Angel Review – “Harm’s Way”

Angel is back. So is his secretary.

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

Mercedes
McNab
as
Harmony

Written by Sarah Fain & Elizabeth Craft.

Directed by Vern Gillum.

Original Airdate

Harm’s Way originally aired on January 14,
2004.

Synopsis

Harmony’s feelings of rejection are somewhat allayed
by finding a man
in a bar.

High Point

Harmony’s last line.

Low Point

A right biter? You’d think they’d all learn to go
for the juggular.

The Review

This is a new plotline for this series, even if it
has shown up on
other shows. It still scores well for
originality, since
none of the other shows with this plot have been
quite this comedic.
(Apart from The Trouble With Harry, I can’t
think of anything
similar, and even that had distinct differences.) I
give it 5 out of
6.

The effects were mostly stunts and vamping
out this week,
apart from the single battle scene. Once again, the
effects were well
done, if unoriginal. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story, apart from that one piece of
evidence which
doesn’t sit quite right with me, was well done.
Well, that and the
complete lack of remaining evidence at the end. I
give it 4 out of
6.

The acting from Mercedes McNab was better
than it usually is,
and David Boreanaz (not to mention his more capable
castmates) was a
very minor character. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was
usually good. I’d
have preferred to have had enough information to
actually solve the
puzzle, rather than have the solution handed to us.
I give it 4 out
of 6.

The production was Mutant Enemy. What else
needs said? I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a nice episode, but I was
hoping the first
episode back from the break would have more to do
with the end of the
last episode before the break than this one did. I
give it 4 out of
6.

In total, Harm’s Way receives 32 out of 42.

18 replies on “Angel Review – “Harm’s Way””

  1. y42 says:

    My high point
    Was in the opening sequence: Yoyodyne was a client of Wolfram &
    Hart!
    : )

    • fiziko says:

      Re: My high point

      Was in the opening sequence: Yoyodyne was a client of
      Wolfram &
      Hart!
      : )

      So was the corporation from the Alien films.

      • Alexius says:

        Re: My high point

        Was in the opening sequence: Yoyodyne was a client of
        Wolfram &
        Hart!
        : )

        So was the corporation from the Alien films.

        And News Corp, The Company That Owns Fox, Which Cancelled Firefly.

      • y42 says:

        Re: My high point

        Was in the opening sequence: Yoyodyne was a client of
        Wolfram &
        Hart!
        : )

        So was the corporation from the Alien films.

        That’s one hell of a block of cross over fun!

        Buckaroo Banzai is crossed over with Star Trek, and Alien is crossed over
        with DC, wich crosses Buffy and Angel with all of those : )

        Wich brings us to the natural questions: Could Buffy beat an Alien, and
        did the Hong Kong Cavaliers ever play at the Bronze?

  2. joeshabazz says:

    Bite place
    They probably go for the cortid atery, which is on either side of your neck, the blood is pumped though harder and contains more oxygen. Just an idea, I could be wrong.

  3. UncleJam says:

    bored now…

    Except for a couple of chuckles, this episode was so boring. I read
    this week’s comic haul during most of it, I was so bored. Does
    anyone actually find Harmony funny anymore, if ever?

    Spike’s reason for not
    going after Buffy was incredibly lame. So he doesn’t want to invalidate
    his sacrifice in “Chosen”? And his still being alive, even though he didn’t
    know he would be brought back, does this how? What a dumbass.

    Boy, does Gunn suck now or what? If they wanted to do
    something different with his character, which I fully understand and
    support, they should have explored his growing relationship with
    ElectroGirl (what was her name?), maybe even had him start to pull away
    from the other Angelites. This super-lawyer schtick is just
    dull, not to mention more than a bit out of character.

    Was it just me or was the vamp makeup on Harmony’s nemesis
    pretty bad? It’s like ME wasn’t even trying.

    I was all a-twitter after the big reveal in the last episode, but they
    really dropped the ball in this one. After last season’s ever-increasing
    levels of tension, this season is just falling flat. Putting Angel & Co. in
    charge of Wolfram & Hart was a big mistake and I really hope the show
    doesn’t pay for it. There’s already been talk about “if” the show gets
    renewed for another season, so apparently it’s on the bubble just like it
    was last year. I had hoped that Joss’ poor showing on the final season of
    Buffy was an isolated thing, but it looks like he’s brought the suckage
    with him.

