Season 1 Episode 7

Bachelor Party

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 16, 1999 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
476 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Just as Doyle is inches away from finally making a connection with Cordy, his estranged wife shows up at Angel Investigations begging for a divorce so that she can marry the new love of her life. After the initial shock, he consents to the divorce. Doyle agrees to attend the new groom's bachelor party, but soon finds out that the groom's family have some very unusual customs where ex-husbands are concerned.moreless

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  • "The Bachelor Party" starts, as so many episodes in this fictional universe wonderfully do, with some on-topic discussion.

    Doyle is unhappy with the current situation, being stuck around the office. As a marvelously gowned Cordelia leaves with a high class date, he laments his complete lack of a chance with the Sunnydale ditz, playing further into his self-pity over his much loathed half-demon side. This is Doyle's major problem as we've seen him so far, and as we find out, has plagued him for many years: He can't accept, let alone embrace his demon side, and it has caused far more trouble than simple Cordelia-related anxieties.

    The arrival of his ex-wife Harry sends him into a searing tailspin of emotion as we can see from the first moment they lock eyes. Glen Quinn, whose charisma makes his character so entertaining and fun to watch, significantly steps up his acting throughout this story. The depth and vulnerability brought to the table in the quiet scenes with Harry, as well as Doyle's inner conflict and finally his acceptance towards the end, would've been just been a consequence of the writing if not for the work of the talented Quinn.

    The whole meat of the episode is strictly about his character, and while we've only gotten shady hints about his life thus far we are at last given some real substance in exchange for the wait. Allen Francis Doyle, as he informs us is his full name, was an upright citizen; a young man of twenty who loved his wife madly, volunteered to help the needy and taught third grade at a school. It seems akin to an old-fashioned American parable: the poor man who has nothing, and yet everything.

    This is probably the best episode since "In the Dark" and it's easily the most important. It carries a simple morality tale, the moral of which is: Be true to yourself. Having discovered his half-demon heritage a little over a year after being married, Doyle claims through all his years that Harry had rejected him because of it, becoming angrier and harder to live with when she supposedly "pitied" him with her understanding. When he discovers that her new fiancee Richard is also a half-demon, he comes to the blinding revelation that it wasn't pity, and that all that's been done was truly his doing, hence he signs the divorce papers.

    Later, when Richard invites Doyle to his Bachelor Party, his thoughts are still swirling even to the zero hour, but he eventually decides that he now has a chance to forgive himself and finally make his wife happy the way he never could, and gives his blessing to the new marriage. This is an admirable act from a really good guy, who we can tell truly still loves Harry, and it represents an important first step towards accepting both his past and his present. Though, he still some issues to conquer, retracting his demon face quickly when Cordelia arrives on the scene.

    The plot itself is basic, but like so much of S1 has its charm in its execution. Cliche's are amply kicked out here when Richard turns out to be a demon, but Harry knows and appreciates it; she's an ethnodemonologist. And, the whole twist about demonic culture and the eating of Doyle's brains to bless the marriage made for some good comedy, and a decent fight sequence. This episode's plot is also important in helping to establish the mythology that makes AtS more than a differently-named show with the same kind of monsters as BtVS. We've seen that monsters in Angel's world are not just pure, mindless evil, but are capable of human fallacies such as inadequacy and desperation.

    Today's lesson is deceit, among other things. Like a human man can, Richard is already keeping secrets from his wife to be. But that's not even the most interesting thing about his family, as this episode is the first of many in the series to purport that not all demons are dangerous or evil, but are in fact assimilated into society, hold their differences as mere culture, and live just like the rest of us; distinction is important, lest one becomes a mindless killer themselves. But then again, is Richard's clan all that trustworthy? Apparently not, as their demonic side is seems more dominant than their human side, leaving them with no ethical quandaries over killing Doyle to gain their blessing.

