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


Monday, November 30, 2020

All That Matters Is What We Do

 Episode 2.16: Epiphany. Original Airdate: 2.27.01

“Angel has an epiphany which has him questioning his actions over the past few months. Meanwhile, the three eyed demon clan is after Gunn, Wes and Cordy. It’s up to Angel to save them … if they can all start trusting him again.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
All right y’all. Let’s have us an epiphany.
Starting where we left off, with Angel waking post-coital with a gasp. As in Buffy, he runs out into the rain, his shirt half on. Pretty sure this rain only exists at the Hyperion, since Cordy doesn’t seem to encounter it on her money-getting errand/trap.
Darla assumes what we’re all assuming (if we don’t know the future), that his soul is flying the coop and soon he’ll be smoking and wearing eyeliner again.
But Angel looks at her, stricken. “You saved me.”
And he apologizes to her. And somehow that apology makes her realize it didn’t take. “You saved me. I’m sorry I couldn’t do the same thing for you.”
She even asks the same thing poor Buffy asked, “Was it not good?”
Angel agrees it was perfect. “It was perfect despair.”
He says she’s always been the reason, for everything. (um, okay) I don’t quite know why he’s classifying sex with her as saving him from what he was sinking to.
But on the plus, what she’s saying is making him recall echoes of the message Kate left, and he rushes off to save her. And he’s able to enter her home, even though he’s never been invited in. And he couldn’t save Darla. But he can save Kate.
Powers-That-Be intervention? Or was she truly, momentarily dead?
Honestly I have to go with PTB because … if she was dead he would have had to do CPR, and he told us he couldn’t administer it to Buffy in “Prophecy Girl” because he has no breath. If the show doesn’t want me to call shenanigans, it has to be PTB intervention.
Darla’s back at Lindsey’s, where he knows he has to keep her even more of a secret. But she’s got the ring that Angel stole, and Lindsey recognizes it. Apparently after Angel swiped it they disenchanted it, so Darla doesn’t even get her Power Ring. She’s having a rough year.
Caritas in off hours! Lorne’s got an adorable honeycomb-colored robe. 

He thinks Angel’s turned a corner. Heyo we’re done with Beige Angel! Swank.
“It’s called a moment of clarity, my lamb. And you’ve just had one.”
Angel doesn’t know how to get back to what he was. “Well, that’s just the thing. You don’t. You go on to the new place, whatever that is.” I love this.
Wow, Lorne even gives Angel the out that the wine cellar slaughter would have happened with or without Angel’s help. And like. I just. I get not holding Angel accountable for Angelus’s atrocities. But he needs to be held accountable for stuff he does while still in possession of his soul.
Lorne tells Angel he needs to save the rest of his team, and I have so many questions about how Lorne knows any of this. No one’s singing. I thought singing is how he unlocks his thang. But he just seems to be in possession of all necessary knowledge, from Angel’s sexing to his not-beiging, to the team in danger, and you know what, this time I am calling a shenanigan.
Anyway, Cordy arrives at the Sharp home, and no one’s there, the lights are out, but the door is apparently unlocked so she lets herself in and I know she has seen horror movies come on.
Welp, that’s four dead bodies on the floor.
And she has a vision too late to save herself. She shouts to the PTB: “That was helpful!”
Aw man, since this is the same night as last ep, poor Wes is wheeling around his apartment, newly dumped, when he hears what we know is Skilosh demons approaching. And he can’t reach his weapons, though he’s trying.
Oh he got the shotgun down. Good job Wes.
But it’s Angel at the door, demanding to be invited in before the demons can get to him. And soon enough, hey, that’s two demons down.
Wes almost smiles in triumph at Angel, then remembers, and frowns: “What are you doing here?”
*snort* Lindsey, after pouting on the couch, gets his cowboy boots out of the closet. Yee-haw!
Wes is in the car with Angel, off to try to rescue Gunn and Cordy, but he’s still not too fond of broody boy.
And Angel’s doing this fake-cheerful attempt at bonding (over gut-wounds) that I always superhate from him because they’re going for funny awkward but it’s so far away from Angel’s energy that I don’t even buy it as an overcompensation. I’m really gonna hate it when it comes back in S5 with Wes’s father.
Aaaaaaaaand hey it’s time for another Please Why No Stop recurring theme of demons forcibly injecting Cordelia with their spawn and CAN WE PLEASE FUCKING NOT.
Wes reminds Angel that he doesn’t know the team anymore, that Cordelia isn’t the party girl he seems to think she still is. “It’s the visions, you see. The visions that were meant to guide you. You could turn away from them. She doesn’t have that luxury.” I guess they’re implying that she’s continued to have visions we haven’t been seeing?
Meanwhile Gunn and Wes have a secret handshake now. Angel’s feeling all jealous. Good.
“Does it make sense that she would go there in the middle of the night without calling either one of you?” // “They owe us money.” // “Let’s go.”
Aaaaaaaaand Cordy’s got that third eye spawn thing going on.
Wes and Gunn are both pretty dismissive of Angel’s epiphany. “That’s real good that you can have one of those. Ain’t that good, Wes? Cuz, you know, epiphanies, they handy. When do you think you might be having another one? … No, I’m interested, you know, cuz they could strike at any time. Could be the next time you see one of them lawyers, you get all epiphanied off right back at them.”
Welp, that’s five Skilosh here to attack our three in the car. Angel tells the other two to keep driving to Cordelia, while he stays to fight the ones that found them.
But before they can battle, the quintet all scatter—because Lindsey and his cowboy boots and old truck have shown up and he literally crashes his car right into Angel and his epiphany.
I have a hard time believing Lindsey’s been lawyering around in this truck. Did he just keep this as his spare vehicle for when his cowboy self re-emerged? With how difficult parking is in LA?
Lawyer Lindsey now available in Farmhand Lindsey

