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Angel S1 Watch-through With My Niece

Discussion in 'Season 1' started by thetopher, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Well I said 'the Fuffy in me' so my obvious bias is front and centre. As is yours. ;)
     
    The Bronze: Haha fair enough. Still enjoying these write ups :-)
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  2. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    It can be the watcher council's jargon or something...
    --- Double Post Merged, Nov 20, 2015 ---
    The second terrible thing is Faith and Giles together.

    A dose of Faith/Giles, then Faith/Angel, then Faith/teenager Giles. Luckily Buffy's all grown-up at that moment, otherwise it would be a disaster...
     
  3. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Sorry I got a little behind...

    War Zone
    Another good episode that often gets overlooked because of its place in the season. The S1 theme of LA being a place where different worlds exist simultaneously to each other is strongly emphasised- glitzy hollywood party with rich client folk (who can actually pay) alongside streetwise youths struggling to stay alive.
    The plot is pretty thin- simple blackmail case leads to Angel gaining another ally- but a lot of the (mainly young) guest cast manage decent enough performances. J August Richards gives a very strong impression in his first appearance. Going from angry young man with trust issues to loving brother who tragically loses his sister. The action is good- especially the opening fight- and Angel facing the deathtrap warehouse o' stakes was fun. :)
    DB gets to play all sides of Angel- from socially awkward to threatening PI to good comedy (the part where he's desperately trying to escape the old meat locker and forgot that he had a cell phone...) and badass vampire.
    I suppose the only downside I had was David Nabbit, whose 'awkward geek' thing quickly grates on my nerves (I'm guessing I'm not the only one who felt this since the writers drop him after just three appearances) and maybe the fact that black-mailer guy suddenly had access to demonmuscle seemed convienient. Small niggles in an otherwise fast-paced episode.
    My niece thought it was okay-isk. I'm not sure the plot grabbed her at all and she wasn't particularly surprised by any of it- except the opening reveal of Gunn not Angel. She hasn't got much patience with the 'people assume Angel is evil and don't trust him even when he's done out-of-character stuff'...but she gave Gunn and his 'posse' (can I say posse?) a bit of understanding since their lives are pretty much a fight for survival. Plus she found Gunn himself to be engaging enough (but sahe knew he was going to lose his sister, that she would be turned, and that she would try and turn him)

    Specific stuff:
    Liked: The opening scene. 'You expecting somebody else?' That's a memorable character entrance, to go alongside knocking over a Sunnydale sign or headbutting a vamp in an alley...
    Liked: The swanky party and Cordelia's reaction to it all. Also the fact that Angel may hide money around the office for Cordy to find and smell. In fact all of what Cordy does here- requesting that they meet Dave 'at night' 'during a party' and her sheepish grin when found out.
    Liked: David Nabbit. She thought he was a goof and felt sorry for him. Aw. (bleugh :p)
    [D&D reference!] So Angel has seen 'a few' dragons? When the hell? They exist? That's cool, and I get a flashforward to Angel wanting to slay the dragon in that final scene.
    Eeeww..!: The demon brothel, the 'look Ma, no hands' bit. Although she did appreciate the fact that Angel was pretty enough to get around the 'no vamps' rule. Still 'guys are weird' is her opinion. Ha!
    [I like the idea of the Watcher's Coucil gossiping about it in that 'its terrble but I'm really rather curious' type way. Their all 'What do you imagine goes on there?' 'I sudder to think, old boy.' *wistful sigh* :D[
    Liked: Gunn and Alonna (?) but the rest kinda faded for her. She hated the guy with the flamethrower who seemed to have an over-iflated sense of his own dangerousness..
    Loved: deadpan threatening the smug blackmailer. My niece also said that Angel's 'wants in life' have changed since 'In The Dark'- nice callback by my niece. :)
    Liked: Cordelia's and Wes' reaction to DN's generous payment. Cordelia getting 'flustered'.
    Liked: Angel fighting the demon and then being
    Loved: Angel getting staked, beaten, almost runover, avioding spike and crossbow traps, guys/gals with stakes, shot through the hand...and he's stil all complimentary about the work that Gunn and co put into their gauntlet of death!
    Eeww! (part 2): Angel and Wes looking at the blackmail photo's!
    Loved: Angel all hurt and bandaged up. Cordelia offering to show Angel the cheque to make him feel better...and then Angel wanting to see the cheque again before heading out.
    Ouch: Alonna wanting to turn Gunn. Telling him that she's going to 'look after him now', and then Gunn staking her with that broken look on his face. Certainly has echoes of William!Spike wanting to turn his mother.
    Meh: The vamps. She was glad that Angel just up and stakes their big-mouled leader with a nice 'I wasn't actually talking to you'.

