Angel Review – “Power Play”

One hundred and nine down, one to go.

I’m in.

Cast and Crew

David
Boreanaz
as
Angel

Alexis
Denisof
as
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce

J.
August Richards

as Charles Gunn

Amy
Acker
as Illyria

Andy
Hallett
as
Lorne

James
Marsters
as
Spike

Written by David Fury

Directed by James A. Contner

Past TV reviews can be found here.

Original Airdate

Power Play originally aired on Wednesday,
May 12, 2004.

Synopsis

The crew at Wolfram and Hart are unsure of Angel’s
current plans and
motives.

High Point

The Illyria and Spike banter was good, but we’ve seen
that before.
I’ll have to go with the identity of the first to
vote.

Low Point

I can’t think of anything that was really awkward or
out of place.
Each moment had some purpose for the overall plan.
Even the
repetition of the opening scene had a different
connotation. I guess
I’d have to go with the magical answer man that they
talk to for
answers every time they need new information. Why
haven’t they just
have Spike beat everything he knows out of
him?

The Review

There were some original twists, if you
don’t remember season
three all that well. It still feels different than
that period,
though. Not many episodes leave me wanting next
week’s episode to air
as badly as this did, though. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were well done, even if there
weren’t much to
them. The fire did seem to get mighty close to him.
I give it 5 out
of 6.

The story was very well structured. The
teaser grabbed us,
but then we had our doubts, and final confirmation
with Angel’s facial
expressions and body language during the
introductions. This was
great to see. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting was above average, even for this
crew. David
Boreanaz put in some great work this week, playing
out the scenes
exactly as they should have played out. Alec Newman
and Adam Baldwin
also have some great interaction this week. I give it
5 out of 6.

The emotional response was incredible. It
built through the
hour, and ended on a very, very high note. I give it
6 out of 6.

The production was well done. My only
complaint was the
exact reuse of the opening sequence, apart from that
one camera
angle. It could have been edited a little bit
quicker. I give it 5
out of 6.

Overall, we’ve finally got an episode that
feels like it’s
bringing the major characters to the end of the
series. I’m pumped
for the finale. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Power Play receives 38 out of 42.

39 replies on “Angel Review – “Power Play””

  1. hexfortyfive says:

    High Point
    no way man, the high point was when Illyria said "Crash Bandicoot" as everyone was leaving the room

    so… is Illyria dead? Is she going to make a surprise recovery for the last episode?

    • Dave says:

      Re: High Point

      no way man, the high point was when Illyria said “Crash Bandicoot” as everyone was leaving the room

      Which of course means the low point is that she was playing it on an Xbox. (Unless something has changed recently, I think Crash is exclusive to the Playstation 2.)

      • Babbster says:

        Re: High Point

        no way man, the high point was when Illyria said “Crash Bandicoot” as everyone was leaving the room

        Which of course means the low point is that she was playing it on an Xbox. (Unless something has changed recently, I think Crash is exclusive to the Playstation 2.)

        Actually, Crash has been multiplatform for quite a long time now. He was exclusive to Playstation (PSOne) but it didn’t stretch into the current generation of consoles (starting with ‘Wrath of Cortex’).

  2. SciFi0964 says:

    Will it never end?
    Will my enjoyment never wane in this series? Nope. Even unto the finale. I enjoyed this episode; again with its entertaining twists. Is Angel falling to evil or was it a ruse? My uncertaintly was as entertaining as the answer that eventually came.

    I was surprised at how Illyria and the immortal truth telling guardian were so easily put down by the senior partners representative. Too bad we won’t have time to find out a little more about him. Clearly she was diminshed if he could give her sush a beating. What would such an entity do after that? I shudder to think and look forward to the repercussion if it comes next week.

    I like the plan Angel has come up with also. It’s herioc, though it just sends a message to the senior partners they may not like. It also leaves the question of who will survive. Again, something that will keep me entertained till the final episode.

    Did I see that right though? Did the senior partners rep see through Angels glammour?

    Hmmm, a plan never survives upon encounter with the enemy. Uh oh! LOL

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Will it never end?

      Possibly, though I thought the shift back to “false” reality occured after the pass through the window, implying that he saw what Angel wanted him to see.


      stood up to the partners
      and gave’em what for
      the show’s almost over
      we’ll see who gets slain
      the vamp they call “Angel”
      or the man who played Jayne…

      Ok, I need a coffee…

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: Will it never end?

