PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

City of Angphlmns

 Episode 2.15: Reprise. Original Airdate: 2.20.01

“On the eve of a 75-year review at Wolfram and Hart, Angel seeks a magic ring that will take him to hell to look for the firm’s ‘senior partners.’”

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Abandoned graffiti and garbage filled building. Creepy Doll…
  • Screaming.
  • Angel cautiously approaches.
  • Omg, he’s in a room full of goats.

  • Lol, and there are two guys who are reading Ikea-like instructions about sacrificing goats and it’s kinda hilarious. “Using a clean, diagonal motion slit throat of sacrifice with the pre-blessed ceremonial dagger provided. - I didn't see that in the box."
  • Angel knows the guys are being given orders by W&H.
  • These two morons don’t even know what they’re praying to – they don’t know what they’re doing.  They just work here.
  • And in continuity from last episode, Wesley is in a wheelchair & the little girl who had a third eye is now cured.
  • The mom now thinks it’s a big scam and won’t pay.
  • Wesley thinks it’s okay.  Cordelia and Gunn do not. 
  • Gunn makes up some excuse to leave and we don’t see him for the rest of the episode.
  • W&H: Lindsey & Lilah are worried about their review in two days. She mentions a fellow-lawyer who gave her first born as a sacrifice to a demon and wow. Neither seem fazed by this.
  • Lilah also mentions Darla & Drusilla and asks Lindsey if he’s seen them. He lies, no.
  • Angel, meanwhile, goes to Kate for help. 
  • Also happening on Friday? Kate’s review time.  Internal Affairs are investigating her because of what happened with the zombie cops last week.
  • She also pulls out a picture of the dead lawyers from the wine cellar.
  • Lindsey comes home. Darla, still with some burns, lies sick on Lindsey’s couch.  He’s had her the whole time.  Apparently, according to Exposition Darla, Drusilla brought her to him & Dru is gone, presumably having left LA.
  • When Lindsey goes to take a shower, Darla gets up like she’s not as sick as she’s making out to be.  She opens the file Lindsey brought home.
  • Caritas is overflowing with people.  And lawyers.
  • “I’m not here to sing” “Is that what we’re calling it now?”
  • So this review happens to W&H every 75 years and everyone’s worried about it.  Lorne sums it up in two words: Senior Partner.
  • Angel is desperate.  He needs to know what’s happening.   Lorne insists all the rituals happening around the city are just brown-nosing – nothing important.
  • Lorne: “I’m picking up one other thing.  They’d really like to see you dead.” Pan to half a dozen lawyers staring at Angel with dagger-eyes. Heh.
  • Angel tries to do research but he can’t find the ones he’s looking for.
  • He barges into the new crew’s office and demands a book.  Cordelia is pissed but Wes wants to just get rid of him and he tells Cordelia to give him the book.
  • “If it was anybody else, I’d just say get laid already.”
  • And then Wesley’s stitch reopens.
  • Kate’s review. I guess it’s Friday? Kate won’t talk because what can she say?  The reviewers bring up her father which I guess is her only characteristic.  And she’s been fired.
  • “I’m glad your father’s not around to see this.” Me: “Oh, Fuck you.”
  • Ooh, more continuity.  Angel visits the bookstore owner that he visited back in the 50s.   He’s of course much older and Angel is the same age.  He’s fascinated even though Angel pretty much admits that he didn’t help the hotel people & just let the demon have everyone.
  • So Angel does research about the ring that Lorne mentioned – it gets you to home office all right, but home office is just a fancy term for ‘hell.’
  • And now there’s a mention of a glove that he needs.  It’s all pretty convoluted and even Angel thinks so too saying, “Ok, now you’re just making this up.”
  • The Book Store owner thinks everything is going to be all right now.  And oops, he’s stabbed through the torso by Darla – as is Angel who needs to recover – so he can’t immediately run after her.
  • Meanwhile Wesley/Virginia. Don’t know whose place this is.  Doesn’t matter.  Virginia, who grew up with evil demons and such is scared for Wesley.  The demons she’s used to.  The guns, not so much. 
  • “The gun was fired by a zombie if it makes you feel better.”  It doesn’t.  She wants Wesley to quit.
  • And they break up? And it all just happens so fast and weirdly.  I’m not really sure why except maybe Virginia didn’t test well.  They don’t really use her much.  Zelda and I are always surprised when she’s there.  Because she’s just “there.” And that’s not the actress’s fault. They didn’t give her any agency like they did with other boy/girlfriends of Buffy characters like Oz, Anya & Tara.  
  • Kate meanwhile brings her stuff home and is sad.
  • Lilah walks with her security guards who Angel takes out easily. Angel coerces her into getting inside but she notices his wound.
  • Wes calls Cordelia indicating that he won’t be in tomorrow.  She takes it in stride.  They talk about life and friends and it’s nice & also a little bit sad.
  • Cordelia’s about to leave when the mom from earlier calls to say she’s going to pay them but this is obviously a set up.
  • When the mom turns around, there’s a demon who obv made her call.  And then the demon kills her.
  • W&H: Chanting and suits and pentagrams.  You know, the usual.  Security lets Nathan Reed know that there’s a vampire on the floor and then of course Angel shows up. 
  • Lilah gets away by elbowing him in his wound.
  • Angel finds Darla who is wearing the glove.  They fight.  Lindsey looks on helpless.
  • But oooh, someone is rising from the pentagram.
  • Lindsey punches Lilah out for saying “stake the bitch” re: Darla.
  • Angel pushes the demon out the window with the glove which I guess kills it?  Z & I are unclear about how but whatever. He’s dead and Angel has the ring.
  • He puts on the ring and says home office.
  • And then elevator to hell opens in the middle of nowhere.  Holland is inside giving the slow-clap.  He indicates his contract with W&H extends beyond death which is super creepy.  I’m glad they brought him back for this.
  • Of course the elevator to hell has elevator music.
  • On the way down, they discuss the apocalypse which of course.
  • Holland explains that they’ve always been there and always will. “The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us -  because of us.”
  • When the elevator opens, they’re right back where they started.  I guess the point being hell is Earth.  Hell is other people.  How philosophical. And how pointless.
  • Angel does a slow walk thought LA.  Through the homeless, people fighting. Kate is sad.  Wesley is sad.  Cordelia is about to meet her death.  That sorta thing.
  • Angel comes home to hear Kate leaving a message on an answering machine.  For those Gen Zers out there: this is an answering machine.

