Angel - Sense & Sensitivity

Summary

Kate captures a criminal and tries to get him to tell her where Little Tony is, a mobster who is wanted for murder. He won't talk. Angel kills a giant lizardlike demon and leaves Doyle and Cordelia to cut it up and bury it. Cordelia is peeved at his apparent lack of consideration.

At the office, Cordelia berates Angel for his lack of sensitivity. He says he's reserved but cares. Kate arrives and asks him to locate Little Tony for her. Kate's father, also a cop, sees her at the precinct. They are ill at ease with one another. He is retiring and she says she's been asked to say a few words at his party. Angel finds Little Tony and contacts Kate. But Tony is about to escape and Angel has to intervene, although Kate asked him not to.

Tony's lawyers are Wolfram and Hart. Lee Mercer represents him. Tony wants something done about Kate. His lawyers allege police brutality. Angel feels there was something strange about Tony. Cordelia is angry that he doesn't notice her new shoes - Doyle does. Doyle tells Angel he has heard Tony is up to something. Kate learns all the officers in her precinct are going to be forced to take sensitivity training. The instructor is pretty much what you'd expect. He makes the students hold the 'talking stick' and tries to get them to discuss their emotions.

Angel tells Kate he thinks she's in danger. She invites him to her father's party. She starts talking about how Tony must be in great pain to act this way. The sensitivity instructor is talking to the lawyer - he's an agent working for Wolfram and Hart and is implementing a scheme to help Tony.

At the party, Kate makes an emotional and inappropriate speech about her problems with her father. Her father wonders aloud what happened in that class. The other cops start debating her statement in psychological terms. They all have been affected by the class. Angel takes Kate to his place and calls Cordelia and Doyle. He finds out about the class and the instructor and goes to his home. There, he confronts the instructor who admits to worshipping demons. Meanwhile, Kate runs off to confront her father.

At the precinct, chaos reigns. None of the cops is capable of doing his job. One of them lets the prisoners free, including Tony. Angel arrives at the precinct, where Cordelia and Doyle have followed Kate. But he, too, has been sensitized. He just hugs them. He tells them the talking stick had a spell on it, but it will wear off. Kate keeps leaving messages on her father's machine. Angel, in his sensitive form, is not terribly helpful. But they do break in and make it to the detective's room when Tony walks in ready to shoot Kate. Angel does stop him, although he and all the cops keep doing their sensitive routine.

The next day, Wolfram and Hart drop Tony as a client. They don't want the exposure his recent actions would give them. Also, they are now concerned with Angel. Kate tells Angel the theory is the cops were drugged at the party, that something was put in the punch. Her father shows up and it is clear they still cannot really talk.

Analysis

Angel's problem is not a lack of feeling, he's the most angst ridden character on tv. It's a lack of expression. There, Cordelia has a point. But this episode is brilliantly innovative in taking that ability to express feelings to an extreme and making it not just a negative, but a threat.

The idea of disabling a police force by making officers sensitive is very interesting. For me the interesting points were not Kate's preoccupation with her father or her partner's interest in her, but the scenes where officers refused to deal with crimes because they felt their own lives were falling apart or the cop trying to get the victim to see things from the mugger's point of view.

When the cop releases the prisoners, he makes a good point. Prison often does simply increase the violence in those imprisoned, making them even more dangerous when eventually released. Of course, his solution of simply releasing them is not a good one. But this point and all the points made in this episode, especially those contained in Kate's heartfelt speech at her father's retirement ceremony, are quite valid. They are just taken to ludicrous extremes.

When Cordelia complains about Angel's lack of interest in others (and of course she does this while completely ignoring Doyle being almost strangled by the demon lizard) she makes a good point. While sensitivity may be wasted on Cordelia, it does have its usefulness. And Angel's reserve can be interpreted as lack of interest or even dislike. But the hugging, caring Angel is just as bad. This isn't genuine concern, it's acting out. All the characters do things not so much to help others as to make themselves feel better, which is the height of selfishness. And that's why it's a demonic curse.

The Kate/Angel relationship races forward in this episode. She does invite him out and introduces him to her father. And she's obviously picturing him in his underwear. Oddly, I'd say this is where Angel is most insensitive. It's clear Kate sees a relationship building and he does nothing to dissuade. And I'm not ready to believe he's ready for a relationship.

This is a pretty light episode with two points of what will probably be future interest. The first is the intervention of Wolfram and Hart and their interest in Angel. It's clear that they are the major villains of this season and I don't see why they have taken so long to start focusing on Angel. They've been aware of him since City of. I hope we get some more insight into them soon.

The other point is Kate's father. He immediately sensed the sensitivity session had something to do with her speech at the party. It's clear that humans have some interaction with Wolfram and Hart and with the demonic underworld of LA. We see that in Little Tony. I have to wonder if Kate's father doesn't also have some knowledge and didn't realize that a curse might be at work here. This could explain a lot about his secretiveness and his hard exterior.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see Angel in any scenes where he appeared exposed to sunlight. And I did like his comic routine as the tourist from Baltimore. So this must have been a good episode.

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