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Discussion of 2.04 "Untouched" - Aired 10/17/2000 (WB-US)

Mr Trick

Scooby
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Jan 9, 2015
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The Darla scenes in this episode felt out of place and distracting. I get why their there, but still felt like they were from a different episode. Lilah is the MVP of this episode IMO. I think on some level she did care and was looking out for Bethany
 

Oromous

Socially Awkward
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Sineya
Yeah, this episode was seven levels of yucky. Initially, I liked the boldness of Angel for tackling such a horrible subject matter - it's this kind of tone that separates it from BtVS - but man, the execution of it is horrible. There are so many cringeworthy lines and scenes that tread the territory of victim shaming, and I think this is made worse by the fact that it's not the first time AtS has been this yucky in regards to subjects about sexual assault (see "She"). It's a massive disappointment to not only see that the writing team has not learned anything... but to see that this episode's been directed by Joss Whedon? What?! Holy cow. Guess those accusations about him being a false feminist might not be too far off.

But for what it's worth, much as I'm crept out by the writing, I can kinda see why Angel said that "Finish it" line. He wanted her to get back the control over her body from her father, albeit in a very forceful way that's totally not how real victims would recover from such trauma. But food for thought.

5/10

Passion of the Nerd elaborates more on why the writing is this way and what it says about Bethany and abuse victims. I still take it with a grain of salt though and find the episode still pretty appalling.

 
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RDHWesley

Odd Individual
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UK
OK, now we reach the one episode of the second season that I find hard to sit through. It seems I'm not alone in that. Bethany is written appallingly and there's really no way around it for me. It's also not like there are any standout funny moments that stick in your mind; it's all just poorly written and actually rather offensive scenes regarding child abuse. The scene where Bethany's dad comes in at the end is probably the best bit, but it doesn't save what is otherwise a really lacklustre episode.
 

Stake fodder

What about my me?
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Caught on a root
I agree with others here that the actress playing Bethany had a very flat effect. (According to IMDB, it was her first TV role, which makes me wonder if she knew someone on "Angel" to get the part.) Though I'm not sure a better actress could have saved an episode with such awkward, non-sequitur writing at times.

First, Cordelia thinks Bethany has a weird "vibe," when she has none at all, and then Wesley points out that such powers can be due to childhood trauma. Since when has that been true on this show or BtVS? It can be true that abused women act out sexually, but Bethany just acts wooden and strained when in Angel's bedroom. The subsequent scene with Cordy is just odd: no guest star has seemed less likely to be accused of trying to sleep with Angel. It would have worked better for Bethany to have some cynical, angry quality that would make her seem to fit with W&H, and thus dangerous, as Cordy said. Finally, her father would surely be aware of her power and fear her, but there's none of that in his performance, either. The whole thing seems off.

I have been wondering how Wesley became the senior employee, and Cordelia has to do the dusting. It's somewhat ironic that in this episode in particular, he belittles Cordy with sexist comments. And he can apparently talk back to Angel, while Cordy can't.

Not too much of Gunn, but I enjoyed his banter with Cordelia, and his 'axe' from the kids at his camp. He continues to develop layers.

I liked the mention of Cordelia's "Sunnydale education" including impaling, a reference to "Lovers Walk." And I wonder again why vampires never seem to bleed. Angel has no more than a dab on his bandage, despite being impaled.

If that was the gypsy girl, the scene seemed completely different from what was shown only last season. Maybe because it's a dream, so Angel's not remembering it as it happened? Otherwise, this vampiric dream/memory was more in line with his actual relationship with Darla.

I know Lilah becomes a major character, but so far she seems like the goof-up at W&H. Her peevish comments when Angel and Bethany are leaving, and her discussion with Holland, all make her seem rather hapless.

The action sequence was fun, with Angel jumping from the hood of his car to the van. And I liked his "detective" scene, which shows he can be smooth when he wants to be, even snatching up a coffee cup on the move. The "Mr. Bill" reference was from SNL and dated even then! (He was a little clay guy who always got squashed, just like the would-be rapists.)
 
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