Season 1 Episode 16

The Ring

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 29, 2000 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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out of 10
440 votes
  • "No, I am Angel!"


    The Good;

    Lilah! I know she's an evil bitch but I can't help loving her anyway. Cordy and Wes' police double act is also a highlight

    The Bad;

    Pretty much the rest, Angel as Spartacus, not bad but not very involving. The brother's plan to get Angel into the ring seems unnecessarily complex? Also Angel seems to be very easily overcome by their thugs considering what we know him to be capable off?

    Best line:

    Wes; Something's going down, something with 'The Man'

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Wes pinning the guys hand to the wall with his crossbow bolt then twisting it. Fingers in a box One McNamara brother casually killing the other.

    Apocalypses: 4

    Angel Cliches

    Damsel in distress; 15,

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche;

    In disguise; 3

    DB get's his shirt off; no but he wears his vest top most of the time


    Cordy's tattoo;3

    Cheap Angel; 2

    Fang Gang in bondage: Angel in the cuffs

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 6

    Wes: 1

    Fang gang knocked out: Angel, twice

    Cordy: 8

    Angel: 9

    Wes: 2

    Doyle; 1


    Cordy: 3 vamps, 1 demons

    Angel: one demon. 11 vamps, 6 and 1/2 demons, 2 humans.

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 1/2 a demon

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 1

    Alternate Fang Gang:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 5

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations:

    3, Angel and Cordy and Wes

    Angel Investigations shot: yep

    Angel: 7,

    Packing heat; Wes for the second time

    Wes; 2

    Doyle; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 2 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Kinky dinky:

    Wes states that Cordy wears high heels and a push up bra.

    Captain Subtext;

    Cordy insinuates that Angel cross dresses.

    Know the face, different character; 2

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Wes tortures the bookie

    Buffy characters on Angel;

    6; Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes

    Questions and observations;

    Cordy considers calling the police. Even if they believed her is demon fighting illegal? Cordy mentions her pony, Lilah's talk with Angel foreshadows him joining WR&H in season 5

    Marks out of 10; 5/10, an ep mainly notable for the introduction of Lilah

  • Overall, this episode was a far cry from the quality of the previous installment. Beyond introducing Lilah Morgan, this episode has little meaning in the scheme of things.

    If there’s a list of staple plot devices for genre television shows, the “illegal bloodsport story” ranks fairly high. This is especially true when the writers are looking for someone to play Spartacus within some engineered gladiator game. The success of such an episode is typically dependent on the level of subtext. Even when the story works well, there’s a feeling that the writers didn’t try so hard. Even shows like “Babylon 5”, hailed for their multi-layered storytelling, fail to make such episodes viable.

    In this case, the issue is one of an illegal fighting ring, where demons are forced to fight to the death for the pleasure of the upscale crowd. This is interesting on a few levels. Consider that this means that some of the biggest movers and shakers in the Los Angeles area are aware of the existence of demons and willing to use them to their own advantage. Wolfram and Hart is ostensibly the legal representative firm for the majority (if not all) of the clients.

    This being a Howard Gordon episode, the concern is whether or not there’s a strong enough execution of the concept. Gordon is, typically, a good idea man with a spotty track record in terms of implementing those ideas. This one wasn’t even his idea to begin with, so it would have taken a lot of effort and depth to overcome the familiar and well-trodden plot threads. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

    The whole set-up is just a little too obvious. Darin is obviously setting Angel up for some kind of fall. The real question is why Angel was targeted by the Macnamaras. It might have been interesting if Wolfram and Hart had decided that Angel might be an issue, and decided that the ring was a good place to either corrupt or eliminate a potential enemy. Unfortunately, the script wasn’t even that complicated.

    One aspect that works well (at least from a comedic perspective) is the website: “Demons, Demons, Demons”. That’s just simple enough to be inspired. The idea of a web-based demon bestiary is damned funny, and it probably inspired a lot of fans to check the web to see if there was a mocked-up webpage!

    As one would expect, once Angel is in the clutches of the evil Macnamaras, a couple of clichés are trotted out: the brutal champion (Val Trepkos), the bully (Cribb), and the meek victim (Malish). Angel quickly defends the victim against the bully, as every would-be Spartacus must. The victim gets angry at Angel for fighting his battles, even though it’s obvious that he can’t fight his own. When the victim is matched against the champion, of course, even the bully has a measure of sympathy.

    This episode at least continues the evolution of Wesley as a character. He’s still occasionally bumbling in his choices, but he’s developing an edge. He does a great job with the bookie, for instance, employing some down and dirty methods to get the information he needs. It’s a welcome change, especially since it presages his more casual violent side in the later seasons.

    Angel’s decision not to fight his opponent is a convenient way for the writers to toss out the rules of the game. It also gives Wesley and Cordy some time to arrive on the scene and demonstrate how well they are beginning to gel. It’s not so much the bickering of a married couple as the sparring between siblings. Angel makes for an interesting father figure, but in essence, that’s the role he’s taken. That said, one has to wonder how Wesley knows about the ongoing demon pit fights when they were a complete surprise to Angel; exposition, it seems, can be a cruel mistress!

    If there is one scene that actually breaks away from the conventional, it’s the scene where Angel takes Jack hostage. Angel is shocked to discover that the demons aren’t willing to fight for their freedom. The suggestion is that they are willing to kill to be free, and that the “live and let live” alternative doesn’t hold much weight. Equally surprising is Darin’s decision to kill Jack rather than let the demons go. The Macnamaras were already on the same level as the demons they enslave, but in that moment, Darin sets himself apart.

