by Billie Doux
Host: "You know where I belong? L.A. You know why? Nobody belongs there. It's the perfect place for guys like us."
I was seriously pissed at the end of the previous episode when I thought the Host was dead, so I was relieved and happy that he was only somewhat dead. They sure do like separating body parts from each other in Pylea, don't they?
Except for the body part separating issue, this episode was like horror slapstick with Cordelia creeping around with Lorne's head when she wasn't making cow eyes at the Gruselag, and Wesley and Gunn helping a bunch of renegade cows storm the castle. The more serious parts had Angel befriending Fred in a somewhat romantic way while making manly attempts not to monster out. What's with Fred? I heard that she might be a new continuing character. I like her so far, although the dithering she does could get old pretty quickly.
To sum up, fun was had but I'm not crazy about Pylea, and I liked last week's a bit better. I'll leave out the sad ending where the gang arrived back at the ranch and found Willow waiting to give Angel some seriously bad news.
-- Cordelia finally got to be a real princess and found it wasn't what she really wanted. She also had a chance to pass on the visions, and chose not to. Cordelia seems to be maturing.
-- Wesley got to be all manly and general-like, assigning suicide missions right and left. He really came into his own as a character this year, running the office without Angel, becoming good friends with Gunn.
-- They managed to hide Charisma's tattoo pretty well in that skimpy princess costume.
Fred: "Tacos! Sorry. I didn't mean to holler at you. I love tacos. Do they still have them? You know, back..."
Angel: "...home? Yeah, they didn't outlaw tacos."
Fred: "Oh, of course not. I've been trying to make an enchilada out of tree bark."
Angel: "Bark enchiladas. Huh. How's that going?"
Fred: "There is work to be done."
Lorne: "Why am I still alive? Once they chop me up, it's over. I'm looking at pieces of myself! Oh, it's over! (Sobs) Wait a second. Since when do I have five toes?"
Groo: "I disobeyed the Covenant. I shall spend eternity burning in Tarkna for my sin."
Cordelia: "Oh, who believes a literal Tarkna nowadays?"
How about three out of four stakes for this season ender? Looking forward to next season, although it won't be as much fun with Buffy and Angel on separate stations and on different nights.
Wait, I'm not done. And now for some year-end comments!
So there we were, happily involved in episodes about Darla and Dru and Wolfram and Hart and will Angel go bad or won't he and Angel having sex (at last), and then we took an unexpected sharp left turn into Pylea. What happened? I mean, the Pylea episodes were funny, clever, and different, but they kind of left me going, "Huh?"
I did love the Darla story arc and the Darla/Dru rampage; it was like vintage Buffy. My favorite part was the Angel/Darla sex, with the action and dialogue paralleling his experience with Buffy. Angel didn't turn into Angelus this season after all, when we kept getting hints that he might. I expect that at some point in the series he will indeed turn; it'll be interesting to see if and when they actually do it, and how. I didn't care much for Angel going into brood mode, but I loved his humble attempts to get back into the good graces of his staff.
Speaking of the staff, it was great to see Wesley, Cordelia, and Gunn becoming close -- particularly Wesley and Gunn, who connected in a big way during Angel's absence. Gunn is probably my favorite of the three, and I just realized that as I was typing it. And he's not a cast member, but I love the Host with all my heart. He made me laugh out loud over and over again this season, and I particularly love the way he interacts with Angel.
I want Lindsey back. He's a wonderfully amoral and unpredictable character and he has great eyes.
To sum up, the second season had lots of great episodes and was so much better than the first that there really is no comparison. I particularly liked "Darla," (the second part of "Fool for Love," which has turned out to be one of my absolute favorite Buffy episodes), "Are you now or have you ever been," "Reprise," and "Epiphany." There were some dropped plot threads, though. What happened to Faith? And Anne and the teen shelter? And where did Kate go? (I know, she got a series in New York, but hey.)