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The Big Damn Angel Rewatch S01E02, “Lonely Hearts”

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In every generation, there is a chosen one. No, shit. Wrong show. What am I supposed to do, now? I guess I’ll just have to recap every episode Angel with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Angel is still a dick.
  2. Cordelia is smarter than everyone.
  3. Sex is still evil.
  4. Sunlight isn’t nearly as dangerous as it was in Sunnydale…
  5. …but its danger is certainly inconsistent.
  6. Vampire/demon rules aren’t consistent with the Buffyverse.
  7. Xenophobia and cultural stereotypes abound.
  8. Women are disposable and unrealistic.
  9. Vampires still @#$%ing breathe.
  10. Some of this stuff is still homophobic as fuck
  11. Blondes, blondes everywhere

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.  Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.

WARNING: Just like with the Buffy recaps, I’ve seen (most) of this series already, so I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So a blanket spoiler warning is in effect.

After a “previously on” we find Angel brooding at his desk at Angel Investigations. He’s sitting in the dark until Doyle comes in and points out how stereotypical his behavior is:

Doyle: “It’s Friday night. It’s the most social night of the week. I mean, a couple of lookers like us should be out there enjoying the night life… Instead, you’re sitting here moping around in the dark like some kind of–”

Angel: “Vampire?”

Doyle: “Well, yeah. I was going to say slacker but yeah, to you, Mr. Obvious.”

Doyle thinks they deserve a night off…the three of them. He has a crush on Cordelia, but he’s not sure how to act on it. He wants to enlist Angel to help win her over.

Doyle: “Wait a minute, I don’t even know if she likes me, man. Unless you put a good word in for me, you know? Just tell her what a great guy I am.”

Angel: “I barely know you.”

Doyle: “Well perfect, that should make it easier for you, then.”

He adds that Angel should avoid spilling the beans about Doyle’s demon side since it tends to turn women off.

Let’s talk about how a competent actor can make a character who should have been genuinely unlikable into something endearing. Doyle is basically Whistler, the demon guide from season three of Buffy. But the guy who played Whistler tried for (or was directed to have) this annoying, faux-tough guy bravado that was 100% grating to anyone who’d ever met a guy who couldn’t tell the difference between a trilby and a fedora. Even though we never saw it happen on screen, I consider the notion that Whistler referred to women as “M’lady” part of the Buffy canon. We know that Doyle is the replacement character for Whistler, and his mannerisms and overall personality are basically the same on paper. But Glenn Quinn played this character as he was: insecure, desperate to be cool, but ultimately a giant, awkward nerd. Those lines could have been delivered with that same “Look at me, I’m a confident demon with Rat Pack swagger” thing that Whistler had going on, but Quinn stammers his lines as though he’s desperately awed by Cordelia and recognizes that she’s wildly out of his league.

Remember, this is the same guy who played the second most unlikeable major character on Roseanne and somehow took a two-dimensional bad romantic choice and made him human. If you ever have a chance, look for the episode (I tried to find a clip on YouTube to no avail) where Mark and David argue about their mom and the way they were brought up. I firmly believe that if he were still alive today, we’d be seeing Glenn in major film roles.

She said, somewhat biased as a die-hard Covington Cross fan.

Cordelia comes into the office super excited because she’s made business cards for Angel Investigations.

Angel: “Look at that. There’s our number. It’s uh, right next to a, an um, a butterfly?”

Doyle: “It’s obviously not a butterfly, you idiot. It’s’s a bird. No, wait, no, it’s an owl! A bird that hunts at night! Brilliant! It’s a–”

Cordelia: “It’s an angel!”

Okay, in fairness, it’s kind of vague:

Angel holds a white business card with a stylized drawing that's basically a little oval with two wings.

But I feel like if your name was Angel, and your business was Angel Investigations, you’d kind of immediately jump to, “Oh, this is supposed to be an Angel.” At the very least, since he’s a vampire, he should have guessed it was a bat.

