Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S05E01 – Conviction

In the first episode of the fifth season of Angel, the team learns what it’s going to be like running Wolfram & Hart. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.


  • That cold open. Oh my god, it’s such a deliberate moment to call back to what Angel once was. Only this time, as Angel tries to dramatically leave, a giant operations team swoops in to ruin everything. Angel’s thunder has been stolen, and the reality of working with Wolfram & Hart is now painfully obvious. It’s incredible.
  • OH MY GOD I LONG SINGLE TAKES. Like, it’s a thing of mine that I love almost universally, and now I’m thinking about the brilliance of “Triangle” in season five of The X-Files, so excuse me. I need to go watch that.
  • I generally like Knox, but I refuse to let my guard down on this show. Everyone everywhere is evil and will betray them all. This is my foolproof plan to survive this season. So Knox is awesome, and I enjoy his dynamic with Fred, but he’s almost too good. SOMETHING IS WRONG. And I like that this show has me thinking this way. It makes me want to see more.
  • This is clearly going to be about how these five characters adapt to a dramatically different way of doing “good” and using Wolfram & Hart to that end. I am all about this story arc.
  • EVE. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. OH MY GOD, SHE IS SO WONDERFUL AND SNARKY AND SHE TAKES NONE OF YOUR SHIT. Oh my god, continue to poke fun at Angel, it gives me life.
  • Seriously, I needed to know how this was going to work, and this episode gloriously shows me the trainwreck these people have inherited. In order to keep their access to this machine, they’ve got to keep it running. Which means keeping clients happy. Which means that sometimes, they’ll have to do things they aren’t too keen on. And thus, the endless stream of moral ambiguity starts here, and I am 100% in support of this exploration.
  • HARMONY IS BACK. YES. THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL GIFT, JOSS WHEDON. IT IS A GIFT THAT I WILL CHERISH AND PASS DOWN THROUGH THE GENERATIONS. Oh my god, Harmony is perfect, and this show needed her. THANK YOU. I mean, yes, it was horrifically heartbreaking to have her excitedly speak of Cordelia, only to learn that she wasn’t around, but I’m very happy she’s now in the cast again.
  • The very first case the team gets is a DOOZY. I adore that the show just immediately goes for a situation that’s hopelessly complicated and frustrating. The writers do not ease the team into this at all.
  • I am generally not into queerbaiting. That’s when writers use subtext or jokes to hint or insinuate at a possibly queer/gay reading of something, but the canon representation is always straight. It happens a lot between straight men in fiction, and it’s so very boring. That being said, I personally loved Angel’s comment about spanking men’s behinds. I did. It brought me joy.
  • Fred’s angry breakdown in front of her staff is A THING OF BEAUTY because did you all know that I love character development? That is a thing that I love, everyone, and in that one scene, I was shown where this show can take Fred. She’s now in charge, she’s confident about her morals, and she will yell at you when you don’t get shit done.
  • Yeah, so the entire subplot with Agent Hauser is fucking glorious. I figured that there would be some employees at Wolfram & Hart who wouldn’t be totally in support of Angel’s new methodology, but I didn’t expect the writers to deal with it in the very first episode. Angel and Hauser butt heads because they exist on such fundamentally opposite sides, each certain that they’re doing what’s best for what they believe in. Hauser is used to a tradition of practicality. Humans are not people with full lives; they are casualties of war. They are the end result of a strategy. They are nothing more than statistics. And now Hauser must cope with a man who inherently believes that life is sacred and that a life shouldn’t be taken unless the situation is dire enough to warrant it.
  • Here’s where Hauser is wrong: he insists that Angel lacks conviction. If anything, that’s what has gotten the Angel Investigations team so far. They’ve certainly screwed up along the way, but it was their conviction to making the world a better place for the forgotten and the helpless that led them to being offered Wolfram & Hart. Hauser, you’re wrong. You’re also dead because Angel dropkicked a shotgun blast into your head.
  • In one of many mind-blowing twists, we find out that the Conduit in the White Room offered Gunn the chance to be a lawyer for Wolfram & Hart by enhancing his mind with a perfect knowledge of the law. Look, okay, let me break this down for you. 1) Gunn looks amazing in a suit. 2) J. August Richards can fucking act, y’all. 3) In just one single plot twist, I am given so much character development that it hurts. Gunn has spent his entire life living in the underworld of society. He is depended on to be violent. He is the muscle of every operation he’s been a part of. And suddenly, he’s being offered another option. He can do something else. So look, I get that it might have been impractical to trust Wolfram & Hart, but I can’t blame Gunn for seeking out a change. It’s goddamn good writing and a fantastic understanding of his character.
  • There is not a neat end to this story. Fries is free, he gets his son back, and no one is totally sure that they’ve done any real “good.” Oh god, moral ambiguity, you give me air to breathe. 
  • that
  • that is
  • is that the
  • oh
  • oh no you
  • you can’t be serious

100% DONE WITH SEASON 5, AND IT’S BEEN ONE EPISODE. Shit is already so real, y’all.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S05E01 – Conviction

  1. ScarlettMi says:

    PS. Everyone here needs to see Jose Whedon’s endorsement of Mitt Romney:

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