    • BlackEyedGurl says:

      Re: bored now…
      Wow, I mean why bother watching then? Well if you think the effects suck so much, write Jordan Levin and ask for them to increase Angel’s budget which got slashed last year. BTW: Electrogirl = Gwen Raider (Raiden?). Gunn, well isn’t it about time Gunn got to be the one to turn to in a pinch? He’s not just a meathead, not just muscle anymore, instead he’s got a better weapon than an axe made from hubcaps, he’s got his brain. Gunn has grown into a man, he’s not an angry little boy anymore. Plus, Gilbert & Sullivan can be really funny.

      Personally I have really enjoyed the new direction Angel is headed in. Last season was like one really long episode, where if you missed a week, you basically had little clue as to what was going on. Plus the plot got so convuluted by the end, that ‘Home’ was pretty much the only way to clear out the season.

      I thought this episode was funny. Funny in an ‘old Cordelia’ kind of way. Angel is a show about redemption, and Harmony is trying in her own way to do that. But like she said, it’s not like she has a soul. I also loved the ‘cut throat’ (literally) corporate America metaphor working in this episode. Harmony is a likeable character, and she trys so hard, on a show with so few female characters (where are all the girls Joss?), it’s nice to have the refreshing Harmony. She’s a character most of us are familiar with, but much like a Jonathon, we really don’t know her, we’ve only seen snippets, so it’s nice to have the comfort, while still maintaining the ‘whats her deal?’ feel.

      I get why Spike didn’t go after Buffy, I mean how does one top going out in a blaze of glory? And by now we all know that Spike still thinks he’ll never be good enough for her no matter what he does, so I thought his excuse was very in character. I also thought that this was a slight slap in the face to the WB, sort of a ‘thanks for making Spike’s sacrifice less important by letting the whole world know he was coming back on Angel before Chosen aired.’ But in this episode there were a few of those little slaps weren’t there?

      All in all I thought this was a nice way to transition back into the season. Considering there are no ‘Previously on Angel’s this year, it was a good way to reaquaint with what is sort of going on. I think Wolfram & Hart was one of the smartest things to do on a show like Angel, how does one do good wielding evil? Can you? Can Angel be strong enough to not succumb to the evil corporate machine, or can a small group of grassroots kinda folks change something that bad? Hmm sounds familiar, damn Joss and his brilliant analogies.

    • y42 says:

      Re: bored now…

      this episode was so boring I was so bored. Does
      anyone actually find Harmony funny anymore, if ever? incredibly lame
      What a dumbass Boy, does Gunn suck now or what? just
      dull Was it just me or was the vamp makeup on Harmony’s nemesis
      pretty bad? they
      really dropped the ball in this one. this season is just falling flat. a big
      mistake Joss’ poor showing on the final season of
      Buffy he’s brought the suckage
      with him.

      Why do you even watch it?

      Why do you even bother taking all that time, every single week, to come
      here and whine? Is your life really that empty?

      • UncleJam says:

        Re: bored now…

        Why do you even watch it?

        Why do you even bother taking all that time, every single week, to come
        here and whine? Is your life really that empty?

        Gee, that’s funny. I was under the (mistaken?) impression that the
        purpose of this site was to give our opinions on the items reviewed.
        Hunh, who knew it was supposed to be nothing more than another Joss
        Whedon ass-kissing session.

        And FYI, I continue to watch this show because it used to be among
        my favorites, it still occasionally shows sparks of its former brilliance,
        and I’m ever optimistic that it can be great again. That doesn’t mean,
        however, that I have to love everything that ME does, everything that Joss
        writes, and everything that gets reviewed here. Do you only give your
        opinion on things when that opinion is favorable? I don’t and any
        reviewer/commenter who does so isn’t worth the electrons it takes to
        display that
        opinion.

        And I thought what I said was less whining, and more bitching,
        really. :P

  4. LC says:

    Mixed reactions
    There were some great comic moments (the opening recruitment spiel and the camel), but at times the plot seemed to drag. There were more “Harmony gets rejected” and “Harmony isn’t terribly bright” scenes than needed to make the point, and they seemed more like filler than plot or character development.

