Angel S01 E03 – Old friends, new torture

Previously: A weird demon was having a crapton of one night stands and bursting out of people, Alien style. Also, Angel met a cop named Kate.

In the Dark

Kirsti: We open with a hippy looking girl running down a dark alley. She hides in a doorway, then peeks out. When no one’s there, she tries to run for it, but the guy she’s running from is behind her. He’s kinda insane and sweaty – the best kind of boyfriend, right? WRONG. He hits her and then pulls a gun. He’s about to pull the trigger when Angel appears out of nowhere and grabs his arm. They fight briefly, and Angel knocks the guy out. He asks the girl if she’s okay, and we learn that she hired him to help before the camera pans to a nearby rooftop. Spike’s there, and I’m going to give you his full impersonation because it’s AWESOME:


Lorraine: I especially love that he’s called Angel a fluffy puppy, seeing as how Buffy referred to her bite mark as caused by an angry puppy. Everyone agrees: Angel is a puppy!

Sweeney: CROSSOVER MAGIC. Also, I’d like a puppy, please.

K: ME TOO. Except, you know, an actual puppy. Not an Angel puppy. Can we just stop for a second and appreciate the fact that Vamp!Willow was the one who named him that? Solely because Vamp!Willow was awesome and I wish she’d stuck around longer. BACK TO THE EPISODE. Spike lights a cigarette as he watches Angel escort the girl to his car, and monologues that there are a few surprises in store – namely, the Gem of Amara, Spike, and DEATH. In that order. Spike grins evilly, and the credits roll.

After the credits, we’re in Oz’s van. He pulls up outside Angel’s office (which, HOW DID BUFFY AND THE SCOOBIES SUDDENLY KNOW HOW TO CONTACT ANGEL?!), and we cut inside to Cordy being all “YAY, PAYING CLIENT.”

Sweeney: I’m going to assume that Cordelia and her advertising played a small role, but contrivance is probs the biggest explanation.

K: Truth. All I can pay attention to is the fact that she’s apparently learnt to type in the past week. And at speed, nonetheless. Doyle points out that there’s a big difference between sending an invoice and actually getting paid. Spoil sport.

Oz walks into the office with a “Hello, LA“, and Cordy gets all excited and hugs him, which is even more awkward than you’d imagine.

Lor: It also highlights how wee Seth Green is. Charisma Carpenter, though probably in heels of some sort, towers over him.

K: He really is a miniature man. Even Daniel Radcliffe is taller than him, according to IMDB. There’s some small talk and an introduction to Doyle, and then they fill Oz in on the whole being detectives thing.

A few gifs per episode | Angel - 1x03 - &#8220;In the Dark&#8221;</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Oz: So, I heard the rumors, but you guys can fill me in on the real deal here.  So you guys are like detectives?Cordy: No, I’m an actress!Doyle: And quite a captivating one at that.Cordy: And between my many gigs, I sometimes choose to help Angel.Doyle: He’s the detective.Oz: Does he have a hat and gun?Cordy: Just fangs.Oz: Well, that works.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

They head down to Angel’s apartment, where Angel and Oz have a typically taciturn reunion. Oz hands over the ring, which Angel can apparently identify on sight, despite it having been lost for centuries and no one knowing what it looks like. He takes it, and gets all broody and mopey on account of Oz mentioned Buffy’s name. Doyle’s all “DUDE. MAGIC RING OF INVINCIBILITY. PUT IT ON!!!” But nope. We have to mope some more first. Because Buffy sent Oz, rather than delivering the ring in person. Cordy makes it worse by pointing out that Buffy didn’t even send a note. Doyle, bless him, tries to make it better by telling Angel that if he puts the ring on, he’ll stake him and it’ll be fun. But nope. We’re in the Brooding Basement, what else would you expect! Doyle, Cordy and Oz go for a “Yay, Angel’s invincible” drink while Angel heads for the sewers, where he hides the ring behind a loose brick.

