Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S01E09 – Hero

In the ninth episode of the first season of Angel, fuck you, Joss Whedon. Just fuck you again and I will never tire of saying this. I don’t even know if you had anything to do with this, and I’m going to blame you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

I had a whole review planned in my head.

First of all, I refuse to waste this comment, but as soon as Doyle explained the Scourage as pureblood demons going after half-breeds, I just expected Draco Malfoy to stroll up and call Cordelia a Muggle. LOOK, IT’S JUST WHERE MY MIND GOES. IT JUST IS. I can’t control these things!

Then I had all this stuff I wanted to write about how this story addresses racial oppression, passing privilege, being outed, and how even though it’s a metaphor, it’s done so much better than I expected. Not perfect, as it’s super heavy-handed, but it’s above the bar I arbitrarily set. Because while I do like the occasional metaphor for oppression, I tend to feel that you might as well just use the real people who experience this every day instead. You know, since their lives are just as awful and worse than the metaphor you’re writing?

But this is all really about Doyle, isn’t it?

Over the course of just nine episodes, the writers have done a spectacular job making him a sympathetic, complicated character. It would have been easy to go the route they took with Xander, especially since Doyle started off having a crush on Cordelia, but Doyle was developed in a completely different direction. If Angel is inherently about redemption, then a great deal of the season I’ve seen so far has been about Doyle’s chance to stop running from his past and from the evils in this world. The flashbacks that tell of the first moment Doyle got his visions are an example of this. When faced with a threat that could not only wipe out him, but exterminated more demons of his kind, Doyle refuses to help. He chooses to stay as a human, to deny who he is, and to hide. Once he discovers how this behavior can be destructive to other people, especially when he might have been able to save those Brachen demons, he begins a path towards correcting himself.

That doesn’t mean he has been been perfect in executing it, but he’s trying.

Faced with a situation very similar to that first time, Doyle is quick to switch roles with Angel, even if we’re meant to believe that Angel is the real hero of this story. What we witness is Doyle acting more selfless than he has ever been. He does what he can to protect and save the demons who are being pursued by the Scourge, even if that means putting aside his own problems and issues. I mean, he was seconds away from telling Cordelia that he was half-demon, and he chose not to finish the conversation. That was going to be a big moment for him, and in an instant, he chooses to ignore this to help those who need his help.

It’s why his scene with Cordelia when he arrives at the ship is so powerful. He’s been so busy being incredibly awesome that he forgot he left her hanging. His path towards redemption wasn’t just about doing what’s right or not ignoring those who need help. Doyle needed to be honest with himself and accept who he is. I think the events in “The Bachelor Party” were a necessary part of discovering this, too, since Harrie helped Doyle come to terms with his traumatic past. How else could Doyle move forward unless he found closure from his past marriage? How could he ever pursue any sort of relationship with Cordelia unless he was honest with her as well?

(For the record, bless Cordelia in this episode. She takes initiative, she’s practical, she’s brilliant, and then she accepts Doyle with open arms. Well, a slap first, that is. But Cordy, just… okay, I’ll get to it in a second.)

There’s a lot more to this episode than Doyle, yes. There’s Angel’s GORGEOUS hair, the amazing make-up and effects on the stormtrooper demons, the hilarious voiceover in the cold-open that had me laughing so hard I was crying, and then.

And then.

Once it started happening, and Angel’s words (“You never know until you’ve been tested.”) suddenly have a new meaning, I thought that there had to be a way out. There had to be a loophole. I had a feeling early on that the Promised One was never supposed to be Angel, but I didn’t guess it would ever come to this. Then Doyle is kissing Cordelia and my mind thinks of how this is the polar opposite to her kissing Wesley, and even more so than Xander, it just feels right, and he says, “Too bad we’ll never know if this is a face you could learn to love,” and then the full scope of the events on the screen hits me:

Doyle is going to be a hero.

But he’s been on the show for nine episodes. Surely, there’s a loophole, right? You can’t actually –





but Doyle

but what is your face doing

and what –


I am distraught. I am so upset. Yes, it is a testament to the writing, acting, and characterization on this show that I got attached to Doyle in less than seven hours time. But I don’t care. I want Doyle back. I want him back now, and I am not going to stand for this.

Oh, why are they watching his advertisement video again?

