Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S01E03 – In The Dark

In the third episode of the first season of Angel, Oz arrives in Los Angeles with the Gem of Amarra for Angel. This ruins everything, naturally. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

I’m going to cut this show some slack because this is only the third episode of over a hundred. I want to give it time to develop into it’s own thing. That being said, I was pretty bored by this episode until the introduction of Marcus. And even despite the fact that Marcus’s presence captured my attention, I didn’t really get what this episode was trying to say until it was pretty much spelled out for me at the very end.

I think that Rachel’s story was meant to be a parallel to Angel’s, that perhaps they both knew what it was like to be tempted by something that might be comforting and destructive at the same time. Yet I’m still not sure that’s a valid reading of this episode because Rachel pretty much disappears from the narrative after about fifteen minutes or so. Is the Gem of Amarra supposed to be Angel’s temptation? Or Angel’s past with Buffy? If the ring that would make Angel invincible is supposed to be this huge moral conundrum, why does Angel only spend maybe three minutes of the showing actually wearing it? I kind of liked the idea that Angel destroyed it because it was distracting. David Boreanaz did a great job portraying Angel’s joy at being able to be out in the sunlight for the first time in 200 years. But Angel gave himself like six hours in the sun, and then decided, “NOPE, THIS WILL NEVER WORK EVER.” Really? You know for a fact that you won’t help anyone and you’ll just hang out in the sun and tan? Well, granted, you do need to tan just a bit. (Bless you, Oz.) But I didn’t really feel like this story conveyed that conflict well at all.

Now that I’ve whined a bunch about this episode, I did want to spend some time bringing up the things I did like about “In The Dark.” OH MY GOD LIST TIME.


  • I kind of have a thing for symmetry, so the fact that the Buffy episode is called “The Harsh Light of Day” and this is called “In The Dark” just makes me feel so satisfied.
  • Seriously, Spike’s narration of Angel and Rachel’s interaction during the cold open is JUST SO PERFECT. Oh my god, I love Spike so much.
  • The way Oz talks is just so fascinating to me, and I don’t think anyone but Seth Green could pull it off.
  • Cordelia’s glee at that invoice is perfection.
  • Okay, so Doyle’s demon form allows him to smell magical gems?? WHAT THE FUCK. Please explore this more, show.
  • OMG. Angel was so hurt that Buffy didn’t come herself to L.A. He really is like a giant puppy dog.
  • Angel doing Tai chi will never not be hilarious.
  • Spike recognizing Cordelia was quite pleasant.
  • I love that both Cordy and Doyle criticize each other’s apartments.
  • No, for real, Marcus was fucking creepy as hell. I loved that moment after Angel proclaims loudly that Spike is a fool for assuming that Marcus doesn’t want the Gem of Amarra. Marcus changes ever so slightly, and it was a hint towards his later possession of the ring. YES GOOD.
  • Something about Spike’s hair setting on fire is funny to me.
  • I think the execution of it was weird, but I liked the idea that Angel would risk burning up to stop Marcus from hurting anyone. That being said, WHAT ARE THE ODDS THERE ARE BOY SCOUTS JUST CONVENIENTLY HANGING OUT ON THE BOARDWALK. lol.
  • I know it was a greenscreen, but I adored the look of the scene where Angel and Doyle are atop a building in Los Angeles, watching the sun set amidst the smog. Los Angeles sunsets can be so vibrant because of the pollution there, and I admit to feeling a bit of nostalgia when seeing that. I do talk a lot of shit on that city, but there’s also a lot of it that I miss sometimes.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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2 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S01E03 – In The Dark

  1. clodia_risa says:

    “Seriously, Spike’s narration of Angel and Rachel’s interaction during the cold open is JUST SO PERFECT. Oh my god, I love Spike so much.”

    This was the first ever scene of either Buffy or Angel that I ever saw. My friend showed this specifically to me to get me hooked. It worked.

    Also, Spike is amazing.

  2. The Notorious G.O.B. says:

    Something about Spike’s hair setting on fire is funny to me.

    Something like, oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING ABOUT IT?

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