.

Rating
A-

“Angel” 5×12 – You’re Welcome

What a truly perfect hour of television.

There was a lot riding on You’re Welcome because not only is it the show’s 100th episode, a landmark for any TV show, but it also features Charisma Carpenter’s return as Cordelia, one of television’s most underappreciated characters. Just like Katie Cassidy’s Laurel on Arrow, I feel like Angel has horribly mistreated this incredible actress and character, and a part of me is glad she gets to have a stunning send-off.

Plot-wise, this episode knows how to integrate Cordelia’s return from an endless sleep into the narrative without seemingly trying too hard. From Spike mentioning his tattooed new friend who goes by Doyle (more on this in the bits) to Cordy figuring out how to help Angel defeat Lindsey (and Eve) once and for all, You’re Welcome packs a well-structured story with hilarious one-liners and outrageous zingers. Yes, Lindsey’s eventual doom might be a bit rushed (I certainly thought he’d be around for the series finale), but at least this means the show is finally picking up the pace. Granted, I haven’t been able to watch this show so much because it’s been slow and boring all season long.

And then there’s that ending. I don’t remember the last time a show truly devastated me (Grey’s AnatomyThis Is Us and Buffy are certainly contenders for this category), but the final 5 minutes of this episode reminded me why I absolutely love television. With so many shows on the air lately and so many different ways to watch, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget why I let television consume me on an almost daily basis. The gut-wrenching ending to You’re Welcome reminded me that I get attached to the characters so much that they become a huge part of my life, even if the characters are as horribly underdeveloped as Cordelia. So maybe this is a testament to Charisma Carpenter’s flawless depiction of this character or her electrifying chemistry with David Boreanaz in that final scene. Or maybe it’s the way that sequence plays out with the sweeping camera and music as Cordelia and Angel share one final goodbye kiss.

Whatever it is, I’m just glad I stuck around long enough to watch this episode, which was as sad as it was satisfying. I may love my comedies and my action flicks and sci-fi post-apocalyptic adventures, but there’s absolutely nothing more I love than an unforgettable heartbreaking moment that shocks me to my core in a genuinely clever and emotional matter. Well done, Angel.


Bits

– What a fitting and sad title. It’s also the last thing Cordelia ever says to Angel. Sniff.

– Epic opening teaser with Cordelia waking up from her coma. That definitely made me intrigued.

– Part of what I don’t like about this season is that there have been way too many changes this year, but I’m glad the 100th episode went back to this show’s core dynamics.

– Charisma Carpenter looked absolutely gorgeous in this episode, but does anyone else think she was showing a lot of cleavage? What’s up with that?

– There are countless of callbacks and references in this hour and I did my best to take notes of all of them: Lindsey getting his hand cut by Angel, the Doyle video from season one, mentions of Connor and Lilah, Cordelia calling Angel “champ” and finally the epic callback to Angel kicking a client out of the window from the pilot. Wow.

– This was truly the best way to honor Doyle’s memory (played by Glenn Quinn, who died in 2002). If you pause this show at the right moment, you can actually see Charisma and David tearing up while watching the Doyle video. Heartbreaking stuff.

– I smiled at Cordy’s refusal to walk into Wolfram & Hart at first.

– So glad they didn’t mention the terrible twists and turns that ruined last season. No need to remember all that head-spinning crap.

– Cordelia and Angel have two beautiful heart-to-heart conversations, but I somehow loved her exchange with Wesley just as much.

– Hilarious moment with Cordy calling Eve “Lilah Junior”.

– I waited five seasons to see Cordelia in action. I was not disappointed to see her with a huge sword.

– Awkwardly meta moment with Angel saying “I’m Angel, I beat the bad guys”. Makes me miss Buffy so much.

– Apparently, Sarah Michelle Gellar was supposed to be the special guest star for this episode. While I really miss Buffy, I’m glad Cordelia got to be the highlight of the 100th hour. She was the beating heart of this show from the start…literally.

– The final silent shot of Angel standing alone in his office is haunting and beautiful.

