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


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Does Angel Even Exist?

Episode 3.04: Carpe Noctem. Original Airdate: 10.15.01

“An old man uses an ancient incantation to switch bodies with Angel.”

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Fred quietly Freds her way into the lobby and startles Cordy and Wes. Gunn, not startled: “Hey Fred.” It is sweet, the way the writers are slowly seeding in their connection.
  • Fred’s romanticizing imagining what deep novels Angel’s reading upstairs, which they undermine with him being excited about a Charlton Heston double feature, but Buffy-era Angel spent a lot of time reading poetry next to giant fireplaces so like … it’s not like he never cultivated that vibe.
  • Anyway, let’s cut to the Monster of the Week, as some thick-necked stud is in bed with two women. But then he flinches in pain, incants some kind of spell, some essence lifts out of him, and he melts into a pile of rubbery skin suit. Fun.
  • I’ve noticed for the S3 credits they’ve removed Wesley flailing weapons, all slapsticky. I miss that.
  • I can’t tell you how much I have no desire to watch a Charlton Heston double feature.
  • Meanwhile, Cordy’s advising Angel that Fred’s in full crush mode on him and he needs to assert some emotional boundaries before she falls deeper.
  • Oh hey another joke about Angel being a eunuch, along with some re-exposition about his curse, I guess for any new viewers who might be confused about subsequent happenings in this episode.
  • Angel and Wes get excited about the case of the week. Cordy doesn’t like that 1, Angel’s deflecting his conversation with Fred and 2, they haven’t been hired for this and will therefore be doing it pro bono.
  • Gavin Park must feel so left out at W&H. One of the few employees without the initials LM. Anyway Lilah banter banters about Gavin wanting to go after Angel as lawyer ex machina style as he can, which after Lindsay’s repeated failures to either take out or control Angel, is a legit approach I suppose. But also even with Daniel Dae Kim being all Daniel Dae Kim-y, I don’t care at all about Gavin Park.
  • Clue #1: all the dead studs (the one we saw was but the latest in a string of deaths) were members of the same gym.
  • Clue #2: someone in the retirement community across the street from the gym is watching, Jimmy Stewart-style.
  • I guess Angel can enter the retirement community without invitation, but not so much individual rooms. So Rance Howard, aka Ron Howard’s dad, invites him in. He’s got a very harmless “aw shucks” energy. DON’T FALL FOR IT, ANGEL.
  • Angel recognizes a magic whatsit on the shelf. But before he can detective much more, Rance Howard incants some incantation, which Angel scoffs at til the energy/body swap.
  • Ah, an excuse for David Boreanaz to step outside of his comfort zone by being super sleezy for an entire episode. 

