Angel 5×09: Harm’s Way

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Vern Gillum | Aired: 01/14/2004]

Something very odd seems to happen to me when I watch this episode. It’s like I become two completely different people. One of them is having a great time, enjoying the silliness and appreciating the brilliant comedy styling of Mercedes McNab. The other is just sitting there thinking ‘wow, this is pretty bad.’ I guess that makes it a ‘guilty pleasure’ kind of episode. Because, while I do genuinely enjoy watching this one, there are several things that I just can’t deny: it’s very silly, the plot is (almost deliberately) terrible, and it has almost nothing to do with anything that’s come before or after it.

So why do I like it at all? Well, I guess it’s mostly because I like Harmony herself. Not everyone does, and if you don’t, I can’t imagine you’ll like this very much. I do strongly suspect that this episode was slotted in to give Boreanaz a bit of a break from filming after his knee surgery, although I haven’t been able to find anything to back that up. With the focus on Harmony, Angel doesn’t have to do very much, and he spends most of his scenes sitting down or at least standing still. But even if that is the case, I’m actually glad that Harmony gets her own episode. She may not be one of the most important characters in the show, but she’s been around for a long time – since the first season of Buffy, in fact. The only other remaining cast member we can say that about is Angel himself. She’s also important because, if you watched Buffy, she’s the only character we’ve seen for any significant length of time both before and after becoming a vampire, and she’s the first ‘new’ vampire we’ve really seen for more than an episode or two.

This is kind of a Harmony-centric version of “The Zeppo” – the Buffy episode where we saw Xander take off on a mini adventure of his own while the rest of the gang were preoccupied with yet another Apocalypse. Like that episode, “Harm’s Way” subverts the usual A/B plot structure so that the ‘A’ plot is actually the much less significant story. Angel is busy preventing a demon war over bad table manners (did I mention that the plot is very silly?) which should really be much more significant than Harmony’s antics, but it’s the latter which we’re clearly supposed to care more about. However, this episode is sadly nowhere near as clever, interesting or important as “The Zeppo,” which showed Xander in a whole new light and gave him some space to really develop as a character. “Harm’s Way,” on the other hand, is almost entirely a throwaway comedy effort, with just a few minor new insights into Harmony’s life and character. And this is a little disappointing. I can really appreciate a good ‘comedy’ episode, and I think Mercedes McNab is a delight to watch, but I can’t help feeling like there’s so much more which could have been done here.

I actually think this season really needed Harmony. There’s no escaping the fact that Cordelia and Lilah were both very strong female characters, and that without them the season has become very male-dominated. Combine that with the fact that Fred’s not really doing all that much in this season, and the girls really don’t have a lot left going for them. However, this season has brought us two new ladies in much smaller roles, in the form of Harmony and Eve. Personally, I really dislike Eve and think she’s a very poor substitute for Lilah. The same can be also said for Harmony, although perhaps it’s a little unfair to view her purely as Cordelia’s replacement. It’s true, though, that many of her catty remarks are reminiscent of the early Cordelia. When I hear Harmony tell Fred she’d like to be more like her, “except for the part about not having a lot up front,” I’m definitely reminded of Cordelia coming out with such gems as “You’re a lot smarter than you look – of course, you look like a retard.” So I can’t help thinking that Harmony was at least partly brought in to fill the gap left by Cordelia – and there lies my disappointment.

Having had an entire episode to explore Harmony’s character, we might have expected that she’d emerge from it with some new significance to the wider context of the series. But that never really happens. I suppose that if we had got a sixth season, Harmony might have played a bigger role, and at the end of this episode I do wonder whether the stage is being set for another possible dalliance with Spike. But I’m still disappointed that Harmony hasn’t really developed very much at the end of this episode. One of the most poignant ‘Harmony’ scenes for me is the conversation she has with Angel in “Not Fade Away” [5×22], where he asks her “You ever miss it?” But for me, it’s too little too late. I wish we could have explored this relationship between ‘old’ and ‘young’ vampire much sooner, and it’s a real shame that Angel and Harmony never really go much deeper than the boss/secretary relationship. It feels like a totally missed opportunity to me, especially given all that I’ve said at the beginning of this review about Harmony’s fairly unique status as an established human character who has turned vamp.

