Monday, March 26, 2012

Angel: Double or Nothing (3.18)

Lord, this was dull. I hate to be the guy that casually dismisses any Gunn-centric episode, but it's quickly become apparent that he can't successfully drive any Angel hour anymore. I don't really know what's happened to his character, but I can suggest that his relationship with Fred has severely impacted him. Remember the whip-smart warrior of season one? Or the resourceful pseudo-detective in season two? Now he's the lovesick puppy. J. August Richards can't sell his complete infatuation with Fred either, their scenes together having this awkwardly YA flavor to them, with all the goofiness and the complete lack of sexual intimacy they have. It's just strange.

Double or Nothing itself is a drag. Gunn's story opens intriguingly (though the use of Gangsta's Paradise is horrifyingly cringe-worthy), but quickly devolves into tedium. His break-up with Fred is ridiculous, but at least the writers gave her a clue and had her realize pretty quickly that he'd been manipulated in some form. Additionally, the big finale at the casino was a masterclass in anti-tension, meaning everything was signposted minutes before it occurred on screen. Granted, those 'head re-morphing' effects were awesome, but this was weak all-round.

While I'm happy that Cordelia is back from her vacation, it was disappointing that she got saddled with about thirty dreary monologues, wherein she tries to sooth a devastated Angel as he gazes at the burnt-out shell of Connor's crib. This story arc is great, but Cordelia really managed to suck the energy out of it all. Double or Nothing is absolute filler material, and not particularly strong filler material at that. D

Guest stars Andy Hallett (Lorne); Mark Lutz (Groo); Jason Carter (Repo Man); Patrick St. Esprit (Jenoff); John David Conti (Syd Frzylcka); P.B. Hutton (Monica Frzylcka)
Writer David H. Goodman Director David Grossman

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