  • She drunkenly rambles at Angel.  It seems there’s alcohol and drugs mixed which is never good.  It’s not her last episode, but it is her second to last so we’ll see what happens next week with her.
  • Angel comes home, defeated. Darla is there.  He tosses her the ring of pointlessness. And then Angel really hits rock bottom.  He has sex with Darla.  I don’t know what he’s hoping for.  He says he just wants to feel something.  I don’t know if he thinks it’ll turn him evil.  But he tosses her through a glass door so too late?
  • Anyway they have their vampire sex and it’s surprisingly vanilla. 
  • Cut to the next day when we assume Angel’s gonna turn.  He wakes up with a start like he did the night after he slept with Buffy.  And then….we cut.
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • The titles for this show are so whatever. So many titles are just one word and I don’t know what any of them mean so I can’t remember the plots without reading a synopsis. Anyway this is the one where we find out where hell is. Well one of the hells. Angel was in a hell, after all. Is that why it’s a reprise? Like. Why what.
  • Anywhen, in an abandoned graffitied building, he finds a room full of goats. Oh right, goat sacrifice. Okay.
  • Hah that’s David Fury. Random. His other Whedonverse cameos feel more … playful.
  • OMG they’re doing the ritual sacrifice for W&H and shoutout to S5 when goat sacrifice is one of the phone options.
  • They’re the lackiest lackeys though and know nothing, so Angel destroys the altar and sends them running.
  • And Not!Angel Investigations has gotten rid of the eye in the back of that girl’s head between episodes. I’d call it a weird way to tie up the arc but I know the future etc.
  • Anyway, the mom’s being real shitty and refuses to pay them because an eye in the back of a head isn’t possible therefore they’re charlatans and what utter bullshit. I guess next time take photos for before and after views?
  • Wes is cool letting them go and I’m confused he’s not concerned about the money since he just racked up a major medical bill, between the ambulance and hospital stay. To say nothing of the future physical therapy to recover his strength once he’s out of the chair.
  • Anyway, W&H and Lilah and Lindsey and blah blah some big review is coming up. I guess that’s what the goats were for.
  • Angel brings his concerns to Kate, who … isn’t concerned. “Why is this so important to you?” // “Because it’s important to them.” // “Oh right, and therefore it must be stopped.”
  • Apparently Kate’s job is on the line because of that time Angel beat up the zombie-raising police captain.
  • Kate’s calling Angel out, not for all the shit she knows about, but the shit she just figured out: That Darla and Dru had to break out of the wine cellar after the Holland Manners massacre. That Angel locked them in there. She says she’s done helping him, and damn straight. See, hating Angel for being a vampire was annoying and stupid. This? Justified. Proper. Right.
  • Meanwhile it turns out Lindsey’s been sheltering Darla while she recovers from her burns. No word on where Dru is, but I think she has her appearance in Buffy around this time, yes? [Yep, seven days earlier – imdb]
  • Lorne time! Yay Lorne!
  • Angel wants the skinny on the W&H doings, and there’s a bunch of lawyers in the bar. He tips Angel off that they’re worried not about the upcoming review, but the reviewer. The. Senior. Partners!
  • Angel, not able to find the research he needs at the hotel, storms into the gang’s new office to swipe some books. Cordy tries to stop him, but it’s enough to make Wes stand and say “Just give him the damn thing. Let him get the hell out.” Aaaaaaand tear his stitches. So, more medical bills.
  • Kate’s getting fired but they’re offering her therapy as part of her severance. “You people have no idea what’s going on in this city.” // “Is this the part where you start to talk about monsters? We’ll need your gun and your badge.”
  • And then one final dig: “I’m just glad your father’s not around to see this.”
  • And that’s it. Kate’s career is over.
  • Awwwww Angel goes to the same old bookshop he went to back in “Are You Now…” and it’s got the same proprietor, Denver, only much older! That’s a nice callback.
  • Well at least we finally know what Angel thinks the way to win his war is: go to the Home Office/Hell, and destroy “the whole lot of them.” I guess that’s the same plan he goes into S5 with?
  • There’s a magic glove. Angel’s got experience with those too.
  • Aw fuck. Darla kills the store proprietor and takes the glove. I forgot about that. “The ring’s not about vengeance, Angelus. It’s about power. We’ll get to the vengeance part soon.”
  • This is another interesting piece in the Why Fight the Fight argument that this episode (and next episode) are making. We see here evidence that Angel does and has made a difference. He changed Denver’s life, gave the man hope. But we also see that just as easily, that life can be taken away by someone who doesn’t even care that he ever existed.
  • Virginia’s taking care of Wesley, but it’s clear she’s rattled by his injury, by the fact that it came from a regular gun and not some supernatural element. She asks if the battle always feels like it’s worth the fight.
  • Wesley realizes that this might be the deal breaker for their relationship, if he keeps fighting this good fight.
  • But fighting that good fight, that’s the big thesis of this arc, and leading up what is a lot of people’s favorite line in the whole series.
  • But before we reach that epiphany, we’ve got to keep digging deeper to get to that rock bottom. Kate’s self-medicating her pain with alcohol and trashing her apartment. And Angel’s planning that daytrip to Hell.
  • And we all know any daytrip to Hell starts with knocking out Lilah’s bodyguards and breaking into W&H again.
  • Meanwhile the Sharps are calling again, after stiffing the gang on their fee, and Cordelia’s heading over … on her own. But Cordy! Admiral Ackbar wants you to know that IT’S A TRAP. The Skilosh demon made her call Cordy over, then snaps her neck. Well then.
  • Hey how did Darla get on the floor without setting off the sensors like Angel did?
  • Anyway, Angel and Darla fight over the glove at W&H while the ritual summoners keep summoning. Lilah says “Stake the bitch” to the guards tackling Darla, and Lindsey punches her for it.
  • Meanwhile Angel tacked the summoned whatsit, it disintegrates, but he’s got the ring and the glove! He’s got all the accessories.
  • And an elevator opens. Inside the elevator, clapping that slow clap, is Holland Manners! Hi buddy! So much more compelling than Nathan Reed.
  • “I’m quite dead. Unfortunately my contract with Wolfram & Hart extends … well beyond that.” Another nice bit of foreshadowing for spoiler in S4, including that the death injury remains on the body.
  • Holland warns him the trip to the Home Office is one-way.
  • Holland wants to know what Angel’s long term goal is here. “Now, let me see, there was something—in a sacred prophecy, some oblique reference to you. Something you’re supposed to prevent. Now what was that?” // “The apocalypse.” // “Yes, the apocalypse, of course. Another one of those. Well, it’s true, we do have one scheduled.”
  • “Of course all the people you save from that apocalypse would then have the next one to look forward to, but hey it’s always something isn’t it.”
  • Angel: “You’re not gonna win.” // Holland: “Well, no of course we aren’t. We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic as winning.”
  • Angel wants to know why then. Holland says for W&H there is no fight, they just go on. “We’re in the hearts and minds of every single living being … The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us.”
  • Y’all this is a good scene.
  • The doors open on the Home Office – it’s the same bit of street Angel just left. Angel’s got tears in his eyes as he takes in the truth. The Home Office is Earth. Hell is other people, and all that.
  • We music montage our way among Angel walking through the petty evils of humanity, his last bit of righteousness leeching out of him; Kate, adding pills to her self-medication and sinking further; and Wes, lying on the couch, wounded and heartbroken. And Cordelia, off to go fight that good fight.
  • And honestly it’s so important the montage ends with Cordelia. Angel’s lost his last bit of hope, his war is over because it was never a war to begin with. Kate’s almost gone. Wes is alone and hurting. And while all this is happening, while everyone is sad and alone and scared and broken, Cordelia keeps fighting the fight. That’s what you do. That’s what she does.
  • When Angel gets back to the hotel, we hear that he never took Cordy’s voice off the voicemail. Kate’s drunk dialed to leave a message, blaming him for making her believe and letting her be crushed. “I won’t care either. I won’t feel a thing.” And even hearing his friend hitting her rock bottom doesn’t pull him out, it reconfirms everything he now knows. Everyone is ugly.
  • So when Darla shows up, he gives in. He throws her against a wall and starts tenderly kissing her. “I just wanna feel something besides the cold.” And now she’s laughing as he bends her over a table and kisses her more passionately. So he throws her through the French doors. “What are you doing?” // “Doesn’t matter. None of it matters.”
  • Aaaaand sex.
  • And, as he did at the end of “Surprise” on Buffy, he wakes from his post-coital nap with a gasp.
  • Is his soul gone again? Tune in next week etc. etc. etc.
Favorite Lines:
Daniel: Angel: “I’m not here to sing.” Lorne: “Oh, is that what we’re calling it now?”
Zelda: Not a line, but the montage ending with Cordelia going off to do good.
First Appearance: Skilosh Demon
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Lindsey McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Lorne, Holland Manners, Virginia Bryce, Nathan Reed, Darla, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp, Denver (bookstore proprietor)
Generally Known TV Face: Thomas Kopache
Whedonverse Hat Trick: David Fury (writer and producer for Buffy and Angel; first of three roles on Angel, Mustard Man on Buffy, Newsman on Doctor Horrible)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Angelcakes
Caritas Song List
Cordelia’s Hair – chin bob, highlights, slant bangs
Dead Humans – 2
Dead Undeads – 1
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 1
Prophecy Called – 1 (Angel has to prevent the apocalypse)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Walking While Black

