Conviction (1)

Episode Report Card
Pilot Light

Oh Jeff Bell, why hast thou forsaken me? Props to Brother Mugga, who probably won't see this for ages, and to Montykins, who warned me a year ago about what would happen if Whedon had too much free time.

According to the WB promo department, everything I know about Angel is about to change. Hey, the show's HDTV-friendly now. That's kind of neat, I guess. Okay, so far the changes are good! I'm not going to spend a lot of time describing the teaser because it's silly, and there are enough things to rant about in this recap as is. During the teaser, Angel rescues a blonde chick who is attacked by a vamp in an alley. The point of this sequence is to attract new viewers and alert them to the following facts:

1. Angel has action sequences, some of which have impressive fight choreography.
2. Angel sometimes has CGI effects, which are also impressive, but rarely in the good way.
3. Akira Kurosawa and Sam Pekinpah used slow-motion in action scenes to create mood and to affect the audience emotionally. Angel also uses slow-motion.
4. Whatever you do, don't stop to think about what is happening during the slow-motion scenes. I know that it's difficult to resist the urge to use those moments to try understanding what the heck is going on, but that's just part of their fiendish plan to drive you mad. Resist.

So that's why the vampire -- who was unable even to scratch his helpless victim during all the time it took Angel to race to the rescue -- suddenly develops kung-fu skills for a prolonged battle against Angel. And that's why Los Angeles's alleys appear to be full of ten-story cranes hoisting convenient cables for use in dramatic entrances. Since the show contains a lot of time establishing significant details of the plot for the new viewers, and since it's possible that some new viewers might be reading this recap, I'll identify the more important things about the show in bold when they're mentioned. This will also more accurately recreate Whedon's style of working these details into the story, since he's not exactly subtle. You're welcome!

When the vamp is finally dusted, Angel tells the girl to go home. She asks who he is, and he shrugs, "It doesn't matter." Immediately, a deep voice calls, "Angel!" and several cars squeal into the alley. Ninja pop out waving guns and spotlights. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought, "Oh, the Initiative is back. Swell." Angel blinks and stares around while one of the ninja reports, "Area's secure. Angel is unharmed. Hostiles contained." He approaches and introduces himself as Agent Hauser while explaining that they're there as backup. Another car arrives, and a suited lawyer hurries up to add, "Really would prefer it if you didn't leave a rescue scenario until we had a chance to control the scene." Angel -- still bewildered, as so many of us are -- asks how they knew where he was. The lawyer explains that there's a tracking monitor on Angel's lapel.

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