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 14, 2020

Mr. Tall, Dark, and Rockin'

Episode 2.01: Judgment. Original Airdate: 9.26.00

“Misinterpreting one of Cordy’s visions, Angel tries to help a pregnant woman and accidentally kills her demon protector. Now, Angel must fulfill the dead warrior’s mission and fight a battle to save the woman’s unborn baby. When the woman runs off though, Angel is forced to make an incredible sacrifice to find her again … He has to sing at a karaoke bar.”

Daniel’s Thoughts:

  • Hey, I recognize that green demon!  I guess it's supposed to be a trick that we have this green face with red horns and oh no, threat(!) - except how can Lorne be scary?
  • But he brings a microphone up to his face and starts singing “I Will Survive.”
  • He will be our narrator for this episode.
  • Meanwhile Cordelia is in a play!  (Or acting lessons, at least) And she’s not doing badly. 
  • Cordelia and Wesley both have beepers.  What year is this again?
  • They go to a gym with lots of mirrors. This is the episode where we can clearly see David walking into shot, so Angel won’t have a reflection, but oops, how did they miss such an obvious shenanigan.
David clearly standing out of shot so he won't be reflected in the mirror.
Then he joins them as they pass the camera.

  • Anyway, this opening scene is to show that the Fang Gang are all good; they’re back in business.  Wes & Cordy are all healed and are still fighting the good fight.
  • They’re still trying to figure out what or who “The Beast” is, but we know.
  • “I’ll survive,” Cordelia says tying in The Host/The Narrator/Lorne’s message.
  • Lindsey & Lilah meanwhile deal with Darla, who is getting used to being alive again.
  • “He killed me,” Darla says, remembering her time in Sunnydale.
  • Angel & Wesley are staying with Cordelia and working out of her apartment.  With Phantom Dennis!
  • Demon karaoke!  Lorne’s place is buzzing.
  • Lots of great make-up jobs here for a lot of demons.
  • So we find out a few things about this bar.  1) The Karaoke has a purpose.  You sing, Lorne reads your soul.  2) Caritas is violence free.; a place where demons can go and feel safe.
  • Angel gets all manly: “I don’t sing.”  right after Lorne calls him cute. Fellas, is it gay to sing?
  • Young Justina Machado. She’s a baby! (And she's having a baby!)
  • Angel kills a demon that he thinks was chasing Justina Machado - but it turns out the demon was her protector. Oops.
  • The show is double-downing on the “Not all demons are evil” thing.
  • Hey! It’s Gunn!  He kills a vamp.  Angel gets his help to find the demon’s cubbyhole.
  • Gunn comes through, as he does. 
  • Angel, alone, lights a candle in guilt…to Buddha?  Was the demon a Buddhist?

  • Wait, have Cordelia & Wesley not met Gunn yet?
  • Oh, the cringe - Gunn’s blackness makes Cordelia & Wesley all weird.
  • YAY THE HYPERION!  Finally!  Lots will happen here in the next few seasons.
  • Angel keeps beating himself up over the protector demon's death.
  • Angel nervously singing Mandy is just the most amazing thing.
  • “Why Mandy?” “I kind of think it’s pretty.”
  • Whoa, the way the tribunal stage rises up is so cool.
  • Justina needs a champion or her life will be over!  Angel steps up in the nick of time!
  • “You know how you’re not really good at anything?” Justina to Angel.  (She’s listed as Jo on IMDb but Imma continue calling her Justina.)
  • Angel on a horse with a lance, charging another demon on a horse…with no traffic…in LA.
  • So Justina & her very important unborn daughter are safe - and we’ll never see them again.
  • And weirdly & surprisingly, Angel visits Faith.
  • Faith is trying to be good in jail, resisting using her slayer strength to …kill people. I wonder if they were playing with the idea of bringing Faith to Angel as a more permanent cast member.
  • Oh man, the outtakes during the credits of David/Angel singing. 

Zelda’s Thoughts:

  • Lorne! It’s Lorne! I’m so excited about Lorne, y’all.
  • I love that he looks all menacing, and then he’s singing “I Will Survive” and what an amazing opening to the season.
  • And then we segue to Cordelia in a breakup scene that is very clearly an acting scene, and good job Charisma on the nuance, where we can tell it’s her *acting* as opposed to Cordy IRL.
  • But also she leaves the acting class at a single page because she hasn’t forgotten her new priorities established in the S1 finale.
  • Also HAH Wes gets the same page and, trying to look cool for Random Hot Girl, throws a dart into a human.
  • Angel Smashes a Mirror.
  • And smashes an attempted sacrifice.
  • Gym Attendant: “That guy has horns.” // Angel: “Steroids. Not good for ya.” #gymhumor
  • Welcome to the credits, J. August Richards!
  • Wes is still trying to figure out what the W&H folk raised in the box. C’mon Wesley. It’s obviously Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.
  • Cordelia has a vision, says “I will survive,” and HEY SHE’S CHANNELING OUR NEW BEST FRIEND LORNE.
  • Lilah, still kicking. Lindsey, struggling with his very plastic hand. And Lilah, because she’s evil, makes an ableist joke about it.
  • Darlaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Lilah’s patronizing to her, which makes a bit of sense, because Darla doesn’t seem entirely … here.
  • Darla’s feeling a connection to Chopin, who died of consumption. Heyo.
  • Oop, she’s remembering that Angel killed her, and she laughs sadly.
  • Aw Phantom Dennis is helping with the research. It’s a shame we’ll have less of that collaboration once they move into the Hyperion.
  • Oh, I forgot that our first meeting with Merl was at Caritas, Lorne’s bar.
  • There’s a demon wailing away to “I’m So Excited,” and he’s okay? He looks like one of the demons we got to hang out with in “The Ring.” Hah, and then Lorne shows up and sings way better, an octave higher.
  • I miss Andy Hallett. He was such a gem as Lorne.
  • I guess any noir show needs a recurring snitch character, and ours is Merl.
  • Angel: “There are three things I don’t do: tan, date, and sing in public.”
  • Oh hey, it’s Justina Machado! From Six Feet Under and Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time. They don’t bother to ever say her name the entire episode (seriously, not ONCE), so I guess we’ll just call her Justina Machado (IMDb says her name is Jo).
  • Oops and she’s grieving the demon Angel just killed. “He was my protector. I had one friend in this world and you killed him.”
  • Has Cordelia’s apartment always had these pretty columns in it?