So, I think I’ve established that I definitely don’t think this is a great episode. But I don’t think it’s a completely lost cause either. That being said, its redeeming qualities most definitely do not come from the plot itself. The actual storyline, with Harmony getting framed by a fellow vampire secretary, is utter garbage, and is basically just a device to facilitate Harmony’s little comedy adventure. It even feels like the writers know it’s a terrible plot, as evidenced by Harmony’s “wait, who you are?” straight after the ‘big reveal’ of Tamika as the bad guy. But that’s no excuse. Surely Harmony could have been given an adventure with a bit more relevance, which might actually have had a bit of an impact on her character or on the people around her? Instead, we get an episode made up of a number of funny scenes all loosely joined together by a very dull story, and many of these could probably have existed in a completely different episode with a totally different plot.

Having said all that, this episode does have just one or two more significant things to contribute to the wider context of the season. For one, it allows us to revisit an interesting theme, which was previously examined with Spike’s arc on Buffy. Does a vampire need a soul to be ‘good’? Is a soulless vampire just irredeemably evil, or can he/she ever be motivated to overcome the bloodlust which generally goes along with the fangs? With Spike, it was his love for Buffy which drove him to try to be ‘good’, and ultimately led him to win back his soul. With Harmony, it’s her desire for acceptance and popularity which compels her to forgo human blood and try to work alongside Angel. While this episode’s a mostly comedic outing, I do get a real twinge of sympathy towards the end when Harmony says “I mean, it’s not like I have a soul – I have to try a lot harder.” Despite all the silliness beforehand, I find myself feeling genuinely sorry for Harmony here.

Even Spike had ‘the chip’ in his head which forced him not to drink from humans. Harmony only has her willpower, which actually makes her murder-free months all the more impressive. Yet she’s never given much credit for it – especially not by Angel. We saw in “Orpheus” [4×15] that even the ensouled Angel couldn’t resist the blood of a fatally wounded man, so I find it disappointing that he’s so dismissive of Harmony’s efforts to stay ‘clean’. When Fred says “Harmony could have handled it better, but she didn’t kill anyone,” it seems like she’s the only one who really understands quite how big a deal that is. She gives Harmony a look filled with sympathy and understanding, which just sharply contrasts with Angel’s abrupt manner. When viewed from the other side of the big desk, Angel’s actually not all that likeable: he seems to keep himself in a real bubble with the rest of Team Angel (now his senior management team) and doesn’t show much regard for anyone else. Of course, we should probably forgive him for that, since we all know just how much pressure he’s under and how much inner turmoil he’s dealing with. But still, I just want to give Harmony a big hug when I see the sad little look on her face as Lorne sings his own assistant’s praises while Angel completely ignores all of her hard work.

This brings me to another thing I find interesting about this episode: the opportunity to see another side of Wolfram and Hart, and see all of our heroes in a very different light. To us, they’re just Team Angel in a new setting. But, to the rest of the company, they’re now the bosses. It’s actually a nice change of pace to see the rest of the worker bees hanging out in the canteen, gossiping about Fred’s love life or Wesley’s sexuality. This also works plot-wise, since it adds to Harmony’s feeling of isolation. Her status in the company is similar to her status on the show: she’s not yet part of ‘the gang’ (i.e. the series regulars), but she’s not one of the nameless extras either. This feeling of isolation, coupled with Angel’s evident contempt for her, seem to be what leads her to betray her boss at the end of this season. Again, Harmony’s lines there are meant to be funny (“You have no soul!” – “I would, if you had confidence in me!”), but I think there’s some truth in what she says. Angel has never really given her much of a reason to help him out, and it’s not that surprising that she’s ended up siding with his enemy. Hamilton actually gives her some attention – something which she’s always been keen to have, even as a high school student.

