I would’ve expected more dust
I have fond memories of this episode. Not that it ever stood out as one of Angel’s greats, but I generally appreciated Harmony’s humour and “Harm’s Way” was certainly her finest showcase. So why was this particular rewatch such a complete slog? I actually had to view this in three separate intervals, it just couldn’t command 40 straight minutes of attention. I never do that for any show, least of all one I’m writing about, and I’ve written about far worse episodes than this one. So why did it fail to reach a bar that even “Doublemeat Palace” surpassed? Continue reading
It’s surprising how much our expectations of television have changed over the last decade. Character death (particularly surprising, random, mid-season character death) has become an accepted device in our post-Lost world but I remember being shocked when I first saw “Here Was a Man,” a fact that seems absurd in retrospect as, leaving aside historical fact the audience may or may not have been aware of, Deadwood telegraphed Hickok’s death almost from the moment he appeared on screen. The effect has been somewhat diminished with time but, back then, Deadwood was able to have its cake and eat it too; delivering a “shocking turn” that was built on straightforward story structure. Continue reading
The best of friends
I can’t tell if there’s a large segment of Angel fans out there who hated Spike’s addition this season or merely a very vocal small minority. Episodes like “Destiny” make me lean towards the latter. How can anyone not love Spike here? It’s not just that I’m a big fan of the character (I am), I’m a big fan of what his presence does to Angel. Some people seem to be offended at the mere suggestion that anyone but Angel could be “the” Champion, seeing this as flimsy fan-service for Team Spike at the expense of Angel’s story. Such people are missing the point. Spike hasn’t diminished Angel here, Angel’s diminished himself; Spike’s simply the one who won’t let him forget it.
Three episodes in and we get a significant expansion to Deadwood’s already sprawling cast. It’s yet another testament to the show’s superbly balanced ensemble that the arrival of the Bella Union crew still isn’t enough to make the series feel too crowded. The opening of the new saloon proves that Al’s power isn’t absolute and that certainly isn’t a bad thing, but it’s hardly a problem that needed addressing at this point. The “status quo” of Deadwood was barely established enough to qualify for the name and Milch is already introducing a disruptive element. It’s a bold move that pays immediate dividends. Continue reading
I really don’t want to call this episode a cop out. It’s an easy accusation to level at it given the conclusion, but the rest of the episode works so well that, even with disappointing ending, I can’t reduce it to an exercise in narrative cowardice. Wes’ child abuse has been alluded to since the first season and finally seeing it represented onscreen doesn’t disappoint. The adult Wesley’s relationship with his father is about what we’d expect; much as he might hate Rodger, he’s still desperate for his approval and this fact reduces him to the sort of ineffectual over-compensating we haven’t seen since his days in Sunnydale. This isn’t the Wesley the audience has come to love and we want to see Rodger pay for what he’s done. We’re robbed of that in the end, but that fact need not rob “Lineage” of its significance. Continue reading