 Episode 2.14: The Thin Dead Line. Original Airdate: 2.13.01
“Angel, Gunn and Wesley battle zombie police officers who have been stalking street kids.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Ugh. Time for another I-hate-how-this-is-still-relevant-twenty-years-later episode.
  • Angel’s shoving stuff off the counter like a cat and pouting … is this right after he stopped time from stopping?
  • Anyway, the other three are at their new office and hoping for a new mission (except for Gunn, who’s enjoying his newspaper).
  • And hey, a new mission walks in the door, another referral from Wes’s girlfriend Virginia, who still exists.
  • Yucko, little girl’s got a giant demon eye growing out of the back of her head.
  • Anyway, onto our A plot, we’ve got two kids running away from a slow walking predator of some sort.
  • And Anne! It’s Anne. She also still exists. Hi Anne and Anne’s shelter. The two kids are begging to be let in, even though they’re past curfew. They’re scared enough that even though there aren’t any more beds, Anne lets them inside.
  • And the predator? He’s still in shadow but he’s wearing a cop hat.
  • I wonder if we were supposed to wonder if the cop was a good guy and the kids had done something really awful and that’s why he’s after them. I remember the episode so I know the truth, but like. That’s not something most people watching this show would buy, at this point.
  • Angel’s so lonely he goes to visit Merl, who’s packing and planning to fly the coop.
  • Oh right, Angel’s still using him to get the skinny on whatever W&H is up to.
  • “Best of luck. Hope you bust that evil law firm wiiiiiiide open.”
  • Merl’s rightly upset. Everyone shows up, beats him up, doesn’t pay, and leaves.
  • Back at the shelter, the next morning, and Anne wants to know what scared the two kids the night before. “Cops. They’ve been hassling everybody lately. Which, hey, what else is new, right? But these guys … this cop comes up out of nowhere and just wham. Hit me so hard I thought my teeth were coming out.”
  • Anne says she thinks she knows someone who can help, and we think it’ll be Angel, but it turns out she knows Gunn! He calls her Annie, and I love this. They’re both about protecting the youth in the neighborhood. Of course they’d be friends and allies.
  • But when Anne hears they’re calling themselves Angel Investigations, she clocks it and tells them Angel tried to help her a few episodes ago. The gang gets their hopes up that he’s back on mission, but when they hear it’s about W&H, they let out their collective breath and get back to work.
  • Angel’s in full stalker mode, following Gunn and Anne from the agency back to the shelter.
  • Here’s where we know the writers room is full of white people, with Gunn assuming the kids were provoking the cops and that’s why they’re being violent, as opposed to the crime of, as Jackie put it on Veronica Mars, “standing while Black.”
  • Although the next scene is a cop going after the fairly pallid Angel, so we know race isn’t the only determining factor in the Cop Attacks.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaand Angel kicks the cop’s head clean off. The head quickly deteriorates into a corpse mottled green and the head tries to keep reading him his Miranda rights.
  • Two of Gunn’s old associates already know about the Cop Attacks and Gunn’s mad he didn’t. They’re mad at him for no longer working the streets with the crew, but being part of Angel Investigations. Also one of them is totally Alex’s best friend Ray from Alex Mack