    But, this does bring me to my only real problem with this episode, and it's a problem that hurts AtS' mythology as a whole: The unanswered question of a half-demon's soul. The Buffyverse has taught us that the soul gives an individual the ability to determine right from wrong. We also know that every demon that exists on Earth has to have some part of it that is human, as pure demons no longer exist in the human dimension. Finally, the lack of a soul tends to make someone amoral, completely selfish and otherwise a killing machine, or at least capable of feeling no guilt for any such sin.

    Doyle clearly has a soul, though we're not sure about Richard's Ano Movic clan. They're capable of murder, and clearly feel no guilt, but humans can be too. We're led to assume that the clan is leaning towards soulless evil, but killing in the name of revered culture is something humans have done for thousands of years with no hesitation or remorse. Do they lack souls? Or are they just dogmatic? Could they be both? Some demons are hung up on their heritage, and kill for ritualistic purposes. Unanswered questions such as these bug me here, as well as in several other episodes and the distinctions, to my knowledge, are never fully explained. I'll go more in depth on the subject in my review of "Hero" where it's more relevant, and actually wounds the episode; in this episode it's just a nagging misfortune, since the writers do at least try to give us an answer.

    Angel's and Cordelia's roles in this episode are that of side players while their friend at last takes the stage, but there is one scene with Angel that rounds out his part: the conversation about breakups. Just as Doyle and Harry knew not the demon inside him, Angel and Buffy couldn't have predicted his. It's a really good comparison, and I liked exactly how Doyle described the pain and power of young love. There's also some important development for Cordy. Her fancy, upscale date not only bores her with his shallowness, but is a complete coward, thoughtlessly abandoning her with no second thought when a vampire attacks them walking back to the office. Doyle manages to save her, and it causes a conflict in her mind. Of course she's Cordelia Chase, 'Blue Box' champion and the Bitch Queen of Sunnydale, but that doesn't stop her from recognizing what she calls substance; she's moved by Doyle's sole concern for her well-being, even after he takes a tough beating himself.

    It's the same reason her relationship with Xander Harris was a natural fit: She's still a decent human being with needs that transcend the materialistic, and she's beginning to see that Doyle can fulfill some of those needs. That she takes an interest in him, and genuinely tries to make him feel better after the party shows the turn their relationship has taken; substance.

    And, aside from the questions surrounding the demon clan, this episode fails to fail in any way, in terms of both entertainment value and impact. I particularly liked how Richard counter pointed Doyle, and the dialogue for all the characters was sharp and pointed.moreless
  • Mrs Doyle?

    The Bachelor Party

    The Good; a lovely ep for Doyle adding a lot more depth to his character whilst providing some pretty gruesome comedy. Also like Doyle and Angel vetting CC's date, really gives them a sense of family.

    The Bad; SUCH a shame we never see Harry again, that would have been terrific. Does she even know Doyle died?

    Best line:

    Cordy; "Doyle taught 3rd grade. The kind with children. Are you sure he wasn't just held back and that was his cover story?"

    I also like Harry's aghast "Stripper! There was a stripper?"

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Eating brains? Yuck! Would anyone really like Quails' tongues?

    Apocalypses: 4

    Angel Cliches

    Damsel in distress; nope, 2.

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche; friendly demons for the first time

    In disguise; 2.

    DB get's his shirt off; 2

    Cordy's tatto;2

    Cheap Angel; the first sign of Angel's notorious meaness as he refers to the resteraunt's suprisingly expensive windows

    Fang Gang in bondage: Doyle in the box

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 4

    Wes: 1

    Doyle; 1

    Fang gang knocked out: Angel

    Cordy: 8

    Angel: 8

    Wes: 1

    Doyle; 1


    Cordy: none this ep. 3 vamps, a demon from her time in Sunnydale

    Angel: 2 vamps for Angel. So that gives Angel 10 vamps, 3 demons, 2 humans.

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    What happens to the female vamp at the nest? Does she just run away? Note Cordy actually bites the vamp who attacks her?

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 1

    Angel: 1

    Alternate Fang Gang:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 4

    Characters killed:


    Total number of Angel Investigations:

    3, Angel, Doyle and Cordy

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 5,

    Packing Heat

    Doyle; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost: Cordy has a date with Mr Armani but he doesn't even get a kiss

    Cordy: 1?

