Friday, July 27, 2012

Buffy Rewatch: Angel

Angel (1x07)

  • Ooh, the Three.  Least scary villains ever.
  • Hey, this episode was written by David Greenwalt!  At first I thought it was his first, but after reading I discovered it was actually his second.  (Teacher's Pet was first.  Ha!)
  • Xander dances like I do.
  • Angel, stop being so damn creepy.
  • "Take your jacket and shirt off."  Nice one, Buffy.
  • They should do an episode about how Angel got his tatoo.  Like LOST did.  Because that was a great episode.  </sarcasm>
  • Why is Angel sleeping over at all?  I mean, sexual tension aside.
  • "Guys'll do anything to impress a girl.  I once drank an entire gallon of Gatorade without taking a break."  "It was pretty impressive.  Although later on there was an ick factor..."
  • Willow's delivery of the line "No, I was sleeping" after Giles mentions how late he was up is strangely hilarious to me.
  • Okay seriously.  I could maybe understand Angel staying the night.  But why does he stay there ALL DAY!?  I mean, I know it's because he's a vampire, but Buffy doesn't know that.  Doesn't that seem strange at all to her?
  • It's kind of strange that Angel vamps out when kissing Buffy.  Is it because this is the closest he's been to a human in years?  Bloodlust suddenly rising?
  • When Xander sees that Cordelia may have overheard: "How could you love an umpire?!  Everyone hates 'em!"
  • Angel, I know you like your image, but you could probably light the dark hole in the ground you live in just a BIT more.
  • "What's with the Catholic School Girl look?  Last time I saw you it was Kimonos."  According to my research (read: Wikipedia), Kimonos are Japanese clothing.  Later don't we find out that the last time Angel and Darla met was in China during the Boxer Rebellion?  Darla was not wearing a Kimono in that episode and probably would have looked very strange if she was.  Not a big deal, just a minor nitpick.
  • At first I really disliked how Angel doesn't try to explain to Buffy that he didn't bite Joyce.  It seemed like a contrivance for the sake of DRAMA to me, and I hate those.  But then later in the episode Buffy calls him out on it and he explains that it was because he wanted to feed on Joyce.  So he felt guilty, like he deserved Buffy's hatred.  This actually makes complete sense to me.
  • Why did Xander and Willow randomly just show up at Buffy's house?
  • Giles on why Buffy is not good at history: "She lives very much in the now and of course history is very much about the then."  This actually is a very consistent character trait of Buffy's that we see throughout the series.  Her disregard for tradition and old rules is a defining trait and what makes her a good slayer.  This will first be truly explored next season with Kendra.
  • "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done, and care."  What a great line.
  • They had yet to refine the vampire teeth prosthetics enough at this point in the show, so Darla sounds really dumb trying to talk with her teeth in.
  • Aww.  I'm kind of sad for Darla this time around.  Considering how important a role she plays later in AtS, her death is really kind of affecting here.  Julie Benz acting as she realizes she was killed by her beloved Angel is really quite sad.
  • Okay, I know the cross burned into Angel's chest is SUPER CHEESEY, but I kind of like it anyway.
I would say that this is really the first great episode of this show.  Angel's story, while melodramatic and lacking in nuance, is really quite well done here and it is the first big thing to happen in this show.  His character has so much potential and it is good they didn't wait longer for the reveal of his true nature.  The idea of a tortured vampire, cursed with a soul and in love with the Slayer is actually very powerful.  Looking back from the perspective of both shows and the comics, this is actually a very important episode for Angel's character.  It is here that Angel finally chooses a side.  Up until now he has been a lonely, brooding wanderer: unable to be either monster or man.  But because of his love of Buffy, and, critically, her acceptance of him, he can begin to be something more.  He can start on the road to redemption, which will provide purpose for him long past his relationship with Buffy.

However, here we do not get the subtle Angel characterization we will eventually have.  This is really his first character developing episode and as a result it is all broad strokes.  Large operatic melodrama defines Angel's character and the Buffy/Angel romance at this point.  It makes sense, but I feel that one of the main problems of Angel's characterization on Buffy is that the show takes him too seriously.  It is kind of a silly story, and I think if the show poked fun at it a bit more it would go a long way towards making Angel more than an archetype and a more engaging, relatable character.

Of course, these are problems for the future.  For now, Angel the episode is a great start and has the grand distinction of being the first episode to really demonstrate the potential this show has. 

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