Angel: The Prodigal
(S01E15) Ah, family! You do all you can to make your them proud of you, make them respect you, and all they do is give you crap. Then, they get bitten by vampires and die without even a 'good job' or 'thanks for everything'. To quote the famous philosopher Stephanie Tanner 'How rude!'.
Hence, the premise of this episode of Angel. We delve into the family lives of two of the players: Angel and Detective Kate Lockley. For Angel we go back to the mid-18th century to his time as the young upstart named Liam. For Kate we stay in the present and focus on her relationship with her father, a retired policeman. In both cases, neither child is given the respect they deserve.
For Liam (Angel) it's understandable. His father thought he was nothing but a drunken skirt-chaser who had nothing else to live for. Dear old dad laid it on so thick that Liam decided to leave his home and go carousing. It's at this point he met old flame Darla and began his journey from Liam to Angelus. Once he became a vampire he exacted revenge on his family for the way he was treated. Even after killing them all he realized, that he would always be a failure in his family's eyes because he never gave them a chance to approve of him in any manner.
Then there's Kate and her father Trevor. We met Trevor once before in the series at a time that Kate was under a demon's curse. She ripped Dad a new one in a speech at his retirement party where she said that he was a pretty crappy father to her. It didn't really help her gain any new respect from him (like he had any before). Then, all of a sudden, Trevor seemed to be interested in her again. Well, her and the relationship she had with Angel. You see, pops was taking evidence from crime scenes and returning it to shady businessmen who provided Trevor with a tidy sum of money. So, he wanted to know all about Kate's 'boyfriend'. And then, he goes and gets bitten by those shady businessmen, who turned out to be vampires, leaving Kate with the same feeling that Angel had; she would never have a chance to hear any type of approval from her father.
While the premise of family approval from different perspectives was interesting, the actual episode itself was extremely flat and quite short (40 minutes without commercials as opposed to the standard 45). It seemed like the whole 'demons on drugs' plot surrounding the main family focus was just slapped on so the supernatural aspect could be covered. While David Boreanaz's performance was strong, Elisabeth Rohm's seemed very weak and not the same person we saw when she was introduced in the second episode of the series. In general, not a very good episode.