“Sense and Sensitivity”
Written by Tim Minear
Directed by James A. Contner
A black bag falls to the ground in an alley, followed by a pudgy dude, who grabs it and runs. Kate’s chasing him. She eventually pins him to a car with her foot, and she seems particularly hacked off about something. She takes him to a police interrogation room. He has connections to a crime boss, Tony Papazian, and she’s trying to get information out of him. He’s not talking. The other cops are either impressed or incredulous that she can just keep going like this, but she eventually loses patience and slams the guy against the wall, so they pull her out. Seems like they won’t be able to find Mr. Papazian.
Maybe they won’t, but Kate knows someone who might be able to. That someone is currently fighting a tentacled demon in the sewers. Doyle and Cordelia arrive to help. Angel needed an enchanted sword to kill this thing, which he then does. But proper disposal is also important, to make sure it doesn’t come back to life. He leaves that for Doyle and Cordelia so that he can go take care of the thing’s nest. Cordelia isn’t happy about this, and she about how insensitive and oblivious Angel is while Doyle gets attacked by the demon right behind her.
Cordy and Doyle, covered in demon goo, return to the office. Angel is ready to get on with business, but Cordelia insists that he at least make pleasantries first. (One of Angel’s items of business was that Cordy’s mom called.) Doyle translates Cordelia’s huffiness. She wants him to express more appreciation and concern. Kate shows up and promptly undercuts Cordelia’s argument about humans being caring, social individuals. She and Angel have a conversation not unlike the one Angel had with Oz.
Kate fills Angel in on her situation with the slippery Tony Papazian. She’d be able to arrest him if she could only find him. She’s hiring Angel to locate him, but not to subdue him. She’ll take over once he finds him.
Time passes, and Cordelia and Doyle have spent the day helping Angel research Tony. On Doyle’s prompting, Angel awkwardly tries to thank Cordelia for all her hard work. Poor delivery. 2/5. Based on the patterns of where Tony’s victims’ corpses keep showing up, they think they can figure out where he’s been dumping them from, and then they might be able to find him. That sounds like some pretty complicated forensics work for these guys. Shouldn’t Angel just be using his vamp senses to track him like a bloodhound? Dealing with cops, mob bosses, and forensics makes me feel like I’m watching the other David Boreanaz show.
At the precinct, Kate’s dad shows up to drop off some retirement forms. Some of the other cops are going to throw him a party, and she’ll be doing a toast. He seems to be rather emotionally distant, and even though Kate’s no softie herself, she clearly wishes things were different.
Angel has found Tony at the docks! He calls Kate on…whoa, on a cell phone! I think that’s the first time we’ve seen a main credits character of either show use a cell phone since Cordelia pulled that brick out of her purse all the way back in “Welcome to the Hellmouth.” Kate tells Angel to stay put; she’ll be there in a few minutes.
The problem is that Tony won’t be there in a few minutes, unless Angel stops him from getting away on a boat. Also, why is Angel using a night-vision camera? He’s a vampire! He can see in the dark! What is this nonsense? Is it more about recording evidence for Kate than it is for improving his vision? I could accept that explanation. He decides he’s going to have to interfere after all, so he comes strolling up in a hat and a Hawaiian shirt, pretending to be an idiot tourist. Tony’s about to sic his goons on Angel, but Angel preempts him by beating them up. Tony tries to run for it, but ends up running straight into a line of police cruisers.
Kate isn’t happy that Angel interfered. Angel can’t really explain his actions to her satisfaction. Tony glowers at him from his seat in the cruiser as it drives away. Tony uses his phone call to contact his lawyers, who work for Wolfram & Hart. This will be their second appearance this season, not counting the time Kate mentioned them in “I Fall to Pieces.” Kate is now in W&H’s sights.
The lawyer comes to the precinct to transfer Tony somewhere else. He threatens to expose [a highly exaggerated version of] the shadier side of the precinct to the public unless they do what he says. If he succeeds in getting a transfer order, Tony will be able to slip through the cracks in the system and disappear again.
Cordelia thinks this was a nice and simple case, but Angel is pretty sure it won’t be that simple. Doyle shows up to confirm that theory, but he doesn’t know specifics.
Kate goes to a bar after work, and her dad’s there. He congratulates her on catching Tony, and then the other cop from the precinct brings her a letter about how they’re all required to do sensitivity training because of how she “manhandled” Tony.
Sensitivity training time! The cops are all super annoyed and sarcastic about it, which seems the logical reaction to some dork poking at their feelings. He passes around a hokey “talking stick,” trying to get them to open up. When Kate gets snarky, he hands the stick to her. He might actually be a bit perceptive, but it’s still annoying.
