Angel Investigations: Lonely Heart

And so we continue on our Angel run-through to season 1 episode 2: Lonely Heart. I had hoped to have this post up a few days ago, but… well… I don’t really have an excuse.

witness the awkward socializing of the socially awkward

My understanding is that Mutant Enemy had an entirely different episode planned for #2, but the network thought it was too dark, so they had to come up with another episode really quickly. With that in mind, I’ll have to cut them some slack for the excessive repetition of the phrase “Places like this.” It got on my nerves real fast, especially since it usually went in the sentence, “I hate places like this, don’t you?” Yes thanks. We’ve established that everyone hates places like this, and yet ‘places like this’ still manage to be really crowded. Hence the hating of them.

Putting that aside, though, I actually think this episode was pretty smart. They managed, yet again, to tie Angel’s issues– in this case, his relationship/sexual issues– into the problems of LA as a whole. Angel is one lonely soul in a city that is both designed for them and preys upon them, and because of that he knows exactly how to approach the issue. He was able to predict the actions of the demon both because he relates to the problems it preys upon and because he himself is a demon. Or, in other words, LA’s problems are embodied in Angel himself. I’m not sure how much to read into the idea of one-night-stands leading to evisceration, but I’m sure there’s a metaphor lurking there if you care to look for it. Perhaps the idea of loneliness leaving you hollow inside… hmm…

This episode was also a good way to get the idea into the open that ANGEL HAS SEX ISSUES. They are, after all, the nominal reason as to why he left Sunnydale for LA (I believe there was more to it than that, but we’ll get to that later), and thus they are a big part of the foundation of the show. Which is, you have to admit, a really weird foundation. What is interesting to me about it is that vampires are often used as a metaphor for, or as symbolic of, sex. And yet here the metaphor flips: we have the sex (or lack thereof) symbolizing something about the vampire: his insecurities, his frustrations, his unattainability, etc. Or I suppose it could be a way of saying that because Angel can’t bite anyone, and thus have symbolic sex, he can’t have actual sex either. Anyways, this episode was a good way to establish Angel’s sex issues without actually having him do anything sexual.

Other revelations about Angel: 1) He’s smart. He’s logical-deductions-guy, which is a refreshing change from the guy who just did what Buffy told him all the time. 2) He’s socially awkward and reclusive beyond belief and yet still manages to come off as flirting with every girl he talks to. Maybe because they’re flirting with him. 3) He carries around a grappling hook. Ya… not gonna touch that one.

She's blond and in a Joss Whedon show. Look out.

But lest I forget that there are actually other characters in this show, let’s move on to the introduction of a new one: Kate Lockley. I’m a little bemused that they chose to introduce her as a bumbling, shy, sweet girl with a crush on Angel, when that’s not at all who she is (except for maybe the crush). She’s a total hard-ass, smart-mouthed cop. Of course, it was necessary that the audience not catch on that she was a cop, but I don’t think she had to be quite so out of character in order to do so. Nevertheless, I like Kate. I like that even though she obviously likes Angel she doesn’t fall over herself for him. She’s smart, she’s brave, and she doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap. I think that, at least at the beginning of the show, she was the figure that redeemed the masses who were being willfully ignorant of the supernatural existing around them. Too often on Buffy and Angel, those masses served as nothing more than fodder for the monsters, and were viewed as somewhat dim. Kate doesn’t see the monsters, but she sure as heck ain’t fodder.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an angel!

Other Notes

  • The introduction of the infamous business cards. I have a soft spot in my heart for those cards and the fact that nobody knows what the picture is supposed to be of. I think it looks like an angel.
  • This is the first time we see Doyle having a vision. Ouch, and not terribly visually informative. Thus, this is also the first time we see that the Powers That Be can be really unhelpful and somewhat lacking in compassion.
  • I’m curious as to how far ahead Mutant Enemy had planned at this point, because Cordy’s comment about Doyle’s visions that, “If it was my gift I’d return it” rings of just a little too much irony in retrospect.
  • I’d like to know how Cordelia got through Miss Calendar’s computer class without learning where the apostrophe key is.
  • One of the classic Angel lines: “I’m just looking for someone to… rescue. Are you maybe in need of some rescuing?” Oh, Angel…
  • Despite her general air of ditziness in this episode, Cordelia’s assertion that she is a “student of the human animal” is actually pretty true. She knows what to look for in sizing somebody up, and she is a master at reading body language (as evidenced in the previous episode with her famous, “Hey, you’re a vampire!” comment). This is possibly her most defining feature, and the one that gets developed the most over the course of the series– the ability to see someone and just know (“I’m Cordelia. I don’t think. I know, okay?”).
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~ by ntertanedangel on June 3, 2010.

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