    Liked: The simple scenes with Wes and Cordy talking- in the car and whilst having a coffee. She got why Cordy would maybe want to persue DN but was glad that she'd matured enough to see that it would, indeed, be prostitution.
    Liked: Angel and Gunn at the end: 'I'll be around' 'I don't need any help' 'I might.'

    So, a nice little filler episode. :)
     
  4. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    In my impression Gunn was the most open-minded guy towards Angel in the whole Buffyverse. "Vampire with a soul" should be only known to very very few people and it is very reasonable to assume OOC vampires are just evil vampires with an agenda. Gunn was very nice to him. I mean much nicer than Kate. Given his background of professional vampire killing it's a surprise.

    But the "Double or Nothing" episode ruined everything. Apparently he knew a lot of demons and traded with them. Sigh...
     
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  5. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Blind Date
    This ones a bit odd. Part morality tale, part heist movie, part buddy movie-ish with a bit of kung-fu thrown in for good measure. For the most part it works, some scenes are better than others and to me its more a collection of really good moments than a compelling episode. Also Lindsey's unconvincing redemptive turn-around at the end is a pity.
    Still, we get a better look at W&H's workings and how it operates. There's some nice action and team work, plus a mini-crossover with Willow on the other end of a phone talking Cordelia through computer decryption. We see the dryly sinister Holland Manners for the first time- Sam Anderson gives an excellent performance.

    My niece enjoyed this a lot. She had the sense of escalating drama throughout. She thought the blind assassin chick was pretty darn creepy plus she liked seeing all the badguy shenanigans (I like that word and will use it more often) over at the law offices. She liked the whole Angel/Lindsey team up thing (someone thinks Lindsey is cuuute!) plus Gunn's awesome scene in the lobby.
    She definitely thought something is going to come of that scroll as soon as Angel picked it up 'for no reason' (And for me that settles the wholes 'who is the Shanshu destined for?' thing. Angel picked it up for no reason because he's mentioned in the damn prophecy.)

    She really only reacted to a few specific things this epsisode:
    Excellent: Angel's 'dusting of the week' as he hoisted a vamp into the air on chains and then slid him into a stake ontop of wooden pallets *applause applause*
    Woah: Mystery blind kung-fu assassin who throws Angel all over the place.

    Liked: Angel's deep seated frustrations at being unable to fight W&H on their terms- with the law. Also his 'Angelus'-y 'sometimes I miss that clarity beautifully foreshadows his S2 actions. She also liked Wesley trying to comfort him. And again at the end- telling Angel that they is a pattern in the chaos.
    Loved: Lindsey coming to him for help. His explanation and really not wanting to be there. Angel pretending to fall asleep during his sob story and saying 'sorry, did you get to the part where you're evil?'.

    Loved: The whole heist scene. She really thought Lindsey was going to get caught (he did!) and something bad happen to him (he got a promotion!) and his 'cool under pressure' encounter with Lilah.
    Liked: Gunn 'Evil white folks really do have a Mecca!' :D
    Loved: Lee getting shot. Yay!
    Loved: Cordelia saying without interest 'We just figured you were dead.' to Lindsey.
    Loved: Cordelia on the phone with Willow. The little 'Willow says hey.' and revealing that the Scoobies have been decrypting computer discs as well.
    Intrigued/interested: Angel not knowing why he took the ancient scrolly thing. Hmn.
    Loved: Angel finding a way to beat unbeatable monk-lady.