Lor: I wasn’t entirely sure why the ring was making him so broody, but I figure it’s ’cause of what it stands for? The ring means he’ll be able to walk around in daylight and basically be able to lead a “normal” (invincible) life. It was a huge reason why Angel decided to end things with Buffy and I guess having it sent to him by Buffy gave him feels?

Either that or ancient jewellery depresses him. I’m not sure.

K: To paraphrase Buffy in season 3, Angel’s logic is not like our earth logic. The next day, Doyle is nursing a hangover. Angel’s downstairs doing another one of his part tai chi, part interpretive dance routines. The phone rings – it’s Hippy Girl, telling him that Douchey Boyfriend has been released on a technicality. He heads to the Angel-Mobile (which is what I’m going to insist on calling it for the rest of the series, BTW) only to have Spike hit him in the face with a wooden beam. They fight, and Spike snarks.

A few gifs per episode | Angel - 1x03 - &#8220;In the Dark&#8221;

Apparently he had a good, well thought out plan, but he got bored. There’s more fighting, but Spike runs off when Doyle and Cordy turns up with stakes. Angel urges them into hiding until it’s over while he hunts down Spike.

After the Not Ad Break, Doyle’s phoning his contacts trying to find out where Spike might be, while Cordy’s all “Ew, your apartment is gross.” Across town, Angel’s giving Hippy Girl a “LEAVE  THE DOUCHEBAG” pep talk. Back at Doyle’s, Cordy fills him in on Spike’s previous evil-doings. Angel phones, and Doyle gives him a possible lead. Cue montage of Angel beating people up until they talk. Eventually, he tracks Spike down – eating a girl behind a dumpster in an alley. He makes a run for it, and Angel thinks he’s caught him until another vampire appears from the shadows, and lassos Angel around the neck with a chain.

Cut to the next morning. Cordy and Doyle are watching the phone, and stressing that something’s happened to Angel. Doyle postulates that maybe he’s gone surfing, on account of having the magic ring and all. But nope – he’s chained up in a warehouse. Lasso Guy, Spike tells us, is a master torturer. Lasso Guy prepares his tools while Angel struggles to escape. Spike’s eager to get to the “ouchy part“, but Lasso Guy takes his time. He then starts by running Angel through with a red hot poker. Cut to some time later. Angel’s still not talking, and Spike’s throwing a hissy fit. He threatens to stake Angel, but Lasso Guy tells him to be patient. Angel points out that hiring another vampire may not have been the smartest thing Spike’s ever done, on account of any other vampire will want the ring too. So Spike fights dirty, and tells Angel about Buffy sleeping with Parker. Angel basically does this:

I’m sorry. I know how hard we all try to forget this moment…

Lor: You lie! He swallows down his feels like a champ. A broody, broody champ.

K: He has a little teary moment before he swallows the feels.


Lor: HE HAS HOT POKERS IN HIS BODY. He’s allowed a teary split second.

K: Spike lets Lasso Guy take over again.

Cut to Spike climbing into Angel’s apartment from the sewers. He searches unsuccessfully for the ring, which basically amounts to trashing the joint. Back at the warehouse, Lasso Guy has run out of pokers, and has moved on to shooting holes in the corrugated iron ceiling. Angel now has to dodge spots of sunlight. While hanging from the ceiling. With a millionty pokers in him. Back at the apartment, Spike opens a door to be confronted by a crossbow-toting Cordelia, and a crucifix-holding Doyle. Except that Cordy didn’t load the crossbow. Whoops. Spike orders them to do the searching instead, because he’s bored. They have until sundown to save Angel, or POOF.

Back to the warehouse again, where Lasso Guy is pulling the pokers out. Angel, meanwhile, is using his feet to try and grab the stake Spike dropped earlier. He succeeds and pulls a “please make it stop” act to get Lasso Guy in close. He then pulls his feet up to stake him, but Spike arrives and stops him. The torture resumes anew. Over at the apartment, Cordy and Doyle have exhausted all searching possibilities. So they head to the sewers to search there. As Cordy puts it, “This is not a needle in a haystack, this is a needle in Kansas!” Thoughtfully, Doyle demons out (can you use “demon” as a verb?!) (S: YOU JUST DID AND I FULLY APPROVE.) while Cordy’s back is turned, and sniffs his way to the ring. Yay, ring acquired!