Hot damn, he’s got a big ol’ mallet to beat Angel up with. This isn’t toxic masculinity at allllllll, beating someone up for having sex with someone who’s not even your actual partner. Nothing gross to see here, moving along.
So since Angel didn’t do battle with the five Skilosh, does that mean they have circled back to the Sharp house and in fact will be there to hurt our trio? Angel, already failing on his redemption mission.
But first let’s have him beat the shit out of Lindsey, including the fairly brutal blow of smashing his prosthetic hand with the mallet. “Could have been the other one. Just be glad I had an epiphany.” Before then, he did get in an apology that hit some valid points, including that he didn’t try harder to save Lindsey when it seemed possible to save him, last season.
Wes has come so close to giving us some pratfalls, but I’m grateful he hasn’t, since he would definitely tear his stitches. But the almost-falls are still amusing. He’s a good physical comedian.
Angel smashes Lindsey’s truck into the house, which is the confirmation we didn’t need that the entire Sharp family is dead. Sorry, Cordy, you’re still not getting paid.
The eye-spawn thing is undone by Wes, Angel fights off the demons, I have about 30 questions about why they didn’t just plant their spawn in Mama Sharp, and why they seem to have just fled now because I don’t think Angel killed them, but whatever, let’s get to the emotional beats.
No, you know what, before we get to that, shenanigans on the whole Skilosh masterplan. They should have implanted in all the Sharps rather than slaughtering them, and they shouldn’t have just fled in disgrace when Cordy was un-implanted. We’ll never see them again so I guess their vengeance vendetta is an only-sometimes situation?
Why is it a recurring issue on this show, that even when their emotional arc stuff is strong, the minutae of the demon-of-the-week is invariably sloppy? It wasn’t this consistently sloppy on Buffy.
Cordy tells Angel he really hurt her feelings, and lets Wes and Gunn help her, Angel returns the  car to Lindsey with a “Thanks” message, Lindsey sees that Darla has moved out, and Angel and Kate finally have their heart to heart.
“In the greater scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There’s no grand plan, no big win … If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. Cuz that’s all there is.” This is the line, the line people always quote when they talk about why they love Angel. The notion that even with no final reward to expect, the fight is still worth it. Doing good is still worth it. Being good is still worth it, as end in itself. It’s the most important thing. It doesn’t have to be about one grand gesture that saves the world. It can be one small gesture that makes one part of the world a better place.
It’s also a reiteration of his conversation with Buffy in “Gingerbread.” “We never win … We never will. That’s not why we fight. We do it cuz there’s things worth fighting for.” Wait does that mean his epiphany is something he already knew two years ago? And that another show already covered? Oops.
Kate’s had her own little epiphany, having survived her suicide, and she’s ready to keep fighting. “I think maybe we’re not alone in this.” // “Why?” // “Because I never invited you in.” I think she’s siding with the PTB intervention too.
And for our final emotional beat, Angel visits the office where the trio are. “I’m sorry.”
And in another capitulation, he doesn’t want them to work for him anymore. He wants to work for them. “Why?” // “Because I think I can help.” And that’s right. They’re the ones who didn’t abandon the mission, whose commitment has been unshaken. Better to follow their lead, and work on re-earning their trust.
“Let’s go.”
Daniel’s Thoughts:
Rainy windy evening at the Hyperion. We start where we left off.  Angel wakes.  Is his soul leaving his body like when he slept with Buffy? Let's see.
Darla joins him on the balcony satisfied with herself.  She wanted this.  She expected this.  
She thinks he needs a fresh kill to wipe away the memory of his soul.
She also admits she was planning on killing him.  
Whoops, he still has his soul. The thing is, Angel’s not playing her here. He genuinely feels sorry for her.  What we're seeing is Angel's [insert title of episode here].
I dunno. I think Darla is smarter than this. Especially as an ex-prostitute, she should know that orgasm doesn’t equal perfect happiness.  But maybe she trusted in their centuries old relationship.  Vampires can be idealistic too.
When Darla says “I trusted you,” Angel suddenly remembers Kate.
He runs to her apartment.  He’s able to come in – I’m assuming because she was legally dead on the ground.  I’m not really sure how Angel saves her.  He drags her into the shower but that’s about it.  He has no breath so he can’t do CPR.  Does that mean she wasn’t actually dead when Angel entered?  It’s a bit odd. [Wait. - 40 Minutes Later Daniel]
Meanwhile Darla is back home and Lindsey arrives.  He’s so in love with her and Christian Kane really sells it.
This scene is too long.  Lindsey finds out Darla & Angel are together and he acts like a jealous boyfriend.
Caritas. Angel comes to tell Lorne about what happened; ask for advice.
He feels guilty about the death of the lawyers. And other things he's done.
“I’m not your link with the powers, Angel. I never was.”  Yeah, that was Cordelia.
Lorne: “It depends on whether or not they live through the night. “  How does Lorne know this?
Cut to Cordelia…being dropped off by a taxi to the Sharp residence.  She kinda just walks in?  The door was open but still weird to do.
She finds the entire Sharp family dead.  She has a vision and kinda…too late?  Wish she had the vision in the cab. “That was helpful,” she shouts to the heavens & I laugh.
We don’t see what happens to Cordy but she wakes up after being knocked out.
“Three are responsible. Three must pay.”  The demons have a third eye in the back of their head.  Cordelia realizes the connection now.
Cut to Wesley.  He hears the demons coming but he’s stuck in his wheelchair.  It’s a nice tense and suspenseful moment while he's trying to get his shotgun from the closet.  A shotgun isn't the first weapon I'd associate with Wesley.  He seems more of an axe man, being a demon hunter and all - but I'll allow it.
Angel arrives to the rescue! He begs Wesley to invite him in.  He does. The demons break through the window. They fight.
Wesley shoots  one.  Eww, Yellow gory blood. 
Unintentional Homoerotic Content

