Angel 4×01: Deep Down

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Terence O’Hara | Aired: 10/06/2002]

“Kind of an M.C. Escher perspective…”Angel

“Deep Down” is an episode relentless in its portrayal of a landscape made bleak by the absence of its hero. For all the flaws of the season three finale “Tomorrow” [3×22] , the situation it promi Continue reading “Angel 4×01: Deep Down”

Angel 4×02: Ground State

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: Mere Smith | Director: David Grossman | Aired: 10/13/2002]

“Ground State” is one of the most wholly unremarkable episodes of the season, so timid and – may the Gods of punnage strike me down – emotionally grounded that it feels like it’s trying to be inoffensive. If this criticism seems callous, consider its location in the series: it floats amon Continue reading “Angel 4×02: Ground State”

Angel 4×03: The House Always Wins

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: Marita Grabiak | Aired: 10/20/2002]

The last time I had the pleasure of describing the way a bad episode of TV can feel like a screwdriver being pulled out one ear from the other side of one’s head, “Provider” [3×12] was on my review docket, vomiting its banal themes and ridiculous plot all over a good forty-odd minutes of my day that I might Continue reading “Angel 4×03: The House Always Wins”

Angel 4×04: Slouching Towards Bethlehem

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell | Director: Skip Schoolnik | Aired: 10/27/2002]

“Slouching Towards Bethlehem” represents both the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of season four. On the one hand it is chalk-full of deeply contemplative ideas and ironies that get the ball rolling on the season’s main themes. It’s a wonder to consider. However it is not so much a Continue reading “Angel 4×04: Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

Angel 4×05: Supersymmetry

[Review by Patrick Pricken]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Bill Norton | Aired: 11/03/2002]

[EDITOR’S NOTE] Ryan will no longer be reviewing Angel from this episode onward. In his place will be you: the community. This is why you will notice varying review styles from this point on. This is being referred to as the ‘Angel Completion Project’ and can be specifically tracke Continue reading “Angel 4×05: Supersymmetry”

Angel 4×06: Spin The Bottle

[Review by Fray-Adjacent]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 11/10/2002]

“Spin the Bottle” breaks the fourth wall. This happens through Lorne, who addresses the audience, tells the story, and comments throughout on themes and moments of irony, tragedy, and humor. Thankfully, the episode doesn’t explicitly draw attention to the fictitious nature of the story, exc Continue reading “Angel 4×06: Spin The Bottle”

Angel 4×07: Apocalypse, Nowish

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight | Director: Vern Gillum | Aired: 11/17/2002]

Before I start this review, there’s just something I have to do: Ewwwwwww!

Okay. I think that’s the customary reaction to the ending of this episode, so now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can get started.

Yes, this is indeed the episode which is most often remembered for its last couple of Continue reading “Angel 4×07: Apocalypse, Nowish”

Angel 4×08: Habeas Corpses

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell | Director: Skip Schoolnik | Aired: 01/15/2003]

Season 4 of Angel is frankly a bit of a mess. It’s at times an ambitious mess, particularly from a plot and theme perspective, but it still doesn’t really hold together very well. “Habeas Corpses” encapsulates elements of this mess, which ends up being a nice illustration of the seas Continue reading “Angel 4×08: Habeas Corpses”

Angel 4×09: Long Day’s Journey

[Review by Robert Taylor]

[Writer: Mere Smith | Director: Terrence O Hara | Aired: 01/22/2003]

“Long Day’s Journey” represents the tipping point for “Angel’s” fourth season, setting up the multi-episode Angelus arc while meticulously teasing viewers with new mysteries (in this case a literal locked-room mystery). But more than anything, what crystallizes here for viewers is the i Continue reading “Angel 4×09: Long Day’s Journey”

Angel 4×10: Awakening

[Review by Fray-Adjacent]

[Writer: David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 01/29/2003]

“Awakening” is a very simple episode. It serves two purposes: to kick off the Angelus arc and, more interestingly, to illuminate what “perfect happiness” looks like to Angel. My review will focus on this last part. Notably, after the first few scenes, this episode has no relevance for any c Continue reading “Angel 4×10: Awakening”

Angel 4×11: Soulless

[Review by Sue Carter]

[Writer: Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft | Director: Sean Astin | Aired: 02/05/2003]

Angelus is back and he’s making his presence felt, even from the inside of a cage. It’s a compelling performance by David Boreanaz as Angelus rips apart Team Angel with words rather than fangs. This is a character driven piece with very little forward motion on the plot. Instead we are left won Continue reading “Angel 4×11: Soulless”

Angel 4×12: Calvary

[Review by Iguana-on-a-stick]

[Writer: Jeffrey Bell and Steven S. DeKnight and Mere Smith | Director: Bill Norton | Aired: 02/12/2003]

The early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured an uncomfortably large number of scenes where the Scooby Gang was sitting in the library listening to Giles explain the mythology of the latest Monster of the Week. Exposition such as that is an unfortunate necessity in a fantasy show wh Continue reading “Angel 4×12: Calvary”

Angel 4×13: Salvage

[Review by Patrick Pricken]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: Jefferson Kibee | Aired: 03/05/2003]

When do we give up on people? Is there a point when we stop believing for the best, hoping they will change for the better, or do we hold out no matter what? It is a difficult question, one that we have to face one way or the other during our lives; as a teacher, when do I stop hoping the rude boy Continue reading “Angel 4×13: Salvage”

Angel 4×14: Release

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Steven S. DeKnight, Sarah Fain, and Elizabeth Craft | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 03/12/2003]

Oh Angel Season 4, how you toy with me. A moment here to make me celebrate; a moment there to make me weep. If I were to summarize what I thought of “Release” without actually getting into any details, it would go something like this: Faith yay, Angelus nay, and Cordelia yawn. How we can Continue reading “Angel 4×14: Release”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×15: Orpheus”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×16: Players”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×17: Inside Out”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×18: Shiny Happy People”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×19: The Magic Bullet”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×20: Sacrifice”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×21: Peace Out”

Angel 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 “Angel 4×22: Home”