        I think you’re right about passing through the glass. However, Hamilton didn’t show any reaction either way, so it’s hard to tell.

        • dcheesi says:

          Re: Will it never end?

          I think you’re right about passing through the glass. However, Hamilton didn’t show any reaction either way, so it’s hard to tell.

          Well, you’d think he’d smell something fishy after watching that standoff stretch on for more than five minutes with no change, nor even significant conversation beyond the usual “drop it/back off” banter…

  3. valen1260 says:

    big finish

    Does anyone else think the Cordelia kiss was a bit of a CYA move by the writers? “She gave me a vision, but I didn’t get it until a few nights ago.”

    Also, I’m not sure Angel’s plan makes sense. “We’ll most likely sacrifice ourselves to *temporarily* shut down the cogs of the a-pocalypse.” Is he counting on the next generation of heroes to continue helping the helpless?

    And let’s hope Illyria is bloody pissed off. I want to see her kick some ass. “Give me back my power, Wesley, and I’ll truly make this endgame.”

    • Alexius says:

      Re: big finish

      Does anyone else think the Cordelia kiss was a bit of a CYA move by the writers? “She gave me a vision, but I didn’t get it until a few nights ago.”

      I Took That As ‘I Got the Visions A Month Ago, But Didn’t Have A Chance To Make A Move Until Recently, When I Had The Opportunity.

      Also, Shouldn’t The Visions Turn Angel Into A Quivering Pile Of Mental Disorders? (And Get Welsey’s Arm Cut Off?)

      • fiziko says:

        Re: big finish

        Also, Shouldn’t The Visions Turn Angel Into A Quivering
        Pile Of Mental Disorders? (And Get Welsey’s Arm Cut Off?)

        If Angel got them regularly, yes. This looks like a
        one-shot deal to avoid that exact result.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: big finish

        Also, Shouldn’t The Visions Turn Angel Into A Quivering Pile Of Mental Disorders?

        I think that only happens to humans.

        • hexfortyfive says:

          Re: big finish

          Also, Shouldn’t The Visions Turn Angel Into A Quivering Pile Of Mental Disorders?

          I think that only happens to humans.

          Negative. The second part of that phrase (And Get Welsey’s Arm Cut Off?) is a reference to the episode (55-“Birthday”) when Cordy says “I wish I’d never got these visions” and Angel gets them instead of her.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: big finish

      Does anyone else think the Cordelia kiss was a bit of a
      CYA move by the writers? “She gave me a vision, but I
      didn’t get it until a few nights ago.”

      It wasn’t “a few nights ago,” but “it didn’t hit me until
      later.” One of the other episodes this season ended with
      him jolting awake, presumably from that vision. That’s a
      bit I was expecting them to return to.

      • Alexius says:

        Re: big finish

        Does anyone else think the Cordelia kiss was a bit of a
        CYA move by the writers? “She gave me a vision, but I
        didn’t get it until a few nights ago.”

        It wasn’t “a few nights ago,” but “it didn’t hit me until
        later.” One of the other episodes this season ended with
        him jolting awake, presumably from that vision. That’s a
        bit I was expecting them to return to.

        That’s Right!

        Man, Miss One Small Detail, You Miss A Lot. This Would Be A Great Season To Watch On DVD, Since You’d Have Seen That Episode Only A Few Hours Before Hand, Not A Few Weeks.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: big finish

        It wasn’t “a few nights ago,” but “it didn’t hit me until
        later.” One of the other episodes this season ended with
        him jolting awake, presumably from that vision. That’s a
        bit I was expecting them to return to.

        I wasn’t making a direct quote, but rather being a smartass.

        I think I remember the spark when they kissed in Ep 100. Do you remember in what episode he startled awake?

    • Timeshredder says:

      You know, that’s what heroes do.

      Also, I’m not sure Angel’s plan makes sense. “We’ll most likely sacrifice ourselves to *temporarily* shut down the cogs of the a-pocalypse.” Is he counting on the next generation of heroes to continue helping the helpless?

      Seriously, if the Senior Partners represent EEEEEVIL, then they cannot be absolutely stopped. However, actually wiping out the Latest Secret Cabal at work for Evil in the Buffy/Angel Universe will seriously hamper the Partners, possibly for a generation or more. It’s the Angel version of shutting up the Hellmouth.

      As a plan, I buy it.

