The episode was basically Angel does Spartacus (Gladiator hadn't come out yet) .
I enjoyed it. It was a fun episode, it also introduced Lilah and made her a bit more enigmatic (though that idea is swiftly killed and she's a 1 d villain until the Wes relationship) than she would be through the rest of the show.
All in all 7/10 a fun enjoyable episode that's not as bad as you think it would be
The modern day underground gladiatorial games theme has been done in just about every variation over the years, so, nothing really unique there. Just a way to once more establish how good a fighter Angel has become. The thing that actually is unique to this one was the idea of a horse hair lock pick. That is major eye roller material.
Douglas Roberts does well in this episode as the main bad guy.
Not as much humour in this episode as most of the other season one outings.
Lilah represents Wolfram & Hart well in this episode. The highlight of 'The Ring' is when her and Angel have their scene after she temporarily "frees" him, but then he decides to go back. At least he got to drink champagne!
All in all, the episode is a reasonably well told story for what it is, but it didn't do a great deal for me in terms of depth, excitement or watchability.