PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

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

REVIEW ARCHIVES

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Forking With Gunn

 Episode 3.02: That Vision Thing. Original Airdate: 10.01.01


“Lilah coerces Angel to help her secure the release of a prisoner the Powers That Be have locked in a fiery prison.”
 






Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • We open with Wes and Gunn handling Cordy with kid gloves, worrying about how she’s handling the after-effects of her visions. Meanwhile, Fred’s downstairs with them eating Chinese takeout, but camped out under a table.
  • Oops I misread that—they’re worried about her because she hasn’t had a vision in a while. Also Wes and Gunn helpfully exposit to Fred (and the audience, because new season and the show’s not out on DVD yet) about how the visions work.
  • Hey y’all it’s Gavin Park again. Cordy starts schmoozing him and his expensive loafers until Wes identifies him as a W&H suit. When he spies Fred he says simply “New player?”
  • *snort* he’s filing a bunch of citations against the hotel. Gavin, love, this is not how you lawyer ex machina. Well, maybe it’s how you lawyer ex machina, but it’s not impressive, just annoying.
  • Cordy’s finally gotten a vision, but fuuuuuuuuck she’s got slices across her stomach from the five-clawed beast of her vision. That’s just … super unfair? Like, come on, Powers That Be. If you’re really all that powerful you wouldn’t do shit like this to a white hat. She doesn’t need stigmata to prove her heroism. She’s already proven that, over and over, without the extra punishment.
  • Jeez, she’s got extra slices across her back. And on her shoulder. This is bullshit.
  • Angel’s intuited enough that he knows Cordelia is suffering more than she’s letting on, but I have to ask why he doesn’t smell the blood from her wounds when he’s literal inches away and has enhance vampire nostrils.
  • Gunn, tired of chauffeuring them to the wrong herbalist shops, says “Next time we’re hitting the last place first,” and I love him.
  • Oh hey. This one’s the right place, I guess. They know on sight that Angel is a vampire.
  • Oh also they’re the clawed beasts. This was so obviously made in the wake of  Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’s popularity. They’re all flying martial artsy.
  • We don’t even kill them, we just take the coin from their unconscious bodies and leave.
  • And over at W&H, Gavin’s a transfer into Special Projects from Real Estate, which explains why his first sally at Angel Investigations after the attempt to buy the building is building code violations.
  • Cordy’s eyebrows look extra archy this season. Are they archier? Is it just me?

Archier?

