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


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Big Fluffy Puppy With Bad Teeth

Episode 1.03: In the Dark. Original Airdate: 10.19.99

“Spike and a colleague torture Angel in hopes of ascertaining the whereabouts of a ring that makes the wearer invincible.”

Daniel’s Thoughts:

  •  Hey, Spike's in this episode:

  • Episode starts with pretty blond girl running.
  • TW: domestic violence – which is such a big theme in 90s tv.  But it’s almost weirdly glamorized.
  • But Angel stops it!  Turns out this was planned.
  • Oh, hey it’s Spike – and he’s kinda hilarious here creating dialogue as he’s watching Angel & Rachel, the victim girl. Except for all the homophobic shit.
  • And then he gets all sinister, narrating that he’s going to kill Angel.  I mean, who is he talking to?  He’s such a grandstanding villain.  Let me monologue my plans for the audience.
  • Oh hey, It’s Oz!
  • Cordelia is so cute being excited over writing an invoice. Is it any wonder Anya was her replacement…

  • Cordy greeting Oz and being all happy to see him and then realizing they really have nothing in common.  It’s so the perfect after-high-school metaphor.
  • “Does he have a hat and a gun?” “Just fangs.” “That works.”
  • Ah, the gem of Amara.
  • Angel broods over the ring, as he’s wont to do.
  • Man, I can’t get over those giant computer monitors.
  • Angel gets jumped by Spike.  And they fight like old times.  All good.
  • Angel warns Cordelia & Doyle to stay hidden.  Good call. And I guess we’ll finally see what Doyle’s place looks like.  It’s slightly nicer than Cordelia’s.
  • Huh.  Doyle has a skull on his bookcase.
  • Angel: “Go with faith.” Me: “But Faith doesn’t show up til later.” BA DUM BUM
  • Angel’s playing with that weapon he had in the pilot where spikes come out of his sleeves.  I don’t remember him having all these contraptions.
  • The woman that Spike is feeding on is rescued by Angel and is told to run.  But what now? Does she go to the ER?  'Some vamp was draining me'? Like, I can imagine this happens a lot– How do doctors deal with this?  THIS IS A WHOLE OTHER SPINOFF THAT I WILL NOT WRITE. [CSI: Hellmouth - Z]
  • “Can we get on with the ouchy part?”
  • Spike calls Angel his sire – which I feel like we found out before this that Dru actually sired him.  I don’t remember where in that particular timeline we’re in.  Maybe we haven’t seen that Spike flashback yet. I think one of the writers explained this little plot hole that …a grand sire…is still…a sire? I guess? 
  • “Listen you little cockney”
  • Oh hey, Oz didn’t actually go home.  He’s part of the rescue team!
  • Ohh, torture vamp got the ring.
  • Hey! They’re filming on location. 
  • Angel on fire!  Oh no!
  • Ok, so I thought this might be the third episode in a row where the baddie gets killed by fire.  It would be perfect since they’re on a beach and all.  But no, he gets staked.
  • Oz, to Angel: You’re incredibly pale. Me: Like you’re one to talk, Oz.
  • The green screen of the dawn is not….great

Zelda’s Thoughts:

  • Look, it’s our first real crossover, as this is a direct follow up to BtVS episode “The Harsh Light of Day,” where Spike finds the gem of amara, then Buffy pries it off his cold, dead hand and sends Oz with it to L.A.
  • We also get possibly my favorite monologue in all of Angel, courtesy of Spike.
  • Current schmuckbait girl’s vibe is very Chantarelle/Lily/Anne

  • Wow this Lenny dude is the worst. Can we get rid of him? Maybe before he shoots her.
  • Ah, Angel to the rescue.
  • This be one of his for-hire rescues, rather than passer-by or vision-sent rescues.
  • “How can I thank you, my mysterious, black-clad hunk of a night thing? No need, little lady. Your tears of gratitude are enough for me. You see, I was once a badass vampire, but love and a pesky curse defanged me. Now I'm just a big fluffy puppy with bad teeth. No, not the hair! Never the hair.”
  • Ugh I love JM so much here. Could SUPER do without the homophobic stuff but it’s such a fun performance otherwise.
  • “Quickly, to the Angelmobile! Away!
  • Oz! It’s Oz, and he’s driving the van.
  • I am curious how Oz knew where to find Angel, but maybe Angel did let Buffy know where to find him, just in case.

