Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | December 20, 2010

Cordia’s Review: S1, E07 – Angel

Angel
Season 1, Episode 7
Original airing: April 14, 1997
My Rating: 80

The Good: Oh man, the good: Angel’s history, Angel and Buffy’s relationship, Angel and Darla’s relationship. There’s so much drama goodness in this episode it’s almost unbearable.

Angel’s background is laid out here. We learn a ton about a character who was previously shrouded in nothing but mystery. And could it get more tragic? Angel was a regular guy who got turned into a vampire and was particularly horrible. He killed his own family, all of their friends and children, and enjoyed it. Then, he was cursed and had his soul restored and suddenly he had to live with all the guilt and regret from those murders and most likely thousands of others. It’s a bit of a wonder he didn’t throw himself on a stake 80 years ago. His tragic past and vampiric nature show why he’s been so distant with Buffy even though he is obviously attracted to her. When they kiss in Buffy’s bedroom, the emotions are so high it causes him to change. He obviously can’t control himself in these types of situations. So it seems safe to assume he’s been living without any companionship except his soul-crushing guilt for 80 years. And the one person he finally connects with, he can’t be with. Tough stuff. And extremely well presented by the show.

Then we have the reveal that not only do Angel and Darla know each other, but they once were in love. And it was nice to have a character from the first episodes brought back as Angel’s sire. Darla not only loved Angel, she’s responsible for him being a vampire. This made her betrayed expression all the more potent when Angel stabbed her in the back and killed her. But it’s interesting to hear vampires speak of love. I hope it’s something explored more in the future since it seems so counter to everything vampires are supposed to be as demons. Even The Masters’ reaction to Darla’s death seemed almost human. The Anointed came across much more coldly as he told The Master they didn’t need anyone else and they would still rule the world.

The Bad: The main bad stuff centered on The Three for me. They were supposed to be so strong and intense. There’s even a moment where Buffy has true fear in her eyes and I wondered for a split second if she was in serious trouble. Then, when they get to Buffy’s house, they just give up and go back to The Master. Knowing they will be killed for failing. And twenty seconds later Joyce walks right by them to get into the house. Wow. Stupid vampires. Why didn’t they just use a regular vampire to bring Buffy and Angel together? Or Darla. This felt like yet another example of how ineffective and stupid vampires are in Sunnydale. The threat level was nonexistent but all the characters acted like it was terrifying. Silly.

Favorite Moment: Buffy and Angel’s first kiss is such a release for both of them. It becomes so passionate and strong, that it triggers Angel to turn to his vampiric face. The shock actually causes Buffy to scream and Angel to dive head first out of her bedroom window. The emotions are so high and real in this scene. It’s the turning point of the whole episode and a turning point of Buffy’s entire life. By the end of the episode it’s shown she and Angel still love each other, but recognize they can’t be together. And for a sixteen-year-old girl, how could there be anything worse?

The Bottom Line: This is a wonderful episode. The characters drive the plot with realistic desires and reactions. The interrelationships between Buffy, Angel and Darla are so strong and well portrayed; it’s easy for me to get completely lost in the episode. And it sets The Master up as now having a truly personal vengeance against Buffy to play out in the rest of the season.

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