  • Fred compares Cordy to Lassie, because she’s the mission messenger, but Cordy’s not wild about the dog comparison. Hey she can bond with Willow, reliable dog geyser person!
  • Damn, a second vision. And this one comes with boils she can’t hide from the gang, as they’re all over her face. She’s taken her hair down to hide as much of it as she can.
  • She’s also now incredibly hoarse, in a way that doesn’t sound faked, so I’m wondering if Charisma was really sick and they were like “use it!”
  • “This must be a mistake. The Powers wouldn’t do this to me on purpose. I mean, I’m a part of their team. Why would anybody do this on purpose?”
  • Fred suggests asking the Powers what’s up. Why didn’t Angel think of this earlier? He used to speak to them in S1 … though I guess they got mildly slaughtered in the S1 finale...
  • They don’t want to leave Cordy alone while she’s suffering but I say she’s got Phantom Dennis, he’s got access to the landline. He can call them. Sure he can’t speak, but he do something.
  • The show’s already planting seeds for Gunn and Fred’s romance.
  • But the flirting is interrupted when they find a fumigator gassing up the hotel lobby. Slash planting surveillance for Gavin. (spoilers, spoilers, my notes are full of spoilers this week)
  • Aw Wes called in Lorne to come help. They’re hoping he can use his connection to help track a message back to the PtB.
  • Cordy’s resistant to help because she doesn’t want to lose the visions. “I wouldn’t be able to help you anymore. You wouldn’t need me.” Angel: “That’s not why I need you.” I’m fine, I just have a few feelings.
  • Hey y’all Lilah’s got Kal Penn in a Fez working for her. Last time we saw him in the Buffyverse he was a cavebro! But this version of him levitates, removes the fez, and reveals an exposed and pulsating brain. And he seems to be sending more torturous visions to Cordy, scorching her skin and sending her into convulsions, as Lorne is thrown back against the wall by the force of it.
  • So here’s my question: are Lilah and Kal Penn in a Fez also causing the intense physical torture, or did they send only that vision? Is this a combination of the Powers being shitty and W&H being even shittier?
  • Cordy’s breaking down. “I’m scared all the time. I mean, look at me. What could be so important that the Powers would do this? I don’t understand.”
  • Oh, the show’s here to answer my questions. Thanks show! Lorne’s figured out that they’re not coming from the Powers. So the coin and the key they’ve collected … they’re pieces Lilah needed him to fetch for her evil plot of the week.
  • I don’t really believe that recruiting Angel was the only way for Lilah to retrieve Billy (spoilers) from his demon prison, so this is probably still a piece of W&H’s long goal of turning Angel, making him undertake missions he knows aren’t for the good. Either he burns with guilt (win for them) or it numbs him to doing bad things and he keeps doing bad things (win for them). Keep moving the line until there is no line, right?
  • Anyway Wes confirms that the demons they fought to get the key and the coin were on the side of good, so it’s lucky we didn’t kill them after all!
  • Oooh the key and coin combine to form a spinny top that opens the portal. I dig it. Nice design.
  • I hope they return them to their rightful owners after this.
  • Also Angel lost all his weapons when he went through the portal. Whoopsy. “Sure. Cuz it’d be too easy if I could actually defend myself.” I mean. You are a vampire, my dude. “At least I got the key,” he says helpfully in case the viewers are unobservant.
  • Oh right, it’s Skip! Skip of the Confusing Arc of Whose Side Are You On (Spoilers!)
  • It’s fun, because he looks so otherworldly creepy and then his conversational style is so informal and unmenacing. And his name is Skip (named after one of the series’ director/producers, Skip Schoolnick)
  • “You’re a vampire, right? How come it smells like you work for the Powers That Be?” See, he can smell stuff. Get with it, Angel.
  • They’re both casually talking about the fact that they’re on the same side and yet it’s fighty time, and I think it’s supposed to be reminiscent of Dread Pirate Westley and Inigo Montoya.
  • Aaaaaaand Billy’s fire prison stops being fire and prisony once Skip is knocked out. Oooh is this a deathless episode? That’s cool.
  • Cordelia’s vision side effects fade when Kal Penn in a Fez removes the mojo, and Billy is handed over to Lilah and the suits.
  • I have to ask, knowing the future and all, did none of our team touch Billy during this? Someone had to bind his wrists with rope. And the car isn’t that roomy.
  • Oop, we’ve got one dead body after all. Angel launches a rebar like a knight’s lance, impaling Kal Penn in his squishy exposed brain.
  • Angel threatens to kill Lilah if she comes after Cordelia again. For some reason, I thought this happened at the end of S1, when they were bombarding her with nonstop visions. Oh well, time is a flat circle.
  • Cordy, though grateful to no longer be as tortured: “What if that guy you freed is someone or something that’s truly terrible? Wolfram & Hart won this time and it’s all my fault.” // “It’s not about winning, Cordelia, it’s about what’s at stake. And in this particular scenario you were way more important than winning.”
  • Angel pulls a Scarlett O’Hara, saying they’ll deal with the consequences when they happen. So of course we segue cut to pregnant Darla still looking to get rid of her impossible fetus.
  • So in the comments for the episode where Angel tried to save Darla  Travis pointed out that because Angel won a life through the trials but it couldn’t be used to save Darla, the Powers gifted them with the impossible baby. I can’t remember if they officially acknowledge that in canon, but I really love that read, and it makes me okay with the macguffiny stuff behind this plot arc.
 
Daniel’s Thoughts:

  • Wes & Gunn are talking over Chinese food.  They’re discussing how to handle Cordelia.
  • Fred is also there, eating Chinese food, under a table. 
  • Now I want Chinese Food. [Dude, me too. - Z]
  • Speaking of Chinese food.  Why do TV show characters always eat Chinese food out of the box?  Does no one put it on a plate?  Putting the Chicken or whatever over the Rice?  Man, I really want Chinese Food.
  • Cordelia doesn’t want the gang to fuss over her visions.   She’s fine!  Sure, you are, Cordelia.
  • And Gavin Park is back.  I'm glad he wasn't a one-hit wonder. He's looking handsome as  ever in expensive suit and loafers.


