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October 08, 2003
OPINION
The Balancing Of Karmic Accounts
by Daniel Erenberg

Well, I think it's safe to say that everyone (at least in America) has, by now, seen Angel's season five premiere 'Conviction', written and directed by Joss Whedon. By now, we have some idea of the way the season will play out. Now, as we all know, this is not set in stone because we all thought that Dawn was going to be an integral part of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's seventh season after watching 'Lessons' last year.

The 'to be continued' title card at the end of the episode kind of got my hopes up that Joss would be writing and directing next week, but 'Just Rewards' will instead be penned by the wonderful David Fury and Ben Edlund who created the Tick, and wrote one episode each for Firefly and Angel last year. This was a bit of a let down, but Fury and Edlund together could be a lethal combination, so I'm going to hold out, wait, and see. Plus, Spike. And, yes, that's always a plus.

So let's go over the main plot points brought up in 'Conviction'. I'm going to do this character by character.

Angel: He'll be struggling with the leadership role over at Wolfram and Hart and, indeed, with himself. He doesn't want to be corrupted. As he said, all he wants to do is 'help the helpless'.

Cordelia: Yeah, I know she wasn't in it. However, I was incredibly happy with the fact that she at least got a mention. It was touching. Joss said recently in an interview that we have not seen the last of Cordelia and that he wants to bring her back later this year to 'wrap up' her character.

Harmony: Far less annoying than I was expecting. Actually, she was quite amusing, working well as comedic relief in a by and large serious episode. Her introduction was excellent, as was her closing line. She'll be in seventeen of twenty-two episodes this year. And I actually find myself looking forward to seeing more of her. I liked the 'Disharmony' references. My only beef is that they took away all the depth she was showing when she started crying over her 'role model' Cordelia. That's Harmony though I guess.

Fred: Pretty. Cute. Okay, beautiful. Amy Acker did an excellent job portraying Fred's gradually building stress. She worked well with Jonathan Woodward as Knox-y and Joss did a good job of showing what Wolfram and Hart could do to a person. In showing this, he used Fred as his vessel. Fred had the most character development in the episode. Unless...

Gunn: I admit it. I used to hate Gunn. I didn't like 'War Zone', and I thought his appearances in the first half of season two were arbitrary and under-written. That was then. This is now. I really like Gunn. His will be one of the biggest mysteries of the season. Just what happened in the White Room at the end of 'Home' between he and the conduit (or, as he calls it, The Big Cat)? Do I remember someone asking him if he looked bigger? How is this new lawyer knowledge going to affect his character. I think Gunn is going to go through a massive transformation this year. Literal and otherwise.

Wesley: Disappointment here. Wesley has been by far my favorite Angel character since the middle half of season two and, frankly, he wasn't given much to do here. He had one intriguing line as he showed jealousy for Fred and Knox's budding relationship, but this wasn't expanded upon. He pretty much acted as Angel's lap-dog all episode. However, David Fury is excellent at Wesley scenes, so I hope he takes this character up a notch next week.

Lorne: Nada. He's a character that the writers have had trouble fitting into the story since season three. I love the character, but, as a regular, he needs to be given something to do.

Spike: Here we go. His one scene was one of the best in the episode (next to the suitably intense Angel kicking the gun scene). He rose up from dust from inside the amulet he died wearing in Buffy's 'Chosen'. I'd imagine that the big mystery that will tie the season together will be who sent that amulet to Angel, and, indeed, how that person or thing was able to get the amulet from under tons of Sunnydale rubble.

Eve: I reserve judgment. She was well characterized by Joss though. Let's hope this trend continues.

You can say that I liked 'Conviction'. Also, I know a lot of people that gave up on the show after season one or never watched it at all that are jumping on the bandwagon for Spike. This is a good thing mixed with a bad thing. But it insures better ratings. And that ensures a season six. Hopefully. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here...

Daniel Erenberg lives in a gothic-looking house in a suburb of Long Island shrouded by trees and darkness. His backyard is so overrun with shrubbery that he can't plant flowers in the soil. He's penned articles for numerous magazines (and a couple of websites for free). Currently, he's writing his first novel, entitled People That I've Long Since Forgotten. He's also written two plays, Little Room and Dystopia and a screenplay called Youth Or Consequence. He lives a fairly happy life alone except for the mind-numbing loneliness he feels on occasion. If youíre a beautiful woman thatís fallen in love with Daniel, or you just want to talk Buffy with him, you can contact Daniel at daniel@slayage.com.
Latest Comments

It amazes me that Mr. Ernberg can make such judgements about Season 5, and it isn't even half over, yet. Why are people so damn impatient to cast their opinion?

Posted by: J. Daley on December 1, 2003 12:41 PM

So far, I hate to admit it, but I think Harmony is a perfect addition to the cast. She's like a little ray of undead sun-shine. Mercedes McNab pulls the roll off perfectly. Plus, the cast needs some estrogen, otherwise it's just going to turn into some sort of testosterone-fest, which may be fun (especially if we take into consideration Buffy's oil wrestling thoughts of Angel & Spike), but will drag. Yay Knox! I want more Knox, I want Knox & Fred babies, okay maybe not so much. I see a Lorne-Harmony partners in crime dealy, but I hope the writers have the sense to not romantically link the two. One question remains: Who in the hell dressed Eve? Did she find that outfit under the sofa in hell? Apparently the Senior Parnters need to provide her with a clothing stipend. Sadly, I think the Spike-as-ghost thing is gonna get tired fast, it feels almost like the Spike-as-wacky-neighbor in S.4 of Buffy. They are trying to fit him in, but they are trying to do it too fast. Maybe its because their 22 episode status wasn't verified until after the season started, maybe its just cos the network is pushing, or maybe its cos they are trying too hard. I mean why is JM second in the cast credits when he just showed up? I love Spike, and I adore JM, but even so I think they need to lay off, and let the rest of Angel cast get their place in the necro-tempered glass office. I just hope that there is no necro-glass ceiling for the remainder of the cast with JM's addition.
-A

Posted by: BlackEyedGurl on October 15, 2003 05:14 PM

I liked the end scene. That was nice. I like the set up of Spike vs Angel. Perhaps I'm stupid but I was actually surpised by all he twists and turns Spike's plan. JM plaid his scene in Angel's bedroom very well. He seemed like BTVS Spike so I believed him. DB was great. He looked like he might cry. Then I thought they had really brought him back evil. Joss kept saying that just because they both got souls don't make them the same. Plus he seemed to have so much resentment. Well I'm just happy that he's still playing for the good team.... for now.

Posted by: JadziaDragonRider on October 11, 2003 05:38 AM

Hello Dan.
Wonderful article. Looking forward to more of the same. Don't forget to write (sorry, couldn't resist).
Take care people.
Madhat

Posted by: madhat on October 11, 2003 12:06 AM

I'm really liking the new season of Angel so far. I think that it's off to a good start although I'm not partial to self-contained episodes. I like a good story arc/ self-contained combo where most episodes are somewhat stand-alone with a scene or two with the Little Bad or Big Bad of the year. I don't like Eve at all. She looks very young, too young for some of those lines ("And what would you like passing through my lips?"). She has absolutely no sex appeal and doesn't even begin to hold a candle to Lilah. She is so skinny that she looks underdeveloped and immature, unlike other characters like Buffy, Willow, Anya and Fred. I think that they should make an extreme character distinction between her and Lilah because people will be comparing the two all season.
In the opening scene, with the quasi-flashback to "Chosen," why didn't they include the lines where Buffy tells Spike she loves him and he doesn't believe it?

Posted by: JLC on October 10, 2003 07:57 PM
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