5×22: Not Fade Away

[Review by S. van Houten – “Iguana-on-a-stick”]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell and Joss Whedon | Director: Jeffrey Bell | Aired: 05/19/2004]

This is how an era ends. With a bang, and definitely not a whimper.

For eight years and in twelve seasons of television Joss Whedon and his crew told their stories of vampires, demons, and the people who fought them in a world not unlike our own. And we embraced it all; the mix of supernatural and Continue reading “5×22: Not Fade Away”

5×21: Power Play

[Review by S. van Houten – “Iguana-on-a-stick”]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 05/12/2004]

That [is what] you learn when you become a king. You learn to destroy everything that’s not utterly yours. All that matters is victory. That’s how your reign persists. You’re a slave to an insane construct. You are moral. A true ruler is as moral as a hurricane, empty but for the force of his ga Continue reading “5×21: Power Play”

5×20: The Girl in Question

[Review by Debisib]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard | Director: David Greenwalt | Aired: 05/05/2004]

It is very easy to get excited about an episode like this just by reading the plot synopsis. It has all of the tools one needs to make a great Angel episode. At this point in the series, the characters are already fully developed (except Illyria), so the focus is more on the characters engaging eac Continue reading “5×20: The Girl in Question”

5×19: Time Bomb

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Ben Edlund | Director: Vern Gillum | Aired: 04/28/2004]

Amy Acker. Incredible. Review, done.

But seriously, just how great is Amy Acker? In “Time Bomb” we get to see Illyria be the focal point of a solid, intriguing, and entertaining episode. It’s such a shame Fred was such an underdeveloped character, because Illyria gives Acker far more to do from a Continue reading “5×19: Time Bomb”

5×18: Origin

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Drew Goddard | Director: Terrence O Hara | Aired: 04/21/2004]

Angel continues its run to the finish line with another entertaining and coherent outing. “Origin” not only closes a lot of loose plot threads from previous seasons, but also does it in a way that is seamless and fun. On the deeper side we get some interesting discussions around the natu Continue reading “5×18: Origin”

5×17: Underneath

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Skip Schoolnik | Aired: 04/14/2004]

I’m going to say it right from the start: “Underneath” rocks. Even if it didn’t come right on the heels of the strongly written and starkly powerful “Shells” [5×16], it would still be an incredibly well-crafted and thematically resonant episode of television. It locks its characters into their Continue reading “5×17: Underneath”

5×16: Shells

[Review by S. van Houten – “Iguana-on-a-stick”]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Steven S. DeKnight | Aired: 03/04/2004]

“Is that the world we’re fighting for? The right to be heartless, an uncaring shell? To be dead inside?”

Fred is dead, but not quite gone. The line I quoted just now, spoken by Fred late last season, will have gained an awful new significance to the people of Angel Investigations and us Continue reading “5×16: Shells”

5×15: A Hole in the World

[Review by S. van Houten – “Iguana-on-a-stick”]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 02/25/2004]

It is very hard to pin down “A Hole in the World.” I have struggled with this review for months and I still suspect my experiences will diverge widely from what others have seen. So much depends on the angle you’re watching from. So much changes if you buy in to the episode’s premise, and if you do Continue reading “5×15: A Hole in the World”

5×14: Smile Time

[Review by Iguana-on-a-stick]

[Writer: Joss Whedon (Story) and Ben Edlund (Story and Teleplay) | Director: Ben Edlund | Aired: 02/18/2004]

“Smile Time” is one of the funniest hours of television produced in Joss Whedon’s long and illustrious career. I imagine that there are but a few fans of the series who would disagree with that statement. I certainly think it’s true. And yet, you wouldn’t know it if you watched its early scenes it Continue reading “5×14: Smile Time”

5×13: Why We Fight

[Review by Brachen Man]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard | Director: Terrence O Hara | Aired: 02/11/2004]

The fifth season of Angel could almost be considered an anomaly. Watching it in retrospect, one doesn’t get the impression that a grand story arc was planned out for it from the very beginning. This isn’t a bad thing of course, as more standalones often mean more variety in the writing, Continue reading “5×13: Why We Fight”

5×12: You’re Welcome

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: David Fury | Aired: 02/04/2004]

Cordy’s back!

