Monday, July 9, 2012

Angel: Just Rewards (5.2)

For anybody who read my recent Buffy reviews, you'll know that I got really into the Spike/Buffy relationship at the end of the series. And while I love that they wrote Spike into Angel season five and remember with a lot of fondness the material they give him this year, I can't help but feel that moving Spike over to another show sort of... cheapened his death? Because that death scene was so powerful and romantic and I loved the idea that that was the very end of his relationship with Buffy and the lasting impression he left on us all, only for it all to be undermined by his arrival in Los Angeles. Again, I love Spike on this show, but it was just something that I suddenly realized this time around.

Regardless of that complaint, however, Spike is imported into Angel with considerable ease, instantly bouncing off the cast and immediately picking up from where they left off in relation to his tricky relationship with Angel. I also like that they're still playing around with the character, keeping him incorporeal even as the end credits roll, presumably to give him greater reasoning for hanging around with a bunch of people he doesn't really like.

Naturally with an episode designed to introduce Spike, everything else is a little on the thin side, just like the season premiere. I didn't feel much for the necromancer story, since it was principally used as a jumping-off point for continued Spike/Angel banter. It's also something that we ought to get used to, since season five's opening stretch is filled with this kind of one-and-done storytelling.

Just Rewards achieves what it set out to do, while continuing to have fun with Harmony and the rapidly evolved Angel team. While the standalone elements are still a little flat, the show as a whole continues to be impressive in its desire for change. C+

Guest stars Mercedes McNab (Harmony Kendall); Victor Raider-Wexler (Magnus Hainsley)
Teleplay David Fury, Ben Edlund Story David Fury Director James A. Contner

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