Part-time demon checking for fangs

4.14. Release, Airdate: 03/12/03 (WB, 8/9c).

Quick note: That's a rewritten version of my original "Release" review. There's been one quote I totally ignored in my last review, but seems to be of some importance, so I felt it's better to include it. Thanks to Janine for putting my speculation senses where they should've been all along.

The plot of this week's "Release" was kinda thin and unfocussed, wasn't it? On most boards reviewers hold the opinion, this ep was the season's weakest one, and I'd like to disagree, since I said it first, and normally I go with the saying "Whenever you feel everbody's agreeing with you, it's time to reform."

Unfortunately, the storytelling indeed was weak, there's no denying it. "Location hopping", perhaps, would describe the story arc best, with virtually no amazing plot-points at all. The most interesting aspect is an answer the Beast's Master gave right after the opening credits when Angelus asked "Where are you?" It answered: "I am where it's warm and soft."

As our reader Janine correctly put it, this could mean, the Beast's Master isn't Evil Cordy, but the child she's bearing, and it is the child who's controlling Cordy and thus making her evil. We may now ask ourselves: Where's the child from? Did sleeping with Connor make her evil - or was sleeping with Connor some kind of cover-up to conceal there's an alienesque monster growing inside her?

Both possibilities aren't new and original. There was one ep of X-Files, where a human-shaped demon had several human wives and tried to have children with them. Every time he learned, the child will be a demon as well, he killed the child and left the wife. Unfortunately, one wife turned out to be a demon as well and saved the child. The male demon was kinda good, trying to integrate into human society, whereas the female demon was the evil one, and it took a while to figure that out. Presuming, Evil Cordy wasn't evil when sleeping with Connor, she and Connor made an evil child, without knowing about it and without wanting it - which, of course, doesn't work at all, since the Beast already was out there, when the Big Bang happened.

So, there's still the cover-up theory, and it could turn out exactly this way. The only reason why Evil Cordy was sleeping with Connor was to be able to use him for her own purposes - to make him believe, he's the father of a child that has been planted into Cordy's body long before. That's kinda "Alien" stuff. Joss Whedon took part in polishing and rewriting the screenplay of "Alien Resurrection", as I recall. Perhaps this Cordy's Baby twist is something the staff used to make a little joke about Joss Whedon's weakest work?;-)

We learned something else, too. Connor is a part-time demon. Something we should have expected since he's the son of two vampires. Or is the demon part something Evil Cordy somehow injected into him while... you know... making him the father of her demon child? Perhaps it's not been a cover-up at all, but a way to "change" Connor, too? We will see.

What else did "Release" offer? Not much, I am afraid. David Boreanaz once more showed great acting while impersonating Angelus. Angelus always has been quite self-reliant, and I loved that Evil Cordy kinda summoned him, and then he took out the Beast. That's the Joss Whedon flair I love so much. If you do, too, be careful: the Beast's Master tried to blackmail Angelus and threatened him by saying she would return his soul if he doesn't cooperate. Did Angelus buy that crappy piece of "blackmail me, lesson one"? Not sure yet. He called Evil Cordy "Master", at least, but perhaps he only pretends to go along. This week's ep surely will end some of the net's rumours as to if Angelus really is Angelus (and not Angel) or if Evil Cordy's really the Beast's master - yes, twice, sir. They are. I think, now we can be pretty sure of that - at least, when bearing in mind, that "Evil Cordy" could mean "evil child that made Cordy evil", too.;-)

Angelus, now perhaps fighting side-by-side with Evil Cordy, how else did "Release" push forward the story arc? There's the relationship between Gunn and adorable Fred. Things seem to get better, but besides talking, nothing happened. Hey, I am not talking about meddling with the sheets! Remember how action in AtS and in BtVS often is used as a vehicle to develop the emotions of the characters? Very little here, unfortunately. I am hoping for more.

Annoying detail: Wesley was using this psychiatristy voice all over - again, it nearly drove me crazy. When will he stop it? Will he do it the whole season? He can talk in a normal way, and I liked him NOT using his preacher voice. That Wesley speech about Faith having to behave more bitchy, well, didn't that remind you of one of the numerous Buffy speeches? I don't like all that violence talk and that "you have to become evil to fight evil" attitude. But I have to admit, it makes much more sense with Faith, since it seems as if she was afraid of using her power after all the evil things she did with it, so Wesley's kick in the ass may be understood as "Use your power", which is okay, I guess. I hope, there's much more character development coming along, now with Faith back on board. And I hope, it will be handled the Joss way, and not only by talking like Angel was some kind of lame sitcom.

I miss an acting Lorne, too, and while Evil Cordy's all occupied with evil deads, Connor's pretty much the only one having something really interesting going on - the thought of being father AND the fact, there's a demon within him (perhaps) - I really liked him checking for fangs. That seems pretty promising stuff for future eps.

The end... well, I know for sure, the boards will quiver with awe after that one. Don't hit me, but --- argh. I don't think, Faith will be a vampire. It's one of the cheapest twists I saw on AtS so far, except we didn't see the twist yet. But I guess, it'll be something like Wesley coming from behind and saving Faith. It doesn't have to be, though. The next ep is called "Orpheus".

Orpheus was a greek fellow who, with permission of god Hades, descended into the underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydike who was bitten by a snake. Orpheus, as Morpheus, often is used in connection with drugs, meaning, somebody who takes drugs, descends either into the realm of dreams (Morpheus) or into the underworld (Orpheus). Did we see drugs? Yes, conveniently the writers introduced a drug people take as catalysts for vampires. It seems that vampires normally aren't affected by drugs, except they're drinking drugged blood. Could it be possible that Faith took the drug? Wesley said, it's "intoxicating for both of them", that could be the source of that idea. If so, then both Angelus and Faith will be drugged next ep, and we most possibly will see how they meet in their dreams, perhaps even fight.

Could it be, after all we know, that Faith indeed is sired? Yeah, it's possible. We heard she's appearing on BtVS, and she can do that as a vampire, too. But I am sure, she won't be sired. Alltogether a less-than-average episode of AtS. I'd like to call it a filler. Some nice scenes, gorgeous action when Faith was fighting Angel, but alltogether rather light, filly stuff.

What do you think? Did you actually like this week's ep? (Hey, okay, we like AtS/BtVS more than any other show on TV, but did it comply with the high standards we can expect from a Joss Wheson show this week? Honestly?)

And, hey, who or what was released? Did I miss something? For me, this week's ep pretty much resembled a part-time demon checking for fangs in the bathroom, and, like Connor, it didn't find any. Or to dive even deeper into figurative mode: this week's ep was Mr. Pointy without the sharp part. Pointless. (I am terrible at puns, ain't I?)

Tom Ahrendt


Thanks to: Brachnu for offering free web space, for listing my review.

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