– So many hilarious lines this week!

Quotes

Cordelia: Mystical comas. You know, if you can stand the horror of a higher power hijacking your mind and body so that it can give birth to itself, I really recommend ’em.

Cordelia: Ooh, great, shopping! I love that idea ’cause, you know, I’m not so ready to go back to the hotel yet.
Angel and Wesley (simultaneously): Not a problem.

Harmony: You and me together again! So, how was the coma?

Lorne: Hey, listen, crumbcake, when you’re ready to splash back into that acting pool, just say the word. I’ll have you lunching with Colin Farrell like that.
Cordelia: Who’s Colin Farrell?

Eve: We’ll talk business later, big guy. I’ll let you two catch up.
Angel: And I’ll let you walk out of here with your head still attached to your body.

Cordelia: OK, Spike’s a hero, and you’re C.E.O. of Hell, Incorporated. (holds up her hands) What freakin’ bizarro world did I wake up in?

Cordelia: I naturally assumed you’d be lost without me, but this?!

Cordelia: Do you ever wonder… Do you ever think about if we’d met up that night and had a chance to–
Angel: All the time.
Cordelia: Guess we missed our moment, huh?
Angel: Maybe we were meant to. Or maybe people like us just don’t get to…have that.
Cordelia: Angel, there are no people like us.

Cordelia: Spike, well, well. I heard you weren’t evil anymore, which kind of makes the hair silly.

Cordelia: I thought he had a soul.
Spike: I thought she didn’t.
Cordelia: I do!
Spike: So do I!
Cordelia: Well, clearly mine’s better.

Angel: I see fangs, I’m gonna play dentist.

Angel: Harmony, guard Eve. She moves, eat her.
Harmony: Really? Thanks!

Cordelia: You can order me around all you want, but I know my rights. (unsheathes a sword) And I wanna see a lawyer.

Lindsey: Now all you got in there is that big honkin’ sword. How’s that feel, champ?
Angel: Could be worse… (pulls the sword out of his chest) If it had been made out of wood, you dumbass.

Rating
A+

“Dollhouse” Unaired S1 Finale – Epitaph One

Well, that was different.

I guess this is the show Joss Whedon wanted to create from the start when he came up with Dollhouse, but FOX’s constant interferences made it impossible for him to develop his ideas properly. That’s a shame because Epitaph One is full of great, underdeveloped ideas, and while it serves as an unaired and possibly unrelated season one finale (I assume it’s unrelated to anything that comes after), I couldn’t help but feel like this would have been an excellent pilot.

There’s an entire new gang in Epitaph One and not all of them are immediately likable, but within the span of one hour they seemed more fleshed out than some of the original characters on this show. The added haunting flashbacks to Echo, Paul, Boyd, Claire, Adelle and Topher provided some much needed clarification to this new world: it’s 2019 and the technology in Dollhouse has officially caused the apocalypse. It’s a frightening and daunting concept, but for some reason it absolutely works.

The ending is predictably uplifting and emotional with Caroline (now in a little girl’s body) and two other Actuals (it’s what they call the non-imprinted humans in 2019) literally climbing the stairs out of the Dollhouse and into the light. Thematically, this definitely works as a series finale (which was probably what Whedon & Co. intended), but I am definitely glad we get at least another season to flesh out the rest of the gang. But if the actual series finale (appropriately titled Epitaph Two) is anything like One, then I don’t suppose I’ll be disappointed.

Will I?


Bits

– Chilling opening with the Dollhouse credits appearing onto the screen without the usual theme song.

– Casting wise, I wasn’t very impressed with the new gang (although that seems to be an unpopular opinion). The little girl (played by Adair Tishler from Heroes fame) was appropriately creepy, though.

– I wonder if we’ll ever see these new characters in season two. The fact that the series finale is titled Epitaph Two makes me think maybe?

– I was very glad to see Dominic again! At least we now know you can survive being in The Attic.

– How creepy is it that we’re very close to 2019? Also: didn’t Dark Angel assume a post-pulse world would take place that year as well? 2016 doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

Rating
A-

“Dollhouse” 1×12 – Omega

That was a bit anticlimactic.

