Angel, “Rm w/a Vu” (S1E5)

Hey look, I remembered that this blog exists. In the interests of continuing to write something, anything at all, about TV, I’m going to ignore the fact that I’m typically days, weeks, months, and years behind the rest of you and just write a little about what I actually watch.

First up, then, is the fifth episode of the first season of Angel, “Rm w/a Vu.” Jane Espenson, the inimitable blogger and TV scribe, wrote just two episodes of Angel, this being one of them. It’s also what you might call the first “interior” episode of the show — the first four hours revolved around cases brought to the main characters from outside, while the A and B stories of this episode (converging in a big hullabaloo of a demon gun battle + ghosts at the end) had Cordelia finding a swank apartment only to have it be haunted and Doyle having difficulty with some demons who thought he owed money.

I liked the hour, and it had some classic Espenson/Greenwalt/Whedon touches, including a smash to Cordelia being terrorized in her bed by the ghost after Doyle tells Angel that she’ll be grateful to him (Doyle) for a long time for his efforts in finding the apartment. The ending, with Phanton Dennis being a much friendlier ghost than the original haunter and living cordially (if invisibly) with Cordelia in her gorgeous new home, is also a classic touch.

I do wonder how viewers at the time felt about the rather quick pace of character development in the series. This was the episode in which Cordelia gets back to being a bitch (in the best sense of the word — you might instead say she gets her groove back), but we hadn’t spent that much time with the poor pitiful Cordelia. This is different from a criticism of the episode, note, because I think she earned her mojo back through the course of initially facing down the ghost, losing, and then snapping back at the last moment. What’s less clear is whether someone watching Hour Five as literally Hour Five, with no idea of whether there will ultimately be 13 hours or 110, would feel that moving Cordelia’s character this far this early was a good idea.

One other note: there was a joke that involved Cordelia asking “Where is Patrick Swayze when you need him?” You know, because of Ghost. In which he is dead. The uncomfortable thing now being that he’s actually dead, and not because he was terribly old. (You probably don’t write that joke expecting Netflix viewers to feel uncomfortable a mere twelve years later.)

((Wait, twelve years later? Seriously? Good god.))

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About Jason Wojciechowski

I do law
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