Lor: WTF? Ring sniffing demon? Magical-smelling-abilities? WHUT?

Sweeney: I’m slightly less bothered by this than all the other contrivance because while this is REALLY. FUCKING. CONVENIENT., we know so little about Doyle‘s demon status that it’s still fair game for them to insert powers as we go.


They head out to find Spike, and tell him that they’ll only tell him where to find the ring when they’ve seen that Angel’s alive. Spike takes them to the warehouse. Once there, Doyle tosses the ring into a patch of sunlight, and says that now Spike has the ring and they have Angel, so they can both just walk away. Spike’s all “OH PUH-LEEEZE!!” At which point, Oz’s van smashes through the wall of the warehouse. He screeches to a halt, and covers Cordy and Doyle with a crossbow in each hand as they rescue Angel. Oz is a BAMF here, and I love him so much.

They load Angel into the van and pull out as Spike discovers the ring is gone. Cut to Lasso Guy walking into the sun and grinning evilly.

In the warehouse, Spike throws another hissy fit, which leads to a monologue so long that he doesn’t realise he’s standing in one of the bullet holes of sunlight until his hair catches on fire. LOL. This, I feel, is an excellent time to mention that James Marsters had to bleach his hair EVERY TEN DAYS FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TIME AS SPIKE. Holy crap, you guys. Ow.

Cut to a beach, where Lasso Guy is staring at all the pretty tanned people. Over in the van, the gang are discussing whether to take Angel to a hospital or wing it themselves. Angel tells them to turn around because Lasso Guy has a thing for kids. a) EW and b) Oz pulls one hell of a slingshot turn in response.

Lor: Also, while I appreciate everyone’s concern: Angel = vampire. Undead. Heals quickly. Hospital? Really?

K: He heals quickly, but not INSTANTLY, so I guess it was just reflex? Or stupidity. Who knows. Back at the pier, Lasso Guy approaches a scout troop. In a nice piece of contrivance, Oz drives up the pier and right into him, throwing him through the air. There’s a minor fight between Lasso Guy and Doyle before Angel throws himself out of the van. He bursts into flames, runs into Lasso Guy and throws both of them off the pier and into the water.

Under the pier, Angel and Lasso Guy are fighting, which involves some rather serious structural damage to the pier. This reminds me of my brother (a structural engineer)’s response to seeing The Avengers: “I think Joss Whedon has a very flawed understanding of structural integrity.” ANYWAY. Angel shoves Lasso Guy onto a convenient piece of wood and yanks the ring off his finger. Lasso Guy turns to dust. Angel puts the ring on and walks out into the sun for the first time in 225-ish years. (L: Except for these past few episodes in which he’s been dabbling in sunlight.)  (True) The gang come running up. He thanks Oz for his critical help, and Oz’s response is “You’re…INCREDIBLY pale“, which cracks me up.

Sweeney: The fact that he comments on it multiple times is excellent. It’s great because it’s less of his usual deadpan and more genuine shock.

K: It’s also hilarious on account of HE’S GINGER, and therefore incredibly pale himself. For Oz to comment on how pale someone is, they must resemble a piece of blank A4 paper. On top of a skyscraper, Angel’s watching the sunset. He tells Doyle that he’s not going to wear the ring, on account of he’s not worthy and it interferes with his brooding schedule or some shit.

Lor: A+. He shouldn’t wear the ring on account of how easy it is to steal, apparently. But his stupid ass “I’m not worthy” explanation or whatever was LAME with a capital UGH.

Sweeney: Agreed. I almost mentioned this earlier but it’s more appropriate here. This speech confused me. Since we saw it stolen from two separate vamps, it’s slightly less fool-proof than one might expect. That, to me, is the primary reason to destroy the thing. I kept waiting for him to bring that up and then he didn’t and I was annoyed. Fail.

