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Discussion of 1.11 "Somnambulist" - Aired 1/18/00 (WB-US)

Angelic Slayer

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Sineya
Season 1, Episode 11: "Somnambulist" - Aired: 1/18/2000

Summary said:
Angel's past deeds come back to haunt him as he dreams about killing again but when the dreams become identical to a number of murders in the area Angel fears that he is killing in his sleep.
source

Discuss this episode of Angel, the Series, here :)
 

Jules

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Black Thorn
I'd completely forgot about this episode! So this is the end of the potential Kate/Angel relationship. I think Kate's reaction is very realistic. She's shown this supernatural world, she find out the guy she trusted is actually a vampire and when she researches him she finds out how bad he was. It was good seeing a part of Angel's past and one of the vampires he sired. I liked the twist at the start, that you think it could be Angel and that his melt down is due to his break up with Buffy (the bangel in me loves that!)

I cant believe that Kate gets to stake a vampire in the same episode that she finds out about them yet Cordy had to wait till Buffy season 3 before she staked a vampire. I really did like this episode.

On a side note, considering in the City of Angel Commentary Joss said that they wanted to keep the Buffy and Angel shows seperate I think they reference Buffy a lot more than they do on Angel, which could be confusing to those people only watching the Angel series.
 

Tyger tyger

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Bye bye Doyle... Hello Wesley. The movie nerd in me loves the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari title... even if it is a mislead so Kate can learn what he is. Cordelia finally started having a purpose besides being Sunny-D alumni... and she became such a great character throughout the serious it almost made it worth it to see Doyle go. They really are trying to establish the dark motif of AtS in this episode... it really helps to see it for its own merits outside BtVS.
 

Amethyst

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I thought this episode was ok :) We saw a bit more of Angel's past, which is always interesting :)
I think Wesley talks soooo weird!! and I'm ENGLISH!! lol :D
I'm just like Angel when I'm tired....really grumpy!!! lol
Ooooo Kate knows!!!! :eek:
 
Wesley Pryce
Wesley Pryce
WEsley is just socially awkward because he is very insecure :)
Charmander
Charmander
Well the actor is American so that's probably why. xD

Robb Stark

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I really enjoyed this episode. It's always great getting a glimpse into Angel's past, and Jeremy Renner did an excellent job of capturing the Angelus-lite feel. It was a big turning point too with Kate finding out Angel is a vampire. Up until this point I'd actually liked Kate, but it's downhill from here with her :rolleyes:

I don't think anyone does haunted better than Angel. It looked like the return of this vampire he sired was just ripping him apart (which I suppose it was). We also get a great view into how cool Cordy is and continues to be. She sticks up to Angel so well in this episode. So awesome.
 

Vigeous

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Whoa. Sorry for the bump!

I really enjoyed this episode. The twist was awesome and overall the episode was packed with stuff. Seeing Angel's past is always interesting and it was cool to see him fight one of the vamps he sired. I like how they made Penn seem pretty strong; he seemed to be under Angelus' wing for a little while. I thought the actor they chose did a great job too and I wouldn't have minded Penn being more than a one episode villain.

Also cool how Kate finally finds out about Angel/Angelus. I they they kept that a secret for just the right amount of time. Any longer and it would feel a bit weird considering how closely they sometimes work together. Any sooner and maybe whatever they decide to do with their relationship after this episode (I've never seen Angel) wouldn't have had as much of an impact.

It's been refreshing having Wesley around; especially having liked him in Buffy. He throws in some good comic relief. I loved it when they broke into Penn's place and He bursts through the door with a stake and shouts to Angel that he invites him in. Hilarious little moment! I laughed out loud.

-

I've been enjoying Angel to this point. It definitely has a different vibe than Buffy, but it's kind of what I expected. Although, I'm enjoying it more than I expected! :D
 

Mr Trick

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Its at this point where the first season is really starting to get on a roll (although there are still a couple of dodgy episodes coming up) and this was excellent too. I love the supense and twist and turns of it, and it was important to explore Angel's past more, but this Kate's finest moment for me she really steps up upon finding out Angel's secert and for the first time feels like a strong independent character and a proper police officer too.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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This is a excellent episode. The writing is great and the pacing of the episode too - it's exciting and captivating. Delving into Angel's past is always fun, but this time it was particularly interesting. Penn and Angel's scenes together were intense. It seems like all of Angel's vampire children both admire him and loathe him. I liked this exchange in particular:

Penn: “Well, you were right about one thing, Angelus. The last 200 years has been about me sticking it to my father. But I’ve come to realize something – it’s you! You made me! You taught me! You approved of me in ways my mortal father never did! You are my real father, Angelus.”