The only non-Harmony parts of this episode which are remotely interesting to me are the parts involving Spike and his decision not to go and see Buffy. The whole plot with Angel and the stupid clicking demons is completely inconsequential. Yes, it does serve one of this season’s important themes by showing how Team Angel are able to use their position to influence the demon world on a grander scale… but really, it’s just silly and boring. I don’t even feel the need to talk about it any further here.

Spike’s little storyline is more exciting, though. We knew he was never actually going to leave the show to live happily ever after with Buffy, but I appreciate the fact that we actually got to see his thought process here. His reason for staying might seem a little shaky to some people, and I like the fact that Harmony actually points that out to him, but to me it actually does just about make sense. It also ties in with the ‘blaze of glory’ theme of this season’s finale. My one problem with it, though, is that I don’t think this would be the only reason why Spike wouldn’t go and see Buffy. There are plenty of other things which might make him think twice about it – such as the fact that they weren’t exactly a totally happy couple at the end of Buffy. But this is Angel, not Buffy, and it would be a little irrelevant to rake over all the details of Spike and Buffy’s complicated relationship here. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this little plot thread.

There are also plenty of other bits and pieces which I think make this episode great fun to watch, without actually contributing anything particularly meaningful or having much wider significance. These things don’t need lots of discussion, but I do hope I’m not the only one who really appreciates Harmony’s opening montage. It’s like Clueless, with fangs! I think it’s great, but I do suspect that not everyone will agree with me on that. I also love seeing a bit of girly bonding between Fred and Harmony. We don’t get many scenes like this in Angel, and I find it very cute that Fred actually has a nice time and shyly tries to invite Harmony out again. And finally, we get to watch Harmony repeatedly knock people out and put them in the closet, which is just plain hilarious.

I’ve actually found it very difficult to pick a grade for this episode. I think it’s clear that I have a lot of fun watching this, but in the end I have to be honest and admit to myself that it’s a pretty flawed effort. It gains a number of points for being pretty funny, for doing something a bit different, and for allowing us to focus for a while on a fairly underused character. However, it loses even more points for not really doing anything to further Harmony’s character development (or anyone else’s), for having little to no impact on the rest of the series, and for having a truly terrible plot. Despite all that, though, I’ll still be watching this one from time to time. Is it at all relevant in the grand scheme of things? Well… no. But is it entertaining? Allow me to borrow one of our heroine’s favourite words: totally!


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ All of Harmony’s outfits.
+ Harmony covering her Thermos in unicorn stickers, and her desk with ‘ugly-### unicorns;’ brilliant continuity from her days on Buffy.
+ Harmony’s behaviour after drinking spiked blood is consistent with the way Angel was acting under similar circumstances in “Loyalty” [3×15].
+ The idea of ‘right biters’ vs ‘left biters’ is a new one, but it’s very funny.
+ Harmony staking Tamika with chopsticks.

– The recruitment video at the beginning. Was that meant to be funny?
– Does anyone else get a bit sick of hearing Gunn say ‘I know how to do such-and-such now, it’s all part of the brain upgrade?’ First it was just legal knowledge, and now we find out that he can apparently speak a whole host of demon languages too. It feels like lazy writing, just making Gunn good at whatever they need him to do this week.
– The casual mention of W&H apparently ‘owning’ the police. I know it’s just a joke, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
– Harmony’s nemesis, Tamika, uttering what is probably my least favourite line in the entire series. “My lips? Sealed. The key? Lost it!” Absolutely terrible writing.
– Tamika giving some completely unnecessary mid-fight exposition about exactly how she went about framing Harmony. She drugged her, killed a guy, and then put the body in Harmony’s bed. Wasn’t that already completely apparent? Did anyone actually need her to explain all that?
– Come to think of it, I’d just like to put everything involving Tamika in the ‘Cons’ section; except the part where she gets staked with chopsticks.


