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Discussion of 1.09 "Hero" - Aired 11/30/99 (WB-US)

VisionGirl

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I don't agree that his character couldn't have developed further (if Glenn hasn't has the addiction problem of course). I mean, I never could've imagined Wesley's character going the way he did. Remember him as a bumbling uptight Watcher?
 
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AnthonyCordova

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I just saw it for the first time. The one good thing about Doyle's death is that it establishes early in the show that even main characters can die. It helps maintain the suspense as I move forward watching the rest of the season and beyond.

But count me among the Doyle fans that were sad to see him go.
 
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Nowhere

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I think that despite its relative shortness, Doyle's arc was brilliantly done, and his death got to me for real. Sacrificing your life to save the lives of others as well as redeeming your past mistakes is not a new thing in story telling by any means, but this one was very well done. Great episode.
 
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Charmander

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What a shame, I thought he was a really good character. Interesting as well that they showed his death in all its gruesomeness. I expected it to be a more standard, plenty of time to say goodbye kind of death. Really sad though, Doyle was great for what little time he was on there, and I didn't think I'd like him to begin with!
 

Vigeous

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I knew Doyle died in Season 1, but I had no idea it came this early!

Like others have said, I like how the writers were not afraid to off a main character. It set a real tone for the show and it pulls on your emotions; I enjoy being attached to characters.

I didn't really like the look of the Scourge. They were pure demon but they looked way more human than plenty of half-demons we've seen before. One of their leaders was really creepy; the one that speaks to Angel when he asks to join them. His voice was so calm and smooth.
 

Mr Trick

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I watched this with a friend yesterday and it was so much fun to see it with someone who was seeing it for the very first time. She was shocked and absolutely horrified at the fate of Doyle and though the Scourge was geniunely scary!

She was also very disappointed to never see Doyle/Cordy happen (and said her first nice thing ever about Cor) and when Angel was fighting the Scourge she kept shaking her head going "yeah well, suit yourself, you could've been in bed with Buffy right now" Lol...

Seeing it with someone like this got me thinking. To my recall I wasn't particularly impressed by the Scourge (though they certainly made me uncomfortable considering the real life references easily drawn) but that I too was absolutely heart broken at seeing Doyle go. (and for seeing him and Cordy's potential romance cut down so soon)

Does anyone else remember their first time? Were you sad? Frightened? What did you think of the bad guys and the way they looked? Any "Hero" insights you'd like to share that I haven't covered?
Oh wow! That is a great line should have picked that up and used it in my review:D

I just re-watched this episode tonight for the first time in a few years. It broke my heart all over again. Doyle is my favorite character on Angel (even if he was only there for 9 episodes), but like other have said, he got the best send off you could possibly ask for. The whole episode is just about the best tribute you could do to a character, and unlike other deaths like Tara's, Wes', Spike's etc, the whole episode was really about Doyle.

This is by far my saddest death of the verse for me. Glenn Quinn was such a fantastic actor, so talented!

Plus, I find Doyle/Cordy/Angel just had awesome chemistry. I think I'll take a little break before I keep on watching my Angel marathon.
Never knew that he was your favourite character on the show. He must have made an impression on you:D But you are spot on it was the perfect way to send him off.

This really is a turning point for the season, and I would say than at this stage of the season has to be one of the best two episodes along with City Of...
 

Blaze

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Never knew that he was your favourite character on the show. He must have made an impression on you:D But you are spot on it was the perfect way to send him off.
My favs tends to change a bit :p But for AtS it's definitely Doyle, Wesley and Fred.
 

Give Us A Kiss

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Cordy's narrating, nice :)

Angel doesn't seem to like being the dark avenger...

Cordy is definitely money hungry :p

Our rats are low, but our standards are high :D

How would getting Angel a costume help ???

Doyle, I don't want to see Angel in tights either...

Angel is telling Doyle about the erased day, it's sad to watch :(

Doyle is still struggling to ask Cordy out :(

Doyle, tell Cordy that you are half demon...

Why must visions be painful ??? :(

That place looks trashed...

They were trying to escape, and it backfired on them :(

A Doyle flashback, that demon is Kirk from Gilmore Girls.

Young Doyle was a selfish man...understandable as he was just coming to terms with being a demon...