I must confess to having had a total Harmony moment when I found out that this episode was in need of a reviewer. I was jumping around, squealing with excitement just as Harmony does when she’s reunited with her old friend here. And that’s because this episode just fills me with joy Continue reading “5×12: You’re Welcome”

5×11: Damage

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard | Director: Jefferson Kibbee | Aired: 01/28/2004]

The plot of “Damage” exemplifies a bold move on the part of the Angel writers. When the potential of all the Slayers in the world was unlocked in “Chosen”, the act was displayed in a purely positive light – “Every girl who can stand up, will stand up.” Here, though, the Continue reading “5×11: Damage”

5×10: Soul Purpose

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Brent Fletcher | Director: David Boreanaz | Aired: 01/21/2004]

Eyeing the numerous cryptic dream sequences scattered throughout “Soul Purpose”, one could hardly be faulted for thinking of the classic Buffy episode “Restless”. Nevertheless, “Soul Purpose” is most distinctly an Angel episode, one which fits well with the stretch of epis Continue reading “5×10: Soul Purpose”

5×09: Harm’s Way

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Vern Gillum | Aired: 01/14/2004]

Something very odd seems to happen to me when I watch this episode. It’s like I become two completely different people. One of them is having a great time, enjoying the silliness and appreciating the brilliant comedy styling of Mercedes McNab. The other is just sitting there thinking ‘wow, this is Continue reading “5×09: Harm’s Way”

5×08: Destiny

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Skip Schoolnik | Aired: 11/19/2003]

One of the most curious things about “Destiny” is how misleading the title is. This is not really — as one might expect — an episode about the concept of destiny and how it applies to Angel and Spike. In reality, it’s kind of the other way around; it’s about Angel and Spike and how they u Continue reading “5×08: Destiny”

5×07: Lineage

[Review by Iguana-on-a-stick]

[Writer: Drew Goddard | Director: Jefferson Kibbee | Aired: 11/12/2003]

Roger: “What did you just do?”

Roger is cool, slightly exasperated but resigned that his son has messed up again and that he will need to undo the damage.

Wesley: “Maybe I know what I’m doing. Why can’t you trust that?”

Wesley is frustrated, trying to prove himself harder Continue reading “5×07: Lineage”

5×06: Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco

[Review by Miscellaneopolan]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell | Director: Jeffrey Bell | Aired: 11/05/2003]

A cursory look at the plot of “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco” reveals that it was surely a labor of love. It’s about a masked Mexican wrestler (known, for those understandably unfamiliar with the type, as a “luchador”) who long ago gave up his crime-fighting ways to work for an evi Continue reading “5×06: Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco”

5×05: Life of the Party

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Ben Edlund | Director: Bill Norton | Aired: 10/29/2003]

Well… one thing I can easily say about “Life of the Party” is that it’s most definitely not the life of Season 5. In what’s probably the weakest episode of the fifth season, and one of the weakest in all of Angel, the writers come to the realization that Lorne needs some att Continue reading “5×05: Life of the Party”

5×04: Hell Bound

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Steven S. DeKnight | Aired: 10/22/2003]

If the past has been any indication, most of the episodes of Buffy and Angel that I remembered being kind of awesome remained kind of awesome after I looked closer – in some cases, they became even more awesome. This was the setup going into “Hell Bound,” arguably (see [“5×02 Continue reading “5×04: Hell Bound”

5×03: Unleashed

[Review by Iguana-on-a-stick]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Marita Grabiak | Aired: 10/15/2003]

If one were to name the most common tropes from Angel’s early seasons, one might come up with a list that quite accurately describes “Unleashed.” There is the Damsel in Distress, who naturally is young, pretty, blonde and attracted to Angel. There is the requisite monster in the form of Continue reading “5×03: Unleashed”

