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


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

I Love You So Much I Almost Forgot to Brood

Episode 3.05: Fredless. Original Airdate: 10.22.01

“Fred prepares to go home to her parents—until she earns a place with the group by figuring out the key to an attack launched by large bug demons.”

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Wes & Cordy & Gunn & Fred are doing inventory on swords.
  • “Now that she’s alive again, are they going to get back together?”
  • Ah, Right. Angel is off to see Buffy.
  • Cordelia & Wesley do a great mocking impression of Angel & Buffy’s relationship.
Cordy: "Gasp!"

  • “I love you so much I almost forgot to brood.”
  • “Why don’t you both bite me.”
  • Angel doesn’t want to talk about his meeting with Buffy that we don’t see because we’re on two different networks.
  • Angel invites Fred for ice cream and no one else for some reason?
  • It’s later and Fred exposits what we missed. They got ice cream then saw a creature and now they’re in the sewer.  As you do.
  • Cordy trips over Chekov’s decapitation machine.
  • And we have Fred’s parents
  • And they’re both very familiar faces.  And they look like their last name would be Kent or something.
  • The gang lies to Fred’s parents about what really happened to her.  Which I guess is something we do even though there are literally monsters everywhere.  It was done in Sunnydale as well despite being on a hellmouth.
  • And then Angel decides to bring in the decapitated head of a demon….which Cordelia explains away as a prop in a monster movie.  Which….is good cause it looks like one.
  • Fred’s parents are confused and the gang are hemming and hawing and it’s as awkward as you might expect.
  • Fred doesn’t want to see her parents so she’s left.
  • Cordelia thinks there’s something off about Fred's parents.
  • And that’s only because they’re acting fishy.
  • Aww, Lorne’s bar is still a mess from last time and he looks kinda depressed about it.
  • Fred: “Was there another massacre?” Lorne, “Just the one.”
  • First stop for the gang: Library.  She’s not there.
  • Angel’s in the sewers.  Not there.  But he is being stalked.
  • They all go to Lorne’s…including Fred’s parents for some reason? If they’re trying to hide the truth from the Berkles, why would they take them to see a demon.
  • Meanwhile Lorne is still pissed at Gunn.
  • “We don’t get a lot of guys who wear eyeliner. Not for long anyhow.” - wow….way to make light of murdering gay people. [They're fine with demons, but effeminate men is one step too far! This world is stupid I want a new one. - Z]
  • Fred’s at the bus station that kinda looks like the Hyperion. (I was right! It's the same set!)
  • Fred’s parents show up and Fred freaks out. The idea being, I guess, that if she sees someone from her past, the past 5 years are real, the trauma finally hitting her.
  • “You’re safe now.” - which is cue for an evil monsterdemon to attack.
  • This one’s like a praying mantis type thing.
  • Gunn, Angel, Cordy & Wes fight.  Even Fred joins in.   And then it gets smashed by a bus.
  • It’s Fred’s mom that….stole the bus(?) to smash it.
  • Fred’s parents are kinda impressed by Fred’s current occupation.
  • Angel’s way too happy to have Cordy fix his wounds.
  • Fred identifies everyone’s contribution to the gang: Angel’s the champion, Wes is the brains, Gunn is the muscle (which…), & Cordy’s the heart.  She doesn’t know where she belongs.
  • She decides to go home.  And knowing what we know….maybe she shoulda kept to that decision.
  • They all say their goodbyes and it really looks like they’re saying bye to the character. I can’t remember if I was tricked the first time I saw this.
  • But Fred does leave with her parents.
  • In the cab, Fred realizes something about the demon Angel killed.
  • Meanwhile the gang are jealous of Fred’s relationship with her parents.  We never really met Cordy’s parents.  We just heard about her dad going to prison for tax fraud but we never officially met him.  We know Wes has a bad relationship with his controlling, hard to please dad.  I don’t know if we know anything about Gunn’s parents - just his sister.   And I think Angel had a dick dad….that he ended up eating?
  • “I can be soothing.  I can soothe your ass off.”  Cordy, what?
  • Oh shit.  Lots of bug monsters now.
  • I have to admit, the gross bug monsters are pretty impressively made. They're not the usual biped humanoid demons we usually see and it must have been a lot of visual effect work to achieve the look.
  • So Fred saves the day and decides to stay. Yay!

