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


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

That Shoeshine Thing?

Episode 1.22: To Shanshu in L.A. Original Airdate: 5.23.00. 

“A scythe-wielding demon targets Angel’s allies as Wolfram and Hart lawyers attempt to summon a powerful force from beyond.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:

  • Season One finale baby!
  • And Wes is deep into research mode, trying to understand what shanshu means.
  • Cordelia: “Nobody gets my humor.” Angel, completely dry: “I thought it was funny.” “Oh!” that was cute.
  • I like that the finale is opening with the easy camaraderie of our three heroes. We need to see why this group is good before they try to rip it away.
  • Also now our trio knows that Lindsey took the job offer and is no longer on our side.
  • Oh lord David Nabbit showed up … in a shiny purple cape. Oh, it’s from being a D&D DM. Right, back when mentioning D&D meant someone was an irretrievable dweeb. (Daniel and I are playing D&D tomorrow!)
  • Also remember in the 90s where if a character had a cell phone, that was a clue to the audience that they were an asshole?
  • Anyway, David’s here and he’s lonely and he wants to be friends with our trio and it’s kind of sweet but mostly awkward and oooooh look we transitioned to some kind of summoning fire spell. This dude’s cape is less shiny than David’s. We don’t find out his name til halfway through the episode so I’m gonna call him masky capey demon.
  • Masky capey demon was summoned for a meeting with Holland, Lindsey, and Lilah. Our days with the Three L were short.
  • Cordelia, channeling Buffy: “That shoeshine thing?” // Wes: “No, shanshu.”
  • Wes says shanshu means death. The prophecy is about Angel dying. Angel doesn’t seem ruffled. Wes and Cordelia are more shaken than Angel.
  • Oh, Cordy’s having a vision! It’s been a while.
  • “I ever meet those Powers That Be, I’m gonna punch ‘em in the nose! … You think they have a nose?”
  • Hot damn, the scroll Angel swiped from W&H is pivotal to “the raising.” That’s convenient.
  • So in revenge, they’re gonna cut off his connection to the Powers That Be. But … but that’s our Cordelia!
  • Ah Detective Kate. Is this her final episode with us? I don’t remember. [No, we still have her next season. – The Internet] Anyway, she showed up to a call about something demon-y and found Angel. She’s retreated to a pretty cold place at this point. She doesn’t consider Angel a person, her idealism for the job is gone. Her passion for the job is a cold one, taking down any supernatural creatures. It’s a bit of a bummer and definitely does feel like we’re done with her as a character. Or at least, we’re done with her as any kind of friend.
  • Wes is concerned that Angel’s cut off from caring about dying. “Death doesn’t bother him because there is nothing in life he wants. It’s our desires that make us human.” Hey so maybe the detached and cold Kate stuff was a deliberate move, too. First, showing that the cut-off path isn’t healthy, but also showing that at first Angel meets it with indifference. “He’s not a part of the world.”
  • C: “He’s Angel. He’s good, and he helps the helpless and now he’s one of them.” Digging Cordelia this episode. Even if her eye makeup is … a thing. 