  • He’s there to let them know there are 57 citations with the Hotel.
  • Cordelia has another ferocious vision.
  • Oh shit.  This vision physically attacked her like Freddy Krueger.  She’s got 5 slices across her abs.
  • Fred’s starting to help with the research. She’s also being weirdly flirty with Angel.  It’s a bit cringe.
  • Cordelia also has claw marks on her back and shoulder and I’m not sure why she doesn’t want to share this info with the rest of the crew when they could help.
  • “I’ve asked Fred to take you home”  Does she…drive?  Even if she acquired a car in the last few months which I very seriously doubt.
  • Wesley: “One of the unwritten laws of being a dick.”  He clarifies that he means detective or gumshoe. But then Gunn is all: “You use the word dick again and we’re gonna have a problem.”  What?  Why? I want to be offended if this homophobic in a way I don’t realize but I don't think it is? Does he just not like using the word dick? What?  I don’t.  What strange dialogue.
  • Wes Angel and Gunn get to the Chinese herbal shop and the old couple who run it turn out to be demons who fight them.  Fun!
  • Meanwhile at Wolfram & Hart, Lilah has bangs.
  • Gavin informs Lilah that he’s working on something regarding Angel Investigations & would like her on his team.
  • Meanwhile Cordy is trying to get rid of Fred.  Again, how did she take her home?  Eh, whatever.
  • Fred wants to know what it’s like to have a vision. Cordelia wants her to go.  And then Fred compares her to Lassie.  
  • But before Cordy can get rid of Fred, she has another lethal vision.  This time she passes out and grows…boils?
  • Interestingly in the next scene, presumably filmed later, Cordy’s voice is very hoarse like Charisma came down with a cold or something.  Good timing.  Either that or Charisma is good at making her voice sound hoarse.
  • Angel goes searching for the key in Cordelia’s vision & ends up fighting the boil demon.
  • Wes stays with Cordelia & Gunn walks Fred home…where there are exterminators.  Oh!  I guess Fred walked...Cordelia to her apartment?  Does she live that close to the hotel?  Anyway, Gunn flirts with Fred but it's very blink and you'd miss it.
  • Wes invites Lorne over to help to trace the visions.
  • Cordy doesn’t want to lose the visions because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to help Angel without them.
  • So Lorne does a mind meld with Cordelia. [Um,  - Spock]
  • Hey, it’s Kal Penn!  He’s doing some sort of floaty thing and his brain lifting out of his body and it’s gross.
  • Cordelia is having her third vision of the episode (are these things connected?) – and she gets literally burned.  So yeah, these two things are connected.  It’s Lilah who’s causing this – not the powers that be.
  • Cordelia thinks bad things are happening because she’s a bad person.  And it’s very heart-breaking.
  • Lorne figures out that the visions aren’t from the powers.  They figure it out pretty quickly – that this is due to Wolfram & Hart, specifically Lilah Morgan.
  • She wants Angel to free a guy who is imprisoned. In exchange, she'll stop sending lethal visions to Cordy.
  • Wes prepares Angel for his mission but wants to accompany him.  Angel says he needs Wes to stay there.
  • The objects Angel has collected from Cordy’s vision creates a top that opens a portal (because of course it does.)  Once Angel goes through, his weapons are left behind. Almost like the Terminator portal…. unlike the Terminator portal, his clothes stay on.
  • Angel sees the guy imprisoned.  It feels like some hell dimension with the prisoner literally burning in a cube for all eternity.  Yikes.
  • And this demon with a lot of weird armor – there’s like a set of teeth on his shoulder.  The make-up and costume is incredibly impressive.  
Where did those teeth come from??

  • But the best part?  His name is Skip.  And he talks like he’s from California.  Love Skip.
  • Time for the grand fight.  Angel pushes Skip toward the flaming cube but then saves him weirdly?  Then knocks him out? Okay.
  • And then the flaming cube disappears and the guy that Angel is supposed to be saving is just…a bit sooty I guess?
  • So Angel meets Lilah at what I’m assuming is the place James Dean drag raced at in Rebel Without a Cause? Maybe?
  • They get Fred on the phone to make sure the spell is reversed.
  • Kal Penn does his creepy brain thing and the boils disappear from Cordy’s face.  It worked.
  • So who is this guy?  So evil that he was tortured by burning forever.
  • And Angel kills Kal Penn so that it never happens again – essentially saying, “don’t fuck with Cordelia.”
  • The next day Cordelia is feeling perky and very thankful.
  • “It’s not about winning, Cordelia.  It’s what’s at stake. And in this particular scenario, you’re way more important than winning.” I love that attitude.  It’s fantastic,  And very sweet.  Angel says it so matter-a-factly.
  • Meanwhile in the Yoro Mountains:  Darla seeks a shaman. He knows exactly what she is.  She is seeking answers.
  • He does a blood spell. But he says he can’t help.  Then Darla: “Time to go visit Daddy.”

Favorite Lines:
Zelda & Daniel: “It’s not about winning, Cordelia, it’s about what’s at stake. And in this particular scenario you were way more important than winning.” – Angel
 
Arc/Continuity:
First Appearance: Skip, Billy Blim
Recurring: Lorne, Lilah Morgan, Darla, Gavin Park, Phantom Dennis
Future Famous Person: Kal Penn
Generally Known TV Face: Frank Salsedo, David Denman
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Justin Shilton (Billy Blim in Angel, Munroe in Buffy), Kal Penn (Young Man in Fez in Angel, Hunt in Buffy)
Lorne’s Nicknames: His Royal Badness (Angel), Princess (Cordy)
 
Stats:
Cordelia’s Hair – low ponytail, down to hide the boils, two low pigtails
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 1
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 3
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 2 (the two groups that Angel fought to get the key and the coin)
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 1 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The B Word Was the Love of His Life

Episode 3.01: Heartthrob. Original Airdate: 9.24.01



“As Angel mourns Buffy’s death, he battles a lovelorn vampire seeking revenge for the death of his beloved, who was killed by Angel.”
 




Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • And we’re back!  I remember watching this episode the first time almost completely forgetting who Fred was.
  • But here she is.  Sneaking around the Hyperion.
  • Cordy, Wes & Gunn are coming back from beating a bunch of demon worshippers.
  • Wes has my pandemic hair.
Oh shit, he does. - Z

  • We’re exposited that Angel has been away for three months.  And Fred’s just been hiding out.
  • “The B Word was the love of his life” – We're discussing Buffy's death at the end of last season.
  • So it’s also exposited that Angel is with a bunch of monks.  We assume he’s praying and getting spiritual – but no, he’s fighting demon monks all bloody.
  • And Amy Acker joins the cast full time.
  • Something we learn about Wes & Gunn: They can fight demons but they don’t like rats.
  • And Angel comes home – and everyone is happy to see him.  And he brings gifts!
  • Wes, as he receives his knife gift: “Oh, I can’t wait to kill something with it!’
  • Cordy has been leaving Fred Tacos. A nice throwback to last season.
  • Meanwhile, Fred is crazily writing on the walls. Her whole room is covered.
  • Interesting that Angel can’t go into Fred’s room without being invited.  I guess she technically lives there – but what qualifies that?  She doesn’t pay for her room.  She’s been there for three months.  How long before it’s someone’s home and not just that she’s staying there.  Is a room in a hotel a home, but a room in someone else’s house not?  Like if you rent a room in someone’s house, can a vampire go into the house but not the room?  Also, technically Angel leases the hotel – so doesn't everything in it belong to him? [Also does that mean he shouldn’t have been able to enter Gunn’s crew’s quarters? If they were living there? – Z]
  • “Nothing to be scared of; you’re safe here in the hotel.” Cue Cordelia screaming.
  • She’s having a really super bad vision.  Bunch of vamps.
  • “Watch out for the blonde! She’s the worst!”
  • They all leave.  Cordelia’s still in insane pain.
  • Ok back to my home inviting discussion: Angel was able to come into the dorm room uninvited – but that’s because the inhabitants are dead, maybe? There are two hostages but maybe they didn’t live in that room.  Who knows?
  • Angel to the rescue.   He leaps on the car. Big fight.  
  • Before killing the blonde, Angel tears off her necklace which is obviously important.  Right before she dies, she lets out a feeble, “Angelus?”  She knows him.
  • Cordelia, home now, is still suffering from her vision.
  • Dennis, the ever-helpful ghost, lowers the lights and runs a bath.  I need a ghost.
  • Ok Loofa-ing her back might be a bit much.  She seems to have a verrrryy close relationship with Dennis.
  • 1767 – Marseilles – we’re in our flashback now.
  • Darla is here!  Yay!  And the Blonde vampire that Angel killed earlier…with a beau we’ve just met. (Elisabeth & James, we find out later.)
  • They’re worried about Holtz, a vampire killer; a name we heard briefly last season.
  • It’s not said if Angel sired either of these two. We know that Angel sired more than just Drusilla.  It'd be interesting to see how many of Angel's sires come out of the woodwork.
  • The male vampire, James, gets himself into a spot of trouble.  We finally meet Holtz. And then Angel cuts off the story. To be continued.
  • BTW, Cordy’s hair looks amazing.  (But it kinda always does?)  This particular look suits her well though.
  • Meanwhile James, in full on early 2000s look is grieving for Elisabeth. 
  • James throws his fellow vamp into the sun and he immediately bursts into flames. The sun/bursting into flames thing is SO INCONSISTANT AND ANNOYS ME SO MUCH.  Like, Spike NEVER immediately bursts into flames.  Or if he does, it's like his arm for a minute while someone throws a blanket over him.
  • Cordy is trying to console Angel about Buffy – but he thinks she’s talking about Elisabeth which kinda says something.
  • It’s interesting that they never say Buffy’s name.
  • We return to the flashback and Angel’s …Irish accent.  Angel is all sassy and gets punched by Holtz.
  • Holtz and his men try to fight Angel and James but they get away.
  • Ok, James visits this doctor who is….sloughing?  It’s like this weird alien thing on his face? I’m not sure what it’s supposed to do.
  • James wants “the cure” from him. He goes into surgery.
  • Hey, it’s Lorne!  He’s singing: I left my heart in San Francisco.
  • It seems to be old people night and there’s this adorable old demon:

