Angel 5.05 - 10/29 - "Life of the Party" (spoilers)

Well, color me surprised and happy. After some episodes which I thought was kinda uninspired, here comes Lorne and throws a Halloween party. And the fun is back.
No black box this close to broadcast.

Something’s up with Lorne, but what. The Jolly Green Demon seems to be brooding when he’s on his own. And the rest of the MoG are not really in a party mood. The episode in itself is quite good, but what makes me happy is that it changed a couple of things I was a bit unhappy with:

  1. It’s a good, strong, ensamble cast. By I was worrying that it might be like Buffy’s last year, where a lot of the regulars are just sitting around, with nothing to do. This week, Lorne takes centre stage, with Fred and Wes backing him up. Nice change of perspective.
  2. The MoG get back on track, talking about what working in that place does to them.
  3. There’s some really good humor in it. My favorite being when Angel says he wants to be let alone, because he’s brooding.
  4. Angel acknowledges that he’s been killing humans and hints that he’s not all that happy with the whole situation.
  5. The episode moved the arc forward and it feels as if the season is gaining some momentum.

All in all, not stellar, but certainly a lot better than the past four eps.
7/10

I’m getting sick of the Monster of the Week. I agree with Gaspode’s list, but I don’t like that most of the thematic elements (Magical wishing, magical sex, etc.) were lifted wholesale from Buffy. Also, what was up with Eve’s facial expression walking out of Angel’s office. Doubtless it meant something, but I dunno what. She’s either human or lying now, right?

I took Eve’s expression to mean that she wasn’t as nonchalant about her angelic encounter as she was pretending.

If this were the first episode that I saw this season, I wouldn’t know that Spike was intangible.

The party itself felt kind of lame (sorry Lorne). Aren’t there any celebrity fans of Angel/Buffy that they could have talked into a cameo for this episode?

Good:

  • the little demon saying “Pee pee?”
  • the Archduke
  • Harmony getting jiggity on the dance floor

Bad:

  • Eve needs to trim her brows
  • Hulk!Lorne
  • Wes never gets the girl… maybe Lilah should come back and dress up as a naughty schoolgirl again

Re: Eve’s expression, considering the amount of double entendres in the beginning of the episode, I’m with Sir Prize.

Meh. Wake me up when they remember that this show is supposed to be dark. I’m trying not to be bitter, but… this isn’t the show I fell in love with. I know people have said that before - around this time last season, for example - but I really think that the producers are purposely taking the show down a different path this year, and I don’t like where I see it headed.

Yeah, I think I’ve finally given up on the show (yet again). I kept expecting them to take all the momentum they built up over last year and then do something with it, but they just let it peter out and go back to all the crap that I hated about the series in the first place. Why can’t they just let the whole Wolfram & Hart thing go? It was a weak idea in the first place, based on a very tired old joke (lawyers are evil! haw haw!), but every time they manage to free themselves of it they keep digging it back up again!

IMO, gag episodes like this one only work if you’ve built up the tension, made it clear what the show’s trying to do and are just letting off some steam. With this one, they’re already doing parody of the format and the characters when I’m still not sold on the format and the characters yet. The bits about Gunn peeing everywhere would have been very funny but I didn’t care enough about anything else going on to appreciate the joke. Instead, I was thinking how much this episode was like the “Buffy” ep where everything Willow said came true, and that there’s no sexual tension at all between Eve and Angel because we don’t care about either one of them.

Anyway, I’m rambling now, in addition to being a wet blanket. I just hope the series starts to go somewhere pretty soon, because there’s enough stuff there to make a good show if they just find their direction.

Yeah, I wasn’t so impressed with this episode. About the only thing I really liked was Lorn’s little speach in the limo. Other than that, I could have taken it or left it. It was ok filler, but they haven’t really had any dark episodes that let you enjoy the silly ones. Eh, I’ll keep watching, mostly because there’s not much else on Wednesday’s that I like, with the exception of Jake 2.0, but I feel like I’ve already missed a lot of that.

Meh. I’m looking at this the other way. After a bajillion dark and broody Buffy and Angel episodes, I see nothing wrong with lighter, monster-of-the-week deals.

Personally, I’m kinda angst-ed out. At this point in my life, watching something depressing every week just doesn’t have a place any more.

Overall a solid episode meant to be lighter in tone then the last four. Not great, but not too bad either. Nice to see Lorne, Wes and Fred take center stage. Happy Spike was an amusing turn.

I am assuming that they were lightly parodying The Hulk.

From an Arc standpoint the continuing and deepening impact of the firm on them continues to be a theme. Angel acknowledged his tendency of late to kill off clients and employees of the firm.

They stuck a pitchfork into ole Wes on Fred didn’t they. Ouch.

I am a little surprised at some of the comments here.

I second what teleute12 said, but I’m not ready to give up on the show yet.

I thought there were many funny moments in this ep, thanks to Ben Edlund. My favorites – the demon dressed as a human (“I am proud parent of honor roll student!”) and Artaud calling out “Occupado!” in the bathroom. Hee.

Anyone got an ID for the actor who played Artaud?
For some reason he REALLY reminded me of John C. Reilly, tho I REALLY doubt he’d be in a TV series ep.

I might have to stop reading these threads, man. I really enjoyed the episode, and I have never minded the Monster-of-the-Week approach to Buffy or Angel episodes. Even when they have done Monster-of-the-Week, it’s usually to either expose or at least strongly hint around a larger theme or larger underlying problem. This ep was no exception: the theme pretty clearly seems to be the increasingly compromised integrity of the Fang Gang.