* Fred reveals she’s aware that both Knox and Wesley are interested in her, and that she at least thinks they’re both “kind of hot.” This love triangle will eventually culminate in her rejecting Knox for Wesley, and Knox’s subsequent part in her murder.
* Angel now displays a completely no-nonsense attitude towards his ‘evil’ subordinates, even going so far as to call one of them into his office for an execution. His unwillingness to put up with any kind of evildoing by his employees and clients continues to intensify throughout this season, leading to his temporary desire to ‘quit’ in “You’re Welcome” [5×12] and his eventual decision to go up against the Senior Partners in “Not Fade Away” [5×22].



37 thoughts on “Angel 5×09: Harm’s Way”

  1. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 16, 2011.]

    I just wanted to be the first to say how great this review is. You did an excellent job weighing fun against substance in coming to your conclusion. This is a quintessential example of not only what the ACP is about, but also what Critically Touched as a site embodies. Excellent work, Alex, and a fun read to boot. 🙂


  2. [Note: Brachen Man posted this comment on November 16, 2011.]

    I’d like to second everything Mike said. Great job, Alex! I probably would’ve given it a slightly higher score, around 62 maybe, but as you said, it had some great big glaring flaws.

    I never understood the logic of doing a Harmony-Centric episode at all in this season. They could’ve given the spotlight to one of the other characters that was sadly deprived of an arc, like Fred or Gunn.


  3. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 16, 2011.]

    There was plenty of time for that, too, Brachen. I love giving smaller characters their moment in the sun, but it has to be done well to work.


  4. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 17, 2011.]

    Thank you both!

    Brachen, I did really want to give it a higher score at first. I kept revising the score downwards as I was writing, because the more I thought about it the more I decided that there was a lot of wasted potential here. What really swung it for me in the end was reading the descriptions of the ‘grading scale’, where the explanations for every ‘C’ grade mentioned either a good plot or some good character development. Since this episode has neither of those, I ended up knocking off a few more points.

    However, it should be said that I still consider 59 a pretty respectable score for a ‘comedy’ episode centred around a fairly minor character – that’s an achievement in itself. Mike, I believe you’re going to be reviewing ‘Life of the Party’ at some point? I’d be interested in seeing how that compares, score-wise, because I do actually consider Lorne to be a pretty minor character in this season and that’s also mostly a comedy episode.


  5. [Note: Buffyholic posted this comment on November 17, 2011.]

    What a great review, Alex! You pointed out exactly what does and doesn’t work in the episode. And I agree that while fun it doesn’t have much going on. And I’m glad you pointed out how Angel treats Harmony. It makes me feel sorry for her!


  6. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 17, 2011.]

    I just noticed something. While Harmony’s brushing her teeth (and fangs) at the beginning, she’s doing it in front of a mirror with no reflection – obviously. But what’s clever is that while most people tend to look in the mirror while they brush their teeth, Harmony looks around, up, down, to the side, like she’s kind of bored. OK, it’s such a tiny minor detail, but it’s these kind of little touches of continuity, where it would be so easy to screw up, which really make me smile!


  7. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on November 26, 2011.]

    Very nice review, yet again. I totally (lol) share your enjoyment of this episode — guilty pleasure style. I considered claiming it for review when ACP started, but I realized I shouldn’t review it because I just like it too much, and I know it’s not worthy of the score I’d want to give it.

    It had never occurred to me that Harmony is sort of a replacement for Cordy. I had thought of it more this: Joss Whedeon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, realizes that he’s about to kill off his last female character on said show’s spinoff. Must create another female character. Hey, Harmony’s funny, and funny is just what the viewers need after season 4. Quick, call Mercedes!

    You’re right that if Harmony is the new Cordy, she’s a pretty poor substitute. But I really do love Harmony in her own right. More than you, I suspect, as I actually feel a lot of sympathy for her earlier in the episode as well, when she’s working hard and getting no recognition for it.


  8. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 28, 2011.]

    I completely sympathise with Harmony at the beginning of the episode too. Like I said, I really do want to give her a big hug when they’re all in the meeting room and Danny’s getting showered with praise by Lorne, while Harmony’s getting completely ignored. The look on her face is so cute and sad!

