Angel 1×01: City of

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 10/05/1999]

Welcome to the very first review of AtS (Angel the Series), for the premiere, “City of.” This is a flash-bang of a series opener which is nothing short of flawless. We get a feel for Angel as a leading man, meet his new sidekicks and follow him through an airtight plot as he starts his quest for redemption. At this point in time the people behind BtVS (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) had three years of experience under their belt, bringing them to the start of AtS in a well readied state. This episode and most of S1 are fantastic proof of this. Composed mostly of stand alones, this season still manages to be one of the shows most consistent and most universally liked seasons because of its unwaveringly rigid focus on character development. A whole load of important things happen in “City of,” so we’ll dive right in.

“High School is over, pal,” Doyle tells Angel early on, and how right he is. Whereas Buffy’s base metaphor for its first three seasons rested upon the demonic exaggeration of the High School experience, S1 of Angel is a about the new kind of life one experiences in their early twenties. Whether it’s moving to a big, scary new city where nobody knows your name (this episode), dealing with the impossible singles scene (“Lonely Hearts” [1×02]), finding a new place to live (“Rm w a Vu” [1×05]), getting over your H.S. sweet heart (“I Will Remember You” [1×08]), or learning about consequences (“Expecting” [1×12]), this particular age bracket has a distinct calling card of experiences.

High School truly is over for Angel and Cordelia, and much of the first Season deals with growing further as people in response to that. However, it is not the primary focus of this episode, and in fact is only an undercurrent to the main theme that dominates S1.

The first scene presents our fearless hero deeply drunk, telling a bald and black bar patron how much he reminds him of his much beloved Buffy (whose name is not actually mentioned once in this episode); pure, blissful Whedon. We know instantly we’re still in Joss’ world, which comforts those of us moving on to new territory from the end of BtVS S3 (as are our characters). After leaving the bar, Angel expertly dispenses of two vampires who are out on the hunt, but finds himself grappling with human cravings of his own, as he tells the grateful and now-saved victims to flee when he spots a bleeding cut on one of their foreheads. He can’t be near them.

This is a smart way to start the show, and it is the focus of both this episode, and S1 (along with the perennial theme of redemption): Human Connection. Angel is a man who wants to help people and do the right thing, but with no connection to the human world, he faces becoming detached from them as well. As Doyle points out rather bluntly in the next scene: “that craving is going to grow and one day soon one of those helpless victims that you don’t really care about is going to look way too appetizing to turn down. And you’ll figure hey! What’s one against all I’ve saved?” It’s a disturbing truth and you can tell Angel knows it right away.

The first two scenes with Doyle (one in the apartment and one on the street) are both very important. Aside from introducing the uninitiated to the dark avenger’s history, they accurately sum up his current situation, and what needs to change. Angel is seeking the means to do good, but is going about it wrong, dangerously distancing himself from those who he hopes to help. From there, Doyle explains that he receives visions of people in danger from omniscient forces called the Powers that Be (who will be referred to as the PTB), and he has been sent to Angel to help guide the wayward hero in saving helpless souls. We also find out that he is half demon in a rather funny way: spikes come out of his face after a sneeze, just before which he strongly affirms he is completely human (‘on my mother’s side’).

Doyle properly states that saving the world is not just about gadgets and brawls, it’s about connection, and saving lives and souls; about letting people into your heart. The parallel here to Buffy’s character and the psychology of the Slayer as told by Spike in BtVS’ : “Fool for Love” is quite applicable, probably to all heroes. Vigilantes rise and fall because they are cut off, and eventually implode or explode when they come under stress with no one to support them. The key difference is that Angel’s character would explode, whereas Buffy’s would implode. We see examples of this for both of them later on in the timeline.

In BtVS “The Gift,” Buffy’s emotional support finally buckles when she faces the idea of sacrificing her sister on top of having lost her lover and her mother so recently; she chooses to die rather than face this. Angel is different. In S2, we see him go dark without losing his soul; his emotional support buckles when Darla is turned back into a vampire by Wolfram and Hart almost instantly after he helps redeem her, and he goes on a manic quest for vengeance, locking W&H lawyers in a room with two deadly vampire gals (2×10: “Reunion” [2×10]).

