beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
Angel 5.9: Harm's Way
First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of updates. Truthfully, I’ve been slacking like a motherfucker, and that’s hard work. Takes up a lot of my time.
Secondly, I would like to list the major grievances perpetrated against the viewers and their intelligence during Harm’s Way, just to get it out of the way before I attempt to recap this episode that can be loosely defined as crap.
1. Spike’s excuse for not hopping a boat so he can hop on Buffy
is that he can’t just show up all better after sacrificing himself
because it cheapens the sacrifice? A pointless excuse, and one that signifies
the end of the ME writers’ creativity, because in reality Spike
would realize this would make them closer and give them common moping-ground.
Why? Let’s recap, shall we? Buffy, at the end of season five, sacrificed
herself to save the world and her sister. Three months or so later, Buffy
was unwillingly raised from the dead and forced to once again take up
the Slayer gauntlet. Flash forward 2 painful years, and we have Spike
sacrificing himself to save Buffy and the world, only to be resurrected
unwillingly and forced to take up the gauntlet of whining or annoying
Angel or standing around bitching or doing whatever the hell it is Spike
does. So what part of this, pray tell, would Buffy not understand? What
could possibly make Buffy think his sacrifice was cheapened? Is she going
to accuse him of knowing that someone would unbury the amulet from the
depths of the caved-in Hellmouth, send it to W&H care of Angel and
then a few months later follow that up with a box of flashy light that
would recorporealize him? There’s no way, even Buffy’s not
that irrational, and if she mocked Spike she’d be mocking herself,
and we all know Buffy doesn’t have a sense of humor, let alone
a sense of irony. We also know that Spike has no pride left, so don’t
try to spin that “I’m a man, I have my pride” angle.
Why not just say that he’s afraid it’ll turn out Buffy really
prefers brunettes over blondes and have done with it?
I hate these people.
Thrusting us into Harmony’s perky yet downtrodden view, this episode finally bothers to enlighten us on a few things that I know have been keeping me up at night for years, i.e. do vampires shower/brush their teeth/own pink fuzzy bath towels? The answer to all three would be a resounding yes, though when you stop to think about it, as I sadly have, the brushing of the teeth really makes much more sense than the showering and the pink towel having. Of course, this is merely based on the not-very-scientific assumption that ones sweat glands would discontinue operating after death, being dead tissue and all, while cavities would undoubtedly march on because they suck and would totally not respect the whole not living thing, but then I operate under the assumption that vampires are nothing but evil demons who have set up shop in a human body and that Angel is different because he has a soul, so like I said. Whatever.
And not that it’s actually the point of the plot (although the plot as it is isn’t really so much a plot as it is a waste of time) but finally finding out whether or not vampires take showers is a load off my mind. Except where it’s not. Because finding out that they do indeed shower makes me wonder what Spike did for that period of time he was living in the crypt back in the Dale. The man totally didn’t have a shower. He had a TV. He had an altar to the slayer. He had a sex robot. But no shower. So now I’m bothered. Especially considering that he had a sexbot and all. Anyway, in a non-linear way that nonetheless makes sense to me, all this has made me realize that I miss Spike’s red shirt, and that I think he needs it back. I was studying his whiny little ass this episode and realized that that was what was missing—that fabulous splash of derring-do red shirt he sported in season 2 Buffy. I would give all the tacky gold chains and moody black ensembles in the world for just a guest spot of that shirt. I so would. On the other hand, I would give up the red shirt forever if, say, Fred went away for, you know, ever. Just a thought.
Getting back on track, an abbreviated list of Harmony’s exciting daily activities that we are subjected to in all their glorious monotony include: being an oblivious bitch to the other admin assistants because her boss is the keenest, heating up mugs of blood for her keen boss, ordering food for demon summits and getting her blood tested for smack. Anyone else think it would have been funnier if they forced her to pee in a cup? No one? Oh! And as a bonus we get to hear all about her inability to connect with human beings (human beings being loosely defined here as “assholes at work who have a pulse. Or not. And her old neighbor. Who’s a bitch.”) when she and Fred go out for a post-work day lemon drop.