  • Merl is back.  Gunn & Wes are seeking some information.  They’re looking for James.
  • And in a nice parallel, James surprises Angel & Cordy at the cellar door the way Angel startled Cordy earlier in the episode.
  • And Fred takes this moment to come out of her room.
  • Fight!  Cordy tries to help but with all the weapons at her disposal, she throws a fire extinguisher.
  • Then she gets a stake but accidently throws it to James instead of Angel. 
  • Anyway, Angel stakes James but it doesn’t take.  He also throws James out into the sun.  Samesies.  It’s like he’s wearing that ring of angora or something.  Ring of Amarra?  
  • They escape to the tunnels. 
  • Oh! Cordelia brings up the ring of Amelia.  She thinks like I do!
  • Oh, the early 2000s cell phones!
  • Wes tells Cordelia about the operation that James underwent.  Apparently, it makes him invincible but once it wears off, he dies.  
  • LA subways.  Oh, that’s a thing.
  • “It happened about three months ago.  We try not to say her name too much.”
  • James doesn’t believe that Angel loved Buffy because he’s not committing suicide…I guess?  Like way to have a very narrow and mentally damaging idea of love, James.
  • Anyway, James’ time is up.  He dusts.
  • Cordelia finally says Buffy’s name.
  • “I’m okay.” “Then what’s the problem?” “That I’m okay.  That losing Buffy didn’t kill me.” I mean what is grief, if not...
  • Yikes.  “Nester demons” like to nest in the walls in peoples' homes.  That sounds frightening.
  • Meanwhile in Nicaragua, we finally see Darla – in the modern times – at a bar.  She gets info on a shaman.  The guy who gave her the information relentlessly hits on her, so she kills him.  And then boom – we see her very pregnant belly.
 
 
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • And here we go. Buffy’s dead (or is she?), a twitchy Fred is in the hotel, and Gunn, Cordy, and Wes continue to fight the good fight.
  • They’re a bit concerned about Fred’s hibernation and … maybe they should get her some therapy? Just a thought? She’s got massive PTSD from five years in Pylea and their attitude seems to be pretty shruggy.
  • Apparently Angel’s at a spiritual retreat in Sri Lanka … that involves a lot of fighty fight.
  • Man, the show’s writers need to stop with the big group slaughters. It makes it so hard to keep up with our body count.
  • Aw Angel came back. The group greets him very sweetly, many hugs and warm smiles. Also Angel was wearing white at the monk retreat and now he’s wearing a light colored jacket and he’s already starting the season with a different energy from last season.
  • Angel brought the gang sweet personal gifts … anything for Fred?
  • Woof, Fred’s turned her hotel room into a new cave, the walls covered in writing.
  • First vision of the season! And Cordy’s writhing on the floor and screaming, shit.
  • The blonde vampire in Cordy’s vision has a distinct large heart-shaped locket.
  • Damn, more dead bodies. Come on, show. We’re only two human bloggers.
  • Ooh and when Angel stakes that blonde vamp, ripping off her locket as he does so, she says in surprise “Angelus?” before she ashes.
  • Poor Cordelia, recovering at home from her vision, taking what looks like prescription pain medication. Dennis prepares her bath, looking after her. But it’s a short-lived quiet when her phone rings.
  • Flashback to Marseilles! Angelus and Darla and two random in-love vamps. Is this before or after Spike and Dru? I am very bad (read: lazy) at putting the flashbacks in chronological order in my head. I guess they tried picking up a second couple more than once. Also we’re name-dropping Holtz as someone hunting them still.
  • This is after Darla left Angelus to die in the barn, but they’re both twisty enough that it doesn’t seem to be a sticking point.
  • Ah, we see James lift the locket from a shop for Future Dead Blonde Vamp Elisabeth.
  • I wonder if they intended James to be English and then he just couldn’t do the accent? He calls the soldiers “bloody frogs”
  • Oh here’s Holtz. Hi Holtz.
  • Oh, for once, the flashback was Angel actually telling the story to the gang, and not just adding thematic color to whatever’s happening now.
  • And then we cut to Present James, learning that Elisabeth is dead and watching her car get towed. One vamp survived the fight to tell the story but now it’s time for James to rage-kill him by tossing him into sunlight. And since he’s not a series regular vamp, he bursts into full flames immediately and dies.
  • Meanwhile Cordy’s worried that Angel’s still not processing Buffy’s death. “She was the love of your life and she died. And you weren’t there when it happened. You couldn’t help her fight. You couldn’t save her. You couldn’t die with her.” It’s a good point. The Pylea arc was very smart timing because it wouldn’t make sense for Angel to miss that fight otherwise.
  • Holtz has Angelus and James surrounded and it appears Angelus and Darla killed his whole family. So yeah, I can see him holding a grudge.
  • Angelus, hearkening back to Darla’s move of leaving him to die in the barn, tells Holtz that Darla and Elisabeth are down at the docks. James punches him in a fury but maybe this was the plan all along, because it’s enough of a mess that they’re able to escape on a horse, even with a few arrows in Angelus (don’t worry, he has the tiniest heart of all vampires)
  • And back in the present, James goes to some kind of Demon Doc, asking for “the cure” and I have a lot of questions. I know this is some kind of heart removal thing, so that he can go after Angel without being killed, but he’s not Davy Jones and this should really super kill him.
  • Anyway LORNE IS HERE and he’s singing in a nicely fixed up Caritas. He has such a lovely voice.
  • Oh Merl is here too. Remember Merl? He’s here to give Wes and Gunn some intel on James, but refuses to give them anything if Angel’s around, which, legit.
  • Angel wants Cordy to go hide at home and she thinks that makes her a sitting duck for a hostage situation.
  • Aw damn, Fred finally emerges from her room while Angel grapples with James. “Go back to your room and stay there!” // “Okay then.”
  • Whoops, Cordy tries to toss a stake to Angel, but James intercepts it and almost stakes Angel. But Angel gets the stake back, stakes James and … James does not ash. Again I ask if the heart is vital to a vamp’s survival, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that he’s still a functional vamp. Also he’s not catching on fire. Did they like implant the Ring of Amara? Is that what’s actually happening?
  • Oh, Cordy has the same thought I did. “Did the Amara people make cufflinks or belt buckles?”
  • Ah, so the invincible “cure” has a time limit. James still plans to die, to not live without Elisabeth, he just wants to take Angel with him. Okay fine magic magic whatever I won’t call a shenanigan on the heart thing, but I do still think it’s silly.
  • Also pretty sure we saw James’s reflection in the subway windows.
Yup.

