Quinn becomes a believer in guardian angels after watching a television special about them, and even though Daria remains skeptical, she's unable to convince Quinn after a series of events seems to validate Quinn's beliefs.
After watching a television show proclaiming the existence of guardian angels, Quinn becomes a believer. Daria is, of course, skeptical, but that's not the least of her problems: Jane is pressuring her to go to a party that's being held in Brittany's honor to celebrate her "C-" average (a party at which Mystik Spiral is performing). Jane finally convinces her to go by reminding her that Quinn would be mortified if they went. Quinn's new-found spirituality is reinforced when she narrowly avoids being hit by a falling light fixture that Jake is attempting to install, claiming that her guardian angel saved her. Stacy and Tiffany are also convinced, as are the Three J's, but Sandi doesn't buy it. However, there's no stopping Quinn, especially after the rest of the Fashion Club becomes ill after eating salad with bad dressing from the school cafeteria. Daria becomes increasingly irritated by what she sees as her sister's faux spirituality and obvious gullibility, an attitude that starts to irritate an exasperated Helen, who sees nothing wrong with what she sees as an essentially harmless belief. At Brittany's party, Sandi takes every opportunity to gloat when Quinn is twice humiliated: once when Brittany's out-of-control brother Brian soaks her with a drink, and again when she leans on Mystik Spiral's mixing board, causing electronic feedback that shatters the gift that Brittany's father bought for her. At home, Quinn is mortified at what she believes is the loss of her guardian angel; Daria is sarcastic at first, but relents and tells Quinn that she should believe in whatever makes her feel best, and doesn't disabuse Quinn of her theory that perhaps her guardian angel is reserving himself for more important matters.
In the interest of keeping the main points of this episode and my reactions to them together, I'm going to blow through all of the other points that aren't that important, but I feel need to be mentioned, fairly quickly. So think of these first few sections as the appetizers.
The Party from Hell:
Brittany's party was mostly filler that was used to set up some of the meatier parts of this episode. Most of it was sort of derivative of "The Invitation," like the fact that Daria, Jane and Upchuck were all there (speaking of Upchuck, there could have been a better use of his appearance). And for the record, the moment I saw the crystal bullhorn, I knew it would get broken somehow (that was telegraphed).
I Know Who Doesn't Get C's:
The Three J's are getting dumber by the moment, if that's possible. Their little jealous fit over Quinn's guardian angel was ridiculous. Geez, don't they realize that angels can fly! They wouldn't stand a chance! But seriously, this was just padding on the episode and wasted time that could have been used for something better.
There were a couple of distractions offered at key moments. One was when Ashley-Amber distracted Brittany's "what did they call me," which shows that she might not be completely brain dead. The other was Helen distracting Jake's "I want a kitten" tirade with those pretty diagrams. Speaking of Jake, he got poohed on some more by everyone and everything.
But with the Wind Chill...
Trent's argument with Max, if anything, proved that he's the brains behind Mystik Spiral... though I can't imagine that being a tough thing. If it proved anything else, it would be that algebra always comes up when you least expect it, so be prepared. Also, Mystik Spiral appears to be getting better, and they have been getting some good press from somewhere (but it was eerie how Trent, Jesse and Nick's arms all moved in the exact same way while they played).
OK, so those quick hits weren't quick as quick as I thought they would be. But now it's time for the heavy stuff, so wake up and pay attention! I'm breaking format a little here; I feel we're in need of a little more reverence than usual.
Starting with the very beginning of this episode, there was a very clear line drawn in the sand. It was between Daria's skepticism and Quinn's willingness to believe. Quinn pointed out that Daria "shouldn't make fun" of the story they saw on TV; Daria then pointed out that flat tires might be out of the range of things that any God or gods care about. So, right from the start, there was some built-in tension. So understandably, when Quinn got obsessed with her "guardian" angel after almost getting crushed by a chandelier, Daria naturally scoffed. Quinn saw the fact that she moved as "proof" that someone was watching over her and somehow made her move to avoid the danger. This "proof" is iffy at best: she could have been lucky, or maybe some subconscious smarts kicked in (Jake did install the chandelier), and many people wouldn't put that kind of stock in it. This happenstance started to make Quinn believe that everything that went right for her was because of this angel. Daria, the skeptical cynic that she is, obviously didn't buy it. Actually, her response was harsh, almost to the point of being intolerant of anyone that disagreed. Look at the face she made when Helen complimented Quinn on her new-found spiritual pursuit, and it came out even more in her conversation with Helen. At least Helen recognized that Daria and Quinn are different and that they think differently. This led to one statement that really bothered me: when Jane and Daria were walking up to the Taylor's house, Daria said, "My once rational mother said to respect Quinn's beliefs." What I would ask Daria is, "what is so irrational about that?" I wouldn't have expected Daria to agree with everyone's beliefs, but I also would have thought that she was mature enough to not be so intolerant of them. Fortunately, Jane sort of called her on this, by basically saying that she doesn't respect other beliefs out of fear that she might be wrong. And I think this caused some turnaround in Daria's thinking, or at least contributed to it. After Quinn humiliated herself, Daria said the right things to cheer her up; thus, for that brief moment, Daria was Quinn's guardian angel. But she was also honest to herself when asked directly what she believed. However, she did qualify the "I need compelling proof" with the reluctant "I can't disprove any of it, either." Now that was thoughtful, and so was her one philosophy: treat others how you'd want to be treated (which is probably part of every religion, even if some of them don't always practice it). Also, she managed to relay to Quinn that she doesn't think any less of her just for believing in angels by telling her that if it makes her feel good then she should believe it (which didn't strike me as particularly dangerous because it was a direct response to what Quinn was saying and not a statement of Daria's philosophy, in my opinion). I think they both learned from the experience: Quinn learned not to depend on anyone or anything to bail her out all the time, and Daria learned to try to accept that everyone doesn't -- and usually won't -- always see things her way. Finally, I think I've kept my personal beliefs out of this so far, but to add them, I kind of agree with both Daria and Quinn on some level. I take comfort in a belief that there is something higher out there that keeps an eye on the world enough to keep it from self-destructing. However, I don't think that higher power bothers much with our everyday lives.
Overall, this episode tried to wedge too many things in there, and there was way too much filler in the episode that was a distraction from the main plot. I would have loved to see more of the "angel" debate in favor of a lot of the scenes with the Three J's and Mystik Spiral.
Daria as a Whole #1, Alter-Ego of the Week:
Stacy as the Coppertone girl really cracked me up.
Daria as a Whole #2, Over the Hill:
This is the 50th Delayed Reaction Review of an episode. I hope I get to see another fifty (though I think that may be unlikely).
Copyright © 2000 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved]. Used with permission. The views presented here are those of the author, and may or may not necessarily be those of Outpost Daria Reborn.