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AngelAngel 5x20 Girl In Question - Entertainment-Geekly Review
By Anthony Karcz
Friday 7 May 2004, by cally
Angel, "The Girl in Question"
Road trip time as the vampiric duo team up to save Buffy.
By Anthony Karcz
May 05, 2004
There’s guest stars a-plenty as Spike and Angel team up for an good ole Italian road trip and some frenzied flashback fun.
After last week’s ambiguous as hell ending, I was hoping to see a shift in things, in the way that Angel was handling the home office. Alas, beyond some thinly veiled animosity from Gunn, Angel is his old, CEO self, talking about risk assessments and not going off half cocked. Turns out that the Coppa, the head of a great demon empire, has turned up dead and his remains need fetching to prevent the outbreak of a demon gang war. Of course, Spike is his usual self, more interested in playing with his Game Boy than helping out Angel. It’s not until Angel gets a call about Buffy that two throw their hats into the ring.
Apparently Buffy is in danger from The Immortal (he of the supremely silly name) a ancient and terrifying evil...who may or may not be all that terrifying. The way that Spike and Angel get their hackles up about him, you know right off the bat that this is more of the “I had a nice threesome with your ladies” kind of evil, not the “I’m going to destroy the world” kind.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s back to the Batjet as Angel and Spike once again decide to put aside their differences for the common good (saving Buffy). Verifying that they cannot get drunk off the plane-sized liquor bottles, they take a trip down memory lane (but not before a totally Mod blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flashback to a sleek 1950s Spike and Drusilla...it’s funny, after all the tired 1800s flashbacks that we’ve gotten, I was really hoping that this was going to be the real deal). It’s back to turn-of-the-(19th)century we go as we find Angelus and William trussed up and subsequently released (but not before snapping the neck of The Immortal’s messenger). Why, you might ask? A prone Darla draped across the bed is answer enough.
Back in LA, Illyria is having a hard time adjusting to the old and downgraded model shell that she’s sporting. We get a random recap from Wes (I mean, there are two eps left, people-do we really need to keep on doing the Clifs Notes?) and there’s a bit of a standoff between the Gruesome Twosome. But just as Her Blueness backs down and it seems like the brainy guy is the one holding the cards, who walks in but the Burkles.
On the more humorous side of things, Angel and Spike show up at la casa di Buffy, only to find everyone’s favorite Geek, Andrew, holding down the fort. After a few awkward “ambiguous” moments, Andrew manages to fill Angel and Blondie Bear in on the news. Turns out that Buffy isn’t in danger from the Immortal...she’s dating him. And it’s back to the land of frilly skirts and puffy shirts we go. As Angelus rushes in to save Darla, it turns out that she’s not beaten, just spent. Seems that The Immortal has quite the way with the ladies. Key here being the plural. Just as Angelus and William are getting their mind around why, exactly, they were detained, who walks in but Drusilla, who’s just as drained as Darla. Turns out, while they can’t handle the both of them at once (or one of them at once? You get the picture), The Immortal is able to tackle all that and more.
Like the boys said, pure Evil.
It’s a quick downhill spiral from there as our intrepid vamps are reduced to yelling at a closed club door (where they try to get in under the name Blood Vengeance, shouldn’t every immortal demon be required to allow those seeking vengeance into his parties?), sounding like hurt kids that don’t get to join the cool guy’s club. Back in the present, just as Wes is going to drop the bomb on the Burkles, who walks in the door but a newly minted Fred. Having put her tarnished godliness aside for a moment, Illyria comes off with a perfect imitation of her shell’s former occupant - too good judging by the scowl on Wes’ face.
Then it’s back to Italy again as Spike and Angel manage to remember their mission long enough to pick up the head of the Coppa...literally. Then it’s a club-hopping we go as they try to track down our fair-haired heroine and her new beau. Of course, just as they are rushing off to “save” Buffy, the head gets stolen and we’re treated to one of the better fight scenes this season. Done in slow-mo and backed up by Italian crooners, it’s like a scene out of a very tongue-in-cheek Godfather. Again, it’s the difference that makes it worth watching. So much of this season has been by the book. We’ve seen a million similar fight scenes and flashbacks for the past five years, it’s a shame that they’re only reaching into their bag of tricks for fresh ideas when the end is in sight.
Meanwhile, Fredllyria is doing her best to keep the ‘rents busy. Letting Wes know that this she’s doing this all as a “convenience.” But she’s learning again, learning how to manipulate humans in this new form, testing how far she can take things.
After a fruitless and ultimately embarrassing scooter vs. Fiat chase it suddenly dawns on the duo that all the resources they need are at their fingertips. Determined to break Buffy from her “spell” and, oh yeah, get that head back, they head down to Wolfrham & Hart: Rome division. Unfortunately, they fall victim to the oldest trick in the book: Italian tradition. Blaming The Immortal every step of the way, Angel and Spike are convinced to do things the “civilized” way and do a ransom drop for the head (instead of their preferred Assault Teams and Helicopters method). Unfortunately, even after beating up the majority of the head-napper’s goon squad, they’re left holding the bag in the strata. A bag with a ticking bomb.
As Spike bemoans the loss of his coat (which is replaced by an identical model 30 seconds later), they call the mission a bust and head back to W&H (where Angel gets fitted out in the latest in Italian pimp gear). Promising to “take care of things” they’re shooed out the door and make one last attempt to catch up with Buffy. Still not in, they instead get a lecture from Andrew about moving on. While it turns out that Andrew has done a little moving on of his own. Suddenly suave and debonair, he heads out in his tux, a bella regazza on each arm - our little geek is all grown up.
As everyone collects back at the home office, we have a final confrontation between Illyria and Wes. Having seen the parents off, she’s still doing a bit of research, roaming around in Fred’s skin, seeing how it affects Wes. She quickly learns that, because of her shell, she will always have a certain level of power over Wes. Maybe there’s something more to it? Maybe she actually is trying to make Wes a little bit happy? It’s doubtful, but stranger things have happened. At any rate, the boys are back in town, the head shows up on Angel’s desk (courtesy of The Immortal), and Spike and Angel declare that, once and for all, they’re moving on...right...
All in all, it’s not a bad episode. Any other time in any other season, I would have really dug the quirkiness, the one-liners, the quick cuts between scenes that kept up on our toes. However, with only two episodes left, I can’t help but feel that this one was wasted. The scenes with Illyria imitating Fred (again, nothing but big luv for Amy Acker and her awesome quick-change acting) are so dark, they pull the funny scenes down. And the funny scenes, while certainly entertaining, really need to build on each other. The serious interludes make them work harder than they really were meant to. I’m left with an uneven feeling, wanting more of Wes’ struggle, but wanting more of the funny as well, neither really satisfying me. Oh, and the flouncy blonde? Sooo not Buffy. I mean, we know it’s not really Buffy, but that’s just a slap. She’s not a platinum blonde, people! She has much more depth to her hair color!
Um...or so I’m told?
At any rate, there’s only eps left. Next week we finally get down to the nitty gritty as Angel cuts the gang loose. Seems that all this time he’s been working things out on his own. Wonder why no one else gets to come along for the ride? See you next week.