Angel Review – “Destiny”

Combat, comedy, ambiguity, and poetic ties to flashbacks.
Everything that Mutant Enemy does best.

Cast and Crew

David
Boreanez
as
Angel

Alexis
Denisof
as
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce

J.
August Richards

as Charles Gunn

Amy
Acker
as Fred
Burkle

Andy
Hallett
as
Lorne

James
Marsters
as
Spike

Written by David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight

Directed by Skip Schoolnik

Original Airdate

Destiny was first broadcast on Wednesday,
November 19, 2003.

Synopsis

Spike regains corporeal form, just as the entire Universe
goes off
kilter.

High Point

The Opera battle.

Low Point

The entire universe goes nuts, and nothing blocks the
highways?

The Review

This series hasn’t seen the ambiguous, insecure hero that
we really
started getting this week. Things are definitely headed in
new
directions, with both old and new characters. I give the
originality 5 out of 6.

The effects were plentiful, and with the
exception of one
leap (Spike taking the rebar down), they looked very good.
I give it
5 out of 6.

The story was well written, and opens some
very interesting
new doors. Things are looking up, especially for the
long-term fans.
The episode itself had some very nice character work
done during the
big battle and flashback sequences. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from James Marsters was
excellent. Sarah Thompson
just doesn’t convince me as Eve. I don’t think it’s just
getting used
to the character, since she’s had some time for that now.
Fortunately, her part is still small. David Boreanaz is
functional as
usual while playing the ensouled Angel, and extremely
convincing
playing Angelus. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was
very strong, with
some great opening humour (“That’s a lovely skirt you
have on.”)
followed by some very compelling turns of events and
character work.
I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was again very good,
particularly in the
darkened opera house. I’m still surprised they managed to
maintain a
fight scene that long and keep it interesting. (The
Wachowskis could
take notes.) I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an episode well deserving of its
place in
sweeps. This is a season five landmark, people; don’t
miss it. I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Destiny receives 35 out of 42.

15 replies on “Angel Review – “Destiny””

  1. teraph says:

    The story had a big flaw
    I would give the story a lower score for no other reason than the “oh, the Senior Partners temporarily fixed the problem” ending to the eyes bleeding, maniac killer routine. Deus ex machina is not a good ending.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: The story had a big flaw

      I would give the story a lower score for no other reason than the
      “oh, the Senior Partners temporarily fixed the problem” ending
      to the eyes bleeding, maniac killer routine. Deus ex
      machina
      is not a good ending.

      That was my first instinct, but when I saw that last scene, I just
      assumed she lied to Angel & co. about the details.

      • y42 says:

        Re: The story had a big flaw

        that last scene

        Who was that?

        Stupid fuzzy TV…can’t even tell who people are when its dark…grrrr

        • BuellBoy says:

          Re: The story had a big flaw

          Who was that?

          Stupid fuzzy TV…can’t even tell who people are when its dark…grrrr

          It WASN’T Connor!

        • Babbster says:

          Re: The story had a big flaw
          It took me an extra few seconds to identify him, too (though with ReplayTV, I didn’t NEED them). It was good old Lindsey McDonald (sp?).

          • GrimSean says:

            Re: The story had a big flaw
            Thanks. I thought he looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him – which I suppose is what I get for only tuning in occasionally for the last few seasons.

            Of course… as I sit here procrastinating, I’m starting to wish that I hadn’t gotten that cable hookup – damn my short attention span.

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: The story had a big flaw

      I would give the story a lower score for no other reason than the “oh, the Senior Partners temporarily fixed the problem” ending to the eyes bleeding, maniac killer routine. Deus ex machina is not a good ending.

      I don’t think it was a Deusex ending, i thought it was fine. The problem is not solved, it is temoporarily postponed – the senior partners are fending off forces they do not understand, and what happens when they crack? Ooh, tune in next week.

      • teraph says:

        Re: The story had a big flaw

        I don’t think it was a Deusex ending, i thought it was fine. The problem is not solved, it is temoporarily postponed – the senior partners are fending off forces they do not understand, and what happens when they crack? Ooh, tune in next week.