The images were indeed real :(

Cordy was obviously freaked out by the demons, she is from Sunnydale after all :p

Angel sure managed to get the ship guy to agree to his terms, nice :)

Doyle tries to get to the boy, it's not helping :(

It's starting to work now :)

If you can squeeze 50+ people in 5 rows on an airplane, you can squeeze 20 demons on a ship :p

Vampire=half breed ???

Cordy, he sure drives a hard bargain :p

Cordy finds out about Doyle, she isn't happy.

Angel looks muscular in uniform ;)

That clensing light scares me :eek:

Doyle, Cordy was never into you... :(

Football head is ugly...

There is about to be a sacrifice...

Doyle kissed Cordy :eek:

and he's sacrificing himself :(

That video of Doyle is making me cry a bit :(

Next time:Wes joins AI, and he is not the stuffy watcher he uses to be.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Doyle may be the hero of this episode, but he is also a villain; he transferred the visions to Cordelia which gave her acute headaches of increasing severity and damage which forced her to turn part demon which set her up to become Jasmine's mother and Connor's sex partner, Lilah's killer and used her influence to cause Connor to commit murder. That's quite the damage trail for a "hero".

It was somewhat disturbing how good and natural Angel looked in a neo-Nazi uniform.
 

Antho

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A good cocktail of fear, emotion, realism and work on the psychology of the characters, here is the recipe for success in my opinion. As in "The Bachelor Party" the character of Doyle is highlighted but where I reproached a lack of depth, I find that in "Hero" the shot is corrected and the result is much more satisfying. Doyle is entitled to a wonderful outing, the most beautiful we can hope for. It's a shame that it happens so early in the season. Despite the undeniable development of Doyle that I attended here, I have a feeling of mess because I find that this character has great potential and the producers did not draw enough into it !

The comparison between Angel and Doyle is well found, when I think about it, I tell myself that it is true that they have a little the same route. The flashbacks about Doyle's past shows him solitary, living in misery, he is afraid of what he is, he isolates himself from the rest of the world, the more years pass the more he drowns in his despair. Angel knew a period like that too (especially when he ate rats :confused:). This behavior is also an image of the identity conflict they face because not acting like a demon, living among humans without being close to them is representative of the fact that they are lost ! Both were/are afraid of the demonic part that existed in them and they refused to help others because being close to people, coming to their aid, doing good things, would have been the proof that, in a way, they were beginning to accept themselves as they are and it was a step that none of them was ready to cross at the time, at least not alone or without reason. Some protagonists intervened in their lives to help them emerge from this inner struggle, to assume themselves completely by giving them a reason to continue fighting : "The Powers That Be" made Doyle their prophet by showing him suffering endured by others throughout the world through visions, and for Angel it was first Whisthler, then Buffy, and more recently Doyle, each one in turn, intervening at different times, were the forerunner of his change and the reason of his evolution. They both realized that the time of self-pity had lasted long enough and that they could bring happiness around them.

What I also appreciate is that the comparison does not stop at the level of the demon and on the supernatural level it expands on the human level. Doyle keeps repeating that Angel is a hero and that he has all confidence in him and at the same time he denigrates himself ("I would have chosen the pleasures of the flesh over duty and honor but i do not Have that strenght. You lived, loved, fought and vainquished in a day and I'm still trying to ask Cordy out for dinner "). I like to see how the trend is reversed all along. There is already advertising for the agency, at first Angel is presented as the new hero of modern times, with his Batman style and his hilarious pseudo/nickname "The Dark Avenger" :p and at a time Cordy realizes that he reflects a too perfect image and that people will feel closer to a hero with a more banal appearance, to who they will find flaws, someone more accessible I want to say and to who they can easily identify themselves. It's clear that Doyle fits perfectly. This is only the first element indicating a substitution between Angel and Doyle, the episode is full of others like the moment when Doyle goes in search of "Reef" and he gives him hope and he persuades him to return to fight with their own people ("They put their faith in something, you don't have to if you don't want but the other option, losing yourself somewhere, hoping it all goes away, i know that never works") . He must have recognized himself in "Reef" because it was a time where also for him all hope had deserted his heart and he knows that abandonment is not the solution. A rather emotional and heroic speech that could have been pronounced by Angel. There is also the final, tearful, where Doyle sacrifices himself to turn off this destructive light. For once Angel is not the hero of history, he plays the role of the totally impotent viewer in front of the heroic sacrifice of his friend. He was not the "Promised One" (as we might think) this legend did not concern him, it was talking about Doyle ! "The good fight yeah, you never know until you have been tested" this replies said by Angel at the beginning in reference to the previous episode, and at the end by Doyle in connection with what he does, sumps up all this idea of comparison between the two characters. Doyle is only there for nine episodes, and his death affects me a little but this momen could have been more moving if I had more time to attach myself to Doyle. However, I admit the end of the character is good because in the past he refused to help a demon like him because he did not assume what he was and in the present he dies for them in his demonic form, the proof that the errors of the past made him ripen and he has learned much.