Wes does a quick smile but then he remembers that he’s angry with Angel and asks what he’s doing there and it’s very cute and so in character.
And now Angel is being awkward and it’s also sweet. 
We could call it an epiphany as the title suggests or Angel might be bipolar?
“Guess who stabbed me,” “Darla?” Heh.
Wesley fills Angel in on the Skilosh demons.  They’re an interesting species: Asexual, they reproduce by infecting a human host….that explodes out of the human when it’s born.  What a fun existence.
And for the second time this series, Cordelia has been impregnated by a demon.  
Angel and Wesley look for Cordelia at the office but of course she’s not there.  We still haven’t seen Gunn.
Angel thinks she’s out with friends but Wes shows Angel that he doesn’t know Cordy as well as he thinks he does.  He tells Angel that she’s changed partly because of the visions. Angel is shamed and rightfully so.
Gunn’s back. For some reason Wes thought he was leaving for good.  I didn’t get that from the last episode.  I’m not sure why Wes did.
Angel is pretty much in goofy repentance mode and it’s silly but I’m here for it.
Clues! Gunn figures out where Cordelia went. 
Cordelia, who has now passed out for a second time, wakes up.  [One day I'm gonna wake up in a coma - Cordy] This time, with a third eye in the back of her head.
“You just wake up and, ‘bang?’” “Kinda the other way around.” HA.
Holy crap! A demon just jumped into Angel’s moving car!
They fight it off.  But there are more coming.  Angel tells Gunn to take the car and get to Cordelia while he fights them off.
Angel’s about to fight when they run off.  Lindsey, in some weird truck runs him down.  
Farmhand Lindsey now comes with Truck from the 1930s!

Wes & Gunn are outside the house.  They see Cordy with her third eye with all the demons.  Wes says gestation might be almost complete – but the little girl had this eye for way more than just one night. SHENANIGANS.
Lindsey comes out looking like a farmer and hammers Angel. Wait. I mean with a literal hammer.  He’s pissed about Darla but he doesn’t know the whole story.  He thinks Angel did something to Darla.
Lindsey puts the hammer away and gets a stake.
“I’m sorry she’ll never love you.” Ouch.  Angel knocks Lindsey out and takes his truck.
Wes & Gunn have been captured. It’s all up to Angel now.
Oh hey, they want to impregnate Wes & Gunn now. 
Angel smashes though the living room with Lindsey's truck.  How did he know he wouldn’t hit his friends?
Anyway, Angel fights and kills the demons while Wes performs the magic spell to….er….abort the demon spawn.
Lindsey comes home to Darla being gone.
Oh hey, Kate stopped by the Hyperion.  
This is Kate’s last episode and for so long, I’d forgotten she had such a long arc. And I think I forgot that because it was a long arc – but it wasn’t a detailed one.   I’m glad she’s having a happy ending and an epiphany of her own.
Kate brings up a loose end as well and I’m glad she did.  She never invited Angel in, yet he was able to come in anyway.  And she wasn’t dead, as I thought….so something else intervened.  And It doesn’t feel forced.  It doesn’t feel like a plot hole. It feels earned. And it’s a nice moment.
“I don’t want you to come work for me.  I want to work for you.” And shut it, you’re crying.
And Cordy has another vision.  Some generic big scary.  Wesley says “Avengers Assemble” and the all go.  The gang is back together.

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: I was tempted to go with the line that everyone knows, but I really like this one too:  Angel: “I don’t know how to get back.” // Lorne: “Well, that’s just the thing. You don’t. You go on to the new place, whatever that is.”
Daniel: Gunn: 
“You just wake up and, ‘bang?’” Angel: “Kinda the other way around.” 

Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley (final episode), Lindsey McDonald, Lorne, Darla, Francine Sharp (as a corpse), Skilosh Demon
Lorne’s Nicknames: my lamb, sparky
Cordelia’s Hair – well there’s this third-eye-egg situation
Dead Humans – 3
Dead Undeads – 2
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 2
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 1 (Angel isn’t Angelus … YET)
Shenanigans Called – 3
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

City of Angphlmns

 Episode 2.15: Reprise. Original Airdate: 2.20.01

“On the eve of a 75-year review at Wolfram and Hart, Angel seeks a magic ring that will take him to hell to look for the firm’s ‘senior partners.’”

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Abandoned graffiti and garbage filled building. Creepy Doll…
  • Screaming.
  • Angel cautiously approaches.
  • Omg, he’s in a room full of goats.

