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Hercules Has Seen ANGEL 5.9 ! ! - FAQ

Wednesday 14 January 2004

Herc’s Seen The First ANGEL of 2004!! I am - Hercules!!

Angel 5.9 FAQ What’s it called? “Harm’s Way.”

Who’s responsible? Teleplay is credited to Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (“Shiny Happy People,” “Unleashed.

When was the last time we saw a new “Angel”? Nov. 19. It was the episode in which Spike turned solid, the vamps raced for the Cup of Perpetual Torment (and, in truth, mortality and Buffy’s love), and Eve climbed into bed with Lindsay.

Is Spike still solid? He is.

What did Coax say about this one back on Oct. 15? Casting pages emerged Tuesday for “Angel” 5.9, which seems to focus quite a bit on vampire secretary Harmony Kendall as she navigates the mundanely macabre corridors of Wolfram & Hart. One senses all the Team Angel regulars might be reduced to supporting players in this installment. Kind of like “The Zeppo.” Actually more like “The Lower Decks.” But way funnier. A few promising details:

* Harm’s fellow secretaries gossip about Winifred’s love life - whether she might be involved with Charles, Wesley or Knox.

* A bit later, Harmony and Winifred will find themselves out drinking and checking out the dudes.

* Harmony will greet a demon accountant arriving to take a meeting with Angel and Charles.

* Harmony will take a call from Lilah Morgan’s mom.

* We’ll learn that Harmony is by no means unique among the firm’s underlings.

* A comically epic breakroom catfight mostly involving guest stars and eating utensils will transpire.

Did Herc’s sources get it right? Not entirely. The script appears to have undergone some rewrites since we last reported on it. The catfight is now 50-percent Harmony, and I think the Lilah reference got dropped.

Huh. What does TV Guide say? “Keeping her job as Angel’s assistant is the least of Harmony’s worries when she wakes up with a dead vamp-bite victim in her bed and no memory of the previous night’s events. And things go from bad to worse when the gang’s investigation reveals that the dead guy was a demons’ rights activist negotiating between two warring clans.”

The big news? We learn, from the highly entertaining Wolfram & Hart orientation film that opens the episode, that the firm counts among its clients Weyland Yutami, Yoyodyne and a third famous multinational corporation.

The far bigger news? Spike is barely in the episode. He visits the firm in the first act to announce he’s making a beeline for Buffy Summers, then promptly disappears. Angel is not happy about it, but he did, after all, only take the silver in the Cup of Perpetual Torment tourney.

Is Spike still somehow tethered to Wolfram & Hart? Not in any mystical sense. Curiously, this installment is set some time after the last (several weeks if I remember correctly), yet Spike is only now getting around to leaving Los Angeles.

What’s doing with Eve and Lindsay? Both are wholly absent this week.

Wes was AWOL last episode. What’s he been up to? If it was mentioned, I don’t recall. This week he, Angel and Gunn are busy organizing a truce between two warring demon clans.

What of young Winifred and Krevlornswath? Among other things, they serve well as components of a stellar sight gag.

Is the presence of two souled vampires in the universe still cause for concern? So we are reminded just before Spike’s exit.

What’s good? Quite a lot! This is in many ways a defining episode for season five, a long look at a young woman, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, who must nonetheless make her living fetching coffee and taking messages for self-involved corporate types. I’ve never been a huge fan of Harmony Kendall, but Mercedes McNab, who plays her, had me laughing aloud at a number of junctures. Fanatical “Buffy” fans, the only ones likely to remember Harm’s unicorn fixation, will be hugely gratified. (While I put this episode a bit short of four stars, it would surprise me not if more than a few talkbackers insist this is a four-, five- or 11-star installment.)

What’s not so good? The ending.

The ending?? How does it end, spoiler-boy?? (MAJOR SPOILAGE INVISOTEXTED AHEAD!) Spike returns in the final scene and reveals he’s not going to visit Buffy after all. And his lame reason, likely to be disdained by Spuffy proponents of all stripes, will make you wonder if he really loves the slayer at all!

Herc’s rating for “Angel” 5.9? ***1/2 The Hercules T. Strong Rating System: ***** better than we deserve

**** better than most motion pictures

*** actually worth your valuable time

** as horrible as most stuff on TV

* makes you quietly pray for bulletins

9 p.m. Wednesday. The WB. Swing the crebbil! I am - Hercules!!