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Discussion of 1.15 "The Prodigal" - Aired 2/22/2000 (WB-US)

Flannen

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Usually docile demons are flying into violent rages, and innocent humans are paying the price. The realization that Kate's father is somehow involved brings up a lot of painful memories about Angel's own father.
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

VisionGirl

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Sineya
I love this episode. The plot about the usually-peaceful demon is overshadowed by the flashbacks of Angel's relationship with his father and his siring. He & his father are so tragic- I think they both loved each other but couldn't show it. Plus- I loved seeing Darla!
 

woogirl

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Cool episode although I don't like Kate. She's got something annoying in her appearance.
Realtionship between Angel and his father reminds me about (don't know why) The Vampire Diaries.

Death of Kate's father was too simple for me. They just bite him. Nah.

Too less Cordy and Wesley.
 

Jules

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Black Thorn
Considering this episode had a lot to cover it came in a little short at 38 minutes rather than 40.

I liked seeing Angel's past, his relationship with Darla and his family. The scene with Darla after he's killed his family really hints that she was the one to teach him how to be so cruel. When she says that killing them quickly has only given him a moment of satisfaction where what his father did to him will last him a life time. Wr know from how he sired Dru he learned to prolong the torture.

I never felt any empathy for Kate's dad. Even knowing that he had done what he did for his daughter, I just dont think it was portrayed very well.

I did enjoy the episode though.
 

Amethyst

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Sineya
I thought it was really great seeing more of Angel's past in this episode, I love back stories :)
I thought it was pretty gross of Cordy just cutting up that demon like it was nothing more then.........well I can't think of anything not gross to be cutting up right now but it was just so uncaring and gross...:rolleyes: lol
Poor Kate, so sad :(
 

FuzzyHandcuffs

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Sineya
I felt absolutely nothing when Kate's father died. He was kinda... deserving? As horrible as it sounds. Kate is not my favorite character either. She refuses to understand that Angel is there to help her.

This episode was good as far as the flashbacks go to Angel's past. I like knowing where he came from and what made him become a vampire. Who knew he was actually Irish though??
 
Charmander
Charmander
Well there are flashbacks in Buffy where we can see him doing a (hilariously bad) Irish accent. It seems odd that they didn't just see if he could do an English accent better.

Charmander

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Angel's in an open top car; how the hell did the delivery guy not see him?
And I jumped about a foot in the air when those demons suddenly started attacking their headquarters. :p
I still felt bad that Kate's dad died, she at least cared about him. There are a lot of distant/uncaring fathers in the world but I still don't think they deserve to be mauled by vampires.
It was a great episode, and I think it's okay that we didn't get as much of Wes and Cordy this time; it just left more room for flashbacks and the Angel/Kate development.
As horrible as it sounds. Kate is not my favorite character either. She refuses to understand that Angel is there to help her.
I don't know, I find her reaction to Angel and the prospect of demons pretty realistic. We've known Angel a longer time so we know he's one of the good guys, but she's only recently found out that he was keeping a huge part of himself secret from her. Plus she's seen his scary vamp face; something she's unlikely to forget any time soon!
 

Mr Trick

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Cool episode although I don't like Kate. She's got something annoying in her appearance.
Realtionship between Angel and his father reminds me about (don't know why) The Vampire Diaries.

Death of Kate's father was too simple for me. They just bite him. Nah.

Too less Cordy and Wesley.
But the point of that scene is more to do with the demon world-human worlds colliding and Trevor not understanding. Its more to do how it progresses Angel's narrative.

I prefer the flashback story in this episode, and much of the Kate stuff leaves more cold.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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Sineya
I love this episode very much. Tim Minear blows my mind away yet again. The flashback scenes in this episode rewrote Angelus for me. Learning about Liam's relationship with his father and how that affected Angelus in his first years as a vampire added a whole other dimension to the character. He moved past the straight forward character he was up until then - evil, insane, arrogant,

