Sunday, February 12, 2012

"The Prodigal" (Angel 1.15): How Annoyance Can Blind You

First up, a special Whedonverse Weekend double-header, because I might have been just a tad too preoccupied watching all four of the Twilight movies yesterday to post. And though I regret nothing, I do apologize for leaving Saturday Buffy-less.

But on to Angel! I was so busy being aggressively bored by Kate in this episode, I completely missed some key season and series-wide implications, as well as not enjoying as completely as I should the first good two-episode sequence in quite some time.

And I love Irish Angel in goofy wigs. Shame on me.

But a certain intrepid co-watcher was on point. So, without further ado, the Whedonverse guide to letting Jenn pick up your slack.

DON'T let your impatience with Kate make you take your eye off the ball. Jenn didn't. She notes that this episode is an intensification and continuation of the family issues that will become of paramount importance next season. Liam/Angelus/Angel's relationship with his father is crucial in this regard. 

It's a Daddy douche-off.

DO trust your co-watcher to notice the boss cameos. This episode includes Angel's origin story, which is undeniably enjoyable even if it is twinned with the latest (and presumably last, considering Papa Lockley gets drained by two nefarious vamps) Kate's Daddy Issues storyline. And if we're talking the birth of Angelus, that means Darla's back. (Possible crossover alert? Buffy 4.15 featured the return of Faith.) Anyway, while I was dreading the reappearance of my least-favorite detective, Jenn totally spotted a Whedonverse alumna playing a bit role.

You might know her as Our Mrs. Reynolds.

Yep, it's Christina Hendricks.

DO count on Jenn to notice the dates. My astrology guru notes that Cordelia's May 22 birthday renders her a Gemini, and that Angel's (Liam's?) headstone reveals that he is eternally twenty-six.

The older I get, the more inappropriate my fixation on him becomes.
DON'T miss the foreshadowing. Darla remarks that "birth is always painful." Jenn remarks, "Just you wait, missy."

Oh, snap.

Jenn was right to realize that boring Kate is a red herring. This episode is really all about what makes Angel Angel. Which brings me to my questions: Is this the first episode where we hear Angel's original first name (Liam)? And is it the first time we hear the real version of how he got his nom de vamp (not that he had the face of an angel, but that his little sister thought he was an angel returned to her . . . before he ate her)?

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