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Season 2 Episode 3

First Impressions

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 10, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
391 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When Cordelia has a particularly disturbing vision of Gunn in grave danger, she elects herself as his new protector. When she discovers that he may be his own worst enemy, she has to face the fact that she can't save him against his will.

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  • A real dip in quality


    The Good;

    Not much, this has a good chance of being the worst Angel ep ever. Some eps of Charmed were better than this, even the one's without Shannen Doherty (or Charisma Carpenter).

    The Bad;

    The demon and the whole 'Gunn in trouble' bit is very stupid.

    Best line:

    "NOW!" all in the delivery

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Can't help but wince when Veronica get's a neck full of glass. Cordy's right though, to pull it out would kill her. The whimpering from Angelus and Darla's victims is horrible.

    Apocalypses: 4

    Angel Cliches

    Damsel in distress; 16,

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche;

    In disguise; 4

    DB get's his shirt off; yep, twice so that makes 9

    Cordy's tattoo;3

    Cheap Angel;


    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 8

    Wes: 2

    Fang gang knocked out:

    Cordy: 9

    Angel: 11

    Wes: 5

    Doyle; 1


    Cordy: 2 vamps for Cordy so 5 vamps, 1 demons

    Angel; 1 demon and 1 vamp so 17 vamps, 18 and 1/2 demons, 3 humans

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 1/2 a demon

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 16 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Gunn; one more vamp so 5 in all.

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 2

    Alternate Fang Gang:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 6

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations:

    3, Angel and Cordy and Wes

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 8,

    Packing heat;

    Wes; 2

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 2 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Kinky dinky:

    All the Darla/Angel stuff is just excellent. Wes uses the very British insult 'Wanker'. Once again Cordy appears to be turned on by money, maybe that 'prostitute' remark wasn't so far of the mark as she also says she could be a 'working girl' if she wanted to. She also states that when it comes to sex women see more levels than men.

    Captain Subtext;

    Semi-naked Angel on top of Wes! Angel objects to wearing 'The girl's helmet'. Wes doesn't help by telling him 'Hop on gorgeous'

    Know the face, different character; 2

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Gunn beats his way to the truth so ruthlessly even Angel steps in to stop him.

    Buffy characters on Angel; 11

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla

    Questions and observations;

    Angel is a fan of Denzel Washington which is weird as he claimed to not even have a TV and was living like a tramp during his most successful movies?

    Marks out of 10; 3/10, VERY weak ep, saved largely by the Darla/Angel stuff and the motorcycle humour.

  • 'I find Deevak, I'm going to need more than C-3P0 and Stick-Figure Barbie backin' me up, no offense.'

    ‘First Impression’ is the third episode of season 2 and what an episode it was. It used comedy very well mixed with some of the most heat scenes of the entire show. The problem with the episode was the main demon, he wasn’t interesting and looked very lame.

    The episode begins with Angel having a dream of Darla in caritas. He dances with her while Lorne sings and he apologizes for killing her but she’s over that.

    That day Gunn walks into the office because he needs help. Angel was supposed to be up but slept more than he usually does. When they leave to fight they meet some guy who gets beaten up by Gunn until vampires walk in and fight. It took them longer than it usually takes and Angel was pretty worn out, he never took this long to beat a few vampires.

    When they all go back home Cordy suddenly has a vision of Gunn fighting, she calls Angel but he’s dreaming of Darla being together and playing with ice. Cordy can’t wait so she grabs and axe and goes to save Gunn, she finds him fighting and attacks a guy from behind with her axe and cracks his skull. Turns out that he was just practising and Gunn doesn’t want anything to do with her, he takes her home but then find Angel’s car to be stolen ‘So, where’s your car’?

    Angel continues having his dreams with Darla, all hot and spicy. But then they get interrupted by Wesley and Darla has to go. Angel wakes up naked ontop of Wesley who tells him Gunn is in trouble. Angel puts on some clothes and when they go for the car they can’t find it. So they have to go on a motor and Angel wears the lady’s helment.

    The great chemistry between Gunn and Cordy made this episode so much fun. Cordy was determinated to save Gunn while he couldn’t wait to kick her out of his moving car. They arrive to a party where there might be the guy who stole their car. But suddenly a fight breaks out and some vamps try to kill Gunn. There is a girl who has a crush on Gunn and tries to help him but gets thrown against some glass and her neck starts to bleed. She needs to go to a hospital and Cordy and Gunn take her. This episode put Gunn’s character more on screen, she’s the second girl after Alonna and he can’t ever hold back.