I can identify with Liam. He hated his village, the life he had. Liam didn't strike me as the intelectual type, but Angel and Angelus certainly are; the way Liam corrects his father ("Servant, father. We have one servant.") and something he said to Buffy in 'Halloween' - about the women of his day being dull and always wanting to meet an interesting woman - leave me with the idea that the small mindedness of the village disgusted Liam. I believe this explains why he decides to take the whole town and not just his family. Regarding his father, Liam's relationship with him was similar to Wesley's and his dad. Liam's father was strict, disapproving and Liam lived his entire life trying to please his dad to no avail, which fostered resentment on his part. What Liam wanted to do (and tried to do) was to free himself from his father's influence, to not need his approval or love anymore. Naturally, once Liam lost his soul he had to stick it to his father and prove he no longer needed him. I think Darla was particularly insightful here. This piece of dialogue between Darla and Angelus was truly what made me regard the character differently:

Darla: “This contest is ended, is it?”
Angel: “Now I’ve won.”
Darla: “You’re sure?”
Angel: “Of course. I proved who had the power here.”
Darla: “You think?”
Angel: “What?”
Darla: “You’re victory over him took but moments.”
Angel: “Yes?”
Darla: “But his defeat of you will last life times.”
Angel: “What are you talking about? He can’t defeat me now.”
Darla: “Nor can he ever approve of you – in this world or any other. What we once were informs all that we have become. The same love will infect our hearts – even if they no longer beat. Simple death won’t change that.”
Angel: “Love? - Is this the work of love?”
Darla: “Darling boy. So young. Still so very young.”

The dialogue here is beautiful as is the music. Seeing Angelus without the usual arrogance and self-assurance, so young and naive, is surreal. Being an absolute monster really isn't something that vampires are born with, the appetite to kill is cultivated. Angelus's kills were simple, almost painless (he saved his father for last which can be considered mental torture), but there wasn't any art to it and he didn't seem to take a lot of pleasure in the victims' pain. Once Angelus started to get the hang of it though, he was insatiable.

I prefer the flashback story in this episode, and much of the Kate stuff leaves more cold.
I agree with the first part but I enjoyed the scenes with Kate and felt sad for her loss. The contrast between Kate's relationship with her father and Angel's relationship with his own was great too. Both fathers were cold and apparently indifferent to their children, but deep down they cared a lot (Liam's father cried at the funeral and was deeply hurt when Liam left).

Side note, the actor who played Liam's father gave a really solid performance.
 
Bluebird
Bluebird
Totally agree on the actor who played Liam's father. He done so much with such a small part!

Mr Trick

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Agree with some of that, but I actually don't buy that the respected fathers cared that much about their sons. Certainly not in the case of Kate's old man.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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Sineya
but I actually don't buy that the respected fathers cared that much about their sons. Certainly not in the case of Kate's old man.
I'm not saying they were good parents - though I can't tell for sure what kind of parent Liam's father was from the few flashbacks we saw. Kate's father, in particular, was cold and probably very neglectful in raising Kate. However, I do believe that he loved his daughter and you can see it in how he refused to use Kate again for information and in how he spoke of her, Being a bad parent doesn't equal not loving your children. If only it were that simple...
 

Mr Trick

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I'm not saying they were good parents - though I can't tell for sure what kind of parent Liam's father was from the few flashbacks we saw. Kate's father, in particular, was cold and probably very neglectful in raising Kate. However, I do believe that he loved his daughter and you can see it in how he refused to use Kate again for information and in how he spoke of her, Being a bad parent doesn't equal not loving your children. If only it were that simple...
Very true, but its just my reading of it that I personally don't think he loved her. Not wanting her involved at the end I think was just gesture on his part or his idea of having moraity.
 
Carrie Hopewell
Carrie Hopewell
Well, I personally think he loved her, though there aren't a lot of instances that prove it.

Give Us A Kiss

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Sineya
Yay, a flashback :D

Liam's a vampire by then, and his father treats him like garbage :(

Kate, try and get a more reliable version of the story...

It was a demon :eek:

Emergency=always a call for an emergency brake ??? o_O

Kate's dad again :rolleyes:

Another flashback :D

Liam likes to get into fights and throw punches...

AI had enough money for a security lock ??? o_O

According to Wes, the demon was actually nice...

Angel, not a good time...

Cordy, don't cut the bone so loudly...

Angel's spying on Kate's dad, he has good reasons to do so.

Another flashback :D

Liam's getting kicked out of the house :(

He gets sired by Darla the same night.

Mr, Kate doesn't need a boyfriend...

Wes can dicest stuff now ??? Shows that he has changed :)

Cordy, the blonde wig should come off.