  4. Alexius says:

    Joss
    One Thing I Love About Joss Whedon Is That After Watching All Of Buffy, All Firefly, And All But A Few Episodes Of Angel (Missed A Few In the First Season), I Can call Exactly What He Was Going To Do With Angel, That He Had Some Plan To Try And Take On The Senior Partners, And Still, When It Happens, Be Shocked. I Knew Angel Was Acting, But Still, When He Explained It, How He’d Gotten The Visions And such, I Was Still Surprised At How It All Worked Out.

    It’s Sad To See Angel Go. I Hope Joss Gets Something Else On Television, Just So I Can Keep Enjoying His Writing Style.

    I Also Keep Hoping That The Whole ‘We’re Cancelling Angel’ Thing Is A Publicity Stunt, And The Rumors Of Movies Are To Just Keep The Cast Around.

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: Joss

      I Also Keep Hoping That The Whole ‘We’re Cancelling Angel’ Thing Is A Publicity Stunt, And The Rumors Of Movies Are To Just Keep The Cast Around.

      Anybody notice that the promo for next week billed it as “The WB Series Finale”? Could just be wishful thinking….

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: Joss

      I Hope Joss Gets Something Else On Television, Just So I Can Keep Enjoying His Writing Style.

      Well, if it’s his writing that has your interest, I happened upon "Fray" in the bookstore yesterday. Initially, "Joss Whedon" on the spine caught my attention. When I pulled it from the rack, I noticed a girl holding a familiar stake-ended axe. A Slayer graphic novel! It seems to have been published in December and sells for around $20.
      (Note: The images I’ve found online do not show the cover I saw at B&N. I’m not sure what that means.)

      • teraph says:

        Re: Joss

        Well, if it’s his writing that has your interest, I happened upon “Fray” in the bookstore yesterday. Initially, “Joss Whedon” on the spine caught my attention. When I pulled it from the rack, I noticed a girl holding a familiar stake-ended axe. A Slayer graphic novel! It seems to have been published in December and sells for around $20.
        (Note: The images I’ve found online do not show the cover I saw at B&N. I’m not sure what that means.)

        Fray was a series of comics that were recently collected into a trade paperback. The images you saw online may be from the original comics. I don’t remember exactly when the individual comics came out, but it was sometime before before the scythe showed up on the TV show.

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Joss

          Fray was a series of comics that were recently
          collected into a trade paperback. The images you saw
          online may be from the original comics. I don’t remember
          exactly when the individual comics came out, but it was
          sometime before before the scythe showed up on the TV
          show.

          The series began before season seven aired, but the two
          issues with the axe were released after the finale. We
          reviewed that TPB here.

          • valen1260 says:

            Re: Joss

            Sorry I forgot to mention it was a TPB. Thanks for the info.

            Incidentally, I never understood why it is called a scythe. It’s definitely an axe, in form and function.

  5. nkuzmik says:

    Senior Partners v Powers that Be
    Has anybody but me noticed a distinct lack of presence of the Powers for the past 2 years or so?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

      Has anybody but me noticed a distinct lack of presence of
      the Powers for the past 2 years or so?

      Just since they were cut off from contact in the whole
      “evil Cordelia” plotline.

      • nkuzmik says:

        Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

        Has anybody but me noticed a distinct lack of presence of
        the Powers for the past 2 years or so?

        Just since they were cut off from contact in the whole
        “evil Cordelia” plotline.

        But since the Powers kind of want to prevent the apocolypse, wouldn’t they want to give him voice on a speakerphone that answers to “Charlie,” or a tabby cat that delivers tomorrow’s news today, or something.
        In general I can’t help but think that the powers do a whole lot less than they could.

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

          But since the Powers kind of want to prevent the
          apocolypse, wouldn’t they want to give him voice on a
          speakerphone that answers to “Charlie,” or a tabby cat
          that delivers tomorrow’s news today, or something.
          In general I can’t help but think that the powers do a
          whole lot less than they could.

          They could, but they don’t. Remember, Jasmine was the
          only one of the Powers that had a particular affection for
          Angel’s particular reality. With her gone, they warrant
          far less attention.

          • Mr. Vapor says:

            Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

            Remember, Jasmine was the
            only one of the Powers that had a particular affection for
            Angel’s particular reality. With her gone, they warrant
            far less attention.

            wait, jasmine was a “powers that be”? Damn I missed an episode in there
            somewhere, or I blinked or something (hard of hearing, uses the captioning).
            damn, I didn’t know that. So now the powers are disinterested in this reality?
            errrrmmmm.

            • valen1260 says:

              Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

              wait, jasmine was a “powers that be”? Damn I missed an episode in there
              somewhere, or I blinked or something

              You’re not the only one. I missed this, too.