K: And surely you’d keep it super hidden for special occasions/emergencies?? I mean, it’s not like any vampires that come after it are going to believe you if you go “Oh, I destroyed it so it didn’t interfere with my brooding.” STUPID. As the sun sinks below the horizon, he smashes the ring with a brick.

Welp. Nice try, Buff…


Next time on Angel: Some woman has a creepy stalker with detachable body parts and that really is a new breed of creepy stalker for the Snark Squad. Tune in for S01 E04 – I Fall to Pieces.


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Now people pay me to edit YouTube videos. The circle of life. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

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  • Angi Black

    So I’m going to comment on both of today’s blogs here because 1) there were 50+ comments and I’m too lazy to keep hitting load comments and 2) Angel had none, so there.

    Ok first – Yes, I hate that Whedon jacks with Buffy and sex but really, what teenage girl has a great sex life? Or relationship? It’s good for like a minute and then it’s eh or meh or bad because she’s growing and learning what she does and doesn’t want on top of being the slayer. As much as I love BAMF Buffy, I also love spineless, makes bad decisions, acts like a normal girl Buffy. That’s what makes us love her. She has all this power and then…can’t take a god awful ugly ring to the ex she still loves because daylight or not – she still has magic man-withering vagina and really, who can’t relate to that? Or you know, the normal people version of it?

    Second – I love Spike – on both episodes and the first time I watched Buffy I did remember JM being as sexy as he is this time. But holy hell, sex on a stick. I saw him at Dragoncon this past year and he is still.. just amazingly funny and sexy as hell. This really has no point.

    About this episode of Angel, this was the episode when I thought, why couldn’t have Oz moved to LA instead of Cordy. But knowing the future on both shows, I suppose I’ll bide my time since it does work out well. But still, More Oz. all the time. Why did he never get his own spin off?

    The first five episodes of Angel are really just getting their legs in this show. After that, I enjoy it so much more. I’m amazed at but suffice it to say, despite man melting vaginas, plot holes due to weak structural integrity and Contrivance U – whedon is an effing genius and could pretty much rule the world.

    P.s. Xander is Whedon??? Whut????

    • OZ ON ANGEL. That hadn’t even occurred to me, but you’re right — it would have been amazing if he’d moved to LA, you know, aside from cheating us out of adorable Willow/Oz time.

      • Jojo

        I am corrupted – I read OZ ON ANGEL and I immediately think of slash fic!

  • Polge Clément

    I like to think that Doyle sniffed Angel’s odor rather than the ring, because otherwise it would mean that THE ONE LOST RING OF ULTIMATE POWER LOST FOR MILLENIUM was actually sniffable by a porcupine demon.

    The torture scene is kinda meh, but I like that Angel fails to kill lasso guy, because that would have been a lame escape “oh i’ll just use that poker that Spike conveniently left there.”

    And I love that line about Spike having a well thought-out plan, but just deciding to go kick Angel’s ass 🙂

    • Oh, I agree entirely — he was smelling Angel, rather than the ring.

      And +1 to how ridiculous it would have been if he’d managed to escape that way.

  • Danna

    One minute Angel is hurt so badly they want to take him to the hospital. Five minutes later, he is in a fight to the death with a bad ass vampire. And wins. I guess vampires really do heal fast.

    • Jojo

      Wouldn’t the EMTs have a real surprise as they rush him into the sunlight? Or, even better,wouldn’t the emergency staff freak out at this dead guy – with ho heartbeat or blood pressure – is sitting up talking?

      • Jojo

        I meant no heartbeat – but ho heartbeat would be a good song title.

      • Poor, terrified hypothetical EMT!

  • Jen

    This episode is only so-so for me, especially with Angel’s weird, faulty logic about not wearing the ring, but it’s got some great moments:

    1.) Spike’s mocking voice-over at the beginning. Hilarious.
    2.) Oz. Basically throughout the episode.
    3.) Angel’s flaming tackle of PedoVamp. Angel seems to get seriously beat-up on his own show a lot more often than Buffy does on hers, so I appreciate his BAMF moments. Though, of course, BAMF Buffy is also awesome.