He then fires Gunn, Cordelia and Wesley to willingly complete the transition to full detachment so he can pursue a full on crusade for blood. As Wesley tells him, they (his friends, his human connections) are all that stands between Angel and true darkness; he knows this, which is exactly why he does what he does.

The reactions of the two heroes are different, but the message is the same: A connection to the world is all that will keep a hero from slipping off of it, and it is what makes a hero. Part of Angel’s darker moments in this episode actually have to do with the loss of Buffy in his life, but wisely, the writers do not call attention to it, focusing on Angel himself.

Once this has all been explained, Doyle gives him his first soul to save: A woman named Tina (oddly, a blonde), who he is to meet at a coffee shop. He somehow manages to charm her, also learning that she is very afraid of someone named Russell. Offering Tina a ride to start, he ends up at a Hollywood party where he runs into Cordelia (who I’ll talk about later). There’s some fun stuff in here, including a hilarious exchange with a talent agent named Oliver (who appears later in this season: “Eternity” [1×17]), but the purpose is first and foremost to give us an impression of how (not) well Tina’s acting ‘career’ is going.

From here the pace picks up and doesn’t let go, with Tina being snatched out of the party by Russell’s man Stacy and rescued by Angel in a very entertaining car chase. Hiding back at the apartment, the two share a quiet and beautiful pair of scenes that really hit home, helping to re-establish what kind of guy we know Angel is. When he responds to Tina’s suggestion that he’s earned the right to ‘comfort her’ by telling her “this is the part where you have a safe place to stay…you have enough people taking advantage right now,” we feel as moved as she does. But the happy is short lived, as Tina finds Doyle’s instructions in Angel’s apartment no sooner than the soulful vampire starts to feel the needed connection he was told about. This drives the paranoid Tina away to her apartment to flee where she is confronted by the aforementioned Russell, who is not only cleverly manipulative, but a hungry vampire. Bye Tina.

It struck me as a waste at first, but in fact, helped smartly move two important things along. First: we see instant proof of what happens to Angel when he loses that human connection discussed earlier. He had gained Tina’s trust, and then lost her. His initial reaction is not self-destruction or pity, but vengeance; Angel swiftly returns to his place in a blood thirsty mood with full intent of tracking down Russell’s henchmen and Russell himself. Not that much later he violently breaks into the store that one of the henchmen own. When told by Stacy that Russell will kill everyone he cares about, all Angel can say is that there is no one left he cares about. Good stuff.

The second thing that made the Tina plot essential had to do with Russell himself, who we learn in the next scene is Russell Winters, a powerful and wealthy client of – and here they are – Wolfram and Hart, a law firm that appears to be more than just a law firm at once. Lindsey McDonald, the lawyer, makes his first appearance, quickly and coolly constructing an alibi for the vampire with nothing but business in his amoral voice.

By coincidence, Cordelia, who has also been chasing an acting career, ends up at Russell’s place, lured by the promise of a break in her career, at the same time Angel makes his move. Apparently Cordy’s been chasing the Hollywood cliché like Tina, having ditched Sunnydale to seek riches in acting. Her exchange with Angel at the party is sweetly played and reminiscent and of an old Scooby meeting, and upon first viewing is quite cool; watching two members of the old Sunnydale clan who never really interacted chat it up. Like Joss Whedon’s third show, “Firefly,” these little moments are what makes the big ones matter; the experiences of friendship and communion that so many other shows lack. I also like how we’re meant to think that Tina will be the one Angel saves, but it turns out being Cordelia by the end.

At this point, her character is advancing forward through the motions foreshadowed in BtVS “The Prom,” with her family having lost all its money, and poor Cordy herself going through a dry spell. Her apartment is run down, she has little food and her only real things of value are her few fancy articles of clothing. She is as Cordelia as ever, letting no one know about her struggle, but in fact is in a harsh place. This is the first thing introduced to make her character more sympathetic, despite still being the snarky Cordy we know. All of this sets her up properly for the stellar development that she is soon to go through.

