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Angel: War Zone

Cordelia: "God. Twenty minutes ride from billionaires and crab puffs, kids going to war."

Previews for this episode did nothing for me so I was surprised at how good it turned out to be. The homeless gang-banging vampire fighters were touching; they struck a chord with me, and I cared what happened to them – especially Gunn, the leader, who had to be strong enough to stake his own beloved sister. The sister was good, too. The stakes-all-over-it truck and the booby-trapped warehouse were way cool. And the almost-rumble at the end was well done.

The humor in this show continues to please me; I enjoyed the meat-locker/cell-phone scene, Madame Dorian's Demon Brothel in Bel-Air, and Cordelia's trying to talk herself into the idea of prostituting herself with billionaire geek David (feels good in your mouth) Nabbit. (As in Dag-nabbit?) (Although I think in real life, people at that party would have been fawning over him, not ignoring him.)

Wesley recovered very quickly from his torture session, didn't he? Of course, this is TV, the ultimate time warp, but still – I would have expected him to be carrying around a few cuts and bruises for a while. Not to mention some emotional scars.

Bits and pieces:

— I couldn't help but notice during that coffee scene on the park bench that Alexis Denisof has an earring hole and Charisma Carpenter has a light smattering of freckles. Never noticed either before, I don't think.

— I wouldn't mind seeing more of Gunn, the gang leader. A beautiful young man, and a very appealing character. And the Angel Powers That Be seemed to leave the possibility open.


Cordelia: "Oh, I miss that smell."
Wesley: "Camembert, I believe."
Cordelia: "What? No, money. I like the smell of a little money once in a while."
Angel: "She's not just saying that. Hide some in the office sometime to watch her. It's uncanny."

Nabbit: "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."

Cordelia: "You should rest. You look like..."
Angel: "Like I've been beaten and stabbed?"
Cordelia: "Want to see the check again?"

Cordelia: "Mmm, smell that salt air."
Wesley: "That's not salt."
Cordelia: "I don't think it's air either, but reality is a choice, Wesley. You see what you want to see and I see what I want to see."

Gunn: "What are you doing here?"
Angel: "Skulking. Professionally."

Three out of four stakes. Very good; I liked this one a lot.

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


  1. Mostly a ditto on your comments, Billie. I enjoy the humor of Angel/Cordelia/Wesley's scenes. They really highlight Angel's humanity in a nice understated way.

    I like the idea of groups like Gunn's forming to deal with the whole demon problem. The notion of one slayer to save the world and the rest of us walking around ignorant doesn't bear too much scrutiny. Him having to stake his sister was sad and a not too heavy-handed commentary on the personal losses gang violence exacts on members of the gang.

    In this show and on Buffy I'm often impressed with the light touch Joss has with metaphor. Sometimes he does hit you over the head with them, but more often they really work for me.

  2. This is one of my favorite episodes from the first season. The juxtaposition of the two worlds is brilliantly done.

    On the one hand, we have billionaire David who has to throw parties so that, perhaps, someone will talk to him. On the other, we have homeless kids, all of whom have each others' backs. What Joss does so well is not judge which is the better reality. They both just exist.

  3. I love Gunn, he comes across as likeable and tough at the same time, which isn't as easy as it sounds.

  4. Gunn, yeah Gunn! I forgot how he came into the show so I really enjoyed this episode. It is everything that everyone has already said. I do like it when the show comments on society even in little ways like the coffee Wesley got - "I know it must be in here someplace" - a lovely send-up of expensive crazy coffees a la Starbucks.

  5. I thought the whole of Gunn's band very odd, it gave me a total "mad max" vibe, as they were operating after civilization had broken down in an empty city. To me they were not believable as homeless, especially with a truck and fancy home-made weapons...

  6. I didn't expect to be so moved by Gunn's little sister's post-vamp pitch, faked or not. I've always liked the rescue-in-reverse type of stuff, younger sibling wanting to save the older.
    Also the very end of the episode, nice work from Angel with the last line.
    "I'll be around"
    "I don't need no help"
    "I might"
    Seriously love that.

  7. This wasn't a great episode for me. In theory I like the idea of the vampire fighter gang, but it wasn't too believable to me that these were homeless street-rough kids. The kids just didn't look or act the part. And I felt the actor that played Gunn was weak so it took me out of the story and his performance made it hard to connect with the character. I'm surprised so many other commenters here liked him.

    On the other hand, the writing of Angel, Wesley and Cordelia just keeps getting better. I'm really liking Wesley (Alexis Denisof is amazing), even though I still feel the loss of Doyle. I'm also surprised about the early negative reviews of Wesley and now I'm very curious to find out why you later changed your review to "god" status!


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