Blind Date
Written by: Jeannine Renshaw
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright
Air Date: May 16, 2000

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Imagine, if you can, an episode like this for James Gunn. Not that lame episode we got last time, I’m talking an episode dedicated to bringing light to a character we’ve met and had some fun with before, but now we get some development and dedicated screen time. I like to imagine “War Zone” would have been much better if it was like this episode; giving Lindsay time to shine and finally making the world of Wolfram & Hart make a bit of sense within the larger picture works wonders. Don’t get me wrong, though. While Gunn’s debut is a weak debut episode, Linday’s first big episode is weak because the framing device is so awful you guys. It gets all the points for the epic, full introduction to Lindsay as a character, and the handling of showing us the inner-working of the evil law firm. If this episode didn’t feature this content, whoo boy.

From the awful “blind-lady lenses” to the cheesy as shit “Predator vision” (which they achieved, turns out, by smearing a cream on the actors that can be viewed with night vision rather than paying big bucks for the actual tech), Vanessa Weeks should have been called “Vanessa Weaks” – get it? Because she’s weak as a plot device. She’s not a demon or possessed, she simply blinded herself, trained with monks, and is now a hired killer that W&H use periodically to get things done, and then lawyers like Lindsay make sure she gets off with all charges dropped. This pisses Angel off because he saw her off some Black Man (not racist: he is credited as such) and he has a huge meltdown in front of Wesley and Cordelia that is so over-dramatic its a wonder Boreanaz wasn’t spewing literal cheese from his mouth.

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Turns out, Lindsay found out that this lady is set to kill three blind children (why is everyone blind? Justice is blind. I just made that up, no telling if they were going for this at the time of filming, back in 2000) and he needs Angel’s help to save the day. And Angel need’s Gunn’s help to cause a distraction because the W&H offices have shamans that will detect any vampire getting on the premises. While Angel welds away in the sewers and Linday coyly talks the big talk to get Lilah out of his hair, Gunn goes full-on stereotype in a comical moment before bringing a vampire in, setting off the shaman alarm, and Angel slips in unnoticed. Keep in mind, if this happened before Gunn’s first episode, it would have developed him further and THEN he could have the dramatic showdown with his sister and it would mean more, weigh more. Food for thought.

Angel steals some discs and picks up a scroll that he is drawn to and its time to escape. Only Linday gets pulled in by his boss, Holland Mathers, who thinks something sneaky is going on. A pair of twin psychics show up and read everyone’s minds and – UH OH – Lee, that balding fuck that no one liked was going to betray the firm. BOOM! HEADSHOT! and he’s outta here. Holland says he could do the same to Lindsay in confidence but gives his star pupil time to think over his deeds and next moves. He keeps this secret when he meets back up with Angel because he’s confused, but also because he’s a lawyer and he knows when to reveal relevant information. The blind lady strikes tonight, he says, and its off to the races to save the day.

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And then we get to the climax. Wherein Angel battles a blind girl and impales her on her own walking stick. The gimmick is so stupid – she can’t see you if you don’t move so Angel stands still and hits suddenly – that you have to wonder if this lady only ever killed complete idiots. They save the kids and Lindsay vanishes to say he’s done at W&H, but Holland is like “boy, you got my job, I’m moving up” and its all over; Lindsay’s crisis of faith and purpose is resolved with a better office and pay raise. So much for you conscious. And/or soul.

Ok, I blasted through that, but hear me out; this episode is supposed to be more of the same – Angel wants to save a soul. He did it with Faith, why not Lindsay? But not only is his initial level of vitriol through the roof, his sudden turn-around to helping is too quick for its own good. He has no reason to trust this guy, this stooge who has been at his heels the whole way through the season. But he does. And its fine if he wants to blindly give the kid a shot, like he does with Faith, but he says – repeatedly – that he doesn’t care if Lindsay lives or dies. When he doesn’t show up after the heist, he says “he made it or he didn’t” and they start work on the files he stole. When Lindsay does show up, he doesn’t seem relieved or even surprised, but mostly inconvenienced. Its lame and not true to character. Oh well, Wesley found out that the scroll contains the Shanshu Prophecy! So there’s that…!

Episode Rating: 67

  Additional Notes:
-Cordelia is hacking. In the first episode of “BtVS” she could use command prompts. Oh boy.
-And the computer makes tons of “beeps” and “boops” like its an old episode of classic Trek. Oh boy.
-Wesley does make good on some sleeping powder or whatever, and Angel just takes down the guard demon like nothing
-I’m not interested in the blind lady at all
-Holland, the shaman, and the mind-reading ladies are all effectively creepy. Points for them
-The name of this episode is “Blind Date” – who the Jesus let that one through?
-The music when Angel sees and takes the scroll is about the cheesiest cue on either series to date
-Those blind kids looked stupid
-The scene where Lindsay tries to tell Angel his past is hilarious and perfectly acted. True to both characters

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