    When Angel and Wesley arrive to the party, they see a girl coming out who acts like an innocent but Angel can smell her and forces her to tell him where her boss is hanging out. Gunn and Cordy go to find the car and there the big demon is waiting for them. It wants to kill Gunn and it was the guy who Gunn kicked his ass at the beginning of the episode. Angel and Wes then storm in and kill the vampires and together as a team they stick an axe into the demon’s skull.

    First Impressions was a very necessary episode introducing Darla’s sleep storylines which had the best and most memorable scenes of the show.

    Gunn’s character also developed and we find out that he needs saving from himself, Cordy tells him so and they make a very great and fun team.

    At the end of the episode Angel goes back to bed and has another dream, that’s where we find out that Darla is indeed in his bedroom kissing him ‘Hmm, I could just eat you up’.

  • Overall, this episode is an important step in the process of ramping up the season arc, but the central plot thread for Gunn and Cordy is not quite as substantial as it might have been.moreless

    With the decision to focus on a more substantial arc in the second season, the writers had to turn their attention to the nuts and bolts of that brand of storytelling: a slow but steady introduction. The typical Mutant Enemy structure practically mandates a slow build for the arc, spread out over the first several episodes, and an emphasis on thematic elements. Of course, one minor problem emerges in the case of “Angel”: the entire series may have had a redemptive theme, but season to season, there was a less defined aspect.

    The theme of the second season was, in loose terms, a match to the themes at play in “Buffy” at roughly the same time: self-realization. Most of the characters find strengths and weaknesses within themselves while dealing with Angel’s darker side. Of course, this theme is mostly explored in terms of Angel himself, demonstrating that Angel was capable of questionable moral choices even before Angelus emerged on the scene.

    The re-introduction of Darla is critical to Angel’s arc, drawing out the darker elements of Angel’s personality. One theory about vampires in the Buffyverse is that they embody a heightened and demonized version of the worst aspects of the victim’s personality. Spike, for instance, takes his obsessive love for people to a completely insane level, threatening the world to keep Drusilla pleased. Angelus took Liam’s desire to punish and torture those who care about him and his dangerous sense of fun to that next level of evil and depravity.

    The point is that Angelus draws on flaws within Angel; the same demon would express itself differently had it taken hold of someone else. And that brings up the key question at the heart of the series: how much is the demon, and how much is the person? Where is that line drawn, especially in comparison to the human monsters at Wolfram and Hart? Prior to the second season of “Angel”, there was little reason to believe that Angel himself could be seduced into amoral acts.

    Delving into that kind of character study takes time, and Darla’s part in the story is provocative and, for those who love Julie Benz, more than worth it. Darla has always shown a seductive side, and it’s not hard to believe that she could be irresistible. After all, it was already firmly established that Angel was fascinated by Darla and her decadent ways, and with Buffy now at a certain remove, it’s not hard to imagine that she would get under/around/above his skin.

    The writers make things interesting (and add some complexity to the question of the psychological aspects of the seduction) by framing it all as something within Angel’s subconscious. Until the very end, it’s not clear whether or not Darla is just in Angel’s head, which points to the idea of something within Angel, undermining his resolve and redemption. As it turns out, Darla is actively weaving this spell, thus initially demonstrating why Wolfram and Hart would go to such great lengths to bring her back.

    This episode also introduces, in a very subtle way, further clarification on the curse regarding Angel and his soul. This was explored somewhat (and badly) in the first season, but this season gets into finer detail. Just what does it take to trigger the change: sex and its biochemical aspects, or some emotional component that coincides with those biochemical reactions? In the fourth season, for example, Angel believes that he has sex with Cordelia, and that triggers the release of Angelus. Why, then, does the same not happen when Angel and Darla are together?

    While Darla’s concerted effort to pull Angel away from his allies and his redemptive journey is an important element of the episode, the main action focuses on Gunn and Cordelia. This is also the first episode focusing on Gunn that lacks an interesting hook. Much of what happens in this episode is designed to put Gunn and Cordy into a situation where they can play up assumptions about each other, which can then be shown as inaccurate and insulting. Unfortunately, that ground had already been covered, even if it had never been seen for Gunn and Cordy specifically.

