Season 5 Episode 1


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 01, 2003 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
407 votes
  • Settling in


    The Good;

    Angel vs the ops team and Charley Gunn/Harmony coming to the rescue. Plus Spanky! Also love the ritual sacrifice gag and Lorne's vetting of the staff (what would you sing? Wichita Limeman myself).

    The Bad;

    Disagree with Joss, evil people never believe they're evil, they always believe they're the justified victims.

    Best line;

    Goon; (after Angel blows Hauser's head off) "What about mercy?"

    Angel; "He got the last of it"

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Nasty disease pictures and a vile villain.

    Apocalypses: bad for LA but not the rest of the world 5

    Angel Cliches

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche; despite his cynicism towards WR&H and characteristic dourness Angel can't help squealing with joy at the sight of his collection of classic muscle cars (although his yellow charger looks horrible!). On the minus side note that Hauser note only packs a different weapon to the rest of his team but is the only one unmasked for much of the time to distinguish him from the others, such a Hollywood cliche.

    In disguise; 8

    DB get's his shirt off; 13

    Cheap Angel; 6

    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 14

    Wes: 7

    Gunn; 5

    Lorne; 5

    Fred; 3

    Fang gang knocked out: not on screen but Angel get's knocked out by Caleb whilst visiting Buffy in Sunnydale

    Cordy: 15

    Angel: 18

    Wes: 7

    Doyle; 1

    Gunn; 2

    Lorne; 6

    Groo; 1

    Connor; 1

    Faith; 1

    Fred; 2

    Kills; 1 vamp and at least 2 humans for Angel.

    Cordy: 5 vamps, 3 demons

    Angel; 45 vamps, 59 and 1/2 demons, 5 zombies, 10 humans

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 14 demons+5 vamps, 5 zombies, 2 humans

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 18 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Gunn; 11 vamps+ 13 demons, 5 zombies, 1 human.

    Groo; 1 demon

    Fred; 3 vamps+ 2 demon, 5 zombies

    Connor; 16 vamps, 5 zombies, 2 demons, Jasmine

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 3

    Angel: 3

    Gunn; 1

    Wes; 1

    Alternate Fang Gang;

    Cordy: 4

    Angel: 11

    Fred; 2

    Wes; 1

    Gunn; 1

    Connor; 1

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations; 5

    Angel, Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Wes,

    Angel Investigations shot: yep, Angel by Hauser's men

    Angel: 13

    Wes; 2

    Packing heat; Wes' backup plan for the bad guy not getting acquitted is his .45 automatic. How did he get that into the courtroom? Angel kills Hauser using his own shotgun.

    Wes; 8

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 4

    Gunn; 2

    Fred; 2

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 5 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast+Phantom Dennis+Groo+Connor plus possibly the Beast

    Angel: 5; Buffy, Darla and The Transcending Furies

    Wes; 3 definite; Virginia, the bleached blonde and Lilah, 1 possible, Justine

    Gunn; 2 Fred and Gwen.

    Fred; 1 Gunn

    Groo; 1Cordy

    Kinky dinky:

    The wonderfully named Spanky who has his own fetish website and lots of S&M gear to prove it. One popular fan theory is that this is the guy Faith used to dress up as a naughty schoolgirl for and let him punish her? He certainly has a bullwhip. When Angel asks if the gang heard about last night Gunn replies "You got lucky?". Harmony does a sexy little shimmy when she basks in the sunlight. Shirtless Gunn. Eve asks Angel what he'd like to have 'passing through her lips' (wait until Life of the Party and you'll find out!)

    Captain Subtext;

    Spanky doesn't spank men although he's fine with other people liking to (love the characterisation here, he's evil but he's not a bigot, spanking men just isn't his thing). Angel interestingly comments that he has NO problem spanking men. Hmmm? Hauser calls him a fairy.