  • Lol, and there are two guys who are reading Ikea-like instructions about sacrificing goats and it’s kinda hilarious. “Using a clean, diagonal motion slit throat of sacrifice with the pre-blessed ceremonial dagger provided. - I didn't see that in the box."
  • Angel knows the guys are being given orders by W&H.
  • These two morons don’t even know what they’re praying to – they don’t know what they’re doing.  They just work here.
  • And in continuity from last episode, Wesley is in a wheelchair & the little girl who had a third eye is now cured.
  • The mom now thinks it’s a big scam and won’t pay.
  • Wesley thinks it’s okay.  Cordelia and Gunn do not. 
  • Gunn makes up some excuse to leave and we don’t see him for the rest of the episode.
  • W&H: Lindsey & Lilah are worried about their review in two days. She mentions a fellow-lawyer who gave her first born as a sacrifice to a demon and wow. Neither seem fazed by this.
  • Lilah also mentions Darla & Drusilla and asks Lindsey if he’s seen them. He lies, no.
  • Angel, meanwhile, goes to Kate for help. 
  • Also happening on Friday? Kate’s review time.  Internal Affairs are investigating her because of what happened with the zombie cops last week.
  • She also pulls out a picture of the dead lawyers from the wine cellar.
  • Lindsey comes home. Darla, still with some burns, lies sick on Lindsey’s couch.  He’s had her the whole time.  Apparently, according to Exposition Darla, Drusilla brought her to him & Dru is gone, presumably having left LA.
  • When Lindsey goes to take a shower, Darla gets up like she’s not as sick as she’s making out to be.  She opens the file Lindsey brought home.
  • Caritas is overflowing with people.  And lawyers.
  • “I’m not here to sing” “Is that what we’re calling it now?”
  • So this review happens to W&H every 75 years and everyone’s worried about it.  Lorne sums it up in two words: Senior Partner.
  • Angel is desperate.  He needs to know what’s happening.   Lorne insists all the rituals happening around the city are just brown-nosing – nothing important.
  • Lorne: “I’m picking up one other thing.  They’d really like to see you dead.” Pan to half a dozen lawyers staring at Angel with dagger-eyes. Heh.
  • Angel tries to do research but he can’t find the ones he’s looking for.
  • He barges into the new crew’s office and demands a book.  Cordelia is pissed but Wes wants to just get rid of him and he tells Cordelia to give him the book.
  • “If it was anybody else, I’d just say get laid already.”
  • And then Wesley’s stitch reopens.
  • Kate’s review. I guess it’s Friday? Kate won’t talk because what can she say?  The reviewers bring up her father which I guess is her only characteristic.  And she’s been fired.
  • “I’m glad your father’s not around to see this.” Me: “Oh, Fuck you.”
  • Ooh, more continuity.  Angel visits the bookstore owner that he visited back in the 50s.   He’s of course much older and Angel is the same age.  He’s fascinated even though Angel pretty much admits that he didn’t help the hotel people & just let the demon have everyone.
  • So Angel does research about the ring that Lorne mentioned – it gets you to home office all right, but home office is just a fancy term for ‘hell.’
  • And now there’s a mention of a glove that he needs.  It’s all pretty convoluted and even Angel thinks so too saying, “Ok, now you’re just making this up.”
  • The Book Store owner thinks everything is going to be all right now.  And oops, he’s stabbed through the torso by Darla – as is Angel who needs to recover – so he can’t immediately run after her.
  • Meanwhile Wesley/Virginia. Don’t know whose place this is.  Doesn’t matter.  Virginia, who grew up with evil demons and such is scared for Wesley.  The demons she’s used to.  The guns, not so much. 
  • “The gun was fired by a zombie if it makes you feel better.”  It doesn’t.  She wants Wesley to quit.
  • And they break up? And it all just happens so fast and weirdly.  I’m not really sure why except maybe Virginia didn’t test well.  They don’t really use her much.  Zelda and I are always surprised when she’s there.  Because she’s just “there.” And that’s not the actress’s fault. They didn’t give her any agency like they did with other boy/girlfriends of Buffy characters like Oz, Anya & Tara.  
  • Kate meanwhile brings her stuff home and is sad.
  • Lilah walks with her security guards who Angel takes out easily. Angel coerces her into getting inside but she notices his wound.
  • Wes calls Cordelia indicating that he won’t be in tomorrow.  She takes it in stride.  They talk about life and friends and it’s nice & also a little bit sad.
  • Cordelia’s about to leave when the mom from earlier calls to say she’s going to pay them but this is obviously a set up.
  • When the mom turns around, there’s a demon who obv made her call.  And then the demon kills her.
  • W&H: Chanting and suits and pentagrams.  You know, the usual.  Security lets Nathan Reed know that there’s a vampire on the floor and then of course Angel shows up. 
  • Lilah gets away by elbowing him in his wound.
  • Angel finds Darla who is wearing the glove.  They fight.  Lindsey looks on helpless.
  • But oooh, someone is rising from the pentagram.
  • Lindsey punches Lilah out for saying “stake the bitch” re: Darla.
  • Angel pushes the demon out the window with the glove which I guess kills it?  Z & I are unclear about how but whatever. He’s dead and Angel has the ring.
  • He puts on the ring and says home office.
  • And then elevator to hell opens in the middle of nowhere.  Holland is inside giving the slow-clap.  He indicates his contract with W&H extends beyond death which is super creepy.  I’m glad they brought him back for this.
  • Of course the elevator to hell has elevator music.
  • On the way down, they discuss the apocalypse which of course.
  • Holland explains that they’ve always been there and always will. “The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us -  because of us.”
  • When the elevator opens, they’re right back where they started.  I guess the point being hell is Earth.  Hell is other people.  How philosophical. And how pointless.
  • Angel does a slow walk thought LA.  Through the homeless, people fighting. Kate is sad.  Wesley is sad.  Cordelia is about to meet her death.  That sorta thing.
  • Angel comes home to hear Kate leaving a message on an answering machine.  For those Gen Zers out there: this is an answering machine.

