Sunday, May 31, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 1 episodes 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing and reviewing of season 1 of Angel...


A1-20: War Zone

Synopsis: While working a blackmail case, Angel encounters Charles Gunn, the leader of a gang of street kids battling a nest of vampires who've settled in their neighborhood. (written by Garry Cambell, airdate 5/9/00)

First, why do all the computer guys who play AD&D have to be portrayed as socially inept nerds? Just asking. Love Cordellia's innate sense at "smelling money" and I totally laughed when she considered "prostituting" herself to David Nabitt (only she could consider justifying that). Luckily Wesley wasn't buying that. Oh, and the idea of Madame Dorian's demon brothel - so makes sense and a nice addition to the background that is Angel's LA. Of course, the main plot is the whole vamps-in-the-hood plotline with the introduction of Charles Gunn. The story showcased this new character nicely, showing the problems he and his group have endured and what lengths they'll go through to protect their turf from the vampires (loved their gauntlet of traps in their hang-out). Of course, the character has to go through a tragic event to show us how strong he is and how far he'll go for his cause. Even if that means dusting his own sister who gets vamped. Ouch. That's one hardcore guy. Of course, Angel respects Gunn for what he had to do and offers help. Gunn, of course, doesn't think he needs it - but Angel is thinking he just might need Gunn's help someday. I am hoping we see more of him. I liked the character a lot.

A1-21: Blind Date

Synopsis:Lindsey McDonald, a young lawyer at Wolfram & Hart, teams up with Angel to stop the killing of three blind children who are said to be a threat to the firm. (written by Jeannine Renshaw, airdate 5/16/00)

This episode is all about find one's place in the grand scheme of things. Angel starts out with doubts after being nearly beaten by the blind Vanessa Brewer. Lindsey has his doubts about his place in the firm after finding out what Vanessa's next assignment is. He turns to Angel, forming an unlikely alliance for a dangerous mission to get information from the firm's vault. I really enjoyed the focus on the firm, giving us more details of their inner workings and the types of resources they have at their disposal. I like how Angel gets Charles Gunn to help out, with a much needed distraction. Of course, then there is the prophecy scroll which tells of Angel and his purpose. In the end though it is mostly about Lindsey - his past, his present and the future that Holland offers him. He appears to take the offer - which could bode for some interesting conflicts down the road in the season. Oh, and best line of the episode - after the mind readers pinpoint Lee as talking to another firm - Holland says "terminating an employee is never pleasant", right after the security guard blows Lee's brains out. Ouch. That's some harsh conditions of employment there.

A1-22: To Shanshu in L.A.

Synopsis: Angel turns to Gunn for help when Cordelia and Wesley are attacked by a demon - although that is just the first creature Wolfram & Hart plans to send against Angel. (written by David Greenwalt, airdate 5/23/00)

Continuing the events of the previous episode, Wesley is trying to translate more of the prophecy scroll and Wolfram & Hart summon a Vocah demon to get it back. Loved the return of David Nabitt, in his dungeon master's cape no less, just to hang - awkwardly. As a season finale, we get some Kate and Angel scenes where she vows to rid the city of his kind, and Angel stands up to her saying that if she wants them to be enemies then he is fine by that. Of course, the main crux of the episode is brought with the Wesley and Cordelia discussion of Angel and his connection (or lack thereof) to life. They want to try and help and find what he needs to connect. But, the truth turns out to be that they are what he needs to connect. They are his closest friends, his confidants, his "family". When they are attacked, it brings out the fire in him. The Vocah demon can destroy his home/office, but he attacks Wesley and Cordelia, it is now very personal and the gloves are off! Lindsey shows Angel that he chose the dark side when he finishes the Raising ceremony. Wolfram & Hart get the prize, but Lindsey loses his right hand, literally, when he tries to stand against Angel to destroy the Prophecy, the one thing needed to save Cordy. In the end, Wesley realizes that "shanshu" does not mean death but instead life - that Angel's final reward after all the coming will be to become human once more. But, will Wolfram & Hart let that happen? Not when what they raised turns out to be Darla, the very vampire that sired Angel centuries ago. This was a great set up for season 2.

Overall, season 1 had highs and lows for me. The show definitely was feeling its way a bit but I think the direction really focused around episode 10. My personal favorites this time were definitely episodes 3, 5, 8, 10 and then wrapping up with 18 through 22. That's nearly half of which I totally loved so a good batting average.

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