Doyle praises Cordelia for being super smart, but she’s not buying it. She smacks him, and he doubles over, not because of her playful hit but because he’s about to have one of his painful visions. He sees a packed nightclub that he thinks he recognizes, but that’s all he gets, besides the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Angel tells him that he got his wish: they’re going out.

Cut to the nightclub, where a man introduces himself to a shy, nervous-looking blonde woman. He gives her a line about how he hates places like the bar that he presumably came to voluntarily. That’s so tired, really. I remember guys saying that shit to me back when I was single and I would almost always respond, “Then you should probably leave.” And of course they thought that was a great idea, let’s get out of here together. Men in bars are insufferable.

Then, the opening credits. Have I mentioned yet how much I love the theme song? It could be an hour long and I’d listen to it.

When we rejoin the man and woman in the bar, they’re sitting at a table, chatting intimately about their past romantic failures and how they have to believe that someday, they’ll meet the someone they’re destined to be with forever.

Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle enter and split up to case the joint. On the dancefloor, people are wildly out of sync with the music. Like, comically out of sync. I love when that happens because you just know that on set they had some other thing playing or nothing at all, and then when they tossed the music over it, it just doesn’t work. That happens at the end of the special edition of Return Of The Jedi, where you can see Lando grooving in the background on Endor during the big Ewok celebration at the end. The new music has a different tempo, but they didn’t crop him out, so it just looks like Lando has no rhythm but a lot of enthusiasm. Music mismatch is fantastic and it never fails to get a laugh out of me.

While Angel tries to get information from the bartender, Cordelia networks the crowd, handing out business cards so obviously that it’s a wonder she doesn’t get kicked out for soliciting. Doyle stops her and points out that if they’re too conspicuous the police might get involved. He tells her to try to just talk to people organically before springing “hey, we can solve all your problems” on them, but she argues that she’s good at reading people. she points out some examples, including “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” the blonde woman we saw before. Cordelia says the woman must have money, if she’s snagged the good looking dude she’s leaving with.

At the bar, Angel is having a tee hee, gays are funny moment:

Angel: “No, seriously, I wasn’t hitting on you.”

He says to a guy walking away from him. So, I’m adding #10: Some of this stuff is still homophobic as fuck. Why? Because there’s nothing funny about “tee hee, people think Angel is gay.” Being gay wouldn’t demean him. Being gay isn’t demeaning. And this isn’t going to be the only joke to that effect in season one.

A woman at the bar–a blonde woman, because every woman besides Cordelia seems to be a blonde–introduces herself as Kate. She asks Angel if he’s okay, because he looks worried. He tells her that he’s looking for someone to rescue, and asks her if she’s in need of rescuing. She thinks he’s trying to pick her up:

Kate: “I gave up on the knight-in-shining-armor concept a while ago.”

She’s clearly unhappy and says she comes to the bar pretty much every night, trying to meet someone instead of sitting alone in the dark. And Angel acts like that would suck while being acutely aware that he does that shit as a passionate hobby. He lies and tells Kate that he’s a veterinarian, and she says she knows she can trust him because he likes animals.

I don’t know if there’s supposed to be chemistry in this scene, because after three seasons of Buffy and now this, I’m starting to think that Angel can’t really have chemistry with anyone. Season one of Buffy, with all the will-they-won’t-they, had some good romantic tension, but I think that was largely driven by the forbidden love angle and the fact that we were experiencing it along with Buffy. On his own, I don’t really care all that much about Angel’s romantic happiness. I don’t mean that in a churlish way; I just think his other conflicts and problems are more interesting than who he longs to fuck but can’t because soul.

In another location in the bar, Cordelia asks Doyle about his visions, and he explains them to her:

Doyle: “Well, they’re messages I get, you know, from the higher powers. Whoever they are. You know, it’s my gift.”

Cordelia: “If that was my gift, I’d return it.”

I have some bad news for you, Cordy.

A sleazy guy approaches with the Angel Investigations business card and asks Cordelia if that’s really her number. He wants to call her up for a date.