    As Angel walks out of the school we see a series of kids posters above his head proclaiming "Respect, learn, know, show"

    Know the face, different character; 5

    Parking garages; where Angel meets Hauser


    Buffy characters on Angel; 16

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla, Dru, The Master, Anne, Willow and Harmony. POSSIBLY The First Evil

    What the fanficcers thought;

    Spanky a popular figure in some fanfic circles especially with Faith. In several slash fics Spanky has a slightly different fetish and Angel persuades him to come clean in a very different way.

    Questions and observations;

    LOVED Space; Above and Beyond, to my shame didn't recognise Rodney Rowland from it (he apparently was Gillian Anderson's boyfriend for a while, he was in the X-files ep with the Jodie Foster voiced tattoo). Remember 'Who watches the birds?' and thought it was brilliant although it actually has loads of dialogue in the flashback scenes. Also like "The Angriest Angel' which the writers of BSG also seemed to like as they freely adapted it for the ep with Scar the Cylon Raider. Loved Kristine Cloke and if they ever need someone to play Jennifer Connelly's sister (or indeed Megan Fox's) she's the girl which is pretty high praise in itself. Too bad they picked the most uncharismatic man in history to play the lead!

    David does look a bit fatter at the start of this and his hair more bouffant than ever. Fries won't let his son read The Punisher comics, probably because people like him would be number one on Frank Castle's neverending hitlist. Personally I never noticed the effects of the Bell's Palsy on Alexis, I don't know about you? Love Wes bashing Feng Shui and Lorne's ascots (so that Andy can wear less makeup). Not so sure about his polyester suit look, he looks like he could be appearing on Wonder Woman. Is it just me or do American apples look lovely but taste like cotton? Interesting gag that both the Kennedy's and Bush famillies have made deals with WR&H. If you're going to bash politicians you should do both sides. Note the little flash of the black panther when the screen flashes away from Gunn. For a moment I thought one of the nick-nacks Knox places on Fred's table is the puzzlebox from Hellraiser.

    Great to see Harmony back, in the pilot of Buffy and she'll be in the last ep ever of the Buffyverse too! Angel drinks coffee now, he must have taken it up since his Sunnydale days. Presumably Harmony can't really mourn for CC because she has no soul.

    What Twilight Zone ep is Joss referring to? Lorne seems a bit interested when Spanky is mentioned? Why does Spanky put on his bathrobe even if he's hot after exercising? To hide the harness for the wire gag his stuntman is about to do? His choke hold is rubbish, a 5 year old could get out of it.

    Is Hauser named after Cohegan's duplicitous henchman in Total Recall? Joss is a Law and Order fan, a show MT guested on. Wes know's Spike? They've never met as far as we know, maybe he read up on him after coming to Sunnydale?

    Joss is a little bit conflicted over his political views. He seems a trendy lefty but someone has obviously pointed out to him that his goodguy characters torture, kidnap and kill for the greater good more ruthlessly than the CIA ever did. His assertion that such things are best left in fiction sounds pretty weak. He also seems pretty knowledgable about The Punisher, probably the most right wing character in the history of comics.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10

  • Team Angel Moves In!

    Conviction-Angel and the group are still getting used to their ownership of Wolfram & Hart when one of their clients threatens to kill all of L.A. if they cannot get him acquitted in court. Meanwhile, the Senior Partners' liaison, Eve, introduces herself, Harmony becomes Angel's secretary, the Senior Partners grant Gunn new talents, and a mysterious envelope has been delivered.

