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July 23, 2014

Angel: War Zone

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 5th 2006 2:56PM

Agnel -- War Zone(S01E20) David: Are you familiar with Dungeons and Dragons?

Angel: Yeah, I've seen a few.

Wesley: You mean the role-playing game?

Angel: Oh, game. Right.

In this episode we are introduced to Charles Gunn, who eventually becomes an official member of Angel Investigations. Although this time he is the leader of a ragtag team of vamp killers that our friendly vampire with a soul gets introduced to during a separate investigation. With Angel being a vampire, and Gunn being a vampire-killer, their first meeting isn't that cordial.

In fact, Gunn and his gang lure Angel into an abandoned building where they try to destroy him with a variety of booby traps. Being someone who has lived over 200 years and pretty much seen it all, he evades the traps with a modicum of difficulty. Even after attempting to dust him, Angel tries to give them some fatherly advice to Gunn and his team on how to go about the proper destruction of vampires.

Gunn doesn't want to hear any of it ('I don't need advice from some middle-class white dude who's dead!', he says to Angel). You see, he's been doing this for awhile; ever since he discovered a nest of vamps were attacking his neighbors. So, he knows a thing or two about destroying the undead. Yet, he is also young, a bit over-confident, and over-protective of his sister, who is also part of the gang. Put that all together, something bad is bound to happen.

And it does. The vamps put a plan into action to bring the gang into the open. Gassing their current headquarters, the gang members venture out into the daylight, thinking it's safe. But, the vamps, covered completely in black clothing to avoid getting sunburned (literally), kidnap many of the gang members, including Gunn's sister.

Charles tracks down the location of the vamp nest and goes in solo, only to find his sister. But, it really isn't his sister anymore; she was already resurrected as a vampire. She tries to lure him over to the dark side, tempting him with a belief that he could stop running, that he would never be cold or hungry again. But Gunn is pure of heart, dedicated to the death of the vamps. So, rather than becoming one himself he dusts his sister.

This brings the other vamps out of hiding, and the remnants of Gunn's gang to his defense. It looks like a lot of dust and blood is going to be spilled. But, at the last moment, Angel steps in with a proposal: if the vamps declare a truce and go in hiding Gunn's gang won't hunt them down again. Reluctantly they all agree and the situation is diffused. For now.

Not much to say about this episode (although I did say plenty in the last five paragraphs). The Gunn that we are introduced to here is pretty much the same Gunn that we see throughout the entire series: brash, hard-headed, willing to go into action without any backup. It was the opposite of team players Wesley and Cordelia.

I think the importance of this episode is that it continues on the expansion of the universe outside of Angel Investigations. We saw this in the last few episodes with the ever-growing incursion of Wolfram & Hart into Angel's life. Now, we see that there are other vampire hunters out there other than Angel. Which is good, because he could certainly use some help sometimes.

We are down to the last two episodes, kiddies! Next time: Lindsey's story

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