He's involved with something :eek:

Another flashback, this time it's a funeral :(

Liam has gotten out of his grave :eek:

Darla=grave robber ??? o_O

05/22=Cordy's birthday ??? o_O

Wes' right, Angel's going too much out of his way...

The demons got in :eek:

Another flashback :D

Liam's about to sire his father :eek:

"She doesn't know a thing" really ??? o_O

Mr Lockley has been sired :eek:

Now Angel's the one taping swords to his legs...

Kate now knows...and she shoots.

Angel came to save the day :)

In the scene where Kate find her father dead, she has her watch on right wrist but when she goes to kill the people that her father was involved with, her watch is on the left wrist o_O

And another flashback :)

Kate leaves flowers by her dad's grave :(

Next time: Angel is a gladiator.
 

GraceK

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I love this episode very much. Tim Minear blows my mind away yet again. The flashback scenes in this episode rewrote Angelus for me. Learning about Liam's relationship with his father and how that affected Angelus in his first years as a vampire added a whole other dimension to the character. He moved past the straight forward character he was up until then - evil, insane, arrogant,

I can identify with Liam. He hated his village, the life he had. Liam didn't strike me as the intelectual type, but Angel and Angelus certainly are; the way Liam corrects his father ("Servant, father. We have one servant.") and something he said to Buffy in 'Halloween' - about the women of his day being dull and always wanting to meet an interesting woman - leave me with the idea that the small mindedness of the village disgusted Liam. I believe this explains why he decides to take the whole town and not just his family. Regarding his father, Liam's relationship with him was similar to Wesley's and his dad. Liam's father was strict, disapproving and Liam lived his entire life trying to please his dad to no avail, which fostered resentment on his part. What Liam wanted to do (and tried to do) was to free himself from his father's influence, to not need his approval or love anymore. Naturally, once Liam lost his soul he had to stick it to his father and prove he no longer needed him. I think Darla was particularly insightful here. This piece of dialogue between Darla and Angelus was truly what made me regard the character differently:

Darla: “This contest is ended, is it?”
Angel: “Now I’ve won.”
Darla: “You’re sure?”
Angel: “Of course. I proved who had the power here.”
Darla: “You think?”
Angel: “What?”
Darla: “You’re victory over him took but moments.”
Angel: “Yes?”
Darla: “But his defeat of you will last life times.”
Angel: “What are you talking about? He can’t defeat me now.”
Darla: “Nor can he ever approve of you – in this world or any other. What we once were informs all that we have become. The same love will infect our hearts – even if they no longer beat. Simple death won’t change that.”
Angel: “Love? - Is this the work of love?”
Darla: “Darling boy. So young. Still so very young.”

The dialogue here is beautiful as is the music. Seeing Angelus without the usual arrogance and self-assurance, so young and naive, is surreal. Being an absolute monster really isn't something that vampires are born with, the appetite to kill is cultivated. Angelus's kills were simple, almost painless (he saved his father for last which can be considered mental torture), but there wasn't any art to it and he didn't seem to take a lot of pleasure in the victims' pain. Once Angelus started to get the hang of it though, he was insatiable.



I agree with the first part but I enjoyed the scenes with Kate and felt sad for her loss. The contrast between Kate's relationship with her father and Angel's relationship with his own was great too. Both fathers were cold and apparently indifferent to their children, but deep down they cared a lot (Liam's father cried at the funeral and was deeply hurt when Liam left).

Side note, the actor who played Liam's father gave a really solid performance.
Wow this is a great post. I identify A lot with this episode. I have a terrible father, and if I became a vampire he would be the first one I would kill. Yet in the end I would still lose, cause he still won't love me. Killing him won't change that. Darla was extra insightful here and I thought it added a lot to Angels backstory.
 
@Carrie Hopewell thank you! This episode really hits home. It's nice to know someone gets it :)
 
Carrie Hopewell
Carrie Hopewell
Thanks! Completely agree. This is one of the most interesting Angel/Angelus episodes. It's unfortunately underrated. And I'm sorry about your father. I have a messed up relationship with my own parents, so I can relate :(

Antho

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"The Prodigal" owes its solidity to multiple small arcs: flashbacks on Angel's human life better known as Liam, difficult relationships between parents and children exploited, thirst for love and revenge, the denial of the reality and the comedy with Cordelia/Wesley. With such a perfect blend, the only thing that leaves an aftertaste is the bad guys who are a bit too schematic !