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Omg did you miss us? Don’t answer that.
  • We start off with another fun fakeout of a sword being held to Wes’s face as he says “You wouldn’t dare,” but it’s just Wes, Cordy, and Gunn bickering about how to organize the weapons. Meanwhile Fred is fretting about the time, but only because Angel’s been gone a while.
  • “Are they gonna get back together? Angel and the girl with the goofy name?” // “Well, *Fred*” touche, Wes.
  • AHAHAHAHHA favorite part of the season for me: Cordy and Wes acting out the melodrama that is Bangel. 
  • Then Cordy actually says “GASP” and I die.
  • I love this scene so much.
  • And because Buffy’s on a new network and she and Angel reunited off-screen, neither Buffy nor Angel their respective crews what happened. Don’t worry, boo. The fanfic writers got this. (oh and apparently Jane Espenson wrote a comic about it?)
  • Cordy: “Now we’ll never ever know.” // Angel, off-screen and faint “That’s right!”
  • I really do like the banter. I’ll even say I missed it during our two month hiatus.
  • Fred’s spelling out the start of her arc as she babbles next to Angel in the sewer with her giant cone of ice cream, that she doesn’t know why they keep her around, she has nothing to offer.
  • He sends her off back to the hotel while he goes to deal with whatever monster of the week we’ve got (which she clued him onto by spotting some pretty crystals on the sewer wall).
  • Side note: I don’t think I’d be able to eat ice cream in a sewer. The stench would flavor anything I put in my mouth. Maybe part of being in the fang gang is some kind inurement to noticing sewer stench? Does Angel just like smell like that all the time because that’s how he travels in daylight? And he’s got enhance vampire nostrils. I need to stop thinking about this.
  • Gunn’s eager for Cordy to get a vision, just to stop Wes’s nattering. No luck, but she trips over a new invention by Fred, which gosh I wonder if it’ll be useful in the climax of the episode.
  • And two Texan strangers say “we’re sorry to barge in on your arsenal here,” and hey Fred’s dad (spoiler) is Bullit from The O.C.! They’re here about their missing daughter … FRED (oops I spoiled it two seconds ago).
  • Anyway, Fred shows up after that revelation, sees her parents, and skedaddles up to her room before anyone notices.
  • The crew is struggling with how to explain to Fred’s parents where she’s been, because they don’t want to clue them in to the supernaturalness of it all.
  • So when Angel comes in with a trophy head from his offscreen demon fight, Cordy says it’s a prop from a movie he’s working on and these are Fred’s very normal parents.
  • “Ah. Fred has parents.”
  • Fred, meanwhile, is frantically trying to clean the writing from the walls of her dark room.
  • Gunn, meanwhile to that meanwhile, is mindblown that the P.I. the Burkles hired found Fred off an envelope with no return address. How does our team get anything done?
  • The crew is getting a bit suspicious now of the parents. “What is she running from?” And the show’s playing into that, with the parents murmuring quietly to each other “We might have to call them in sooner than we thought.”
  • The crew wonders where Fred’s gone. Gunn: “we could hit all the local taco stands.” See? He knows her true passion. Meant to be.
  • Oh there’s a quick joke about is Fred making porn, I missed that until this very watch.
  • Lorne smokes? Lorne SMOKES? But but … only evil or about-to-die characters smoke!
  • Maybe it was weed.
  • Anyway, Fred’s come calling at the smashed up Caritas to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
  • Ugh poor Lorne and his smashed bar. I guess he lives there? Did we know that?
  • Lorne says Fred thought she was free, but those old monsters hunted her down. We’re made to think that the monsters are her parents, but it’s actually her un-dealt-with trauma of acknowledging that what happened to her in Pylea is real and part of her existence and reality, same as her non-supernatural upbringing with her parents.
  • Side note: Cordy claims she’s never ridden in a school bus … not even on a field trip? Wasn’t she at the zoo when Xander turned into a hyena? Or the museum when the Incan Mummy Girl woke up? D and I are both tempted to call a shenanigan but we’re not angry enough about it.
  • Question: How come Angel can’t track Fred’s scent?
  • Lorne’s still mad at Gunn over the mess his ex-crew made, which is … partially fair. Gunn knew and told no one that the crew was going off-mission. But it’s not like Gunn himself ever lost the mission.
  • Ah, Lorne’s actually mad at all of them, because they only come to him when they need stuff, but no one’s been helping him rebuild his bar. “What about my me? My me’s important.” but also some of this bluster is to hide that he knows where Fred is.
  • Fred’s waiting for a bus out of town and babbling aloud to herself but nope, they found her.
  • “You’re not them. You can’t be them cuz they don’t know.” And she breaks down “I was all by myself and you weren’t there. I got lost. I got lost and they did terrible things to me but it was just a storybook. It was just a story with monsters, not real. But if you’re here and you see me, then it’s real and it did happen. If you see what they made of me—”
  • And her parents embrace her. And everything’s fine. Except for the big insect-y demon that jumps down from the ceiling.
  • Angel breaks two glass doors with his body, thrown by the demon.
  • But never fear, our crew is here! Gunn and Wes and Cordy join the fight. A weapon gets slid to Fred, but she stands there. She gets one swing at the demon before it tosses her away, and then Mr. Burkle gets in on the action.
  • Never fear, y’all. Mrs. Burkle to the rescue, smashing it to purple goo with a bus. See? Everyone’s got their valuable skills.
  • The Burkles seem pretty chill with their new knowledge about demons and whatnot, which is probably helping with Fred dealing with the merging of her two worlds.
  • Angel’s oddly giddy to be next up for getting bandaged by Cordy. Is this part of their buddy whatnot? Frankly he’s oddly giddy in general, but maybe it’s residual from his happiness that Buffy’s alive? We’ve already hit the point where he wasn’t destroyed by her death, which means Bangel is officially being put to rest by this series, at least, making way for Cangel and whatnot.
  • Anyway Fred wants to go home. Gunn and Wes quietly agree she’ll probably be happier there, but you can tell they’ll both miss her. Because that triangle's looming.
  • Angel, saying goodbye in Fred’s room, asks if she’ll remember everything that’s on the walls. “Sure, it’s a story. Once upon a time there was a girl who lived all alone in a horrible cave, so far from home it made her chest hurt … when one day, just like in a fairy tale, a handsome made rode up on a horse and saved her, and took her back to his castle.”
  • “But …the handsome man went away again. And even tho she didn’t mean to, didn’t want to, high up in that castle she built herself another  cave, hoping he would save her again. But you can’t save me this time, can you?”
  • Meanwhile downstairs, Trish makes a dig at the fourth Alien movie, aka the one Joss Wh*don wrote but disowned.
  • Fred comes down to make her goodbyes. As she hugs Cordy, C whispers “Between you and me, I’m almost a little jealous.”
  • I was sitting here grumping that Fred has a carry-box suitcase but it’s not like she had a rollerback with her. Headcanon that this was lying around the hotel and they repurposed it (just like she repurposed that other box suitcase to be the maybe-a-toaster-definitely-a-demon-head-smasher device.
  • Anyway, as they drive away she reopens her bag and sees those crystals all over her shirt that got covered in demon guts and has an epiphany.
  • The fang gang is sitting in the office, reminiscing not just about Fred but how great her parents were, that they’re actual loving parents, and Wes goes off a little bit on what they aren’t, cluing us yet again into how utterly awful his dad is.
  • Anyway demon head starts going all bulgy because TIME FOR THE EGGS TO HATCH.
  • Cordy professes she’s glad Fred’s gone but when Angel says she’ll come back and visit, Cordy gets very happily hopeful.
  • Oh hey there’s a whole bunch of the big bug demons on the attack. Don’t worry, y’all. Fred’s here. “I’m here! I’m late.”
  • “Who’s helping me here?” // Fred: “I am.” She sets off her suitcase invention contraption, which smashes the non-papier mache head, releases a bunch of roaches (yuck), and that sends the big bug demons out. They were here for the kids.
  • See? Fred figured it out with science, deduction, and wacky invention! She said Angel was the Champion, Wes is the brains, Gunn's the muscle*, Cordy's the heart, and “just a stunning revelation of my true path is all,” she knows she belongs here too.
  • I’m going to headcanon RIGHT NOW, for me and anyone else who needs it, that Fred visits her parents a lot, or they visit her, because this is not allowed to be the last time they see her alive. They’re like the only good parents in the Angelverse and I want their child to have good quality time with them.
  • Anyway, they stick around a bit and help the crew repaint Fred’s room to cover up the writing, to hide the fairy tale version of the story, and generally to bond because let’s face it, they  could all use some quality time with good parents.
  • Listen it’s been a long year of missing my family. I got to see my mom in May, and I get to see my other parents and my sister later this month, and I just want everyone to have that good good bonding time with caregivers who love them too.
Favorite Lines:

Daniel & Zelda: 


First Appearance:
Roger Burkle, Trish Burkle
Recurring: Lorne
Generally Known TV Face: Gary Grubbs, Jennifer Griffin
Lorne’s Nicknames: Big Palooka (Angel)
Cordy’s Nicknames: Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson (Gunn and Wes)

Angel! In! History!

Angel watches golf, specifically, the '63 Bob Hope Desert Classic (whatever that is), when Nicklaus took on Gary Player.

Caritas Song List
Row, Row, Row Your Boat”


Cordelia’s Hair – honey-brown with highlights, pinstraight bob
Dead Humans – 0
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 – 2 (the Burkles aren’t evil)
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 1

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Does Angel Even Exist?

Episode 3.04: Carpe Noctem. Original Airdate: 10.15.01

“An old man uses an ancient incantation to switch bodies with Angel.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Fred quietly Freds her way into the lobby and startles Cordy and Wes. Gunn, not startled: “Hey Fred.” It is sweet, the way the writers are slowly seeding in their connection.
  • Fred’s romanticizing imagining what deep novels Angel’s reading upstairs, which they undermine with him being excited about a Charlton Heston double feature, but Buffy-era Angel spent a lot of time reading poetry next to giant fireplaces so like … it’s not like he never cultivated that vibe.
  • Anyway, let’s cut to the Monster of the Week, as some thick-necked stud is in bed with two women. But then he flinches in pain, incants some kind of spell, some essence lifts out of him, and he melts into a pile of rubbery skin suit. Fun.
  • I’ve noticed for the S3 credits they’ve removed Wesley flailing weapons, all slapsticky. I miss that.
  • I can’t tell you how much I have no desire to watch a Charlton Heston double feature.
  • Meanwhile, Cordy’s advising Angel that Fred’s in full crush mode on him and he needs to assert some emotional boundaries before she falls deeper.
  • Oh hey another joke about Angel being a eunuch, along with some re-exposition about his curse, I guess for any new viewers who might be confused about subsequent happenings in this episode.
  • Angel and Wes get excited about the case of the week. Cordy doesn’t like that 1, Angel’s deflecting his conversation with Fred and 2, they haven’t been hired for this and will therefore be doing it pro bono.
  • Gavin Park must feel so left out at W&H. One of the few employees without the initials LM. Anyway Lilah banter banters about Gavin wanting to go after Angel as lawyer ex machina style as he can, which after Lindsay’s repeated failures to either take out or control Angel, is a legit approach I suppose. But also even with Daniel Dae Kim being all Daniel Dae Kim-y, I don’t care at all about Gavin Park.
  • Clue #1: all the dead studs (the one we saw was but the latest in a string of deaths) were members of the same gym.
  • Clue #2: someone in the retirement community across the street from the gym is watching, Jimmy Stewart-style.
  • I guess Angel can enter the retirement community without invitation, but not so much individual rooms. So Rance Howard, aka Ron Howard’s dad, invites him in. He’s got a very harmless “aw shucks” energy. DON’T FALL FOR IT, ANGEL.
  • Angel recognizes a magic whatsit on the shelf. But before he can detective much more, Rance Howard incants some incantation, which Angel scoffs at til the energy/body swap.
  • Ah, an excuse for David Boreanaz to step outside of his comfort zone by being super sleezy for an entire episode. 