              • fiziko says:

                Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                You’re not the only one. I missed this, too.

                Take another look at Shiny
                Happy People
                , where we had this exchange:

                WESLEY

                Back? Then you’ve been here before?

                JASMINE

                Yes. In the beginning, before the time of man, great
                beings
                walked the earth. Untold power emanated from all
                quarters: the seeds of what would come to be known as
                good and evil. But the shadows stretched and became
                darkness and the malevolent among us grew stronger.
                The earth became a demon realm. Those of us who had
                the will to resist left this place but we remained ever
                watchful.

                GUNN

                You’re a Power That Was?

                JASMINE

                (smiles)

                But then something new emerged from deep inside the
                earth neither demon nor god.

                WESLEY

                Man.

                JASMINE

                (nods)

                And it seemed, for a time, that through this new race, a
                balance might be restored.

                FRED

                I guess we really let you down.

                JASMINE

                But you didn’t. It was we who failed you. We became little
                more than observers. I could no longer bear to just watch.
                All the suffering I had to find a way back. But first, I
                needed a miracle.

                • valen1260 says:

                  Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be
                  Slim proof, but perhaps it loses something in transcription.

                  • Alexius says:

                    Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                    Slim proof, but perhaps it loses something in transcription.

                    Was It Ever Concluded If She was Really Good Or Evil? I Mean, She Started Out Pretty Nasty, And Looked Bad, But She Did Try To Make Everyone Happy And Loving. Her Food Source Was Nasty, Too…

                    So, What Was The Final Decision?

                    • teraph says:

                      Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                      Was It Ever Concluded If She was Really Good Or Evil? I Mean, She Started Out Pretty Nasty, And Looked Bad, But She Did Try To Make Everyone Happy And Loving. Her Food Source Was Nasty, Too…

                      So, What Was The Final Decision?

                      She seemed to care about mankind and peace, but her means didn’t justify that end. So, what do you call someone who takes away free will and needs to consume a few people, but also loves and cares for those in her charge? Do we start looking at degrees of evil, or flavors of evil? (What do we find if we compare the natures of Jasmine, Wolfram and Hart, and Illyria?)

                      Personally, I’m not prepared to make that call about the Powers That Be either. They may be against those who corrupt and kill, but that doesn’t mean their final intentions are pure. They could just be clearing the way for their version of what’s best for humanity.

                    • valen1260 says:

                      Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                      They could just be clearing the way for their version of what’s best for humanity.

                      Can anyone say “Vorlon”?

                  • fiziko says:

                    Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                    Slim proof, but perhaps it loses something in
                    transcription.

                    I think it was mentioned again just before Connor put his
                    fist through her head, but I haven’t dug out the
                    transcript for proof. I think I’ll wait for the DVD,
                    which should be out early September by the sounds of it.

                    Incidentally, given how lousy the fall schedule looks,
                    I’ve been stocking up on TV seasons on DVD. One of the
                    disks in my copy of Babylon 5: Season Four was
                    defective, so that review will be delayed. I’ll try to
                    get to one of the other seasons of something soon. (So
                    far, only Stargate SG-1 has been officially
                    requested, but the Buffiverse stuff gets more page views,
                    so I’ll probably get more of those. Also, the
                    Stargate SG-1 seasons I need aren’t always in
                    stock.) I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
                    Season Five
                    yesterday, but it may be a couple of
                    weeks before I have time to watch the whole thing.

                • hck says:

                  Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                  You’re not the only one. I missed this, too.

                  JASMINE

                  But you didn’t. It was we who failed you. We became little
                  more than observers. I could no longer bear to just watch.
                  All the suffering I had to find a way back. But first, I
                  needed a miracle.

                  And you believe her because she…

                  (1) Enslaved the human race
                  (2) Came about from the end of Cordy being evil
                  (3) Was evil Cordy
                  (4) Had such nice spider things from the other dimension
                  (5) Was so pretty… sometimes
                  (6) two words: feeding time
                  (7) The only one who wasn’t bothered by her real appearence was raised in a hell dimension
                  (8) Killed anyone in her way
                  (9) Kissed that… thing that hung out with Anjulis
                  or the big one
                  (10) Isn’t she responsible for Cordy death?

                  • quantaman says:

                    Re: Senior Partners v Powers that Be

                    You’re not the only one. I missed this, too.

                    JASMINE

                    But you didn’t. It was we who failed you. We became little
                    more than observers. I could no longer bear to just watch.
                    All the suffering I had to find a way back. But first, I
                    needed a miracle.

