Monday, March 5, 2012

Angel: Provider (3.12)

Another episode that staggers the major plot arcs currently running -- but at least the events here felt organic. Sure, most of Provider was crazily lightweight, but it never felt like we were being thrown off-course from the main thrust of the season. This episode was all about the Angel Investigations team getting back to work for Connor's sake, really pushing the agency in order to get their hands on whatever money they can. In general, Provider felt a lot like a collection of stories that probably couldn't sustain an entire hour, so we got bite-size nuggets instead. It's moderately entertaining, but struggles to be anything deeper.

It goes without saying that Wes and Gunn's 'zombie stalker ex' case was the most fun, since it felt like one of those trademark Buffyverse reversal-of-expectation stories that the writers do so well. Everything was so kooky in this particular subplot, from the girl's casual reaction to her undead old flame, to the entirely wrong romantic reunion at the end. I liked it.

The other cases felt a little thin, even if Fred did almost end up sliced-'n-diced. I guess Provider was supposed to be sort of mundane, but time really seemed to drag during certain scenes. And while Jeffrey Dean Morgan has crazy on-screen charisma, even he couldn't pique my interest with that weird 'vampire goldmine' thing.

Elsewhere, we got some short scenes with Holtz and Justine, the big bad still testing the strength of his new recruit. It feels a little out-of-place right now, but I'm assuming the show wanted us to remain aware that something actually important is occurring in the Angel universe right now, and it's not all standalone mysteries and cases-of-the-week.

Provider is fine, but one of those episodes that is entirely skippable. We get a couple of Gunn/Wes/Fred romantic vibes, but that's a story that will be given greater emphasis later. Everything else is pretty much filler, even if the whole zombie thing was hilarious. C-

Guest stars Andy Hallett (Lorne); Laurel Holloman (Justine Cooper); Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Sam Ryan); Eric Bruskotter (Brian); Sunny Mabrey (Allison); Tony Pasqualini (Harlan Elster); Keith Szarabajka (Daniel Holtz)
Writer Scott Murphy Director Bill Norton

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