    I don’t think I expressed myself very well when I talked about Harmony being a substitute for Cordy. I think she’s a great character in her own right, but she doesn’t get enough character development to be one of the main players and she spends a lot of her time just being comic relief. That doesn’t mean I don’t like her, though. The reason I think of her as kind of a Cordy substitute is because I remembered Joss saying that they originally wanted Charisma for Angel because they needed that big, bright smile (I’m paraphrasing here) to offset Angel’s dark moodiness. With Cordy gone, I think they needed someone else to fill that role and that may have been one of the reasons they brought Mercedes in.

    I do think that if there had been another season, Harmony would have become more of a character in her own right and not been so much of a comedy character. Just look at how much Wesley changed and grew – I think something similar might have happened for Harmony. But sadly we’ll never know.


  9. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on November 28, 2011.]

    yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I meant to also say, in my previous comment, thanks for writing such a fair (god, I almost said “and balanced”) review of such a fun, silly episode. 🙂


  10. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 29, 2011.]


    I would also like to share that since reviewing this episode, I have started saying ‘oh, crap-ola!’ every time something goes wrong. It’s a great word. Thanks, Harmony!


  11. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 1, 2011.]

    I forgot to respond to this, but to answer your question about “Life of the Party,” Alex, I’ll just say that you’ll find a very similar outlook to your review here. Although… I don’t recall finding very much in “Life of the Party” to be funny. Take that as you will.


  12. [Note: Alex posted this comment on December 2, 2011.]

    Drunk Fred and Wesley, and Spike saying ‘this might be the greatest song ever written’. That’s about it for me!


  13. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 3, 2012.]

    I have no idea how, but I seem to have missed this review going up. Perhaps I was busy with exams.

    Anyway, I’d like to say that the review definitely made me reconsider my opinion of the episode. I -remember- how entertained I was by it and if you’d asked me what I thought of it 10 minutes ago I’d have said “great fun!” After reading your reasoning for the low score and actually comparing it to other secondary-character-centric episodes, though, I find myself agreeing with you. It’s a lot of wasted potential.

    It’s still funny though. There are episodes on “Buffy” and “Angel that I dislike and this will never be one of them even if I can see those very fundamental flaws.

    Ultimately I think this is an episode that sets it sights very low, but does manage to hit reasonably close to the bullseye. It’s just that “Angel” is supposed to be better than that. Smarter than that. Deeper, I daresay.

    Excellent review!

    p.s. Agreed on “Life of the Party.”


  14. [Note: Alex posted this comment on February 7, 2012.]

    Thank you, Iguana!

    That’s the perfect way to put it. It sets its sights very low, and then manages to achieve pretty much everything it was trying to do, so in that way it’s a great episode. And there’s a lot to be said for having the occasional lighthearted episode which is just plain funny. But there are other ‘comedy’ episodes in both Buffy and Angel which manage to be hilarious while still having some greater relevance for the characters and themes. “Something Blue” (Buffy) comes to mind. So do “Smile Time” and many others.

    I think this is a perfect example of why Mike always says the grades are the least important part of the reviews, by a long way. If you just looked at the grade you’d probably think I didn’t like this episode very much, whereas I hope the review itself demonstrates that that’s definitely not true.


  15. [Note: John posted this comment on March 26, 2012.]

    I think this episode is ok its not bad and its not unwatchable but considoring the events of Destiny like at the end when eve beds lindsey i think they should have followed up with th soul purpose episode for coninuity then done damages then showed harms way. Mainly because i watched destiny then this episode then soul purpose back to back and feels abit jaring with the events of destiny going into this then going into soul purpose it feels abit out of place .Overall the episode is ok but they could have shown it abit later to match certain events I am prob just being picky though


  16. [Note: Alonzo posted this comment on April 16, 2012.]

    Great review! I love Harmony as a character, and even if I really liked seeing an episode dedicated to her, I completely agree that it could have been done better, with more substance and more development for Harmony.

    Even with those flaws, this episode always leaves me a good after taste. Its a breather episode that is just about fun and seeing Harmony’s hi-jinks (McNab really has some good comedic chops).

    This ep is just at the end a day in the limelight for Harm, and that sets her tone for the rest of the season, she is there just to provide comedic relief with her remarks, like Cordelia circa BtVS Season 1. Had there been a sixth season, I guess she would have gotten more deep development, missed opportunity there.


  17. [Note: Xavier posted this comment on June 19, 2012.]

    What a hilarious episode! I too have to admit that I end up sympathizing with Harmony for the way she is treated, especially by Angel. The part when Harmony states that she has to “try harder” because she lacks a soul is such a refreshing insight for a character who is commonly portrayed as vapid and self-centered. I am surprised that Angel shows no emotion when she says that, considering how much he relates to the whole soul-thing. Then again, I guess I can cut him some slack for everything he’s been through. Anyways, gooo Harmony!

    By the way, I kinda hate that Harmony and Eve are only in S5 as replacements for Cordelia and Lilah, respectively. No bueno. I’m glad that someone here mentioned that this season is such a male-dominated one- I thought I was the only one who felt like that.


  18. [Note: MrPrez posted this comment on September 30, 2012.]

    Yeah, this episode was a snooze. Although I do love Harmony. Also, to further cement the whole “Harmony is a (poor) Cordy replacement, they even give her Cordelia’s green colored background in the opening credits later in the season. Which, as a huge Charisma fan, kind of pissed me off. Then again, most of season 5 pissed me off so… Oh, well.


  19. [Note: Dave posted this comment on November 9, 2012.]

    The line about Harmony not having a soul and having to try much harder… that should have hit Angel far, far closer to home. I was utterly unimpressed with his casual forgiveness. Harmony deserves genuine credit and positive reinforcement for her good decisions.


  20. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 12, 2012.]

    You said it, Dave. Angel is a complete jerk to poor Harmony.I see it as a knock-on effect of the insecurity caused by Spike’s return into Angel’s life, complete with a shiny new soul. And a soul that he won, rather than one that got forced upon him against his will. Although Angel’s soul is a curse, I think Angel he has always seen it as something special that sets him apart from other vampires (and he would be right about that – it does).But then Spike turns up and his soul isn’t a curse, it’s a prize. Suddenly Angel’s left questioning whether he’s really as special as he thought he was. If he’d had the choice in his soulless state, after all, then he certainly wouldn’t have chosen to get his soul back. And then look, here’s Harmony, and she doesn’t even need a soul! She just decides to be a good guy, and just like that, she’s part of the gang too! I think it really makes Angel doubt his own goodness.I know that’s oversimplifying, but I think that explains why Angel is so dismissive of her. He sees being a ‘good’ vampire as something seriously rare and special, and he doesn’t think it’s fair that a soulless airhead like Harmony should be allowed to make the cut.


  21. [Note: jun posted this comment on November 28, 2012.]

    This is such an excellent review, Alex! You really delved deeply into something I’d just concerned fun fluff.


  22. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 28, 2012.]

    Thank you, jun! It most definitely is fun fluff, but in the Whedonverse even fun fluff is worth writing big long essays about!


  23. [Note: Dave posted this comment on November 28, 2012.]

    Re-watched this today and had to point out how hard I laughed at every scene cut where Harmony dumped an unconscious person in the closet.


  24. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on November 28, 2012.]

    You know, I was just about to point out that, yes, it was funny in spite of Harmony somehow dragging 3 unconscious people through the halls over the course of the day and not once being seen by any of the building’s people, cameras, people watching the cameras, yada yada plot hole, but then I remembered the infamous W&H Swiss Cheese Security 🙂


  25. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 29, 2012.]

    Well, I get the impression that W&H is the kind of place where (at least under the old regime) employees frequently used to kill each other and nobody batted an eyelid. Even though Angel’s trying to clamp down on these things, I can imagine security not really caring too much if they happened to notice what Harmony was doing.I love all the closet scenes, and especially the look on Harmony’s face right as she resigns herself to putting Fred in the closet too.