Things were going so well between Cordelia and Doyle that it is frankly a shame to have him killed. However I do not know if I would have liked their couple because I think they work well as friends but it would have been interesting to deepen. Cordy finally learned that Doyle is a half demon and her reaction is logical, normal and coherent !
Doyle : "I wanted to tell you." I was afraid.
Cordy : "I've rejected you way before now!" So, you're half demon. " Would you ask me out for diner already ?
When Doyle kisses her just before he dies, saying "Too bad we never know if this is a face you could learn to love" it was really like a goodbye and a statement at the same time .. I saw a Beginning and end of relationship at a time. Poor Cordy, she is so stunned by so many revelations and everything that rushes that she does not even have time to say a word, but I think the answer would have been YES. She could have done it !
Personal aecdote : Today when I saw this moment for the first time, I was so focused on the kiss and so overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment that I did not pay attention to the blue light that passes from Doyle to Cordy. I'm wondering what is it ? Basically, I wanted to get back to the scene just like that and that's when I noticed it. Like what being concentrated on a particular thing can make you go unnoticed the essentials :D.


The metaphor of Nazism is not subtle at all, it is completely assumed. Between the hairstyle of Angel :eek::eek::eek:), costumes, all this purebred history that want to eliminate the so-called inferior or impure races : fight against the mixed demons/humans also called "bastards" and the speech of the commander who is a good speaker who recalls Hitler by his postures and his words. Yes, the metaphor is more than obvious. I think some people have to be embarrassed by this aspect of the episode whereas for me it is just part of the positive points. It is sure that it does not recall good memories but at the same time it is unfortunately part of the history of the world and it is what happened yesterday that has made the present. So I think we shoudn't forget that and it's important to remember it. After all, our present world we owe to our ancestors.

Doyle :"If you need help, then look no further, Angel Investigations is the best, our rates are low but our standards are high. When the chips are down and you are at the end of your rope, you need someone to count on. That is what you will find here, someone who will go all the way, who will protect you no matter what, don' loose hope. Come on over to our offices ! You will see there is still heroes in this world ! "
 

Mr Trick

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Hero is one of the standouts of S1 IMO. Its a beautiful way to send Doyle off and its the one episode where I was sold on him and Cordy.
 

Priceless

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Hero is one of the standouts of S1 IMO. Its a beautiful way to send Doyle off and its the one episode where I was sold on him and Cordy.
Agreed it was a great episode. I don't feel I knew Doyle very well, it was only 8 episodes, but this was a very moving send off. You can't help thinking more of the actor than the character and that's what adds the extra emotional reaction.
Unfortunately I just don't buy Cordy and Doyle anything more than friends, but that doesn't take away from the importance of this episode and Doyle being a true hero.
 

PaulParmar1

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This was the episode that it all got real. Doyle's death is so sad & shocking and it changes the series forever with you wondering what's gonna happen next & how are Angel/Cordelia gonna fare on their own.
Like Buffy had Prophecy Girl as their turning point. This was Angel's turning point imo!
& I loved it even though RIP Doyle :(
 

Oromous

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After finishing the episode, I watched Passion of the Nerd's video guide, and he was pretty critical of the writing in regards to how the Nazi metaphors are so lazily inserted, which I agree. There are quite a number of plot lines here that don't make much sense, such as the demons' purity (which was claimed to be a rarity or even non-existent over in one of Buffy's earlier seasons).

That being said, while I agree that "Hero" was poorly written, given the context of why this was written (Glenn Quinn), I actually could accept it without being critical. It was out of the writers' hands what happens behind the scenes, and they were forced to write him out, so they had to come up with something with urgency.