  • “Well this is a new twist in an old snake.” Um?
  • James wants to kill the woman Angel loves but … she’s dead.
  • “You loved someone with all your heart … No you didn’t. … Because once she died or some bastard killed her, it would have killed everything in you.”
  • “This your idea of love, James? It’s not real unless it kills you?”
  • “You think you won … just because you’re still alive? I lived. You just existed.” And with that, James ashes.
  • It turns out what’s actually bothering Angel is that losing Buffy didn’t kill him. That he’s still okay. And … woof. I get this. Surviving the unsurvivable is fodder for so much guilt. But it’s also super not good for you. It’s not healthy. I get the guilt, believe me, sometimes I get angry at my ability to survive the unsurvivable too. But the alternative? To be destroyed by grief? I don’t think that should be held up as a romantic ideal. After all, what were Buffy’s parting words to Dawn? They weren’t about everything stopping once she died. They were about continuing to live. To be. Life has to mean something for death to mean anything.
  • And Cordy gives us another classic line. “You think?” “I’m Cordelia. I don’t think. I know. Okay?”
  • And the episode ends—or does it?—on a very Angel moment: Keep to the mission, keep on fighting. It never ends, but we keep going.
  • But hey that’s not the end after all because we’ve got a Darla chaser scene! She’s in a bar in Nicaragua, looking a bit strung out, and vamps out to kill the man hitting on her. No one else seems to notice. And then hey she stands up from the bar and she is SUPER DUPER PREGNANT.
  • Welcome to Season Three y’all.
 
Favorite Lines:
Daniel: Angel: “I am okay.” Cordelia: “Then what’s the problem?” Angel: “That I’m okay. That losing Buffy didn’t kill me.”
Zelda: “I’m Cordelia. I don’t think. I know. Okay?” – Cordelia
 
Arc/Continuity:
First Appearance: Daniel Holtz
Recurring: Darla, Lorne, Merl, Phantom Dennis, Angel’s “Irish” “Accent”
Generally Known TV Face: Ron Melendez, Kate Norby, Keith Szarabajka, Dalila Ali Rajah, Sam Littlefield, Christian Svensson, Bob Morrisey
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Bob Fimiani (second role on Angel; Elder Gommen on Firefly, Mr. Ward on Buffy)
 
Angel! In! History!
In 1767, Angelus and Darla were in Marseilles, still being pursued by Holtz, and in the company of obnoxiously-in-love James and Elisabeth. By the time they left Marseilles, James and Elisabeth had split off from them.

Caritas Song List
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco”
 
Stats:
Cordelia’s Hair – honey brown, grown out a bit from last season to just above shoulder-length
Dead Humans – 1 (+ an ambiguous # of partygoers)
Dead Undeads – 5 (+ an ambiguous # of demon monks)
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 1
Wesley Prat-falls – 0 
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Pregnant Reveal – 1 (GASP!)
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 0

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

You Think We Might Make It, Season Two?

