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 1, 2020

I Give it a Century – Tops

Episode 2.07: Darla. Original Airdate: 11.14.00.

“Lindsey finds himself drawn to Darla as her mental state deteriorates.”
Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Angel brooding in his room, drawing. I weirdly like that that is one of his talents. And they keep bringing it back.
  • He’s drawing Darla when he senses Wesley lurking.
  • Wesley’s worried and it’s because he knows Angel’s starting to get obsessed: littered on the ground are dozens of drawings of Darla.
  • What’s interesting here is while it’s revealed on Buffy that Darla was Angel’s sire and that he was the one to kill her in the end, that was really the end of that.  Angel never seemed obsessed with Darla on that season of Buffy.  He just warned Buffy that Darla was dangerous.  He didn’t mourn her demise and I think he rarely spoke of her again (if ever).  There were some flashbacks with Darla that we saw through Spike. But they retconned a lot with Angel’s history - or at least they hadn’t fully planned it out when Darla (or even Spike was first introduced.). Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s brilliant that they brought Darla back & filled out her and Angel’s backstories respectively.  Just an observation that on Buffy, Darla never seemed as important to Angel has she does now.
  • Meanwhile, Darla is having a crisis of her own.  She’s destroyed her apartment.  She’s also starting to remember all the horrible things she’s done in her life (death?).  
  • She’s also bleeding.  It doesn’t look like she’s slit her wrists on purpose…just a few cuts from breaking glass.  But  it’s gotten to the point where an ex-vampire (or a vampire who’s recently gotten a soul) starts to remember and feel guilty about all the things they’ve done. 
  • And we’ve got Darla in History as we see that she lived in 1609.  She’s dying of some kind of venereal disease.
  • It’s the Master, Buffy’s first Big Bad – and this is a brilliant move to bring him back for this.   
It's Fruit Punch Mouth!

  • His features are the same as they were in the 1990s.  Since animal-like features come with the age of the vampire, it would have been cool to see The Master in a different form.  I mean, how old can he be?  Also, Darla is about 400 years old…how come her features haven’t changed? 
  • Meanwhile the Fang Gang are trying to figure out how to find Darla.  Gunn comes up with the only plausible idea – looking into real estate W&H might own. 
  • In the ago: Darla introduces Angel to the Master. They don’t see eye to eye.
  • It’s interesting that Darla, a 400 year old vamp and The Master, a (probably more than) thousand year vamp…(a millennial?) are both killed relatively easily in season one of Buffy (especially Darla.) 
  • Darla chooses Angel over her sire.
  • The Master: “I give it a century, tops.”
  • It took a while for Darla to break.  And it only took a brief conversation with Angel to do that.
  • Apparently Holland Manners knew this would eventually happen but Lindsey did not.
  • We flashback to a century later and Drusilla has joined the gang. 
  • I love that Dru calls Darla grandmother.
  • They bump into William, pre-vamp, a bumbling idiot.
  • Cordelia used her “acting skills” to get Darla’s address.  Except I shouldn’t call them acting skills. This here is proof that lying isn’t acting.  To lie is to deceive. When you’re acting, the audience is in on it.  You’re not trying to deceive anyone. That’s why you can be good at one but not the other. [THANK you. - Z, a good actor and a terrible liar]
  • Darla’s now getting all philosophical about who and/or what she is.
  • While she’s trying to figure it out, she makes out with Lindsey. So that’s fun.
  • We find out that that the Romani people who cursed Angel to bring back his soul were massacred by Darla, Dru & Spike.
  • And Darla calls Angel. She is so damn broken.
  • Lindsey catches her. She begs Lindsey to let her go to Angel.
  • Darla tries to knock Lindsey out and she kills the security guard.  Still, Lindsey helps her escape.
  • Lindsey’s such a sap.  I don’t understand why the powers that be haven’t already gotten rid of him.  They’ve killed people for less.
  • One more flashback: China.  An ensouled Angel finds Darla.  Surprising that she hasn’t come after him. But she doesn’t kill him.  Because she loves him.  And as we all know vampires are capable of loving someone:

  • In the ago, - Boxer Rebellion - Angel tries to be bad again, but he can’t. And this is also where Spike killed his first slayer.
  • Darla, in the ago, tells Angel that he only kills evildoers.  Like Dexter!
  • She wants him to prove himself by killing a baby.
  • In the present, Angel saves Darla from the men who have been ordered to kill him.
  • But we find out the entire thing was a ruse. The security guard we thought was killed – is still alive.  Holland Manners set this all up so that Darla will get close to Angel again.  I think he’s still under the theory that orgasms=perfect happiness.
  • Cordelia rightfully corrects Darla as she calls him Angelus. “Around here we call him Angel.  Just Angel.” I love how protective she is.
  • Darla wants Angel to turn her back into a vamp.
  • Julie Benz is giving this all she can – she’s amazing – and…I wish she had a better acting partner.
  • “Favor? You think it was a favor?  You damned me.” -Angel
  • In the ago, Angel can’t kill a baby which disgusts Darla.  He even runs and takes the baby with him, saving it.
  • It’s juxtaposed with Darla running from the Hyperion.

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • I’m excited! I hope this episode is as good as I remember it being.
  • Aw I love that they keep this consistent thing, that Angel is good at the pencil sketches.
  • But whooooooooom is he drawing? (spoiler: it’s Darla)
  • Wes is checking up to see if Angel’s okay, as he’s camped out in his room drawing … and that’s because the floor is covered with discarded drawings of Darla because *sing-song* somebody’s obsessssssssssssed.
  • Darla, meanwhile, is camped out in her trashed apartment, every reflective surface smashed, and I guess that’s her soul finally making itself known, like Angel warned her it would.
  • Darla asks if Lindsey has someone special, but we know he’s nursing a crush on Darla. But she’s still fixated on Angel, on how he’s no longer Angelus, she’s no longer the Darla she was. And she’s decided that now they’re “soulmates,” as she laughs quietly – and not too sanely – to herself.
  • Flashback time! Darla human, the first time, dying in 1609. A dying prostitute, with a slightly English accent, okay sure, but HEY GUESS WHO’S VISITING HER, IT’S THE MASTER.
  • I do like this touch quite a bit, this remembering that he is who made her (although actually this may be the moment we find that out for canon sure). Fruit punch mouth and all.
  • “God never did anything for you, but I will.” Nice mirroring of what she said to Angel (“God doesn’t want you, but I still do.”)
  • And back to the present, Angel wants to mount yet another Darla hunt and everyone else is like hey this is a dumb plan.
  • A: “We investigate things. That’s what we’re good at.” // C: “That’s what we suck at.” She’s … not wrong.
  • But hey, reminder that Gunn is actually effing smart and suggests that if they look into housing owned by W&H they might find her. Angel’s input: “She’d want something with a view … Darla always loved something with a view.”
  • Flashback time, this time to 1760 (seven years after Angelus was sired, according to my quick internet search), to Darla bringing Angelus to meet Dad the Master.
  • So I don’t think I clocked how long the Master was trapped under Sunnydale, but I had assumed it was longer than Angel had been a vampire. But here is he, not trapped. (again, internet tells me he got trapped in 1937)
  • Anyway, Angelus with his shite Irish accent has very little respect for any of the Master’s plans or aesthetics. The Master thinks they should live below ground, but Angelus wants to live above ground, give Darla her view, her fancy clothes and niceties.
  • The Master keeps smacking Angelus, and he’s ignoring him, just telling Darla they should leave together, go off to Naples. A: “Tell the truth, whose face do you wanna look at for eternity? His or mine?” // M: “Idiot. I made her.” But oop, off she goes with Angelus. Master’s gonna get empty lair syndrome. Time to make Luke?
  • “It won’t last. I give it a century – tops.”
  • Hah, funny retcon by the writers: Angel finds out the name Darla wasn’t in common usage until a century after she was born, and credits the Master with naming her. Like Angelus, she got a new name when she changed from human to vampire. I don’t mind it much, but it is more evidence for what Daniel talks about above, that they clearly had no idea/plan for the history of Darla, giving her too contemporary a name for how old she is.
  • Wes points out what should be obvious: that they brought Darla back to keep Angel focused and yet distracted, so he won’t pay attention to what the other (evil) hand is doing. Big ol’ yup. And Angel acknowledges: “It’s working.”
  • Holland chastises Lindsey for bringing Darla to the office, then realizes “She’s cracking up … she’s way ahead of schedule.” Annnnnnd Lindsey is pissssssed. It’s clear he wasn’t let in on the full plan with Darla. (spoiler: even by the end of the episode he’s still not in on it)
  • Hey now we’re in the past again with Darla, Angelus, and Drusilla, and man Darla does not enjoy Dru – either the weird talk, or her referring to Darla as grandmother 
  • A beautiful beautiful beginning of the crossover flashback event with Buffy episode “Fool for Love,” as a brokenhearted William knocks into them and tearily yells “Watch where you’re going,” and Dru looks after him, intrigued.