        The show isn’t about the senior partners. It’s about the people who make up Angel Investigations. The ending of the episode should have been “the folks at Angel Investigations are fending off forces they do not understand, and what happens when they crack? Ooh, tune in next week.” The problem is they are not fending off those forces — someone else is.

        The senior partners are not the protagonists. In my eyes, anytime you have a problem being solved — even temporarily — in an unseen manner, or by unseen forces, without the important characters having a hand in that solution, it’s eligible for the deus ex machina label.

        Even if Eve had come to the characters and said “the senior partners have a solution, but they need you to do this for it to work,” then at least the characters we care about solving the problem are involved and have the final decision on whether the solution works. But we didn’t get even that.

        The short of it is that there needs to be some choice in the hands of the protagonists of the show. Even better, the choice should have some cost that raises the stakes for everyone. The ending to the this episode reeked of the writers sitting in a room and saying “we created a problem our characters can neither fix nor pause in a single episode, bring in the senior partners and wrap it up at the end.” What about “To be continued…”? Or, having Eve tell them, after Gunn comes back from the missing White Room, that the Senior Partners have “taken a step back” to find a solution. At least then it isn’t a last minute “oh, by the way, the Senior Partners have been working on it this whole time” story (which is a piece of exposition more for the audience’s benefit than the characters). By revealing earlier that the Senior Partners are looking for a solution, the ending is more satisfying because we know the characters may have to owe the Senior Partners if they don’t find the solution themselves. But again, I want to see an ending where the characters I care about have a hand in the outcome, even if it’s just “the Senior Partners need this from you for this Band-Aid to work.”

        Maybe we’ll see that later, but I’m not holding my breath. (And, I have to say I’ve been very happy with the storytelling this season — with the exception of the endless recapping exposition, mostly from Eve — so this one was more disappointing for me. Even with the great reveal at the very end.)

        • quantaman says:

          Re: The story had a big flaw

          I don’t think it was a Deusex ending, i thought it was fine. The problem is not solved, it is temoporarily postponed – the senior partners are fending off forces they do not understand, and what happens when they crack? Ooh, tune in next week.

          The show isn’t about the senior partners. It’s about the people who make up Angel Investigations. The ending of the episode should have been “the folks at Angel Investigations are fending off forces they do not understand, and what happens when they crack? Ooh, tune in next week.” The problem is they are not fending off those forces — someone else is.

          The senior partners are not the protagonists. In my eyes, anytime you have a problem being solved — even temporarily — in an unseen manner, or by unseen forces, without the important characters having a hand in that solution, it’s eligible for the deus ex machina label.

          Even if Eve had come to the characters and said “the senior partners have a solution, but they need you to do this for it to work,” then at least the characters we care about solving the problem are involved and have the final decision on whether the solution works. But we didn’t get even that.

          The short of it is that there needs to be some choice in the hands of the protagonists of the show. Even better, the choice should have some cost that raises the stakes for everyone. The ending to the this episode reeked of the writers sitting in a room and saying “we created a problem our characters can neither fix nor pause in a single episode, bring in the senior partners and wrap it up at the end.” What about “To be continued…”? Or, having Eve tell them, after Gunn comes back from the missing White Room, that the Senior Partners have “taken a step back” to find a solution. At least then it isn’t a last minute “oh, by the way, the Senior Partners have been working on it this whole time” story (which is a piece of exposition more for the audience’s benefit than the characters). By revealing earlier that the Senior Partners are looking for a solution, the ending is more satisfying because we know the characters may have to owe the Senior Partners if they don’t find the solution themselves. But again, I want to see an ending where the characters I care about have a hand in the outcome, even if it’s just “the Senior Partners need this from you for this Band-Aid to work.”

          Maybe we’ll see that later, but I’m not holding my breath. (And, I have to say I’ve been very happy with the storytelling this season — with the exception of the endless recapping exposition, mostly from Eve — so this one was more disappointing for me. Even with the great reveal at the very end.)