Cordelia: “This is a business card. We offer our services to people in need.”

Sleazebag: “Well, I might be in need of a little service. You charge by the hour?”

Doyle tries to intervene by saying that Cordy is with him, but she’s quick to shut that down.

Over at the bar, Angel and Kate are getting a little more cozy and introspective. She tells him she has a hard time trusting men. Kate is kind of a downer. She calls herself a “self-flagellating hypocrite slut” and bemoans how the more she goes out to bars, the harder it is to meet guys.

A big part of that is probably the fact that she’s mopey and constantly putting herself down when she talks to them. But that’s just my theory.

Back at male posturing central, Sleazebag one is joined by his friend, Wingman McAlsosleaze. They accuse Cordelia of being a sex worker soliciting in the bar and Doyle being her pimp. Cordy is about to get physical over this, but Doyle tells her violence is not the answer. Then he throws a punch and suddenly, it’s a bar fight.

Can I talk about the fight scene here? It’s…not great. In my investigation of IMDB, I found that none of the stunt coordinators for Buffy worked on Angel, and it shows. While Buffy’s fight scenes are thrilling, this bar fight feels obviously staged and not organic. The bad guys seem to be standing around waiting to be punched or kicked like everyone is trying to walk through the choreography. The only thing I really like about it is how short it is. That’s realistic; most fights don’t last all that long, and on Buffy they really drag out (which, when it’s supernatural character against supernatural character, I suppose it’s forgivable). Still, this scene is just poorly executed to the point of unintentional cheese. This fight is accidental fondue.

The bartender comes in to break up the fight, though he looks more like that one hip young high school teacher you had than a bouncer. He handles the fight just about the same way a teacher would, too, with stern words and not much manhandling. The sleazebag guys are apparently repeat offenders and get ejected from the bar. Why are they allowed to be there in the first place?

A coy redhead wanders up to Angel and flirts with him. Is this show the opposite of “Teh evol blonde” trope? Because blondes in this show are almost universally sad, small, and vulnerable, but the second a redhead strolls onto the scene she’s aggressively flirty and self-assured in a way that feels like the audience isn’t meant to like her. She’s not a person, she’s a caricature, so I’m calling #8 and making a new entry on the list: #11: Blondes, Blondes everywhere.

Speaking of blondes, Kate sees Angel talking to the redhead and looks rejected and angry. In another part of blonde town, “Sarah, Plain and Tall” is in bed with the guy we saw her leave the bar with. She says it’s time for her to go, and he tells her he understands, but he just wants to hold her. And she doesn’t seem all that into the holding.

The bar is less crowded at closing, and Angel laments the difference between having a social life in his past and trying to meet people now.

Angel: “You know, I was young once. I used to go to bars. It was never like this.”

Doyle points out that Angel used to go to taverns, which was a different situation because everyone in a small town knows each other.

Cordelia: “Yeah, like high school. It’s easy to date there. I mean, we all had so much in common. Being monster food every other week, for instance.”

You know, we spend a lot of time in season four of Buffy watching the gang struggle to fit into life post-graduation, but on Angel we don’t see that happening to Cordelia. Maybe she had to mature faster because she’s living in abject poverty in a big city, instead of going to college with financial support from parents in the town where she grew up. It kind of makes me look at the Scoobies in a new light; they seem a lot younger when you’re watching the shows side-by-side, and their normal world problems carry a lot less weight for me as a viewer.

The bartender/bouncer (I’m not sure what his job is because he seems to be the only employee in the place) tells them it’s closing time and they have to go, but we have to hang around for some exposition first:

Cordelia: “A couple of hundred years ago, the only thing you had to worry about was a hangover. Today, because of your curse thingy, you can’t sleep with anyone or else you might feel a moment of true happiness and lose your soul, become evil again, and kill everyone.”

I know they have to provide background because the show is just getting started, and I know this is in the days before DVRs made it possible miss an episode and still be able to follow along the next week, but honestly, some of this is so damn clunky while the series tries to find its feet.

