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Angel: Conviction

Angel: "There's something else you should know about me. I have no problem spanking men."

How do you fight evil when you're a part of it? It certainly won't be easy for Angel, whose own employees are monitoring his every move, following up and getting releases from the people he saves, and even trying to kill him.

Houser, head of the wet work unit, spelled out the chief difficulty – that evil people have the strength of their convictions (hence the title), but Angel's people are going to be constantly conflicted. It's certainly frustrating that Angel and the L.A. Scoobs can't get rid of turkeys like Corbin Fries above board any more; they have to find a devious way to do it. But at the same time, it adds an interesting layer of complexity to the series.

Gunn's surprising new arena is the law, making him a major player and possibly this season's biggest question mark. The character he used to be would have been lost in this new situation. Instead, the Senior Partners have chosen him, bribed him with a mystical law education in that freaky, dark, and painful looking office, and transformed him into a legal shark in a three-piece suit who knows Gilbert and Sullivan. Gunn "spoke with the conduit himself." What exactly happened with the big cat in the white room? (That sounds like a children's book.)

Fred the Head is finding management stressful ("Now focus, people! Work the damn problem!"). Her lab was the only individual space in W&H we saw this week, other than Angel's office. And all of her scenes in the lab were with Knox, the wonderful actor from "Conversations with Dead People." He's a great character for Fred to interact with. But "Knoxie?" Uh, no.

Lorne is doing the agent thing and seems to be adapting well, but he adapts well to everything. I really liked him feeling out the evilest employees, and sitting in the courtroom incognito.

Wesley seems to be Angel's vice president as well as head of research and magic. He picked Harmony out of the steno pool, and she's a good choice. Her office skills are probably deplorable, but she's a known quantity – she doesn't have the smarts to spy effectively on them. And she's a character we all love, anyway, as well as being a sort of anti-Fred.

Frankly, as far as liaisons to the Senior Partners go, I vastly prefer Lilah to Eve... but it's early yet for me to start making judgments. Eve is hard to read; we have no idea where she's coming from or what her motivations are, and that isn't true of Lilah. Eve hinted that she is not what she appears to be. She tossed Angel an apple, and he ate it. And then there was, "And what would you like passing through my lips?" She came on to Angel – twice.

The new sets are cool. And vampires in daylight are shiny and new. I bet the actors are thrilled to be able to film during the day. It's interesting, though, how dark Angel's new office is, even in the daytime.

Dan and I both expected Spike to return at the end of the episode, so it wasn't a surprise. (Wesley: "Spike?" Angel: "Spike." Harmony: "Blondie bear?") It certainly looks like Spike has been returned courtesy of his Elizabeth Taylor pendant, at the moment of his death on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The address on the envelope that contained Spike was: "Angel, c/o Wolfram & Hart, 1127 Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90008." Spike's ashes and his fabulous accessory were in the Hellmouth under the ruins of Sunnydale last May. Who sent Spike to Angel? And how?

Bits and pieces:

— The cast credits have changed. James Marsters has second billing, while Charisma Carpenter and Vincent Kartheiser have departed.

— The initial scene was a parody of the first scene of the series, four years ago. Was it the same alley? I bet it was.

— There's a little Joss-y clue about the bad guy at the beginning school scene, where the kid Matt says that his dad won't let him read Punisher, and the other kid says, "He kills everyone."

— Cordelia is mentioned briefly; she is still in a coma. Eve also mentioned Connor briefly and managed to piss off Angel.

— The form Lorne was using to "sound out" the Wolfram & Hart employees had five columns: Okay, On the Bubble, Evil, To Be Fired, and Yikes!

— Fred put up a Dixie Chicks poster in her office. Very cool, and I'm speaking politically here.

— Loved the scene with Angel and the cars. ("Oh god, they're so beautiful!") And a helicopter? How cool. FYI, in the street scene right after the garage scene, you can see the Hollywood sign on the hills in the background if you look for it.

— I could see Joss Whedon's fine hand in that hilarious scene with Angel and Spanky, the free-lance mystic.

— Lorne called Angel "Angel Toes."

— Dan really loved the wooden knives and the holy water canteen.

— Poster on the wall at the school, at the end of the episode: "Respect: Learn it. Know it. Show it."

— In this week's hair report, Gunn's has moved from his chin to his head, while Angel's big black pompadour may be a sign that he's starting to channel Elvis.


Wesley: "I'm still stuck back at, 'Why on earth are we here?'"
Fred: "What, because we're crusaders against evil and now the law firm that represents most of the evil in the world has given us its L.A. branch to run however we want, probably in an attempt to corrupt, divide or destroy us, and we all said yes in, like, three minutes?"
Wesley: "Your run-on sentences have got a lot less pointless."
Fred: "That's so sweet. And a tad condescending."