    • Word. All of these moments are fantastic.

  • Jojo

    Okay – another country heard from here. I think that Spike has an excellent plan and does a great job carrying it through. First he shows up and lets Angel know he is in town with a lovely fight that ends up with Angel damn near humping Spike on the car….gives new meaning to that ‘load of sexual tension” line. He even tells Angel that he no longer has a plan because he was too impatient. Since Angel considers Spike a moron, he’s playing right into that assumption.

    (Love the little – “Cordelia, you look great! Have you been working out?”).

    Next, Spike lets someone know that they need to betray him – and he place himself conveniently right outside the door. Look at the girl he was supposedly attacking – there are no bite marks on her. Then he leads Angel right into the trap. His real stupidity is assuming that torture-pedo vamp wouldn’t want the ring. And the wild card is that Oz is in town with the van.

    Getting rid of the ring is necessary because if Angel had the ring then he would be pretty much invincible and then – why watch? But I really think they could have come up with a far better reason to get rid of it, on Angel’s side. Like – now that vamps know the ring exists, I will spend the rest of my life being attacked by vamps who want the ring….okay, maybe there is no good excuse.

    I didn’t mind Doyle sniffing because we already know that both vamps and werewolves have an enhanced ability to smell – so why not porcupine-demons?

    • SnazzyO

      IA that Spike is actually is pretty smart and had a decent plan. That said, I think he DOES get bored easily so I’m not sure he didn’t get jump the gun cause he had antsy pants.

      I also like his statement of independence at the end — although it was a little sad. Really tho, his “partners” have caused him more harm than good in his various schemes.

    • I’m absolutely with you in that in the end, I kind of had a feeling that going and taunting Angel was a plan in its own. He announced his presence and had Angel came looking for him and played right into what Spike had set up. He keeps looking for these other vamps and big bads to help him, though and they never do.

      My brain immediately went to him sniffing out the ring which made me laugh. Someone else here in the comments suggested he was smelling for Angel… but like two seconds after they mention that Angel frequently uses this sewer channel. He would’ve smelled Angel all over. Clearly, he smelled the ring. He is a ring smelling demon. HEADCANNON.

      • Jojo

        Wow – you are good! You know, it never even occurred to me that the sewers would smell like Angel. I’m still at the – why are these sewers so big when no one in LA flushes? Because if they did then Angel would smell like shit. In fact, all vamps would and that makes for a whole new ASSCANNON!

        I wonder if it hurts to have all those spikes come out of your face and why you wouldn’t look like a pizza face after.

        Spikes…back to dirty!bad!wrong!

  • ” I mean, it’s not like any vampires that come after it are going to
    believe you if you go “Oh, I destroyed it so it didn’t interfere with my
    brooding.” ”

    At the time, Spike (and Harmony) are the only two vampires who know that the ring exists, and Spike’s the only one who knows Angel has it. So it’s unlikely any such vampires would come looking for it with Angel if he destroys it. If he were to use it, then word would get out, and he’d be every vampire’s target.

  • “Sweeney: Agreed. I almost mentioned this earlier but it’s more appropriate here. This speech confused me. Since we saw it stolen from two separate vamps, it’s slightly less fool-proof than one might expect. That, to me, is the primary reason to destroy the thing. I kept waiting for him to bring that up and then he didn’t and I was annoyed. Fail.”

    This. I have only seen this episode once before and was so sure this was he reason he gave for destroying it. I must have invented that in desperation because it just seems so obvious.
    Creepy Nazi/Dentist torture guy was a good villain of the week though.

    Looking forward to the recap of the stalker that makes Christian Grey look sane and healthy…

    • So, I don’t fully retract that statement, but I like SnazzyO’s rather eloquent defense of the speech, right above this comment. Worth reading if you have a second.