    I wonder if this is an attempt to recreate the Buffy theme of common high school traumas played out in the Whedonverse, except in the workplace. It certainly offers all kinds of possibilities.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Mixed reactions

      There were some great comic moments (the opening recruitment spiel
      and the camel), but at times the plot seemed to drag. There were more
      “Harmony gets rejected” and “Harmony isn’t terribly bright” scenes than
      needed to make the point, and they seemed more like filler than plot or
      character development.

      I wonder if this is an attempt to recreate the Buffy theme of common
      high school traumas played out in the Whedonverse, except in the
      workplace. It certainly offers all kinds of possibilities.

      I liked the departure from the Angel clique point of view. Buffy’s theme
      was “high school is hell”, maybe they decided to have a bit of “corporate
      america is hell” while they’re at it.

      • NSA says:

        How about…

        I liked the departure from the Angel clique point of view. Buffy’s theme
        was “high school is hell”, maybe they decided to have a bit of “corporate
        america is hell” while they’re at it.

        Well, Harmony is going through what a lot of us went through when we left school (in her case, HS) and ventured forth into the world of work etc. Bereft of a pre-fab social environment (and a soul, of course), her previously popular-girl social skills fail her. So despite her attractiveness and fashion sense she finds herself home alone watching “Tru Calling” instead of out meeting people. And her vamp-ness pretty much precludes making any real friends. Not the road to happiness when you’re also struggling to keep from running out and biting people.

        When she first became Angel’s secretary, I was reluctant to like the idea, I mean she’s still an evil vamp, right? But it’s interesting to watch the premise that in the right social situation, and when forced to not kill, vampires can actually gain “good” qualities which make them a lot more human. Remember, Harmony doesn’t have a chip in her head. Her only reason to give up killing humans is to stay at W&H and live a different kind of un-life than that of a roving predator.

        • UncleJam says:

          Re: How about…

          But it’s interesting to watch the premise that in the right social situation, and when forced to not kill, vampires can actually gain “good” qualities which make them a lot more human. Remember, Harmony doesn’t have a chip in her head. Her only reason to give up killing humans is to stay at W&H and live a different kind of un-life than that of a roving predator.

          But doesn’t that then take away a lot of the pathos of Angel’s (and Spike’s) situation? If any vamp can become “good” with the application of enough willpower, big deal if Angel has a soul and is good now. Big deal if Spike underwent tortuous trials to regain his soul and become a good vamp. All either of them needed was a winning attitude and a supply of fresh non-human blood to live off of. Vampires in the Buffyverse were always portrayed, and referred to, as beasts, demons, killing machines, evil, etc. Now we find out they are just not trying hard enough to get a decent job and live a virtuous life.

          • teraph says:

            Re: How about…

            But doesn’t that then take away a lot of the pathos of Angel’s (and Spike’s) situation?

            Not really. Just because we are asked to care about another vampire, doesn’t mean we have less sympathy for them. (And there really is no pathos in Spike’s situation. He doesn’t carry the brooding, burden of remorse that Angel does. He seems to have accepted what he was, and has stopped dwelling on it.)

            In this case, Harmony is “good” because it allows her to survive. She tried acting evil and she failed. She’s a follower, so she’ll do what it takes to be part of any group that will take her.

            If any vamp can become “good” with the application of enough willpower, big deal if Angel has a soul and is good now. Big deal if Spike underwent tortuous trials to regain his soul and become a good vamp.

            There has only been one vampire who actually became good through the application of willpower: Spike. Angel had it forced on him (and he wallowed in self-pity until he saw Buffy). Darla had it forced on her by virtue of her child’s soul. Harmony is behaving herself, she’s not being good. It is easier, as a person who isn’t that good at being a monster, to make some behaviorial sacrifices in order to survive. (I imagine the vamp who set her up was at W&H for more power-hungry reasons.)

            All either of them needed was a winning attitude and a supply of fresh non-human blood to live off of. Vampires in the Buffyverse were always portrayed, and referred to, as beasts, demons, killing machines, evil, etc. Now we find out they are just not trying hard enough to get a decent job and live a virtuous life.