  • She drunkenly rambles at Angel.  It seems there’s alcohol and drugs mixed which is never good.  It’s not her last episode, but it is her second to last so we’ll see what happens next week with her.
  • Angel comes home, defeated. Darla is there.  He tosses her the ring of pointlessness. And then Angel really hits rock bottom.  He has sex with Darla.  I don’t know what he’s hoping for.  He says he just wants to feel something.  I don’t know if he thinks it’ll turn him evil.  But he tosses her through a glass door so too late?
  • Anyway they have their vampire sex and it’s surprisingly vanilla. 
  • Cut to the next day when we assume Angel’s gonna turn.  He wakes up with a start like he did the night after he slept with Buffy.  And then….we cut.
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • The titles for this show are so whatever. So many titles are just one word and I don’t know what any of them mean so I can’t remember the plots without reading a synopsis. Anyway this is the one where we find out where hell is. Well one of the hells. Angel was in a hell, after all. Is that why it’s a reprise? Like. Why what.
  • Anywhen, in an abandoned graffitied building, he finds a room full of goats. Oh right, goat sacrifice. Okay.
  • Hah that’s David Fury. Random. His other Whedonverse cameos feel more … playful.
  • OMG they’re doing the ritual sacrifice for W&H and shoutout to S5 when goat sacrifice is one of the phone options.
  • They’re the lackiest lackeys though and know nothing, so Angel destroys the altar and sends them running.
  • And Not!Angel Investigations has gotten rid of the eye in the back of that girl’s head between episodes. I’d call it a weird way to tie up the arc but I know the future etc.
  • Anyway, the mom’s being real shitty and refuses to pay them because an eye in the back of a head isn’t possible therefore they’re charlatans and what utter bullshit. I guess next time take photos for before and after views?
  • Wes is cool letting them go and I’m confused he’s not concerned about the money since he just racked up a major medical bill, between the ambulance and hospital stay. To say nothing of the future physical therapy to recover his strength once he’s out of the chair.
  • Anyway, W&H and Lilah and Lindsey and blah blah some big review is coming up. I guess that’s what the goats were for.
  • Angel brings his concerns to Kate, who … isn’t concerned. “Why is this so important to you?” // “Because it’s important to them.” // “Oh right, and therefore it must be stopped.”
  • Apparently Kate’s job is on the line because of that time Angel beat up the zombie-raising police captain.
  • Kate’s calling Angel out, not for all the shit she knows about, but the shit she just figured out: That Darla and Dru had to break out of the wine cellar after the Holland Manners massacre. That Angel locked them in there. She says she’s done helping him, and damn straight. See, hating Angel for being a vampire was annoying and stupid. This? Justified. Proper. Right.
  • Meanwhile it turns out Lindsey’s been sheltering Darla while she recovers from her burns. No word on where Dru is, but I think she has her appearance in Buffy around this time, yes? [Yep, seven days earlier – imdb]
  • Lorne time! Yay Lorne!
  • Angel wants the skinny on the W&H doings, and there’s a bunch of lawyers in the bar. He tips Angel off that they’re worried not about the upcoming review, but the reviewer. The. Senior. Partners!
  • Angel, not able to find the research he needs at the hotel, storms into the gang’s new office to swipe some books. Cordy tries to stop him, but it’s enough to make Wes stand and say “Just give him the damn thing. Let him get the hell out.” Aaaaaaand tear his stitches. So, more medical bills.
  • Kate’s getting fired but they’re offering her therapy as part of her severance. “You people have no idea what’s going on in this city.” // “Is this the part where you start to talk about monsters? We’ll need your gun and your badge.”
  • And then one final dig: “I’m just glad your father’s not around to see this.”
  • And that’s it. Kate’s career is over.
  • Awwwww Angel goes to the same old bookshop he went to back in “Are You Now…” and it’s got the same proprietor, Denver, only much older! That’s a nice callback.
  • Well at least we finally know what Angel thinks the way to win his war is: go to the Home Office/Hell, and destroy “the whole lot of them.” I guess that’s the same plan he goes into S5 with?
  • There’s a magic glove. Angel’s got experience with those too.
  • Aw fuck. Darla kills the store proprietor and takes the glove. I forgot about that. “The ring’s not about vengeance, Angelus. It’s about power. We’ll get to the vengeance part soon.”
  • This is another interesting piece in the Why Fight the Fight argument that this episode (and next episode) are making. We see here evidence that Angel does and has made a difference. He changed Denver’s life, gave the man hope. But we also see that just as easily, that life can be taken away by someone who doesn’t even care that he ever existed.
  • Virginia’s taking care of Wesley, but it’s clear she’s rattled by his injury, by the fact that it came from a regular gun and not some supernatural element. She asks if the battle always feels like it’s worth the fight.
  • Wesley realizes that this might be the deal breaker for their relationship, if he keeps fighting this good fight.
  • But fighting that good fight, that’s the big thesis of this arc, and leading up what is a lot of people’s favorite line in the whole series.
  • But before we reach that epiphany, we’ve got to keep digging deeper to get to that rock bottom. Kate’s self-medicating her pain with alcohol and trashing her apartment. And Angel’s planning that daytrip to Hell.
  • And we all know any daytrip to Hell starts with knocking out Lilah’s bodyguards and breaking into W&H again.
  • Meanwhile the Sharps are calling again, after stiffing the gang on their fee, and Cordelia’s heading over … on her own. But Cordy! Admiral Ackbar wants you to know that IT’S A TRAP. The Skilosh demon made her call Cordy over, then snaps her neck. Well then.
  • Hey how did Darla get on the floor without setting off the sensors like Angel did?
  • Anyway, Angel and Darla fight over the glove at W&H while the ritual summoners keep summoning. Lilah says “Stake the bitch” to the guards tackling Darla, and Lindsey punches her for it.
  • Meanwhile Angel tacked the summoned whatsit, it disintegrates, but he’s got the ring and the glove! He’s got all the accessories.
  • And an elevator opens. Inside the elevator, clapping that slow clap, is Holland Manners! Hi buddy! So much more compelling than Nathan Reed.
  • “I’m quite dead. Unfortunately my contract with Wolfram & Hart extends … well beyond that.” Another nice bit of foreshadowing for spoiler in S4, including that the death injury remains on the body.
  • Holland warns him the trip to the Home Office is one-way.
  • Holland wants to know what Angel’s long term goal is here. “Now, let me see, there was something—in a sacred prophecy, some oblique reference to you. Something you’re supposed to prevent. Now what was that?” // “The apocalypse.” // “Yes, the apocalypse, of course. Another one of those. Well, it’s true, we do have one scheduled.”
  • “Of course all the people you save from that apocalypse would then have the next one to look forward to, but hey it’s always something isn’t it.”
  • Angel: “You’re not gonna win.” // Holland: “Well, no of course we aren’t. We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic as winning.”
  • Angel wants to know why then. Holland says for W&H there is no fight, they just go on. “We’re in the hearts and minds of every single living being … The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us.”
  • Y’all this is a good scene.
  • The doors open on the Home Office – it’s the same bit of street Angel just left. Angel’s got tears in his eyes as he takes in the truth. The Home Office is Earth. Hell is other people, and all that.
  • We music montage our way among Angel walking through the petty evils of humanity, his last bit of righteousness leeching out of him; Kate, adding pills to her self-medication and sinking further; and Wes, lying on the couch, wounded and heartbroken. And Cordelia, off to go fight that good fight.
  • And honestly it’s so important the montage ends with Cordelia. Angel’s lost his last bit of hope, his war is over because it was never a war to begin with. Kate’s almost gone. Wes is alone and hurting. And while all this is happening, while everyone is sad and alone and scared and broken, Cordelia keeps fighting the fight. That’s what you do. That’s what she does.
  • When Angel gets back to the hotel, we hear that he never took Cordy’s voice off the voicemail. Kate’s drunk dialed to leave a message, blaming him for making her believe and letting her be crushed. “I won’t care either. I won’t feel a thing.” And even hearing his friend hitting her rock bottom doesn’t pull him out, it reconfirms everything he now knows. Everyone is ugly.
  • So when Darla shows up, he gives in. He throws her against a wall and starts tenderly kissing her. “I just wanna feel something besides the cold.” And now she’s laughing as he bends her over a table and kisses her more passionately. So he throws her through the French doors. “What are you doing?” // “Doesn’t matter. None of it matters.”
  • Aaaaand sex.
  • And, as he did at the end of “Surprise” on Buffy, he wakes from his post-coital nap with a gasp.
  • Is his soul gone again? Tune in next week etc. etc. etc.
Favorite Lines:
Daniel: Angel: “I’m not here to sing.” Lorne: “Oh, is that what we’re calling it now?”
Zelda: Not a line, but the montage ending with Cordelia going off to do good.
First Appearance: Skilosh Demon
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Lindsey McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Lorne, Holland Manners, Virginia Bryce, Nathan Reed, Darla, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp, Denver (bookstore proprietor)
Generally Known TV Face: Thomas Kopache
Whedonverse Hat Trick: David Fury (writer and producer for Buffy and Angel; first of three roles on Angel, Mustard Man on Buffy, Newsman on Doctor Horrible)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Angelcakes
Caritas Song List
Cordelia’s Hair – chin bob, highlights, slant bangs
Dead Humans – 2
Dead Undeads – 1
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
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 1
Prophecy Called – 1 (Angel has to prevent the apocalypse)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Walking While Black

