Sunday, August 18, 2013
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer - 1.07 - Angel - Roundtable Review
Welcome back to the roundtable review of season 1 of Buffy. Today we had 3 participants (Diana joined us part way through) so we are back to the regular format. Yippee, especially since this is such a great episode. All 3 of us loved it so today is a highly positive roundtable. Please join in the conversation in the comments below. Also, the pictures don't match the conversation in this one because it's been very hard to find ones that come from this episode since the title is Angel. Sorry.
Spoiler Warning - Although we discuss specific episodes in these roundtables, all episodes of Buffy and Angel are fair game. There may be spoilers ahead for those who have not watched both series in their entirety.
Participants: Diana, Genevieve, and Dahne
Intro/Buffy and Angel:
Dahne - Glad you are here. I am really looking forward to discussing this episode.
Genevieve - Right I'm all ready. Love this episode!
Dahne - I love this episode too. It's the first big mytharc episode and it really paid off for me. I was absolutely shocked when Angel turned out to be a vampire when it aired.
Genevieve - Absolutely, and I think that it was placed so well to build up the mystery around Angel and establish the characters before seeing them in such emotional circumstances and really getting the mytharc stuff going
Dahne - Things like that just never happened in the 90's.
Genevieve - Haha, how times have changed!
Dahne - Agreed. If they had introduced him as a vampire in the first episode, it wouldn't have been shocking but now she had time to develop feelings for him and that packs quite a punch.
Genevieve - Yes, exactly, such a great twist and the fact that everything is against them and their relationship is so unlikely is so poignant
Dahne - I am not a shipper at all, but Buffy and Angel's relationship was one I was 100% behind, mostly because it made for a great narrative and never took away from either the other characters or Buffy's role as a superhero. It made both characters more human and grounded.
Genevieve - Yes, their chemistry is insane; I think, for me, they are one of, if not the, most believable TV couple ever.
Dahne - I agree and that's hard to say about the tale of a vampire and a slayer. They were more believable than most human relationships portrayed on TV these days.
Darla/The Master/The Anointed One:
Genevieve - Yep, oh Darla, I loved the shock of that too. I definitely found Darla to be a much more intriguing villain than The Master and 'Colin'
Dahne - The Master was always too cartoonish for me. I liked the Anointed One as a concept but I have to admit that Spike killing him was the highlight of his role for me.
Genevieve - Yes. The first scene with them in the episode was just awkwardly hilarious for me, now we know why the Anointed One looks so grumpy all the time, the only fun he gets is pathetically throwing stones into a pool!
Dahne - BWAH! The Master wouldn't even spring for cable.
Genevieve - Although on The Master/The Anointed One I did quite like their last scene with the contrast between the master throwing a childish hissy fit and Colin being all ‘she was weak’ and leading the master away by the hand
Dahne - That Master and Anointed One scene is also in my favorites. I thought the kid was a decent actor in many scenes if not all.
Genevieve - Oh, and just one more highlight for The Master in this episode, the line: ‘Their deaths will bring me little joy [Darla stake The Three]… of course sometimes a little is enough’
Dahne - Ha!
Dahne - I have Buffy and Angel fighting against the 3 as one of my favorite scenes in this episode, but I also liked how uncomfortable they were in her room. Her "do you snore?' was priceless.
Genevieve - That was brilliant, definitely one of the lines that served to really humanize their relationship. I did enjoy them fighting together but I have to say Angel's 'good dogs don't bite' was such a cringe-worthy battle line! Buffy showed him how to do bitchy fighting talk later with her response to Darla's ‘do you know what the saddest thing in the world is?’, ‘that hair on top of that outfit?’
Dahne - Agreed. The dog comment is in my "things that didn't work" list but the Buffy snark was top notch in this one. I thought many other characters had fabulous lines too. The dialogue was overall snappy and quick.
Genevieve - Absolutely, a couple I noted down were Buffy: ‘Hi honey, you’re in grave danger, see you next month’ and 'Reconstruction began after the construction which was shoddy so they had to reconstruct’ and Xander: ‘Whoa, let’s stop this crazy whirligig of fun, I’m dizzy’
Dahne - Xander's is one of my picks as well. Two of my Buffy favorites were: Buffy: "Goodbye stakes. Hello flying fatality." and Buffy: "Giles, 21st century. I'm not going to be fighting Friar Tuck." A few other favorite lines:
***Willow: "So he is a good vampire. I mean on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being someone who's killing and maiming every night and 1 being someone who's not."
***Joyce: "I…I…I know she's having trouble with history. Is…is it too difficult for her or…or is she not applying herself?" Giles: "She lives very much in the now…um, and history of course is…is very much about the…uh, the then."