  • Merl the snitch is just as untrustworthy in his allegiances as Willy was. You’d think Angel would have more skepticism. Remember when he delivered Angel to Spike?
  • Gunn & crew: run. Random dude: freaks out, tells them to take his car. Gunn: stakes vamp about to eat random dude. Random dude: doesn't bother to say thank you, runs runs runs
  • “He was on our side?” // “Yeah.” // “Well did you find the scumbag that killed him?” // “I’m the scumbag that killed him.” The dialog they write for Gunn isn’t always great (all white writers room etc) but I do like when he’s got the banter.
  • Because they’re not yet trying to set Gunn up as an obstacle/foil to Wesley, they’re also not acting like he’s a dumb meathead. I hate that the show (and Gunn himself) decide that he’s just the muscle. We saw what a good leader he was, what a caretaker of his crew, and the clever traps and weapons his crew put together to compensate for their being humans fighting creatures much stronger than them. Gunn is a clever and resourceful guy, and he finds the demon’s home easily.
  • Justina: “Do me a favor? Stop helping.” This is an interesting return to the S1 premiere too, where he doesn’t know right away how to help the person he’s sent to help, and keeps messing up. He’s an imperfect guy and his plans rely more on improvisation than careful planning and forethought. And hey, sometimesoften that backfires.
  • Oh good Cordelia got some well-meaning racism to lay on Gunn. Good, great, super.
  • If Angel knew how to use a cell phone, he coulda called Wes, Cordelia OR Gunn and said “hey can you bring back that amulet, we kinda need it.”
  • Oh hey! I forgot Angel found the Hyperion in this episode, ahead of its big flashback introduction. “You’ve been here before.” Angel’s face: *actually a pretty interesting balance of haunted memory and surprise*
  • Cordy: “You can’t see everything. You’re just a vampire like everyone else, that didn’t come out right.” A+ delivery, Charisma.
  • Ah, part of why Angel’s beating himself up this time is he’s been treating the missions like his clearly lit path to redemption and resurrection, and part of why he’s extra self-punishy now is he feels that ending falling farther away.
  • Woof, Angel singing “Mandy” is roughhhhhhh but also the beginning of a runner about his love for Manilow.
  • Ah but at least it yielded what he needed: he’s found the Tribunal and he’s gonna be Justina Machado’s champion. Is this our first use of the word champion? [Ron Howard: It is. Sadly, it will not be our last.] Oh god. I’m gonna get so sick of this damn word.
  • Also LOL at Justina saying “You know how you’re not really good at anything?”
  • I love the shot of the demon on the horse with a car behind him. If that isn’t this show in a nutshell.

  • Oooh more fighty fight without putting the horsies in danger. [Giles, aim for the horsies. – Buffy]
  • Angel got stabbed in the gut with a sword. But uh. Angel ain’t dead?
  • Other demon is. We won!
  • “You sure seem to bleed a lot.” // “It’s part of the job.”
  • “We shouldn’t be keeping score. We’re not running a race. We’re doing a job, one soul at a time.”
  • And on that thought, Angel goes to visit another person with a long slow road ahead of them to redemption: our Faith, in prison. And I super love that this truly is a real bond for the two of them, entirely separate from Buffy, and one the show returns to.
  • Angel admits he sang Manilow. Faith: “The road to redemption is a rocky path.”
  • “You think we might make it?” // “We might.”
  • HAH during credits scene of Angel struggling mightily with the song/David riffing.

Favorite Lines:
Daniel: “The road to redemption is a rocky path.” - Faith
Zelda: Faith: “The road to redemption is a rocky path … You think we might make it?” // Angel: “We might.”


First Appearance: The Host (Lorne), Merl, Caritas, the Hyperion, Angel’s love for Manilow, calling Angel a Champion
Recurring: Lindsey McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Darla, Phantom Dennis, Faith
Future Famous Person: Justina Machado
Buffy Crossover: Faith
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Rob Boltin (Johnny Fontaine on Angel, Soldier on Buffy), Keith Campbell (Club Manager on Angel, Werewolf on Buffy), Edward James Gage (Mordar the Bentback on Angel, Mover #1 on Buffy)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Mr. Tall, Dark and Rockin’; Curt Jurgens in The Enemy Below

Caritas Songlist:

“I Will Survive”
“I’m So Excited”
“Sexual Healing”
“Achy Breaky Heart”


Cordelia’s Hair – pinstraight, parted down the center, or in a mid-high ponytail; a new layering to her haircut
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 5
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 1
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 1 (Kamal, Jo’s guardian)
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 1 (Jo’s daughter has an important future)
Champion Called – 1

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