The next morning, we rejoin the vulnerable blonde in the dude’s bedroom. Only now, she’s wearing a tube top and a sexy skirt with a high slit up the side, as well as smokey makeup and bright lipstick. Where did she get all this stuff if she’s staying over at his place? IDK, I guess it doesn’t matter. The more pressing issue is that the dude on the bed is super duper dead.

Back at the office, Doyle complains that he’s not finding any information about the bar they just visited. Cordelia is trying to man the computer, but I assume years of relying solely on Willow to provide computer-based info has really slowed her down because she snaps at Angel not to spell so fast. Her technological failure is irritating enough to Doyle that he jumps up to do it for her. When he types with basically normal, human speed, Angel and Cordelia are both impressed at his “computer skills”. Because no one could type before computers.

Doyle’s amazing hacker skills find them two leads: a missing girl and an “eviscerated” corpse that both had connections to the bar. Angel puts Doyle and Cordelia on research and heads back to the bar, where he runs into Kate. He apologizes for ditching her the night before and tells her not to go inside because it’s not safe. And since she can’t trust people and since Angel admits he’s still going to go inside, she figures he’s just rejecting her again. She angrily informs him that she can go wherever she wants and storms inside, where she takes a seat at the bar next to a blonde woman whose face isn’t shown at all. And that’s how we know it’s the same woman from earlier: an extra’s face wouldn’t be so conspicuously concealed from the camera because it looks unnatural and like bad blocking.

A guy is telling Demonic Blonde that he finds it hard to meet people because of his job, etc. But despite leaning heavily on his tales of being a high school geek, Demonic Blonde is way into him. Just down the bar, a guy asks the bartender if a Kevin has been in that night. The bartender saw Kevin leave with a girl the night before, so, cha-ching, we know who got murdered by Demonic Blonde last night.

Back at the ranch, Cordelia and Doyle are looking through a pile of old books in Angel’s occult library and hold. the. damn. phone.

Obviously, “research” here is a hold-over from Buffy. Because what did they do anytime they needed to find a demon? They hit the books. Giles’s books. The books that Giles had because he’s a Watcher and therefore would have an occult library of his own, built through years of Watcher training and access to their resources. But why does Angel have one? We’ve never seen this massive collection in his mansion in Sunnydale. He only started being the Angel we see today within the last five or so years; his transformation to doer of good began the same day Buffy found out she was the Slayer. At what point between then and now did he amass a huge collection of obscure occult texts? And if he had them, why didn’t he let the Scoobies use them any of the nine hundred or so times they had to save the world and had reached a dead end?

Anyway, Cordelia and Doyle are looking through the books and she says:

Cordelia: “Ugh. Demons. Is there anything more disgusting?”

Doyle: “You think so?”

Cordelia: “Come on. Okay, look at this one. This demon wears a wreath of intestines around its head. I mean, honestly, what kind of statement is this thing trying to make?”

Doyle says he thinks that some demons can be nice if you get to know them, but Cordelia says that she’s known plenty of demons, thanks but no thanks. Doyle’s romantic prospects are looking grimmer

At the bar, the bartender remembers the name of the girl that Kevin guy went home with. I find the memories of the extras on television shows are pretty convenient when compared to the memories of people in real life. I tended bar briefly and I remember exactly two customers from that entire time: the guy who came back because there was something wrong with the tap and his beer was all foam but he wasn’t a dick about it, and two guys who were in the band Korn. That’s it. And that’s not just because time has glossed over those days. It’s because I legitimately didn’t care about the customers I served once their tip was in my pocket and they were walking away and leaving me some god damn peace. In fact, it’s been that way in every customer serving job I’ve ever had. If someone came in and said, “Did you happen to see this guy last night,” my answer would be a solid, “can’t remember.” I suspect this is the same for many of you out there serving the public.

Either that or I’m a gigantic asshole.

Both could be true.