  • “Oz.” // “Hey.” // “Nice surprise.” // “Thanks.” // “Staying long?” // “Few days.” // “Are they always like this?” // “No, we’re usually laconic.” I like the reminder that Oz has a good sense of humor, even about his brevity of speech.
  • “I’ve got something that will boost your spirits. Why don’t you put [the ring] on and then I’ll stake you! It’ll be fun!” I'm gonna miss Doyle.
  • Angel is troubled by the ring. Because Buffy sent it? Because of its power? Because it puts a target on his back? Because he fears that wearing it would make him lazy or overconfident, with nothing personal ever at stake?
  • Aw, Doyle’s wearing a claddagh ring!
  • And apparently called Oz “my little Bam-Bam” while drunk, and that’s the effing cutest.
  • So the fact that Spike waylays Angel on his way to help Rachel out again … do we … do we hear from her again? Or is it only about the Spike conflict? I don’t remember and I’m quietly worried about her.
  • “I had a plan … a good plan, smart, carefully laid out, but I got bored.” At least he’s in character. That’s how “School Hard” happened, right?
  • Spike sees Cordelia and greets her with pleased surprise. Did they … did they know each other? I mean, I know she knew who he was, but did he actually know who she was?
  • How is Cordelia being so rude about Doyle’s apartment when at least he has books on his shelves and solid painted walls?
  • Oh good, Angel did go to Rachel’s after the Spike fight.
  • Ah, a montage of Angel kicking the shit out of … they look like humans, looking for Spike. How do they all know him? I thought he was a bit of a loner, our Spike.
  • At least Angel is managing to rescue some people this episode.
  • Ah, I see they’re still painting in James’s eyebrow scar all bright and fierce.
  • Seriously though, so much sunlight hitting our vampires in this torture scene.
  • Torture man keeps asking Angel what he wants, and it’s a fair question.
  • Spike refers to Angel as his sire again, because we haven’t yet had the episode that reveals Dru was his direct sire.
  • Oh look, Spike is slutshaming Buffy again. I guess sometimes I need the reminder that even if I love James's performance, Spike is kiiiiiiiiiiiind of a villain?
  • All those tumblr posts comparing Spike to a cat … are not wrong, as he destroys everything in Angel’s kitchen, knocking everything off the shelves item by item.
  • Spike, frustrated, asks what is it about good guys that makes them run in packs. It does seem to be what keeps stymying him. Buffy was the first Slayer we saw him go after whom he couldn’t kill, and he credited that to her having friends (Joyce with the ax helped too).
  • So it turns out one of Doyle’s powers with his demon half is enhanced smell, so he’s able to find the ring where Angel hid it.
  • Oz and his van to the rescue! 
And two crossbows!

  • Oops, Spike miscalculated and it turns out our torture vamp wanted the ring after all.
  • And now his head’s on fire.

  • Amazing that torture vamp found sunglasses specifically shaped to hide the worst of his vamp forehead but still show enough that we know what we’re looking at.

  • And Angel, because he’s our hero, runs out in the blazing sun to tackle the vamp into the water, and we can quietly pretend we don’t see how completely covered in flamegel the stundman is.
  • And with torture vampire ashed, Angel puts on the ring to enjoy a few minutes of sun. They’re probably enjoying the metaphor of him being washed clean etc etc
  • Oz remarks that Angel is incredibly pale and like … hi ginger boy, how are your freckles?
  • Seriously, DB has more bronze in his skin tone than Seth Green.
  • It’s still funny dialog, so long as you pretend it has no connection to reality. “He’s very pale. Paler than most people.”
  • Angel’s worried that if he lived freely in the daylight, it would be too easy for him to ignore the dark underbelly, and the unnoticed victims. Okay, sure, I know they needed to give him a reason to destroy the ring because they don’t want him to be OP, but it’s still dumb. It’s a losing battle, it’s always a losing battle, why not give yourself whatever help you can?

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: “Does he have a hat and a gun?” “Just fangs.” “That works.” - Oz and Cordelia
Zelda: “Quickly, to the Angelmobile! Away!” - Spike as Angel

First Appearance: Spike
Generally Known TV Face: Jenni Blong
Buffy Crossover: Oz, Spike


Cordelia’s Hair – loopier waves
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 1
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Doyle Has a Vision – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0


  1. I loved the "Not the hair! Never the hair" bit. One of very few times Spike amused me. Mostly, I just want him killed off and it never really happens. We're just always stuck with him and I hate it.

    1. *hides from you while glaring*

    2. *glares back at you in your hiding place*

    3. the only way to solve this is through whatever popular song catalog Glee has access to this week