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Kinky dinky:

    The stripper. Is she human or demon? Either way she wears WAAAYYYY too much eyeshadow. Also Harry has bought herself a a nightie for her honeymoon small enough to fit into a matchbox. The girls meanwhile play pornographic pictionary. Doyle asks if Buffy likes men with an Irish accent (has she ever met one?). Apparently the demon women have legs that can bend multipile ways and this is an aid in the sack?

    Captain Subtext;

    Doyle and Angel's charm seems to be gradually working on CC.

    Know the face, different character;

    2 Carlos Jacott who plays Richard was Ken in the Buffy ep Anne.

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Questions and observations;

    A good episode, fun and fleshing out the characters. Cordy refers to Xander as a fixer-upper. Our first set of friendly demons but not THAT friendly. It seems very much that demons in the Buffyverse are slowly being won over to the ways of humanity (ESPN). Some great heroism from Doyle and a very nice double act from Cordy and Harry. Despite Doyle's relating Angel's lifestory to him in City of Angels it seems he's never actually seen Buffy.

    Marks out of 10; 6/10, good ep

  • My Best Friend's Brain-Eating Wedding

    We already know a lot about our two main protagonists on Angel, but we hardly know anything about are beloved Doyle. In this episode, we discover his past and the human life he had tried to carve out for himself. We even find out his full name!

    In The Bachelor Party, Doyle's ex-wife Harry turns up, asking for his blessing to get married to her fiancée, Richard. Angel and Doyle soon discover that Richard is actually a demon and that the "blessing" isn't just to accept their marriage but in fact to let Richard's demon family eat Doyle's brains!

    Although this episode has a lot of brilliant characterization and there's some impressive comedy sequences, it's quite a thin plotline and the revelation that Harry's new fiancée is a demon is hardly surprising.

    Glenn Quinn is excellent throughout and shows various different emotions as Doyle, who beforehand was mainly a one-note character who was appeared to only be in the show for his visions and some light comic relief.

    David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter, even with their limited screentime, are also excellent and Cordelia has a hilarious scene in which she breaks into the bachelor party wielding a silver plate, eager to hit any demon in her way.

    The Bachelor Party is hardly anything special but succeeds in it's main mission: to let the audience find out more about Doyle. Simple.

    Director: David Straiton

    Writer: Tracey Stern

    Rating: Cmoreless
  • 'All of a sudden rich and handsome isn't enough for me. Now I expect a guy to be all brave and interesting.'

    ‘The Bachelor Party’ is the first Doyle-centric episode, the episode any Doyle fan was waiting for.

    Doyle is a character that anyone loved at first sight, an episode about him should and could have been better. But still, it wasn’t bad, not at all.

    In this episode Cordy finally begins to figure out that there is more about Doyle than meets the eye. She finds out after going out on a date with a guy and realised that he’s too boring for her and now she wants a guy to be more than just rich and pretty. On her way home a vampire is waiting to kill Doyle but attacks her instead, her boytoy flees away like a coward but Doyle comes in the rescue and kills the vampire and saves her and the first thing he asks her is ‘You Ok’?

    Cordelia is completely fascinated by that and tells it to Angel, but now she realised that she may have to kill herself for it. But then she decides to asks Doyle out anyway. Then walks a woman into the office, her name is Harry and Doyle introduced her to Cordy as his wife.

    I really adored Cordy’s reactions to everything. Angel didn’t really mind Doyle being married and when Harry ‘s new husband walks in Angel takes Cordy out of the room. Harry wants Doyle to sign the divorce papers.

    I felt bad for Doyle but it was great to learn more about him. His insecurities with being a half demon which drove him and Harry apart. Doyle makes Angel spy on the guy and finds out that Harry’s new husband is a demon but his kind is ‘peaceful’, yea right. So anyway, Harry says that the reason she left Doyle was because he changed after he found out he was a demon and it became impossible to live with him. So she left because of the human and not the demon.

