Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada
selected from Xposé #31
10: Amends Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon • Transmitted December 15 1998
4-star rating

BuffyIt might seem unsurprising that a young man who spent decades being a cruel soulless demon, now cursed with the return of his soul and conscience by gypsies, would have bad dreams after spending his last few waking centuries in hellish torment. Angel, however, continues having nightmarish visions of his victims even while awake, and it's slowly driving him back to the brink of madness.

Christmas Eve, and Jewish Willow is spending it making up with Oz, unforgiving Cordelia flounces off to Aspen, and Buffy's mother invites Faith to spend the night at their house. Surprisingly, she accepts, but the night is interrupted by an agitated Angel, driven by his visions to either loose his vampiric lust on Buffy or else kill himself. He chooses the latter, and waits on a hillside for the Christmas sunrise to finish him.

This torment comes from The First, an Ultra Evil Evil Evilness from before the dawn of time, now appearing in Sunnydale on a limited engagement. A terrific addition to the series, with David Boreanaz in fine form, and Ms Gellar showing us the kind of performance that won her an Emmy.

John Higley

MILLENNIUM • Season Three
7: Through a Glass, Darkly • Written by Patrick Harbinson
Directed by Thomas J Wright • Transmitted November 13 1998
3-star rating

Frank is called in to testify against the release of a child killer and abuser. When the criminal is subsequently freed, the man's community and Frank himself are forced to reject their cherished assumptions for the truth.

Frank BlackIn this episode, we see that even the profiler can be tainted by others' assumptions and maybe even his own. Like everyone else, Frank assumes that the man convicted 20 years before was guilty of kidnapping, molesting, and allowing a young girl to die of thirst, but 20 years and a fresh look at evidence - old and new - shows him how wrong he and everyone else was.

Despite its horrific subject matter, the episode brings to mind certain aspects of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Like that literary masterwork, Through a Glass, Darkly demonstrates what normally decent people can do to a trusting innocent. The irony of the episode, of course, is that the true innocent is not just the girls, but the slow-witted man accused of going after them. As the falsely-charged criminal Brunelli, Tom McCleister creates a solid and affecting performance of mental helplessness that neatly sets up the revelation and redemption which make the ending resonate so powerfully.

James E Brooks

This Winter, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section is covering the latest seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Millennium • The Pretender • The X–Files • Seven Days • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven • Earth: Final Conflict • Xena: Warrior Princess • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys • Highlander: The Raven, and all the latest fantastic films...

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