I quite enjoyed the second episode of :Angel: this season, though it wasn't quite as good as the premiere. The writing was quite good, I thought, though clearly struggling with the network requirement that James Marsters had to return as Spike (Indeed, I think I caught a section of script wherein the writers speak through Spike on this very subject -- Spike talking about being all ready to shuffle off the mortal coil, only to have some higher power decide he's not ready to go and put him back, and all).
Give the writers credit for this; the whole premise of Spike being returned after redeeming himself is an assault on the precepts of good fiction, and the writers are hard pressed to make it work. The writers already had an excellent new formula for the show, and Spike is clearly the fifth wheel in this equation. He even spends whole scenes standing around in the background, his arms folded, wondering about his place; it's probably the best thing for the writers to make this question explicit in the script.
The story does set up a number of interesting developments that could be followed throughout this season. How did the talisman get out of the Sunnydale Hellmouth? What is Buffy doing in Europe, just three weeks after Chosen? What are the special plans that the Senior Partners have for Angel?
Of particular interest to me is Wesley's speculation that the Senior Partners might not be as united as one might think. This actually links in well with the suggestion that Jasmine might be a rogue "Power that Be". Hmm... Chaos in the higher planes?
I especially liked Wesley's reaction to hearing that Spike now had a soul. You could really see the wheels turning.
So, all in all, a positive review. The season is still feeling itself out, but I have high hopes. Season 4 of :Angel: was, in my opinion, the best season of the series, and that was achieved by accident, with the attentions of Joss Whedon split among three television shows. :Angel: now has the brunt of Joss' attention, and I am confident that he will pull out a winner, despite network interference.
Helping a Blogger in Need
I'm not really comfortable talking about misfortune on my blog. I'm a very private person, and I have to admit that you're not hearing every detail about my life. Maybe it's not in the spirit of blogging, whatever that is, but even people who wrote personal diaries with no audience knew that some things were just too personal.
On the other hand, Mr. G of Teledyn has posted this publicly on his blog, so I guess I can link to it. He has run into some hard times, and could probably use a little help.
I originally linked to his blog because he was posting from the Bruce Peninsula, the home of Rosemary and Peter in Rosemary and Time, but I stayed because of his mix of interesting writing and technical knowledge. His blog is well worth your attention.
And, if you've ever thought of making use of a blogger's tip jar, I think his should be the one.