  • Gunn finally remembers urban reality, saying he’ll be a good target because he’ll be the one “walking while Black.”
  • Oh Kate still exists too. Lots of recurring folk this ep.
  • She and Angel are slightly more civil, but it’s hard to tell because they’re both so … stoic. Not even fun stoic. Their line deliveries are monotone, their faces barely move. It’s very … non-entity.
  • Anyway, the cop Angel beheaded died six months ago.
  • AT LAST AT LAST THE LINE ABOUT ANGEL BEING BAD AT PLANNING GOD BLESS US EVERYONE. Wes: “That can’t be his plan, can it? I mean it’s … really a dumb plan.” // Cordy: “Hey, Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly.” The only issue I have with this is no one is as bad at planning as Angel, and there’s no call to throw our Gunn under the Bad Planning Bus.
  • Wes and Cordy are off to back up Gunn, deciding the rich kid with the third eye isn’t going anywhere soon.
  • Aw, we’re at a cemetery. #Buffynostalgia. Angel can tell that a number of cop graves have been disturbed recently, and thinks someone’s zombielording them around the city. Kate panics, but Angel confirms her dad’s safely underground.
  • At least their faces are moving this scene.
  • *snort* Cordelia shows up at the shelter and recognizes her shirt that Angel donated. Nice continuity.
  • Aaaaaand a threatening fellow shows up, pushes his way into the shelter and is apparently coming after one of the kids. Cool so this is gonna go well. “You don’t think I’m gonna kill you or something, do you? … I’d never kill you here.”
  • Gunn: “Someone having an apocalypse and forget to invite us?” // Me: *checks the stats* “Naw, you’re good.”
  • A cop shows up, demanding they put their hands on the wall. Gunn’s calm and asking what law they broke and basically doing all the things they tell you to do, but which somehow still often end with Black people being assaulted or killed.
  • Wes shows up, trying to be the white witness and advocate, “This man is a friend of mine.” But. The cop turns and shoots him in the gut. Ray from Alex Mack gets his gun and shoots him before he can pull his back-up piece and kill the rest of them.
  • Before he can finish freaking out, though, the cop sits back up, because undead and whatnot.
  • Not-Dead Cop gets on the walkie and says “We have a situation … We have witnesses. I need back up.”
  • Cool cool cool. Nothing topical here, nothing to see.
  • Wes isn’t dead yet but he’s definitely going into shock, so they call for an ambulance.
  • Gunn rides in the ambulance with Wes, holding his leg, and I’m having some friendship feelings. But before we can feel like we’re safely away, the ambulance is cornered by cop cars and they start shooting. Cops assaulting at health care providers trying to save victims of cop violence. Also not at all topical.
  • Just. Fuck, y’all.
  • And it looks like the zombie cop brigade intend to take down the entire shelter, with all the kids inside it.
  • Wes, sweating and pale: “He had no right.” Gunn, having known this for his whole life: “I know, man.”
  • Turns out Gunn knows Jackson, the threatening fellow, but they aren’t friends.
  • Cordy insists they take Wes to the hospital, but she opens the door to see the cop cars closing in. Let the siege begin.
  • Angel strolls into the chief’s office, all, “I need to talk to you … about some of your more dead cops.”
  • And chief just shoots him three times in the chest like wtf. That’s just full on no-code villainy, not even trying to justify that he thinks he’s keeping the neighborhood safe or whatever other shit I’m waiting for them to shovel at us.
  • “These are good cops. They put their life on the line,” the chief says as the cops rip metal grates off the windows, shatter the glass, and drag literal children out to be slaughtered.
  • The cops are getting in everywhere, overwhelming the few adults we have fighting to protect the kids … just as Angel finds the idol for the zombie god and smashes it. Suddenly all the cops collapse and revert to rotting corpse form. But our friends don’t have time to question it, because they need to get Wes to a hospital.
  • I don’t hate this episode for being shitty like the last two, it’s just … it’s so fucking sucky how much this is barely a metaphor. I hate this episode from 2001 for still being infuriating, immediately relevant.
  • Angel saved his friends and the kids in the shelter by smashing the idol, but they don’t know that. All they know is that Wes nearly died and Angel wasn’t there with them, helping them protect the hopeless. So when he comes to the hospital and Cordelia catches him watching Wesley through the window, she sends him away. “Wesley doesn’t need you right now. We don’t need you. You walked away. Do us a favor and stay away.” It’s a good line but he doesn’t seem to mind being sent away. He’s still fighting that war, remember? That war that involves making Merl do all his research for him? And then glowering and knocking things off of counters in dimly lit lobbies? That war.
  • He’s still beige Angel.
Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Angel comes back to a fully lit hotel and you know how this bothers me so I’ll move on.
  • Sad music plays so you know he’s sad.  He shoves books off the countertop, so you know he’s a prick too.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the crew seem bored at their new office which is tiled like a bathroom.
  • “We can’t expect evil to just walk through the floor.” Cue the door opening.
  • A woman who reminds me of CJ Cregg comes in with her daughter.
Basically the same person

