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August 30, 2015

Angel: I Will Remember You

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 24th 2006 10:30AM

Buffy on Angel(S01E08) Cordelia: Batten down the hatches, here comes Hurricane Buffy!

For the last two months (has it been that long already?) I've been pretty much praising the first season episodes of Angel. While still having ties to the Buffyverse, it was working its way to becoming something different and, dare I say it, a bit more sophisticated than Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, the last seven episodes showed growing inner strength and maturity in the characters.

The eighth episode? Well, not so much of that strength and maturity. In fact, it actually seemed that both Angel and Cordelia took a big step backwards in their character development all because Buffy Anne Summers decided to show up in Los Angeles. Thanks loads, Slayer!

Actually, Cordelia took the biggest step backwards. During the last episodes we saw a lot of growth in her character. Even though she was still a bit self-centered she was becoming stronger (both mentally and physically) and self-sufficient. As recent as last episode she was even coming back around to the notion that not all of the good guys out there drove BMW's. But, as soon as Buffy came a'knocking she suddenly displayed all of the insecurities and jealousies she had against the Slayer back in the days of Sunnydale High. I'd even go one step further and say that Cordelia exhibited many of the traits she had in the early seasons of Buffy before she became a part of the Scooby Gang. It was not a pretty side of her.

On the other hand, while Angel took one giant step back, he also took one giant leap forward in the development (and future) of his character. Angel was showing some signs over the last few episodes of being at peace about what he was and his purpose in life. Yet, once Buffy walked into his office he became unsure of himself and continued to hem and haw about why he and Buffy couldn't be together. But then, sometime after he became human again (from a mix of demon blood with his own) he took a big leap forward in the realization of who he was.

It came after he got his human butt kicked by the demon whose blood gave Angel back his heart and pulse. He made a visit to The Oracles and learned that the demon was only the beginning of the End of Days. He realized that he would no longer be able to save humanity in his human form, and that Buffy would die if his blood continued to pulse through his veins. So, with great remorse, he requests that he humanity be removed so he can continue the fight against evil. This scene pretty much sets up the rest of the series.

Even though I thought this was one of the weaker episodes, it did have some good points. Particularly the acting of David Boreanaz as Angel. When he becomes human once again Boreanaz showed a pretty wide range of emotions. He was shocked when he learned he once again had a beating heart; ravenously gleeful when he realized he could eat again, comfortably happy when he was lying in bed with Buffy, and genuinely sadden when he learned that he only had a few more moments to be with Buffy as a human before The Oracles reset time back one day (to prevent Angel from becoming human in the first place). It's actually good to see Boreanaz stretch his emotional skills when he has the opportunity.

There is one final item about this episode, and Angel in general, that I'd like to mention before I leave you this week. There seems to be a time warp around Los Angeles for it seems everyone who is or has been on Buffy in the past suddenly ages almost a decade when they reach La-La Land. Cordelia is a good example, as she has seem to gone from 18-year-old high school graduate to early 20's superstar wannabe in a few short months. Another good example is Buffy, who is a college freshman on her own show. Yet, in this episode of Angel she looks like she aged several years once she got past that invisible time bubble around L.A. Very strange indeed.

Next week: we say good-bye to one of the characters (And, since Cordelia and Angel stay for most of the run, you probably have a pretty good guess of who it is.).

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This episode grew on me as I watched it in reruns. Character set back is OK if it leads to progress - it does happen in life. It was a character study , a good one- and non-shipper as I may be, I did enjoy that - in all the characters. Even Doyle had some very endearing lines in this.
And yeah, hats off from me too for DB making the very best of his opportunity for yet another new facet of his character.

August 07 2006 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Cordelia reverting back to "old Cordelia" when she's around someone from her past is psychologically valid. When people interact with one another they become set in the way they interact so even after months/years of being away from one person, the first time you see them again you might revert back to the old ways.

Best example would be to see how college freshmen come back home for Christmas break. They may have changed and grown the last four months away from home, but they can revert to the same kid that Mommy and Daddy said goodbye to a few months ago. It can also happen to children who have grown into adults and haven't been home in YEARS. They come back home and they become "the son" or "the daughter" again.

It's all about role expectations, etc. Yes, I'm a psych major. Shush.

July 24 2006 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember when this one first aired, I wasn't a huge fan of it. It was good but not as great as many of the Buffy/Angel shippers thought it was--to the point they were picking out China patterns with it, they loved it that much.

I do agree that it was kind of the jumping off for the character arc for Angel for the rest of the show. Seen in that context, it goes up a few notches in my estimation, but not enough to declare it a be-all, end-all classic like many others I know...

July 24 2006 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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