Angel shows up in the nick of time to rescue her, and the fight scene is fun. The feeling of excitement as our hero steps out of the shadows with Tina’s ‘message’ for Russell is purely satisfying and well-earned, as our reaction is the same as Cordelia’s: “Oh, boy! You’re about to get your ### kicked!” All the episode’s tightly woven threads come together for a pay off that feels both worthwhile and liberating, here and after in Russell’s board room. Watching Doyle come through was nice, too, even though he doesn’t get much to do in this episode beyond that and the vision (this would be a detractor in other episodes, but since it is the series premiere the focus needs to be on Angel).

We do see hints of his nature in a few places: when Angel asks him why he wants to help, he mentions that everyone has something to atone for. Back at the mansion we see him struggling with the notion of risking his hide, even though he knows it’s the right and selfless thing to do; in the end he does. This is a good starting point for his development since that by the time his life ends, he’s willing to die selflessly to save the lives of others (“Hero” [1×09]).

All of this is excellent, and makes a grand first showing. Rolled in with great entertainment is also some very good and logical character development (as well as re/establishment), new information and some clever foreshadowing. Wolfram and Hart is introduced, we get our first mention of the senior partners, and our heroes are set up to take the stage. Russell Winters was an efficient creation in how he brought out the necessary sides of Angel’s character. The script was also very tightly constructed, so not a moment was wasted between the story and the sharp licks of dialogue, which are particularly good here.

I debated quite a bit about whether or not to give this episode a Perfect score, but I feel it’s earned it in retrospect of the entire series; more for what it does than what it appears to be. It lacks a single misstep one way or another, and is a perfect start to this great show.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ The use of Angel’s theme music throughout the episode.
+ After the vampires leave the bar, Angel’s face goes from a drunken stupor to an intensely focused glare in about two seconds. This is a great little piece of acting.
+ The first appearance of wrist-mounted stakes.
+ Angel jumping into the wrong car.
+ Cordelia’s self-esteem meditation.
+ Angel has seen fourteen wars in his lifetime. Though not including Vietnam, as he mentions they never declared it.
+ Doyle ramming the mansion gate and busting the car.

– The new vampire makeup is cheesy looking; luckily it is changed later on in the show.


* Doyle mentions that everyone has something to atone for. We later find out that he still suffers from guilt over his marriage (1×07: “The Bachelor Party” [1×07]) and refusing to help others of his own half-demon kind (1×09: “Hero” [1×09]).
* Angel is told that human connection is what makes a hero. In S2, he both loses and breaks his human connections and slips down a dark path. In S5, distancing himself from the average soul-in-danger weakens his conviction to be a hero entirely.
* Lindsey refers to Russell’s victims as ‘long term investments’ for the firm. This is a good hint about how Wolfram and Hart operate.




51 thoughts on “Angel 1×01: City of”

  1. [Note: Grounded posted this comment on April 10, 2006.]

    It’s a perfect 100 for me too. 🙂 Yes, there are tell-tale signs that it’s a pilot – dodgy vamp makeup for a start – but the moment Tina bit the dust made it clear this series was going to be something very special.

    Some fairly inconsequential grammatical things gleaned from the first four reviews:

    – Capitalisation after colons. As I understand it (and I’m not exactly an authority on this, so slap me if I’m wrong), this one is correct:

    “We also find out that he is half demon in a rather funny way: spikes come out of his face after a sneeze, just before which he strongly affirms he is completely human (‘on my mother’s side’).”

    while this one is not

    “In fact, how he deals is a big part of this episode, along with the main theme of the entire series: Redemption.”

    – Random semicolons. No idea if this is purely a typo or not:

    “Granted; it’s no real secret the way it’s presented…”

    Small stuff, I know, and honestly it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the reviews at all. Great job


  2. [Note: Ryan-R.B. posted this comment on April 10, 2006.]

