Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)
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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|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 Buffy on 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, and Buffy's mom runs into the two of them. Buffy then covers for Angel by saying he is tutoring her, and sneaks him into her bedroom. As Buffy changes she asks Angel why he fights vampires. He reveals his family was killed by vampires.
The next morning, Giles informs the group that the vampires who ambushed Buffy 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. She screams in shock and Angel 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. Meanwhile, deep in the Master's lair, Darla insists that she be allowed to kill Buffy. Later that evening in the library, Willow and Buffy are both distracted by gloom over boys — Buffy because she doesn't want to slay Angel and Willow because she wants to attract Xander.
Darla cons Buffy's mother into inviting her in. Angel hears Joyce's cry and rushes in. Daring him to drink too, Darla shoves the now-unconscious Joyce into Angel's arms and escapes out the back door. Angel helplessly vamps; as he resists the impulse to drink, Buffy returns and is horrified. Buffy throws Angel out of the house, then calls for an ambulance. At the hospital, "anemic" 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.
Meanwhile, Giles talks further with Joyce and learns enough to realize 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 with a soul that would eternally torment him with guilt. He denies biting Joyce, yet confesses wanting to, as well as wanting to kill Buffy himself. 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, dusting his sire.
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 invited 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 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 the 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.