***Xander: "Ah the post-fumigation party." Buffy: "Ok so what's the difference between this and the pre-fumigation party?" Xander: "Much heartier cockroaches."
***Willow: "It's a lot of fun. What's it like where you are?"
Genevieve - Haha yes! This was a great example of the show's overall tone with such a great mix of humour and drama. The dialogue in general was top notch this episode. Some really interesting examples for me were Buffy saying when she's with Angel ‘it's like the lights dim everywhere else.’ There's definitely some ambiguous symbolism going on there highlighting the fact that her love for Angel is occasionally blinding for Buffy as well as an escape.
Dahne - Great point. It's this blindness that really sold season 2 for me and made it so heartbreaking. Of course it also led to one of my least favorite scenes in this episode which was Buffy offering her neck up to Angel mid fight.
Genevieve - Yes definitely for season 2. And another line I felt had significance for the show going on was ‘Now I’m affecting those nearest and dearest to me’, although said in jest here this became one of Buffy's biggest worries throughout the later series. I kind of disagree with the neck scene; I loved Angel's hurt expression there
Dahne - I was good with the Angel reaction but it felt way out of character and much too soon in their relationship on Buffy's side. It kind of foreshadows the suicidal Buffy we get in season 6, my least favorite season by far.
Dahne - We were talking in an earlier roundtable about how Darla was a foil for Buffy and I like how they used that here as well. Darla was always one of my favorites because she was smart. I loved how she got Buffy to think Angel bit her mom but even more that she used a gun. Not sure why more vampires didn't.
Genevieve - I also thought Darla using guns was quite bizarre, if not sensible, but I only just realize watching it this time that she probably uses them, at least partially, because she wants to save Angel. It added a little more to the tragedy of her character along with the surprised and heartbroken (honestly not a pun) way she said Angel when he staked her
Dahne - I thought it was brilliant because that is the easiest way to take out a slayer. I'm actually puzzled about why it's not first choice for vamps. I agree about Darla's story as tragedy, especially as we come to know more about her. I like how she is the love interest Angelus chose while Buffy is the Angel side. It sets up a great parallel.
Genevieve - Yes definitely agree with the parallel, it's the Buffy supernatural version of him visibly getting over his ex and proving to Buffy that she was the one for him now
Dahne - Another great high school as hell metaphor! I love that about Joss' writing.
Genevieve - I just love how they succeed in making every one of the three sympathetic in some way, we've mentioned Darla's heartbreak and Angel's line ‘You have no idea what it’s like to have done the things I’ve done, and care’ is really a great summary of his story at this point
Diana Joins In:
Genevieve - Hi Diana
Diana - "Angel" is one of my favorite episodes!
Dahne- Hi Diana. Glad you could make it.
Diana - Yes, I'm glad too!!
Dahne - We're talking about the complicated relationships between Angel, Buffy, and Darla. This is one of my favorite episodes too, and not just of season 1. What's your favorite part of this episode?
Diana - The one where Angel finds Buffy's diary! A very awkward scene though lol
Dahne - That was brilliantly funny and reminded me that Buffy really needed to learn how to lie.
Genevieve - Haha, the diary scene was very funny, ‘When I said his eyes were penetrating I meant… bulging!’
Diana - Hahaha, Buffy then blushed lol she had a serious crush on him
Buffy and Angel, part 2:
Dahne - This was the first episode that I really liked Angel because they did give him the back story we needed to make the character seem sympathetic instead of stalker creepy.
Genevieve - Yes, and this totally qualifies the stalkery Angel of the previous episodes as he was clearly trying to help keep Buffy safe but stay away from her as much as he could because it's so difficult for him to resist her
Dahne - I like how they combined being so awkward, which anyone who dated in high school can relate to, with the serious chemistry the two had. I also loved that Angel, although he had been alive for centuries, still was visibly nervous too. That also helped sell his character to me.
Diana - Their conversation is brilliant haha yes Angel had 240 years but he looked like a teenager in that scene with Buffy!
Dahne - I often question David's acting choices in season 1 but I agree he looked very much like a teenager there and it sold the scene for me.
Dahne - That cross scene was well shot and the music enhanced the whole feel. I too like that we saw that both of them were going to share in everything, including the pain the relationship was going to bring them both.