    Both Doyle and Cordy are invited to the bachelor party’s, Doyle takes Angel to Richard’s but the cousins don’t seem to like Angel and when Angel discovers what they are up to they knock him out and throw him out of a window.

    The problem with this episode was the bachelor party, the stripper was just a bad addition to the episode and so were those terribly irritating demons. Then Doyle gives away his blessing and is put into a box, Richard is going to cannibalise his brain which will make his marriage with Harry turn out for the best.

    Meanwhile Harry and Cordelia know what is going to happen and they leave for the party. When Harry sees everything she asks Richard and explanation but he can’t marry unless he eats Doyle so she gives him back the ring and walks away.

    The best thing about this episode was Doyle and ofcourse Cordy beating him when thinking he was one of the bad guys. But the party really brings down an episode that could have been much better.

    The other storyline is Doyle finally seeing a picture of Buffy, at the end of the episode he has a vision of her in trouble which goes on in ‘Pangs’.

  • The unfortunate scheduling of being aired right before the best episode of the series.

    Don't get me wrong, Angel is one of my favorite shows all-time, but this was an episode I just really didn't get into. Of course, even the worst episode of Angel is better than a alot of episodes from other series, but this episode still is ranked last in my book. Of course, I think it is due to the fact that it is right before the best episode of the series "I Will Remember You."

    In this episode we learn a lot about Doyle and his past, and I feel that Cordelia starts to mature a bit as she begins to see Doyle in a different way. Of course the only real bright spot, is Doyle's vision at the end of Buffy in danger, which sets up the crossover to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 episode "Pangs."


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Angel has a trickle of blood on his left temple that disappears when he changes to his vampire face before going back into the restaurant to save Doyle.

    • Angel casts a reflection in the glass of the restaurant's front door.

    • If Harry had actually been studying demons in Kiribati, she would have known it is pronounced "Kiribass."

    • When Angel first meets Richard in the office, Angel's hands and head alternate rapidly between continuous shots. His hands are behind his back then in his pockets, while his head is bowed and then erect.

    • During the first act, when Richard transforms into demon-appearance, you can see that the make-up on his hands ends right above the wrist and you can see normal skin.

    • When Harry walks into the office, the cross Doyle is wearing jumps in-out-in from his t-shirt in sequential shots.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Uncle John: Yeah, who wants a wife whose knees only bend one way?

    • Uncle John: Nick, what's this?
      Nick: You said [to] get a utensil.
      Uncle John: This is a shrimp fork.
      Nick: (in exasperation) Well, pardon me if our ancestors didn't leave behind any ex-husband brain-eating forks.

    • Harriet: I'm definitely the yin to his yang, but it works. He's got a good heart, Francis, just like you.
      Doyle: Yeah, maybe. But the container -- can I get a side of bland to go with that bland?

    • Cordelia: Well, someone has to go out there and cheer him up. (Angel stands up) Oh please. Someone with a heartbeat.

    • Cordelia: Hi Doyle. Are you gonna become loser pining guy, like, full time? 'Cuz we already have one of those around the office.
      Angel: Hey!
      Doyle: Hey!
      Cordelia: He can get away with it. He's tall, and look at the way clothes hang on him. But you...
      Angel: Okay. I think you've cheered us up enough.

    • Harry: One word, Francis. Just one word and I'll eat your brains.

    • Harry: Were you or were you not intending to eat my ex-husband's brains?
      Richard: In a way...
      Harry: And when were you planning on telling me?
      Richard: I thought maybe I wouldn't have to.
      Harry: You were going to start our life out together with deceit?
      Doyle: Sort of missing the point, isn't she?

    • Aunt: Come on girls. It's pornographic Pictionary time!
      Harry: Their ways are not... our ways.

    • Harry: Richard said having the former husband present was some sort of tradition. I was just wondering...
      Aunt: Well, they're certainly not going to eat your ex-husband's brains... for instance.

    • Harry: Sometimes I felt like I was one of his students.
      Cordelia: That's funny. For a moment, I thought you said one of Doyle's students.
      Harry: It wasn't fun being treated like a third grader, believe me.
      Cordelia: Grade third taught Doy... Doyle taught third grade? The kind with children? Are you sure he wasn't just held back and used that as his cover story?

