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Angel: I've Got You Under My Skin

Wesley: "A father doesn't have to be possessed to terrorize his children."

This one surprised me. I wasn't expecting that twist at the end and it really impressed me.

I always watch Buffy and Angel a second time before I review them because 1. they're my favorite shows so it's no hardship, and 2. I always see a lot more the second time through. This time, I noticed they gave us clues: like when little Stephanie said, "Ryan's bad. Ryan's always been bad." Not recently, not for the last three years, but always.

It wasn't just the plot twist that impressed me. I was creeped out right at the beginning by the locks on the kids' bedroom doors. And I thought the actors playing the parents were very good; we first got the impression that the father was the problem because he was projecting menace, but the reasons for his menace made plenty of sense later. The mother was so conflicted about what was going on and relieved at the same time that Ryan was still alive that she went overboard with nursing and befriending Angel; I think she struck just the right tone and made it work. And then there was the rather bizarre situation of inviting a single man who dresses in black and looks menacing over to dinner with the family. The dinner scene was off-balance and odd with lots of undercurrents.

We got our first glimpse of Wesley's background with that bit about a father not needing to be possessed to terrorize his children, and being locked under the stairs. Even if it was just a set-up for the demon becoming Wesley's father (you could really see that one coming), I thought it was very effective and explained a bit about Wesley's sometimes silly bravado and overboard need to achieve.

Cordelia was great comic relief, as always. This sort of material is difficult to buy into and take seriously, and making us laugh about it somehow makes it work better. I loved the scene in the magic shop, in particular, and her efforts to comfort the parents.


— Angel Jones?

— Full of nutty goodness? Full of roasty goodness? Buffyisms sneaking in there.


Wesley: "Perhaps there is one out there hibernating, eh? Ready to wake at any moment and embark on a grisly rampage."
Angel: "I'll keep my fingers crossed."

Cordelia: "The recipe was handed down to me by my mother, who got it from her housekeeper. Plus, I improvised a little. You're gonna love them."
Wesley: "Me? Doesn't Angel have to... get to try any?"
Cordelia: "They are brownies full of nutty goodness, not red blood cells."

Angel: "I've been around death before. A lot. I've lost people. I've killed people."
Cordelia: "And you are dead. (Angel looks at her) Sorry."

Seth: "A lot of health nuts these days, you know? Like anyone needs to live forever."
Angel: "No one needs that."

Cordelia: "What is this stuff anyway? Kind of pretty."
Wesley: "It's the bodily excretion of an Ethros demon."
Cordelia: "No one could have said demon poo before I touched it?"

Wesley: "You've heard of Lizzie Borden? She killed her parents with an axe?"
Cordelia: "I remember the children's rhyme. And how come they're all full of death and cradles falling, and mice getting tails cut off? Anyway, the whole thing needs a ratings system, don't you think?"

Seth: "The roast was a little dry."
Angel: "No. It was full of... roasty goodness."

Cordelia: "Hi, I'm Cordelia. (Shakes Paige's hand) Sorry about the possession and everything."
Seth: "Ah, hello."
Cordelia: "I wonder if I should put plastic down. Angel, are you expecting any big vomiting here? Because I saw the movie."

Angel: "Do not break the circle. It's important. He'll try and get you to come to him. Don't do it. Don't touch him. He's been exposed, and he's angry. He'll kill you if he gets a chance, you got that?"
Cordelia: "Jeez, we got it. Circle, angry, kill, kill, kill. Go to church already."

Cordelia: "We can watch TV or play cards. You'll get caught up, you won't even hear your son's pain."

Angel: "Wesley, you don't even have sales resistance. How many Thighmasters do you own?"
Wesley: "The second one was a free gift with my Buns of Steel."

Angel: "An authentic Ethros box is made of six hundred species of virgin woods and handcrafted by blind Tibetan monks."
Cordelia: "Nope. Don't know any."
Angel: "Melrose and Robertson, between the yogurt shop and the Doggy Dunk."

Cordelia: "Handcrafted by blind Tibetan monks?"
Rick: "Pieced together by mute Chinese nuns. Now, that's craftsmanship."
Cordelia: "Look, I have an Ethros demon and I need a place to put it. Will this work?"
Rick: "Hmm, probably. Shorshack demon is a little smaller than your average Ethros, might be tight across the shoulders."

Three out of four stakes. This was a good one,

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


  1. I watched this one over a week ago and I thought it was good too. There was good team building and fun for the Angel/Cordelia/Wesley dynamic and an interesting twist to the demon story, but I was really dragging my feet posting anything. I think I've finally figured out why. The final resolution for that family is just so 'real world' sad. It's tough to look back and enjoy the other bits when you know that is coming.

    I continue to enjoy watching this show find its identity - more than I'm liking Buffy Season 4.

  2. I enjoy this episode as well, mostly for the twist at the end. Plus, watching the group begin to really gel is fun. I like that Wesley, slowly every week, is beginning to be less nebbishy and more helpful.

  3. A good episode for me as well, especially with the twist. It might be interesting for their mythology to explain why a child could be born without a soul or lose it. It was interesting that the evil demon actually tried to keep the child to a lesser degree of evil. It also speaks to the fact that the evil in humans may be much worse than the evil of demons.

  4. Cordelia: "Handcrafted by blind Tibetan monks?"
    Rick: "Pieced together by mute Chinese nuns. Now, that's craftsmanship."
    Cordelia: "Look, I have an Ethros demon and I need a place to put it. Will this work?"
    Rick: "Hmm, probably. Shorshack demon is a little smaller than your average Ethros, might be tight across the shoulders

    Even though I almost never rewatch Season One, I always remember, and love, this exchange.

  5. In regard to those Buffyisms, every time I watch this episode, I can see Angel struggling to come up with something to say and thinking, "What would Buffy do?", using her isms as a little script.

    As an autistic person, I can relate. Small talk is hard/awful. Normally I stay silent, but sometimes scripts can help during those awkward moments, especially if they remind me of characters I love. Then small talk is kind of fun because I am talking to myself, reciting favorite lines from beloved shows.

  6. Great episode, the family was an interesting setting and the demon being spooked by the child was both chilling and almost funny. It's disconcerting thinking about people who can operate with a void where their soul should be. It's more than sociopathy, I'm assuming, since sociopaths AFAIK still have the barest sense of conscience/empathy. It's neat to think about, it would be like comprehending death since actual dead people don't have a presence anymore, just a full stop, and only the living can even sort of grasp it. Except that kid, and I guess the poor demon lol.
    As realistic as she was, I found the mom incredibly annoying. I can't stand that kind of willful ignorance.


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