In the tenth episode of the second season of Angel, YOU HAVE TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve either thought or screamed the phrase, “BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” when it comes to Angel or Buffy. You’d think I’d stop expecting certain narrative choices or structures at this point, but I fucking fall for them every single time. And here we’ve got a story about Angel’s own personal moral code being tested, and the end result is the one thing I truly believed wouldn’t ever happen on Angel.
My god, I WAS SO WRONG.
Honestly, though, I should have seen it coming. The major subtext to a lot of season two of Angel has been Angel’s struggle with his own darker side. This was first tempted by Darla’s appearance, since Wolfram & Hart expected him to give in to Darla’s advances and become Angelus. All of this has been a way to keep Angel distracted and busy. (Ultimately? I’m not too sure what the ultimate plan is with Angel. Why haven’t Wolfram & Hart killed him yet? Why keep him around? I DON’T GET IT.) But since this part of the plan failed, it’s been frustrating watching Angel unravel all on his own. Sure, Wolfram & Hart have had a hand in it, but Angel’s own obsession with Darla brought him to the point he’s at in “Reunion.” To be fair, he is justified in being worried that a newly-vamped Darla will be a disaster if she teams up with Drusilla, but I was disturbed by how willingly he ignored any of the advice that Cordelia and Wesley provided him. On that note, I do miss the four members of Angel Investigations working together, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE I’VE GOT TO WAIT SOME MORE FOR THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN. And from the moment that Angel (with the help of Gunn) realizes what Drusilla is doing with Darla, Angel’s life turns into a hot fucking mess. Like, for real, everything slips out of his control so quickly, and then it continues to get worse for the thirty minutes that follows.
This is, however, some of my favorite acting and writing in Angel so far. I also just said that in the last five reviews for this show, and I don’t care. IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER. I just adore Drusilla and the dynamic she brings to this show, and seeing her interact with Darla was both fascinating and disturbing. And really, “Reunion” constantly toes this line between those two concepts. For example, I was floored to the point of giggling while clutching my face as Darla and Drusilla went shopping, trying on different hats and just generally being more fabulous than everyone else on the show. And then the writers quickly remind me they’re murderous, soulless vampires, and I feel horrifically awkward for what I’m thinking. In that same vein, I feel like that’s the commentary about the end of this episode, too.
But before I get there, let’s talk about the following:
- Drusilla’s emotional breakdown about why she sired Darla is beautiful. My god, I LOVE IT.
- Gunn’s entire bit about a granddaughter siring a grandmother is perfection.
- Oh my god, Sam Anderson, your whole line about not caring about innocent lives sent chills through me. THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ACTORS AND ACTRESSES ON THIS SHOW. h e l p m e
- I should have known this wouldn’t end well after the scene where Angel hastily deals with the suicidal guy in that garage. He’s clearly lost any sense of perspective.
- KATE! KAAAATTEEEE. oh my god, I didn’t think we’d see her again. I JUST WANT HER IN EVERY EPISODE FOREVER.
- ahhhhhhh the Drusilla/Darla/Angel fight is SO PERFECT AND LOVELY. And by “lovely,” I mean REALLY HORRIFYING.
Okay, so. That’s out of the way. Allow me this moment.
OOHHHHHHHHHH MY FUCKING GOD HOLY SHIT THAT SCENE IN HOLLAND’S BASEMENT I AM JUST TOO OVERWHELMED FOR WORDS A;SDKFAA; A;LSDKF AL;KJSD A;KDJSF A;LKA;KDLFJ ADISOF;U AL;KDFJS AA;DJKFS
A;LASKDJF A;DUFA;DKFJ A;AD;KLFAJ A;ADK AHD;AD; A;DFHJ AFJKDA
Okay, I feel better. Honestly, though, it’s one of the most brilliantly executed scenes of tension I’ve ever seen. It’s so hard to pull off something like this, but the way that it’s agonizingly drawn out is so horrifying to me. The whole time, you’re wondering how these lawyers are going to get out of this situation. This is the tenth episode of the season, and they’re all clearly the villains for season two. It was also obvious that Angel would have to find out that the massacre Holland spoke of was ironically taking place at his house. So he would certainly be presented with a moral conflict: does he save the lawyers who got him into this problem in the first place, or does he side with his old partner? After “The Trial,” I thought it was also rather obvious that Angel would remain consistent, that he’d do what was right even if he was saving someone who wouldn’t make the world a better place.
I misjudged just how far Angel had slipped. When he echoes Holland’s exact line about not caring about the loss of innocent lives, I just stared in horror as Angel locked the lawyers in with Drusilla and Darla. In an instant, I realized just what the writers were willing to do with their main character, and as much as I was shouting “YOU CAN’T DO THAT,” internally (I WATCHED THIS IN A COFFEE SHOP WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME), I was just so fucking impressed. Who does this? Who takes a risk like this with your titular character? Hell, I didn’t even expect this after watching “Into The Woods” just hours before, where the writers took Buffy to a pretty dark place, too.
But I don’t know that Buffy could have ever had such a grim and bleak storyline. ANGEL FIRES HIS FRIENDS. What the fuck???? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? I seriously just shook my damn head at the episode in disappointment and shock. What the hell is he going to do now? THIS IS A REALLY BAD IDEA. Oh my god, I hope The Host sets him back on the right path. THIS IS NOT GOOD.
Oh my god, The Host is his Sassy Gay Friend. NOW 100% CANON OH MY GOD.
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