  • Something bit the daughter and now she has an eye in the back of her head.
  • In downtown LA, something is stalking two teens.
  • Oh hey, Anne is back. Her shelter is full of teens.  The two teens who were being stalked knock on the shelter door but Anne says they’re full up.  They plead and because Anne is nice and we like Anne and they seem scared, she lets them in.
  • The thing stalking them in the shadows?  A cop.
  • This is going to be a fun episode.
  • After the credits, we see Merl leaving town because everyone beats him up for information. Good reason, I guess.
  •  “You don’t care about anyone about yourself," -Merl, unexpected voice of reason.
  • The next day, Anne questions Teen #1 (Kenny?) about what happened the previous night. 
  • He tells the tale of renegade cops.
  • Anne goes to see the Angel-less crew. Apparently Gunn knows Anne.
  • Cordelia reveals the name of their former boss & Anne reveals that she knows Angel.  
  • Cordelia is hopeful when she hears that Angel helped Anne out but when Anne says that Angel just wanted to fuck over a law firm, Cordelia is deflated.
  • Ooh, and Angel is stalking the team.  I guess he was properly shamed by Merl. From the rooftop, he sees Anne leaving with Gunn.  
  • I wonder if they were considering adding Anne to the cast.
  • Meanwhile, in a “This is how teens talk” written by 30 year old writers scene, the ‘teens’ tell Gunn what’s going on.
  • Angel listens in.  He hears enough and leaves – but meanwhile gets attacked by an ‘officer’.
  • Big fight.  The cop acts more robotic than zombie-like – like he’s been programmed to say what he's saying.  Angel knocks his head off….and his body morphs into a zombie-like skin etc.  It still talks, but winds down like a robot powering off.
  • Gunn has called some of his ex-crew who are kinda pissed that he’s abandoned them and I don’t blame them, tbh.
  • Meanwhile Angel goes to see Kate. They play nice & awkward. (Name of their sex tape.)
  • Angel finds out from Kate that the officer he ‘killed’ already died 6 months before.
  • Cordelia tells Wesley of Gunn’s plan – basically to get the beating on tape.
  • "Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly."  HAHAHA.  To be fair, I don't know if I would have noticed how dumb Angel's plans were if it wasn't for Zelda who's pointed it out many times.  This is gold, though.
  • Cordy & Wes decide to put off the third eye case and go help Gunn.
  • Angel visits the gravesite that he can tell was disturbed.  He recognizes other graves that might be disturbed.  
  • Angel explains zombies.  But they're definitely not George Romero Zombies.  They're not 28 Days Later Zombies.  They actually kinda act more like Golems. This won’t be the last time this show deals with unusual zombies.
  • Kate rushes over to another grave – it’s her dad.  Angel assures her that his grave hasn’t been disturbed.  She has a huge vulnerable moment and it’s nice that they remembered this and added this short but important moment to the episode.
  • Another cute moment of continuity – Cordelia recognizes one of her blouses on one of the homeless teens.  This is from when Angel collected some of the clothes at the hotel to donate to Anne when he wanted to get an in with Anne.
  • Ok in yet another storyline?  Some older guy pushes his way into the shelter to harass one of the teens. 
  • Meanwhile Gunn and his two friends set up their spy cam in time for another zombie officer.
  • Meanwhile, Wesley tries to be all white-savior ‘explaining’ to the cops that this black man is a friend of his. And the reality of that scene stings.
  • Zombie officer, however, shoots Wesley.
  • One of Gunn’s friends ends up shooting the officer.  But oops, he comes back.  Because Zombie cop.
  • Zombie cop gets on his radio to get back-up, as zombie cops are wont to do.
  • Kate & Angel go investigate the precinct where the Zombie cops come from.  They don’t get much help, as expected.
  • Oh, there it is.
  • UH oh.  The ambulance is stopped by two cop cars who just open fire.  One of the EMTs gets shot.  Gunn takes over and gets the ambulance out of there.
  • He takes Wesley to the shelter along with the remaining EMT who looks after him.
  • So the guy who came to the shelter – Jackson – also knows Gunn. (GUNN IS POPULAR) 
  • Gunn…in a really weird bad writing moment badgers Jackson for contributing to the violence.  It's like - there was really no reason to introduce this character except to shame the black community. He never comes back; he's only there  to intimidate a teenager and have Gunn yell at him.  It's a real "there's bad people on both sides" moment and it's awful and I hate it.
  • The Zombie Cops arrive at the shelter.
  • Angel is finally able to find the Captain of the precinct who is in charge of resurrecting the zombies.   The Captain guy shoots Angel but oops, Angel is a vampire.  
  • The Captain reveals that the cops he’s brought back are cops who were killed on the streets as if this is a great excuse to raise unpredictable zombies who can just go around killing innocent people. 
  • Ooh, there’s a backroom with shrines to the cops as well as other mysterious objects.
  • Angel finally finds the thing that’s controlling the zombies and smashes it.  At the shelter all the zombies re-die…
  • Kate tries to excuse the Zombie cops by saying in the past couple of months, crime has gone down in that area.  So ok- I- [SHE ONLY MEANS CRIMES NOT PERPETRATED BY COPS BEATING CIVILIANS JESUS FUCK I HATE THIS - Z]
  • Hospital: Gunn waits byWes’s bedside and it’s very sweet.

