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


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.

  • “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
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”
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

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