The Flashbacks : See Julie Benz is absolutely a delight :) She is completely dazzling and not only for her beauty, the work she realizes on Darla's character must be applaud. She literally steals the show, as soon as she is on the screen I only have eyes for her. If Drusilla was charmed by the poetic and harmless side of William, it was the insolence and violence of Liam that seduced Darla. Angelus and Spike are vampires who have a personalities which formed from their human personalities, emotions (although of course some character traits are much more pronounced). Another small comparative funny detail is that Liam is the diminutive of William ! I love all these comparisons between them.

Attended the birth of Angelus, this is a significant event and would have deserved to take place in a little more exciting plot. They did well to do a little summary of the flashbacks of Acathla followed of the plan where he extirpates from his grave, it is complementary ! The death of Liam gave life to Angelus, and Angel is the middle ground between the human and the vampire ! I really like the symbolism of death which is not eternal because reincarnation exists. Immediately, a special bond was created between Darla and Angelus, she breathed new life to him and I could almost say that she is like his second mother, although I can not ignore the unhealthy side of this vision. She introduces him to her world, she reveals to him the keys to survive and he is a sacredly ambitious pupil (Darla : "You can do anything, Have anyone in the village, Who wii lt be ?" Angelus : "Anyone ? I thought i take the village"). She educates him (Darla : "What we once were informs all that we become. The same love infect our hearts even if they no longer beat. Simple death won't change that" Angelus : "Love ? Is this the work of love ? Darla : "Darling boy, so young, still so very young"). . She looks at him proudly. This is the beginning of a long relationship to the both immense and perverse force between Angelus and his lady. It is in these passages that the series Angel draws its strength because it rehabilitates in a masterful way a character far too little exploited on Buffy.

Incomprehension is the most appropriate word to describe Liam's relationship with his father. In fact, they each have their wrongs/faults and my heart scales between the two. Liam was a devoted son, apparently very attentive and inevitably when he acts well, he expects recognition in the form of love or others and certainly not reproaches. The father's fault is that he has always criticized his son with the sole and only goal that Liam shows the best of himself, that he surpasses himself, but without ever manifesting anything but criticisms. Liam, in want of paternal love, ended up becoming a completely unconscious man who drinks, has fun with adventures of one evening (his behavior is really detrimental because, given the time, the women with whom he slept could have getting pregnant and it would have ****ed up their lives, they would have been disowned, they would have lost their children, even worse, so it is selfish on Liam's part, especially as he is presented to us as coming from a family fairly respectable and takes advantage of this position in his relations with others). From my point of view, Liam's acts are a way of avenging his father, it's a bloody rebellion. I don't understand why people hate Liam, I don't see a mean guy or asshole, I see a man who is suffering and so do bullshit.
The "I was nervous in your way, boy" of the father really touched me and that's what makes me think that Liam did not take these critics in the right way, he should have used it to better succeed . The father underestimated the psychological force of his words and overestimated that of his son !

It was certain that the first thing Angelus would do was to kill his father. I regret that he killed his sister on the other hand, especially since she seemed to love him. It is a process that is dear to his heart since when he engenders Penn, he will oblige him to kill his family as the first victim. Angelus's speech was full of rancor and anger, but it was also vengeful, and he was immensely content proving to his father that he became stronger than him by killing him. He thinks he has gained this struggle, obtained power, satisfied his thirst for revenge and he is right in a sense, but as Darla says so well, the feeling of disappointment of his father will always pursue him and it's seen perfectly in the present.
Angelus : "Somehow you seem taller when i was alive." To think i ever let a tiny, trembling thing make you feel like you did. "You are wrong! You see father, I have made something of myself, after all".