Sheesh, over the last four weeks, I’ve read complaints from Dopers that Angel was killing humans, and it didn’t seem to phase him; that there wasn’t enough Lorne; that the core members weren’t interacting enough; that there’s no apparent overarching theme; and bemoaning the lack of humor. This episode addressed all of them (although I think the humor has been pretty sharp all along).

I think there IS an overall theme, and a damned strong one, and they’ve established it early on rather than dragging shit out like they did last season (which, I am sorry to say, never felt as carefully planned as others seem to think it was). The basic premise for the season is this: Angel and gang have always been a small ragtag bunch of essential outcasts taking on Evil-with-a-capital E. Limited resources, and in a world that’s either indifferent or openly hostile. Very much the little guys taking on more than they can hope to win against. In that kind of environment, you never question their integrity, because their options are limited anyway.

Now, they have all the resources they could ever wish for but tied to the very thing they’ve been fighting all along. Moreover, their leader has discovered that the premise he’s been working from, that he could eventually redeem himself and that a souled vampire would save the world (assuming it meant him), were either false or not about him to begin with. That maybe the Powers That Be aren’t essentially good. So now, we’re going to find out whether Angel and his crew will fight the good fight as they always have, or be corrupted by so much power. And even if they do realize their own slow corruption, how will the extricate themselves?

It’s an internal story rather than an external one: they’re fighting the evil possible in themselves, rather than some huge, tangible Big Bad. I think it’s fantastic and will only get more interesting.

I think that the themes people are talking about (corrupting influence of power, group dynamics, staying focused in a changing world) are all important. That’s what’s going to make for a compelling story arc, and keep us interested in the characters.

But this episode was just bleh. I didn’t like the pacing, the heavy-handed foreshadowing, and the well worn plot device of someone changing the world around him with a wish. It’s been done too many times and leaves huge plot holes. Don’t you think an evil mastermind would have figured out that he/she/it could get whatever they wanted by skillfully manipulating a empath?

And I wish they’d let Wes get over Fred already. He’s a much stonger character than that, based on the last two seasons. Yes, he’s a romantic, but he’s not a wallowing pity puppy. That’s Spikes role. :slight_smile:

I find Eve to be a singularly lousy character. Whether it’s the actress or the writing, I don’t know. But she adds nothing to show, especially when compared to Lilah. Double bleh. There’s no chemistry at all between her and Angel or any of the other characters. She’s a plot device, and a lousy one at that.

I didn’t find this to be a light episode, it was muddled. There was lots of good stuff in there, but it was hard to appreciate it. I haven’t given up on the show, not by a long shot. There is stuff here to build on, but they’d better start building.

Well, in the small section of the BtVS/AtS fandom I mostly play in, I find that I’m a pariah because gasp! shock! I liked all the episodes so far. I like all the episodes I’m spoiled for. For the first time in a few seasons I’m actually just plain, flat out, enjoying each episode for what it is.

As for the MoW thing, the WB had ME by the short and curlies and said “you better get some more audience…” the ratings for the first 4 episodes were very strong (I don’t know about this ep, I haven’t checked yet), so from a business standpoint, they’re doing exactly what they should.

this is also why I prefer to be spoiled. I have info up to ep 10 now…to me it’s no fun fretting and worrying about what I don’t like from week to week. I’d rather just know. It makes it a lot easier to watch each episode knowing what it’s there for and why they’re doing what they’re doing.

My favorite part of the episode? When Spike was “dancing”. sigh I love me some smiling, happy Spike. I also loved Wes and Fred. And hey, five weeks into the season, and I still like Angel. It’s a precarious balance they have, and I’m scared they’re going to upset it and make me hate him again which would make me sad.

sigh I confess, I want Fred and Wesley to end up together, though I’d like Fred to ease up on the awkwardness a little. Being tough with Spike is good for her. But yes, Wesley is a strong character, so he should quit snivelling and go after her. What’s happened to him? It’s hard to believe that the current Wes and “I’ll take away your bucket” Wes are the same guy. He was so cool when he was scary…scary Wes and stronger Fred would be magic.

Eve I would despise if she didn’t bore the crap out of me. Come back, Lilah! Lilah, come back!

I would like to remind you that Fred is the only woman who has ever made Wesley cry. Get over her? Not for another ten seasons, honey. If that. :wink:

I’m right there in the pariah corner with you, pepperlandgirl. I’ve been plain enjoying Angel this season. I was loving the drunk Wesley and Fred scenes in this episode.

Bottom Line: I’m amused. I’m diverted. I’m just gonna go with it.

Ditto everything SolGrundy said. Well, except giving up on the show (I’ll give it a few more weeks) and not caring about Angel. I care about him and Fred, et al. I just don’t give a crap about Eve. Once again, let me point out that Boreanaz and the actress who plays Eve have ZERO sexual chemistry. So their doing the dirty added nothing to their character development. And where have I seen that actress who plays Eve before??? It’s driving me NUTS.

Who wrote and directed this episode? I agree that the pace was off. I could forgive a recycled plot but Spike and Buffy clawing at each other back in the days when they hated each other was way more fun than watching Angel and Eve clawing at each other. Blech.

Another pariah weighing in. I liked it. Not a great episode…but not at all bad. Good lines all around, and a break from the brooding. I got really tired of all the angst last year, and I absolutely loathed Connor. Monster of the Week works, when they use it to illustrate the arc.

Am I the only one around here that actually LIKES Eve? She’s not Lilah, I’ll grant you, but she isn’t as bad as everybody is making her out to be. And I just loved the position she was in when the gang walked in on her tryst with Angel. :wink: