Thursday, July 23, 2009

Was Lilah Really a Fight Fan?

I saw Angel's Season One episode "The Ring" again today and I have a huge question. Was Lilah Morgan, working on behalf of Wolfram & Hart, in on the plot to kidnap Angel? Or, was she tipped off ahead of time that Angel would be kidnapped, which sort of amounts to the same thing? Did she want to observe him in a controlled situation to test how his soul affected his actions, and if having a soul gave him a conscience? I know that she would have known about Angel ever since the series premier episode when Lindsey called a staff meeting to talk about "the new player" in town.

The first time I viewed the episode, I thought Lilah just happened to be at the fight club because she enjoyed that sleazy sort of action, and also because she was on the lookout for anything that might have been of interest to Wolfram & Hart. Now I'm thinking that she knocked her ticket off the table on purpose as a way to catch Angel's attention and to initiate an informal introduction. (Her knocking the ticket off the table on purpose looks pretty obvious now, but I thought she did it by accident the first time I saw the episode.) Regardless, I don't think she just happened to show up at the fight club the same day he was scheduled to be kidnapped.

I also speculated in another post that Lilah rather enjoyed these reconnaissance assignments for Wolfram & Hart because it was the closest thing she could have to a social life.

When Lilah had Angel brought to her office in order to offer him his "freedom", she was definitely being quite seductive, which became even more obvious as she brought her face in close to his during part of the dialogue. Contrast that with her first encounters with Wesley toward the end of Season 3. You'd have to be pretty slow to not be able to tell she was trying to seduce Wesley, but she was being a lot more subtle about her attempts by that time. Did Lilah act all femme fatale with most of her quarry? Or just when the mood struck her?

I'd written in an earlier post referenced above that I thought Stephanie Romanov was a bit tentative in Season One episodes as she and the creators tried to get a feel for her Lilah persona. However, I thought that delightful chemistry with David Boreanaz started bubbling right from the very beginning, as we could tell from their first encounter at Wolfram & Hart. I had mentioned in my previous post that the producers' supposed attempts to throw different women at Boreanaz every week in order to see if any sparks would start flying didn't seem to work out too well. I'll have to take that back since, definitely, Lilah and Angel turned out to be quite the dynamic pairing for several years to come.

To be fair, I meant what I wrote in the context of whether the producers would be able to find a romantic partner for Angel. In addition to Lilah, Angel/Boreanaz already had quite an interesting relationship with Elisabeth Rohm as Kate Lockley. I thought their chemistry was marvelous! Unfortunately, I think the creators really squandered their opportunity to allow Angel and Kate to have a more meaningful, nuanced, non-romantic relationship by turning Kate into a mentally unbalanced hysterical female who kept rejecting Angel even more every time she came into contact with the demon world. It took Season 2's "Epiphany" to really bring Kate and Angel together in what I thought was one of the better scenes of the whole series. By then it was too late, as it turned out to be Elisabeth Rohm's last appearance on Angel.

I periodically try to atone for my lack of attention to the character of Angel, so here I am at it again. In some ways, I liked David Boreanaz best in Season One because he had really perfected that combination lost, tortured soul/adorable puppy dog look. He was cute, and I really felt that Lilah actually might have felt just a little sorry for him in the fight ring. (Although it's usually a mistake to attribute any human emotions to Lilah.) Angel acted like kind of a big brother to Wes and Cordy, as opposed to the father figure he became in Season 2. I shouldn't say I liked him better as Big Brother, but I still enjoyed that characterization all the same.

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