  • Anyway Sleezel sleezes at Cordy as he slowly figures out the Hyperion isn’t a hotel but their office. He’s also bummed when he thinks there’s a possible romance with a “Fred,” because nothing’s more fun that casual homophobia combined with ha-ha-isn’t-it-funny-to-imply-Angel-is-gay.
  • This episode makes me tired. I think it’s supposed to be quirky fun?
  • Angel Roscoe calls the Hyperion, but bad luck for him, only Sleezel is there to take the call.
  • Oh hey Ryan the nurse looks familiar. Cuz he’s Joe the Bartender from Grey’s Anatomy! (and a million other things, including an episode of Buffy)
  • Angel Roscoe is still giving off that “aw shucks” energy because it’s clearly Rance Howard’s actual energy and the reason he was hired. But it’s a bit rough because he doesn’t seem at all like Angel (nor did it seem like he was anything like the energy we’re seeing from Sleezel or the stud who died earlier). So while it’s cool they have Famous Old Man, I don’t actually think he has the range. And you know it hurts me to say DB’s showing more range than literally anyone else.
  • I’m talking about this more than I should because ugh to the scene where Sleezel tries to break up with Wes, all freaked out about being touched by another man.
  • And oh look casual racism as he assumes Gunn, bringing breakfast, is a delivery man, and tucks cash into his pocket.
  • And in more grossness, Gunn and Wes are arguing over who gets to interview the escorts, and I can’t wait til we get to an episode this season that isn’t rife with “thanks, I hate it” energy. I know it’ll happen eventually.
  • Oh no. Fred’s come downstairs, so get ready for more trauma, Fred.
  • Marcus Roscoe’s “pick up line” is just “Have I ever told you you’re a very beautiful woman?” No wonder he picks studs to bodyswap. That line is way too inert to work.
  • And now Lilah’s here, to do Angel a “favor,” which is actually just her sabotaging all of Gavin’s plans to lawyer ex machina Angel with fines and forms.
  • Sleezel uses that stupid line on Lilah and offers her a drink.
  • Angel Roscoe pulls a fire alarm and tries to escape the nursing home but oops his very very old heart is having a wee attack.
  • Sleezel makes the moves on Lilah, she’s confused but then shrugs and gets into it, clearing the desk for some hardcore grappling. So Fred gets her trauma, but leaves before Sleezel vamps out and bites Lilah.
  • “Sorry, I just … felt like the thing to do.” She breaks free, amscrays, and Sleezel realizes his forehead’s all lumpy and his teeth are all sharp and his reflection is all not.
  • Which means this body might not disintegrate like the other studs he’s taken over.
  • Cordy enters with a “joke” shaming sex workers and I remain tired. She finds a weeping Fred in the elevator. Ugh poor Fred. She’s so sad.
  • Sleezel goes to a random bar, on the prowl for someone else’s neck to suck.
  • It’s lucky he’s so bad at being a vamp. He’s bitten two women without killing them. He’s now discovered his super strength and is enjoying it a bit too much.
  • The team thinks Angel might be Angelus again (helpfully telling Fred about the alter ego). But Wes notices that Sleezel was reading up on vampires, and connects it to the other studs acting out of character leading up to their melts. Lucky our team is wily and wise.
  • Aaaaaaaaand Sleezel shows up at the nursing home, posing as Marcus Roscoe’s kid. I guess he’s here to kill off Old Man Body permanently, since he’s figuring he can stay in Angel’s body forever. In light of the earlier point about Angel not being able to enter individual residence rooms, wouldn’t it be smarter for Angel Roscoe to hide in one of them instead of a rec room?
  • Wow, I just saw Sleezel’s shirt in the light. It’s satiny and has a tux ruffle front. Why … does Angel even own that? [It pairs well with his rubber pants - D]

  • Something nice and cathartic about Sleezel being taken down, less by Gunn and Wes, much more by Fred and Cordy wailing on him with blunt instruments. A+.
  • They do the switcheroo back, Angel smashes the conjuring stone that allowed the switcherooing, and Angel delivers a pretty crappy takedown line: “I’ll tell you why you have a weak heart, Marcus: you never use it.” GROAN, EYE ROLL.
  • Oh I just realized this shot of the team walking out is the new action shot. In that tux ruffle shirt. Le sigh.
  • Angel finally has The Talk with Fred, but Fred already got the rundown from Cordy. Fred: “She said you’d probably just screw it up.” // Angel: “She did, did she? She’s probably right.”
  • Oh man, I forgot this ep ended with Willow calling to let the LA team know Buffy’s less dead than she used to be. Angel runs to get the phone and Fred, alone in the courtyard, quietly asks, “Buffy?”
  • Which syncs us up with the end of Buffy’s fourth episode, “Flooded,” where Buffy and Angel agreed to meet in some middle non-filmable location. Buffy’s next episode opens with her returning from that meet up. This is all because this was the season Buffy moved to UPN while Angel stayed on the WB, long before the two networks combined to be the CW, and crossovers (not to mention synchronizing timelines against random hiatuses) became increasingly difficult for either series to manage. This fun factoid brought to you by Zelda! In! History! because I remember that whole rigamarole.
Daniel’s Thoughts:

  • At the hotel, everyone is bored.  Cordy is reading magazines; Gunn is playing a Gameboy!

