Connor Macgregor Reviews...Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel

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1x20 - War Zone

INTRO: War Zone is a key moment in the Angel series as we are introduced to a new central character that will be a key ally for Angel in the rest of his story - Charles Gunn.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Spoilers" spoilers below
Angel Investigations is hired by a rich, geeky guy who designs software. This guy went to a demon whorehouse & he's now being blackmailed with some pictures of him & a demon-girl. Angel is hired to get the pictures back. While he's doing that he encounters this group of street-kids who have taken up a little demon-fighting. The leader, Gunn, has a little sister who he's very protective of. She's protective of him, too. She fears that he's too close to the edge- that he has a need for death & cares not about the human lives lost while taken down vamps, only that vamps are getting taken down. The group is after a pack of vampires that claim their neighborhood as their territory &, naturally, the vampires are after this group of hunters as well. Angel tries to coax the kids to understand that what they're doing is too much for them to handle & that they are just going to get themselves killed by doing it. (Very good parallel between 2 human gangs.) The vamps take Gunn's sister & kill her & turn her into a vampire. Gunn goes to stake the vamps out & encounters his sister. She offers him immortality & freedom from hunger & the street-life. Gunn has to let go of his sister, the one who he's cared most about & was doing this vamp-hunting for, in order to stake her. After he does, Angel, the rest of Gunn's gang, & the vamps show. Angel offers the solution of a truce- the humans might take the evil vamps out, but some of the humans will go down if they try. Gunn decides he's killed enough today & everyone departs. Later Angel goes to see Gunn & tells him that even though Gunn doesn't want his help that maybe Angel will need Gunn's help someday.


THOUGHTS: This is a key episode in Angel in which we are introduced to Gunn for the first time. Itís an intriguing situation he is in, with his street gang and living underground in what is a war against vampires on the streets of LA. With that set up however, the episode is quite lagging with not much going on in it outside of the gang story. Cordelia & Wesley are almost wasted in this story, just sitting in cars and really only helping out just once. Angel is relegated somewhat to a background role, with all the focus on Gunn for the most part. Itís very much soft and not really a memorable episode compared to what weíve seen so far, and what we will see in the last two going forward.

RATING: 70% - B





1x21 - Blind Date

INTRO: Blind Date presents a very interesting situation as well as foreshadowing for the finale and is one of the more fascinating and intriguing of the first season episodes.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Spoilers" spoilers below

Angel encounters a woman who has just killed a guy. To Angel's shock, the woman is blind. Later, Angel discovers that the woman is currently on trial for murder. She's being represented by Wolfram & Hart- for free, which means she works for them- & naturally, they get her off. Lindsey McDonald, a lawyer whom Angel has encountered varies times, is beginning to feel uncontented. He can't believe how bad he let things get, how much evil things he has done. He's freaked, so he goes to Angel about a new job the blind woman has been given. She is supposed to kill three kids. These kids are seers. Together they are powerful & will continue to increase their powers as they grow up. Angel sneaks into Wolfram & Hart to get disks that will tell him more about the job. Lindsey does his part to help Angel fool Wolfram & Hart's various mystical protectants & gets Angel access to where he needs to go. While getting the disks, Angel sees a golden scroll & takes it- he doesn't know why, he was just drawn to it. Angel finds out what he needs to stop the assassin & saves the kids. Later, Wesley tells Angel that he has translated parts of the scroll that Angel took & that he thinks Angel was drawn to it because it has a passage on Angel himself. The scroll was full of fairly ancient prophecies of do-gooding & such. At the end, Lindsey is going to leave Wolfram & Hart. He's copied the files that Angel took & says that if they kill him or whatever he'll revel them to the public. Lindsey is out. But his boss then offers him a better job. Not because he's scared of what Lindsey could do- he knew the whole time what Lindsey was up to- he does it because he thinks he knows who Lindsey is. & then he leaves Lindsey to decide if he wants the new job or not. Lindsey takes it.


THOUGHTS: Blind Date is one of the most underrated episodes I think in Angel, with an interesting dilemma for the character of Lindsey. His morals come to the forefront when a case involving children throws his emotions overboard. He then turns to Angel, a man he considers one of his most mortal enemies. Itís great to watch, and to see Lindsey question everything and express himself full throttle to the audience. We are also introduced to Holland Manners, one of the senior members of Wolfram & Hart, and a man with a serious ruthlessness to him towards spreading evil across the city. I consider him a very effective character, with a powerful manipulative edge to him that does indeed work in many ways. The guest villain is also very cool with blindness not being a obstacle to her villainy, and her fighting against Angel proving to be brilliant and scary to watch as Angel has to think outside of the box to beat her.

RATING: 92% - A





1x22 - To Shanshu in LA

INTRO: The First Season finale of Angel is excellent and dramatic, and teases the stories for the next season to come, whilst also establishing what's to come for our vampire with a soul.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Spoilers" spoilers below
Wolfram & Hart are prophecized to cut off Angel from the Powers That Be. They conquer Vocah, warrior of the underworld, to do so. He breaches The Oracles temple & kills them. He makes Cordelia see all the pain in the world. & he steals the scroll that Angel took from Wolfram & Hart, because they need it, & blows up Angel Investigations. Angel is distraught as he runs into Kate who is still miffed about her father dying. Kate is committed to ridding the world of "Angel's kind" & Angel tells her that is if she wants to be enemies then they'll be enemies. Angel goes to see the Oracles & finds them dead. The spirit of the Sister Oracle is there & tells Angel that it is Vocah who did all this. Angel stakes out Wolfram & Hart & follows them to a crept where they are doing a ritual. Angel kills Vocah & misses the opportunity to stop the ritual. Lindsey is there with the scroll- the Oracle told Angel he needs the scroll to cure Cordelia. Lindsey tries to throw it in a fire, so Angel chops off his hand & takes the scroll. Wesley translates the words needed to cure Cordelia & Cordy wakes saying that she's a changed person. She knows the evil that's out there & she is resigned to help the people in need- no more hating what Doyle gave to her. Later, Wesley, who translated a pivotal word in the scroll to mean death- that Angel was going to die- figures out that 'shanshu' actually means that Angel is going to be made human by the P.T.B. as a reward for his years of righting his past wrongs. At the end, Wolfram & Hart have in possession the thing they raised in the ritual, the thing that is supposed to bring Angel down to evil- Darla, the vampire who sired Angel.


THOUGHTS: We come now to the finale of Angel Season One, and the episode overall is an intense and exciting one. The guest villain in this is called a Vocah demon and looks so badass and cheesy at the same time. Cool voice but an over the top cape and mask. Yet its strategy to go after Team Angel is very effective and tense to watch. Making Cordelia go mad with pain, blowing up Angelís home with Wesley in it, and getting into Angelís home stealing important artefacts. The final battle scene is great, with Angel single handily taking the fight to Wolfram & Hart, mainly the Vocah demon and Lindsey. With that then comes the final twist in the episode which is the resurrection of Angelís sire and former love Ė Darla. Capping off Season One with a foreshadow to Season Twoís arc and the direction of various characters going forward. A great finale, capping off Angelís premiere season and road to redemption.

RATING: 95% - A



A system of cells interlinked
Watching the show again. Surprisingly, still seems fresh, with most of the comedy still landing, and the emotional beats, as well. Still a top show, in my book.
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"Thereís absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



A system of cells interlinked
Have now made it up to Season 4 of Buffy. We are simultaneously now watching Angel, jumping back and forth every episode, just as they aired originally.