I actually got to see “Smile Time” more or less when everyone else did instead of a day late, but I forgot to write about it. Other than the one utterly cheesy moment with Lorne carrying the beat-up Angel Puppet, it was a great episode. So many great little moments… Harmony saying “We’ve got your suite ready,” and then seeing where Nina actually ends up. (Nice to see Nina again.) Wesley’s lecture about ignoring signals. Hee.
And let me bend your ear for a while about the whole Fred/Wes thing. I don’t think it’s great for the show—DarkWes has much better dramatic potential than HappyFunWes—but I think it came at the right time. If they had started out together back when Wes first got interested in her, it would have been a disastrous relationship. Fred was still very unsure of herself in the world and in the group, and while Wes might like to think he would have been as unconditionally supportive and encouraging as Gunn was, more likely he would have been protective and nurturing and inadvertently condescending. He was already well on his way to becoming DarkWes at that point, and the two of them never could have been on equal footing. Now he’s recovered some of his optimism—not much, but some—while Fred has discovered some darkness of her own, what with the professor and all.
So, my favorite scene in this episode: Knox neglects to bring Wes coffee. After sending him away, Fred casually hands hers to Wes, who just as casually drinks from the cup and hands it back to her while Knox looks on from the doorway. This was such a perfect way of saying, “No matter what else happens here, we are family and you? You are not one of us.”
And may I add that the usually cute Knox was looking terminally geeky in that scene, while Wes was quietly exuding manly hotness in his Abercrombiewear. (fanning self)
It might have been my imagination, but what with Knox’s expression in that scene and Fred’s earlier comment about his having worked at W&H too long, I’m seeing a setup for some sort of lovelorn vengeance plot.
Which brings me to one of the fundamental problems this season: the lack of women in the cast. We now have 2/3 of the male cast—Gunn, Wes, Spike, and Knox—all having shown some sort of romantic interest in little Winifred. (Three of them in this season alone.) FRED, of all people. And there’s no one else for them to fixate on.
I’d be tempted to write a memo to Joss about focusing more on non-romantic plots when your relationship pool is this inbred, but with cancellation looming it seems pointless. Let me just say that if Knox kills somebody over Fred, I’m going to kick something.
Edited to add: If they ever sell the vamped-out puppet Angel, I WANT ONE. And the heros’ march…. really must see about making that a desktop.