  • I don’t know why Fred’s crush on Angel annoys me, but it does.
  • Angel’s excited about a Charlton Heston double feature.
  • Meanwhile, somewhere else, some guy has just finished having sex with two women. Okay. It’s gonna be one of those episodes.
  • “It’s good to be young,” he says, so the supernatural loving audience knows exactly what that means.
  • Something happens where he knows the evening is over, he recites latin…and then….he melts? Or his skin falls off leaving nothing underneath? I dunno.  It’s kinda gross.
  • Meanwhile Fred is telling Wesley all about her “date” with Angel like Wes is her girlfriend or something.
  • Cordy tries to warn Angel to talk to Fred about her feelings.
  • She’s also on about Angel being a eunuch because he can’t have sex.  Which – after all this time, they still don't understand that "perfect bliss" ≠ "orgasm."
  • The gang reads about what happened in the hotel room and decide to investigate.
  • Wolfram & Hart: Lilah & Gavin Park.  She’s still making fun of him for trying to stick it to Angel with building violations.
  • The Fang Gang find more similar murders.  All young, physically fit men, from the same gym.
  • Everyone gets their assignments except for Fred.  
  • Somehow Cordy & Angel get into the gym without a membership card. 
  • Across the street is a retirement home. Angel notices someone with binoculars. How conveeeenieennt.  I mean, if it'll move the plot along, I'm ok with it.
  • He goes to investigate while Cordelia interviews the physically fit men.
  • He finds the dude.  He recognizes some of the old urns.
"I wish I could switch places with her for just one day!"

  • The old man is now in Angel’s body.  Angel is passed out in the old man’s body.
  • Oldman Angel is very pervy. And he pervs on Cordelia and it’s gross.
  • It’s all cutesy and weird and pervy and not much of substance happens.  It’s a fluff episode that you absorb and sorta enjoy while waiting for the plot to get back to where it was.  It’s certainly nothing like the Buffy Faith swap episode.
  • But here Angel just acts like evil pervy Angel and the old man doesn’t act like David B at all.   He just seems confused.
  • And then the gay jokes. Which aren’t bad for this time period. Old man Angel thinks Fred is a boy and then thinks Wesley is Fred and oy, I can’t even go into it.  It’s awkward and stupid and I want it to end.
  • Ah, but he finds out Fred is a woman and hopefully this ends.
  • Racist old man assumes Gunn is the delivery guy. 
  • Old man Angel faux pas eating.  The rest  kinda let it go pretty easily.
  • Gunn & Wesley both want to interview hookers. Ok?
  • I wonder if Angel feels different being in the body of a human.  For one, he can be in direct sunlight.  Unfortunately, it's never explored  because he just can't get out of the damn retirement home. 
  • Old Man Angel finally meets Fred and flirts heavily which, of course, is going to totally toy with Fred’s emotions.
  • Enter Lilah. Old Man Angel pervs once more!
  • Lilah remembers the last time they were together – when she really hurt Cordelia.  She buries the hatchet by fixing his building legal stuff.
  • Angel finally has a plan to escape but his dumb old body has a heart attack.
  • Old Man Angel and Lilah make out. Fred, disappointingly catches them.  And then he vamp faces without realizing it.
  • And finally realizes he’s in a vamp body.  Which? Ya know what?  I’m gonna SHENANIGAN that.  It’s been at least a day. Two?  This guy’s whole deal is that he wants to be a hot young stud’s body.  No way he wouldn’t have looked in the mirror before now.
  • Meanwhile, Old man Angel is in his rubber pants...picks up a woman.  He realizes he has super strength, bites the woman and the beats up her boyfriend and his friends.
  • So Wes figures out that we’re in a Freaky Friday situation (More like 18 again?) & then Cordelia puts two and two together about the retirement facility.
  • Old man Angel comes to see Angel-In-Old-Man.
  • And then the team shows up and beat Angel with bats.
  • They bodyswitch back and destroy the stone.
  • And fluff episode over.  Almost.  Ugh, we gotta deal with this awkwardness:  
  • Angel finally has the talk with Fred.
  • And then Cordelia rushes out to tell Angel that Buffy’s alive.  Alive!

Old Man Angel:
Daniel: Why is Angel hitting his tit?
Zelda: I think it's meant to be his itty bitty unstakeable heart
Daniel: His itty bitty titty unsteakable heart
Zelda: -itty?

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: “She’s got the big puppy love. I mean, who wouldn’t? You’re handsome and brave and heroic [Angel smiles sweetly], emotionally stunted, erratic, prone to turning evil, and let’s face it, a eunuch [Angel’s face falls]” – Cordelia
Daniel: “Angel, Willow's on the Phone.  Buffy's alive! She's alive!"  - Cordelia
Recurring: Lilah Morgan, Gavin Park
Already Famous Person: Rance Howard
Generally Known TV Face: Paul Benjamin, Paul Logan, Steven W. Bailey
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Steven W. Bailey (Cave Demon on Buffy, Ryan on Angel)
Angel! In! History!
Angel thinks pilates is like tae bo.