    Not the best season premiere, but it gets the job done by setting up the new settings for our gang as well as establishing storylines for the rest of the season. Joss Whedon writes the gang's situation well throughout the episode. Everyone is still not sure about what taking over Wolfram and Hart means and if it was a good idea at all! I love the freshness of the new Wolfram and Hart, it gives our heroes a new challenge, especially some hilarious surprises. Like the teaser with Angel doing his usual "saving the damsel in distress" routine only to have half of Wolfram and Hart show up to back him up in the end. Then there's the return of Harmony, as Angel's assistant no less, who immediately re-joins the group with her ever cluelessness and over-doing things. The most interesting thing also about the new Wolfram and Hart opportunity is definately Gunn. It's finally great to see the character get some character development and (dare I say) better role in the gang. J. August always looks good in a suit and his infinite knowledge of law makes him more interesting as well makes you question what else could Wolfram and Hart have put in his head? But we all know that this upgrade for Gunn will come with a cost unfortunately in the latter half of the season. The storyline for the episode is pretty disturbing with a convict putting a mystical bomb inside of his own little son. Though it could have been better, the idea is still frightning. The fight scene between Angel and the SWAT team was very cool as you can tell the production has gotten sharper with the new setting. Not to mention, the shotgun manuever used on that guy...brutal yet effective finish! The only down side in the whole thing is Eve. While Sarah Thompson does her best to be ohh so convincing as an evil b!tch in disguise. She's just too young and innocent, and can't even hold a match, let alone a candle, to Lilah ! I just don't see why the writers never kept Lilah around for that part, ohh well! The episode ends with a suprise as the mystical amulet that Angel gave to Buffy is sent back to him and..."Spike!...Spiike!...Blondy Bear!" Uhh ohh! All and All, "Conviction" is a good opener not because the episode's storyline, but because it sets up the season quite well.
  • Conviction

    Conviction was a superb opening episode of Angel's Fifth and final season. I really enjoyed watching this episode as Angel and the gang try to find their way around and through Wolfram and Hart. Each person seems to be preoccupied with their own interests. I enjoyed seeing new and familiar faces in this episode. There was a Buffy Crossover from her season, Spike, who in her series finale wore a necklace that basically sealed the hell mouth and burned him to a cinder. I thought there was definitely a different tone to this season, yet a good mix of potential. There was action, character development, and classic humor. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!
  • The beginning of the last season of Angel.

    Conviction is a good but not amazing episode of Angel. It has some good scenes and good action and a good plot but it's quite forgettable and unremarkable. The first half of S5 is full of episodes like this and this is the main reason I'm not too fond of S5. The teaser is very good- it's sort of a welcome for new fans. It takes the basic premise of Angel- a vampire saving people and uses it effectively. It reminds me of the first episode- Angel saves a girl in an alley. Then W&H appear and reminds us that Angel is now in charge of them. It's a great teaser and sets the tone nicely. Unfortunately the rest of the episode goes downhill and this is where the show unfortunately reverts to the monster of the week format which I really don't like. I love arcs and so it's a big letdown after S4's amazing one. The Corbin Fries storyline was good but not really wow or anything. It's just sort of there. We all know Angel will save the day so there's no sense of danger at all. Add to that that Corbin Fries is an annoying, naueseating character to the mix and it's basically a redundant storyline.

    Another character I don't like is Knox. He's just really irritating and unfunny. It's like "Just kill him Fred!" His presence is anything but good and he's just a bad character. Eve is another annoying character- she's basically a less interesting version of Lilah, whom they really should have kept on. She was excellent and is sadly replaced by a younger, less attractive model.

    However, one new addition is good. Harmony was a delight in this episode, providing some good old ditzy humour. She's sort of a replacement for the old Cordelia, whereas Spike is replacement for the new Cordelia. Harmony has some great lines here and is a great addition to the show. Spike's entrance at the end is good- him just appearing out of an amulet. It was very good special effects and I was glad to see him, as he's a brilliant character.

    Conviction is an OK episode, if highly forgettable. It opens up the last season but is ultimately disappointing.
  • Angel takes over at W&H, but it seems he's still not really in charge. A snoozer of an opening episode for a new season. And what's with his hair?

    OK, you can see I was less than impressed with this episode. I guess everyone just needs some time to get into the swing of a new season, again, especially the writers. It will be interesting to see how Angel and the team adapt to dealing with evil and trying to make it work for them.
    Lorne seems to be ready to work with the new situation. Loved the line Angel says to Wesley: "You turned evil a lot faster then I thought you would."

