"Thin Dead Line"
Episode # 36
Original Air Date: February 13, 2001
Review by: Dawn
Sooner or later, ATS was bound to do a show about police brutality, this being a hot topic in Los Angeles in the wake of the 1992 riots and the Rampart police scandal. The problem is, this really isn't the right time to be doing an "issue of the week" story.
"Thin Dead Line" gets points for bringing the Angel part of the episode together with the Cordy/Wesley/Gunn part. Ever since Angel fired his friends, they've been getting separate storylines, and I think the separation has been very unevenly handled.
In TDL, we have Angel and the former Fang Gang working the same problem, from different angles. The Fang Gang angle was more mundane: Anne ("Blood Money") reports to Angel Investigations that the kids who stay at her shelter are being harassed by the police. Gunn attempts to videotape the police brutality and Wesley is shot in the process. Until the end, they do not know what the cops are.
Angel, working with Kate for the first time in too long, discovers that the cops are actually zombies; dead cops who have been re-animated by a vengeful captain intent on cleaning up a dangerous LA neighborhood. Angel manages to destroy the zombies before they can kill Anne and the Bat Pack, under attack in her shelter.
TDL has some powerful character moments. I loved Angel's scene with Kate by her father's grave. I thought that the idea of Anne being Gunn's friend was great; it makes her the inadvertent bridge between Angel and his ex-employees without a painfully obvious setup. But the most important scene was certainly at the end: where Angel comes to the hospital to check on Wesley, and Cordelia tells him to stay away from them. I'm certain this scene will come back to haunt them.
The episode also had some logical flaws. Anne mentioned the "scam" to implicate W&H, but she neglected to mention that Angel brought the money to her. Gunn's plan and Wesley's intervention were extremely bad ideas. And the show still hasn't explained why Gunn spends so much time away from the kids he used to protect.
ATS has stumbled during these post-"Reunion" episodes. I'm looking forward to the arc kicking back into high gear next week, when Darla returns and Angel's journey takes a new twist.