    Thanks, and i’m glad you liked the reviews. My grammar isn’t perfect, i’ll admit that right away (vocabulary is my strong suit when it comes to language). Most of the time i type as though i’m saying the words out loud, and i like putting it down so people can hear it the same way i do.

    Inevitably, that leads to some problems. 😉


  3. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on March 5, 2007.]

    Yey! Angel reviews!
    love this episode – it sets up the themes and ideas that underpin the entire run of the series. Most importantly it situates the action firmly in the ‘Grey Area’. Nothing is black and white or simple in Angel’s LA. This is a great contrast to Sunnydale (at this point) and really establishes Angel as a different world.buffyholic


  4. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on January 28, 2008.]

    Great review, Ryan. I too feel this is worthy of a perfect score. Amazing episode, from start to finish.


  5. [Note: Sanjuro posted this comment on December 1, 2008.]

    This is one of the best series pilots I’ve ever seen. I love the metaphor that Russell presents: that of the L.A. mogul who has his way with all the wannabe actresses and then discards them after crushing their dreams. And the statement of themes is so bold and assured it’s incredible. I know it’s silly and unfair to compare them, but if you watch Buffy’s pilot and then go to this, it’s like going from the wheel to the space shuttle.


  6. [Note: Suzie B posted this comment on December 23, 2008.]

    I’ve read all of Mike’s reviews of Buffy ( the ones that are up!) and now I have Angel reviews as well? I’m ecstatic! Great review, Ryan.


  7. [Note: jun posted this comment on January 31, 2009.]

    Howdy! Just watched this and came back to read the review, which is why I noticed an error. You wrote, regarding Buffy, “whose name is not actually mentioned once in this episode.”

    It actually is. When Doyle asks Angel about feeding on a human recently, Angel kind of whispers, “Buffy.”


  8. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on June 14, 2009.]

    I just recieved my beautiful Angel box set a month ago and went for a complete viewing and a reading of your reviews after,

    And i forgot how fantastic is this pilot!

    Your review is great! I particularly appreciate your piece about the hero who, without connections to this world, would implode or explode! It’s an interesting point that you wrote very well!

    thanks for thos reviews, it’s a pleasure to read them!


  9. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on June 8, 2010.]

    There’s no way this episode deserves a P. Russell was a lousy villain, and the plot involving him was too simplistic. What I did love was how this episode set an immediate tone for the series as a whole (one that’s clearly going to be a lot darker than “Buffy”).

    B-plus. No higher than that in my book. But a good episode.


  10. [Note: Andrea posted this comment on August 14, 2010.]

    I felt like all in all this episode did what it set out to do, which was establish the tone and theme of this show in relation to Buffy. The plot was a little simplistic, but the task of doing all the ‘establishing’ work probably needed to be based on a simple-to-understand plot.

    Another point for the “minus” column – the HORRID special effects on Russell being pushed out the window. His fall (ridiculous flailing arms)/the closeups are literally horrendous/hilarious.


  11. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 12, 2010.]

    My first ever Angel episode … had zero prior knowledge, all I knew about the series was that that hunky Angel dude who was Buffy’s boyfriend goes off and forms his own series.

    Impressions –

    1) David Boreanaz seems only to do glower, pensive (I assume that the puppy dog from BtVS has been shelved). But he sure does do glower and pensive very well.

    2) Doyle. Oh no. Tell me he’s not going to show up every episode and hand out assignments. Please no.

    3) The intro was a bit predictable but bang-up effective anyway.

    4) This has a much darker and different feel than BtVS. Then again, BtVS is about a human named “Summers” in “Sunnydale,” and this is a show about a vamp who can only go out at night. So, doh.

    5) I’m thinking Whedon is going to have a good time satirizing Hollywood on this show. Ample material there.

    6) The fight scenes are good. Boreanaz has the physical presence to be downright scary. Again, different than BtVS, in which the violence has more of a comic book feel.

    Not at all sure what to make of this show yet. I imagine that much will depend on the quality of the additional side characters, and of the future baddies.


  12. [Note: Dana posted this comment on May 25, 2011.]