 Episode 2.14: The Thin Dead Line. Original Airdate: 2.13.01
“Angel, Gunn and Wesley battle zombie police officers who have been stalking street kids.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Ugh. Time for another I-hate-how-this-is-still-relevant-twenty-years-later episode.
  • Angel’s shoving stuff off the counter like a cat and pouting … is this right after he stopped time from stopping?
  • Anyway, the other three are at their new office and hoping for a new mission (except for Gunn, who’s enjoying his newspaper).
  • And hey, a new mission walks in the door, another referral from Wes’s girlfriend Virginia, who still exists.
  • Yucko, little girl’s got a giant demon eye growing out of the back of her head.
  • Anyway, onto our A plot, we’ve got two kids running away from a slow walking predator of some sort.
  • And Anne! It’s Anne. She also still exists. Hi Anne and Anne’s shelter. The two kids are begging to be let in, even though they’re past curfew. They’re scared enough that even though there aren’t any more beds, Anne lets them inside.
  • And the predator? He’s still in shadow but he’s wearing a cop hat.
  • I wonder if we were supposed to wonder if the cop was a good guy and the kids had done something really awful and that’s why he’s after them. I remember the episode so I know the truth, but like. That’s not something most people watching this show would buy, at this point.
  • Angel’s so lonely he goes to visit Merl, who’s packing and planning to fly the coop.
  • Oh right, Angel’s still using him to get the skinny on whatever W&H is up to.
  • “Best of luck. Hope you bust that evil law firm wiiiiiiide open.”
  • Merl’s rightly upset. Everyone shows up, beats him up, doesn’t pay, and leaves.
  • Back at the shelter, the next morning, and Anne wants to know what scared the two kids the night before. “Cops. They’ve been hassling everybody lately. Which, hey, what else is new, right? But these guys … this cop comes up out of nowhere and just wham. Hit me so hard I thought my teeth were coming out.”
  • Anne says she thinks she knows someone who can help, and we think it’ll be Angel, but it turns out she knows Gunn! He calls her Annie, and I love this. They’re both about protecting the youth in the neighborhood. Of course they’d be friends and allies.
  • But when Anne hears they’re calling themselves Angel Investigations, she clocks it and tells them Angel tried to help her a few episodes ago. The gang gets their hopes up that he’s back on mission, but when they hear it’s about W&H, they let out their collective breath and get back to work.
  • Angel’s in full stalker mode, following Gunn and Anne from the agency back to the shelter.
  • Here’s where we know the writers room is full of white people, with Gunn assuming the kids were provoking the cops and that’s why they’re being violent, as opposed to the crime of, as Jackie put it on Veronica Mars, “standing while Black.”
  • Although the next scene is a cop going after the fairly pallid Angel, so we know race isn’t the only determining factor in the Cop Attacks.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaand Angel kicks the cop’s head clean off. The head quickly deteriorates into a corpse mottled green and the head tries to keep reading him his Miranda rights.
  • Two of Gunn’s old associates already know about the Cop Attacks and Gunn’s mad he didn’t. They’re mad at him for no longer working the streets with the crew, but being part of Angel Investigations. Also one of them is totally Alex’s best friend Ray from Alex Mack