Angel and Doyle are asking the guy who heard about Tony’s plan for more details. The only new information they get out of him is that Tony’s targeting Kate. So Angel goes to the precinct to warn her. She seems slightly warmer than usual, and she invites Angel to her dad’s retirement party. He warns her about Tony’s contract on her, and she’s acting more than just warm now. She’s acting fluffy and weird. He thinks something’s up.
That would be because the sensitivity trainer is on W&H’s payroll. Whatever he’s doing is supposed to lead to Tony getting free.
Angel and Kate arrive at the retirement party. She keeps talking about her feelings, which is weird for her. At least she still finds Angel ridiculously attractive, though, so she can’t be completely insane from whatever the sensitivity trainer did. She introduces Angel to her dad, and things get awkward real fast when she starts trying to pry into her dad’s feelings too. The captain invites Kate to give her toast. It starts out really nice, but then it gets kind of excruciating when she starts talking about how emotionally unavailable he’s been since her mom died when she was little. Everyone else is very uncomfortable, but then it’s like they get swept up in the emotional weirdness, which then turns into a brawl full of crying cops. Angel pulls Kate away from it.
Cordelia comes into the office to find a very loopy Kate, being watched over by Angel and Doyle. Now Angel is the target of her emotional analysis. She makes comments like “You have the most intense eyes. I see such an old soul.” and “You don’t have an insincere bone in your body, do you?” Where’s the lie? The same music from “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” is playing in the background. The wacky shenanigans music. I like it.
Kate produces the sensitivity training letter, and while Angel reads it, she wanders over to make things awkward between Doyle and Cordelia about his crush on her. Angel comes back, but only long enough to tell them he’s going to go track down the sensitivity trainer. Kate goes from laughing vacantly to weeping about her dad. She’s determined to go find him. Cordy and Doyle try to stop her, until she pulls a gun out of her purse. Huh. So emotional openness seems to be about as dangerous as love spells. I guess that makes sense.
Angel enters sensitivity trainer guy’s scary place, which is full of ritual stuff. Sensitivity trainer guy catches him, and he starts in with the psychiatry babble on Angel, who vamps out and pins him to the wall with the talking stick.
The police precinct is a complete mess of cops thinking only with their feels. One of them goes and lets out all the criminals in lockup because he feels sorry for them. Then he acts like he hopes for a hug from them, but they dogpile him instead. Kate arrives, looking for her dad.
At a car crash, a cop is whining to the two drivers about how stressful and difficult his life is. A car crash is nothing compared to that. Angel runs past a cop talking to a purse-snatcher and an old lady about their feelings. Cordelia and Doyle meet him in front of the precinct. Things are pretty dire, and they’re really worried. So Angel gives them a hug to help them feel better. YES. This is going to be awesome.
They push away from him, horrified. Inside, Kate is trying to reach her dad, with no success. Doyle and Cordelia struggle to get information out of this fluffy new version of Angel. He tells them about the cursed talking stick, and he’s very ashamed of attacking the sensitivity trainer. Fortunately, W&H wasn’t actually after Kate. That’s all Tony. The curse of hypersensitivity is just how W&H were going to get Tony out. It’s much harder to convince Angel to go do his Batman thing than it is to get him to talk. He’s too worried about them judging him if he uses any of his vampire abilities. Hahahaha, I love this so much.
Doyle tries to just go in through the front door, but a sad cop refuses to let him in. Inside, another cop is serenading a criminal with a poem he wrote himself. A cop we’ve seen a couple of times this episode confesses his feelings for Kate. He’s been in love with her for years, but she’s never noticed. She’s shocked. But there are bigger problems than that guy’s crush: Tony and the other criminals from lockup have found the precinct’s armory, and they’re going to shoot their way out.
Angel reluctantly breaks open one of the windows so they can get inside. They climb through, and Angel pauses to marvel at the fact that they just committed vandalism.
Tony is about to shoot Kate with a shotgun when the A.I. team interrupts. Angel and Kate continue with their fluffy, sensitive talk, but then, surprisingly, they fight! Part of being ruled by emotion is being incredibly volatile when sufficiently provoked. Angel beats up Tony, and the other three take down his goons. Then Angel and Kate hug while Doyle and Cordelia roll their eyes.
Tony is on the phone with his lawyer again. He’s furious, because W&H isn’t willing to bail him out. W&H is way too Lawful Evil for that, though. He wasted his opportunity, and now they’re severing ties with him. They are, however, very interested in Angel.