Series Stats:

Dead Humans - 67+
Dead Undeads - 115+
Dead Flashbacks - 26 (+)
Alterna-Dead Humans - 2
Alterna-Dead Undeads - 1
Dead Lawyers - 16
Doyle Has a Vision - 7
Cordelia Has a Vision - 21
Wesley Prat-Falls - 9
Lawyered Ex Machina - 9
Evil Reveal - 13
Unevil Reveal - 11
Shenanigans Called - 26
Apocalypse Called - 4
Prophecy Called - 7
Champion Called - 4

Season Two Stats (including comparison to previous season):

Dead Humans: 40+ (+13)
Dead Undeads: 53+ (-9)
Dead Flashbacks: 9+ (-8/?)
Alterna-Dead Humans: 0 (-2)
Alterna-Dead Undeads: 0 (-1)
Dead Lawyers: 15 (+15)
Doyle Has a Vision: 0 (-9)
Cordelia Has a Vision: 14 (+7)
Wesley Prat-Falls: 2 (-5)
(Angel Prat-Falls: 1)
Lawyered Ex Machina: 1 (-7)
(Evil Handed Ex Machina: 1)
Evil Reveal: 4 (-5)
Unevil Reveal: 4 (-3)
(Eyeroll Reveal: 1)
(Duh Reveal: 1)
Shenanigans Called: 15 (+5)
Apocalypse Called: 3 (+2)
Prophecy Called: 4 (+1)
Champion Called: 4 (+40

Additional Stats
New Recurring Characters: 25 (The Host (Lorne), Caritas, the Hyperion, Angel's love for Manilow, Gunn's hubcap axe, Drusilla, Virginia Bryce, Anne Steele, Nathan Reed, Rondell, George, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp, Skilosh Demon, Harmony Kendall, Willow Rosenberg, Fred Burkle, Landok, Gavin Park, Silas, Constable Narwek, Priest #1, Lorne's Mom, Groosalugg, Rebel Leader)
Future Famous Person: 2 (Justina Machado, Daniel Dae Kim)
Already/Past Famous Person: 1 (Tony Todd)
Generally Known TV Face: 51  (Brett Rickaby, J.P. Manoux, Tony Amendola, Christopher Babers, Edwin Hodge, Angel Parker, Ray Campbell, Gareth Williams, David Meunier (as David J. Miller), Stewart Skelton, Cheryl White, Rich Hutchman, Brigid Brannagh, Todd Susman, Saul Stein, Michael Yama, Patrick Kilpatrick, W. Earl Brown, Dwayne Barnes, Tom Kiesche, Jim Piddock, Evan Arnold, Nicolas Surovy, Jamie McShane, Gerry Becker, Mark Rolston, Darby Stanchfield, Matt Champagne, Mike Hagerty, Victoria Kelleher, Eric Lange, Norma Michaels, Cory Hadrict, Kyle Davis, Darris Love, Leah Pipes, Thomas Kopache, Pat Healy, Rebecca Avery, Michael Dempsey, Kavita Patil, Pete Gardner, Stephanie Nash, Brody Hutzler, Susan Blommaert, Persia White, William Newman, Tom McCleistser, Mark Lutz, Adoni Maropis, Lee Reherman)
Generally Known Face: 1 (Art LaFleur)
Buffy Crossover: 8 (Faith, Drusilla, The Master, Spike, Romani Man, Anne Steele, Harmony Kendall, Willow Rosenberg)
Whedonverse Hat Trick: 25 (Rob Boltin, Keith Campbell, Edward James Gage, David Meunier (as David J. Miller), Drew Wicks, Stewart Skelton, Michael Nagy, Jim Piddock, Joel Stoffer, Jamie McShane, Jason Padgett, Brendan Wayne, Eric Lange, Norma Michaels, Jarrod Crawford, Darris Love, David Fury, Adam Weiner, Kavita Patil, Stephanie Nash, Amy Acker, Persia White, Jackson Bolt, Joss Whedon, Whitney Dylan)
Angel's Alias: 4 (Police Detective, Jay-Don fanboy, Jay-Don, Leonard Taubman from the Taubman Foundation)
Cordelia's Alias: 3 (Lawyer, "Angel," Darla's sister)
Darla's Alias: 1 (DeEtta Kramer)
Wesley's Alias: 1 (Angel)
Gunn's Alias: 1 (Lester)
Lorne's Nicknames: 19 (Mr. Tall, Dark and Rockin', Curt Jurgens in The Enemy Below, Angelito, Hunk of Hero Sandwich, Mr. Get-to-the-point-y-pants, Angel Face, Goliath, F. Scott, Angelcakes (x2), My Lamb, Sparky, My Little Cacophany, Pilgrim, Sugar, Lorne, Golden Spawn, Copernicus, Pudding, Hans Christian Tarantino)
Cordy's Nicknames: 3 (Mr. I-don't-take-orders-now-where-do-I-stick-my-axe, Ass-pansy, Mr. Big Mojo Guy)
Lilah's Nicknames: 1 (Napoleon)
Merl's Nicknames: 1 (Fluffy)
Lindsey's Nicknames: 1 (Mr. Save-a-Soul)

The body count is getting significantly harder to track, thanks to a few slaughters and battles. We're counting as best we can, but you'll notice each one now has a + next to it, to indicate that the body count may be higher but we have no real way to calculate. Meanwhile in visions, it looks like Cordy's vision count has doubled, but if you take into account that she acquired that vision thing midway through season one, the total this season of 14 is equal to last season's. Our shenanigan count is way up, and we expect that trend to continue. We've also introduced a Champion count because ... that's a thing now.

