Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S02E11 – Redefinition

In the eleventh episode of Angel, Angel prepares to go to war with Darla and Drusilla, and Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn cope with their newfound unemployment. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

I’ve been coming at this all wrong. I’d assumed that Angel’s moral system was a simple dichotomy. There was Angelus, and there was Angel. That’s it. While this season has certainly blurred the lines between the two, I’ve come to realize that there’s now something else: Angel’s free will.

I don’t know too many shows that actively seek to portray their main characters so negatively, so that’s automatically refreshing to me. This is not something I expected of Angel and certainly not to the degree the writers have taken it. Angel is a man so obsessed with his idea of what’s best for the world that he’s put his three closest friends out of a job.

And you know, I’m really glad there’s so much focus on Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn in this episode, especially because it helps to further our perception of Angel, as well. The three of them have tied their lives so heavily to Angel that they’re not sure what it is they’re supposed to do when Angel is removed from their lives. Hell, there’s even a beautiful parallel to what Lilah and Lindsey are going through in a way. (HOLY SHIT THEY’RE ALIVE HOLY SHIT.) How do these various characters deal with the chaos that is their lives?

Well, Lindsey and Lilah viciously turn against one another to get the chance to replace Holland. Seriously, I should hate them, but I really enjoy what Angel has done with these two characters. I don’t like them so much as I’m utterly fascinated by their stories. I can never really tell when they’re genuinely frightened by what they do, or when they’ve fully detached themselves from the moral implications of their job. Plus, now I’m starting to wonder if there’s a specific reason why we’ve never seen the Senior Partners at Wolfram & Hart. Like, I have never once questioned it, but something seems strange about the fact that they’re never shown. Now that both Lilah and Lindsey are higher up in their company, are we going to learn more about what it is that Wolfram & Hart have planned for Angel? I don’t get what they are doing to him anymore! IT MAKES NO SENSE. Especially after Holland and a ton of other employees were murdered by the firm’s own project. What the fuck?

I was also rather shocked to see a brief return of Virginia. I FORGOT WESLEY STILL HAD A SIDE JOB. How exactly does that work? That’s not the point. The point is that all three newly unemployed characters all find their way to that fabulous karaoke bar, and now I desperately want to know what Gunn was going to sing. I WANT TO KNOW. That’s okay, though, because I at least get to see the three of them sing Queen. I love Queen a lot. THIS IS A GOOD SCENE AND I LOVE IT. But it’s nice that they’re not handed an easy answer by the Host. It took me a second to realize that the Host had answered their question anyway by directing them to follow the Powers That Be. I admit that as frustrating as it is to have Angel Investigations split up, I’m completely enamored with the idea that Gunn, Wesley, and Cordelia can do this on their own. I think the three of them are creative and talented enough to pull it off. However, let’s be real. The writers are not going to make this easy for them and certainly not without Angel around.

Oh, Angel, what the hell are you doing? I liked that his entire story was framed as an internal monologue because it made the end result intensely creepy. On some level, I understood that perhaps Angel didn’t want any collateral damage as he went to war against Drusilla and Darla, and that by firing his employees, he could now pursue them as he wished. However, he no longer has a filter, and that means we get to see his rapid descent into darkness. That is good storytelling, and as uncomfortable as it is to watch Angel do what he does, it’s just so fascinating to witness as a fan of this show.

It seems the real reason for Angel’s new behavior is an attempt on his part to destroy any feelings he has for Darla. At first, he thinks pure physical strength and conditioning will allow that, but let’s be real here. Angel, you are obsessed. How many times have I said that? I think you could destroy Darla whenever you want. It’s his heart that’s stopping him. So what happens in the second half of this episode is Angel quietly setting up Darla and Drusilla to walk directly into his trap. This is not just about hurting them, though, and I think it’s important to note how Angel is silent the whole time. He is transforming himself. He is detaching himself from the “good” part of his soul, and he’s willingly choosing to become this horrific monster in order to get rid of these two. Of course, what he does here doesn’t destroy the pair, and that is just as important as well. This is his warning to the two vampires that he’s just getting started. For real, it’s one of the most disturbing moments in the whole show. I don’t feel good at all while watching it, and listening to Drusilla sob while Darla comforts her kind of makes me hope that Angel loses? I mean… GAH. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT THIS. Darla and Drusilla are murderers! But Angel is a horrible person!

Wait, I’ll just be Team… wait, are Cordelia, Gun, and Wesley going to still keep Angel Investigations or start a new company? Whatever it is, I’m on their team. I feel good about that.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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