Anyway, both the bartender and the guy looking for Kevin know Demonic Blonde’s name. It’s Sharon. And one of the guys even knows her last name. Because she’s a regular. So, this bar is basically like Cheers, but for demons.

Angel leaves to track her down by finding a pay phone with a phone book and looking up her name. Ah, the turn of the 21st Century. What a time to be alive.

Anyway, I didn’t quite catch her name, but it sounded Dutch. She’s already in bed with the dorky guy, having had some bad sex that the guy keeps apologizing for. She spoons up behind him all cozy, and we cut to Angel running down a sidewalk frantically. Dorky guy is sharing all his cuddly vulnerability with Sharon when all of a sudden a thing like the tiny head that comes out of a Xenomorph’s mouth shoots out of her chest and into the dork’s back. Angel bursts into the apartment just in time to find the now demonic dork getting dressed, the tentacles of the creature slithering into his spine, while Sharon’s bruised up corpse lays in the bed.

Demon Dork: “You’re not human.”

Angel: “Newsflash, pal. You’re a bit off the evolutionary chart yourself.”

Hey, wait, does that mean demons don’t evolve? That would be a fascinating development to explore. Imagine on Angel or Buffy if they thought they had all the information about a demon, only to find out it had evolved since whatever dusty old century the book about them was written, and now our heroes have to alter their plan? That would be great.

But here I am, getting sidetracked. Demon Dork says that eventually he’ll find a body he can live in forever, but in the meantime, dead human bodies keep being so gosh darn temporary. Angel and the Demon Dork fight, and somehow Demon Dork fights really well despite being in a body he just slipped on a minute ago. Despite much impressive and cringe-worthy vampire hissing, the dude manages to wipe the floor with Angel. And these assholes just stand there filming the whole thing:

Two left hands holding a camera are clearly visible in the right hand edge of the shot.

I mean, seriously. Lend a hand.

Demon Dork escapes, leaving Angel there with the corpse. Which is a great time for Kate to burst in and draw a gun and a badge. Oh shit. Plot twist.

After the commercial, Angel tries to convince Kate that he’s not a murderer, he’s a private investigator. He just doesn’t have a license. Kate pegged him for a serial killer based on their interaction the night before. She tries to cuff him, but he knocks her down and runs, diving out the window. And sitting on the ledge, unseen by Angel or Kate, is Demon Dork.

As per the instructions Angel gave them, Cordelia and Doyle arrive at her place. Doyle isn’t impressed by Cordelia’s living situation. Or, more accurately, he’s impressed by how bad it is.

Doyle: “Wow, this place is…I thought girls were supposed to like pretty things.”

But he insists he finds her slovenly ways “refreshing” until he steps in a bowl of oatmeal.

Angel arrives, establishing the “vampires can’t enter a house without being invited” rule while clarifying that a person has to be alive for this stipulation to apply. He fills Cordy and Doyle in on what’s happening, but he’s also shocked at the way Cordelia is living. The problem is that Cordy has until very recently been waited on hand and foot, and she never learned how to not be a gross slob because it was always being cleaned up for her.

Cordelia: “Is it my fault maid service was interrupted? It was supposed to go home, hotel, hotel, husband.”

This is why post-Sunnydale Cordelia is so fascinating to me, and why I wish we could have seen her meet up with the old gang again in like, season two of Angel.

Also, why she and Xander could have gotten back together and been a much better couple than Xander and Anya, but I’ll go into that more later in both series.

Angel tells Cordy and Doyle that the demon they’re looking for is a Burrower, a creature that exchanges fluids to jump from host to host. We see the demon’s current body picking up a girl in a bar and Kate breaking into Angel Investigations and poking around the office and apartment. She even looks in the refrigerator, so I guess it’s a good thing he didn’t have blood in there? We see the Burrower take on another host, then Angel shows up at Cordelia’s apartment.

In broad. Goddamn. Daylight.

Exhibit A:

Angel, walking down a sidewalk in the early morning sun.