                    And you believe her because she…

                    (1) Enslaved the human race
                    (2) Came about from the end of Cordy being evil
                    (3) Was evil Cordy
                    (4) Had such nice spider things from the other dimension
                    (5) Was so pretty… sometimes
                    (6) two words: feeding time
                    (7) The only one who wasn’t bothered by her real appearence was raised in a hell dimension
                    (8) Killed anyone in her way
                    (9) Kissed that… thing that hung out with Anjulis
                    or the big one
                    (10) Isn’t she responsible for Cordy death?

                    Recall that it was Skip who gave Cordelia the demonness that helped her handle the visions and that Angel said (which I fully agree with) that the entire purpose of the visions was to make Jasmine, ie that Jasmine caused the visions and was the powers, that there was no other signs of the powers after Jasmine came and that her entire set of actions was consistent with someone who has looked at the numbers and decided that she’d save more lives by eating a few people and making everyone get along (an accurate calculation) and that is was worth it to sacrifice a bit of free will and make everyone super happy. Remember the only time the powers gave Cordy any free will with regard to the visions was in order to convince her to become part demon. I never doubted that she was a power and that the world wouldn’t of been a better place with her at the helm, but it would also be under her control and the people weren’t choosing their destiny which was Angel’s problem.

  6. NoPoet says:

    Biased towards Angel…
    Hmm, the penultimate episode and we suddenly discover not only who is going to be responsible for the latest, I mean FINAL, apocalypse; we also find a way to hurt the senior partners, infiltrate the master cabal of all evil, suddenly decide to turn against Wolfram and Hart and last but not least discover Angel has visions.

    This comes after 20+ episodes of aimless meandering watching Spike’s exploits, and almost no building up whatsoever towards these latest revelations.

    And your review doesn’t quote the Low Point as being “this episode is a completely rushed job trying to cram everything in at the last minute because Joss Whedon was too busy writing retarded stories about moronic superhero wrestlers from beyond the grave”?

    Without wanting to start a war, this site is COMPLETELY biased towards Angel. There could be an episode about Angel getting the shits and the Originality score would be a 6 out of 6 because “OMG LOL, this is the first time we’ve seen a live turd on television”.

    When struggling shows such as Enterprise finally come into their element we still have everyone putting the boot in, listing the flaws like “I saw T’Pol’s nipples on at least three scenes” and “It’s just people shooting at each other” or we unexpectedly lose points for Effects (for some mad reason) and Originality.

    It’s really disappointing to see this series of Angel — easily the most pointless, mindless bowl of trite crap since Angel’s third series — being constantly rated 35+ when Enterprise is still averaging around 30. I think Angel S5 gets too much praise here, whereas the vastly superior Enterprise S3 and Angel S4 somehow don’t. Angel S4 — now THERE was a genuine apocalypse threat that WASN’T crammed into the last 2 episodes.

    By the way, Angel doesn’t crack up after having visions because he had friends in this timeline. In the other timeline, Angel only had Doyle, and when Doyle died (how did he give the visions to Angel? Don’t answer that…), Angel was alone. Having failed to protect his only friend, Angel was too scared to act on the visions, and they drove him mad. Come on lads, I can’t be the only person who’s paying attention! =)

    • The Doctor says:

      Re: Biased towards Angel…
      First of all…the reason for the rushed apocalypse plot is simply because the writers were trying to use one-off plots rather than arcs to encourage new viewers to keep watching. They still managed to have some arcs but had to explain them each episode so they wouldn’t lose people. Considering these facts I think it’s understandable that this arc hasn’t been featured more. I didn’t really like Power Play that much but I still think that compared to other sci-fi/fantasy shows like Enterprise it is genius.
      PS – I have a copy of Fray…it’s brilliant!

      • NoPoet says:

        Re: Biased towards Angel…
        At the end of the day though mate, when a show is in its fifth season, they should already have an established fan base. The final series shouldn’t be crusading for new viewers; they knew Angel had been cancelled. They should be tying up loose ends and actually making it feel like the final apocalypse is coming. It shouldn’t have contributed to the dumbing down of TV by featuring lots of one-off episodes.

        Other long-running programmes rely on loyal viewers who know what is going on, so why can’t Angel? Star Trek: Voyager was nothing but an endless parade of stand alone episodes, most of which were admittedly pretty good, but after a while, losing the plot/character arcs became the major criticism of the programme.

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