Finally finished watching the episode. Miscellaneous observation #1: I. Hate. Those. Credits.
Angel. The episode starts off on the wrong foot with me, because I find the Poor Little Hero routine a drag--unless it's Buffy. She owns her angst, most days. But Angel as the all-powerful metrosexual leader who can't catch a break? My heart bleeds. And his jacket is too tight. And somewhere in the middle there he's wearing a see-through shirt...okay, I'm actually ambivalent about the shirt. Overall, on looks: B+, maybe A-. He's grown into his oxlike bulk and charm. If you can ignore the aging factor in a supposedly immortal vampire, he's holding up well. DB's stunt double in the school fight scenes sucked, though. Hmm. What else. Good hair. And on less superficial notes, he brooded nicely about Connor, and shot back crisp pissy lines at Eve, which was cool.
Knox is still adorable. ("Oh, okay--he was fired. Oh, no, I'm sorry. He was *set* on fire.") Geek love!
Fred. Loved her angry leadership in the lab when trying to whip up greater efforts in finding a solution to the virus. It see-sawed well off her initial fumbles as head of R&D--mostly as reflected in how she answered her phone.
Wes. He was there. He had lines. Yep.
Gunn. I loved the lab scene when he was getting his brain zapped--all those classic B-movie trappings; the skullcap and wired chair and the mad doctor. I think they shot it with Dutch angles too. So cool. His sudden transformation bothered me less the second time around. I'll have to see how his arc pans out, as I don't remember much. But it was a cool plot device. And in explaining it, Eve told the others that he had the most untapped potential, which...I guess doesn't annoy me, as it's certainly true, character-wise if nothing else. (I mean, on a meta-level, as opposed to playing "The universe is real.") I liked his hair. The diving-save scene in the courtroom was facile as plot manipulations go, but whatever.
Actually, when I say facile...I mean that the scene, like other bits in the episode, had a kind of comic-book flair. The initial scene with Angel swooping across the rooftops; his fleet of batmobiles; Gunn's fantastic brain zappage; the villain who played foil to Angel--an extreme caricature with the most evil "bomb" imaginable, which would destroy the city, etc. Not to mention Spike popping out of the amulet at the end.
Harmony. No one seemed to notice that she totally saved the day--Gunn won the battle on the legal front, but she saved the kid. She told Angel about the special ops team, and then about the helicopter. And she got no props! Poor Harm. She was cute.
Special Ops Guy. He was offered up as such a Riley, wasn't he? I mean, Riley as viewed through the darkest lens of Angel Vision. Angel finally got a chance to kill Riley here, by proxy: the special ops asshole who believes in
Lorne. He was there. He had lines...eh.
Cordy. She wasn't there. There were lines about her. Two, I think.
Spike. Not much Spike. He was just an elaborate yell at the end. Aside from the credits, of course, of which we will never speak again.
On the general level, of, what the fuck are they all doing at W&H, I'm kind of clueless. As I'm unspoiled for most of S5, I still have no idea how far the memory erasure extends (don't tell me!) and so I don't really grok yet what the relationships are between Fred, Wes, Gunn, etc. And they're kind of wanly "meh" in their embrace of the new order. Fred sums it up at the end: "Is this gonna be our lives now? Fighting our own employees, our own clients? Are we really gonna do any good?" And I have no idea. It's all still a mystery to me. Angel seems to be buying it, though: "Yes, we are. We're gonna change things. We came to Wolfram and Hart because it's a powerful weapon, and we'll figure out how to wield it." I think he's still jazzed from killing Riley. And possibly he's had a premonition that he'll be having sex with Spike soon.