  • The thing is, Angel’s apathy right now isn’t out of nowhere. Buffy had been his beacon for the mission, but then he left her. Doyle’s big thing was getting Angel to invest in the world, and then Doyle went dead. We saw just last episode that Angel is increasingly frustrated by a system which seems designed to render all his efforts and achievements impotent, under the rule of law. He had a small ray of hope, when Lindsey came to them for help, but Lindsey’s back on Team Evil. What’s odd, for me I guess, is I’m not seeing in DB’s performance a demoralized Angel. I’m seeing an indifferent Angel. And I had to do a lot more mental legwork to justify indifferent over demoralized. Anyway. The writers are setting up a Problem to Be Solved.
  • Wes wants Angel to consult the Oracles. Mostly I think to remind us the Oracles are a thing. Before they’re no longer a thing.
  • Oops masky capey demon is visiting the Oracles. Oh, there’s that scythe the imdb summary told us about. Aaaaaaaaaand RIP Oracles.
  • Ah, the rare outdoor daylight location shot, as Cordy browses an outdoor market … why?
  • I still don’t know why. Except I guess they wanted masky capey scythey demon to come for Cordy in the daylight, where Angel can’t protect her.
  • Though he doesn’t attack, just touches her briefly. But that launches a vision.
  • And another vision. And then just a continuous stream of painful visions.
  • It’s brutal, watching her scream and writhe on the ground.
  • Welp, and now demon dude’s got the scroll while Angel’s running to the hospital.
  • Charisma is knocking this episode out of the park and it’s heartbreaking.
  • Motherfucker. I forgot they blew up Angel’s office. That’s just. This episode is really upsetting.
  • Is Wes inside? Oh, that’s why he stepped away from the cabinet the way he did, when he was looking for the scroll. He saw the bomb.
  • Cordelia’s in the hospital with a “psychotic” episode, tortured and broken. Wes is in an ambulance to get treated for damage from the explosion.
  • And Kate is somehow mad at Angel for this. But unlike last time, he has no patience left for the chip on her shoulder. “Now, I’m sorry about your father, but I didn’t kill your father. And I’m sick and tired of you blaming me for everything you can’t handle! You wanna be enemies? Try me.”
  • This is just me trying to take a step back from how upset I am right now, but it’s a rather weird and convenient coincidence that the scroll Angel stole that talks about his shoeshine is also the one the demon needs for “the raising.”
  • I guess in a longform way, the resurrection of Darla is key for the Angel plan? I guess? Since we need her coupling with Angel to bring us Connor, and then we have a prophecy about Connor and Angel, even if that was planted by what’s his face. But the Beast thingy that makes the sky rain fire and destroys all of spoiler is also part of that? I think? Still … a kind of complicated plan to take out one pouty vampire.
  • Kinda helpful that the female Oracle’s ghost stuck around to explain the evil plan to Angel.
  • Heyo it’s our man Gunn! He’s bantery and fun and I guess he’s worked through his grief about his sister?
  • Oooh we’re at The Raising now. I remember this set! Fun set. Bloodbath set.
  • Ah they’re still calling her The Beast. Okay, sure. Whatever. I thought the Beast was that dumbass thing that smashes up LA while Connor lives out his Oedipal fantasies (y’all I’m not looking forward to Season Four)
  • A W&H caravan heads off to The Raising. And Angel joins the parade.
  • We really shoulda made a stat about Angel breaking through doors and windows. Angel Enters Dramatically.
  • So while Angel battles capey masky scythey dude, Lindsey grabs the scroll and continues the ceremony. I guess it’s fitting for a lawyer to read the Latin.
  • Ceremony done, “beast” summoned, lawyers retreat, Angel still fights the scythe demon. Cuz he doesn’t care about W&H right now and whatever their plan is – he’ll thwart that later. But this douchebag, he hurt Angel’s family. Angelsmash.
  • Oh, Lindsey’s still here, blown back and knocked out by the ceremony.
  • Oh joy that mask was hiding maggot face. Yuck.
  • Now Angel has a scythe.
  • Bye bye Lindsey hand.

  • “Don’t believe everything you’re foretold.” Angel, you really need to put on sunglasses after saying lines like that.
  • Wesley, burnt and weak, reads the scroll by Cordelia’s bed, undoes the curse on her. And she’s released.
  • And we have Angel’s first smile of the episode.
  • “I saw them all, and they’re in so much pain. We have to help them.” // “We will.”
  • Cordelia’s arc this season, so much more compelling than Angel’s.
  • Glad not all of Wes’s books were destroyed in the explosion.
  • Wes: “Uh, oops. I may have made a tiny mistake.” He thinks shanshu means Angel’s going to live now. Snort. “It’s saying you get to live until you die. It’s saying – It’s saying you become human.”
  • Sweet move, giving us (and Angel) this promise of true rescue and redemption, a chance at life, but no set date for when it’ll happen. I’m … okay, I’m a little confused though because Angel was human, earlier this season. He already did that. Sure, the day was undone but like … what if that was the shanshu and he done fucked it up? Why is he happy about being human again? He’ll just try to undo it again, like it’s a bear.
  • Anyway, time for the cliffhanger shot of DARLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA in a box, confused, possibly feral, and ready to make season two interesting.

Daniel’s Thoughts:

  • Season finale time!
  • Wesley is in deep research mode.  He’s trying to find references to Shanshu.
  • Wesley’s frustrated because he can’t find anything and he’s sure it’s important to Angel’s future.
  • Cordelia also wants to know about her future.  No, she really doesn’t… [Too soon. - literally all of us]
  • The gang finds out that Lindsey has been promoted, which Wesley calls ‘selling his soul.’
  • Angel senses a visitor with his bat-sense, I guess.
  • It’s David Nabbit, eccentric millionaire!  Billionaire?
  • He talks about Dungeons & Dragons because that’s what nerds do.  (FYI, I started my very first dungeons & dragons game last week due to the boredom of quarantine.  I’m a half-elf bard!)