    Fantastic, I loved the beginning of this series! Anyone who found this episode/series ‘dark’ compare to BtVS…get over it! This is a very different show with very different issues. Angel isn’t a vigin 16 year old high school girl. He a 240 year old ex-blood sucking villian! It should be darker, more uncomfortable and intense than Buffy. I find that it really works EXCEPT for the nasty connor/cordelia ark in season 4 which I try to erase from my mind. This series had an amazing start and season one only got better in my opinion. Reading your review really made me miss Doyle though… :*(


  13. [Note: Louisa posted this comment on June 5, 2011.]

    I just started watching Angel again from the beginning on Hulu. It’s truly a wonderful series, and now that a few years have passed it’s great to see how well it holds up. The Connon/Cordelia arc in Season 4 is so cringe-worthy that it put me off the show for a while, but reading reviews like these helps put things back in perspective. Thanks!


  14. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 19, 2012.]

    Quote that should’ve been included:

    Winters: “And in return, I can do anything I want!”

    Angel: “Can you fly?”


  15. [Note: johnc posted this comment on May 27, 2012.]

    I decided to rewatch the Buffy series and then alternate viewings of BtVS season 4 with Angel season 1, the same way they were shown on TV way back when…and found something interesting. In the season 4 premiere of Buffy when Buffy goes home to visit her mom the phone rings. Buffy says hello twice and then hangs up when she gets no response. I was wondering what this had to do with anything in that episode. Then in the Angel series premiere Angel makes a phone call and hears a girl say hello twice before hanging up…then he hangs up. Good job by Joss.


  16. [Note: MrPrez posted this comment on August 23, 2012.]

    I LOVE this episode! What a great way to start my favorite series ever! The interaction between Cordy and Angel at the party still remains my favorite part. Who would of thought Angel and Cordelia from BtVS would end up having the most beautiful and deepest relationship out of anyone on either show?

    I’d give this episode a 100 too!


  17. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on December 27, 2013.]

    I’m sorry, I just have to dispute this. Angel and Cordy do not have the deepest relationship out of anyone on either show. Whether it is the most beautiful is subjective, but I would say Buffy and Spike have the deepest relationship.


  18. [Note: Monica posted this comment on December 27, 2013.]

    I wholeheartedly disagree with that. Although I understand someone not believing Angel and Cordelia’s relationship is the deepest (but I personally agree, actually). I hardly think Spike and Buffy compare at all.


  19. [Note: Monica posted this comment on December 28, 2013.]

    I actually suppose it depends on how they define relationship. If they mean romantic relationship, I understand Spike and Buffy. If they mean just any relationship, friendship included, I feel there are several other relationships that thwart Spike and Buffy.


  20. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 26, 2014.]

    Personally, Wesley and Lilah struck more of a chord with me in 10 episodes than Angel and Cordy in three seasons.


  21. [Note: Monica posted this comment on January 26, 2014.]

    But all of this is based on opinion. As you stated in a thread in the forum, you believe Wesley is far and away the greatest Angel character, while I personally prefer Cordelia. So, a relationship that involves Cordelia would more likely strike a cord with me, while it may not with you. The same goes for Buffy and Spike’s relationship, which I adamantly disagree about being the deepest, since I really hate their romantic relationship. You, who I assume like Spike, would think differently. It’s all subjective, really.


  22. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 26, 2014.]

    I think it comes down less to how much you like or dislike the characters so much as how you like the different styles of relationships. While I do like Buffy and Spike a lot, it’s the amount of change they undergo in their interactions with each other that makes me label it as ‘deep.’ Consider how Buffy acts towards Spike in S4 and how that changes over the course of S5. Then see how twisted and dark it all gets in S6, and contrast it to ‘Touched’ or the final moments of ‘Chosen.’ Personal preference is all very well when it comes to how much you ‘like’ the characters, but when using the label of ‘deep’ I think you have to be able to show WHY you think that is.

    With Wesley and Lilah, yeah, you’re probably right. It says a lot that the latter is my (joint) second favourite Angel character despite being far less important than Cordy, Angel, Gunn and even Lorne.


  23. [Note: Monica posted this comment on February 8, 2014.]