Exhibit B:

Cordelia and Doyle have fallen asleep researching, so they're leaning on each other on the couch with books still in their laps. Behind them is a window, through which sunlight is visible.

This is clearly #4. Even if we were to argue that on Buffy the vampires had to be in direct sunlight, that would only explain away Exhibit B. As Exhibit A clearly shows, Angel is perfectly fine to walk down a street after sunrise. What’s the rule there? Like, he just has to be off the street before Starbucks opens or something? Because it’s very clearly daytime in that picture. Coming from a show where his house had to be either underground or shrouded in blackout curtains, I’m finding this whole thing a little hard to swallow. I understand it’s difficult to have a vampire detective character carry an entire show if he can’t move about the city freely during the day, but it is possible. It’s called Forever Knight. Look it up.

No, seriously, look it up. Because Angel is basically Forever Knight/Buffy The Vampire Slayer crossover fic.

Cordelia has found out that the Burrower is named Talamour, and that it’s been around since forever. Its only weakness is fire, and once it moves from one host to the next, the old body decomposes rapidly. Angel decides they should call Kate since she’s been tracking the demon for longer than he has. When he asks her to help him find the killer, she tells him he’s the killer, and he’s like, yeah, no, you know that’s not true. Kate won’t back down, but Angel tells her to go ahead and come to the bar armed and with backup if she needs to

So, Kate goes to the bar because that’s how this sort of, “Just give me five minutes, here is why you should trust me” thing always goes with cops in movies and TV.  The bartender asks her if she wants her “usual” and Kate shows him her badge so he knows she’s on the job. She asks him to keep an eye out for the “tall, nice-looking” guy who helped him in the bar fight from before, and the bartender is like, sure, obviously, because I am a bartender in a popular nightclub in the second largest city in the United States of America, I definitely a) remember a specific dude who’s been here a couple of times and b) have the time to watch out for him. Okay, that’s what I said. He just says it’s not a problem.

A guy comes up to Kate and tries the “God, don’t you hate places like this?” opener, but he gets shut down when the bartender comes back and tells Kate that Angel is out in the alley. The bartender followers her into a back room and when she tells him to call for her backup, he knocks her out. She falls to the floor and he rips open the back of her shirt because dun dun duuuuuuuuuhn, he’s the infected one now. The demon is about to slither right into her spine when Angel shows up and starts fighting it. Because the Burrower already started the process of the leaving the host, the body is beginning to break down. It tosses Kate and Angel in the basement and goes back into the bar to try and pick up a new host body. Fortunately, his smooth lines don’t work since he’s covered in blood and has a flap of skin falling off his forehead like a broken screen door.

Meanwhile, Kate and Angel are still trying to escape the basement. He pulls out a fucking grappling hook and says they’re going through the windows that Kate estimates are twenty feet up.

Now, wait. Wait a second.

Patrons entering the bar have to do so by descending a flight of stairs. Now, we’re in a basement that has a ceiling over twenty feet high, that Angel and Kate had to fall down a flight of stairs to get into. How deep does this building go? Is this normal for buildings in L.A.? I mean, my assumption is that the entrance to this club is at street level, then you go down. So, are there buildings in L.A. with multiple stories underground? I’m seriously asking because I’ve only ever been to L.A. once and that was just for a day. I can’t tell if this is bad set planning or just how shit is in California.

Anyway, back to Angel’s fucking grappling hook. Just as you might be thinking, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me with this,” in response to Kate’s breathy, “Who are you?” he launches the hook, snags a beam and…brings the entire thing down.

I hope that wasn’t load bearing. There’s a whole ‘nother basement relying on its support.

Anyway, we’re the second episode into the series and it’s nice to have this reassurance that while the tone is more mature, some of the silly humor is still going to be here for us.

Kate shoots the lock off the door (why didn’t she think to do that in the first place?) and they run after the Burrower. The host body is looking super rough now. Like, The Walking Dead rough. He grabs a woman off the street and forces her into an alley. That’s his first mistake. Angel is great in alleys. It’s like, 70% of his whole deal. They wrestle each other toward a conveniently-placed oil barrel fire, and the Burrower is obviously the one who falls in. As he staggers around burning and shrieking, Kate fires a few rounds into him.