  • David wants to ‘hang’.  He thinks their lives are exciting!
  • "You fight demons! At any moment one could walk right through that very door!“ Everyone looks over at the door and it’s kinda hilarious.
  • Meanwhile the lawyers of Wolfram & Hart do a ceremony outside their offices to summon a demon.  Long journey. Could this have not been done on zoom?
  • Poor Nabbit awkwardly leaves.  This is the last we see of him this episode.  He has absolutely no part of this plot.  I wonder if this was a test to see how he meshes with the rest of the gang to possibly bring him on as a full time cast member.
  • “That shoeshine thing?” “Shanshu.”
  • Wesley thinks the Shanshu prophecy has something to do with Angel’s death. Angel isn’t concerned.
  • And Cordelia has her first vision in weeks! (It won’t be her last!)
  • Meanwhile the demon is pissed about Angel stealing the scroll from last week. He's also wearing a mask: unusual for a demon, I think.
  • Hey, it’s Detective Kate!  Some of the officers joke under their breaths about Lockley responding to weird calls on the police scanners. The Angel universe is pretty inconsistent about how well the supernatural world is known in LA.  If this were today, we’d all have cell phone cameras catching vampires and demons in the act.
  • Angel has already saved the day off screen. Kate is still being kind of a dick.  Despite Angel saving lives, she still considers him an evil thing like one of the things who killed her dick dad.
  • Wesley waxes philosophical about why Angel doesn’t fear death: because he has nothing to look forward to.  Yikes, a not so subtle metaphor of what it’s like to have depression.
  • “He’s Angel. He’s good.  He helps the helpless.  And now he’s one of them.”
  • Now Cordelia’s desperate to prove Angel wants things.  Puppy? Is one of her suggestions.  Just don’t invite Dawn over, with all those crossbows lying around.
  • Oh, the damn oracles.  We think it’s Angel they’re berating but it’s the demon…with a weapon, oh no!
  • Cordy decides to go to a flea market to buy Angel…pastels.  I mean, he does like to draw.
  • Uh oh, that Demon is everywhere…. He brushes Cordelia’s hand….and she has another vision.  And another. And another.  As if she’s feeling every single person’s pain in the world.  Looks like freaking agony.
  • Aww, Angel is Cordelia’s emergency contact!
  • The demon takes this opportunity to break in and steal the scroll.
  • “Are you family?” “YES”  - awww.
  • Cordelia is in incredible pain and her screams are heartbreaking.
  • Oh no!  Explosion!! Angel’s place is in smithereens! Where’s Wesley??
  • Damn, two of Angel’s friends (and 2/3s of the cast) are now in the hospital.
  • Love this exchange between Angel & Kate.  She goes off another tirade and Angel has had it.  Two of his friends are dying and he has no more fucks to give with Kate.
"No. More. Fucks. To. Give"

  • There’s not a lot of point to Kate here, except again like David, possibly to test if she should join the cast full time.
  • Cordelia’s at a point where she’s no longer screaming and writhing in pain - it seems like she’s in shock, now.
  • And Angel sees a symbol on Cordelia’s hand which brings him to the oracles.
  • But oops, the oracles are dead.  But the female oracle is a ghost, now!  She tells Angel who killed her.  That’s convenient.  He finds out that the demon’s name is Vocah.
  • Angel comes to Gunn for another favor.  He wants Gunn to protect Wesley & Cordelia while he hunts down Vocah.  Except we don’t see Gunn for the rest of the episode…so one last test. Who will be our new cast member, Kate, David, or Gunn?  Stay tuned to season two! [Maybe it'll be Lindsey's chopped off hand? Too soon? - Z] [Like Thing! - D]
  • Vocah is performing a ceremony summoning something called “The Beast”.  Ooh, I wonder who that is…
  • There also seems to be vampires in chains… sacrifices, I assume.
  • Holland Manners: “You never want to be on time for a ritual.”
  • “Remember when Robert Price let down the senior partners and they made him eat his liver?  I wonder what made me think of that.”  -Lilah having fun at Lindsey’s expense.
  • Angel breaks in all Angel-like.  Vocah is busy fighting Angel, so Lindsey continues the ritual.
  • The vampires in chains are dusted.  The ritual finished.  The cage removed.
  • During the fight, Angel removes the demons mask and it is seriously gross under there.
Awful kind of him to cover this up

  • It’s now down to Angel & Lindsey.
  • I remember being totally shocked when I first saw this.  Lindsey goes to burn the scroll & Angel chops off his hand!  
  • Wesley and Angel watch over Cordelia.  Wesley’s reading the scroll which helps Cordelia recover.  If there was ever an event that changes Cordelia, it’s this.  She’s seen so much pain.
  • A few days later, Cordelia is making lunch for Wesley and blood for Angel.
  • “Don’t be embarrassed.  We’re family.”
  • Wesley: “Oops.”  So Shanshu doesn’t mean Angel will die.  It means he’ll live.  He thinks it means he’ll become human.
  • But there’s one more surprise.  Lilah, Lindsey (now with one hand!), and Holland visit the cage/box. IT’S DARLA.  DUN DUN DUN.

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: Cordelia: “I know what’s out there now. We have a lot of evil to fight, a lot of people to help. I just hope skin-and-bones here can figure out what those lawyers raised sometime before the prophecy kicks in and you croak … That was the old me, wasn’t it?” // Angel: “I like them both.”

Daniel: Angel, giving no more fucks, to Kate: "This isn't about the law, this is about a little thing - called life. Now I'm sorry about your father. But I didn't kill your father. And I'm sick and tired of you blaming me - for everything you can't handle! You want to be enemies? Try me.” 

Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Charles Gunn, Lindsey McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Holland Manners, the Oracles, David Nabbit, Darla
Generally Known TV Face: Todd Stashwick

Cordelia’s Hair – loose curls, parted down the middle; half-up, straight
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 9
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 3 (the third one was a stream of visions)
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 1

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I know I didn't watch much but even I am shocked Kate stuck around this long.

    This episode just confirms that you guys made the right choice in putting Cordelia as the mascot for your recap. She's clearly the best character.