  • And Angel watches from afar, as usual.  This time, Cordelia catches up.  She tells him that they don’t need him.  She’s angry and rightfully so. 
  • It’s a weird arc that I hope will end soon.  And it seems Angel has a little bit of remorse, so we may be seeing the beginning of the end.
  • Oh they never cured the eye girl. I'm told by Zelda that those two characters will return.  Okay.

Favorite Lines:
Zelda & Daniel: “Hey, Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly.” – Cordelia
First Appearance: Rondell, George, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Anne Steele, Merl
Generally Known TV Face: Cory Hardrict, Kyle Davis, Darris Love, Leah Pipes
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Jarrod Crawford (Rondell on Angel, Lead Hydra Agent on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Darris Love (George on Angel, Hallmate on Buffy)
Cordelia’s Hair – chip bob, straight, blonde highlights throughout
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 1 (we’re not counting the hoard at the end, who were deactivated, not re-killed)
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

His Own Sweet Doting Aunt Helen

 Episode 2.13: Happy Anniversary. Original Airdate: 2.06.01

"Angel tries to stop a lovelorn physicist from stopping time forever."

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Angel broods.  And that’s it for now.
  • Let’s visit the gang. I really remember nothing about this new office that Cordelia found.
  • It’s a mess, but it’s a decent size.
  • And shenanigans ensue.  No Phone service! Wes accidentally wrecks the electricity!
  • “I’m so glad I met you guys. It’s entertaining, really,” says Gunn & I’m sad because we’ll barely see them this episode.
  • Back to Angel brooding.  He falls asleep in his clean sheets and dusted hotel.   He wakes to distant singing.
  • Lorne is singing the Star Spangled Banner.  I guess that hotel lobby has some good acoustics.  Singers can never resist good acoustics.
  • “Tomorrow night the world is going to end. Thought you might want to know.”  - Lorne.  Great! We have this episode’s plot.
  • “I don’t have coffee,” – Doesn’t Angel drink coffee?  Isn’t that canon?
  • Lorne calling Cordelia hot-o-rama makes me feel very uncomfortable.
  • Lorne tells/flashbacks about how he knows it’s going to be the end of the world.
  • I love this demon with the extra head singing from his chest. 
It's such an obvious puppet but it delights me.

  • OK this bland guy – and they really probably put that in the casting call or he’s just a really good actor.
  • Lorne read the bland guy and there was *nothing* for him or anyone else.  He thinks that because of this, the world is going to end at 10pm.
  • “That is if you’re not too busy getting lawyers killed or setting girls on fire.” Touche, Lorne, Touche.
  • Omg, these early 2000s haircuts, I can’t.
  • So turns out bland guy is a scientist messing with time – and that’s never good.
  • They’re using words that I don’t understand and I’m pretty sure the writers don’t either and that’s ok.  It’s just a bunch of sci-fi mumbo jumbo.  He wants to freeze time except he says it’s technically not freezing time. Doesn’t matter. It’ll all end in chaos and that’s what we’re after.
  • Hey, it’s Bland Guy’s Impossibly Hot Girlfriend (because of course.) and she’s Darby Stanchfield of Scandal fame among other things.  But we love her and she’s so underused here.
  • Meanwhile Angel & Lorne visit 17 karaoke bars.  I know this bartender.  Mike Hagerty and if you see his face, you just know him.  He was the Super in Friends and made Joey teach him how to dance.
  • He’s not surprised by Lorne’s appearance, though which is another indication that people in LA are more aware of other worldly things than we’re first led on to believe.  Also the fact that Bland guy went specifically to a demon bar and was unfazed by it. 
  • Scary guys from my worst nightmares appear in the lab after Bland guy appears, reconfiguring the board data like Matt Damon in that movie where he was a smart janitor.
Nightmare Fuel

