Episode # 41
Original Air Date: May 1, 2001
Review by: Anne
Not to detract from the writers' skills, but struggling to belong is a universal theme, so tying it into this (or any) show isn't too difficult. Having said that, I thought this was, overall, a straightforward and consistent episode. I liked the way each character was struggling with the different roles that we play in life.
The opening shot with the A-team in the mirror reflected Angel's own fears about finding - and possibly not finding - his new place in the group. We saw this when he hesitantly joins in on their "high five" and again when he took charge, forgetting that Wes should be calling the shots.
Another of Angel's struggles to belong is the burden of trying to walk like a man although he isn't one. This was painfully obvious when he verbally attacked the lady in the restaurant and when he threatened the director, trying to treat that scumbag like the other baddies that he vanquishes.
For Wes, we were given a glimpse of the "nothing's good enough" attitude of his father. We also see Wes react to his brush with his past. He lies about what his father really said. He corrects Gunn and overexplains to demonstrate his knowledge of the Haklaar demon. Most noticeably, he is now unsure of himself as leader of the group.
Cordy was trying to balance her aspirations with her place in the group. She notes right away that she can't leave because she has the visions. However, when Angel came to the set to ask about the demon, she tried to shush him, not wanting reality to interfere with her acting dream coming true.
Gunn has been struggling with losing touch with his old gang; when his friends only came to borrow his truck, he realized that they don't need him anymore. I thought it was a bit predictable that his friend was killed by vampires. Does Gunn really need something else to feel guilty about?
It's ironic that the host has found a place to belong in a "foreign" dimension. Like Wes, he clearly has issues with his family and his past.
About that Drakken I could *loosely* say that he was a prime example of not belonging, but let's face it he was only there to further the plot! (I was amused by the way he kept striking a pose and holding it for the camera.) I really hope that next week we'll be told why the portal opened up at Caritas for no apparent reason.