Cordelia’s Hair – clipped up with flyaway strands; honey highlights
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 0
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0 
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 1 (Lilah bringing the forms to the Hyperion)
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 0

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Mmmm, Angel

Episode 3.03: That Old Gang of Mine. Original Airdate: 10.08.01

“Gunn’s loyalties are torn between his current demon-hunting associates and his old gang, which now kills demons for fun instead of defense.”

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Oh hey, it’s another Gunn episode about his past gang life…
  • Angel is apologizing to someone and we don’t know who because the focus is just on him.  But oh hey, it’s Merl.  And Angel’s not even being sincere.  He’s reading. 
  • Cordy, Gunn, Wesley & Lorne are watching
  • “I hardly think it’s fair to blame it on the writing.” Hah, Cordelia wrote Angel’s apology.
  • And then Angel goads Merl to punch him.
  • But of course Caritas bans demon violence. THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE.
  • Gunn drops Merl home to his sewers.
  • And Merl is murdered.  We don’t see who the assailant is, but they seem demony by their shadow and the growling.  But they’re not. Spoilers.
  • When we come back from the credits, Gunn nightmares of the time he killed his vampire sister.
  • Gunn’s apartment is very straight fratboy. He has a poster of a motorcycle so. 
I kinda love that he has a Baskin Robbins container on his nightstand though.
  • Angel has found Merl dead.
  • Gunn doesn’t understand why they’re investigating Merl’s death.
  • Now Angel’s defending Merl as though he were a ‘good demon’.  Didn’t stop all the pummeling and torture. He’s being pissy at Gunn, but that’s just because of his own guilt.
  • Meanwhile Gunn visits his old haunt.
  • Newguy Gio has words with Gunn.  He has a problem with Gunn working with a vampire.
  • Angel is worried about Fred.  He wants Cordelia to help her. 
  • But Cordelia and Fred are the only two women in a show…so they can’t possibly get along… [SIIIIIIIGHS IN FEMALE. – Z]
  • Lol, Cordelia made a Merl enemy list and Angel is at the top of it.
  • “Oh sure, I went dark and killed Merl.”  There are some things vampires with a soul shouldn’t joke about.
  • Rondell questions why Gunn was/is so absent from their lives. But we know all this.  It started with his sister.  We’re just retreading all the things we know.
  • Meanwhile Angel and Wes break down a door to another “enemy of Merl’s”.  But oops, they’re dead too.  There’s lots of yellow demon blood spewed all over the apartment.
  • In the sewers, we see a big ugly demon slurping down the equivalent of a big gulp. ™.  Except it’s called a Big Chug.
  • And he seems harmless – and Gunn’s old crew are the culprits.  They kill him.
  • "Charles, things aren't always so simple as - going out and slaying the big, bad ugly. There are in this world shades of gray…" See Zelda’s brilliant essay on this. [Aw, shucks. – Z]
  • Wesley says that 4 out of 6 of the victims were non-violent species of demon. 
  • Gunn finds a clue and pockets it.  He goes to Rondell telling him that there’s a rogue on the crew.
  • Rondell informs him that there’s no rogue – the crew was all there. A demon’s a demon, according to Rondell.
  • Gunn is starting to come over to Wesley’s line of thinking.  
  • Cordelia & Fred meet “outside” in the courtyard – but the echoes make it sound like they’re on…a studio set.
  • Cordelia “Angel wants you to get out.”  That’s not what she meant.  Then…why did she say it like that?  I hate those ‘misunderstandings’ because there’s no way Cordelia didn’t know how that sounded…even though the writing is telling us she didn’t.  It’s a dumb pointless contrived forced laugh of a misunderstanding.
  • Anyway Cordelia decides to take Fred out on the town.
  • Gunn comes back to the hotel. You could tell he’s debating whether to tell Angel what he found out.
  • Angel describes the killings as “fun” – as he would know.
  • So Cordelia decides to take Fred to a demon bar? 
  • And Fred creaks out “Crazy”.
  • Wesley is there as well.  Gunn comes to see him but Lorne reads him, first.  He sees that Gunn is conflicted. I guess he doesn’t always need a song.
  • And then boom.  Shootout at Caritas.  There’s a flaw in this protection spell.  It only stops demons from inflicting violence.  Not humans.
  • Gio leads a full on assault with machine guns. 
  • They call out Gunn.
  • One of the guys holds Lorne at gunpoint.
  • Wesley figures out that they’re the ones that killed Merl and the others. He also realizes Gunn knew.
  • Wes reminds Rondell that the last time he was shot and wounded, it was an attempt to help him.
  • They want Cordy to bring back Angel.
  • Angel sends Cordy to the three sisters who put the protection on Caritas in the first place. 
  • Back at Caritas, Gio sings and Lorne reads him.  He realizes why he left Miami. “She trusted you.” We don’t know the full story, though.
  • Another demon tries to make it towards the exit. The pandemonium lets Gunn wrestle the shotgun from Gio.
  • Ugh, I really don’t like that they’re demonizing Gunn’s entire crew instead of just this guy.
  • And now…Gio is accusing Gunn of wanting to sleep with his…sister?  WTF?
  • Enter Angel.
  • “When he did his pleasure killing, he had no soul.  You can make no such claim.”
  • Meanwhile Cordelia meets with the three floating Furys.   Every time she mentions Angel’s name, they chorus “mmm, Angel” and it’s kinda hilarious. 
