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


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I Am Pleasant

 Episode 2.08: The Shroud of Rahmon. Original Airdate: 11.21.00

“Posing as a hip Vegas vampire, Angel infiltrates a gang of thieves bent on stealing a supernatural shroud housed in a museum vault.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Ominous detectives acting ominously, mentioning a dead body and a she who might die and it’s all very ominous and what could it meeeeeeeeeeeeeean.
  • Ah yes, Wesley is in the interrogation room, all emotionally tortured. “She shouldn’t have been there. She didn’t know. I had to warn him. He didn’t know what he was getting into. None of them did … You didn’t bring it here did you?” Yes yes, very ominous.
  • But then we have Wes doing a classic Whedon Writes Crazy move and saying, apropos of very little, “I’m quite good with the ladies myself, you know.” Knowing the future, I guess this is somehow still the after effects of the Shroud? But … ugh fine.
  • And we get a flashback shot of a body falling to the ground, a scene we’ll end up seeing four times this episode, each time with a different context.
  • “He should never have been there! Of all people he should never – You don’t tell him what to do, he’s the boss … he helps people, you know? When he’s not in trouble himself.”
  • And as Wes remembers Cordelia, we flashback to Before It All Went Wrong.
  • I do enjoy some non-linear narrative with my TV.
  • Anyway WHAT have they done to Cordy’s hair WHAT. It’s shorter, it’s much darker, it looks like a wig but I think it’s just a bumpit giving it body on top (since she doesn’t have the same lift to it later). Poor Charisma.
  • Oh but for a nice change of pace, Angel is out helping Gunn on a mission. Nice to see Gunn’s still got his own thing going on.
  • Apparently there’s a heist job Gunn’s cousin Lester is the driver for, and they’re expecting a “psycho vampire from Vegas,” and I like the touch that as Lester stumbles over the name, Angel recognizes and names him: Jay-Don. We can even pretend this is a nod to the fact that Angel!In!History! has spent some time in Vegas, though I don’t think we know that yet.
  • Oops, so much for Angel “helping” Gunn; he’s now taking over the case and pushing Gunn out. “Since when do I take orders from you?” // “Since I’m paying you.” // “This ain’t no paying gig. I brought it to you.” Ugh stop just stop. Then he even tells Gunn to knit him a sweater.
  • Oh look Kate is back, still looking for Darla, and threatening Angel with a cross carved into a stake. Ooh, a multitool!
  • “You get stuck between me and Darla, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.” Well then.
  • We don’t get to count it since it happened off-camera, but apparently Wes had a prat-fall at the premiere and spilled cocktail sauce all over Cordy’s blouse. Oops.
  • Okay you know what, no, this is a dumb joke. I know they’re trying to make a joke about how guys don’t notice things and so it’s taken both Wes and Angel ten days to notice Cordy’s new wig hair, but no, they wouldn’t suddenly both notice on the same day, this is very stupid and I am calling a shenanigan.
  • So in case anyone was curious of the degree of douche with this Jay-Don vamp, he wears sunglasses. A vampire. Who can’t go out in the day. Wearing sunglasses. Which Angel, after pretending to be a fanboy and ascertaining that there’s no password, swipes as he stakes the dude.
  • I do enjoy seeing DB have fun as these sillier characters, both the fanboy and Jay-Don himself.
  • But uh … according to the captions he’s doing a “New York” accent, and well 

  • Gah-gasp! When “Lester” shows up, it’s Gunn! Who saw this coming? Seriously Angel why did you not see this coming? Do you even watch TV? “I told you I’d handle this.” // “I told you I don’t take orders.”
  • Oh, it’s pronounced Rah-MON, not RAH-men. Well, our crossfire below is about to make less sense.
  • Ah, they need a vamp because the vault has a thermal sensor and there’s that whole body heat thing. Okay, sure.
  • Angel is trying to pick enough of a fight with Gunn that they can take it outside and have it out, but ta-wist the heist is tonight and bossman doesn’t want anyone opening up any Zoom breakout rooms. Welp.
  • It’s funny because I know two of our heist boys are well known faces but they are both covered in demon makeup! So how are two bloggers to tell?

Tony Todd                                      Demon Todd
W. Earl Brown                       W. Earl Demon  