The present: This is the least interesting part. This story of demons addicted to a drug that makes them much stronger, it did not impressed me and that's why it's a shame that such fabulous flashbacks are accompanied by such a weak plot. Finally, it helps to highlight the relationship between Kate and her father. That would be rather the word "Indifference" that would qualify the relationship. They drag behind them the ghost of Kate's mother. It was a death that greatly weakened her father, who fold on himself and despite Kate's efforts to follow his example, there is still no improvement. It is horrible to say that the only time he showed any interest to his daughter, every time he denied the reality (as in the 1x06 or despite Kate's confession, he preferred to flee the problem by refusing the discussion) and there in this episode, he lunch with her just to be able to learn informations about Angel. He feeds the illusions of Kate by not playing honest with her, but I feel that he cares about her and that somewhere by keeping her away he thinks to protect her.
On the side of Kate, she gives much importance to the words of his father bceuase he only tell her that it is not good for her to be alone, that she reacts by showing herself much more warm with Angel and she seems, at that moment, ready to accept the vampire condition when before she claimed the opposite. For my part, not being really attached to Kate's father, I'm not too sad about his death, but Kate touched me a lot when she cried and even more when in a tragic momentum mingled with courage and unconsciousness, she went to see the assassins. The death of his father represents the metaphor of the collision between the rational world and the irrational. If I used to compare Buffy and Kate, I realize now that she is not like Buffy because she carries the same heavy burden by choice and not by obligation. The relationship with Angel will necessarily deteriorate for reasons I think unfair to Angel (irony wanted him to be present at the time of the death but can not act) but understandable to Kate.

The relationship between Flashbacks and Present : I wondered what relationship there could be between these two very complicated child/parent relationships during half the episode. I do not think the comparison is so relevant as it is not the same time and then I do not think it's so obvious. There are commonalities and divergent points. The tragedy of history is linked to the fact that neither Angel nor Kate truly know that their fathers loved them. Their fathers did not express their feelings, showed only reproach for one or indifference to the other, and the two felt it difficult to communicate with their children. Love was there but it was not expressed correctly and now that they are dead, Kate and Angel will never have understood that their fathers loved them deeply. This is something they have in common and that will be difficult to overcome. What I deplore is that I do not have the impression that it brings them closer together so much, on the contrary, given the end of the episode, it even takes them away. Angel has empathy for her but it does not really uses his life/past to better understand things between Kate and her father, it has no influence. So it shows that the comparison is well found but that it has limits !
 

Oromous

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Sineya
Shame about Kate. She was probably the only female character of the show that isn't Cordelia that I liked. Her tomboyish empowered female deal was a perfect pairing for Angel. But from this point on, I'm guessing that potential partnership is gone. Just another broken heart left by Angel. Sigh.

I like the flashback dealing with Angel's unresolved daddy issues. I hate to sound like a broken record, but such issues often reflect my own and my father. It's pretty tragic what Darla said, that killing his father wouldn't resolve such issues, but merely have his lack of approval overshadow him for the rest of his life. He's forced to then, therefore, seek approval from other sources, be it Darla, or Buffy, or Kate.
 

RDHWesley

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Like the previous episode, this has grown on me, despite it also seeming kind of forgettable in parts. The main problem with it is that it's two stories going on at the same time, with very little relation to each other. So, both Angel and Kate had rubbish dads? The flashbacks showing the birth of Angelus are the highlight and make up for most of the plot's shortcomings. The scenes with Kate are less interesting, mainly because Trevor Lockely hadn't appeared since 'Sense and Sensitivity', so there's little reason to care about him. Wes and Cordy don't do much either, but this is more Angel and Kate's episode than anyone else's, so having the other characters side-lined is the price you pay.

Overall, it's a pretty decent episode, and those flashbacks are phenomenal; it's a shame they don't blend that well with the Kate storyline that well.
 

Btvs fan

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Like the previous episode, this has grown on me, despite it also seeming kind of forgettable in parts. The main problem with it is that it's two stories going on at the same time, with very little relation to each other. So, both Angel and Kate had rubbish dads? The flashbacks showing the birth of Angelus are the highlight and make up for most of the plot's shortcomings. The scenes with Kate are less interesting, mainly because Trevor Lockely hadn't appeared since 'Sense and Sensitivity', so there's little reason to care about him. Wes and Cordy don't do much either, but this is more Angel and Kate's episode than anyone else's, so having the other characters side-lined is the price you pay.

Overall, it's a pretty decent episode, and those flashbacks are phenomenal; it's a shame they don't blend that well with the Kate storyline that well.
Agreed the flashback scenes have no relation to the modern day plot. In fact they're actually more interesting THAN the modern day plot. Its still a good episode though
Thankfully this is fixed for 5by5 and Darla where the flashbacks and modern dat plot compliment each other fantastically
 
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