    They all see some advantages to the new arrangement, but deep down they're afraid. I don't care at all for Eve, she's too cute to be a femme fatale, and she can't decide which one she wants to be. Of course I am comparing her to Lilah, whom I eventually grew to love over time. Brainy Gunn is going to take some getting used to, but I think I'll like him. Fred is not doing much for me yet. Harmony was a big disappointment for me. I loved VampHarmony in Buffy S4, and she was fun in "Disharmony," but now she's just trying too hard, or the writers aren't trying hard enough. In terms of special effects, I could live without the Matrix-style fight scene, but I'm afraid we're in for more of that this season!

    Onto the storyline of the episode, that their client, the evil Corbin Fries has hidden a deadly virus inside his son, interesting concept. It was a good example of a case for the team to work on, since obviously they don't want him to be let off, but if he is convicted he will kill not only his son but all of California. I enjoyed seeing them all work to their strengths to find the way to get out of this one. Angel chooses violence, Fred and Wesley research and Gunn, seemingly out of character for him, chooses to think his way out of the problem. Nice resolution.

    But, saving the best for last, Spike is back! Can't wait to see how that happened!
  • Great Season Opener

    This ep starts out with Angel saving the damsel in distress much like he did in the series opener. The only difference is that he is now the CEO of W&H and he has all their power behind him, whether he wants it or not. Most of this episode is spent establishing the new regime and figuring out how to wield the power the gang now has. Gunn gets a brain upgrade and is now a lawyer, this was a "What?!" moment. We also meet Eve(il) and learn she is the new liason to the Senior Partners. And perhaps most surprising of all, Angels secretart (not a typo!) is Harmony. This ep kept me glued to my seat right up until the end, when Angel opens an envelope and the amulet Spike used in the Series Ender of BtVS falls out....and Spike "materializes"....whew!
  • Wolfram & Hart

    Angel and gang are now in charge of the LA offices of Wolfram and Hart, and are still getting used to things when a lot seems to pile up on top of them. Eve, the partners new liason, appears and begins to guide them. Harmony, takes the position of Angel's secretary unbeknownst to Angel. And Spike appears out a piece of a certain amulet that many of us Buffy fans will recognize.

    Meanwhile, the first real client that the gang has to deal with it a real psycho placing a life threatening virus inside the body of his own son. Angel, takes this particularly hard, due to his recent loss.
  • There is one thing more powerful than conviction. Just one. Mercy.

    The last of the week is also the weakest, but it's still excellent on it's own. It has plenty going on but sadly some of it is negative. Watching this episode is like watching the pilot of a completely different show, a very good show, but not as good. In the credits, both 'Charisma Carpenter' and 'Vincent Kartheiser' are out and 'James Masters' takes over CC's spot which kinda sickens me to begin with. Luckily he appears at the end of the episode so I didn't have to sit through his constant b!tchin',.. yet. The rest of the cast also lost most of their character development during the last year, 'Fred' had turned into a pretty tough character but is now back to being an annoying geek and 'Knoxy' really doesn't help making her more interesting. 'Wesley' falls completely into the background, 'Lorne' is as useless as usual but nothing beats 'Gunn' becoming a lawyer, I think it was meant to be a good idea and it did change him, but sadly It turned his character into a bigger unbearable mess. I'm sounding pretty negative but I still liked this episode a lot, the dialog has plenty of memorable one-liners, I love how 'Angel' and 'Fred' kept turning around in the elevator and especially 'Angel' dealing with Wolfram & Heart which was an obvious confusing mess for him. 'Harmony's addition to the season was a good idea at first, I really enjoyed her intro and also liked 'Eve's introduction, the whole 'Eve-giving-Angel' an apple irony was not lost on me. What I liked most about the episode was the actually main story, with the gang having to keep an ass out of jail or else he would blow up his kid and expose a deadly virus, which hit 'Angel' hard as it reminded him of his own son. The way 'Angel' killed the main bad-soldier with his own weapon was also pretty damn neat. A pretty nifty episode that falls a little short compared to the other four.
  • great season 5

    after three fantastic seaosns we get the 5th which almost ruined the show. spike was in it. harmony was in it and the plot sucked and fred sucked and gunn sucked and wesley sucked and even angel sucked but worst of all cordelia was not in it.

    the good about the episode is that its not all about spike like the rest of the season and angel killing that gunman was funny.
  • Two Words: BLONDIE BEAR!!!!

