In the thirteenth episode of the second season of Angel, The Host saves a somewhat mediocre story from being just a mediocre story. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
No, I’m serious. This is the only episode of season two that I don’t find fantastic. That’s okay. Twelve in a row is a pretty damn good run! Plus, I don’t think this episode is awful by any means. I love all the stuff with Angel’s ex-employees, and I most especially love The Host. Does he even have a name, by the way? Don’t answer that, just thinking out loud.
What works about “Happy Anniversary” is that The Host forces Angel to realize that his constant refusal to accept guidance in his life is sending him on an increasingly dim path. We have watched Angel ignore the Powers That Be; we watched him ignore The Host’s very specific warning; we’ve watched Angel choose to detach from his previous life in some weird display of honor. (Man, we dudes have such fucked up notions of gallantry and honor.) Angel is a goddamn wreck at this point, even if he won’t admit it, so despite a somewhat boring story, it’s Angel’s contrast with The Host that makes “Happy Anniversary” an entertaining episode.
The Host is such an intriguing character to me, so it was nice to finally get an episode that focused on him. Well, sort of focused on him. He partnered with Angel to stop the world, but we still don’t know all that much about The Host. Where did he come from? Did he always have his gift? When did he first use it? Why is he so dedicated to helping people stay on the right path? Why aren’t we best friends?
It became a treat, then, to watch his cheery, chipper attitude clash with Angel’s sour attitude. And I don’t want to suggest that Angel shouldn’t be reacting poorly to what’s happening to him. I think it was great that The Host got him to finally open up about his new behavior. I admit that even I didn’t fully understand why Angel was doing what the was doing. I guess that I, too, expected Angel to handle the pressure of his life better, and that wasn’t fair. I mean, when he lists it all out for the Host, the dude has been handed a lot to deal with. Why drag down his three best friends in the process?
Still, firing Gunn, Cordelia, and Wesley wasn’t the best option Angel had, and I think he realizes that by the end of the episode. Ask them to give him space? Sure, that could have worked. But that’s not what he chose to do, and now Angel is riding around Los Angeles with a soul-seeing, future-telling demon who can use a falsetto to attack others in order to stop a man from freezing the entire universe in an alternate world while he’s in the middle of sex with his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend.
And about Gene’s entire storyline: it’s fucking creepy. Look, what the fuck is wrong with someone that makes them think that freezing your girlfriend in a time-frozen alternate universe while you are orgasming inside of her is a totally romantic gesture? No, it’s never romantic ever and IT’S REALLY FUCKING GROSS. How the writers of this episode were able to take a plot concerning time manipulation and make it really, really boring is beyond me, but here it is. IT HAPPENED.
So let’s discuss two things instead. First, Cordelia, Gunn, and Wesley are successful. They have navigated TWO cases without Angel, and the last one netted them quite a lot of money. They’re clearly taking in Angel’s clients as well, so I don’t imagine it’s going to be easy for Angel to try to integrate back into this life. And I don’t blame the three of them if they don’t initially trust him, either. The dude fired them on a whim and left them no recourse to survive in L.A. Angel has a rough road ahead of him, and I don’t feel that bad about that. Yet. I say that because this show has a tendency of making me feel sad for just about anyone.
Second, I really want The Host to sing “Out Tonight,” and I feel that this is the best song for him in the history of music. You’re welcome.