    The issue with Deevak does help to remind the audience of how desperate and dedicated Gunn has been, trying to keep his little section of the bad side of town alive and relatively well. What that requires is a nearly endless display of strength and will, and it takes its toll. In a nice twist, the writers manage to communicate one of the more interesting aspects of Gunn’s character. The more Gunn does to help himself, the less effective he is on the street.

    In fact, as seen later in the series, Gunn’s association with Angel and the others is a major drawback. As much as Gunn helps Angel on his road to redemption, he’s seen as turning his back on his own people. It’s as much a class and social issue as anything else, and in the second season, that’s communicated rather well.

    Cordy also displays more of her stubborn strength, especially as compared to her earliest appearances on “Buffy”. Cordy has always been willing to jump into the truth with both feet, regardless of the circumstances, but her evolution into a fairly capable fighter is a relatively new element. And leave it to Cordy to turn her attack-dog tendencies to protecting someone who doesn’t want protection!

    That said, Deevak is not a particularly compelling enemy, and while Gunn is relatively small potatoes in the scheme of things, he has been around long enough to deal with threats with superior strength. Deevak doesn’t seem particularly problematic; he just serves the purpose of presenting Gunn with a challenge that can reveal his inner turmoil. That doesn’t leave a lot to work with, which is to the detriment of the episode as a whole.

  • sexy episode

    this episode was great but gunn was boring and the episode was better without him but he did not suck and was a little bit funny with cordelia

    darla is the good thing and her sex dreams with angel are very funny and sexy and the show should have had more dreams like that because it was hot. the episode was great and darla rocked
  • Cordelia does her best to protect Gunn and Darla does her best to unhinge Angel

    On first watch I didn’t really enjoy this episode, but it gets better the second time around.

    Another introductory episode this season, this time for Gunn. Whilst he has briefly appeared in season one and in the two episodes prior to this, this is the first time his feelings and motivations are explored since War Zone. Although we have seen Gunn as the tough street fighter thus far, we get to see a more vulnerable side to him as he confronts at least to an extent, the feelings he has over his sisters death. We get to see more into his life, as we explore the neighbourhood he lives in and the things that live in it, something which strikes me as funny as its from this point onwards that Gunn really starts to bond with the Angel Investigations team. In fact he won’t ever really go back to his roots apart from a few key episodes in later season 2 and early 3. This portrayal of his surroundings and his background may be then to serve as a further explanation for Gunn’s behaviour and why he is the way he is.

    Another thing the episode helped to set up was Cordelia in her role as protector. A vision sends her on a quest to protect Gunn and we see her step up to this role. Its good to see that while Cordelia retains some of her sarcastic nature, she is evolving into a much more mature person, which is what makes her one of the most loved Angel characters. With these plus points, it could be difficult to see why this storyline isn’t that interesting. However watching the episode the reason did strike me. Whilst both actors work extremely well with others on the cast, there is very little chemistry between Cordelia and Gunn. This is understandable given the characters very different backgrounds, but the chemistry never really develops throughout the series explaining why this episode has a distinctly filler feeling to it. What does keep this episode interesting, is Angel’s highly sexual dreams about Darla, which by the end we discover are not quite dreams but hallucinations, she is really there and haunting Angel. Julie Benz does a wonderful job in the role of sexual predator. The writers also do a great job of maintaining the arc and developing it over this seemingly introductory episode.moreless
David Herman

David Herman

David Nabbit

Guest Star

Cedrick Terrell

Cedrick Terrell


Guest Star

Edwin Hodge

Edwin Hodge


Guest Star

Andy Hallett

Andy Hallett

Caritas Host

Recurring Role

Julie Benz

Julie Benz


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Darla is kissing Angel at the end of the episode Darla pulls herself forward and for a couple of seconds you can see the pasty they put on her right breast. The one on the left breast is visible a moment later when she pulls back from kissing him.

    • When Angel, Gunn, Cordelia, and Wesley are sitting against Angel's car after a tough fight with Deevak's vamps, Angel's reflection can be seen in the car behind Gunn's head.

    • When Angel attacks Wesley and pins him down, he is supposedly naked-but you can see his white boxer shorts on the side of the screen. Its more noticeable on wide screen than on full screen.