    A classic line in this episode has to be, "I was out fighting the good fight and all of a sudden the entire firm shows up" and I must admit, it was pretty funny watching everyone race on to the scene AFTER the battle had already taken place.

    The search for the evil employee's begins here and just as we think that it can't get much better Spike makes his fantastic return to the show. This season has a very different feel to it than the past two, Season's 3 and 4 had a very dark and violent tone to it, Season 5 feels like a breath of fresh air that could have lasted to a sixth season, but oh well, we can enjoy Spike's classic one liners for an entire season.
  • ... The extra ingredient is otter. This line would happen to be Joss's favorite line from the episode. Commentaries are so much fun, you learn so many interesting things.

    *Note: To understand some of my comments read tjaman's review first.*

    The one shot after the teaser is incredibly interesting, starting with the mysterious package in the mail cart. For a show that's supposed to cut down on it's arcs there sure are plenty of little things going on that come in to play later.

    We get our first glimpse of Numero Cinco, we follow the package from the mail cart to Angel's desk, and the kid at the beginning comes into play later on.

    I found it interesting to hear the comic book conversation between the two boys. The one kid is telling his friend Mathew about the new "Punisher" comic. Mathew states that his Dad won't let him read the comic because it's too violent.

    Then, guess who his Dad is? Corbin Fries, an evil, violent man who put a deadly virus in his son to unleash on the population if Wolfram and Hart don't find a way to get him off from his pending conviction.

    I love so many little things about this ep. When Gunn finishes talking to Eve about his appointment with his "tailor" you see the quick flash of the panther when the scenes change. Very cool touch.

    I also love how it's not obvious that they are only showing one side of Wesley's face during the entire ep. Alexis (Wesley) had just found out he had Bell's Palsy, which paralyzed one side of his face, so they had to block him so he was alway in profile if he was saying or doing anything. Luckily it cleared up by the next ep so they didn't have to try doing that for the entire season, but Joss did enjoy the challenge for that ep.

    It was cool to see how personal Angel took what Corbin did to his son. Fred and Wes were confused by it, which brought us handily to how they don't know about Connor. It gets the new viewers nicely up to speed on Angel's character without coming across as "we're just saying this to let people know what happened previously."

    I love how they continue with the idea that Angel has issues with technology. He's never been technologically sophisticated and watching him try to use the office phone to call his secretary was hilarious.

    Voice Mail: "You have reached Ritual Sacrifice. For goats, please press '1' or say 'goats'. To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound key."

    I also loved watching them try to feel their way around as to what their new roles are. Angel is used to doing things a certain way and things have really changed. Starting with the teaser where he tries to do a simple rescue and it ends up being a huge deal where the victim has to sign a waiver and accuses him of doing this for publicity. His facial expressions during the whole ordeal are priceless.

    I also love the exchange with Wesley when they're discussing Fries:

    Angel: He said "drop the bomb." We don't know what that means.
    Wesley: We very nearly found out.
    Angel: What? I'm not allowed to hit people?
    Wesley: Not people capable of genocide.
    Angel: Those are exactly the types of people I should be allowed to hit!

    It's interesting to watch Fred think that she can't be a leader, and then she goes all drill Sergent on them when they are faced with the virus threat.

    I wonder if that's the point where Knox decided he would use her to bring forth Illyria. I know he said he did it because he thought she was the only one good enough, or something to that effect, but she yelled at him rather harshly. Maybe he held a grudge over it?

    I don't believe that Gunn is evil here, or ever really. I just believe that he wanted to be something more than "the Muscle". That's the way he seemed to see himself, as the brawn to Wesley's brain. However, he's the one that seems to think the best on his feet. I don't think he ever realized exactly how smart he was.