After the cops and firetrucks show up, Kate is talking to Angel:

Kate: “Well, seems to add up. The bartender was connected to everyone. I must have talked to him a dozen times. I never had a clue.”

Angel: “It’s hard to get to know people.”

Kate: “Yes, it is.”

This raises a concern I probably should have had way back when I was just recapping Buffy, because it must have come up at least once. The bartender didn’t actually kill all those people. The demon inside of him did. But now in the eyes of the cops, the newspapers, and his family, he was a serial killer. This poor guy didn’t do anything wrong, but he’s going to posthumously bear the blame for all those murders. It’s not like there’s anything anyone can do about that, but I wish it would get addressed at some point. Maybe it does. I’ll just have to keep an eye out.

Kate uses the most cliche line in the history of all screenwriting:

Kate: “I didn’t thank you…for saving my life.”

I find it difficult to believe that there isn’t a website that keeps track of all the times this phrase is used in a movie or TV show. Maybe it’s on TV Tropes, but I have a lot to do today and that place is a god damn trap, so I’m not going to check.

In the interest of starting over and trusting each other, Kate admits to illegally searching Angel’s apartment. He gives her his card.

Kate: “What is this? A lobster?”

Another officer asks to talk to her, and when she turns back dun dun duuuuuuhn! Angel has vanished.

Back at Angel Investigations, Angel suggests to Cordy and Doyle that the three of them should go out and have fun.

Cordy: “Or we can go home.”

Doyle: “And you can sit in the dark, alone.”

Angel: “God, yes. Thank you.”

He sits down at his desk, the lights turn off, and we fade to black.

This episode isn’t all that strong, to be honest. Cordelia and Doyle aren’t given much to do, and they’re basically the most interesting characters at this point. The interaction between Angel and Kate doesn’t really bring anything new to the vigilante/cop dynamic, and Kate isn’t given much of a personality besides “stock tough lady cop who can’t trust anyone.” This early in the game there needed to be a way to keep the core characters more involved; this episode just felt like a heavy-handed treatise on being lonely and tortured and how difficult it is to make a human connection, etc. That shit might be true, but it’s an overall theme for the title character. Cramming it into a single episode just feels too obvious.

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  1. I freaking LOVED “Forever Knight”.

    And no, buildings in L.A. do not often have basements. They don’t build like that in Southern California. Because it’s cheaper to build that way when you don’t have to get the foundation below the frost line.

    Ironically, a good solid basement makes a house more stable in an earthquake if you bolt to the foundation.

    December 13, 2017
  2. Hannah

    If Angel had been a prequel series rather than a sequel, you could argue the smog let vampire walk outside in the daytime. But post clean air act that vampire should be a pile of smoling ashes.

    December 13, 2017
  3. frolik

    Didn’t Buffy give Angel a ring that allowed him out in the daylight? That she stole from Spike or something? I vaguely remember this and thought that it explained how Angel was able to have his own show.

    December 13, 2017
    • Emerald

      That comes later this season/little bit of crossover with Buffy season 4. It might be episode 4/5, I can’t quite remember without checking IMDB lol

      December 13, 2017
    • Kokairu

      That happens in a couple of episodes. He pretty much only uses it once before deciding it’s too dangerous (if it fell into the wrong hands) so destroys it.

      December 14, 2017
  4. Jellyfish

    I went to a fancy bar in downtown L.A. that was in a really expansive basement (of a commercial building, I mean, not, like, a house). There were a couple of basement levels. So such a thing does exist (hey, maybe they even filmed it there!), but I don’t think it’s common.

    December 13, 2017
  5. Quelaag

    Cordy: “Or we can go home.”

    Doyle: “And you can sit in the dark, alone.”

    Angel: “God, yes. Thank you.”

    Angel is my spirit animal.

