Angel – Season 1 finale – To Shanshu in L.A.

The billionaire IT guy turns up again.  He sneaks into Angel HQ with a cape on.  Angel rumbles him, then we all laugh because he’s into Dungeons & Dragons and stuff.  He knows that Angel fight demons.  Despite seeing his first appearance less than two weeks ago, I can’t think how he knows about the demons.  I am rubbish.

I’ve given up calling Wolfram & Hart ‘W & H’.  It’s unsightly.  From now on, they will be referred to as Wolfram.  And, as Wiki tells me, there’s no such person as Wolfram, so no chance of confusion.

Wolfram are summoning something or other.  I’ll go wild and assume it’s a demon.  It is.  He’s called Vocah and wears a stupid mask, but still seems to have more presence than the average evil thing.

Angel and Kate cross paths.  It’s awkward.  Allow me to paraphrase:

Angel: Oh hi Kate

Kate: Shut up.  You’re a vampire and vampires killed my dad so you are very bad

Angel: No bother

Talk about tarring all vampires with the same brush.  I bet humans killed somebody Angel knew, but he doesn’t hold it against them.  Kate is an -ist of some sort.

“He’s got a soul, but he’s not part of the world…we grow, we change” – Wes on Angel.  I’ve never really considered this.  Angel is an *spellchecks* anachronism.  He’s 200-odd years old.  He’s seen, like, things happen.  Man.  But he’s still the same.  Wait, is he?  Even if he doesn’t age, surely he must still change as a person?  Isn’t it experience that alters us, and not just aging?  I’ve learned something today.  And it’s that sometimes, Wesley and I don’t agree.

Vocah makes reference to Angel’s importance in the prophecy, and things that are below, rising.  I’ve decided to speculate again, and figure that the evil plan is to turn Angel back into Angelus.  I don’t know why.

Cut to those trans-dimensional elitists, the Powers That Be.  They give Angel their usual arrogant guff about not dealing with lesser mortals.  Then it’s twisty time, and we realise that it’s not Angel they’re talking to, but Vocah.  He’s all like ‘I’m totally gonna kill these guys’.  Then he kills them both.  Vocah strikes a blow for the average man.

Cordelia buys art supplies for Angel in an attempt to cheer him up.  Vocah sneaks up, taps her on the hand and skulks away.  You know he’s all about business, otherwise he would’ve gone for the ass.  Seconds later, she starts having visions, but not the usual kind.  They’re intense and constant.  She collapses in agony, and even the camera tries to get away from the noise, rising high into the sky.

Vocah breaks into Angel HQ.  Well, he’s not really breaking in, seeing as there’s no proper security.  Many episodes ago, Cordelia tried to install a security system.  It failed, and since then they’ve opted for a sense of constant danger.  Anyway, Angel gets a call from the hospital about Cordelia.  He leaves and Vocah sneaks in and reclaims the scroll.  You know, the one with the prophecy that Angel took from Wolfram in the previous episode (you were paying attention last time, right?)  He replaces it, Indy style, but with a bomb.

Angel gets to the hospital.  Cordelia is still in agony.  She’s been hyper-tuned, and is experiencing the pain of many people.  Presumably, this is limited to people in this area of LA.  Maybe the pain of Clippers fans, forced to endure another miserable season.  Regardless, Charisma Carpenter acted the hell out of both vision scenes.

In the hospital, a nurse asks Angel if he is Cordelia’s family, and he answers yes.  Knowing this show, that’ll be more than a throwaway line.

I know bad things are in store for Cordelia, but I’m not sure exactly what.  Maybe she’ll end up brain-buggered like Tara was in Buffy.  Angel sees a symbol on Cordelia, and realises that she has been interfered with.  So to speak.

Angel heads home, but it blows up first.  Wes is inside.  Being mates with Angel isn’t pleasant.  Angel finds Wes inside, alive but a bit blown up.  With Wes safe with the paramedics, Angel leaves as Kate turns up.  She’s still being a bitch.  Angel tells her to have a word with herself and does the off for some vengeance.  Bad-ass Angel is going to mess up Wolfram good.