    Eve said he was the one with the most unused potential and I think that's telling. Gunn is very smart, but he wasn't using his intelligence much because he doubted himself.

    I think Wolfram and Hart saw a weakness in his character and hoped to exploit it to their own advantage. I believe the mind thing was meant to be temporary. It was meant to last just long enough to make him really "want" it. More on that as the season progresses though, it's not time for this discussion yet.

    As for Angel shedding too much human blood in this ep. I don't think he was out of line at all. First off, they were trying to kill him. What was he supposed to do, just knock them out so they could try again later? These are dangerous mean who not only believe in evil, they have conviction. You can't change people like that. They are the extreme people who live on the fringe of society.

    Letting them live would be silly since even if they didn't come after Angel again, they'd go after more innocent lives. It's what they do. They were going to kill an innocent child, and they were knowingly doing it against Angel's orders.

    Story-wise though, Joss did this for a specific purpose. This is where "Punisher" comes into play again. I don't read the comic but I've heard of it and I believe the hero of the comic doles out this type of justice. A type of justice that works in fiction but not in real life according to Joss.

    The point of this scene, and there really weren't that many guys there by the way, was to show that Angel meant business.

    That he meant to change Wolfram and Hart from the inside. That he had conviction in having no mercy for evil.

    That guy clearly stated that he was evil. That he believed in evil. That he had conviction in evil. He didn't deserve mercy because he was a threat not only to Angel, but to lots of innocent people.

    What Angel did there was like what Giles did with Glory on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". Also, those guys were trying to kill a kid. Angel is still reeling from what happened with Connor so he's really projecting here. He may not have reacted like this if the situation hadn't reminded him of his son.

    Also, he didn't kill "all" of them. Only the ones that were a direct threat, or showed that they didn't deserve mercy.

    Plus, the scene where he killed Hauser was just wicked cool. :)

    Also, Joss did mention Cordy in the commentary. He was silent during lots of scenes in the ep. He's a fan of the show too.

    I noticed he'd get quiet when he was really interested in hearing what was said in a scene.

    He did start talking about Cordy and why this scene was important after listening for a bit. He said he wanted people to know that she was still missed, but also didn't want to bog the entire season down with everyone being so concerned about her that their was no light in the season.

    He did the same thing later when they did the scene between Eve and Angel concerning Connor. He was quite for a bit and then explained what was going on story-wise.

    As for why they sent Lorne to monitor the trail, who else were they going to send? Gunn was AWOL at that point in time.

    Wesley and Fred were both researching what could be done about stopping the virus. Angel had to be ready to save the boy. I suppose they could have sent one of the Wolfram and Hart employees but since they just got started who were they going to trust? Knox? Harmony?

    Lorne was the only member of the gang left to send. They really didn't have a choice in the matter since they needed to know exactly what was going on in a timely manner so they could isolate the boy if necessary.

    I absolutely loved the ending of this ep. For Spike just to appear out of thin air with no warning was wonderful. I mean we already knew he was going to be in the season, if you hadn't read it online then the opening credits already gave it away.

    So his appearance wasn't surprising, but the way he appeared was.

    When Buffy died they had to go through all this ritual and stuff to get her back. It wasn't easy. The Spike just appears when Angel opens a piece of mail. I absolutely loved it! What an appearance!

    And the way Angel says "Spike!", he practically growls his name. I just love the dynamic between these two characters and it makes me look forward to watching the entire season over again.

    To Be continued ... ;)
  • Out of the fryin' pan ...

    TO: Joss Whedon
    FROM: Your friends at the WB

    No more arcs.


    (Well, maybe just a big one towards the end.)

    We begin with Angel swooping down into an alleyway to save the day. Which he does. Because there's a rope there. Why is there a rope there? Nevermind, it's all just happening so fast.

    //Just initial here concerning your immortal soul.//

    I've gotta say, in terms of an opening sequence, I truly enjoyed the contrast with Season 1, where all the Bruce Wayne aspects start spilling out of Angel's Batman persona.