Gunn: "We can switch if you don't like the, you know, the kung pao or whatever."
Wesley: "Feng shui."
Gunn: "Right. What's that mean again?"
Wesley: "That people will believe anything. Actually, in this place, feng shui will probably have enormous significance. I'll align my furniture the wrong way and suddenly catch fire or turn into a pudding."

Recorded voice: "You have reached ritual sacrifice. For goats, press one, or just say 'goats.' To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound key."

Harmony: "The extra ingredient is otter."

Angel: "I'm not allowed to hit people?"
Wesley: "Not people capable of genocide."
Angel: "Those are exactly the types of people I should be able to hit."

Lorne: "But lunch with Mary-Kate! She was going to tell me about Ashley's new piercing."

Very interesting and complex episode, a Joss Whedon tour-de-force. Four out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. I'm not typically one to notice directing-things, but the first Wolfram & Hart scene was filmed in one take starting from Fred lost in the elevator to Angel finding Eve in his office. It's impressive and really shows off the set.

  2. Is it just me or does the W&H office have the exact same architecture as the Firefly ship? Fred's science office looks an awful lot like the medical bay with one wall removed. If these are the same sets, they did a terrific job redesigning them!

    Oh, one more thing: no Lilah?! What the heck?!

    I was really hoping for a love triangle between Fred, Wes, and Lilah instead of predictably-evil-in-a-bland-way-looking Nox. It would seem more interesting to me to watch Wes struggle between his need to redeem what is wicked in him (Lilah) and his desire to get approval from the virtuous (Fred). Instead, we get one more year of pining while Fred falls for every other man she meets? Boo!

    On unrelated news, Angel's haircut makes him look like an extra from Goodfellas.

  3. I noticed that the new W&H reminded me a lot of the Dollhouse HQ. Joss should hire new set designers.

  4. So Cordy's still in a coma. I'm kind of disappointed. She was a great character, especially during the first two seasons, although I wasn't really digging the whole Patron Saint/Mama Bear/Half-assed Beastmaster roles the powers kept saddling her with. If she had died in some gut-wrenching, tear-jerking circumstances-- that would be one thing, but she didn't even get killed off properly, just put into a coma and quietly phased out. And IMDB tells me that she'll only be in one more episode. How sad. I actually miss Connor too; he was a very interesting character, though I think Angel made the best decision for him. I wish I could see more of Angel dealing with his feelings about giving up his son to a different life... for the second time. Geez, he must have the world's biggest bottle for all the feelings he's been hoarding.

  5. Wow, the production values have increased - quite a lot of extras and new sets! The fight scenes were also much better, I think - but some of the acting didn't seem as tight as I expected. Quite surprising that the wet works team didn't have any anti-vampire weapons (more than bottles of holy water) - I would have expected shotguns with wood pellets!

  6. That cold open really is the cruelest thing W&H could do to him lol. Just completely ruin his original flow, robbing the would-be victims of their sense of wonder at the rescue.

    The new opening credits is Angel as I remember it, even though I ache for its small-time detective origins. I both hate and love the fact that the early old shot of him busting through the doors/zooming in on him on top of the building before the names pop up is replaced with him walking and closing a book shut looking exasperated. It's a neat new shot. So Spike gets Connor's dark blue, I don't think after Lorne's pink there are any new colours. And even though he kinda hijacks the whole thing I liked all the shots of Spike they use in it. Fits in seamlessly.

    I didn't notice Wesley's actor having Bell's Palsy until Jaw Sweden mentioned it in the commentaries. Actually as soon as he said it I could see his face not acting symmetrical lol, but they hid it really well otherwise. Glad to hear he was already recovering.

    Despite Angel's "You're not cute when I'm angry" (which is a funny thing to say to a sexually suggestive comment) I do find Eve occasionally cute, although I'm already re-imagining her scenes in my head as if it were Lilah. Sigh... I want a woman in that role, not the cute energy.

    Loved Fred's angry solace in the fact that if the bomb goes off she's gonna die in a room full of people who deserve it. Totally sold it.

    Really loved the fight at the end too, Angel taking out the wetwork guys. Really satisfying to watch. Angel's rebuttal to the power of conviction. Really fucking sexy. Mercy: you've just seen the last of it. Really keeps the decision to let W&H swallow them from feeling half-baked.
    So was Hauser taking matters into his own hands when Angel saved the kid or does he actually have permission from the SP to take out Angel if he's being uncooperative? I mean it surprised me to see happen so soon.


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