    Whaaa? Lindsey deciding to take the office and 'ungodly benefits'. Not all redepmtion stories work and AtS works precisly because its not afraid to show those ones as well

    Niext -final episode and final thoughts on Angel Season 1.
     
  6. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    Could she sense Gunn would be a main cast?

    I really think that Willow and Cordy had some time bonding after the graduation while Xander's not in Sunnydale and Buffy was in her room being sad about Angel all day.
     
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  7. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Yes. She could tell by his 'opening' that he'd be around. Confirmed by his cameo's in the next two episodes. My niece liked that he, for the moment, seems to take Angel at face value and accept him as a good guy.

    I have this whole head canon where they actually became really good friends off-screen. Especially after the S2 Harmony phone call and later when Willow came to tell the Fang Gang about Buffy's death. I imagine that Angel brooded but Willow and Cordy hugged and comforted each other a bit.
    Sorta confirmed by the fact that Willow specifically went up to see Cordy in 'Orpheus'. I bet she missed her after that.
     
    Samuel Reyes: Sucks that the last time it wasn't really Cordy. :(
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  8. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    To Shanshu In LA
    Wheras Buffy was cerebral in its final instalment Angel is flat-out hi-octane, huge stakes, explosions, dueling scythes (actual scythes) and limbs flying everywhere, with a kicker reveal right at the end. Not that the episode wasn't without substance, since its key theme went right to the heart of Angel's own season 1 journey; to be part of the world, invested in it and the people there, not just to be some shadowy hero guy who swoops in and out of nowhere.
    And here, when it appears that Angel doesn't want anything, nor does he need anything- even seemingly appathetic about his eventual death- when in fact he has ties to the world he values, real friends that he trusts, a worthwhile mission and enemies he can strive against. And there's even the promise of a distant reward in the far future (although this last part is put to one side mid-S2).

    All cast members get great moments, Wesley's speech about connections to the world is downright prophetic as to his own eventual fate, CC's inflicted visions give her a new perspctic of the worthwhile-ness of their mission and Angel does what he must to protect the allies he has made.
    A great season finale.

    My niece liked this (though not as much as Buffy's season finale) as it had a real satifactory showdown feel to it. A deep-voiced warrior demon (my niece compared him to a Sith Lord), the unexpected death of the Oracles and the near death of both Cordelia and Wesley raised the threat level nicely. There were several moments where my niece cheered Angel- shouting at Lockley, saying that he needed Cordelia, chopping off Lindsey's hand. She also liked the two endings- the fact that Angel may one day become human and the reveal of what W&H brought back in the box.

    Liked: Seeing David Nabbit again (meh), although she did wonder why he was there. Was it just for an extended joke? Yes. Yes he is...I mean, it was. ;)
    Boo! Lindsey taking another job with W&H. Although Angel has no f***s to give. I thought that was funny.
    Liked: Cordelia: 'Nobody gets my humour.' Angel (dryly): 'I thought it was funny.'
    Liked: Vocah the warrior of the underworld. Creepy voice, maggot face, cool weapon.
    Loved: 'Pain...killer...' 'Painful, killer demon.' 'Pain-killer!'
    Loved: Wes and Cordy's talk about Angel 'wanting things' over donuts. (nice to see ordinary donuts getting some love)
    Liked: Cordelia saying that Angel should get a puppy
    Liked: Cordelia buying a artistic gift for Angel. Sweet.
    Oh No! Cordelia being inflicted with horrifying vision after vision. Charisma's acting in the hospital is particularly nerveshredding. Poor girl. :(
    Loved: Splosion! :eek: She was shocked that Angel's neat basement-y base got blown up. I wonder what she'll think of the next place they all end up in.
    Disliked: Angel saving a homeless chick from 'slime demon' ('stupid name for a demon and why does crazy lady get a vision?') plus there was Kate there giving Angel the stake-eye. (Heh, I just made that up).
    Possibly her favourite bit: Angel shouting at Lockley that hther is more important shit than her 'issues'. Loved it! :D
    Liked: Gunn's cameo as Angel asks for his help. I confirmed to my niece that he'll be a regular cast memeber in Season 2 (she asked).