    • When Angel mounts up behind Wes, the position of his hands switch back and forth and back between shots.

    • When Darla pulls off Angel's sweater in his dream, there is no sign of his angel tattoo.

    • Deevak has a face with skin peeled off in certain areas to reveal his skull. When he speaks, his jaw moves, and the prosthetic on it moves with him. If it were bone, this would not be so.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Cordelia: Besides - I've also got this! (holds up a bottle) Mace!
      Gunn: Mace?
      Cordelia: Little squirt, squirt, right in the eye?
      Gunn: You're expecting me to be jumped by a couple of purse-snatching demons?
      Cordy: Well, it'll just have to do because... I'm your protector whether you like it or not.
      Gunn: Well, something better attack me soon, 'cause I know I can't take much more of this.

    • Gunn: Well, you finally saved my life. Guess I should say thanks.
      Cordelia: Yes, you should. And, no, I didn't.
      Gunn: What?
      Cordelia: Deevak wasn't the danger my vision was warning me about.
      Gunn: He wasn't?
      Cordelia: No.
      Gunn: Then what was?
      Cordelia: I'm looking at it. It's you, Charles. You're the danger.
      Gunn: Excuse me?
      Cordelia: It's how you live your life. You don't just face danger, you create it. You're on a self-destruct mission unless you get some help.
      Gunn: I ain't buying none of this Dionne Warwick crap.
      Cordelia: You know it's true. You need some serious saving. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me.
      Gunn: Oh, is that right?
      Cordelia: Well, yeah. Better just plan on having me in your life for a while. At least until you find some peace.
      Gunn: Could be a while.
      Cordelia: Oh, that's okay. Helping people-- that's what me and my friends do.
      Gunn: Well, lucky me.

    • Gunn: Go!
      Cordelia: I'm not leaving you!
      Deevak: How touching. A woman willing to die with her man.
      Cordelia: Oh, no. He's not my man. He's just a friend. And about the "willing to die" part--
      Gunn: You must be Deevak. They told me you was ugly, but, damn!

    • Cordelia: You know, you can't just dismiss me like that. I know what I'm talking about.
      Gunn: Oh, you mean like how you knew Joey was a demon?
      Cordelia: That was an honest mistake. I was just trying to help you.
      Gunn: Thanks for the help. Always enhances a guy's rep when some skinny white beauty queen comes to his rescue in front of his crew.

    • Gunn: Where's Angel?
      Cordelia: I believe the word is "hello"?
      Gunn: Yeah? 'Cause I thought "where is Angel" summed it up. We got work to do.
      Cordelia: He's still sleeping.
      Gunn: Sleeping? It's 3:30 in the afternoon. I've been up since dawn!
      Cordelia: (to Wesley) Sort of missing the whole "creature of the night" angle, isn't he?

    • David: I stand ready to fight the good fight, sir! What do you need?
      Angel: Financial advice.
      David: Okay... Good.
      Angel: We're making this hotel our new base of operations. Right now we're leasing it for six months with an option to buy.
      David: And how much are you willing to put down?
      Angel: "Nothing" would be good.
      David: Oh. That's easy. You could look into seller financing, take over the owner's payments and skip the bank completely, or you could make a play for a preservation grant. Offer to restore the original décor and get the city and the feds to give you a tax break and a loan at a sweetheart rate. Or you could apply for an FHA and get a PMI in lieu of a down payment.
      Cordelia: Is anybody else getting warm? Do that 'tax breaks,' FHA and PMI part again."

    • Wesley: Angel, look. I found your keys. Unfortunately, this substance doesn't appear to be coming off.
      Angel: What is that?
      Wesley: Demon blood. Or demon pus. Or possibly both.

    • David: Got here as quick as I could.
      Cordelia: We paged you two days ago

    • Wesley: Now, about the naked thing.
      Angel: I'll get dressed.
      Wesley: Much appreciated.

    • Wesley: Come on. What are you waiting for?
      Angel: I... really don't think it's gonna fit.
      Wesley: Of course it will. Put it on.
      Angel: You know, I-I don't need a helmet for protection.
      Wesley: Angel. It's the law in California. You want us to get pulled over?
      Angel: No.
      Wesley: Then what's the problem?
      Angel: Well, it-it's just, you know - the whole - visibility issue, not to mention the whole hat-head thing and if you really think about it, how come I have to wear the ladies helmet?
      Wesley: Stop being such a wanker and put it on! (Angel puts on the pink helmet) Looks good. Hop on board, gorgeous.
      Angel: You'll pay for this.

