"Provider," Monday, January 21, 2002
The gang is starting a website and distributing flyers to promote business; Angel is practically obsessed with providing financially for his son. Cordelia is concerned that they are spreading themselves too thin and losing sight of the mission. The team splits up to solve various cases. Fred’s gig nearly gets her killed, but thanks to Cordy’s vision and Angel’s voicemail, Angel arrives just in time to help Wes & Gunn. Fred is saved, and Angel apologizes for being so greedy. Elsewhere, at Holtz’ hideout, Holtz is angry at Justine for disobeying him; he tells her that he wants commitment. She tries to prove herself to him, and he says that he wants her to find others like her to fight for his cause.
I’ve been hearing people say that the show isn’t as good as it was when it started; I suspect that people make those claims based on this episode. At least three scenes were very predictable - so much so that I was actually surprised that the writers wrote them like they did.
The premise that Angel is obsessing over providing for his son is believable because, as he pointed out, he has never had to provide for someone before. However, I just didn’t buy (pardon the expression) Angel as a penny-pincher. Plus, having him searching for “vampires that want money not blood” was too convenient. I expect better of the writers.
Speaking of which, I thought all of the scenes with Wes and Gunn trying to help the girl being stalked by her zombie ex-boyfriend were lame. I was mildly surprised to learn that the girlfriend actually killed the guy, but that somehow made the whole thing even more pathetic. Clearly, the writers wanted to start feelings of competition between Wes and Gunn for Fred, but they could’ve accomplished that more quickly and spared us that scene between the girl and zombie-boy as they got back together.
Another (that is, the other) non-predictable moment was that I did not expect Justine to be there when Holtz returned, especially not with that ice pick still stuck through her hand. I thought the interaction between them was the most interesting part of “Provider.” They even explained why Justine is crazy enough to hang around a radical like Holtz: “feeling something, even pain, is better than feeling nothing.”
Wait a minute, I see what’s going on. Since Joss wrote and directed the episode after this one, they decided to make this one less than good, so his will shine in comparison. I hope that’s it; please tell me they have a plan!
* When Angel was promising Cordelia that he wouldn’t lose sight of the mission, I was reminded of a similar scene where he was assuring Cordy and Wes that he wasn’t obsessing over Darla, then Gunn entered and revealed Angel was lying.
* Holtz told Justine to find others like her; does she have a radar that hones in on such people? Or will she put an ad in the paper or something?
* Couldn’t Angel with his super-sensitive vampire hearing tell that the phony guy who was trying to hire him wasn’t really on the phone when Angel entered his office?
* Sam, the guy Angel was helping, told Angel, “I owe you.” I wonder if we’ll see Sam again in a position to help Angel.