  26. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on January 19, 2013.]

    Got to agree on the closet scenes being a favourite.

    The vampire bite orientation is funny but doesn’t work all the time. Spike is mostly a left biter and Angelus is mostly a right biter but sometimes they will go the other side.

    It was kind of karma how the other employees would avoid Harmony and not really listen to her just like she did to others in high school. And Harmony isn’t the annoying one in this episode. The honour goes to the demon clans with their screeching and clicking.


  27. [Note: Monica posted this comment on August 13, 2013.]

    I have a huge appreciation for this episode. I love seeing Harmony in a more sympathetic light, since she’s one of my few favorite things about the fifth season. I absolutely get the low rating and whole silliness factor of this episode, but I personally love it.

    One thing I’m not huge on was the biting orientation. It leads to so many inconsistencies, and even if it only applies to Harmony, I think she bit on the left in one of the episodes prior (a season five one, I believe).

    I’m on the unpopular side of the fence where I think season five is the series’ weakest season, and I feel like getting a pure character episode aside from a typical monster thing (like the inverted b-plot side of this episode) worked for the better.


  28. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on January 17, 2014.]

    I think this episode emphasizes really interesting themes related to peer pressure. Many people are good or bad simply because that is where the peer pressure leads them.


  29. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on June 9, 2015.]

    I agree that this episode is entertaining but could have been more. However, I sort of feel the need to speak up on behalf of the “silly plot” that everyone here has said such negative things about. Sure, it was silly–goofy, even. It was intended to be. What was so terrible about it? I mean, if the tone and focus of the episode had been different–if I felt like the writers actually wanted me to seriously invest in the “warring demon clans” plot–then sure, I’d be left feeling like it was all a bit thin and lame. But that’s not how it was; the plot was clearly played for laughs, and as something in the background for the regulars to be doing that Harmony would be on the fringes of and intersect with at key points. As such, it worked just fine. Honestly, what’s to complain about?


  30. [Note: The Nihilistbear posted this comment on July 6, 2015.]

    I love Harmony so much, because in a world of super smart, highly educated, Destiny controlled, brain upgraded people, Harmony is really the only normal main character: no post secondary, a typing class of some sort, maybe some mild secretarial training, single, a little lonely. She’s an audience substitute. Okay, she’s a vampire, but that isn’t her main character trait.


  31. [Note: Flamepillar112 posted this comment on November 5, 2016.]

    I feel like this episode would have been amazing if Jane Espenson had written it. I feel like she’s really good at writing comedy, and giving supporting characters the spotlight. Sadly this episode gives no more depth to Harmony’s character, but at least it’s entertaining.


  32. As I was watching this episode, I had the thought that with all of the resources now at Angel and the gang’s disposal, I’m sure they could ensoul Harmony. For that matter, I’m sure they could ensoul every vampire employee rather than have these silly random blood tests. And what an impact on the fight of good vs. evil! All of a sudden so many evil employees of W & H LA branch are good! That could have almost as big an impact as activating all of the world’s potentials. And for that matter, I’m sure they could desoul Angel and then reensoul him with a spell that doesn’t have that idiotic loophole of perfect happiness ending the spell. But that would just trample on the powers that be (I mean the real life powers that be, Joss and co.) insistance on keeping Angel a dark, brooding character who can never be truly happy.

    As for the episode, I enjoyed it. The plot strained my credulity. Really? Another female vampire snuck into Harm’s place and killed the guy? Uh huh. But, I laughed in a number of places. I also really felt for Harmony. The episode made me feel, and if it could do that, then it was a worthwhile effort.

    Hmmm, I wonder if Willow could cast a spell to ensoul ALL of the world’s vampires!


  33. “The casual mention of W&H apparently ‘owning’ the police. I know it’s just a joke, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

    Actually, W&H owning the Sunnydale police department would explain a lot.


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