Penn has been trying to recreate his family's deaths (because of the thrill of it and/or his feelings for his family?) like Angelus taught him to and seems to resent Angelus for the dissatisfaction he has been feeling for over a century (because he can't recreate the feeling of his first kills). I'm not sure why Penn is trying to "stick it" to Angelus so badly. Maybe because Angelus, going by the father analogy, was an abusive and strict parent; he taught Penn how to be a monster and approved of him in that way, but was also a bastard and belittled him (his relationship with Spike seems to support this). So maybe after being abandoned by Angelus (Penn waited a long while for him in Rome) in order to get back at his sire and to prove he didn't need his approval, Penn started to attempt to one up Angelus in terms of monstrosity? I'm not really sure of Penn's motivations tbh.
In a way, Penn reminded me of Angel's "child" from 'Why We Fight'. He also blamed Angel, but for different reasons. However, overall, Penn really did remind me of Spike. Angelus taught both Penn and Spike how to be a monster, how to best enjoy a kill and cultivated that apetite in them. At the same time, he didn't respect them and mocked them, so while at one point Penn and Spike would have done everything for Angelus, they hated him too.

As for Kate, I enjoyed her character in this episode. I liked her friendship with Angel and her trust in him, the way she described the killer's profile (inadvertently describing Angel who thinks sees Buffy on the street - a nice touch), how she finds out about vampires and how she stands up to Penn and kills him.

It's a shame that Cordy didn't have much to do (neither did Wesley), but I liked how she realized who Penn was. Angel opening up to Cordy about his insecurities regarding his own nature and Cordy's reassurance that he was a different man was touching. A few episodes ago Angel wouldn't have shared his intimate thoughts with Cordy, especially regarding Angelus. I guess Doyle's death brought them closer and all of the time Angel has spent doing good has helped him distance himself from Angelus and reduce the shame and guilt he felt over his past.
 
Just wanted to comment on something Kate says about Buffy and Angel (indirectly):

"It’s unlikely that he’ll be married though he may have recently come off a long-term relationship that ended badly. We look for a precipitating event in cases such as this, and a painful breakup is always at the top of the list. Prior to failing this relationship may have marked an inactive period in our suspects life. He would have regarded it as a lifeline, his salvation, but once ended, it resulted in his recidivism".

This is unrelated to the episode, but I believe some fans think that Angel saw Buffy solely as his "redemption" or "salvation". I obviously don't think that's true and it kind of upsets me when people say it. Prior to meeting Buffy, Angel must have thought about being redeemed, saved in the eyes of god (he is a catholic), but the actual idea of redemption wasn't put to practice until the later half of Angel S1. Being in love with Buffy, being loved by Buffy and learning from her (from her courage and kindness) helped Angel become more human (leading to perfect happiness for example). And naturally being loved by Buffy helped him believe in his self worth a bit more, trust that he wasn't an entirely damned creature. However, this doesn't mean that Angel saw Buffy as his salvation. Believing that Buffy was Angel's salvation implies that he didn't love her for the sake of loving her, but rather strictly for what she could offer him. If Angel had seen Buffy as a symbol of sorts (very unfair) then having Buffy's unconditional love and support would have been the most important thing to Angel, yet he left Buffy and never demanded anything from her. Furthermore, had Buffy been his salvation, once Angel had found something else to save him, his love would have gone away, but we know his love for Buffy is unconditional. In contrast, sick human Darla was someone Angel really regarded as salvation - said so himself - and used her to achieve his redemption. When that didn't work he used vamp Darla to revert to Angelus and when that didn't work either he told her to get out of his sight. Buffy was Angel's emotional support and lifeline in a way, because he only had her, but he didn't put her on a pedestal or was disappointed when she didn't live up to his expectations and couldn't "save" him.
 

Give Us A Kiss

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Those are really sharp nails...

Angel's having weird dreams, or is he ???

Alexis is in the intro :)

No one likes a demon hunter ??? It's way better than a wussy watcher...

That jacket looks a bit big on Cordy, and not her usual style...

Cordy, tact...

Angel, was it you ??? :eek:

Crime scene photos are indeed grim...

So it was Angel...

Cordy, you don't get the point...

At least Angel confesses to having nightmares involving sleepwalking...

