Time Bomb exists for three reasons: to diminish Illyria's indestructible power so she doesn't kill any narrative tension in the future; to remove Gunn from his suburban hell punishment; and to set up the last run of episodes, at least in regards to Angel. As a standalone hour, it's not particularly exciting, nor funny. It explores the very worst elements of Illyria's character and actually makes her annoying at times, while the sci-fi time travel hoodoo feels a lot like a different show all-together. But the season itself still feels so purposeful right now, like the writers are fully aware of that new sense of drive it's adopted and is just relentlessly running with it. This isn't strong at all, but isn't the total crock some make it out to be.
Because, eventually, after several acts featuring characters dragging their feet, the story does get a little exciting once Illyria begins flipping and flopping out of time. The premise itself is pretty generic in terms of science fiction storytelling, notably during the moment in which she kills most of the cast and Angel has to piggy-back in time to avert catastrophe, but it's rarely boring during these points.
Illyria herself, however, overdoses on the philosophical talk this week. We get it, girl, you were once indestructible and almighty, but writer Ben Edlund runs it into the ground by the time she starts losing her sanity. You can only hear so many variations on "bow at my feet" before you're reaching for the remote.
The Amanda subplot, involving a pregnant woman and the demon clan she owes her baby, is similarly thin, but the Brethren were at least fun in their eccentricities, while the cliffhanger ending (which feels unusually random here) at least makes more sense in the coming weeks. But it's very much a story that, on it's own, feels detached and unnecessary, with little justification in-episode for why it's even here.
There are numerous things wrong with Time Bomb, and spoils what has been a five-week run of ridiculously rewarding Angel episodes, but there are definitely spots of interest here. The time travel works on a vacuous level, and Hamilton continues to be a fun presence on the show. But, yeah, generally "meh". C
Guest stars Jaime Bergman (Amanda); Jeff Yagher (Fell Leader); Adam Baldwin (Marcus Hamilton)
Writer Ben Edlund Director Vern Gillum