    December 13, 2017
  6. yamikuronue

    Huh — I remember thinking the joke in the bar was that Angel’s people skills were so bad, his attempts to be earnest came off like a teenage boy trying to get laid for the first time.

    December 13, 2017
  7. Highlander II
    Highlander II

    Ahhhh customer service jobs… from the knife store I worked in, I remember 1 (one) customer… and only b/c he came down from the other level (he worked upstairs) to talk to us and buy sharp things and he was really nice. Dunno that I ever knew his name, but didn’t matter. Only customer I remember from the year and a half I worked there.

    re: “I didn’t thank you… for saving my life.” i think the closest on TV Tropes is this one:

    December 14, 2017
  8. Vix

    When I think too much about Glen Quinn, my dust allergies suddenly flare up at the same time that someone starts chopping onions.

    You’re so right that his choices made characters that might have been awful into someone that you could relate to.

    I also can’t believe he died 15 years ago. It definitely doesn’t seem like that long.

    December 14, 2017
  9. Chris

    Jenny, who’s your MOST unlikeable Roseanne character?

    December 14, 2017
    • JennyTrout


      December 15, 2017
      • Mel

        Yeah same, although Beverley could tie with Fisher. Her voice and her clothes are like fingernails on a blackboard for me.

        December 17, 2017
  10. Vivacia K. Ahwen
    Vivacia K. Ahwen

    My son (who was 12 at the time; now he’s 22) and I had Netflix DVD’s MAILED to us, and did the Buffy/Angel crossover stuff while eating far too much popcorn. Gotta say, the Darling Violetta intro was a good part of why we kept watching Angel. There was a whole, “This show is going to be AWESOME” feel, but the series never quite matched that amazing opening. Angel’s dive-n-flip was the same kind of campy fabulous as the Ron Perlma/Linda Hamilton “Beauty and the Beast.” Which, Jenny Trout, if you ever need to throw something new into the Jenny Watches mix….

    December 15, 2017
  11. Erin C
    Erin C

    Poor Kate. Its not a bad concept, the character could have worked. Karrin Murphy in the Dresden Files is a very similar character and works well. I had honestly forgotten Kate existed and had to think about who she was when I started reading this.

    December 15, 2017
  12. yogacat

    Annnnnnd… now I’m binge-watching Forever Knight. The special effects don’t hold up but the plot and the sexy factor is really much better than first season Angel.

    December 16, 2017
    • If you want recaps of that…

      I literally just came here to fangirl over FK, so, there’s that. 😀

      December 20, 2017
  13. Lily

    Poor Glenn Quinn. Apparently one of the molested, hooked up on junk to kill the pain.

    December 17, 2017
  14. Bookjunk

    You just rocked my world. Doyle is Mark? I did not know this. How did I not know this? Seriously!

    January 3, 2018
  15. Mj

    I willnow if this is reading too much into things but Kai Cole is redheaded and Joss, of course, a colossal asshole. So i’m wondering if that is related to the red head trope, intentionally on Joss’s part, or not.

    January 6, 2018
  16. Anon123

    I’m not sure about LA specifically, but I grew up in the Bay Area, and basements were a foreign concept. Like, literally when I was a kid, I didn’t really even understand what a basement *was* when people had one in novels I was reading–nobody I knew had a house with a basement, so the idea was very mysterious. I’ve been to LA enough to know the buildings pretty much look the same there as where I grew up, so I can’t imagine multi-level basements being common there.

    Anyway, thanks for the recap!

    January 22, 2018
  17. If I recall correctly, the HD transfer didn’t re-color filter some of the day-for-night shots

    August 12, 2018
  18. Veronica

    I saw a video on YouTube called the tragedy of the Buffy HD remaster and apparently the version of Buffy that’s being shown on Hulu/streaming sites is an HD remaster that’s been poorly done, messing up the coloring in many shots. I wonder if the same has happened with Angel? That could explain a lot of the inconsistencies with the sunlight in many shots.

    April 26, 2020

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