Sunday, July 29, 2012

"The Thin Dead Line" (Angel 2.14): Ezra Pound Edition

If you've ever had the pleasure of reading Ezra Pound's annotations on early drafts of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, you know he was a) a great editor (il miglior fabbro indeed) and b) a bit of a shit. One passage is marked, and I'm paraphrasing, Pope did it before. If you can't do it better, don't. Which brings us to this week's episode of Angel, in which weak sauce zombie cops threaten teenagers. Basically every major move of the episode has been done better (not by Pope, and not necessarily before, but still). For example:

Episode: Angel continues his co-dependent and self-destructive relationship with a blonde in a position of power, going to Kate the Boring for help with reports of violent L.A. cops, and doing some research in a graveyard.

Where it was done better:

There is only one blonde Angel needs to hang out with in graveyards when he's feeling co-dependent and self-destructive.

Episode: The teens at Anne's shelter describe the abusive cops to Gunn, whom she has commissioned for help, using borderline offensive "ghetto speak." Wince along with me as you read this transcript:

The cops are trippin', G.
Define "trippin'" for me.
Out for blood. Les here got her arm
busted up.
Cops stopped me few nights back, went
for his gun looking to put a cap in my
ass. If I ain't outrun the doughnut-eatin'
dude, I wouldn't be sitting here talking
to you.

Where it was done better: Oh, the possibilities are endless, but let's go with Attack the Block.

Episode: One of the clues that the cops are zombies being puppet-mastered by some unknown force is the way they mindlessly recite Miranda rights despite being beaten right and good by a vampire.

The way the decapitated head kept talking was another clue.

Where it was done better: If you're going to monkey with Miranda, it begins and ends with 21 Jump Street.

Episode: Wes gets gut-shot by a zombie cop, and has to hole up in Anne's shelter while some more zombie cops storm the place.

To be fair, this was a pretty shocking moment.

Where it was done better: Well, if we're going for an injured Scooby in a house under siege, how's about this?

Xander's funny syphilis!

Or, if you prefer to focus on zombies attacking a house, we not only have this:

Ain't no party like a "Dead Man's Party."

But also, of course, this:

The classic.

Or Jesus, even this:

What I did like about the episode was the way that Gunn/Wesley/Cordelia worked one side of the zombie cop problem, while Angel worked the other, unknown to them, mostly by walking on a lot of rooftops. Which, as Jenn points out, we haven't seen in a while. They're getting closer to reconciling, methinks. But the audience is left with kind of an important question--what about the girl with the eye in the back of her head?

Pictured: A problem that doesn't seem that urgent.

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