  • SnazzyO

    Arggg. I had to leave right before this post went up so you’ve all left now and I have no one to comment party with. *pouts*

    Aaaaanyway, short thoughts:

    – I’m glad you posted the entire Spike “voiceover” scene — that is a DEFINITE top moment for me of S1. Think about it..they lampshade their own show in the 3rd episode! And Spike does it so brilliantly.

    – There were a lot of “credits” moments in this episode. Hippie Girl cowering is a memorable one that you never remember where you saw it — it was this episode.

    – There were a lot of contrivances this ep but I can fanon them away easily enough (Angel told Giles where he was in case of emergencies, Doyle sniffed Angel’s last location, etc..)

    – Am I the only person who seriously thought this was Anthony Edwards as Lasso guy (to the extent that I had to look on ImDB the first time I saw this episode)? I knew it was impossible but he looked like a skinny AE to me.

    S1 of Angel has some WTF.moments but I like the grown-up vibe the show is consistently giving. I like that Angel knew that Hippie Girl was likely going to call Abuser and that it wasn’t over done. It’s an uglier world than Sunnydale for human reasons, as opposed to the Hellmouth which drives the Big Bads. I agree that the Angel’s speech about destroying the ring was soft (sidebar: We had a Legolas action figure that said “the ring must be destoryed” that my son played CONSTANTLY for about 2 months… I generally think Rings of Power must be smashed because Orlando Bloom’s voice brain washed me that this is the response to Rings of Power). But I thought his point was not just that he wants to be Broodermeister Meisterbrooder but that he felt his job was to be a Champion for the forgotten. Not that he’s had wealthy customers, but he clearly feels for the “helpless”. So I think they should have said something along the lines: ‘there’s a hundred good reasons to keep this ring, another hundred good reasons to destroy it — like not having to fight off every vampire who wants the ring — but I’m not going to keep it because it’s be too tempting to forget that I need to stick to the shadows because it’s what I do best and where I’m needed most.’ Or something similar. I’m also okay with him saying he hasn’t earned it yet…because he hasn’t.

    Also, Giles bitched at him in “Amends” about getting too complacent about his soul… I wish he had used the word “complacent” because then we could have rationalized that he was also worried about soul lossage if he gets too cocky (OY! Look at that PUN!….I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed).

    • Proud, definitely proud. I love this comment and this whole logic about the speech. Something in the delivery was weird/off for me, but I’m fully behind this reasoning.

      Also, this comment on the series itself: It’s an uglier world than Sunnydale for human reasons, as opposed to the Hellmouth which drives the Big Bads.


      Basically, I love this comment. 1430 for you.

      • SnazzyO

        **giggles with girlish delight at my 1430** Thankyou!

  • JR

    I actually really like the torture scenes this episode, which I don’t know how to say without sounding like a psychopath or something, I’d say it was only for the entertainment value but I suspect that sounds worse. I think Lasso Guy is a fantastic foil for Spike, his calm and systematic torture is a wonderful contrast with Spike’s impatience. This rewatch Lasso Guy reminded me a little of Oswald Danes in Torchwood: Miracle Day with his lack of any empathy whatsoever and, frankly, the revelry in that lack of empathy is as fascinating as it is stomach-turning.

    Also, I like the link in titles between “The Harsh Light of Day” and “In the Dark”. Although it probably has more to do with the effects of the Gem of Amarra than being a conscious tie between episodes it is still a nice touch and as I remember it isn’t the last time that happens.

    • I didn’t even notice the title link! Very cool.

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  • Lougarry

    That ring’s like the elder wand. No good can come of it.

    • Clément Polge

      The elder wand sounds like a euphemism for Angel’s penis.

    • Every time I see (or read, but I watch the movies more often than I re-read) Harry pitch the Elder Wand I”m like, “WHAT? NO.” Clearly, I don’t have the greater good in mind.

  • SonicRulez

    I love that Spike takes a dig at Angel for his “nancy-boy hair gel” when his hair is….well what it is. I get why Angel smashes the Gem. It’s a cheat.