          Actually dues ex machina was perfect for this episode. The two champions are already having severe insecurity issues, go on this quest, fight a big battle almost killing eachother, and it doesn’t make a bit of difference and then someone else comes in and saves the day without anything to do with them. Sounds great to me.

  2. Babbster says:

    Note on Acting Section
    Thanks to the last-second revelation, those who don’t care for Sarah as Eve can take comfort in the fact that she’s now been revealed as virtually a “nothing” character and is instead just a temporary proxy for the real villain. Me, I like her, but probably just because she “does it” for me by being hot and putting on an innocent-while-knowing act (she REALLY “did it” for me on Boston Public).

    On the subject of the last-second revelation (I won’t reveal specifics for the benefit of delayed watchers), I was so pumped I just kept saying the name over and over again like the person had just scored a touchdown for my New England Patriots. Woohoo!

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: Note on Acting Section

      Me, I like her, but probably just because she “does it” for me by being hot

      FOr me she’s not :)

      On the subject of the last-second revelation (I won’t reveal specifics for the benefit of delayed watchers), I was so pumped I just kept saying the name over and over again like the person had just scored a touchdown for my New England Patriots. Woohoo!

      Yeah it was completely spoiled for me because i foolisly happened to look at tvtome before the episode…

      • Babbster says:

        Re: Note on Acting Section

        Yeah it was completely spoiled for me because i foolisly happened to look at tvtome before the episode…

        I had to stop reading spoilers when I came late to Buffy (specifically, when the reruns started running two per day on FX), went to an episode guide intending only to see what was “coming soon,” and ended up reading the synopses for the first five seasons (I was only an episode or two into season two at the time). I really screwed myself on that one and resolved not to make that sort of mistake again. :)

  3. UncleJam says:

    *yawn* wait, who–?

    That was one boring-ass episode…

    …until the last few seconds!

    My reaction: “Holee f*ck!” (repeat 3x or 4x)

    Seriously, though, I found the entire episode dull and uninteresting, kind of like the whole season so far. I’m sorry but Spike is too out of place for this show. He feels like a Cousin Oliver. He and Angel hate each other, we get it. Too much fighty-fight and I agree with the previous paster who said the “Senior Partners save the day offscreen” deus ex machina was lame, lame, lame. Gunn really needs something to do. How lame was it that we were told about the missing “big cat” but not shown the gaping abyss? Did they blow this ep’s budget on the period costumes? *sigh*

    My interest in Angel was beginning to flag (hell, I’ve even started wondering how Jake 2.0 was shaping up and thought about tuning in) but with that last-second revelation, I think I’ll stick around. I’ve wanted that character to come back for a long time. I wish I had taped the episode so I could examine that final scene a little more, because I have several questions.

    • BuellBoy says:

      Re: *yawn* wait, who–?

      I’ve wanted that character to come back for a long time. I wish I had taped the episode so I could examine that final scene a little more, because I have several questions.

      You don’t suppose he’s still upset over that prank Angel pulled on him the last time he appeared, do you?? ;-)

    • quantaman says:

      Re: *yawn* wait, who–?

      That was one boring-ass episode…

      …until the last few seconds!

      My reaction: “Holee f*ck!” (repeat 3x or 4x)

      Seriously, though, I found the entire episode dull and uninteresting, kind of like the whole season so far. I’m sorry but Spike is too out of place for this show. He feels like a Cousin Oliver. He and Angel hate each other, we get it. Too much fighty-fight and I agree with the previous paster who said the “Senior Partners save the day offscreen” deus ex machina was lame, lame, lame. Gunn really needs something to do. How lame was it that we were told about the missing “big cat” but not shown the gaping abyss? Did they blow this ep’s budget on the period costumes? *sigh*

      My interest in Angel was beginning to flag (hell, I’ve even started wondering how Jake 2.0 was shaping up and thought about tuning in) but with that last-second revelation, I think I’ll stick around. I’ve wanted that character to come back for a long time. I wish I had taped the episode so I could examine that final scene a little more, because I have several questions.

      I think a big gaping abyss by definition has to be imagined, you can’t just see it

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