  • Gio, Gunn, Angel, Wesley – they’re all trash talking and I keep tuning out.
  • Fred volunteers to kill Angel but of course it’s a trick.
  • A big flash indicates that the protection spell has been lifted.
  • One of the seemingly harmless demons turns into a giant praying mantis and bites Gio’s head off.  So there’s that. 
  • And then we just cut to everyone being all cool?  
  • And Wes threatens Gunn, telling him that if he ever keeps an important secret like that, he’ll fire him.
  • And Angel and Gunn are cool, I guess? Or not? Or they’ll get there?  Fine.
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Sigh. Preemptive sigh.
  • Oh right, we start with Angel delivering a “heartfelt” apology and his actions sound like an apology to Darla but we know all about the show’s bait and switches: he’s apologizes to Merl, who immediately calls him out on reading his apology off a notecard. But see, I couldn’t tell that it was supposed to sound insincere because DB doesn’t paint well in the sincerely regretful color already.
me too, bb. me too
  • Aw man, Merl needed therapy for the shitty way Angel treated him. Angel offers him a free revenge shot, but of course Caritas has a spell preventing any demon violence so that doesn’t work.
  • Merl, not accepting the apology and severing ties, fucks off to his sewer home … where he is promptly and permanently slaughtered by an unseen force. RIP Merl.
  • Aw, Gunn’s grief for his sister still haunts him (when it’s convenient for the plot). He’s got nightmares about night he staked Alonna.
  • Honestly I have to question Angel’s detectivey skills. He relied on a demon snitch to do the dirty work, or an inside source with the police. Does he actually … ever … detective? Beyond smelling blood sometimes? When investigating the carnage at Merl’s the next day all he’s got is “So far, we’ve ruled out suicide.”
  • Meanwhile, Gunn’s confused why they’re investigating Merl’s death. “I mean, he was what he was, right? … Somebody killed a demon. Hello, we do that every day.” Yes good plan, let’s put some light bigotry in the mouth of the one Black principal. I get that it’s flavored from his memory-nightmare, but come on, writers.
  • And yep, at this point in the series, where we’ve met enough non-evil demons, it is bigotry to just regard demons being murdered as something negligible. This isn’t the Buffy world anymore, where the lines are cleaner.
  • Anyway, Gunn goes to visit … you guessed it … that old gang of his. All new faces for us, except Rondell, who was pivotal in Gunn’s end-of-season arc last season.
  • Gio, the new loudmouth of the crew, draws an even harder line against demons than Gunn does, because of course. More Black characters spouting the bigotry.
  • Back at the Hyperion, we continue to worry about Fred’s residual agoraphobia from her five years of torment on Pylea.
  • Cordy: “It’s not that I don’t like her, it’s just – I don’t get her.” Reminds me a bit of the Scoobies not “getting” Tara in “Family.”
  • *snort* Angel’s at the top of the Enemies of Merl list that Cordy made. She also points out that half the names on the list weren’t Merl’s enemies until Angel made him snitch on them. It is looking more and more like, even inadvertently, Angel’s responsible. Except that we who know the future know it was Gunn’s old crew.
  • Anyway, Rondell points out that Gunn started withdrawing once his sister died, which, FAIR. But the two of them seem to make peace, recognizing how many people are alive by the work Gunn did, the fight he inspired. What we’ll see is that the mission got twisted in his absence, which … ain’t that always the way of it?
  • We cut to a big slimy but sweetly harmless demon slurping a soft drink in the sewer, then beset and slaughtered by the crew, the scene ending with a closeup of Gio with a crossbow.
  • Gunn shows up at another slaughter scene, asks again why they’re continuing to investigate demon deaths. Wes tries to speak to him gently of the shades of grey (no longer that Rogue Demon Hunter). G: “So we find this demon-killing machine, what then? We gonna stop it? Or thank it?” // W: “I don’t know.” That’s part of the grey shade here.
  • “Whatever’s responsible for these attacks isn’t making any distinctions [of morality]. It’s just killing. Randomly.”
  • But Gunn hides an evidence bag with a bit of a weapon he recognizes as being from his crew. He goes back to Rondell with the evidence, telling him to call Gio in. But Rondell tells him Gio’s not a rogue. They killed it because it was a demon, regardless of any of its actions. Again with the SIIIIIIIGH of the narrative this Very White writers room is building about a crew of mostly Black members. Does that make Gunn “one of the good ones?” “Not like the others?” Excuse me, I need to rage blackout for a second.
  • Cordy’s brilliant idea to get Fred out on the world is to make her sing karaoke … maybe not the best idea for someone clearly so traumatically afraid of being noticed, but hey any excuse to use a set we still have and are about to destroy.
  • Gunn, conflicted, is back at the Hyperion, not yet sure if he wants to tell Angel Investigations that he knows who’s behind the attacks. Angel, meanwhile, is seeing a pattern in the attacks: it’s not random, and whoever’s doing it is having fun.
  • Aw Fred chose to sing “Crazy” at Caritas. Poor thing. Gunn spares one fond smile when he sees her, then goes to the bar to avoid the others … and gets read by Lorne, even without singing.
  • And fuck. Before Gunn can come clean, we have FUCKING MACHINE GUNFIRE all throughout Caritas, taking out demons left and right. That anti-violence spell applies only to demons.
