Sunday, February 5, 2012

"I've Got You Under My Skin" (Angel 1.14): The Bad Seed

Continuing its pattern of "every other episode is pretty good," Angel almost erases the memories of Bai Ling with this monster of the week episode with series-long implications. How goes the Angel guide to DIY Exorcisms for Dummies?

And surviving really awkward dinner parties.

DO bring along someone who sounds good speaking Latin.  And Wesley fits the bill. When Cordy's migraine-a-gram bring Wes and Angel to an unassuming house . . . with locks on the kids' doors and bars on the windows, the detecting duo deduce that someone in the house is possessed, Sherlock and Holmes style.

Though neither Sherlock nor Holmes ever deduced anything through discovering demon excrement.

Good money is on the domineering dad, but a clever additive to Cordelia's brownies at the above mentioned awkward dinner party identify Ryan, the son, as housing an Ethros demon, necessitating an at-home exorcism sans priest. I would certainly do anything Wesley told me to in that lovely accented Latin, but the demon isn't as easily manipulated.

DON'T forget that demons always bring up your daddy issues! Exorcists always go head-to-head with the devils within saying they're prepared, and then are always shaken when the dark ones bring up family trauma!

What happens when you let a demon get the better of you.

Wesley is no exception, but his failure does accomplish two things: 1) Introduces a new complication to Wes's character; and 2) Gives us my favorite trope: Angel burning himself on a cross.

It might actually be the kid burning. Whatever. I'm using my imagination.
DO realize that some kids are just plain bad. In a clever twist, it turns out that the demon was the one being tormented by the evil and sadistic soul of the kid! Yikes, show!

Guess the proto-Bieber hairdo should have been a giveaway.

Even post-exorcism, Ryan is immediately back to his firebug ways, trying to burn his sister alive. The last we see of him, he's being taken away by boring Kate.

As my intrepid co-watcher Jenn mentioned, this episode stands alone, but also introduces the all-important element of the importance of family, particularly patriarchs. This theme is always crucial in the Whedonverse, but will take a new twist when Angel has to struggle to protect and preserve his family, much like the dad in this episode.

See you next week for Whedonverse Weekend with Buffy and Angel. Will we get two good episodes of Angel in a row?

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