I guess Angel doesn't like chains...

So he marked them before feeding on them ??? :eek:

How did Angel kill if he was chained the entire night ??? o_O

Honestly, I wouldn't mind Kate getting killed off :oops:

Angel's a psychic :eek:

That teen fits Angel's description...

At least the vamp was caught :)

Guns don't help...

Kate, listen to Angel...

That vampire should not kill Cordy.

He is nothing but a cheesy Angelus hack :p

Angel, you were a brutal bastard back in your Angelus days...

He's going to kill schoolchildren :eek:

Fear makes blood sweeter ??? Eww.

Cordy, what was the vision about ???

Next time: Cordy gets pregnant...
 
Those are really sharp nails...

Angel's having weird dreams, or is he ???

Alexis is in the intro :)

No one likes a demon hunter ??? It's way better than a wussy watcher...

That jacket looks a bit big on Cordy, and not her usual style...

Cordy, tact...

Angel, was it you ??? :eek:

Crime scene photos are indeed grim...

So it was Angel...

Cordy, you don't get the point...

At least Angel confesses to having nightmares involving sleepwalking...

I guess Angel doesn't like chains...

So he marked them before feeding on them ??? :eek:

How did Angel kill if he was chained the entire night ??? o_O

Honestly, I wouldn't mind Kate getting killed off :oops:

Angel's a psychic :eek:

That teen fits Angel's description...

At least the vamp was caught :)

Guns don't help...

Kate, listen to Angel...

That vampire should not kill Cordy.

He is nothing but a cheesy Angelus hack :p

Angel, you were a brutal bastard back in your Angelus days...

He's going to kill schoolchildren :eek:

Fear makes blood sweeter ??? Eww.

Cordy, what was the vision about ???

Next time: Cordy gets pregnant...
 

Antho

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The plot of this episode reminded me of some episode of a police series. We have the same ingredients with Kate who plays the cop in charge of the investigation, Angel the guy against who all the evidence turns to doubt his innocence and Penn the real murderer, who basically only reproduce what has been taught to him. Then of course, to all this must be added the action, the suspense that brings some charm and interest because if we guessed immediately the murderer, it would not be funny.

What I really appreciated is that the episode reminds us that the border between Angelus and Angel is very thin, not as solid as we might think. Angel dreams of his past, of the crimes that Penn has committed in his company and he confesses to having enjoyed to relive those moments (Cordelia: "There just dreams Angel they did not even yours, it did not mean anything" Angel : "I enjoyed it" Cordelia : "It's probably okay if you never mentioned that part ever again"). What I understand from this discussion is that evil is in everyone, everyone has a dark side ! Everyone changes over time, Angel has changed, he's looking for redemption now but what he was, what he did, it will always be part of him ! All he can do is accept it and move forward knowing that sometimes the past will remember to him in one form or another.



The flashbacks are very rewarding because they let me know more about Angel's past as Angelus. Honestly, I was shocked a little that Angelus has sired a vampire :eek:. I always thought he was far too pretentious and narcissistic to make an Angelus bis. Now I tell myself that he lived for centuries and that he had to experiment a lot. Besides, I find that interesting to compare Spike and Penn : Spike has always been more or less in competition with Angelus reproaching him for making him a monster worse than the one he was already, and he was often jealous. Penn is rather admiring and he would thank almost Angel for having transformed him. Angelus has educated both in his own way but I would say that Penn was/is the loyal child and Spike was/is the rebel child !
Penn was made to the image of Angelus (he also killed his family directly after his transformation in a vampire) and it's a very interesting confrontation because it's like Angel is fighting against himself. They have the same way of thinking, acting and Penn adopts a strategy that would also have been that of Angelus by interfering in his entourage, persecuting his relatives (Cordy, Wesley and especially Kate). A very unhealthy father-son relationship unites them both. I would say that like a normal son, he placed his "father" Angelus at the rank of the hero, the person he admired the most in the world. In the present he realizes that he no longer has the person who he idolized in front of him and then the model becomes the enemy !
As in adolescence where often our opinion changes on our parents.



