Zombies! In actual fact, the living dead take up the minority of screentime in “Habeas Corpses” and have little to do with the plot, but they’re still lots of fun and afford our heroes a chance to be heroes rather than punching bags for a while. It’s interesting that I think of it that way; the AI team is nearly as outmatched here as they were last week and their strategy is dominated by “run and hide” rather than “stand and fight” but the episode presents a problem they can solve. Zombies aren’t just a fun diversion for the audience, they’re one for the characters, a fact that speaks to just how rough things have gotten.
“Fun” may be too strong a word, but everyone definitely prefers a trip into Wolfram and Hart, the pit of ultimate evil now featuring the indestructible Beast, over dealing with their personal issues. Angel’s back in brood mode after witnessing the Cordy/Connor hookup and passes up numerous opportunities to discuss it with her. The threat to Connor’s something he can sink his teeth into and a way to avoid her. Fighting evil has always been Angel’s favourite way to spend time with his son and while it’s far from warm and fuzzy, their interaction is a far cry from his seething resentment with Cordy.
The assault on Wolfram and Hart also helps simplify things for Wes. While we can all agree with his decision to breakup with Lilah, his manner of doing so is needlessly cold (“don’t embarrass yourself” is a red flag in any breakup). While he can’t vocalise the fact that there’s anything real between them, he is prepared to swoop in and save her when occasion demands. Caring about her is his only motive and this fact allows them to part on better terms than actual conversation ever could.
The fight has a similar effect for Wes/Gunn/Fred. The hostility hasn’t let up in the wake of the Beast’s ass-whooping, but it does take a backseat when lives are on the line. There are still a few jabs, but there’s never any doubt that these people have each others backs. It’s an interesting twist on the zombie-trope of strangers banding together to have estranged friends working out their (not so) wacky differences and bond.
Its a testament to the strength of this season’s arc that an episode is able deliver such a brisk, diverting vibe in the midst of it. The Big Bad is the impetus for all of this, advancing his own plans significantly, and the personal issues that have been brewing are effectively woven in, but it’s also just our heroes trapped in an office tower with bunch of zombie-lawyers. What’s not to love?
Poor Gavin. While he was no Lindsay, I always kinda liked the character and thought that he deserved a better end than this. That said, there wasn’t a lot left for him to do this season and he did serve to put a human face of the Beast’s body count.
What’s with Gunn getting left behind amidst the horde and then reappearing for no particular reason? It almost feels like there was a scene cut there.
Hmmm, Angel claims not to know what’s going on with Wes and Gunn. I’ll stow this for later submission in the Angel’s kind of a prick file.
Props for bringing back the white room and its juvenile occupant. The Beast really could’ve been after anything, this is just a fun piece of continuity.