In the ninth episode of the first season of Angel, fuck you, Joss Whedon. Just fuck you again and I will never tire of saying this. I don’t even know if you had anything to do with this, and I’m going to blame you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
I had a whole review planned in my head.
First of all, I refuse to waste this comment, but as soon as Doyle explained the Scourage as pureblood demons going after half-breeds, I just expected Draco Malfoy to stroll up and call Cordelia a Muggle. LOOK, IT’S JUST WHERE MY MIND GOES. IT JUST IS. I can’t control these things!
Then I had all this stuff I wanted to write about how this story addresses racial oppression, passing privilege, being outed, and how even though it’s a metaphor, it’s done so much better than I expected. Not perfect, as it’s super heavy-handed, but it’s above the bar I arbitrarily set. Because while I do like the occasional metaphor for oppression, I tend to feel that you might as well just use the real people who experience this every day instead. You know, since their lives are just as awful and worse than the metaphor you’re writing?
But this is all really about Doyle, isn’t it?
Over the course of just nine episodes, the writers have done a spectacular job making him a sympathetic, complicated character. It would have been easy to go the route they took with Xander, especially since Doyle started off having a crush on Cordelia, but Doyle was developed in a completely different direction. If Angel is inherently about redemption, then a great deal of the season I’ve seen so far has been about Doyle’s chance to stop running from his past and from the evils in this world. The flashbacks that tell of the first moment Doyle got his visions are an example of this. When faced with a threat that could not only wipe out him, but exterminated more demons of his kind, Doyle refuses to help. He chooses to stay as a human, to deny who he is, and to hide. Once he discovers how this behavior can be destructive to other people, especially when he might have been able to save those Brachen demons, he begins a path towards correcting himself.
That doesn’t mean he has been been perfect in executing it, but he’s trying.
Faced with a situation very similar to that first time, Doyle is quick to switch roles with Angel, even if we’re meant to believe that Angel is the real hero of this story. What we witness is Doyle acting more selfless than he has ever been. He does what he can to protect and save the demons who are being pursued by the Scourge, even if that means putting aside his own problems and issues. I mean, he was seconds away from telling Cordelia that he was half-demon, and he chose not to finish the conversation. That was going to be a big moment for him, and in an instant, he chooses to ignore this to help those who need his help.
It’s why his scene with Cordelia when he arrives at the ship is so powerful. He’s been so busy being incredibly awesome that he forgot he left her hanging. His path towards redemption wasn’t just about doing what’s right or not ignoring those who need help. Doyle needed to be honest with himself and accept who he is. I think the events in “The Bachelor Party” were a necessary part of discovering this, too, since Harrie helped Doyle come to terms with his traumatic past. How else could Doyle move forward unless he found closure from his past marriage? How could he ever pursue any sort of relationship with Cordelia unless he was honest with her as well?
(For the record, bless Cordelia in this episode. She takes initiative, she’s practical, she’s brilliant, and then she accepts Doyle with open arms. Well, a slap first, that is. But Cordy, just… okay, I’ll get to it in a second.)
There’s a lot more to this episode than Doyle, yes. There’s Angel’s GORGEOUS hair, the amazing make-up and effects on the stormtrooper demons, the hilarious voiceover in the cold-open that had me laughing so hard I was crying, and then.
Once it started happening, and Angel’s words (“You never know until you’ve been tested.”) suddenly have a new meaning, I thought that there had to be a way out. There had to be a loophole. I had a feeling early on that the Promised One was never supposed to be Angel, but I didn’t guess it would ever come to this. Then Doyle is kissing Cordelia and my mind thinks of how this is the polar opposite to her kissing Wesley, and even more so than Xander, it just feels right, and he says, “Too bad we’ll never know if this is a face you could learn to love,” and then the full scope of the events on the screen hits me:
Doyle is going to be a hero.
But he’s been on the show for nine episodes. Surely, there’s a loophole, right? You can’t actually –
but what is your face doing
and what –
no. NO. NO. NO WHAT THE FUCK. NO. NO!!!!!!!!!! THIS SERIES JUST FUCKING STARTED. HE’S ONE OF THE PROTAGONISTS! HE’S A MAIN FUCKING CHARACTER. BY EVERY RULE OF EVERY TROPE EVER HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUCKING SAFE. OH NO, NO, FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK THIS. I CAN’T. I CANNOT ACCEPT THIS IS HAPPENING. He’s a Brachen, so his demon form is stronger than WHAT THE FUCK HE TURNED BACK TO A HUMAN OH MY GOD
I am distraught. I am so upset. Yes, it is a testament to the writing, acting, and characterization on this show that I got attached to Doyle in less than seven hours time. But I don’t care. I want Doyle back. I want him back now, and I am not going to stand for this.
Oh, why are they watching his advertisement video again?
“Come on over to our offices and you’ll see that there’s still heroes in this world. Is that it? Am I done?”
Just fuck you, Joss Whedon. Fuck you.
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