    Liked: The whole raising scene. The cynical reactions of the W&H types to the black ritual ('they haven't even gotten to the latin yet'), the whole 'yet they live' chanting, the light show, vamp-dust storm. She really wanted to know what was in that box. What evil was afoot.
    Loved: Angel chopping off Lindsey's hand after his little bad guy speech. Yay.
    Liked: Wesley and Angel curing Cordy and then her smiling at Angel in relief.

    Liked: New Cordy (with shades of the old). Like Angel said 'I like them both.' My niece hopes that Cordy doesn't change too much. Hmn.
    Liked:That Angel's going to live and then die. He's going to become human. My niece (unwisely) said that Angel should go and tell Buffy. (Big no on that, wouldn't be fair).

    Holy Crap: Darla! Evil is afoot.

    Overall my niece had a positive reaction to the Angel spin-off. I'll do an overview of her reactions in a bit. :)
     
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  9. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Final Thoughts On Angel Season 1
    I will quickly say that my own estimation of this season has gone up from previous viewings. Anel season 1 had a tough job to forge an identity away from the parent show, as well as world-build outside of the small world of Sunnydale (briefly touched upon in S3 'Anne') and it does so very well.
    The client-of-the-week allows the writers to establish LA as a city of contrasts, of rich and poor, mundane and weird. And we discover there's still a level of denial done by most of the populace as to the presence of the supernatural. The first season is noticably cinematic- with the flashy jump-cuts and camera tricks (plus lots of overhead shots of the city) that will be absent from later seasons. Also the lack of overall acr, that will go on to become Angel's major strength, allows us to get to know the principal characters a lot better. Angel, Cordelia and Wesley (and even Doyle in his 9 episodes) get plenty of screen time to change and gel as a team.

    My niece enjoyed this a lot more than I thought she would. She liked the tone, the darker contrast to Buffy, the big city, noir vibe and all the action. But to her the grounding of the show came from one character. Cordelia.
    Seeing Cordelia outside of Sunnydale, out of her element but still 'her' was the chief reason my niece latched on to this so quickly I think. Angel was the main character- but to my niece his 'identity' outside of Buffy's boyfriend hadn't been established- and Wesley was still Watcher with a big brain (just with a bit more self-confidence and guts) but to my niece Cordy is the show so far. We'll have to see if that changes over time.

    The other thing she liked was the constant theme of redemption and how it didn't just apply to Angel. Cordelia's fall from grace and slow start in LA, suffering for the thoughtless cruelty she inflicted on others. Then Cordelia, through meeting with those in trouble and later with the visions, learns to be more empathetic to those in need. Helpling the helpless becomes less of a way to make money and more as something worthwhile in and of itself.
    Doyle for turning a blind eye to his own kind, is made so he can no longer turn a blind eye with the visions. And he's given a higher purpose- bringing Angel back into the world. In his death, he succeeds in that.
    Wesley atones for his mistakes as Watcher, his pompous pride that led to his failure. Here he's allowed to earn his self-respect, not from his title, but from his actions.

    Which brings us naturally to Faith, damaged slayer who comes to Angel as someone gone so far off the rails with her actions she's thought unreachable. Through Angel's actions (and Faith's own realizations) redemption becomes something that might be possible, with work, if you're strong enough.
    Even other, side characters such as Kate Lockley, her father, Lindsey and Gunn- redemption, the possibility or rejection of it, is a key theme and will continue to be.

    So that's it- Angel Season 1 managed the not-easy task of establishing itself away from Buffy. A few crossovers notwithstanding it did a good job. It managed to take the characters and build on their relationships from the previous show. Angel's the broody, socially awkward action hero. The show turns him into a figure of fun at certain points. Cordelia the shallow princess (and Buffy's shadow self) and Wesley the stuffed shirt, both are given much more depth.
    I think from Sanctuary onwards is possibly the key to this. Angel standing up to Buffy (cast in an unsympathetic light) in a way that he's rarely done before.
     