    • Uncle John: Let's see. First we greet the man of the hour. Then we drink. Bring out the food. Then drink. Then comes the stripper. Darts. And then we have the ritual eating of the first husband's brains. Then charades.
      Brother: Wait! What was that? ... Charades?

    • Doyle: You know they have trivia games on the Internet now? You can challenge against drunks from all around the world.

    • Cordelia: So here I am at Le Petit Renard with Mr. Armani, who could keep me in blue boxes for the rest of my life...
      Angel: Blue boxes?
      Cordelia: Tiffany's! God!

    • Cordelia: I was thinking that maybe I haven't been entirely fair to you. Maybe you don't actually have zero potential.
      Doyle: Wow, Cordelia. Thanks.

    • Uncle John: We don't flaunt our beliefs, but they're very near and dear to us.
      Harry: Oh, please Uncle John. When's the last time you pried yourself away from ESPN long enough to spill the blood of a she-goat?

    • Cordelia: Maybe Doyle does have hidden depths. I mean, really *really* hidden. But depths. And I'm gonna have to buy him a mochaccino for saving my life.

    • Cordelia: All I could think about was if this wimp ever saw a monster he'd probably throw a shoe at it and run like a weasel. Turns out the shoe part was giving him too much credit.

    • Cordelia: Doyle was pretty beat up, but do you know the first thing he asked? "Are you okay?" I mean, that's like... substance, right?
      Angel: There's definitely more to Doyle than meets the eye.
      Cordelia: So I've got to kill myself. I swore when I went down this road with Xander Harris, I'd rather be dead than date a fixer-upper again.

    • Doyle: The only money in my family is underneath the couch cushions.

    • Doyle: Are you okay?
      Cordelia: I'm fine. That were so...brave!
      Doyle: You think you could say that again without so much shock in your voice? You're stepping on my moment of manliness here.
      Cordelia: I'm sorry. I'm... just...
      Doyle: Surprised?
      Cordelia: Grateful.

    • Cordelia: (to Angel) All of a sudden, rich and handsome isn't good enough for me. Now I expect a guy to be all brave, and interesting — and it's your fault! Both of you.

    • Richard: You're not trying to back out, are you? Not after you gave your blessing.
      Doyle: Yeah, yeah I take it back!
      Richard: Well, I see. Now I'm not so sure I even want to eat your brains!

    • Cordelia: Nice guys don't always finish last.
      Doyle: You think I'm a nice guy?
      Cordelia: I think it, I say it. It's my way.

    • Richard: He's right. That was rude. I'd be honored to eat your brains.

  • NOTES (4)

    • It is revealed (or at least confirmed) that Doyle is stronger in his demon form than in his human one.

    • We learn that Doyle was married to Harry, with divorce in this episode, and his full name of Allen Francis Doyle.

    • The ending of this episode briefly sets the stage for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel crossover, as Doyle has a vision of Buffy in trouble. This story is continued in the Buffy episode "Pangs" (4x08) and the Angel episode "I Will Remember You" (1x08).

    • The actor who plays Richard is one of the few "hat trick" actors who has appeared in all three of Joss Whedon's television series. Carlos Jacott has also appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing Ken in the Season 3's "Anne" (3x01), and played Lawrence Dobson in the Firefly episode "Serenity."


    • Cordelia: I think it, I say it. It's my way.
      This may be a reference to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer epsisode "Earshot" (3x18). In that episode, Buffy gains the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her. In most cases, she "hears" one thought, but the person then says something at least slightly different. Cordelia, however, is shown to say exactly what she thinks no matter how people will take it.

    • Doyle: Yeah, well, maybe I should get my people to look over this before I go ahead. Just to make sure I'm not buying an ostrich farm.
      In the late 1980's and early 1990's because of the health conscious craze hitting North America and the desire for leaner cuts of meat, some people went into ostrich farming thinking that it would be the next big thing. However, the meat really never caught on and most people ended up losing money on the deal.