            Yes, vampires were always referred to like that. By their enemies. It’s hardly the first time a human being has demonized the enemy. Only, this time there is actually a demon. But, just as long as the White Hats have suggested that to be true, the shows have contradicted it. The Master cared about Darla. The Three cared about their honor. Spike cared about Dru. Gorch even cared about his wife.

            They are, and always have been, more than beasts and killing machines. That doesn’t mean they are good, or that they don’t enjoy death and destruction. Every one of them walked away from the grave with the personality and needs of the person they once were. Those who were inclined to violence likely embraced that and went out killing. Those with different ideals and desires may have taken different paths. As the shows have told us, some vampires feed from willing victims (such as Riley), which may be evil (or inspired by evil desires), but it’s certainly not the same level of violence and killing practiced by other vampires.

            The characterization that vampires are “trying hard enough to get a decent job and live a virtuous life” isn’t backed by what we’ve seen. We’ve seen vampires trying to survive, and some do it by committing less evil acts than other vampires. It doesn’t mean they’re good, or virtuous, it just means they are using different tactics than a mindless desire to kill and destroy.

            • NSA says:

              Love

              Yes, vampires were always referred to like that. By their enemies. It’s hardly the first time a human being has demonized the enemy. Only, this time there is actually a demon. But, just as long as the White Hats have suggested that to be true, the shows have contradicted it. The Master cared about Darla. The Three cared about their honor. Spike cared about Dru. Gorch even cared about his wife.

              I give you:

              Buffy: It’s called revulsion. And whatever you think you’re feeling, it’s not love. You can’t love without a soul.
              Drusilla: Oh, we can, you know. We can love quite well. If not wisely.

              (BtVS, “Crush”)

            • LC says:

              Re: How about…

              In this case, Harmony is “good” because it allows her to survive. She tried acting evil and she failed. She’s a follower, so she’ll do what it takes to be part of any group that will take her…Harmony is behaving herself, she’s not being good.

              Great insight, and I hope that they follow-up on this distinction, to make this a different kind of redemption from Cordelia’s, which was “self-centered popularity queen matures and genuinely becomes good.”

              There’s a question that I hope has a real answer and not just “we hard to get her into the show somehow.” She’s not terribly bright, she doesn’t have major vamp connections, and she’s not very efficient. So why would Wolfram and Hart hire her? Of course, an easy answer is that she plays a role in some kind of prophecy, but it’d be interesting if it’s something in her character, either something they want to foster or something they wanted to make sure didn’t develop.

              • teraph says:

                Re: How about…

                There’s a question that I hope has a real answer and not just “we hard to get her into the show somehow.” She’s not terribly bright, she doesn’t have major vamp connections, and she’s not very efficient. So why would Wolfram and Hart hire her? Of course, an easy answer is that she plays a role in some kind of prophecy, but it’d be interesting if it’s something in her character, either something they want to foster or something they wanted to make sure didn’t develop.

                Wolfram and Hart may have hired her to be a gopher. Until Wesley selected her from the steno pool (so that Angel would have someone familiar as his assistant), she probably wasn’t going anywhere in the company. She would have probably been a lacky to some sub-level executive for the rest of her existance if Wesley hadn’t come around. However, if her catering plans are any indication, she is capable of doing research and examining the needs of her boss. It’s not like he actually gave her a chance to check with him about the camel. :)

    • spooker says:

      Re: Mixed reactions

      There were some great comic moments (the opening recruitment spiel and the camel), but at times the plot seemed to drag. There were more “Harmony gets rejected” and “Harmony isn’t terribly bright” scenes than needed to make the point, and they seemed more like filler than plot or character development.

      I wonder if this is an attempt to recreate the Buffy theme of common high school traumas played out in the Whedonverse, except in the workplace. It certainly offers all kinds of possibilities.

      I agree with the moments of comic relief, the situation of a basically “good” Harmony having to take out the blood tester, Lorn and Fred had me with a big stupid grin on my face for a bit …

      But I actually sort of took this as a play on “Where are they now?” type of show … yes, most of us know Harmony from her time with Spike in BtVS … and we see her here with the few lines she gets as a trivial character most of the time … but now we have a bit more to judge her character by, sort of a way Whedon says “I know we always concentrate on the Angelites and their development but here is a different perspective on someone you always took as just filler”

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