  • Anyway Sleezel sleezes at Cordy as he slowly figures out the Hyperion isn’t a hotel but their office. He’s also bummed when he thinks there’s a possible romance with a “Fred,” because nothing’s more fun that casual homophobia combined with ha-ha-isn’t-it-funny-to-imply-Angel-is-gay.
  • This episode makes me tired. I think it’s supposed to be quirky fun?
  • Angel Roscoe calls the Hyperion, but bad luck for him, only Sleezel is there to take the call.
  • Oh hey Ryan the nurse looks familiar. Cuz he’s Joe the Bartender from Grey’s Anatomy! (and a million other things, including an episode of Buffy)
  • Angel Roscoe is still giving off that “aw shucks” energy because it’s clearly Rance Howard’s actual energy and the reason he was hired. But it’s a bit rough because he doesn’t seem at all like Angel (nor did it seem like he was anything like the energy we’re seeing from Sleezel or the stud who died earlier). So while it’s cool they have Famous Old Man, I don’t actually think he has the range. And you know it hurts me to say DB’s showing more range than literally anyone else.
  • I’m talking about this more than I should because ugh to the scene where Sleezel tries to break up with Wes, all freaked out about being touched by another man.
  • And oh look casual racism as he assumes Gunn, bringing breakfast, is a delivery man, and tucks cash into his pocket.
  • And in more grossness, Gunn and Wes are arguing over who gets to interview the escorts, and I can’t wait til we get to an episode this season that isn’t rife with “thanks, I hate it” energy. I know it’ll happen eventually.
  • Oh no. Fred’s come downstairs, so get ready for more trauma, Fred.
  • Marcus Roscoe’s “pick up line” is just “Have I ever told you you’re a very beautiful woman?” No wonder he picks studs to bodyswap. That line is way too inert to work.
  • And now Lilah’s here, to do Angel a “favor,” which is actually just her sabotaging all of Gavin’s plans to lawyer ex machina Angel with fines and forms.
  • Sleezel uses that stupid line on Lilah and offers her a drink.
  • Angel Roscoe pulls a fire alarm and tries to escape the nursing home but oops his very very old heart is having a wee attack.
  • Sleezel makes the moves on Lilah, she’s confused but then shrugs and gets into it, clearing the desk for some hardcore grappling. So Fred gets her trauma, but leaves before Sleezel vamps out and bites Lilah.
  • “Sorry, I just … felt like the thing to do.” She breaks free, amscrays, and Sleezel realizes his forehead’s all lumpy and his teeth are all sharp and his reflection is all not.
  • Which means this body might not disintegrate like the other studs he’s taken over.
  • Cordy enters with a “joke” shaming sex workers and I remain tired. She finds a weeping Fred in the elevator. Ugh poor Fred. She’s so sad.
  • Sleezel goes to a random bar, on the prowl for someone else’s neck to suck.
  • It’s lucky he’s so bad at being a vamp. He’s bitten two women without killing them. He’s now discovered his super strength and is enjoying it a bit too much.
  • The team thinks Angel might be Angelus again (helpfully telling Fred about the alter ego). But Wes notices that Sleezel was reading up on vampires, and connects it to the other studs acting out of character leading up to their melts. Lucky our team is wily and wise.
  • Aaaaaaaaand Sleezel shows up at the nursing home, posing as Marcus Roscoe’s kid. I guess he’s here to kill off Old Man Body permanently, since he’s figuring he can stay in Angel’s body forever. In light of the earlier point about Angel not being able to enter individual residence rooms, wouldn’t it be smarter for Angel Roscoe to hide in one of them instead of a rec room?
  • Wow, I just saw Sleezel’s shirt in the light. It’s satiny and has a tux ruffle front. Why … does Angel even own that? [It pairs well with his rubber pants - D]

  • Something nice and cathartic about Sleezel being taken down, less by Gunn and Wes, much more by Fred and Cordy wailing on him with blunt instruments. A+.
  • They do the switcheroo back, Angel smashes the conjuring stone that allowed the switcherooing, and Angel delivers a pretty crappy takedown line: “I’ll tell you why you have a weak heart, Marcus: you never use it.” GROAN, EYE ROLL.
  • Oh I just realized this shot of the team walking out is the new action shot. In that tux ruffle shirt. Le sigh.
  • Angel finally has The Talk with Fred, but Fred already got the rundown from Cordy. Fred: “She said you’d probably just screw it up.” // Angel: “She did, did she? She’s probably right.”
  • Oh man, I forgot this ep ended with Willow calling to let the LA team know Buffy’s less dead than she used to be. Angel runs to get the phone and Fred, alone in the courtyard, quietly asks, “Buffy?”
  • Which syncs us up with the end of Buffy’s fourth episode, “Flooded,” where Buffy and Angel agreed to meet in some middle non-filmable location. Buffy’s next episode opens with her returning from that meet up. This is all because this was the season Buffy moved to UPN while Angel stayed on the WB, long before the two networks combined to be the CW, and crossovers (not to mention synchronizing timelines against random hiatuses) became increasingly difficult for either series to manage. This fun factoid brought to you by Zelda! In! History! because I remember that whole rigamarole.
Daniel’s Thoughts:

  • At the hotel, everyone is bored.  Cordy is reading magazines; Gunn is playing a Gameboy!

  • I don’t know why Fred’s crush on Angel annoys me, but it does.
  • Angel’s excited about a Charlton Heston double feature.
  • Meanwhile, somewhere else, some guy has just finished having sex with two women. Okay. It’s gonna be one of those episodes.
  • “It’s good to be young,” he says, so the supernatural loving audience knows exactly what that means.
  • Something happens where he knows the evening is over, he recites latin…and then….he melts? Or his skin falls off leaving nothing underneath? I dunno.  It’s kinda gross.
  • Meanwhile Fred is telling Wesley all about her “date” with Angel like Wes is her girlfriend or something.
  • Cordy tries to warn Angel to talk to Fred about her feelings.
  • She’s also on about Angel being a eunuch because he can’t have sex.  Which – after all this time, they still don't understand that "perfect bliss" ≠ "orgasm."
  • The gang reads about what happened in the hotel room and decide to investigate.
  • Wolfram & Hart: Lilah & Gavin Park.  She’s still making fun of him for trying to stick it to Angel with building violations.
  • The Fang Gang find more similar murders.  All young, physically fit men, from the same gym.
  • Everyone gets their assignments except for Fred.  
  • Somehow Cordy & Angel get into the gym without a membership card. 
  • Across the street is a retirement home. Angel notices someone with binoculars. How conveeeenieennt.  I mean, if it'll move the plot along, I'm ok with it.
  • He goes to investigate while Cordelia interviews the physically fit men.
  • He finds the dude.  He recognizes some of the old urns.
"I wish I could switch places with her for just one day!"

