Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)
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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Directed by||Scott Brazil|
|Written by||David Greenwalt|
|Original air date||April 14, 1997|
"Angel" is the seventh episode of season 1 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was written by co-executive producer David Greenwalt and directed by Scott Brazil. The narrative follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), vampire slayer, coming to terms with her feelings for Angel (David Boreanaz), who is revealed to be a vampire cursed with a soul. However, Darla (Julie Benz) is playing a deadly game manipulating both Buffy and Angel to the Master's (Mark Metcalf) will.
The Master sends a trio of armoured warrior vampires after Buffy. They ambush her, but Angel arrives to help her. Angel is injured during the fight and Buffy invites him back to her house. When Angel takes his shirt off, Buffy notices a tattoo and asks him if he was stalking her, because she felt his presence at the Bronze. He shrugs it off. Buffy asks Angel why he fights vampires and he reveals that his family was killed by vampires.
The next morning, Giles informs the group that the vampire trio were known as The Three, warrior vampires controlled by the Master. The Master allows Darla to kill The Three, as a lesson in the use of power for Collin, the Anointed One.
The next day, Buffy returns to Angel. She notices her diary askew and tries to explain away entries that reveal fantasies about "A". Angel assures her that he did not read the diary. He then confesses his attraction towards her. They kiss. Suddenly, Angel pulls back with a snarl of distress, showing his vampire face. Buffy screams in shock and he dives out the window.
Giles researches Angel's history and notices the peculiarity that, although he was previously infamous as the sadistic killer known as Angelus, Angel has shunned the company of other vampires since coming to America and apparently has completely stopped preying on humans.
Darla cons Buffy's mother into inviting her in and bites her. Angel hears Joyce's cry and rushes in. Darla shoves the now-unconscious Joyce into Angel's arms and escapes out the back door. Angel resists the impulse to drink, but Buffy sees him and is horrified. At the hospital, Joyce's last memory is of inviting Buffy's "study friend" inside. Buffy misunderstands, thinking Joyce means Angel rather than Darla, and storms out to kill him.
Giles talks further with Joyce and learns that it was Darla, not Angel, who bit Joyce. With Xander and Willow in tow, he rushes to find Buffy to warn her of the trap. Buffy tracks Angel to the deserted Bronze and demands an explanation; Angel tells how he was cursed by Gypsies who restored his human soul so that he would be eternally tormented with the guilt of his past sins. He denies biting Joyce, yet confesses wanting to, as well as wanting to kill Buffy. The Slayer lays aside her crossbow and slowly offers her throat to him. Suddenly, Darla emerges from the shadows with a pair of handguns. Hearing gunfire, Giles, Willow and Xander rush in and distract Darla. Looming up from behind, Angel stakes Darla through the heart.
In their Hellmouth lair, Collin consoles the Master for his loss of Darla at Angel's hands. Spying Angel across the crowded room at the Bronze, Buffy goes to thank him — and to tell him goodbye. Their banter trails to silence and they deeply kiss one last time. Buffy doesn't notice that the cross she's wearing — the one Angel gave her weeks ago at their first meeting — was scorching his chest.
Broadcast and reception
Noel Murray of The A.V. Club gave "Angel" a grade of A, calling it the best episode thus far. He praised how Buffy inviting Angel into her home was used as a metaphor, how that "ambiguity" was used to tease the audience, and the "multitude of character touches, funny bits of dialogue, and milieu-enriching moments". DVD Talk's Phillip Duncan called the episode "excellent", highlighting the "well-crafted" dialogue-heavy part and the "poignant ending". A review from the BBC praised the way the episode was constructed and noted the importance of it character-wise, but called it "rather mundane".
- Buffy invites Angel into her house in this episode, an invitation she will later revoke in "Passion".
- Buffy mentions The Three in the Season Three episode "Faith, Hope & Trick" when describing past experiences with slaying to Faith.
- This episode provides many revelations about Angel. It is revealed that Angel is a vampire with a soul who was named Angelus (The One with the Angelic Face) and killed his own family when he first became a vampire. It is revealed that he is 240 years old and has a tattoo on his right shoulder blade. The origin of his gypsy curse, which will play a major role in Season Two, is also told.
- It is revealed that Darla was once romantically involved with Angelus and that she made him a vampire.
- Darla dies (for the second of four times, as revealed in later episodes of Buffy and the spin-off series Angel), but she returns at the end of the first season of Angel.
- This episode is the first time Joyce Summers meets Giles and Angel.
- Buffy first uses the crossbow: a weapon she continues to use throughout the series, and even favors in the season 4 episode "Fear, Itself"
- The Three: The biblical Books of Samuel describe King David's warriors as being divided up into The Thirty and The Three. The fact that these vampires are warriors may indicate that they owe their origins to King David's warrior squad of the same name.
- "I'm not going to be fighting Friar Tuck": Friar Tuck is a legendary companion of Robin Hood's. Tuck, among others of the Merry Men, especially Little John, sometimes fights using a quarterstaff; a deprecation of such fighting as literally mediæval is implied.
- Golden, Christopher, and Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 1. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
- "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Murray, Noel (19 June 2008). ""Angel", etc". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Duncan, Phillip (21 January 2002). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "Angel: Review". BBC. Retrieved 3 June 2013.