I thought Omega would have more shocking reveals and answers than the past eleven episodes, but even after shedding some light onto Alpha’s backstory I still feel a bit disappointed with this one. While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Caroline again (in some woman Wendy’s body), it’s odd that we know very little about this character. Why are we supposed to be emotionally invested in our heroine’s journey if we don’t know who she even is?

The reveal that Dr. Claire Saunders is indeed a Doll was just as random. Seeing her as Whiskey in the flashbacks should have had a shocking effect, but this twist is executed in a very mention-it-as-we-go matter that makes it less impactful. Plus, if every character we get attached to ends up being a Doll, this could get pretty messy and, dare I say, dull?

Paul Ballard’s negotiation with Adelle and Boyd includes keeping him as a contractor in exchange for November/Mellie’s freedom, and it’s a nice touch for him to finally meet the real person behind all those Actives. Then again, this feels like a perfectly convoluted setup to keep him on the show for the second season. I’m not complaining, though, because all this Mellie drama was starting to get a little tame.

Finally, a part of me should have expected the final shot to be one from the unaired pilot (because, apparently, there’s also an unaired season finale), but while Echo uttering the word “Caroline” in her bed/pod had a chilling effect on me twelve episodes earlier, I could hardly feel anything here. On the other hand, this means Echo is finally becoming aware and the show could turn into must-see television next season. Call it wishful thinking, but I certainly see the potential now.


Bits

– Interesting that Claire mentions Topher programmed her to hate him. Could she maybe become aware as well?

– Echo getting out of the chair and attacking Alpha: so darn satisfying and epic.

– Less epic: Echo and Caroline/Wendy going on a cringe-inducing talk with an injured Alpha a few feet away. Lazy writing.

– I absolutely cannot stand Topher anymore.

– Anyone else notice the Angel and Firefly references? Check the quotes section below.

Quotes

Paul: So this is it. This is where you steal their souls.
Topher: Yeah, and then we put them in a glass jar with our fireflies.

Adelle: Carl William Craft.
Paul: Three names. Always ominous.

Echo: I have 38 brains. Not one of them thinks you can sign a contract to be a slave. Especially now that we have a black president.
Wendy/Caroline: We have a black president? Okay, I am missing everything.

Rating
B-

“Dollhouse” 1×11 – Briar Rose

Wow, what just happened?

I certainly did not expect Dollhouse to rush through so much plot in its first season, but having Paul infiltrate the Dollhouse THIS soon into the show’s run is mighty impressive. Briar Rose was extremely well-executed, intense and a shocking hour of television.

Alan Tudyk is fantastic here, adding some much-needed comic relief with his new partner in crime Paul before turning full-on evil. The reveal that he is in fact Alpha completely caught me off guard, and the fact that he has Echo by hour’s end surely ups the stakes for the final two episodes of the season.

My only complaint is, sadly, Echo. She’s probably my least favorite main character ever, and much of that is due to the fact that she does nothing. It’s not fun watching a show revolve around a character that doesn’t know anything and can easily be controlled by anyone. In this episode alone, she is completely seduced by Adelle, Paul, Boyd and finally Alpha, and it’s exhausting to root for someone who is extremely clueless. Where are those awareness signs that I was promised in the unaired pilot?


Bits

– Loved the parallelism with Echo telling the kids a story about a captive princess in the tower who is saved by a guard. Who is her real prince, though? Boyd, Paul or Alpha?

– Victor calling Claire “Whiskey” is very ominous. Could our doctor actually be a Doll this entire time?

– Not a fan of the sloppy editing during the staircase fight sequence. But Echo grabbing Paul’s foot from underneath was quite awesome.

– Jaw-dropping moment as Alpha slashes Victor’s face.

– Sierra as an FBI specialist in high heels is badass, but why couldn’t she be at the Dollhouse during the fight scene?!

Quotes

Kepler: I’m not comfortable having people in my home that aren’t delivering me Thai food.

Rating
A-