    Well that I can understand. Personally, I just view their relationship more as constantly changing than I do deep. You can probably use the seventh season as a defense, but I actually feel the sixth season makes their relationship appear quite shallow. Spike’s feelings aside, Buffy saw him merely as a way to feel, and nothing more. At that point, their relationship was really only a representation of Buffy’s downward spiral than anything else.

    I find Cordelia and Angel’s relationship much more fascinating. As established in “Birthday”, the two of them needed each other. Without Cordelia, Angel lacks the human connection that gives him the incentive to help people, and without Angel, Cordelia never would have found purpose. Their’s is a relationship that deepens with each season and climaxes in “You’re Welcome”. I can’t think of another Buffyverse relationship where the two people were really so important to one another.

    Anyway, this is probably not an appropriate place for this, and fits better in the forum. How about…both relationships are pretty cool?


  24. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on February 8, 2014.]

    I don’t think you can say that one relationship is deeper than the other; they’re all different. Buffy’s and Angel’s relationship was born out of lust and affection, and, while they didn’t really know each other very well, they were still able to share a moment of happiness. Their relationship was so deep that they lost themselves in each other. Angel’s and Cordelia’s relationship was born out of necessity as Monica put it, allowing them to look past each other’s faults and also, potentially experience a moment of happiness (like the one in “Awakening”). Buffy’s and Spike’s relationship, while not very long (due to Spike’s death in “Chosen”), was formed out of a true understanding of each other. This allowed them to share in what I believe to be a moment of happiness in “Touched”, as they had nothing to hide from each other, no secrets, no pain, and no fears. So, while you’re entitled to your opinions, I will again say that, in my opinion, none of these three relationships were deeper than the other, as they were different and unique.


  25. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on February 9, 2014.]

    In general response to some of the previous comments, I find it rather interesting that Angel only started to develop romantic feelings towards Cordelia as she became more and more… like Buffy.


  26. [Note: Monica posted this comment on February 9, 2014.]

    Because she’s more of a hero by the time they fall for each other? Other than that, I don’t really think they become similar.


  27. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on February 9, 2014.]

    Far more than that.

    As she develops over the second and third seasons of AtS, Cordelia becomes progressively more similar to Buffy in multiple respects. She is involuntarily gifted with a mystical power, and goes through a similar pattern of initial deep ambivalence giving way to embracing the purpose that it gives her as the central aspect of her identity. They’re both extremely self-sacrificing (far more so than any of the other main characters in the shows) and have a deep-seated sense of morality, but also grow progressively more isolated over time. I could go on, but you get the picture.

    The very qualities that make Cordelia a more heroic character as the series goes on directly echo many of the qualities that made Buffy a hero… and which inspired Angel while he was with her. I don’t think it’s at all a coincidence that the emergence of his romantic feelings toward Cordelia perfectly tracks the emergence of her exhibiting many of Buffy’s best traits.


  28. [Note: Monica posted this comment on February 9, 2014.]

    Well…wow! Way to own me, Alex! I didn’t even think of any of that when I made that statement before. It’s funny, actually, since Cordelia was originally meant to parallel Buffy in one way, and then grew to parallel Buffy in a completely different way. Really cool…


  29. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on February 9, 2014.]

    I dashed off the above comment in a hurry, and so I didn’t list all the parallels that stand out to me, but they’re there. Buffy and Cordelia both start out as classic high school Queen Bees, but suffer a fall from grace, and in the process become much deeper, more well-rounded, and less frivolous individuals. They’re very devoted to their friends, but maintain an emotional distance from them a lot of them time, and when they’re suffering in some way usually try to hide or conceal it rather than share the pain. They’re both a lot smarter than they’re usually given credit for by the people around them, and when something matters to them they prefer to take care of it themselves, even if it would make more sense to rely on others. Despite seeming very socially self-assured, they both show a lot of hesitancy and insecurity when it comes to forming relationships with men. And so on.


  30. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on October 6, 2014.]

