Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel   Rewatch 
February 4, 2015 11:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Buffy grows closer to the mysterious Angel, but he's not exactly what he seems. Darla and The Master step up their slayer-killing game.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is the best episode so far. There's a lot to like about this episode, Darla is really good, compelling and creepy, and Angel's dilemma makes sense in retrospect: you can hear the self loathing in his voice throughout. Importantly, the chemistry between Angel and Buffy is really present, which is pretty vital for this episode (and next season) to work. The scene of Angel and Buffy spending the night together is really great, a nice piece of writing and acting from both of them.

However, and I have to do a however, the opening to this episode is really bad. Imagine if no-one had seen this show before and watched that opener? We get that stupid goofy voice that I assume was network mandated because it's absolutely terrible, then this cheesy mincing opening with the Master hamming it up and sending the Three. The Three don't make any sense as villains, because where the hell have they been these last 6 episodes? Just hiding in the back of the Master's cave? And apparently they've never had someone they tried to kill run away from them, because they immediately get dusted. In fact, they are a writing device to make it necessary for Angel to spend the night at Buffy's, and then, when the episode has no need for them, it gets rid of them. It's a shame, because without this stuttering start this would be a terrific episode.

Some observations

-Seriously that intro speech is so dorky, and such a bad idea
-Against which enemy would a quarterstaff be useful?
-Darla apparently knows about the gypsy curse. I feel like the show contradicts this later, but whatever
-I love Willow saying "Are we going to help you pass history or talk about boys?" and then immediately talking about boys
-How does Angel maintain his home with no income?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:17 AM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, exactly! I assume the cheesy voice-over is actually Joss, who definitely has a voice made for silent film, or comedy. The 3 were totally underwhelming and I just hate the Master anyway. I believe I have previously remarked on his resemblance to the naked mole rat.

But! Darla shows that vampires can actually be menacing, and smart instead of cannon fodder. And the tension between Buffy and Angel... If Gellar and Boreanaz didn't seriously have the hots for each other, they did an awfully good job of imagining it.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:23 AM on February 5, 2015

-Against which enemy would a quarterstaff be useful?

I imagine that it's less about "Buffy's going to go out with a quarterstaff to fight monsters" and more about "if Buffy finds herself with something quarterstaff-like at hand when she's attacked, it'll be best if she knows how to use it to best effect."
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:43 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Geller and Boreanaz have chemistry for sure, but the real discovery for me on this rewatch was his chemistry with Julie Benz. Maybe I'm projecting how that relationship is fleshed out over time, but it's no surprise to me they brought her back time and again.

Darla's dispatched too soon, just as we start to see who she is. The dusting feels like it should have more impact on Angel given what we come to know about his character, but it's unfair to hold a very early episode accountable for the many years of development to come.

This is an episode where the show really starts to spread its wings. Poetic, ironic love, souls and curses and betrayal and guilt and pain. It's a little clunky, unsure, but we see what it's trying to do, what it will do. I normally suggest streamlined rewatches just start with the season's finale, but I may have to revise that.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:09 AM on February 6, 2015

But yeah, the Three are lame. Like Fork Guy. What's with this season and super hyped up but ineffectual one off vamps?
posted by yellowbinder at 12:16 AM on February 6, 2015

Darla really feels squandered- so much character potential thrown away in a puff of dust! At least Whedon clearly came to regret that decision.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:42 AM on February 6, 2015

Yeah, Julie Benz is pretty fantastic in this episode. I always loved how gleefully demented she looked in vampface, and the way she made her naturally girlish voice into something genuinely menacing. She definitely deserved a bigger career post-Buffy/Angel. She was one of the main reasons I started watching Dexter, and it irritated me to see her demoted on that show to a prototypical edgy cable drama wife, who only ever existed as a plot complication, and not a fully-fledged character in her own right.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:29 AM on February 6, 2015

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