Angel Investigations: I Fall to Pieces

I didn’t really like this episode until I realized something: Dr. Meltzer is a commentary on Angel (or he can be read that way). I’m not sure if he’s supposed to represent who Angel used to be or a darker version of who Angel is. I’m not even sure all the parallels were intentional, but they’re there. They’re also somewhat creepy. They do point out how Angel used to stalk girls back when he was evil and thus how he understands Meltzer’s motivations, but there are also a lot of allusions to his relationship with Buffy. There’s the stalking again, watching her while she sleeps, setting her up as a fantasy because of his own character flaws, and there are two quotes that seem to be inadvertently referencing or drawing off of Buffy and Angel: Meltzer says, “How can two people in love stay away from each other?” and Angel says, “Do you know what it’s like to be so much a part of someone else that you don’t know where you stop and they begin?”

If I am right about this, then this is possibly the first time that Buffy and Angel’s relationship is hinted at as being unhealthy. I have very strong feelings about this (as does everyone else), but I’ll save them for later episodes. I just think it’s interesting that Mutant Enemy opened this door when Buffy and Angel are so often heavily romanticized as the perfect couple. However, I also can’t help but feel that the parallels would have been stronger, and thus the episode would have been more interesting, if it had been set in Season 2 instead, what with all the Darla-obsessing that goes on then. Oh, well.

Unfortunately, without that possibly-off-base insight this episode falls a little flat. I blame the doctor. They spent too much time telling us what a creepy jerk he was and not enough time demonstrating it. Thus, when we actually got to see his character he was a bit of an anticlimax. Yeah, he was a little creepy, but they made him out to be Ted Bundy with mystical powers. I also thought his powers were poorly explained. Angel went out of his way to talk to the self-help guru (or whatever he was) who spent a lot of time being really nervous, really uninformative, and just science-eze enough to throw up the red flag of “weird sci-fi explanation that doesn’t actually make any sense.” This is the Buffyverse. We don’t need weird stuff to be explained away in order to take it seriously.

I suppose there are only two other things that I’d like to comment on. The first is that this is the first time that we see that Angel is aware of, cares about, and is consciously maintaining his image. He has the “hero of the night” mystique not because that is who he is (which is how he was portrayed on Buffy), but because that is who he wants to appear to be. Of course, this idea gets explored much further in “Guise Will be Guise.” Interesting that Doyle notices and understands this before Cordelia does.

Secondly, there is the moral question of charging clients. I think Cordelia and Angel both have valid points: they do need paychecks of their own, and they need to be generous with their resources. I’m not so sure, though, that Doyle’s solution (we ask the client for money for their own good and independence) is the best. It throws an ethical spin on capitalism, which has always struck me as an inherently selfish system. Doyle is correct that charging clients would keep them from becoming attached, but what is wrong with becoming attached? Wasn’t Doyle originally campaigning for Angel to get more involved in the lives of the people he saves? I suppose its more practical for both parties if they can do their business and be done, but Doyle seems to be giving practicality a moral component. I’m not sure it works like that. I think Doyle and Anya might have an interesting talk about capitalism, though.

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~ by ntertanedangel on June 28, 2010.

One Response to “Angel Investigations: I Fall to Pieces”

  1. Yea, when I began watching Angel, Cordelia’s push to charge clients always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I did understand that they needed paychecks to survive, but I think it was still the old popular, materialistic Cordy mindset. Because as the seasons go, and she feels the visions that she has and she completely changes as a person, she could care less about money; she just wanted to help people. But I also think that it’s an interesting twist on the superhero image. Usually the superhero comes out of nowhere and saves you and that’s that, but in the real world, or the modern world, the superhero needs to make a living.

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