  • Gunn finally remembers urban reality, saying he’ll be a good target because he’ll be the one “walking while Black.”
  • Oh Kate still exists too. Lots of recurring folk this ep.
  • She and Angel are slightly more civil, but it’s hard to tell because they’re both so … stoic. Not even fun stoic. Their line deliveries are monotone, their faces barely move. It’s very … non-entity.
  • Anyway, the cop Angel beheaded died six months ago.
  • AT LAST AT LAST THE LINE ABOUT ANGEL BEING BAD AT PLANNING GOD BLESS US EVERYONE. Wes: “That can’t be his plan, can it? I mean it’s … really a dumb plan.” // Cordy: “Hey, Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly.” The only issue I have with this is no one is as bad at planning as Angel, and there’s no call to throw our Gunn under the Bad Planning Bus.
  • Wes and Cordy are off to back up Gunn, deciding the rich kid with the third eye isn’t going anywhere soon.
  • Aw, we’re at a cemetery. #Buffynostalgia. Angel can tell that a number of cop graves have been disturbed recently, and thinks someone’s zombielording them around the city. Kate panics, but Angel confirms her dad’s safely underground.
  • At least their faces are moving this scene.
  • *snort* Cordelia shows up at the shelter and recognizes her shirt that Angel donated. Nice continuity.
  • Aaaaaand a threatening fellow shows up, pushes his way into the shelter and is apparently coming after one of the kids. Cool so this is gonna go well. “You don’t think I’m gonna kill you or something, do you? … I’d never kill you here.”
  • Gunn: “Someone having an apocalypse and forget to invite us?” // Me: *checks the stats* “Naw, you’re good.”
  • A cop shows up, demanding they put their hands on the wall. Gunn’s calm and asking what law they broke and basically doing all the things they tell you to do, but which somehow still often end with Black people being assaulted or killed.
  • Wes shows up, trying to be the white witness and advocate, “This man is a friend of mine.” But. The cop turns and shoots him in the gut. Ray from Alex Mack gets his gun and shoots him before he can pull his back-up piece and kill the rest of them.
  • Before he can finish freaking out, though, the cop sits back up, because undead and whatnot.
  • Not-Dead Cop gets on the walkie and says “We have a situation … We have witnesses. I need back up.”
  • Cool cool cool. Nothing topical here, nothing to see.
  • Wes isn’t dead yet but he’s definitely going into shock, so they call for an ambulance.
  • Gunn rides in the ambulance with Wes, holding his leg, and I’m having some friendship feelings. But before we can feel like we’re safely away, the ambulance is cornered by cop cars and they start shooting. Cops assaulting at health care providers trying to save victims of cop violence. Also not at all topical.
  • Just. Fuck, y’all.
  • And it looks like the zombie cop brigade intend to take down the entire shelter, with all the kids inside it.
  • Wes, sweating and pale: “He had no right.” Gunn, having known this for his whole life: “I know, man.”
  • Turns out Gunn knows Jackson, the threatening fellow, but they aren’t friends.
  • Cordy insists they take Wes to the hospital, but she opens the door to see the cop cars closing in. Let the siege begin.
  • Angel strolls into the chief’s office, all, “I need to talk to you … about some of your more dead cops.”
  • And chief just shoots him three times in the chest like wtf. That’s just full on no-code villainy, not even trying to justify that he thinks he’s keeping the neighborhood safe or whatever other shit I’m waiting for them to shovel at us.
  • “These are good cops. They put their life on the line,” the chief says as the cops rip metal grates off the windows, shatter the glass, and drag literal children out to be slaughtered.
  • The cops are getting in everywhere, overwhelming the few adults we have fighting to protect the kids … just as Angel finds the idol for the zombie god and smashes it. Suddenly all the cops collapse and revert to rotting corpse form. But our friends don’t have time to question it, because they need to get Wes to a hospital.
  • I don’t hate this episode for being shitty like the last two, it’s just … it’s so fucking sucky how much this is barely a metaphor. I hate this episode from 2001 for still being infuriating, immediately relevant.
  • Angel saved his friends and the kids in the shelter by smashing the idol, but they don’t know that. All they know is that Wes nearly died and Angel wasn’t there with them, helping them protect the hopeless. So when he comes to the hospital and Cordelia catches him watching Wesley through the window, she sends him away. “Wesley doesn’t need you right now. We don’t need you. You walked away. Do us a favor and stay away.” It’s a good line but he doesn’t seem to mind being sent away. He’s still fighting that war, remember? That war that involves making Merl do all his research for him? And then glowering and knocking things off of counters in dimly lit lobbies? That war.
  • He’s still beige Angel.
Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Angel comes back to a fully lit hotel and you know how this bothers me so I’ll move on.
  • Sad music plays so you know he’s sad.  He shoves books off the countertop, so you know he’s a prick too.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the crew seem bored at their new office which is tiled like a bathroom.
  • “We can’t expect evil to just walk through the floor.” Cue the door opening.
  • A woman who reminds me of CJ Cregg comes in with her daughter.
Basically the same person