    • Cordelia: There you go. Good as new.
      Joey: I think you cracked my skull.
      Cordelia: Well, that's new, right?

    • Cordelia: When you do find him, you may want to be a little more Guy Pierce in L.A. Confidential, and a little less Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs.
      Gunn: I haven't bothered to see a movie since Denzel was robbed of the Oscar for Malcolm X. Later.
      Wesley: That was quite a performance.
      Cordelia: I know. Talk about wound up too tight.
      Wesley: No, I-I mean Denzel.
      Cordelia: Oh... well, he's always great.
      Wesley: (to Angel): What about you?
      Angel: Who doesn't love Denzel?

    • Gunn: Could one of you go in there and knock on his coffin?
      Cordelia: He doesn't use a coffin. And maybe you've never heard the expression "Let sleeping vampires lie"?

    • Angel: Darla. I was afraid you weren't coming.
      Darla: Mmm, don't be silly, silly! I've been here the whole time.
      Angel: You have?
      Darla: Ah-mm, just waiting for you. Aren't you going to ask me to dance?
      Angel: I still can't believe you're here. I mean, I killed you.
      Darla: I'm over that. You haven't told anyone else about these dates of ours, have you?
      Angel: No. I want you all for myself.
      Darla: I know how you feel.
      Angel: It's so strange.
      Darla: But good.
      Angel: But good.
      The Host: Somebody get these two love-vamps a room!

    • Gunn: And what did you plan to do with that weak ass battleaxe?
      Cordelia: Ask Joey, and his broken skull just how "weak ass" it is.

    • Cordelia: Do you know what he's gonna do to me when he finds out I let his car get stolen? What are the chances that a vampire has full insurance with a low deductible?

    • Wesley: Angel, it's me!
      Angel: What are you doing here?
      Wesley: Gunn's in trouble...can't breathe!
      Angel: Gunn can't breathe?
      Wesley: I can't breathe!
      Angel: Oh, sorry.

    • Cordelia: Grease stains all over my new outfit! Okay, so my pain isn't physical, but do you have any idea of the dry cleaning bill I'm looking at?

    • Cordelia: (cleaning the Hyperion) Oh, this place is never gonna get clean.
      Welsey: Buck up. It's just a little dust.
      Cordelia: Oh, this isn't mere dust. This is "Son of Dust". This is the kind of dust that spawns countless generations of little baby dust. I give up.

    • Veronica: Who's your friend?
      Cordelia: Who, me? I'm no friend. I mean I'm just here on business. I'm a working girl. That came out wrong. I mean, obviously I'm not a "working girl." Not that I couldn't be if I wanted to, of course I could. God that sounded stuck up, didn't it? I didn't mean to imply that I could be a working girl and you couldn't. Far from it. You'd make a great... Could you just point me to the hors d'oeuvres?

    • Cordelia: Paging Mr. Rationalization.
      Gunn: Paging Ms. About-to-be-thrown-out-of-a-moving-vehicle

    • Darla: Who takes care of you?
      Angel: (smiling) You do.

    • The Host: Now tell me the truth, you've been practicing, haven't you?
      Angel: A little.
      The Host: Probably not in front of the mirror.

    • Gunn: (about Wes and Cordy) You two? I find Deevak, I'm going to need more than C-3P0 and Stick-Figure Barbie backin' me up, no offense.
      Wesley: Very little taken.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Gunn: I haven't bothered to see a movie since Denzel was robbed of the Oscar for Malcolm X.
      Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as Malcolm X in the movie of the same name in 1992. Al Pacino won the Oscar for his role as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.

    • Cordelia: When you do find him, you may want to be a little more Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential, and a little less Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs.
      Guy Pearce's character in L.A. Confidential, Detective Lt. Edmund Jennings "Ed" Exley, is a by-the-book cop who's willing to do whatever is necessary to solve the case. Michael Madsen's character in Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Blonde (Vic Vega), is a trigger-happy killer.

    • Gunn: I'm going to need more than C-3P0 and Stick-Figure Barbie backin' me up, no offense.
      Gunn references he multilingual robot from Star Wars, C-3PO, and the popular model doll, Barbie.