Monday, March 12, 2012

Angel: Couplet (3.14)

A cute, if frustratingly lightweight, episode. Couplet more or less signals the end of the Angel/Cordelia romance, and while it still feels a little unfinished as a story, you can sort of understand why it was quickly dropped as a plot point. Nevertheless, this is Angel in weird sitcom territory, cemented by the annoying Desperate Housewives score that plays over every one of these 'comedy' scenes. But if you dig a little deeper and avoid the obvious humor of Cordy dressing up Groo in Angel's outfits and making him a complete doppelganger of the guy, there's a lot of heart to the episode that proves quietly affecting.

Because Couplet, in general, is about fear of the unknown -- Cordelia being scared of moving onto that next level with Groo, especially after their adventures in Pylea and the terms of their initial 'com-shuk'. Angel, too, is coping with very human feelings of loss and romantic disappointment, and I liked that after a ton of blather about potions and mystical prophylactics, Angel came to terms with what he had (and what he never did) and gave Cordy and Groo his blessings. He never could have given her everything that she'd want, anyway.

There's a slight detachment to the rest of the episode, noticeably in the Fred and Gunn subplot. As characters, they have absolutely zero chemistry and their relationship already stinks of plot contrivance. What's with the forced lingering looks they give each other all the time? Ugh. Then again, I did enjoy parts of their infidelity case. The tree demon with the internet connection was entirely ridiculous, but also crazily inventive, so that had to be appreciated.

But, even after all the inter-office romance and fatal foliage, the one thing that lingers long after the credits roll is that final shot and the promise of apocalyptic doom that's right around the corner. It feels a little drafted in to prop up an underwhelming episode, but I guess it did kind of work in that regard. C+

Guest stars Andy Hallett (Lorne); Mark Lutz (Groo)
Writers Tim Minear, Jeffrey Bell Director Tim Minear

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