Harmony bitches that she can’t leave her crap job because she has nowhere to go, and I immediately hate everyone associated with this episode. Did we ever see Mr. Badass-Goody-Two-Shoes-Dumbass hold down a job? No! And why? Because he was such a badass that he didn’t care whether or not he had dental insurance? Hell no--because before it became a convenient plot contrivance, a demon was a freewheeling, blood sucking thing of evil who had no use for a mortal’s conveniences! It had use for mortals’ bars and mortals’ blood-pumping veins and occasionally their homes once it had sucked them dry, but for their year-leases and steady paychecks? Fuck no! It took what it wanted when it wanted--that’s the whole freaking point of being a blood-sucking fiend! The idea that an eternal evil demon such as a vampire slaves away in a thankless job for an asshole boss who will also never die is as depressing as my day-to-day life, because it is my day-to-day life. Where’s the glitz? Where’s the glamour? What’s the point of being a creature of the night if you’re working 9am-5pm? Get your ass out there and be a fucking demon, for fuck’s sake.
SP is so taking over Angel duty.
Finishing her whining approximately 10 hours later, Harmony asks Fred for advice on picking up a guy. I have apparently switched channels and landed on the new Twilight Zone. Which would explain the complete lack of demon in Harmony, the complete lack of a plot and, honestly, I’m just waiting for Forrest Whitaker to round the corner and say something positively stupid about things being topsy turvy, or at least really whack. Then? This episode would be perfect. Not that I’ve ever actually seen the new twilight zone, save for that one episode where Luke Perry was a doctor who took on his patients’ maladies, and even then I had to leave to pick someone up at the airport and missed the ending, and I want to make it clear that I wasn’t actually watching it for Luke Perry per se, but more for the thrill of seeing a show that actually wanted to hire Luke Perry, and anyway, Fred tells her to go pick up the guy or something stupid like that that is mercifully short on babbling and contains no math. Harmony takes this super good advice and wakes up the next day in bed with a man who does not wake up because he is dead. Which at least eliminates the walk of shame, so that’s a plus. And as I’m too tired and emotionally beaten down by this episode to make any necrophilia jokes, feel free to make your own. I will note that I’m kind of sad that an episode that has already answered the tough questions of showers, towels and teeth brushing goes soft on the fluff questions like whether or not it’s worse to have sex with an animated male corpse or an animated female corpse. It’s just something that could potentially be addressed when your booty call wakes up dead. Or was dead to begin with.
Anyway, I sort of got ahead of the story. Though the point of the story, being an admin assistant sucks ass, is flimsy at best and seems to be there merely to distract the viewer from the real agenda of the episode which is to destroy any and all vampire mythology ever created in the Buffyverse. There’s a subplot I’ve been ignoring about a peace meeting between two warring demon clans through which we find out that Gunn got a few demon languages with his Pinky and the Brain upgrade, which has the problem of being annoying and stupid but comes with the benefit of avoiding the “guess what, I just learned Ancient Turkish from a book overnight” syndrome (see Dawn, Buffy, season 7). So there you go. It’s all about balance. Anyway, I got distracted. The point of that was that the subplot is pointless but Gunn looks pretty hot in his suit, and he’s supposed to translate the goings-on because Angel is a nimrod and his “demonic languages in 10 days for dumbasses” tape isn’t doing him a whole hell of a lot of good. And everyone acts like this whole saving warring demon clans is really, really important rather than really, really stupid. To make this bearable and worth our time, let’s just pretend this whole ridiculous scenario is ME attempting a metaphor that is not about drugs and that Angel & Co. represent the United States while the warring clans are standing in for, say, Israel and Palestine. And the fork that started it all? The Gaza strip! And Harmony is the person that caters all those peace meetings that seem to go nowhere. Probably because Colin Powell or someone didn’t listen to their assistant and turned away the camel, the fuckers.