  • It’s not a great sign when literally half of everyone on this team’s job is protecting Angel from himself. Cordy’s figured out where Darla is, and Wes stops Angel from running off, saying he’ll do recon with Gunn (and Cordelia has to remind him it’s the middle of the day and the apartment is in Sun Valley).
  • Darla!In!History!: she doesn’t remember her human name. “I was Darla for so long, then I wasn’t … I wasn’t anything. I just stopped. He killed me. I was dead.”
  • “What did you bring back, Lindsey? What am I? Did you bring back that girl whose name I can’t remember? Or did you bring back something else? The other thing …” This reminds me a bit of when Spike will later struggle with his soul, speaking of it as a separate presence from his fractured mind.
  • And Darla finally calls L’s crush out, asking “Why haven’t you kissed me?” He says he wasn’t sure if she wanted him to, and she asks why that matters, and ugh consent can we just.
  • Anyway, they kiss and it’s actually quite sweet, for some evil-ish folk.
  • Welp, she bit Lindsey on the neck.
  • She really is cracking up. “I can feel this body dying … it’s a cancer, this soul.”
  • Ah right, we don’t know yet that she actually is dying.
  • Flashback, this time to 1898, to Darla bargaining with the Romani tribe to remove Angelus’s soul, to restore him to his evil glory.
  • Dru, meanwhile “He shall be very cross if he finds we had a lovely mass slaughter without him.”
  • Darla tries to leverage the man’s family in the wagon against Angelus’s soul … and then Spike emerges from the wagon and burps, having already slaughtered the family. So much for that bargaining chip.
  • Dru: “They cry out for mercy.” // Darla: “Show none.”
  • Present day Darla calls Angel on the phone. “I don’t remember anything. It’s a great big nothing. Could it be there’s no hell?” // “There is a hell. A few of them. I’ve been to one.”
  • Angel can apparently hear Darla’s heartbeat through the phone and … nope. Shenanigans on that. There’s no enhanced vampire hearing that can override the limits of phone tech.
  • And now we’re in China in 1900 and it’s the Boxer Rebellion! Which means Spike’s off killing a Slayer. Angel, dirty and disheveled, finds Darla. She holds a knife to his throat. “You reek of vermin. Is that what you’ve been living off of?” And Angel asks her to kill him. Or take him back. “You and me, together, Darla … I miss the view.”
  • Mercifully, his accent is finally (if inexplicably) gone. Maybe his soul was like “there ain't room for the both of us in this dumb vampire” and kicked it out.
  • Lindsey’s doing his waffle dance again, asking Angel to help him get Darla away from W&H control. And knowing the future, we know that in fact Holland Manners & Co were counting on this, knowing Lindsey’s weakness.
  • Wow, here Angel is in fucking China and he finds the one white family. Did they … did they just not try to hire any Chinese actors? I guess they’re supposed to be missionaries but come the fuck on. Even when the show gives itself an opportunity to cast more non-white actors, it … doesn’t. Did they think the only way we would care about his sparing innocents – especially the baby later – is if they were white? This is full on racist garbage.
  • A nice detail, just because in Spike’s flashbacks to this moment on Buffy, we don’t clock Angel had his soul already. It adds a new angle to his reaction to Spike’s murder of the Slayer. Angel, grim, “I guess that makes you one of us.”
  • Dru, smelling fear in the alley behind Angel, is smelling the family with a baby he’s trying to protect from the vamps.
  • And now we have the slo-mo hero walk, this time clocking how Darla watches Angel.
  • Flashback!Darla confronts Angel, pointing out that the only men he’s killed have been murderers and rapists, scoundrels. She found the family he tried to protect, killed the parents, and brought the infant for him to finally prove himself to her: either kill the ultimate innocent, or leave her.
  • Lindsey sees the security guard he was told was dead, alive and shaking hands with Holland Manners, and realizes he’s been lied to. And now we wonder – about what else.
  • “We had to make you believe it, Lindsey.” // “Why?” // “Because she has to believe it. Because Angel has to. The crisis needed to be real.”
  • “What do you expect him to do?” // “What he will do. What he must do. Save her soul.”
  • Darla: “I’m so lucky to have someone who understands. Who knows. That’s something you never had, is it.”
  • Darla asks him, small and vulnerable: “You’ll make the pain stop, won’t you?” Angel thinks she means grappling with her soul. But she wants him to turn her. She’s weeping, asking him to stop her beating heart. But Angel sees the gift that it is, to be human again. You know … that thing he had and threw away in S1?
  • And in both flashback and present, Angel tells Darla he can’t give her what she wants: “I can’t seem to be what I’m not.” He won’t turn her; and in the past, he wouldn’t kill a baby. And in both times, she rejects him. “You disgust me.” / “Don’t look for me again.”
  • Fuck. That was a good episode, y’all. As a show (and as a protag) I still like Buffy better, but damn when this show is good, it’s good.
Favorite Lines:

“Around here, we call him Angel. Just Angel.” – Cordelia
Zelda: Darla: “I don’t remember anything. It’s a great big nothing. Could it be there’s no hell?” // Angel: “There is a hell. A few of them. I’ve been to one.”


Angel’s A+ drawing skills, Lindsey McDonald, Holland Manners, Darla, Drusilla, Spike, Angel’s “Irish” “accent”
Buffy Crossover: The Master, Drusilla, Spike, Romani Man
Cordelia’s Alias: Darla’s sister

Angel! In! History!

There are a few hells. Angel’s been to one of them.
It took Angel a century of soul-having but soul-not-wanting to start his redemption arc. During the Boxer Rebellion (when Spike murdered his first Slayer), Angel was souled but trying to get Darla back. It didn’t work out.

Darla! In! History!

In 1609 Darla was a sex worker dying in the Virginia colony, and was turned by the Master.
After siring Angelus, she brought him to meet the Master in 1760, but then left the Master’s Order of Aurelius to go on Angelus adventures. 
In 1880 London the group picked up Spike. 
In 1898 she tried to bargain with the Romani tribe to remove Angelus's soul.
In 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion she tried to reconcile with Angel, but ultimately rejected him. 
We don’t know when she returned to serve the Master, but it was sometime after this.


Cordelia’s Hair – half up, hanging straight
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 0
Dead Flashbacks – 6 (+ Romani caravan, presumed many in China)
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

1 comment:

  1. Anytime they make David Boreanz wear those ridiculous wigs is a good time. lol

    This had the potential to be a good and interesting story too bad it all leads to season 4 awfulness.