Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"I Fall to Pieces" (Angel 1.4): There's totally a floating eyeball

Going up against Buffy's "Fear Itself," this Halloween episode from Angel falls woefully short. It's decent enough, but pretty standard monster-of-the-week fare. Here's a very respectable, but not fantastic, guide to defeating a stalker doctor.

DON'T fix it if it ain't broke.
See, it's hard to avoid the Buffy comparisons when the thematics are so similar. This episode reminds me a lot of early Buffy's wherein an Issue is very explicitly explored through a supernatural lens. In this case, it's a genius surgeon who has figured out how to detach his body parts and project them into different places while still retaining his sensory capacity. So naturally, he uses this spectacular gift to spy on and fondle a woman who has no interest in entering a sexual relationship with him. The doctor? Perv. The Issue? Stalking. Kate the Boring Cop tells us that often women who have been psychologically terrorized in this way feel threatened even when they're alone. Cue the doctor's eye floating in her room, and his hands crawling under her sheets.

It's creepy and it's kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky, the stalking doctor's detachable hand.

Thank God Doyle made the dick joke so I don't have to.

DO put some money into the special effects budget.
This looks ridiculous.

He's got some nerve, amiright?

DON'T underestimate the vacuous L.A. pretty boys.
Here is where I find the real value in the episode. What interests me about Angel is the way vampire mythology intersects with the hard-boiled detective genre. Basically, why does it matter that Angel is a vampire and a detective? Here's one reason--because Angel's undercover work needs some, well, work . . .

"My name is totally Brian Jensen and I'm completely human. I swear to God."

Dr. Stalker immediately realizes that "Brian Jensen," multimillionaire importer, isn't who he says he is. To give Angel a little credit, he probably assumed he was in the mob. After luring him to his office after hours, he injects him with a lethal paralytic that travels through the body via heartbeat.


Yep, Angel doesn't have one of those. So Angel's vampiric body is vitally (so to speak) important to him successfully solving this case.

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