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January 15 2004

Bureau42 reviews Angel 5.09 - "Harm's Way"

Well what did you all think of the episode?
Overall I thought it was a good episode, although as a Spike fan, they could have dropped alot of his parts out of this episode which wasn't much to begin with. Think it would have been better if he just showed up at the end part and explained where he had been that way. Although that would have meant missing the Angel "Yea, tell her your a moron." line but I think I could have lived without that few moments if it meant more screen time and dialouge for Lorne or Wes in this episode. Oh and I love the line from the women that elluded to Wes perhaps being gay, only one problem they must be new to W&H or else why wouldn't they have known about Wes and Lilah. Since nothing is ever a secret there for long.
Harmony's fighting technique has improved considerably since her tangle with Mr. Harris in "The Initiative."
I thought it was boring because they had already summed up the whole plot in the WB episode description. No surprises at all.
It was an enjoyable Zeppo-like episode, but the ending was very weak. The words, delivery, and timing were all off. Looked like an outtake.
I laughed a lot -- I thought Harmony carried the ep in great comedic style. And I thought the last lines by Harmony were typically great Whedon absurdism. I liked it. But during the end scene, when Spike gives his reasons for not going to Europe to see Buffy after all, well, something there struck me as lame. All the angsty Buffy stuff for years with Spike and now this? I think there are good reasons for Spike not to have dashed off immediately to Buffy: (1) he might want to hang around for possible developments in the Shanshu situation, (2) he might be finally understanding that Buffy never loved him in the way he loved her. His reason that it would be anticlimactic and non-heroey to show up in the south of France a few months after sacrificing yourself to save the world -- that I understand, but having Spike realize that before even setting out? I don't know. He strikes me as a much more impetuous character.

But all in all, I enjoyed this episode a lot. If there hadn't been such a lengthy hiatus since the last, incredibly intense, episode, I might have enjoyed it even more. I confess that during last night's ep I desperately wanted more info on Eve and Lindsey even when I was enjoying all the Harmony hijinx.
RavenU, I think pretty much everybody at W&H's LA office is new, right? Or maybe I'm misremembering...

My wife and I enjoyed it a lot...but we were, like phlebotinin, expecting, anticipating more info on Lindsey, Eve, etc...looks like this was a tease, and we'll get more on that next week.

A very good 2nd tier episode...not as good as the Zeppo, which was critical to Xander's development as a competent ally instead of just a somewhat buffoonish but loyal stalwart. Loved the "bonding" between Harm and Fred, and was intrigued by Fred calling Wes "hot"...
I LOVED the opening sequence. It was hilarious..."you don't kill and we won't kill you". CLASSIC SLOGAN!! I cannot warm up to Gunn anymore...he did a 180 and I don't like it. I understand why they did this with his character...but like I said...I don't have to like it. When will we see more Wes and Lorne?? I did enjoy seeing the life of Harmony away from the office...she's trying so hard for "Mr. Angel". But, I too am waiting for the meat of this season to happen...the prophecy...Lindsay...bring it on.
I took Fred's "hot" commentary as an indication that she doesn't care about either man at all. Nobody talks like that about someone they care about. I took it as an announcement that the triangle has been cancelled.
The company film was the best thing in the episode, and I think the funniest line was Angel saying "nobody gets away with murder around here" (just add the words "- but me.")
It wasn't a bad episode, just not great and unsatisfying after such a long wait.
I enjoyed it but agree it might've been more enjoyable if there hadn't been such a long hiatus. I agree with a lot of peoples comments regarding Spike and his excuse for not going after Buffy. I too felt it rang false and made no sense. His first thought was of Buffy and he had tried leaving as soon as he could before he realized he couldn't. So it makes no sense that he'd decide that he didn't want to go because it was anti-climatic. Now, maybe something did happen and it will be revealed later where he admits he called her and she was happy to hear he was alive but didn't want him to come. That's something he wouldn't want anyone, especially Angel to know.

I thought it had a lot of funny moments, like Harmony bonding with Fred, Harmony knocking out everyone and putting them in the closet and Harmony at home. Also loved the scenes with her and her co-workers. I was a bit surprised to see that Angel's blood would be stored in the cafeteria fridge with everyone elses stuff. You'd think they'd be worried of someone spiking his drink.
To me, Fred acknowledging that Wesley was "hot" doesn't rule him out as a potential love interest for her. Call me crass, but I've described guys I've been seriously interested in as "hot." I've said this to friends, not to strangers on the subway, mind you! I was intrigued by Fred's comment. It seemed to me to be a real indication that she wasn't necessarily ruling Wesley out, never mind if dating coworkers is "complicated."

blwessels, I hadn't thought that a backstory to Spike's seemingly too casual decision not to go see Buffy might be later revealed. Duh, how long have I been following the Whedonverse? I can be so stupid. I hope that a backstory emerges and this is not an example of a character ball being dropped, at least in my opinion.
I loved the feel of this episode and thought it matched Harmony's character perfectly. Light and airy. I even liked the "too easy" mystery solving because it seemed to match Harmony's life. I loved Fred and Harmony's bonding experience, and hope to see the two of them hang out more. They seem to be a better match as far as being girlfriends than Fred and Cordelia were.