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  10. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    I feel very much the same about season one. Cordy being a main character in a different light; post-high school, in LA alone, working with Angel and co. and helping those in need, was easily the most watchable thing in the first season.

    The contrast from previous seasons of BtVS was impressive and Cordelia was a big part of that for me.

    All I would add is that AtS does a good job of adding fresh faces as the seasons go on, and it establishes the strong, family-like bond between the group very well (a lot better than BtVS). Those fresh faces are easily accepted and enjoyed just as much as Cordelia. Well, s1-3 Cordelia anyway...

    I'm sure s4 will break her heart a little. Considering how strong they started out with Cordy's character on AtS, what a big effing mess it became.
     
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  11. Samuel Reyes

    Samuel Reyes Chilling in SunnyD

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    I wonder what your niece will think of Angel and Cordelia crushing on each other in Season 3.

    Unfortunately... :(
     
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  12. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    I didn't find Cordy's date charming enough, and even if I did I don't buy that she would sleep with him after one date. I get that they have to do it to set up the episode, but maybe they could have set up as she'd been seeing him for a few weeks or something. Whatever the case I find the b-movie plot very weak. It was nice to see the return of Phatom Dennis though:)

    Glad someone else thinks this. Wesley acting creepy when their rescuing the girls makes is annoying, and makes him look more like a heel than someone working on the good team. Its a good thing he has that dance scene at the start to make up for it:D

    True dat! I like this episode:)
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 7, 2016 ---
    Pretty much agree with your thoughts on Prodigal.
     
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  13. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    To me Parting Gifts is a good tranistional episode, with some nice character moments and a good mix of comedy and drama. They do just about the right amount of reflection on Doyle's loss, while giving Wes a good place to build from.

    Respectively disagree with your niece here. Sure the visions give Cordy a new purpose, but I always felt they distracted too much from her character and became like a cheap gimmick after awhile. I just see it all as part of the show trying to make the character too dark, and it feels forced.

    Barney was a highlight for me. It helped that the actor playing him was really good in the role, and it was like he played both parts of the persona convincing.

    That's a lovely end scene:p
    --- Double Post Merged, Apr 3, 2016 ---
    I think your comment highlights my issue with the episode and some of this first season though. Because yes the plot exisits mostly to add to the core characters and their bond as a group, but you still have to come up with an interesting and convicing plot to get from A to Z, and that's where this episode fails big time. Its an old and clitche b-horror plot, and the story doesn't really do justice to Cordy as a character.

    That scene's alright I guess, but where did Cordy find these new friends from I wonder?...

    Yes! Love Phatom Dennis:p He needed to be in more episodes.

    Shame on you thetopher Cordy's date was as convincing as Scott Hope or Owen as being charming:rolleyes: And even if I believed in him, I still don't believe that Cordy would sleep with him on a first date. I get why they do it, but they still could have had a thing where they said that she had been dating him for a few weeks or a month just to make them sleeping together more credible.

    Agreed! Bloody awful stuff that was!;)
     
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  14. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    Yeah one of the most terrible episodes of even show. Its really dumb and boring:oops:
    --- Double Post Merged, Apr 4, 2016 ---
    I think Kate's best episode was Sombnbust? But this wasn't too bad. It had a nice tight structure and the theme was nicely tied up. It had flaws, but mostly was worth while for filling background in.
    --- Double Post Merged, Apr 4, 2016 ---
    The plot felt too much like the Runner Man. I could see the point as a satire, but maybe it could have been done better.

    Lilah's debut is my highlight of the episode. Even though they could have used her more. I did love the scene between her and Angel.

    And Cordy/Wes was my other highlight!:p They are getting great chelmstry at this point, and make for a great double act.

    Great line there from Cordy!:)
     
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