  • The old man is now in Angel’s body.  Angel is passed out in the old man’s body.
  • Oldman Angel is very pervy. And he pervs on Cordelia and it’s gross.
  • It’s all cutesy and weird and pervy and not much of substance happens.  It’s a fluff episode that you absorb and sorta enjoy while waiting for the plot to get back to where it was.  It’s certainly nothing like the Buffy Faith swap episode.
  • But here Angel just acts like evil pervy Angel and the old man doesn’t act like David B at all.   He just seems confused.
  • And then the gay jokes. Which aren’t bad for this time period. Old man Angel thinks Fred is a boy and then thinks Wesley is Fred and oy, I can’t even go into it.  It’s awkward and stupid and I want it to end.
  • Ah, but he finds out Fred is a woman and hopefully this ends.
  • Racist old man assumes Gunn is the delivery guy. 
  • Old man Angel faux pas eating.  The rest  kinda let it go pretty easily.
  • Gunn & Wesley both want to interview hookers. Ok?
  • I wonder if Angel feels different being in the body of a human.  For one, he can be in direct sunlight.  Unfortunately, it's never explored  because he just can't get out of the damn retirement home. 
  • Old Man Angel finally meets Fred and flirts heavily which, of course, is going to totally toy with Fred’s emotions.
  • Enter Lilah. Old Man Angel pervs once more!
  • Lilah remembers the last time they were together – when she really hurt Cordelia.  She buries the hatchet by fixing his building legal stuff.
  • Angel finally has a plan to escape but his dumb old body has a heart attack.
  • Old Man Angel and Lilah make out. Fred, disappointingly catches them.  And then he vamp faces without realizing it.
  • And finally realizes he’s in a vamp body.  Which? Ya know what?  I’m gonna SHENANIGAN that.  It’s been at least a day. Two?  This guy’s whole deal is that he wants to be a hot young stud’s body.  No way he wouldn’t have looked in the mirror before now.
  • Meanwhile, Old man Angel is in his rubber pants...picks up a woman.  He realizes he has super strength, bites the woman and the beats up her boyfriend and his friends.
  • So Wes figures out that we’re in a Freaky Friday situation (More like 18 again?) & then Cordelia puts two and two together about the retirement facility.
  • Old man Angel comes to see Angel-In-Old-Man.
  • And then the team shows up and beat Angel with bats.
  • They bodyswitch back and destroy the stone.
  • And fluff episode over.  Almost.  Ugh, we gotta deal with this awkwardness:  
  • Angel finally has the talk with Fred.
  • And then Cordelia rushes out to tell Angel that Buffy’s alive.  Alive!

Old Man Angel:
Daniel: Why is Angel hitting his tit?
Zelda: I think it's meant to be his itty bitty unstakeable heart
Daniel: His itty bitty titty unsteakable heart
Zelda: -itty?

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: “She’s got the big puppy love. I mean, who wouldn’t? You’re handsome and brave and heroic [Angel smiles sweetly], emotionally stunted, erratic, prone to turning evil, and let’s face it, a eunuch [Angel’s face falls]” – Cordelia
Daniel: “Angel, Willow's on the Phone.  Buffy's alive! She's alive!"  - Cordelia
Recurring: Lilah Morgan, Gavin Park
Already Famous Person: Rance Howard
Generally Known TV Face: Paul Benjamin, Paul Logan, Steven W. Bailey
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Steven W. Bailey (Cave Demon on Buffy, Ryan on Angel)
Angel! In! History!
Angel thinks pilates is like tae bo.

Cordelia’s Hair – clipped up with flyaway strands; honey highlights
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 0
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0 
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 1 (Lilah bringing the forms to the Hyperion)
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0
Champion Called – 0

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