ME’s political statements aside (though I am intrigued by the implications of the sacrificing of the evil homicidal admin assistant being the catalyst for peace…), I’m assuming this episode is strictly Harmony’s exaggerated point of view of the pointless and mundane goings-on at W&H and the ever grouchy and ungrateful mood monster known as Angel (Angel doesn’t appreciate or deserve the fantastic Harmony. She does research! He doesn’t appreciate her research! She orders a camel for the buffet! The warring demons love camel buffets! Angel does not appreciate her camel buffet! Angel’s an asshole!), which could have been fantastic if they’d followed suit the whole way through and had everyone go off into Wackyville. Fred could have had crimped hair (a tried and true signifier of wackiness), Spike could have been a prissy bitch (though maybe he was and we just didn’t notice), Gunn could have been someone’s butt monkey, and the soundtrack could have featured lots of wacky, perky strings. Unfortunately, Angel’s the only one that seems grouchier than usual this entire episode and his hair is not crimped, so his crankiness could just as easily be attributed to PMS as it could to an outsider’s wacky POV.
Harmony goes to work the day of the summit after disposing of the body and is predictably a spazz while trying to play it cool at work. Angel arrives at her desk bitching about his mug of blood not being prepared and all I can focus on are the bruises on his face and was this something that happened earlier? Have I had that much wine? Was he attacked by the camel? Did I miss a camel-attacking scene? How the hell could I miss a scene where Angel got attacked by a camel? Where the hell was I?
Very, very long story made slightly shorter, since I’m really bitter about missing the chance to see Angel being attacked by a camel, Harm’s mixed-success booty call was Toby Dupris, the only man the feuding demon clans would trust to mediate their peace pact and a man she unceremoniously put in a laundry bag and dumped in her trash. His dead body does come back, of course, due to some lame excuse involving W&H owning the local police. Fred, mistakenly believing she is Scully and sporting what appears to be a handkerchief but is probably technically a mini-skirt, performs an autopsy. Because they always autopsy people who die by suckage, and Fred’s always the person to do it. Whatever. I’m not rising to the bait, ME. Nice try. Fred bitches about not knowing what’s happened because the body’s only been there 20 minutes proving that heels or no heels, she is no Scully. In 20 minutes Scully could have autopsied, had a revelation, and made it across a hick town to save a drugged Mulder before he was exanguinated by that kid from The Sandtrap. So step down, Fred Burkle. Step down.
Harmony gets randomly tested again, comes back positive and has to knock out some people for the greater good, including Fred because her blood test was transmitted immediately to the lab for no good reason. Harmony realizes she couldn’t be the killer because Toby was killed by a left-biter and she’s a right-biter or maybe it was vice versa, so she goes about trying to prove her innocence. ME ignores the fact that it would have been much more interesting if Harmony had been the one to lapse and kill Toby, so enter tonight’s villain, Tamika. She is young, sassy, in the steno pool and a card-carrying member of the Undead Americans Club. Luckily for us, she is also a card-carrying member of the Stereotypical Villains Club and divulges all. She was jealous that Harmony got such a plum assignment and set about destroying all that credibility Harmony had built up with the Fang Gang. For the record, what little credibility, and it wasn’t a whole lot, Harmony had built up with me was lost when she had no clue Tamika was a vamp.
Anyway, there’s a fight, yadda yadda yadda, chopsticks are involved and the two sassy secretaries end up crashing through the meeting room window of the room Angel’s little peace summit is going to hell in. Harmony stakes Tamika with a chopstick, righting the balance and making up for the warring clans’ most trusted advisor being murdered. Harmony confessesl, Angel gets pissy because she just didn’t tell the judgmental fang gang the truth, Harmony apologizes and Angel tells her to go get coffee. Spike shows up after teasing us with his promised absence and tells Harmony she matters because someone tried to kill her. And if that’s all it takes, I gotta tell you, Spike is the most important dumbass ever.
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