  • Cordy: “Okay, two words I don’t like right off the bat: tomb and unearthed. People, you’ve got to leave your tombs earthed.” Oh my god did y’all read about all the new mummies they discovered? Can we please make them leave them alone? 2020 DOESN’T NEED AN EXTRA CURSE.
  • Angel tries to get them to leave Gunn, as the driver, with the truck, but no dice. Oh well. Also, again, Gunn isn’t looking for Angel to protect him. He asked for an assist, not a takeover.
  • Cordelia, speaking truth: “Why is it always virgin women who have to do the sacrificing?” // Wes: “For purity, I suppose.” // C: “This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. You can bet if someone ordered a male body part for religious sacrifice, the world would be atheist like that.”
  • A nice touch—when Angel gets near the casket with the Shroud and hears the whisperwhisper, his eyes flash vampire yellow but his bumpy forehead and fangs don’t come out.
  • Oh never mind, his forehead went vampface for a minute.
  • Gunn: “When they gonna start making some pretty demons.” // Me, on behalf of Lorne: Hey!
  • Aaaaaaaaaand now I’m angry because Shroud or no Shroud (and we find out later that Angel’s only sort of under its influence), it is crossing a major line to throw Gunn’s trauma of losing his sister back in his face as if it didn’t happen less than a year ago.
  • Anyway, spiny Tony Todd demon beheaded the human guard member of the heist boys, so that’s the dead body our prologue detectives warned us of.
  • So okay I am CONFUSED. Wes told us the Shroud makes people go all ragey, and we saw that it raised Angel’s vampface. And now that the vault is open, those vibes are flowing out through the museum (I guess???), but then why is it just making Cordy and Wes act very very stoned? That’s … the opposite of ragey? I AM CONFUSED.
  • But sure, let’s have Wesley put on his best absent minded professor routine while Cordelia stares at her reflection in a display case and announce her teeth are big.
  • Oh and now she’s stealing a beaded necklace off a mannequin in Indigenous regalia and if this isn’t a fucking microcosm.
  • And now Angel, two for two on the What the Hell Man game, taunts Kate about her dead father.
  • Though I guess biting her neck and drinking her blood is also kind of bad.
  • But when the budget SWAT team show up, all they find is a bewildered Wes kneeling over an unconscious Kate. The shroud, the heist boys, they’re all gone.
  • But at heist lair, they’re finally opening the casket and the whisperwhispers get more intense, and now it’s in a four-way tug of war. Nope, make that three, Spiny got shot.
  • But somewhere in there, Angel sobers enough to say “Gunn, I remember. You have to trust me. I know what to do with this.” And Gunn sobers enough to hear him and let go of the Shroud, so Angel can destroy it.
  • And now we’ve caught up in the timeline with Wesley in the interrogation room and I guess this wasn’t as nonlinear as I had hoped it would be. But anyway before they can finish arresting Wesley, a waxy-skinned red-eyed Kate stops them and releases Wes.
  • And then we get our third iteration of the bite, where Kate remembers Angel whispering “Stay down or they’ll kill you.” Which tells us he had at least some self-control but still felt like it was a good move to needle two of his friends’ biggest open wounds.
  • And back at the Hyperion, Cordelia is insisting—while still wearing her appropriated necklace—that she returned everything she stole. Meanwhile, Wes is worried that Angel drinking from Kate will reignite his bloodlust because he thinks Angel hasn’t had human blood “in a very long time,” so are we ignoring that he drank from Buffy two seasons ago? That’s not that long in Vampire Time.
  • And see here’s my stink. I get that they were trying for a whole recovering addict metaphor for Angel in S1, and that that is somehow connected with his tipping into possible Angelus territory, and if they had actually done anything with that idea in the past twenty episodes, I’d be willing to consider it, but they haven’t. Far more effective to lean into the whole “Angel needs to be invested in the world he’s saving” element, which does feel earned and exercised, and connects much better to his current Darla Problem, because she’s trying to pull him out of that investment.
  • But sure, let’s end the episode with Angel remembering drinking Kate’s blood, his expression ambiguously blank. 

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Ok we got two suits talking cryptically about someone.  Ah, they’re cops.  I guess.  Yeah, the way they were talking and the way they’re dressed, I shoulda guessed that.
  • They’re interrogating someone and we’re not supposed to know who he is but it’s obviously Wesley. 
  • They mention a body without a head.
  • Wesley mysteriously says, “You didn’t bring it here, did you?” 
  • We flash to Angel with blood on his mouth and a woman falling to the ground.  A blond woman.  Darla? 
  • I don’t remember this episode at all.
  • Wes continues to narrate after the credits. He describes what we saw…before the credits.
  • He mumbles something about trying to stop him and he shouldn’t have been there.  All weird vagueness.
  • We flashback to Wes & Cordelia.  There’s no 24 hours earlier tag or anything and -

Even Cordelia has no idea

  • Cordy exposits that Wes is still dating Virginia – and Angel is helping Gunn with something.
  • Angel & Gunn are talking to a friend of Gunn’s. The guy is nervous about a job regarding another vamp.
  • Angel recognizes the name of the big bad vamp. And he wants to take on the job himself and leaves Gunn. Okay.
  • Detective Kate surprises Angel at the Hyperion in his room.  She’s silent the whole time but the chip on her shoulder gabs a lot.  She’s looking for Darla.  Also, search warrant much?
  • They’re really playing Kate up to be an enemy for Angel.  She even holds up a cross with a chiseled wooden stake at the bottom end.
It looks cool, anyway