“Things are unravelling, the dark ones broach our temple now” – The ghost of one of the Powers That Be.  It’s lines like this that I love, making this situation much less local.  Serialised fiction can’t do global too often or it diminishes the effect.  But break out a potential world-changing event and I’m all over it.  It’s an apocalypse fetish.

Wolfram and Angel Investigations seem to both be official, registered companies.  In LA, it doesn’t matter if you’re good or evil, you gotta be legitimate.

Wolfram people and Vocah are performing a summoning.  Something is about to manifest in a cage.  Presumably whatever appears in there will be kept from us for as long as possible.  The end of this season is about ten minutes away, it better turn up before them or I’ll make trouble.

Vampires perform the summoning ritual.  They recite lines like “five are without soul, five are without son”.  It doesn’t seem like the lines are important to this scene, but knowing that this is a Joss Whedon project, they might make sense further down the line.

With only ten minutes left in the episode, the IT guy hasn’t appeared again.  By the looks of it he only appeared for some light humour and to contrast with Vocah breaking into Angel HQ.  An appearance in season two wouldn’t surprise me though.

Angel breaks up the summoning ritual.  He and Vocah fight.  Team Wolfram exit, except for Lindsey, who’s raging that Angel broke up the event that he organised.  Lindsey finishes the summoning spell.

Vocah seemed like he was going to be a super-powerful villain.  Messing up Cordelia good and proper, and even killing the Powers That Be.  But fighting one-on-one with Angel, even though he’s winning, makes him seem like every other villain.

He’s not winning for long.  Angel pulls some moves and knocks Vocah’s mask off.  They both fight with long, hooked, bladed weapons.  Angel will not only mess you up, he’ll mess you up in your house with your clothes on.  Vocah’s nose has been eaten by maggots.  Like yours.  Angel finishes him off.  Lindsey holds the precious scroll over a fire, like a right douchebag.  Angel throws his sword thing and it lops Lindsey’s arm off, saving the scroll from certain death.  I immediately have visions of Luke Skywalker, then realise that makes almost no sense as a comparison.

And…safe!  The scroll is back in good (vampire) hands.

Back at the hospital and Cordelia.  Wes makes a reference to “known madness”.  Maybe she’s not that safe after all.  He also mentions having to “unbind her”.  Sounds like she’s moving on.

Maybe not.  Wes reads something (possibly from the scroll I think.  My bad) and Cordelia is cured.  She now realises just how much pain there is in the world (of LA).  She mentions how she, Wes and Angel are family now.  I told you that would come up again.  I am god still.

Wes puts a downer on everything by reminding everyone that Angel is still destined to die, as per the prophecy.  Then he realises he made a mistake with the translation.  A little one.  Angel is not due to die.  The opposite in fact.  Or similar.  He’s actually prophesied to become human if he survives a ton of bad things, attacks, apocalyptic events, that type of thing.  So his chances aren’t good.  But at least he has an endgame now.  I nearly went mental when I thought that the whole prophecy was going to be annulled by a poor translation.  Again, there would’ve been trouble in LA if they had messed with my expectations.

But Wolfram have a plan of their own.  We see what’s in the cage.  It’s Darla, Angel’s old bit of crumpet and the woman who made him a vampire.  So this is how they attack Angel, by pulling at his heartstrings (and his nuts).  I don’t know why they don’t try blowing him up like Vocah did with Wes.

And that’s that, the end, of the episode and of season one.  I’m surprised and impressed by how good the season was towards the end.  The emergence of Wolfram & Hart gives more drama and cohesiveness to the episodes.  Team Angel are much more interesting, funny, and have better chemistry with Wes instead of Doyle.  Gunn could easily be a really annoying character but so far seems quite likeable.  And the prophecy of course gives at least the semblance of a deadline to the show.  The early episodes suffered from the same problems that plagued season one of Buffy.  Being episodic, uneven, and lacking the confidence in storytelling that later seasons had.  Buffy ironed out these faults and improved massively.  I wasn’t giving Angel the same slack that I did with Buffy, given that it’s a spin-off.  But it was bound to have it’s own faults and learning curve.  It certainly figured them out towards the season’s end.

I have a hefty backlog of TV boxsets.  My plan was to finish this season of Angel, forget about it and move on to something else.  But it finished so well that I might have to eventually return.


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