    And I'm truly happy that Eve showed up, only because I was uncomfortable with Gunn as the liaison to the Senior Partners. In S4x22 - Home, when he spent the afternoon in the White Room with the big cat and came out and said "We're taking this," it was a little out of character. For a man who was very secure in his sense of right and wrong, for the man who is the heart of the mission, to have communed with emissaries of pure evil and come away saying, in effect, "That was so //cool//," it's impossible not to infer a whiff of corruption.

    The addition of Eve -- besides being a slinky new bit of hateable skankitute -- gives Gunn the distance from the Senior Partners we the fans would demand of someone who, up until now, would on principle be fighting them.

    But they needed to do //something// with him. He couldn't be the head of Hauser's division -- the division that would be doing most of the "hitting of stuff," which Gunn claimed was his only contribution to CYNTHIA! (and with Spike joining the storyline, there's another warrior in the wings -- tho his allegience is far from complete and his effectiveness as a fighter is //somewhat// hampered by his incorporeality). Gunn as the head of Hauser's division wouldn't do nearly enough plotting to murder children.

    Well, they're in a law firm, and none of them have any credentials -- let's get him mystically lawyered up and send him forth.

    Besides -- as we saw in S4x16 - Players -- he looks damn' good in a suit.

    GUNN WATCH: I don't believe he's evil -- with one caveat. As dismissive as Gunn was at the end about asking for permission, I will note that his lies begin with telling Wesley he's getting fitted for a suit rather than a shiny new law degree, and in case anyone was wondering about whether this was a decision that got made without any //opportunity// to discuss it with anyone else, he had from that moment to his appointment with Doc Sparrow -- //including// the five hours he spent cooling his heels in Sparrow's waiting room.

    They didn't make him evil. But they could've. And what's more, they could've done any damn' thing, up to and including the engram for "Hey, if a package gets stuck in customs, sign for it." Joss didn't -- I'm guessing because he mostly needed for Gunn to take that action under his own volition in order for it to truly distress the character.

    But also, it's a question of what do we give up in order to get something else? Gunn's legal gymnastics could've been performed by Keel and everyone else in W&H. So it's possible that everyone in W&H is hoping Angel will fail. But what they've really given him is a powerful weapon. And Gunn married that weapon to his instincts as a street fighter and used it in a truly astonishing display of grace and skill.

    This law firm didn't get to be the law firm it is by handing out free lunches.

    So, the Senior Partners arranged for him to have it. Was part of their arrangement for it to be temporary? There's no indication that the Senior Partners //wanted// Illyria to arise. One wonders if that was more of a side deal between Sparrow and Knox.

    Of course, all of this is speculative. He's got it, he used it, and once Fred isolates that antidote and Wesley deactivates the mystical vessel, they can murder the evil Corbin Fries. For now, they'll just murder Hauser and his squad.

    Angel sheds more human blood in this episode than he has in the entire series, excluding flashbacks as Angelus. There's very little discussion of that. Now, I don't disagree that Hauser would be a reluctant convert at best, but Angel broke a couple of necks and spattered blood and brains all over the place (it wouldve been fun to see him vamp out and feed, but that might have seemed unseemly). It was maybe necessary, but he's only been in charge for like a week, and he's already dispatching a unit of humans. Even in self-defense, it seems a little ... tacky.

    Nice to see Harmony again. She's a breath of fresh air. But her presence, and the presence of everyone else at W&H, seems like a tacit invitation for us to pretend S4 never happened. In "Habeas Corpses," Lilah tells us the Beast killed everyone -- even people who were home sick that day. Sure, the firm was entirely restaffed, but there's some suggestion that Knox has worked there for longer than a few weeks -- he says the firm has contained more plauges than it's caused, tho maybe he's just read up on his corporate history.

    Also, if the firm actually employs vampires, then what good are vampire detectors? Bioscanners located here and there throughout the firm would seem to have been sufficient. Someone who weighs as much as a person but gives off no body heat would be relatively easy to check at, say, the front door.