5×02: Just Rewards

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Ben Edlund (Story) and David Fury (Story and Teleplay) | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 10/08/2003]

Where do you begin when talking about Spike? Introduced as a temporary villain in Buffy’s second season, he went on to become one of the show’s most interesting and well-developed characters. At times evil, tragic, and hilarious, Spike went through more changes than any of the others aro Continue reading “5×02: Just Rewards”

5×01: Conviction

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 10/01/2003]

A change is as good as a rest, or so the saying goes. When your show’s nearing the end of its fourth season and things are starting to feel a little worn out, perhaps a change of scenery would be just the thing to breathe some new life into the series. And as far as changes go, moving your heroes i Continue reading “5×01: Conviction”

4×22: Home

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Tim Minear | Director: Tim Minear | Aired: 05/07/2003]

Before I sat down to watch “Home” again for this review, I recalled having a largely positive impression of the episode. It contained no more Jasmine, Lilah’s return, a fun plot twist, Wesley being awesome, some pounding drama, and a bittersweet ending. What’s not to love? Well, after looki Continue reading “4×22: Home”

4×21: Peace Out

[Review by Ben]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: Jefferson Kibee | Aired: 04/30/2003]

What compels people to do the things they do? Is it destiny? Free will? And at what cost? These are the questions that haunt every character throughout Season 4 and they all come to a head in “Peace Out” [4×21]. With “Home” [4×22] being much like an epilogue or a bookend to the season, “Peace Out” [4×21] has th Continue reading “4×21: Peace Out”

4×20: Sacrifice

[Review by Sue Carter]

[Writer: Ben Edlund | Director: David Straiton | Aired: 04/23/2003]

Lines are drawn and difficult choices are made in “Sacrifice,” as the Angel Investigations team goes on the run to escape Jasmine. There are a few compelling scenes and some interesting dynamics, but the heavy-handed themes, continuity errors and overused tropes undermine it all.

“Sacrifice Continue reading “4×20: Sacrifice”

4×19: The Magic Bullet

[Review by Patrick Pricken]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell | Director: Jeffrey Bell | Aired: 04/16/2003]

It had to be blood. What else has so much metaphorical power, and in the Whedonverse, real power? Blood enabled Buffy to sacrifice herself for Dawn, blood is what vampires hunger for. And blood is responsible for the moment that I always remember when I think of “The Magic Bullet:“ Fred shootin Continue reading “4×19: The Magic Bullet”

4×18: Shiny Happy People

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Marita Grabiak | Aired: 04/09/2003]

Well, here she is at last. The Big Bad. Angel (AtS) doesn’t quite follow the per-season arch-villain pattern of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I think it’s still fair to say that Jasmine (or the ‘Beastmaster,’ to use her terrible nickname from previous episodes) has been the ‘Big Bad’ Continue reading “4×18: Shiny Happy People”

4×17: Inside Out

[Review by Sue Carter]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Steven S. DeKnight | Aired: 04/02/2003]

“Inside Out” represents a major turning point in Season 4. It’s extremely exposition heavy out of necessity as Team Angel comes to terms with “Cordelia” being the Big Bad, the birth of Jasmine, and Connor crossing a major line in the morality sand. This episode holds the responsibility to Continue reading “4×17: Inside Out”

4×16: Players

[Review by Fray-Adjacent]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell and Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Michael Grossman | Aired: 03/26/2003]

“Players” is a decent if imperfect exploration of Gunn’s character. It both explains and motivates his Season 5 arc more than any other single episode prior to Season 5 itself. In this way, it encompasses both the strengths and weaknesses of Gunn’s characterization throughout the series: wh Continue reading “4×16: Players”

4×15: Orpheus

[Review by Miscellaneopolan]

[Writer: Mere Smith | Director: Terrence O Hara | Aired: 03/19/2003]

Season 4 of Angel is nothing if not busy. The narrative has abundant twists, the character dynamics are in constant flux, and almost every episode has multiple threads running through it. “Orpheus” has the responsibility of bringing two of those threads to a close. This is the last we Continue reading “4×15: Orpheus”