My absolute favorite part of the episode, though, is that we finally get the info that Fred isn't completely clueless about Wes and Nox both being interested in her.
A great episode on many levels. The company film was a great review of the first half of the season. Using The Detroit Cobras' song Hey, Sailor to introduce Harmony was pitch perfect. I like that they referenced all the way back to Harmony's Sunnydale High days in the dialogue. I think they created a great new set with the employee break room. Anyone who has to work in an Office and deal with the community fridge & microwave can relate. Harmony's vamp face was a work of art, much more detailed than usual. I loved the demons referring to Angel as Whore Man. many classic lines of dialog, I smell some Joss Whedon rewriting. My favorite line is when Angel says Spike can take any car but the Viper and Spike replies "then the Viper it is."
I didn't mind the left biter/ right biter element, I mean we've all seen vamps drink from just about any spot on the human body so have to assume they have mighty strong suction abilities and don't need to tap the jugular. The two errors I thought I caught was when Harmony throws the body in the dumpster it's laying above the rim but when she turns to spread garbage over it, it's settled down quite a bit. Number two is the bowl Harmony keeps taking out of the microwave appears empty in both scenes that it's used.
I know I'll be in the minority but I think this was the best show of the season so far.
Not entirely in the minority, vpecoraro. The more I let it sink in, the more I think it was at among the best eps so far this season. Really, really enjoyable. Loved the "whore man" just as you did. And the company film. And Harmony in general.
Sorry for the profusion of posts. I can't resist addressing the matter of the mug/bowl belonging to Lorne's sidekick that Harmony keeps taking out of the microwave so that she can put Angel's "#1 Boss" mug o' blood in. Unless I saw it wrong, on both occasions the sidekick's mug (whether empty or not) is just sitting in the microwave, not being heated or anything. Whoever puts something in a microwave and then walks away for a while without pushing any buttons can't get too upset about someone else coming along and putting their own thing in, right?

I know it's a small, silly point, but I couldn't help noticing it.
Y'know, any episode that can make me empathize with Harmony is pretty impressive. I mean, there were bits in there where I was wincing for her...

Yeah, the ending was weak and Spike's rationalization didn't ring true (and maybe aren't supposed to -- wonder if this is leading up to the veiled Ultimate Drew comment), but I laughed a lot.

BTW, Harmony's efforts to hide the "astronaut's" body were particularly funny if you'd just watched an episode of Monk.
I've noticed a trend among many shows returning from a long hiatus of starting with a trifle of an episode before jumping back into the main storyline. There's always a portion of the audience, even the diehard fans, who forget that a run of new episodes has begun, and better to have them miss a one-off than to miss the crucial reveal of just what Lindsey, Eve, Spike, Angel, Wolfram & Hart, and the shanshu prophecy all have to do with one another. Miss that one, you're lost for the rest of the season and they risk losing you as a viewer. Miss an episode about a day in the life of Harmony, you can always catch the repeat over the summer.

Harmony: Hello, Mrs. Jacoby!
Dog: Grrr...

At least I think it was the dog.
I felt like I was suffering through The Life of Harmony, but “Harm’s Way” still is a good episode; just not a great one. I too enjoyed the introductory segment very much. I also liked how the episode explores loneliness, where we can understand how much connections with people mean to Harmony. Even if we’re not dumb blonds and undead, we know how nice it is to have people around who understand us and are willing to listen. And, yeah, the cat fight was pretty cool too.
Well, I don't agree that Spike's "excuse" about not rushing off to Buffy was lame. That's not the point. Consider that the entire show is from Harm's pov. Consider that he's talking to Harmony. Why on earth would he confide to Harmony of all people his deepest feelings about any subject, let alone Buffy? He wouldn't. No way. Nuh uh. The only person he's made that kind of connection with is Fred. With Harmony, he's going to put some kind of spin on it but he's certainly not going to get all sensitive and vulnerable.

But that scene is a big scene for both of them. For the first time, each of them is actually kinda nice to the other, even though they're both in pain, turmoil, confusion, etc. Before this, Harm kept referring to Buffy as that Slayer Whore, but now she's encouraging him to go to her, that he's silly to think she won't want him. Of course, she's talking about herself, and she reveals that in the next line and even Spike realizes it.

Yes, Spike is Mr. Impulsive, but alot has happened to him and he's just beginning to process those feelings. We may get Enormous Changes At The Last Minute like his recorporealizing, but those changes take time to develop internally.

I liked the ep even though it had some pacing problems and felt uneven in places. MM did a great job showing both the ditz and pathos. And I loooved the "Whore Man" references to Angel!
All in all I thought it was a good ep...though kind of a letdown after two months of agonizing and the killer pairing of Lineage and Destiny. Does anyone else think that the Craft & Fain writing team need to be shipped off to a lesser, more Charmed-esque show? They've delivered nothing but weak episodes since they started, and I'm starting to feel advance disappointment when I know they're writing an upcoming ep. I believe that's called Hotel Batali Syndrome. ;)

Loved some bits though, and was happy to see Harmony get the spotlight for an hour. Maybe if this ep had aired back in November it would have seemed less blah.
Doug at ATP makes a pretty neat observation on the ep as a send up of the Spike/Angel rivalry:

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