    Alex C.:

    Word. You left out one thing. Willow suffers because Cordy left. So did Buffy. They needed her as she needed them. They would have spared her the ordeal with Jasmine. The show is the elaborate integration of the women who end up in the same place – full goddesshood – by different paths because they were separated.


  31. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on October 6, 2014.]

    The shows are the elaborate working out of the integration of these women, who over the course of their journey take on the traits of the other to achieve full Godesshood. That’s what I meant to say.


  32. [Note: Paige posted this comment on January 27, 2015.]

    One thing that bothered me in this episode… Angel just waltzes into Russell’s house?? What happened to needing an invitation? Russell explains that he owns the building, so I’ll let him walking into Tina’s apartment pass.


  33. [Note: Sarah posted this comment on March 18, 2015.]

    I like the quality of this show much better than Buffy, especially in comparison to season 1 of Buffy where there was poor production value and very cheesy special effects, musical score, etc. I like the fact that the approach to Angel was more well thought out then Buffy was in the beginning.


  34. [Note: Random posted this comment on April 21, 2015.]

    Speaking of Cordelia’s “development”, one thing that stood out for me — and, I imagine, for quite a few people in the audience — was something that was never explicitly spelled out but seemed quite clear anyway. You could see the exact moment when Cordelia hit absolute rock bottom, the moment she looks up at Russell and asks, in a voice that seemed to me to convey that she already knew (or tbought she knew) the answer and had resigned herself to doing it: “What do you want me to do?” The best, and perhaps only truly credible, interpretation of that moment was that she accepted she would have to get onto the so-called “casting couch” and prostitute herself for the slightest hope that Russell would rescue her from the dire straits she found herself in. From where I’m sitting, in that instant, you could see Cordelia’s pride so completely broken that Russell turning out to want nothing more than her blood was almost a godsend, jarring her back from the edge of despair by saving her from a choice she’d already made…and hated herself for making.


  35. [Note: alan24 posted this comment on August 8, 2015.]

    I’m interested in your point about Cordelia and Buffy, not an idea which had occurred to me before but it resonates. I feel that the character of Cordelia is the great triumph of the whole show. She begins in BTVS S1 as almost pure narcissism, with a very sharp taste in unpleasant put-downs. During BTVS S2 & S3 she decides that actually she does feel some kind of loyalty to the gang, that they have in some sense become her friends, but she retains her sharpness and interest in money and appearance. In late-BTVS-S3, and between the seasons, she has her personal financial and family disaster, so that in Angel S1 we get a strong sense that she is on the edge and about to fall off the cliff: she met Angel only just in time. Then in Angel S1, S2 and up to about 2/3 through S3 she progressively develops loyalty and sense of purpose, which is finally confirmed in Birthday, where we find that the narcisstic Cordelia Chase from B1-1 has somehow turned into someone entirely different… who is, miraculously, still recognisable as the same person. A delicate trick of character-development.

    (A shame that they threw her away after Birthday, but that’s another story…)


  36. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on May 20, 2016.]

    So here’s a minor con– how did Angel of all people use three library computers simultaneously to research the dead girl? Please keep in mind that in “Passion” he thought that the way to destroy a computer file was to punch the computer screen. And keep in mind that “Help” (which airs three years after this episode) has that scene where Buffy and Xander think that “googling” is a sex act.


  37. [Note: Monica posted this comment on May 21, 2016.]

    To be fair, the verb “googling” wasn’t as commonplace as today. In fact, their usage of the term as a verb in that episode in particular is actually the first time it was done on television.


  38. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on May 21, 2016.]

    Oh, that’s certainly fair. It’s just somewhat awkward to have Angel of all people playing the Willow role and scrounging up information on the internet. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so bothered if Angel had been poring through physical newspapers? Or if he had looked her up in the Yellow Pages, went to her apartment and then found her corpse. Or if he had broken into a morgue. Et cetera.

    (PS: Wonderful to see you still lurking here.)


  39. [Note: Monica posted this comment on May 22, 2016.]

    Thank you!

    And I actually totally agree it is inconsistent. I kinda just wanted to throw in that useless piece of trivia.


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