Diana - I'm a Bangel shipper, I must confess lol as much as I also love Spike, but Buffy\Angel was my first ship ever!! (it was 2000 when Buffy first aired in Italy lol)
Dahne - I really didn't know about shipping when Buffy aired, except outside the context of Mulder and Scully from the X-Files, but I will say that Joss Whedon did a bang up job in keeping the Buffy and Angel relationship as an integral part of the plot without forgoing the pace, other characters, plot, or overall mytharc. That is something no one else has been able to do as successfully in my opinion and it may be one of the reasons why I tend to be anti-shipping.
Diana - Speaking of ships, it's interesting that Joss Whedon said, at the end of season one, he didn't know where Angel and Buffy relationship was going... maybe because he didn't think Buffy would have had such a big success?
Genevieve - Yeah maybe, and David was very much untested when he got the role, didn't a casting person just spot him walking his dog?
Dahne - Stalker in context actually worked for this series in a way that it never worked for me in the Twilight series. I think it's because Buffy was thoroughly able to take care of herself and Angel was more of a partner.
Genevieve - Yes Dahne. And Buffy being able to take care of herself was so apparent in that scene where she finds Angel 'biting' her mother and doesn't start crying or run to her side but throws him out of the window and remains steadily calm as she threatens him, the situation in Twilight would be very different I'm sure.
Dahne - She also remains an integral part of the fight with the 3 and she gives as well as she gets with Darla before Angel takes her out. It is rare there is a true partnership in high school relationships on TV even still today and I think that's why people rooted so much for these two to make it.
Diana - Well Buffy is a Heroine with a big "H", that was Joss Whedon's intention when he created the show: the blonde ones are not the stupid ones eheh
Dahne - There's a reason why both Buffy and Hermoine are 2 of my all-time favorite fictional characters.
Genevieve - Someone should really make a pic or gif of Buffy punching Spike alongside Hermione punching Draco :P
Diana - hahaha I'll check on Tumblr if there's one Genevieve!
Dahne - Ha! If you guys do find that gif, I want a copy. That would be brilliant.
Diana - Uhm I can't find one at the moment...
Sarah Michelle Gellar:
Genevieve - I think Sarah Michelle Gellar was absolutely fantastic in this episode too, she sold everything brilliantly, so strong but fragile at the same time. Only looking back on it do I realize quite how brilliant she was in this role
Dahne - SMG was fabulous and the fact that she was never nominated for an Emmy as Buffy was a testimony to the snobbishness of those awards.
Genevieve - That is shocking
Dahne - 10 minutes left. So anything you want to add or anything you did not care for? The background they gave about Angel set up a lot of mytharc and I loved hearing about how he and Darla tore up Europe. This one also did a great job at laying out the vampire lore as far as vampires having no soul and being demons at the core. My only big criticism of this episode is that some of the vampire lore doesn't make sense. For instance, if vamps cannot come in without being invited, how did that vamp's arm go in to block the door? Also how do "The 3" maintain 3 if they die anytime they fail? I also want to know how Joyce did not hear 2 sets of footprints on the stairs when they were going up? I know I would have had my supersonic mom ears on.
Genevieve - Haha, the mom ears is a very valid comment, I think we're supposed to assume that this is the first time The Three have ever failed
Dahne - Hmm, score an even bigger one for Angel and Buffy if they were the first to beat The 3. That's impressive.
Genevieve - I have very little negative to say about this episode. I think it's a great representation of the series as a whole and this was probably the episode that I really fell in love with the show
Dahne - I didn't realize that Joss had no idea where season 2 was going to go in season 1. It flowed brilliantly together and I judge all other TV seasons against Buffy season 2. It is about as perfect as any show has ever done in one season.
Diana - Yes, you can find that abstract of Joss saying this on Wikipedia :)
Dahne - Basically, this was the episode that proved to me how great Buffy could be and how thoroughly they knew their characters. Of course, it then went on to be even more awesome than I could ever have imagined.
Diana - I quote Dahne.
Genevieve - Spot on with this episode making it a must-see every week
Dahne - Any last thoughts?
Genevieve - Haha a couple of extremely random notes I had written down were that the bartender looked weirdly like Freddie Mercury and this episode saw the introduction of Angel's batman-style evil/Angelus voice :P So not really any important last thoughts, haha
Dahne - I thought Angel's Batman voice combined with Darla's high-pitched whisper voice was laughable to be honest.
Diana - Haha like these comments about Angel's voice!
Genevieve - Haha Batman voices are always laughable
Dahne - Agreed. Thanks so much for joining the roundtable today guys. It was great discussing such an awesome episode with you. Here's hoping you can join next week for I, Robot...You, Jane.
Screencaps by Reverse of Shade, Angel FC Pages, Slayerettes, Return to Nothingsville, Buffygasm, Lol Library, Tumblr, and Gamespot