Angel! In! History!
  • In 1952 Angel combed his hair with a side part, lived in the Hyperion Hotel, smoked, and tried to mind his own cynical business.
  • Angel prays to forget several fashion trends he's lived through.
  • Flashback!Angel had Flashback!kinkysex with Flashback!Darla while the Romani girl was tied up in the room, forced to watch.
  • Angel is 247. He was with Darla for 150 years. And he has a thing for convents.
  • Darla picked out Drusilla for Angelus. He murdered her entire family, pursued her to a convent, murdered everyone there, and then had sex with Darla in her lap. She didn't take it well.
  • He staked Darla 3.5 years ago.
  • 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.
  • In 1765 Darla and Angelus were on the run from Holtz in France (Spike and Dru presumably not yet part of the gang), though Angelus wants to go to Romania next (le gasp!). And when he was in Italy he wanted to go to France. Also Darla leaves him in a burning barn to face the horde alone, but promising to meet him in Vienna if he survives.
  • In the 1920s Angel was in Juarez in Mexico and got into a 3.5 hour fight with Boone over "a senorita." It ended when the sun came out.
  • "Back in the 50s, we all thought life was gonna be like The Jetsons by now."
  • Also Angel is old enough to think $1 is a good tip on a whole bunch of delivery food.
  • Angel is so old he remembers when a few bob would get you a good meal, a bottle, and a tavern wench. Also he was a fan of Bonanza.
  • Angel remembers being imprisoned in the Tower of London: "Wasn't that bad."

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.

Caritas Song List:
"I Will Survive"
"I'm So Excited"
"Sexual Healing"
"Mandy"
"Achy Breaky Heart"
"Send in the Clowns"
"Tears of a Clown"
"Get Here (If You Can)"
"Everybody Have Fun Tonight"
"I Got You, Babe"
"Ill Wind"
"Lady Marmalade"
"We are the Champions"
"Bye Bye Love"
"All By Myself"
"Reunited"
"The Way We Were"
"LA Song"
"Superstition"

Caritas on Tour Song List
"Star Spangled Banner"
"Greensleeves"
"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"
"Stop! In the Name of Love"
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Zelda's Thoughts:
Two weeks ago, this would be a very different post. Honestly, two years ago this would be a very different post. Although I'm grateful Daniel and I managed to find a way to continue the blog, even if we're no longer watching together under the same roof, 2020 has been a sufficient clusterfluff for all of us that I'm having a lot of trouble even holding the season in my head. It was only through going back through the stats that I remembered this season contained so much Darla because right now it all feels so long ago. Heck, even Beige Angel feels long ago. Basically anything before Pylea. Anything before the truth about the toxic culture perpetuated by Whedon on his sets came out. Let's see what I can remember ... S2 is in general a lot stronger shape than S1, because they're getting a better sense of who the characters are, as well as fleshing it out beyond just the "core" three of S1. Gunn is here, and while he's not perfectly written (a white writers room writing for a Black character will do that to ya), he is still a lovely addition with a nuanced performance by J. August Richards. Lindsey and Lilah also get a lot more to do, and both actors are clearly relishing the chance to play more colors. Cordelia's arc feels grounded and honest, showing her conflicting desires to be part of the larger mission and her waning desire to be a respected actor. But we see a lot more of her willingly taking on the hero mantle, during the Beige Angel arc especially, and then in Pylea, as she refused to let Groo lift the visions from her. Darla of course had an amazing arc, brilliantly performed by Julie Benz--such a gift to the series. Angel ... well he had some stuff. I dunno. The Beige Angel arc is so blah to me, the Obsessed Angel arc was making me all kinds of uncomfortable (remember when he was sniffing Cordy's hair for no damn reason?), and it feels like once he had his epiphany (which, don't get me wrong, is a great thesis statement for the whole series) he sort of factory-reset his personality: heroic, comically petty and vain, with that zest of self-hatred. Other good things: this season introduced us to Lorne, and I love him so so much. He and Caritas are such a gift of flavor (and music) to the series, and a great way of really establishing a flavor to Angel that is entirely separate from Buffy

I'm not sure what moving forward is going to look like for us. I'm not sure if I'll be able to stomach the Cordelia pregnancy storyline in two seasons, knowing how awful it was for Charisma Carpenter to survive any of that. I'm also not that kicked on getting into the Holtz of it all next season, even if we'll also be getting more greatness from Julie Benz as Darla. If I remember correctly, things are about to get all gnarled up in every direction. I guess we'll see how we do.