Rating: 4.5 (of 5)
Sometimes the funniest jokes aren’t always the most obvious ones. That is definitely the case with this episode, where some of the best humor comes from a surprisingly simple device: in Anya’s imagination about how people react to what she’s doing, they all speak in her voice. Something is just terribly funny about seeing Loid, Damien, Mr. Desmond, and Mr. Elegant sounding like Anya, and that joke only gets better as the episode progresses.
Of course, sometimes the standard, up-front fare works just as well. When Anya starts talking to her “parents” about wanting a dog, her reads from Yor about what a proper dog might do are absolutely sputter-worthy. In a bigger sense, though, the talk about getting a dog as a reward for Anya finally earning a Stella allows a brief glimpse of one yet-to-be-formally introduced major character: A dog Anya is pictured with in some promotional material. That is clearly the same dog seen in shadows in the pound at the end of the episode, and there’s a hint that the dog could have some kind of precognetic ability as well. Very interested to see how that plays out.
Before all of that, Anya is struggling. She’s just not a good student (perhaps because she’s underaged for the grade she’s in?), she does not have Yor’s athletic talent, and she’s predictably incompetent at helping around a hospital. The one thing she is good at is the one thing she cannot tell anyone about, but kudos to her for finding a creative, age-appropriate way to affect a rescue on the drowning boy whose thoughts she just happened to pick up, and for not hesitating in a crisis. Yeah, this is another case of her telepathy being all-too-conveniently specific (though perhaps the intensity of the boy’s situation allowed her to pick up on him despite not being in the vicinity?), but I can overlook that for the way that the whole scene drives home a very important lesson: always, always keep a constant eye on kids when they’re near the water. Have to wonder how Twilight knows that kids can drown all too silently – there’s a story yet to be told there! – but given that there was a double-drowning of youths locally just a couple of days ago as a I write this (and under “took their eyes off them for a minute and they were gone” circumstances, too), this point hit home with greater intensity than normal.
But the great thing about this series is that, for all its serious moments and focus jokes, it doesn’t miss the little jokes, either, like how Yor hugs way too hard. And Anya’s still up there with the all-time-greats when it comes to her expressions. Let’s finish with a bonus look this week, shall we?