    I think they just missed writing Cordy -- and not just Cordy, but shallow, Season 1 Cordy.

    And maybe we all miss Cordy. But it was relatively easy for me to get my mind around her not being there. In his commentary, Joss' silence during the discussion of Cordy in a coma (and hence, not there) was a very loud silence. Fans wanted him to say what was up with her not being there, and he very significantly didn't talk about it.

    I have to return to one moment to discuss Gunn saying he's willing to sing for Lorne. Knox made the same offer, and I'm wondering why it wasn't mandatory in either of their cases -- Knox because it's easy enough for someone to pretend to not be evil, and Gunn because he got a whole bunch of new information stuffed into his brain, and it'd be nice to know what might've been stuck in with it.

    I loved Lorne throughout, but I do have to question the wisdom of sending a demon to monitor an ongoing trial in open court. He doesn't stop being green when you put a hat on him.

    For now, tho, it's just fun to see these people two weeks from where we left them, the apocalypse averted, getting used to their shiny new space.

    STORY ARCS: S5 distinguished itself from S4 by moving to single-episode conflicts -- the monster-of-the-week problem-solving. While S4 had some compelling cliff-hangers, the extended story-arcs were more confusing, imo. The brackets around S5, of course, is that they're all in the new L.A. branch offices of W&H, and their whole time there is spent in moral ambiguities -- do horrible things or even //worse// things are in store. So the one-ers are not entirely disconnected.

    In this case, it worked, I think. Corbin Fries was a terrible candidate for a Big Bad. As a law firm, they could deal with cases like his all the time, and they weren't going to focus on any one case for any length of time. And it helps that Joss has a wonderful instinct for moral ambiguities. It's a perfectly acceptable structure, if a little dry in the demands it requires of its fans.

    But, this being Joss, he can retcon a season-spanning story arc out of anything -- part of his genius, really. Go, Joss!

    FUN THINGS: Lorne on the cell phone brokering deals, and his reading of the staff, otter in the pigs' blood, Wesley interpreting "feng shui" as meaning "People will believe anything," Fred taking charge of her lab, Angel telling Wes he turned evil a lot faster than Angel expected with his staffing decisions, and Spanky. Spanky was a delightful one-shot character. And Spike materializing in a cloud of smoke, and Harmony peeking around the corner to confirm, with a hint of ecstasy, "Blondie Bear?" Nice moment of continuity, although one wonders how ecstatic her character would truly be, given their history and how things ended between them.

    QUESTION: Does Wesley know Spike, specifically? He was the first to identify him when he appeared. Did their paths cross at some point on "Buffy"? Or did Wes only know him from the Watchers' Diaries?

    And one haunting image, at the end of the episode, was Fred asking if they'd done the right thing by coming there. I'm thinking that they did. But without a vision to guide them, it's truly hard to say.

    Part of the fun of S5 is the shadows it explored, and that's a big one.

    Powers? Powers? Beuller? Anyone?

    Powers That Be: * insouciant Willow-esque grin *

    Alrighty then.

    As Eve said, "Welcome to a crazy time of fun." :)
  • Great season premiere. New office and some old characters return.

    I've written many reviews but now I think I have a set format for them. First I'll explain what I think was bad and then what I think was good.

    Okay, the bad stuff. I really can't think of anything that was bad except one thing...Eve. This is the episode where we are first introduced to Eve and God do I hate her. She is a very annoying pointless character. Thats all I really didn't like.

    Now to the good stuff. In this episode we see the cast adjusting to working at Wolfram and Hart. Its cool to see the way they are handling things. Fred running the science department, Gunn becoming lawyer extreme, and Angel taking full advantage of what W&H has to offer. Also we see the return of Harmony. I like her character when she is on Angel. The plot and the villain in this episode was great. With the kid and Fries . I love how it ended.

    I've only seen a few episodes from this season, but if the rest are anything like this episode, then I can't wait to see them.