Monday, August 6, 2012

Angel: Harm's Way (5.9)

There's a lot riding against Harm's Way. It easily grinds all the forward momentum launched last week to an abrupt halt, feels slightly strained as a comedy piece and has the thinnest of storylines in a long while. Long stretches of time are given to elaborate monologues in which Harmony recites the plot and wonders aloud what's really happening, and the finale isn't good at all. But there's an unlikely charm to the episode, despite all of its issues, that allows Mercedes McNab to be all cute and perky... which is always good.

Harmony, while lacking in any of their depth (as a character or as a person), has gone on a similar journey to Angel and Spike. She too wants that redemption, or at least some kind of respect and sense of connection with others. It's even arguable that she's a far stronger person than those two, since she got off the human blood purely because she wanted to be a good person, not because of a chip or a soul. Sure, it's probably more artistic license than an actual statement on anything, but I always liked that she was always sort of useless as a vampire, instead becoming this vacuous human with vampire issues on the side.

That's actually the most successful element of the story this week -- Harmony's angst at work, everybody undermining her, and her struggling to make her voice heard within the ranks of Wolfram & Hart. I liked her budding friendship with Fred, as well as her decision to do the right thing in a very Harmony-esque way (the repeated dumping of unconscious bodies in the closet, the secretary catfight, etc.). The A-plot itself, with Harmony set up by a office rival, as well as the subplot with the warring demon factions, are both a little uninteresting, but it's generally adorable to see Mercedes McNab anchor her own episode again.

It's no Disharmony, but I liked the themes of the episode and the insight into Wolfram & Hart as a business with actual workers, rather than this anonymous force of evil. McNab is strong, there are a couple of big laughs. Sure, it's nothing particularly important, but a decent filler episode regardless. C+

Guest stars
Mercedes McNab (Harmony Kendall); Danielle Nicolet (Tamika)
Writers Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft Director Vern Gillum

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