But I'd be lying if I said I don't have any disappointments at all towards this episode, but me being upset has more to do with Glenn's circumstances rather than the episode's writing itself. I've only learned of what happened a few hours ago when I looked it up, and it's pretty upsetting indeed. I liked Doyle, and I felt that Glenn gave a splendid performance as the cool and charming half-demon, regardless of what goes on behind the scenes. It's unfortunate that he caused some trouble with his cast members due to his addiction, and it's unfortunate that he couldn't go down the RDJ route of rehabilitating. My condolences to the great actor and great character. Doyle was a necessary light to the darkness of Angel's character, and it's a great loss that he passed on.

Alright, now it's time to see what all the fuss is about with this Wesley character, and why people constantly said that he's the best character in the show, possibly the Buffyverse even.
 
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I know the point was made four years ago but ... Doyle didn't know he was passing the visions on! How on earth could he? He didn't get them from kissing anyone, he was just smote from on high one day. Why would he possibly think kissing her would give her the visions? That's ... he would have no reason to think that!

I'm afraid I don't watch to the end of this episode. I stop after the kiss (it's too amazing a kiss to pass up). There was a sudden and shocking power outage, the beacon failed to detonate and everyone lived happily ever after. Doyle and Cordelia got married in season 5 - it was beautiful. The end.
 

Oromous

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I know the point was made four years ago but ... Doyle didn't know he was passing the visions on! How on earth could he? He didn't get them from kissing anyone, he was just smote from on high one day. Why would he possibly think kissing her would give her the visions? That's ... he would have no reason to think that!
Like other parts of the writing around the time this episode was released, much of it was probably improvised (because of Glenn Quinn's sudden exit), with little thought put behind it. Doyle passing on the visions to Cordy does feel a little bit contrived in hindsight, too convenient, but it's just one of those things in TV shows that have to exist in order for the show to go on. Oh well.
 
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It's not that it's contrived - in fairy tales kissing has always had a lot of power, especially first kisses and true love kisses. I don't take issue with the decision of the writers to have the visions passed across with a kiss. That always made perfect sense as there is so much precedent for it across all of fiction.

I take issue with the belief that Doyle knew that kissing her would do it and that was the writers' intention at the time.

I don't think the writers meant to convey that at all. There is no evidence of it in the episode itself and the only suggestion of it in the following one comes from a villain. And then it doesn't really come up again for ages and ages - so what is written in s3 has no bearing on writer intention two years previously. Ethan's right in saying that if Doyle knew that would happen then he is a villain. That would make him a terrible person, to do all that - even just to give the pain and what was his punishment - to someone he cared about without them agreeing to it, that would be one of the biggest betrayals and greatest acts of villainy in the buffyverse.

But Doyle did not contract the visions by kissing anyone (this always seems to be forgotten - both in the later show and by the fans. Yes kissing can pass them on, but it is by no means the only way - nor is com-shukking necessary). He was alone in his apartment and just hit the deck when the first one smote him, he has no reason to assume they are communicable by kissing or that he has any power in passing them on - or any power over them full stop. If the writer's wanted to us to believe he did know any of this stuff, then they needed to plant it somewhere in the episode. They didn't. Therefore he didn't know it and wasn't meant to.

Doyle kisses Cordelia because he loves her, because this is goodbye, because they won't be getting their date and because this is the last human contact he will ever have - his intention is to kiss her. What happens is the visions pass across because of his feelings for her, but that was not what he was planning to do. If he had any idea of what was to come on account of that kiss, he'd have probably foregone it.
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There is an open ended question that can be applied as to whether or not Doyle intended to pass on the visions, which is created down the line by the interpretation of events by characters like Barney and Skip. Tim Minear always wanted to bring Doyle back as a villain and so was probably leaning hard on exploiting those open ends and opening them up even further allowing him to retcon Hero should Doyle ever return to the show. But that wasn't what was written in the episode itself at the time of writing (otherwise they would have had to plant in somewhere, seemingly innocuously, that kissing passes on the visions, or the person who has them gets to choose who to pass them onto at the moment of death and Doyle knows this) - and Doyle never came back as a villain, he remained a hero - so that closes up the open ends.