  • Angel catches Wes & Cordy up with what’s happening with Gunn’s case.
  • Jay-Don, the vampire that’s coming in to LA is apparently loud, flashy – and ran with the Rat Pack.
  • Cordy and Wes look at Angel like it’s make-over time.
  • Angel is actually good at undercover – pretends that he’s excited to see this Jay-Don – and dusts him – but not before stealing his sunglasses….and then does a quick change!
  • A demon lurks around. Angel acts like Jay-Don and gets in a car with him.
  • Jay-Don meets with two demons and a security guard human.  They’re waiting for the driver, Lester.
  • Gunn takes a page out of Angel’s book and goes to the meeting in Lester’s place.
  • And I love that.  Because he’s using Angels methods while also kinda using it against him.
  • It’s also convenient that none of these people have met and/or know what they look like.
  • Angel fabricates animosity between him and Gunn for some reason – I guess so they don’t suspect them as working together?
  • Cordelia, on a museum website: “Don’t they have a section of like, things you want to steal?”
  • Ok, Angel says he hit Gunn to protect him. Gunn reciprocates by punching him back when they’re alone and tells him not to do it again.  Good for him.
  • Two Demons, Two Humans and Vampire Break Into a Museum.
  • Angel stops the demon from killing another security guard.
  • Kate and her detectives have security cam pictures of some of our heist members. And of course Kate recognizes Angel.
  • Cordy makes good points about why religions always need virgin women for sacrifices.  It’s a nice moment but it’s not like it’ll change anything.
  • Cordy & Wes find out that this shroud is something that makes you crazy, so that’s fun. 
  • And indeed it does.  As soon as they open the vault, you can see the affect it has on Angel.
  • Gunn sees Angel’s eyes turn and is concerned.  
  • Wes & Cordelia show up and they’re not even near the shroud but they’re all of a sudden acting like they’re drunk. As if the shroud is doing something to them.
  • And Detective Kate has arrived as well.
  • Glass in the box cracks which makes their emotions run even higher.
  • This is the part of the heist where the security guard who is in on the con gets tied up to deter suspicion. But he yells about getting someone to hit him so it looks like he’s a victim. One of the demons obliges…by twisting his head off.

  • So the shroud changes peoples’ behavior I guess?  Angel is getting angry, Wesley is getting stupid, Cordy just seems drunk…  Gunn kinda stays the same? For some, it looks like it heightens their emotions. Gunn becomes more angry about his sister.  Kate gets more angry about her dad.  It’s kinda like the the types of drunks they are.  Wes is a stupid drunk. Cordy is a happy drunk and the rest are angry/sad drunks.
  • Angel gives another speech to Kate about how she uses her father’s death to be angry with the world.  And it would be powerful if it was the first time we’ve heard it, but it’s not.
  • And then Angel bites Kate! Oh, I guess it wasn't Darla.  Remember when I thought that?
  • Next everyone’s gone but Kate and Wesley while the fuzz surround them and I guess arrest Wesley is the assumption.
  • The four remaining robbers are back in the warehouse fighting over the shroud.
  • And it gets violent.  Demon #1 shoots Demon #2.  It’s really interesting that a demon uses guns.
  • And then there’s the moment where Angel ‘sobers up’ for lack of a better term.  He knows what to do with the shroud and he asks Gunn to trust him which he does.  Which is why they make good teammates.
  • Angel burns up the shroud. 
  • We’re back in the interrogation room. They’re about to arrest Wesley when Kate, looking drained [literally - Z], opens the door and tells them to let Wes go.
  • She flashes back to the moment where Angel bites Kate – but as we know from the past, Angel knows just enough to drink.  We see that he whispered to her to stay down or they’ll kill her.  She does so.
  • So once again, Angel saves Kate’s life.  She seems to appreciate it this time by letting Wes go.  But will it last?
  • As she’s wearing the stolen necklace, Cordy tells Wesley she returned everything she stole.  Oops.
  • And Angel sits and remembers feeding off of Kate. 

NY Times Crossword:
Guys, look at the Times Xword today:

Z: “The Shroud of Rahmon.”
D: *giggles* Rahmon.
Z: I love ramen!
Favorite Lines:
Zelda: “This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. You can bet if someone ordered a male body part for religious sacrifice, the world would be atheist like that.” – Cordelia
Cordelia, on a museum website: “Don’t they have a section of like, things you want to steal?”
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley
Already Famous Person: Tony Todd
Generally Known TV Face: W. Earl Brown, Dwayne Barnes, Tom Kiesche
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Michael Nagy (Jay-Don on Angel, Alfonse on Buffy, Particularly Dressed Man on Firefly)
Angel’s Alias: Jay-Don fanboy; Jay-Don
Gunn’s Alias: Lester
Cordelia’s Hair – We don’t even know. It’s much darker, it’s bobbed to just above her shoulders, there’s a bumpit in there giving the bob a very Mod look (1960s/70s?)
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 2
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 – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0

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