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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


  1. The actor who played Gene said that during the scene at the dinner table with him, Angel and Lorne, David Boreanaz (who he called David Boringanus kept giving the director notes on how he felt the scene should be directed.)

    I just wanted to post that so I could use the phrase 'Boringanus.' 😐


    1. Well now this episode has two high points for me: Lorne's high note, and this piece of trivia.