At the time of writing, writing it as an accident is quicker and easier and takes far less explanation than writing it as an active choice. For the second one they would have had to not only plant Doyle's knowledge of how and when he could pass on the visions, but also something about how he thought Cordelia was the right person to be his successor, he would have had to say something about how strong and resilient she is, how important she was to Angel and how she always follows her instincts and is correct or... something, anything that would explain why he thought Cordelia was the best person for the job and would actively choose to give her the visions rather than just assume the PTB would hit up someone else just like him. None of this planted, so either Doyle knows all this stuff and it's just bad writing - or it's an accident, which doesn't require any explanation. And considering how good some of the writing this episode is, I'm not inclined to think it's bad writing in this case.

He kissed her because he loved her. Because he loved her, that was enough to pass on the visions. It was an accident. That's what all evidence points to the writer's intending at the time, that is what makes sense for Doyle as a character, that's what makes sense in the story. The fact that, in the following episodes and seasons, occasional bad guys twist the narrative to suit their purpose and lead Cordelia astray doesn't change what actually happened in Hero.
 

Oromous

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With all the talk about Doyle's sacrifice lately, I went back and watch his final video again:

In spite of my custom title and usual love for tragedies, I really, really hate the way the episode ended, not because it's bad writing, but because it's just so, so depressing. "Is that it? Am I done?" No one said anything. No joke to lighten the moment, no final words for Doyle. Nothing. Cut to black. Credits. It's the way that he said "Am I done?" that makes the news of what happened to Quinn much more harder to take. It's the way Glenn jitters a little bit in the video like he's still suffering from withdrawal while shooting that scene, the same kind of withdrawal symptoms that got him fired in the first place, and the way he asked if he's done, as if he had trouble getting through that scene (even if it might have been part of the script).

I'm not saying it's a bad ending because such a morbid way of affirming the idea that "this will be the last of you see of Doyle" is powerful and necessary. But damn, this was hard to watch. I'm not surprised at all if any Doyle fan got really depressed after this episode's release. I know I did, a little bit.
 
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I don't watch the ending - I cut off after the kiss, but those last lines are the some of the most powerful in all of Angel. 'Is that it, Am I done?' he says - meaning is the horror of filming the commercial over - and by the end they have a whole new meaning. He films that commercial thinking he's talking about Angel only to find out it was true of him as well, 'is that it, am I done?' yes he is. His atonement, his purpose is all fulfilled. His life is over, that is it and he is done. They become his final words (though his actual final words are also pretty good) and they have so much resonance.
I hate an unhappy ending, but that is masterful. I'm depressed at the end because someone I love is dead - nothing is going to change that. But if they tried to lighten the mood or include a joke? How? He's dead. Angel and Cordelia are grieving, the viewer is grieving ... I am still grieving. 20 frigging years and I am still grieving. I don't want a joke to lighten the mood. But what we get is respectful as well as heart breaking, it is perfect.

And maybe it's the sheer number of times I'd seen it before Glenn died, maybe it's the fact that I've seen films he made after Angel, but I don't really equate Hero or that video or any of it with Glenn dying in real life. The first hundred times I saw this, Glenn was still live and kicking. It wasn't that immediate and honestly ... Doyle isn't Glenn and Glenn isn't Doyle. I love Doyle. I will always have a soft spot for Glenn because he played Doyle but I didn't know him and whilst I'm sad he died young it's no different than the way I feel about hearing about anyone else who died young. That waste of potential is sad on anybody. I cry when Doyle dies - but I have no right to grief over Glenn. He was a brother and a son and a friend, there are real people still out there whose lives haven't been the same since he's been gone. To try and conflate my sadness over the death of a piece of fiction with real loss like that would be deeply disrespectful. And f*****g insane.

And you're massively overreaching and misinterpreting on Glenn's performance in the video. His performance in that - throughout the whole of Hero but especially through that - is amazing. The jittering is because - as Doyle tells us - he isn't good in front of the camera. He is nervous and just trying to get it over with - and considering how good and natural in front of the camera Glenn was - it takes real chops to be that bad. He is not suffering withdrawal symptoms, he is doing an excellent job of being nervous and shaky in an uncomfortable position. Glenn might have had a lot of problems in his life, and they may have taken a toll on his ability to work and his behaviour on set and off - but once the camera was switched on, he was never anything but professional and always did an amazing job.
 
Oromous
Oromous
Yeah, you're right. I underestimated Glenn. And it was tactless on my part sympathizing for Glenn as I would towards Doyle. My bad.
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