She
Written by: Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt
Directed by: David Greenwalt
Air Date: Feb. 8, 2000

1x13

“She” is an interesting episode. It isn’t really “good” in the common sense, but it definitely isn’t “bad” in the strictest sense, either. It tells an interesting, sometimes compelling story, but with characters portrayed in ways I can’t tolerate. It has a message I can get behind delivered in an almost intolerable fashion. And it features great use of our core characters fighting bad guys that I couldn’t care less about if I tried. In every way, shape and form, the episode is a mish-mash of flaws, errors, and misguided narratives. But I think I enjoy it, still.

The parallel the episode tries to make to the horrors of “female sexual mutilation” is regrettable. I appreciate the narrative of having a male-dominated race of other-dimensional beings bearing down on the female population, and I appreciate the Whedon-verse’s determination to showcase strong female characters. And I can also appreciate Angel feeling compelled to helping Jheira’s mission to save her “sisters” by getting them out of their home world. But I guess, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really jive with me because I don’t truly care. The episode does a good job, no doubt about it, of driving home the major themes of the episodes and making the characters burden themselves with the responsibility of helping. But I’m not compelled, as a viewer, into their cause.

93fe.1.13

I AM compelled, however, by Angel. His yearning for discovery and for putting together the pieces of the story bring me closer to believing Boreanaz, if he would lose a few pounds, mostly in his fat head, could be a decent Batman. Not only does he have the martial arts skills and the gadgets (TWO grappling hook guns?!), but his detective skills continue to shine. I’d never really thought about it before, his research abilities. On past watch-throughs I just would grin and say “plot device” every time they would find a clue or a lead or just look it up online. But here, I’m watching his years upon years of experience come through. Not much experience with his phone, however. But watching him track Jheira , follow her through the art exhibit, and then change his appearance and take on the role of guide was awesome. As was his comical commentary.

I’ve read a number of reviews, though, in my time of people bashing this episode to death due to the allusions to the mutilation aspect of the story, and, I guess, that’s fair. Its beyond blatant and in-your-face, so I can see where you might not like it. But why not dislike it for other reasons? Like the fact that Bai Ling is the worst thing to grace whatever show she ends up in? She can’t deliver lines because her accent is too thick. I constantly have a debate with my friends, whether foreign actors in films/shows in their native language are actually doing a good job or not. Are they good actors, or can we simply not tell how bad they are because they aren’t speaking English? Here, we can tell how bad she is because she IS speaking English. And for a character that is supposedly giving Angel cause for pause, she isn’t even attractive.

s1_she_pic2

Or how about the way that Wesley and Cordelia get held captive, pictured above? Jheira is like “naw, not turning myself in to save those numbskulls” and jets, leaving you, the viewer, to tense up; will they kill their captives now that they have no value? Oh, no, they’ll simply easily get out of the bad guys’ clutches and help knock some bad guys around. Nevermind. And I get that Wes is bookish, socially awkward, and easy to use as comic relief, but to immediately crash into “I’m gonna flirt with this girl immediately” is very weak character development for a dude that, at this point, is in dire need of it in whatever capacity he can get it. I dunno, and he’s so stupid, too. I mean, impossibly stupid. Wearing a fucking sweater to a dance party at his friends house? In L.A.? And he’s hot? What are the goddamned odds, moron?

I dunno, despite all of these gripes, though, I enjoyed the episode. I mean, I liked it. I liked the over-the-top-ness of the guy that was helping Jheira, to the point that I was gonna be sad if he died. I even liked the fight sequences and I really liked Angel’s goofy-as-hell moment of realization that he shouldn’t dance. I recognize that this episode isn’t good. It is barely average. But I should hate it more. But I don’t. Perhaps its the jokes, perhaps its the ever-present drive the Angel Investigations team has for helping those in need, or perhaps its the deepening of the lore by introducing the concept of different demon realms through portals, something “Angel” will deal with as a show for many seasons to come. I dunno, but I’m gonna give this episode a 76. Just, I dunno, because I had a good time watching it.

Episode Rating: 76

Additional Notes:
-Angel is supremely aware of his social retardedness
-Phantom Dennis helps Angel deal with being a wallflower like a champ
-Wesley’s demand for information about food is incessant. Poor guy must be starving
-First episode in which Angel is officially part of the team
-I understand that they were planning on having Jheira back, at some point
-Fucking glad THAT never came to pass, Jesus…
-“Angel” has always been better at using music than parent show “BtVS”

Advertisements