  • Something bit the daughter and now she has an eye in the back of her head.
  • In downtown LA, something is stalking two teens.
  • Oh hey, Anne is back. Her shelter is full of teens.  The two teens who were being stalked knock on the shelter door but Anne says they’re full up.  They plead and because Anne is nice and we like Anne and they seem scared, she lets them in.
  • The thing stalking them in the shadows?  A cop.
  • This is going to be a fun episode.
  • After the credits, we see Merl leaving town because everyone beats him up for information. Good reason, I guess.
  •  “You don’t care about anyone about yourself," -Merl, unexpected voice of reason.
  • The next day, Anne questions Teen #1 (Kenny?) about what happened the previous night. 
  • He tells the tale of renegade cops.
  • Anne goes to see the Angel-less crew. Apparently Gunn knows Anne.
  • Cordelia reveals the name of their former boss & Anne reveals that she knows Angel.  
  • Cordelia is hopeful when she hears that Angel helped Anne out but when Anne says that Angel just wanted to fuck over a law firm, Cordelia is deflated.
  • Ooh, and Angel is stalking the team.  I guess he was properly shamed by Merl. From the rooftop, he sees Anne leaving with Gunn.  
  • I wonder if they were considering adding Anne to the cast.
  • Meanwhile, in a “This is how teens talk” written by 30 year old writers scene, the ‘teens’ tell Gunn what’s going on.
  • Angel listens in.  He hears enough and leaves – but meanwhile gets attacked by an ‘officer’.
  • Big fight.  The cop acts more robotic than zombie-like – like he’s been programmed to say what he's saying.  Angel knocks his head off….and his body morphs into a zombie-like skin etc.  It still talks, but winds down like a robot powering off.
  • Gunn has called some of his ex-crew who are kinda pissed that he’s abandoned them and I don’t blame them, tbh.
  • Meanwhile Angel goes to see Kate. They play nice & awkward. (Name of their sex tape.)
  • Angel finds out from Kate that the officer he ‘killed’ already died 6 months before.
  • Cordelia tells Wesley of Gunn’s plan – basically to get the beating on tape.
  • "Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly."  HAHAHA.  To be fair, I don't know if I would have noticed how dumb Angel's plans were if it wasn't for Zelda who's pointed it out many times.  This is gold, though.
  • Cordy & Wes decide to put off the third eye case and go help Gunn.
  • Angel visits the gravesite that he can tell was disturbed.  He recognizes other graves that might be disturbed.  
  • Angel explains zombies.  But they're definitely not George Romero Zombies.  They're not 28 Days Later Zombies.  They actually kinda act more like Golems. This won’t be the last time this show deals with unusual zombies.
  • Kate rushes over to another grave – it’s her dad.  Angel assures her that his grave hasn’t been disturbed.  She has a huge vulnerable moment and it’s nice that they remembered this and added this short but important moment to the episode.
  • Another cute moment of continuity – Cordelia recognizes one of her blouses on one of the homeless teens.  This is from when Angel collected some of the clothes at the hotel to donate to Anne when he wanted to get an in with Anne.
  • Ok in yet another storyline?  Some older guy pushes his way into the shelter to harass one of the teens. 
  • Meanwhile Gunn and his two friends set up their spy cam in time for another zombie officer.
  • Meanwhile, Wesley tries to be all white-savior ‘explaining’ to the cops that this black man is a friend of his. And the reality of that scene stings.
  • Zombie officer, however, shoots Wesley.
  • One of Gunn’s friends ends up shooting the officer.  But oops, he comes back.  Because Zombie cop.
  • Zombie cop gets on his radio to get back-up, as zombie cops are wont to do.
  • Kate & Angel go investigate the precinct where the Zombie cops come from.  They don’t get much help, as expected.
  • Oh, there it is.
  • UH oh.  The ambulance is stopped by two cop cars who just open fire.  One of the EMTs gets shot.  Gunn takes over and gets the ambulance out of there.
  • He takes Wesley to the shelter along with the remaining EMT who looks after him.
  • So the guy who came to the shelter – Jackson – also knows Gunn. (GUNN IS POPULAR) 
  • Gunn…in a really weird bad writing moment badgers Jackson for contributing to the violence.  It's like - there was really no reason to introduce this character except to shame the black community. He never comes back; he's only there  to intimidate a teenager and have Gunn yell at him.  It's a real "there's bad people on both sides" moment and it's awful and I hate it.
  • The Zombie Cops arrive at the shelter.
  • Angel is finally able to find the Captain of the precinct who is in charge of resurrecting the zombies.   The Captain guy shoots Angel but oops, Angel is a vampire.  
  • The Captain reveals that the cops he’s brought back are cops who were killed on the streets as if this is a great excuse to raise unpredictable zombies who can just go around killing innocent people. 
  • Ooh, there’s a backroom with shrines to the cops as well as other mysterious objects.
  • Angel finally finds the thing that’s controlling the zombies and smashes it.  At the shelter all the zombies re-die…
  • Kate tries to excuse the Zombie cops by saying in the past couple of months, crime has gone down in that area.  So ok- I- [SHE ONLY MEANS CRIMES NOT PERPETRATED BY COPS BEATING CIVILIANS JESUS FUCK I HATE THIS - Z]
  • Hospital: Gunn waits byWes’s bedside and it’s very sweet.

  • And Angel watches from afar, as usual.  This time, Cordelia catches up.  She tells him that they don’t need him.  She’s angry and rightfully so. 
  • It’s a weird arc that I hope will end soon.  And it seems Angel has a little bit of remorse, so we may be seeing the beginning of the end.
  • Oh they never cured the eye girl. I'm told by Zelda that those two characters will return.  Okay.

Favorite Lines:
Zelda & Daniel: “Hey, Gunn graduated with a major in dumb planning from Angel University. He sat at the feet of the master and learned well how to plan dumbly.” – Cordelia
First Appearance: Rondell, George, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Anne Steele, Merl
Generally Known TV Face: Cory Hardrict, Kyle Davis, Darris Love, Leah Pipes
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Jarrod Crawford (Rondell on Angel, Lead Hydra Agent on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Darris Love (George on Angel, Hallmate on Buffy)
Cordelia’s Hair – chip bob, straight, blonde highlights throughout
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 1 (we’re not counting the hoard at the end, who were deactivated, not re-killed)
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
Shenanigans Called – 0
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0