I'm back with reviews of Vows and Belle Chose.
It's not often that you find a situation in a Joss Whedon show where a season finale is so well-written and executed that it puts the writer and/or director of the next season's premiere episode at a disadvantage, and its also not often that said writer or director ends up being Joss himself, but that's what happened with Omega and Vows.
Don't get me wrong: Vows is a great episode and premiere; it just doesn't and can't match Omega.
As I was watching the episode, I couldn't help thinking that it represented exactly what you would've gotten if Joss had written True Lies - especially the parts of the movie featuring Eliza - and was also reminded of the 2008 film version of Get Smart.
It's also representative of everything that typifies Joss' storytelling style from the structure to the dialogue, and gives most of the cast a lot of excellent material to work with, although Amy Acker's arc stands out the most, as Joss once again gives her material that lets her grab ahold of the audience's emotions, material that she then again knocks out of the park.
The only downside to the episode - and the thing that ultimately drags it down a bit - is that there are parts of the climax that are downright confusing.
I'm giving the episode a 9.5 rating in spite of the more-than-slightly confusing ending because of the strength of the character moments and because it was genuinely a great ep even if it couldn't match the quality of Omega.
This episode felt a lot like two of Tim Minear's ANGEL episodes - Sonnambulist and Are You Now or Have You Ever Been - mixed with a typical episode of CSI or Law and Order: SVU, and, while not nearly as good as Omega, was still a great example of Minear at his best.
I have to say that I really wanted to see Paul's reaction to Echo's tryst with the college professor, especially after his ill-disguised discomfort in the scene where he's being briefed on its particulars, and was slightly disappointed when he was pulled off the job at the last second by Boyd, although I understand why it needed to happen in light of what Gopher discovered about the comatose Terry Karrens and did lead to one of the funnier exchanges I've seen in a Joss Whedon series when Paul makes fun of Karrens' full name.
When I read the description of the episode, I was expecting something entirely different when it came to Victor and Echo's Imprints meeting, and was consequently caught completely off-guard by the twist of Terry ending up in Echo's body and the Kiki persona ending up in Victor, and have to give props to Minear for surprising me.
Belle Chose was a great followup to Vows - and should've been presented as such both initially and on the DVD release - and earns a 9.5 rating from me.