  • In our pointless B-Plot, Wesley’s girlfriend exists.
  • She waits at least 5 hours before she tells them that she has a job for them.
  • “They invented chairs or something.”
  • “We’ll do it! We’ll do anything”  “That’s so sad.”  And her delivery is perfect and we should have Wesley’s girlfriend here more often.
  • So Bland Guy comes back to the lab and sees the new calculation and he’s all excited and it seems to have worked.  He froze time or whatever…like in a bubble.
  • But then he just leaves like – dude, you don’t leave an oven on and leave your apartment – why would you do that?
  • Lorne & Angel are at the library because they’re both hundreds of years old and don’t know how to use the internet, I guess.
  • Lorne hides behind a book so no one can see him except for the 100s of people on this campus who probably saw him.  Including one of the nightmare guys.
  • Meanwhile 90s Pixie Girl is chatting with Impossibly Hot Girlfriend.  And Bland Guy just happens to overhear her say she’s breaking up with him.  The words “Energy suck” and “Sympathy Bone” are used in this conversation and that’s all you need to know about these two.
  • Good thing he just invented a time freezing thingy-do-hickey.
  • Ok, so they’re at the campus library because they’re looking at grad student pics – and I guess this is just pre-facebook?  I’m sure MySpace existed, though. [Facebook, 2004 (2006 publicly), Myspace, 2003, Friendster, 2002, this episode, 2001 - The Internet]
  • Anyway, Angel figures out who he is by doing his quick-thinking undercover thing that he does but oh no, nightmare guy tries to stop him.
  • Lorne tries to help by throwing a book but he hits Angel instead and I laugh.
  • OK so now there’s this post-chat fight & no one has called campus security?
  • Not everyone isn’t not fazed by Lorne. (Three negatives make a positive?)  Other grad student guy is surprised and so are some people at the library but no one really cares that much.  See Lorne can join the gang for real. People would get used to that punim
  • So Bland Guy (he has a name but I refuse to call him anything other than Bland Guy.) 
  • Lorne tries to give Angel a pep talk to bringing his friends back into the fold but I don’t care.  It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the rest of the gang got some equal screentime or a chance to get any personal character growth whatsoever.
  • Angel mentions Darla and I remember that she still exists.  Where’s she been?  Recovering from her burns, I guess.
  • These nightmare guys might be as creepy as the Gentlemen but they’re not as good.  One gets hit by Angel’s car.  Another tried to use a chair as a weapon back at the library.
  • And Wesley, Cordelia & Gunn are at the end of what could have been an interesting A-Plot.  They killed the demon, but Wesley surmises that he was being controlled by someone in this rich family, I guess.  It’s very Knives Out.  One guy is even wearing a similar Chris Evans sweater.

