Angel
Power Play

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Strega: B- | Grade It Now!
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"It Ain't Like It Used To Be, But It'll Do"

A bunch of cloaked figures are beating the hell out of guy with a sack over his head. Kids, that isn't how piñatas work. The victim is lying on a symbol we'll be seeing a lot of later, and the only doorway is filled with flames

Outside, Angel appears from around a corner and eyes the flaming doorway like he's thinking, "I can't smash that, it's made of fire. Crap." So he just jumps through it instead, landing in the piñata-room. The beating stops as we see that the cloaked baddies are also wearing masks left over from Eyes Wide Shut. They don't interfere as Angel helps the victim to stand up and pulls the sack off of his head. We don't see his face, but the victim gasps, "Thank you." Angel vamps out and bites the victim.

Credits. Wow, that wasn't even a minute long. This was a hard episode to grade, because it's really all set-up. It's like trying to judge Buffy's "Surprise" before you've seen "Innocence." Plus, the things that really don't work are things that haven't worked all season, so it's too late to fix them now. But I do think the first half could have been less...you know, dull.

Angel lies in bed, staring into space, as a caption appears: "19 hours earlier." Oh, I don't like that. The flashback device seems pointless, honestly. As the camera pulls back, Nina suddenly appears. In bed. With Angel. Eek. She sighs, "Where did you learn how to do that?" and Angel replies, "Which part?" I'm too busy chanting "Please don' t answer that, please don't answer that," to hear if she actually does, and let's just move on to when Nina asks how Angel is, and he says, "I'm good." See, it's a thing. Nina teases him about being perfectly happy, and crawls over him to root through a nightstand drawer. Which explains why she's still wearing a nightgown of some kind, I guess. She's really moving around too much for the usual L-shaped sheet. She reaches inside, claiming she's got a stake in there, and then says, "Oh, that's not a stake. Well, I know we brought it..." Angel reassures Nina that she's safe. Nina teasingly asks if Angel was thinking about "[his] little Roman friend," and Angel assures her that he hasn't had a coherent thought in quite a while. Seriously, eight years has to be a record for that, doesn't it? Angel gets pensive, and says there's "more than usual going on." Nina urges him to take a vacation with her, but Angel stammers that he's got to do things and stuff, and sits up for a speech: "I've spent years fighting to get somewhere, to accomplish...something. And now that I'm close to it, I don't like what I see, what I am." Nina says he's a hero, and Angel moans at the word, so she amends that to "my hero." Apparently Angel was objecting to the word "a," there. Angel strokes her cheek and says, "I may not always be."

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Angel

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