Friday, February 3, 2012

"She" (Angel 1.13): Bai Ling strikes again and Angel dances

Or, more accurately, for the first time. Remember how a few weeks ago this space was all about how awesome Jeremy Renner's guest-spot on Angel was? Well, this post is like the opposite of that. As Lost-ies know, Bai Ling is the kryptonite of guest stars. She was the driving force behind the episode of Lost that for once and always drained Jack's tattoo of any potential badassery and permanently replaced it with associations of awful acting and half-baked writing. That episode is the crappy tattoo on Lost's soul. And her appearance on Angel is no different.

Crappy tattoos are apparently the constant.

So without further ado, the Angel guide to overcoming a guest-spot from Bai Ling.

DO open the show with priceless footage of Angel dancing. 

It's all about the clapping.

Hold on to the hilarity, folks. The dancing scene is the only reason to ever watch this monster of a  monster of the week episode. 

DON'T let the script's facile feminist parable overwhelm the audience's fond but fading memory of Angel dancing.
I expect better from you, David Greenwalt and Marti Noxon. Bai Ling plays an alien who is running a sort of anti-human-trafficking ring from her home dimension to Earth. You see, women are OPPRESSED back on Oden Tal, and Princess Bai Ling has taken it upon herself to rescue the women before they are enslaved by the men.

I minored in Gender Studies, and I could care less about the plight of these women.

This enslavement is painfully (pun intended) literal, with the women being "broken" by the removal of this weirdo spine thing that glows when they're, ahem, aroused, and is hard to control, causing some unfortunate humans to get burned alive, which is what got Angel into this mess in the first place.

Metaphor alert.
Is it a correlative for FGM? Social manipulation? Whatever it's supposed to be, what it is is Bai Ling with a lady boner. God. Need a palate cleanser?

DO make the show all about the extras. The best moments of this episode have nothing to do with the plot. We have Angel fumbling around with a cell phone and giving an impromptu lecture on art history, during which he admits to knowing Baudelaire. 

This was Jenn's favorite part. Well, second favorite part, after the dancing. Of course.

DO get out as quickly and painlessly as you can.
So Angel and Bai Ling form an uneasy and unfortunately sexually-tinged alliance, and Angel saves a bunch of women on ice,

Literally. Don't tell me you're surprised.
one of whom Wesley tries to flirt with. As if knowing what a half-assed effort this was, the producers wisely concluded the episode by overlaying the end credits with this montage of Angel, with bonus Wesley, dropping it like it's hot.

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