  • Anyway Wesley continues to Sherlock Holmes cosplay and reveals the killer.
  • Angel fights.  Lorne sings a high note and kicks a guy in the balls.
  • Bland Guy and Impossibly Hot Girlfriend share an awkward and bland meal.  I don’t mean the food was bland – although, who are we kidding? It most likely was.
  • So here comes the sympathy bone.
  • Angel & Lorne drive away from the demons…and encounter more demons.
  • While they’re boning (missionary style, of course) bland guy freezes time.
  • Angel simply unplugs the machine which stops everything.  That seems like a design flaw, but ok.  And bland guy has his bland orgasm. 
  • In the next scene, Angel & Lorne sit with Bland guy who apologizes. He says he didn’t know that there was a world of demons etc but dude, he was at Caritas so I call SHENANIGANS.
  • Angel starts to reconsider what he did to his friends.
  • Meanwhile, Gunn, Cordy and Wes are partying it up after finishing their case which I’m sure they got paid lotsa money for. And a new client walks in.
  • “Which one of you is Angel?” “It’s just a name.”  Oooh.
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Honestly it already feels like time has lost all meaning and is running especially slow, this of all weeks, but sure let’s keep going and pretending we know how to function.
  • Oooh we’ve got a new office for our team! Full of clutter from the previous tenant.
  • Wes tries to fix the phone line, which somehow shorts the power. ‘kay
  • Meanwhile, Angel … hangs out in his hotel room a lot?
  • *snort* Lorne’s here to sing the national anthem and annoy Angel into not wallowing in depression. Honestly, I’m siding with Angel right now, even though y’all know I love Lorne and especially love Lorne’s singing.
  • Never mind, Angel’s being all grumpface with Lorne. No being grumpface with our favorite green fella!
  • Anyway, he’s here to tell Angel the world’s gonna end, so that’s another stat for our list.
  • “So the world’s gonna end.” // “Brings you right down, doesn’t it.”
  • Lorne remarks that Angel’s getting darker and darker (debatable), but says Angel’s aura is beige, and I laugh for years, and I guess that’s why this is called the Beige Angel era.
  • Also some unnecessary and supremely out of character objectification of Cordy from Lorne. I hate it.
  • I do like the continuity of Lorne still fixating on Ramone and his betrayal and firing from Caritas.
  • I wonder what the random human is doing in a demon karaoke bar. Like … how did he find it, what does he think of the other clientele? So many questions. Never to be answered.
  • Anyway, random human singing caused Lorne to pass out from what he read on him.
  • “He has no future after ten o’ clock tomorrow night. And neither does anybody else.”
  • I wonder how, if no one has a future after tomorrow night, Lorne knew it comes from this guy. That’s never actually explained. He says he doesn’t know what the dude does to stop the world, we all wanna get off, but somehow he just knows???? I …
  • And with one final dig about Angel setting girls on fire, we’re cutting to rando in some kind of lab, starring at a board of calculations.
  • Science guy’s girlfriend is hey, it’s what’s her face from Scandal. And they have the least chemistry ever, and yet have somehow been dating for a year, but with the comfort of people who’ve been on two dates and haven’t decided if they’ll go on a third.
  • I do enjoy the bartender who’s blasé about Lorne showing up, saying most of the demons they get are vamps passing for human. At least Los Angelinos seem to have a better sense what goes bump in the night than the residents of Sunnydale.
  • Angel’s on the mission but he seems to care about as much as I’m caring about this episode (I’m sorry, y’all. It is a rough time, and my ability to detach and compartmentalize is rapidly fragmenting)
  • They also don’t really explain why science guy, who’s supposedly been in this relationship for a year, not realizing that she doesn’t love him until he eavesdrops on her, sings nothing but sad sack broken heart songs when he does karaoke. And like … does he go alone? To karaoke? Really?
  • Cordy’s trying to compensate for the lack of electricity with setting out candles, but Gunn and Wes tell her to come sit with them behind their one desk. “Cordelia, stop trying … join us.”
  • Wes: “Sometimes you need to wallow. Just let the depression settle in. Silently.” Shit, was this scene written for right now?
  • Anyway, Wes still has a girlfriend and she’s here to give them champagne and a referral to a wealthy family with a demon problem.
  • Science guy’s formula got fixed by the demons I was ignoring while trying to figure out why he sings sad karaoke everywhere he goes, but anyway, they helped him make his time stopping device work, so the apocalypse is right on schedule!
  • Question for the group: The Lubber demons knew how to fix his formula. The machine was right there. Why didn’t they just … do the thing they wanted to do? Why did they need to make him do it?
  • There’s a lot of language here about Lorne and ladies and like … I thought he was coded as gay? Why is there so much hetero energy this week? Who wrote this? [Embarrassingly, it was us, Joss and David. – the actual show creators] Why? It’s not even good bi energy because they never quite dive into him being interested in the fellas, beyond how much he misses Ramone, and most of that is canonically tied up in how good a bartender he was and not how good a boyfriend he was.
  • Science guy’s name is Gene. I’m sure that came up earlier but whatever.
  • Anyway, Darby’s gonna dump him on their anniversary, but he overhears her plan.
  • So that’s why he’s gonna stop time, and he’s gonna do it while they’re having breakup sex. And the fucked upness of that is really vomit inducing. Especially when like. It’s not even freezing on a perfect moment. It’s freezing on a moment where they’ll both be miserable. She, going through it to “let him off easy,” but not actually getting anything out of it, he, having sex with someone he knows doesn’t care about him anymore and it’s all a lie. He’s planning to freeze time on an unhappy lie. That’s not heaven, my dude. That’s hell.
  • Anyway one of those random demons with the ghosty makeup tries to knock Angel out because he knows he’s trying to stop Gene.
  • Fighty fight in the library.
  • Lorne’s explanation for the Lubber demons is they’ve been waiting for a messiah, which I guess is a handwave for why they didn’t just do it themselves.
  • But also. How much of a “golden child” is their messiah when he actually didn’t have the science on his own and they had to push him over the finish line. Their religion is real dumb y’all.
  • This episode has a lot of sense it’s just not even bothering to try to make.
  • Lorne says the problem is Angel’s heart isn’t in the fight anymore. Lorne, haven’t you heard? Angel’s not fighting the good fight. He’s fighting a war. That’s why he was staring out the window and lying in bed. That’s how you fight wars.
  • Never mind, I don’t want to empathize with Angel anymore. Yes, I can relate to the depression, but he’s being a shit and I’m bored by it.
  • “You want to know what my problem is? I’m screwed. That’s my problem. I can’t win. I’m trying to atone for a hundred years of unthinkable evil. News flash: I never can. Never going to be enough … Darla had a shot at redemption. They took it from her. Now I have to hunt her down and kill her. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna kill her and then I’m gonna burn that law firm to the ground.”
  • That’s … that’s the war? That’s how Angel wins the war?
  • Lorne’s got some wisdom though: “It’s not always gonna be this way. The song changes.”
  • Lubber ambush! Time for more fighty fight.
  • Gunn succeeded in killing the demon for that wealthy family, but Wes wants to pull a Poirot and narrate the master plan behind the demon, which he says was only a puppet.
  • This is clearly meant to be a satirical riff on the parlor reveal monologue, but it’s going on a long time.
  • But anyway Gunn remarks after he finishes, “that was cool.” I think Gunn needs to raise his standards.
  • Back to Lubber fight. Lorne manages to stave off a double attack on his beautiful self by hitting a high note. The literal high point of this stupid episode.
  • Let’s do the time freeze again. I guess.
  • Luckily for us, the effect of the time freeze spreading isn’t instantaneous.
  • Machine deactivated, Gene ejaculated, Gene’s girlfriend evacuated.
  • Also Gene might be feeling some chagrin about almost stopping time for everyone, but I don’t think he fully grasps HOW FUCKING WRONG IT WAS FOR HIM TO TRY TO DO THAT TO SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT TO BE WITH HIM ANYMORE. Get this fucker some fucking therapy, teach him how to respect boundaries and fucking autonomy of people who aren’t him.
  • Jesus fucking Christ I hate this episode.
  • Angel’s finally noticed that firing his friends was wrong.
  • Meanwhile said friends are having a candlelit dance party in their new office and it’s nice to see Wes still can’t dance.
  • And a new client shows up, hesitant and vulnerable. “I need help.”
  • “Which one of you is Angel?” // *beat* “It’s just a name.”
Favorite Lines:

“That is if you’re not too busy getting lawyers killed or setting girls on fire.” – Lorne
Zelda: “It’s not always gonna be this way. The song changes.” – Lorne


Lorne, Virginia Bryce
Generally Known TV Face: Darby Stanchfield, Matt Champagne, Mike Hagerty, Victoria Kelleher, Eric Lange, Norma Michaels
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Brendan Wayne (Mike on Angel (as Danny LaCava), Jiaying’s Assistant on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Eric Lange (Lubber #1 on Angel, Fed on Firefly), Norma Michaels (Aunt Helen on Angel, Older Woman on Buffy)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Mr. Get-to-the-point-y-pants (Angel), Angel Face (Angel), Goliath (human bartender), F. Scott (human bartender)
Angel’s Alias: Leonard Taubman from the Taubman Foundation

Caritas Song List
“Bye Bye Love”
“All By Myself”

LA Tour Song List
“Star Spangled Banner”
“For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”


Cordelia’s Hair – chin bob, choppy angled parts, blonde highlights
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 1
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 1 (Aunt Helen)
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called -1 (Lorne says the world will end tomorrow night)
Prophecy Called - 0
Champion Called – 1