  • I really wish none of this was happening. I really wish the writers weren’t putting the weapons for a mass shooting in the hands of a marginalized group. I wish I wish I wish.
  • I bet the writers thought they were soooooo clever, putting all this bigotry in the mouths of Black characters. “See guys?” they say. “We flipped your expectations!”
  • This entire episode is one long Thanks, I Hate It.
  • Wes, realizing the crew is responsible for the demon deaths, looks at Gunn’s ashamed face and understands: “You knew.”
  • Gunn to Rondell: “You lost the mission, bro … this is not what we’re about.”
  • Wes reminds Rondell, who’s got a gun trained on him, that his last serious injury was incurred when he was helping Rondell in “The Thin Dead Line” 
  • Gunn: “We used to face death because we had to. Now you’re chasing it down, man, for the fun of it. That ain’t right.”
  • They allow Cordy to leave to go fetch Angel. Can’t she just … call him?
  • “This is a bad plan and I’ll tell you why: it’s their plan!”
  • Angel sends Cordy to talk to the three Furies to lift the Caritas spell so that Angel can fight off the crew.
  • Meanwhile Gio’s singing Buffy and Spike’s first dance song, “Wind Beneath My Wings” while they wait for Angel to arrive.
  • Meanwhile to that meanwhile, Gunn’s figured out the plan: they’re gonna make him kill Angel, to prove what side he’s on.
  • Gio shoots the karaoke machine. Joy-killing asshole.
  • Lorne, meanwhile, read Gio while he sang. Apparently he fled from Miami for some unspecified betrayal. “Right up until the end, she trusted you. Did you know that?”
  • Gio taunts Gunn that he wants to be “one of them,” the demons. Foreshadowing for the comics? (no, but we can pretend)
  • He’s basically now flipping the language, saying Gunn is friendly with the demons, hoping they’ll “let him in,” and now it’s an allegory for a Black man being accepted by white society? Is that what’s happening? Like? IS THAT WHAT THE WRITERS ARE DOING IN THE SAME SCENE AS EVERYTHING ELSE HAPPENING HERE.
  • Gunn, in a rage, shoots one of the demons, the one identified as a baby-eater. I guess to make us semi-okay with it? He’s violating the sanctuary but he’s killing one of the confirmed evil demons?
  • Y’all, I don’t even know. This is all so ugh.
  • Angel tells Gunn to make a choice, walking forward calmly in vamp face.
  • And Cordy visits the levitating Furies who keep going “mmmm Angel,” so I guess they have past sexytimes with him.
  • Back at Caritas, Gunn drops the stake. “You think I won’t kill him because he’s my friend? That ain’t why. Truth is he can never be my friend. It’s on account of what he is. Not his fault really. Just the way it worked out … It’s about the mission, bro. He’s got it. You don’t.” An interesting line in the sand to draw, but whatever, everything in this episode is trash.
  • Gio’s now decided that a “monster-lover” is no better than a monster, so any sympathizers will die too. Very cool and not at all fascist mentality.
  • “Who wants to live?” And Fred slowly stands up. “I’m sorry, I just—I don’t wanna die.” Gio hands her the crossbow with a smirk.
  • Angel: “It’s okay. I understand.”
  • But she spins to Gio “Although I thought I might just shoot you in the throat instead.” Then starts babbling about the science of bloodloss.
  • Angel tries to calmly ask her to point it back at him. He doesn’t want her to kill a human. And just in time, as they grab the weapon back from her, the spell is lifted, and the fight begins. Gio gets beheaded and then the demon what ate his head is blasted. Uh. Problem solved? I don’t even.
  • Wes: “It’s never easy, the pull of divided loyalties. Whatever choice we do end up making we feel as though we’ve betrayed someone.”
  • But then after giving empathy, he warns Gunn that if he withholds information again that could endanger the team, he’s fired. Which is a nice bit of preemptive hypocrisy for Wes and what he does later this season. Though the divided loyalties is also a presager for his actions.
  • Gunn, to Angel, says he doesn’t mean what he said in there, that he was stalling. “No, you meant all of it, but that’s okay.”
  • It’s especially ugly for the writers to put these words, “I can’t help the way I feel, man, that’s just the way it is,” used to excuse bigotry, into the mouth of a Black man and – we know now, twenty years later – a gay man (the actor, not the character).
  • And Gunn is left alone on the street. His old crew is gone, his new team is also heading home. Alone, he walks out of frame.
  • Hey, fuck this episode?
  • Okay fine you know I get it, the morally grey area of demons in LA is something we need to keep dealing with and discussing on this series, and it makes sense that this would be an especially dicey conversation for Gunn, given his history. I just really really hate that they chose to couch this conflict the way it did, putting all the problematic stuff in the mouths of the marginalized characters, so they can be lectured by the white characters. It's a fucked up way to handle what should have been a good and interesting continuing exploration.
Favorite Lines:

“When he did his pleasure-killing, he had no soul. You can make no such claim.” – Wes
Zelda: Nothing. No thank you.


First Appearance:
The Three Furies
Recurring: Lorne, Rondell, Merl
Generally Known TV Face: Khalil Kain

Caritas Song List
“Wind Beneath My Wings”


Cordelia’s Hair – mid-length bob, honey-brown color
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 14
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
Disappointing Reveal – 1 (that old gang of Gunn’s)
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 0