“Come on over to our offices and you’ll see that there’s still heroes in this world. Is that it? Am I done?”

Just fuck you, Joss Whedon. Fuck you.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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10 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S01E09 – Hero

  1. Jahaira says:

    And THIS is the episode that truly sucked me in to Angel. I couldn’t believe what was happening. And even after it happened I was still shaking my head. I said all of the things you said, but he’s a main character, it’s not even a season finale, WHYYY. And we didn’t get to see him and Cordelia give it a shot and it’s all just so sad and unbelievable. Sigh.

  2. Mary says:

    joss whedon = evil

  3. Dena says:

    One of the things I learned after this episode, was that in the original run of Buffy, Joss had wanted to put Jesse, who died in the first Buffy episode, into the credits to fake people out about his death. But at the time, costs and time meant he couldn’t do it.

    So he did it with Doyle. My mother has still not forgiven Joss for this. Doyle was her FAVORITE. I spent the next three seasons hearing “I miss Doyle” every episode of Angel.

  4. quenstalof says:

    -Um I kind of want to see Angel in tights?  Plz?
    -I am really glad that Angel told Doyle about what happened last episode.  
    -Does Doyle really have to go with “more than meets the eye?”  All I can think of is transformers.
    -The promised one?  uh oh prophecies never go well.
    -I’m thinking it won’t be Angel that fulfills the prophecy
    -I do love the time passes flashes
    -Bracken demon.  So those are thorns?  I should listehn more closely to the demon names. 
    -HOw did that guy find Doyle? SHouldn’t Doyle worry that The Scourge (I can hear that capital letter) will find him that way too?
    -Oh man they’re DeathEaters!  The Scourge, wiping out mudhalf-bloods!
    -Oh that was a flashback?  I guess I couldn’t tell because Doyle looked too much the same.
    -All these demons are halfbloods?  Or I guess just mixed.
    -I like the way they’re using that marching feet sound effect, definitely brings Nazis to mind.  Also their uniforms, and the way they all have Red Skull heads
    -He…just…snapped his head back on…ok
    -And well theres Angel’ shair
    -It’s the Ark!
    -Yay! Cordy/Doyle  I hope they have a nice dinner
    -Aww they kissed!
    -Wait what?  Doyle? What?  No?  THis isn’t.. No…I was not expecting this.  It’s only episode 9 for god’s sake!
    -They’re watching his commercial D-:

    Maybe this is just because I’m falling asleep right now and I had a little bit of a stressful day, but I’m taking this kind of hard.  Like my eyes are full of tears. I liked Doyle.  and his awkward thing with Cordy and his transformer joke and sneezy demon face.  I wasn’t convinced about this show at first, but really it was Doyle that I’ve been enjoying watching.  Maybe I was expecting a lighthearetedly silly episode like we got in Buffy 4×09, but I definitely was not prepared for Doyle to sacrifice himself for a bunch of demons right after he got his secrets out to Cordy.  ANd then it just ends!  Good thing tomorow is a double header becuause I need some more resolution on this.  

  5. zombiesbrain says:

    I’ve been lurking about reading Mark so a while, but this episode is the first that’s compelled me to write. I absolutely loved Doyle and was heartbroken when he died. I also started watching literally 3 weeks before Glenn Quinn passed away in real life which made it that much worse and ugly cry inducing.

    I know there were rumors as to why he was really killed off, has anyone ever heard some sort of official comments on the matter?

  6. Rachael says:

    The official story about Glenn Quinn is twofold: Joss Whedon always wanted to kill a major character off who was in the main credits, and secondly, Quinn had an addiction problem that was causing him issues at work, and after treatment options didn’t work, they needed to let him go. His disease would eventually claim his life a few years after this episode.

  7. Rachael says:

    Tim Minear was on an episode of a podcast called Redemptioncast a couple of weeks ago and discusses this story and the Glenn Quinn tragedy. I believe the podcast can be found on iTunes.

    • zombiesbrain says:

      Thanks I will have to look up that podcast.

      I could always manage being “Jossed” (as my friends and I have coined for whenever he blows our collective minds), but this was always the one death/plot development that always wrecked me the most.

  8. raelee says:

    “Come on over to our offices and you’ll see that there’s still heroes in this world. Is that it? Am I done?”

    Makes me cry EVERYTIME.

  9. Jeldaly says:


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