Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Blood Money" (Angel 2.12): Strategery

Though this episode might not be as totally kick-ass satisfying as the concomitant Buffy offering of "Checkpoint," it does have some nice moments. It's like someone who is maybe not such a great writer nevertheless really tried to do something smart with "Blood Money" and almost got there. Seems to me, this one is all about how to strategize in order to get what you want.

DO refer to your Klingon proverbs. Or French ones. Whatever. But serving up your revenge cold is always preferable. Mr. Boone, Angel's nemesis from back in the day, has patiently bided (bidden?) his time to settle who's the best fighter, mano-a-mano.

Or demonio-a-demonio-con-alma, as the case may be.
He looks to Wolfram & Hart for help in getting Angel alone, which Lindsey is happy to provide. Which brings me to . . .

DON'T let your emotions muddy your calculations. Lindsey. Though his reply to Lilah's point that they technically aren't supposed to kill Angel, "Let me wipe away the tears with my plastic hand," is undoubtedly the best line of the show, it does demonstrate that he's too personally invested in getting Angel at all costs. This leads him to make stupid mistakes, like not realizing that Angel is freaking right behind him at the charity ball.

Lindsey must not have been given Where's Waldo? books as a child.

DO let the ends justify the means. Guess who's back, y'all!

Remember Chanterelle?

And Lily/Anne?

She's all growed up

with much better hair and make-up

and running a shelter for at-risk youth, which is pretty cool. It's also pretty hard to do without any money, so she's willing to get in bed with Wolfram & Hart (which is different than getting into bed with Lindsey, which I think would be easier to forgive), Angel, scary blue demon guy, whoever, in order to keep the shelter running. So when Angel brings her money that is literally drenched in blood (I said the writing was *almost* smart), serious as a heart attack she replies, "It'll wash."

You're going to fit right in.
 
Jenn has a good read on this: "This is an effectively disturbing philosophical stance that works well with Angel's progression away from fighting the good fight."

DO remember that making someone look stupid can be the best revenge. Angel runs a bit of a long con in this episode, enlisting Boone as a double agent for Wolfram & Hart and convincing Lindsey, Lilah, and Anne that he has proof of their plans to steal Anne's money. Turns out all he has is fairly hilarious footage of Cordy running lines for a milk commercial and Wesley stripping, but he does manage to goad L & L into acting like fools at the charity ball. Which I guess is worth it? This is where the episode sort of falls apart for me. Why would Lindsey go to all the trouble of befriending Anne, putting on a fake charity ball, and then skimming the profits off the top? Isn't Wolfram & Hart better at getting money than that? And footage of the two of them running through a crowd of people is a devastating blow?

Pictured: Abject and soul-crushing humiliation.

Whatevs. The charity ball itself is totally worth it for the snarky comments from the actors who were hired to play cowboys, such as "I'm going to fire my agent," and the party guest who asks one of the actresses why they turned her character gay. Has to be a Willow reference, yes?

DO keep your eyes on the prize. Another almost clever element of the episode was its opening comic scene of a Risk game between Wes and Gunn

Strategy! Toldja!

that transitions into a battle with a, sigh, fire-farting demon, and its penultimate scene of the long-awaited fight between Angel and Boone, which I think is a dramatic rewrite of the game.

There's also Western-esque gunfight camera work that I suspect is also an *almost* smart re-write of the comic "Highway Robbery" fundraiser.

Jenn notes that this juxtaposition pretty unfairly and counterproductively makes Wes and Gunn buffoons. Again I say, *almost* smart.

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