The relationship between Kate and Angel takes a new turn, finally she learns the truth about him and it's so much better that it happens now, it was inevitable anyway. Until then, there was a blind and unshakable confidence that had settled between them and this confidence is put to severe test in this episode. Kate is the character who is the most connected to reality and facing this new vision of the world, she did not suspect the existence, she has a reaction that seems to me legitimate. She is neither too "refractory" nor too "believing" it is moderate and it is very credible. I like when Kate try to find out more information about Angel's past as Angelus, and when she throws to him all the horrors he did, it is clear that it hurts Angel and also that Kate does not understand well the shades between Good/Bad especially when it is related to the presence or absence of soul in a vampire. In any case, at the end she still spares Angel proving that she always ties towards him a form of attachment. Looking forward to seeing how it will evolve.

I think there is an interesting problem emerging from all of this : Does changing means that we aren't the same person ?
Kate and Penn consider Angel and Angelus are the same person, they don't make the difference, although they are aware of the change. Cordelia reminds Angel that he has changed, he and Angelus are not the same person, that the visions are intended only for him, Angel ! This is true and false at the same time because the personalities are different but at the same time one is part of the other. The inexhaustible complexity of the duality of Angel. I think that the answer to this kind of question is not definitive but subject to interpretation.

Question : Have you noticed that Penn is using super-speed when he enters at the police station ? It shocked me :eek:, the vampires in Buffy do not have this kind of powers normally !
 

Oromous

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"Vampire Hawkeye" - that's the term used by Passion of the Nerd (whom I'll refer to as "TPN" in all my future posting for convenience) in referring to Penn. I'll admit it has a nice ring to it. He later shorthanded it to VampEye, which is even more fitting of a name. Can we have a spin-off with VampEye in Marvel Comics? Considering Jubilee turned vampire anyway, I don't see why Hawkeye could not.

But anyway, it was quite refreshing to see Jeremy in this episode. I like him enough as an actor and think that he doesn't get enough opportunities to really play Hawkeye well (at least until his Ronin phase anyway). I'll admit though I didn't quite recognize him 'till TPN pointed out. It was like, "Why is that actor so familiar?" And he killed it here in his performance as Penn (I'm rarely bothered by bad accents, even Kendra's), which is a shame that he didn't play a recurring role. God, if there isn't a more suitable Big Bad for Angel, it's Penn. Jeremy lent the character this kind of charisma that almost reminds me of Moriarty from Sherlock. Smooth-talking, sleek, yet filled with so much rage, ruthlessness and unresolved angst; practically the shadow side to Angel. With Angel being a detective drama, it could've used a Moriarty, especially with the personal stake Angel has against Penn. Had Penn been a regular, I could just imagine him leaving a trail of horrible unspeakable acts too violent for primetime TV in the Joker-style as Angel struggles to stop him and living with the guilt that Penn's existence is yet another sin he has to atone for. It would just make for such great drama! Or maybe because I'm just that much of a Batman (and Joker) fan and too often associated Angel with the Dark Knight.

Cordy's cold and straightforward demand for Wesley to get out upon hearing his accusation of Angel was delightful. This was just one of the many reasons why I could understand she's such a beloved character, especially after her presence in Angel. And it wasn't a subdued response either - she straight up told him, "Okay, you can leave now." Cordy at her best.

By the end of it, "Somnambulist" feels more mellow and reflective than any of the season 1 episodes thus far IMO. There's a quality here in the ending as Cordy and Angel reflect on the events, with Angel wondering if he'll ever be redeemed, almost the kind of mellow quality I would see in CW superhero shows like some of the better episodes of Arrow and Flash. Angel (along with Buffy) was certainly ahead of its time in television writing, way before the modern Golden Age of television.
 

RDHWesley

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Superb episode. This is the first time that Angel is not only haunted by his past; this time it comes to bite him, or at least, bite other people. Penn is a very menacing villain, and it's a shame we don't see him in other episodes, as he could have made for a nice recurring threat, but for what we get here, it's awesome. The deterioration of Angel and Kate's relationship is handled expertly; they start the episode with Kate trusting him implicitly and by the end, she no longer sees him in the same way. It's great dramatic storytelling.

Wesley gets some great moments, although from what I gather this was written for Doyle originally, which I find quite hard to believe. Doyle wouldn't have doubted Angel's word as much, or believed he was behind the murders. Wesley understandably does because he doesn't know or trust Angel as well at this point. The fight scenes are well staged, the climax is exciting, and all in all, it's a brilliantly told plot, akin to a feature film being crammed into 40 odd minutes without feeling rushed.
 

Btvs fan

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I really like this episode. Its the first real Angel episode to be about Angel the character rather than the Victim/Monster of the week. Its also the first episode where I feel Cordy has actual relevance to both Angel and the show.
 
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