Kate and Angel, back to normal, are talking about what happened. The official story (which Kate believes) is that there was something in the drinks at the bar. Kate is back to being emotionally repressed, and Angel is back to being enigmatic. Angel lingers in the doorway to see Kate’s dad give her crap about what happened.
Well, “Sense and Sensitivity” is certainly a pick-me-up of an episode to watch right after “Wild at Heart.” I wonder if that was on purpose at all. It’s always been one of my favorite of Angel’s silly episodes. There are so many hilarious lines, and Angel and Kate unraveling into a pair of complete saps is such a joy to watch. It suddenly seems strange to me that Kate never achieved opening credits status. This is totally a Kate-centric episode, and it’s not the only one. So why did they keep her off to the side? Oh well. I’m fascinated by the idea that this sensitivity curse works a lot like a love spell. At first, it seems like it won’t be so bad, but then it leads to its victims completely abandoning logic in favor of what feels best, which can have horrifying consequences. The main arc of the episode is Angel’s lack of sensitivity towards Doyle and Cordelia, and Kate’s unaddressed issues with her dad. There’s so little resolution at the end of all the craziness that I’m not sure how much progress Angel has made on his side of things, but Kate only seems to have moved backward on hers. The subplot of the episode is Wolfram & Hart’s growing interest in Angel. This is the first time we catch a glimpse of the extent of their diabolicalness. They aren’t merely willing to represent criminals and monsters; they’re willing to create supernatural chaos for their clients’ benefit. And that could be just the tip of the evil iceberg.
Since my favorite type of character is the grumpy aloof kind, I don’t really see the problem with Angel’s behavior towards Doyle and Cordelia. Neither does Doyle, for that matter. One thing that fascinates me so much about Angel is that it has completely the opposite structure of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The latter is the story of a girl who fights monsters. She makes friends, and her friends join her fight because of their connection to her. Angel is the story of a man who fights monsters. Other people want in on the fight, and they eventually become his friends because they’re fighting together. Buffy didn’t need lessons in how to be a better friend; she needed to learn to accept her role in the fight, and she needed to learn how to fight better. Angel could gladly do nothing but fight, so his Hero’s Journey isn’t about that. It’s about not isolating himself. Angel is basically Twilight Sparkle, because his main journey is about learning that
Cordelia, having gained a fresh measure of confidence after the events of “Rm w/a Vu,” and particularly now that she’s starting to consider Angel a friend, is now acting in her role as the show’s emotional anchor. What I love about this is that she is as ill-qualified for this role as she is to be an actress or a secretary, but Cordelia never lets silly things like a lack of qualifications get in her way. She’s capable of criticizing Angel’s behavior, but she still has zero self-awareness. Will that change? Will she somehow figure out how to approach Angel more effectively even if she doesn’t start seeing the flaws in her own behavior? Only time will tell.
Doyle’s main role in this episode is to act as mediator between Angel and Cordelia. Both literally (as the one who gets visions) and figuratively, he seems to be the one who sees things most clearly. The little gag where he notices Cordy’s new shoes while Angel remains clueless makes for a funny joke, but I also like what it says about Doyle. He may be a bit of a lout, but he’s actually paying attention to Cordelia. His crush isn’t the same as Xander’s crush on Buffy, which was all about Xander. Doyle is noticing the details about Cordelia—who she is, what she likes, her flaws, her strengths. He finds the flaws endearing and the strengths admirable. So when Kate nudges Cordelia to maybe give Doyle a chance, I’m on Kate’s side.
“I heard it was a suicide.”
“Supervisor Caffrey shot himself?”
“…In the back of the head, wrapped himself in plastic, and he locked himself in the trunk of his car?”
“He’d been depressed.”
“You’ve been running after me for a long time, haven’t you sweetheart? If I’d known how bad you wanted me, I might’ve let you catch me sooner.”
“And if I’d known how badly you needed the exercise, I might’ve let you run a little longer.”
“You’ve got pensive face.”
“I’ve always got pensive face.”
“What’s that old saw? Picture your audience in their underwear?”
*Kate rakes her eyes up and down Angel’s body* “Way ahead of you.”
“Which demon do you worship? Which one gives you your power?”
“A whole bunch, actually. I’m a polytheist.”
“What’s the magic word?”
“I don’t think ‘ugh’ is the magic word, if one could call it a word, and even then, certainly not a magic one.”
“We don’t have time for this!”
“There’s always time to be considerate of others, Cordelia.”
“See! Wasn’t so hard, now, was it?”
“You could be a rainbow! And not a—” *punches Tony in the head* “—‘painbow’!”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.