    This represents the first real attempt by Wolfram and Hart to subvert Angel’s crusade to their own devices. Taken in retrospect with the fifth season and its explanation for the goals of the firm, this makes perfect sense. If Angel were to agree to the arrangement, then he would effectively be allowing the apocalypse to continue unabated. This is why it would have made more sense for Lilah to be the one behind Angel’s capture from the beginning, rather than someone taking advantage after the fact.

    There is, however, a completely predictable result: Angel is scheduled to fight the champion (as he surely must), and of course, it’s the champion’s last fight towards earning his freedom. Thus it boils down to what one would expect: will Angel be able to convince the champion to risk his life for others, or will the champion stick to what he knows? The answer is not exactly original, since it always turns out that the champion initially sticks with the rules, until something happens to convince him (during the fight, of course) to change his mind.

    Equally predictable is Angel’s apparent victory, wiped away when he refuses to kill Trepkos, unwilling to give in to the demands of the game. Trepkos, of course, regains the advantage, only to find himself unwilling to deliver the killing blow when his victory is assured. Just at that moment, Wesley and Cordy’s lock-pick triggers a mass revolt. Darin is dealt justice through his own method of discipline, and the crisis is over. There’s even time for a moment of comic reflection, but by then, the audience is wondering whether it was worth it.
  • 'Someone ought to create an intra-demon dating base. You know like, where the lonely and the slimy connect'

    ‘The Ring’ is one of the best episodes of the first season. It has a lot of cool make-up and fight scenes plus it develops the characters.

    The episode begins with Wesley and Cordelia fighting over nothing. They behave like little children throughout until they have to work together to solve something and end up respecting each other towards the end of the episode. I don’t think that Wes was a good replacement for Doyle, but this episode had a lot of chemistry between him and Cordy.

    Anyway, the case in this episode is from a man who says that his brother has been abducted and that he received a finger of him. But it turns out to be a set up and Angel gets trapped and put into some fight club for demons. Every demon has to fight against one another and the one who reaches 21 deaths gets free. They also have these bracelets that prevent them from escaping and if they cross a line they explode into dust. One of the demons is called Trepkos that has almost killed 21 but he doesn’t really want to be doesn’t see another way to escape.

    It was hilarious to watch Wes and Cordy work together, they steal a bracelet and find a way to create a key.

    Angel also came through big time. He had to kill a demon because he would have been killed instead. He also sacrifices himself for the rest by grabbing the younger brother but nobody helped him, the older brother shot his brother and then Angel got electrocuted. When he woke up he was in an office and met a lawyer named Lilah Morgen who bought him and set him free but he doesn’t listen and decides to go back just to find out that he has to fight Trepkos and will be it’s 21st kill.

    Angel and Trepkos have to fight to the death but Angel wins, he doesn’t kill him and when he doesn’t look, Trepkos attacks. But same with Trepkos when he comes to his senses, the older brother gets mad and makes his men kill them but at that time all the other prisoners had already escaped because of Wesley’s key and they come to kill the guards. The older brother then gets a bracelet and thrown over the spot and he turns into dust and dies, so Trepkos really did kill 21 after all.

    ‘The Ring’ is very underrated and misunderstood. The demons and fights were excellent and it was probably the first time Wesley was actually tough.

  • This episode is definatly one of my favourite episodes in angel and is my favourite from series 1. some great characters interaction and some great action combined to make one of angels finest episodes.

    This episode is definatly one of my favourite episodes in angel and is my favourite from series 1. some great characters interaction and some great action combined to make one of angels finest episodes.

    Overall this was a great episode with lots of action and a great script.
    Definatly a perfect example of series one.
  • angel as a slave

    season 1 really has some great episodes and this is one of those! wow!

    angel is put in a trap and then in a cell with other demons who have to fight each other. at their 21th murder they will be left free. angel does not want to kill but he has to or else he will be killed. we meet lilah who is the fame fatale from wolfram and heart and does a very good job! at the end wesley finds a way to free them all but they realise they did not a good thing by letting all the demons free. brilliant!
  • Surprising

    I must admitt I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it to much or that it would be a flop but it was excellent, and very different. I particularly love the episodes of this show where they try something different, they usually end up being favorites of mine.
  • Not the greatest

    We get to see Angel get literally forced into the ring in this episode. We find out that demon fighting is a hot ticket, the very rich come out to bet on the fights. Problem is, Angel doesnt want to fight. Turns out it is a fight to the death kind of game and Angel wont have any of that. He tries to talk the other demons into taking a stand with him against the owners, but they are very reluctant to do so. We also get to meet Lilah, another up and coming lawyer for Wolfram & Hart. Not the most thrilling ep, but not too bad.
  • Angel in action and nice to watch David Boreanaz fighting!

    I love that episode, because we can watch many fight scenes with Angel. The story isn't really new, but this episodes is a fine example for what David Boreanaz is capable of. He's a great actor and great fighter. The choreography of the fights is great too.

    And the short relationships between the fighters behind their bars...great to watch.

    And isn't Leila evil? And how Angel says no to her offer. There are much more of these eye to eye conversations coming up and we will learn much more about the evil Wolfram & Hart we don't know yet!

    And who did the rescue...Cordelia! Ok, with a little help of Wesley, but it's again Cordelia who finds the key! Really nice episode!
  • Let's Get Ready To Rumble!

    The Ring-A routine missing person investigation leads Angel to an underground arena which uses captive demons for sport. When Angel is captured and forced to fight in the arena can he survive long enough to find a way to free himself and the other captives?

    Okay, so the whole undergroud fight club has been down to death on movies and TV. But Angel still makes a good episode out of it. The episode has a great twist with Angel's latest case turning out to be a set up. The whole ring setting is nice and the demon guest stars all to well in their parts, like the arrogant Reptile demon whose the bully of the captives. I liked how Angel played the prophet in this situation, guiding the inmates and trying to find a way out. Again, it sounds cliche but the dialogue is good and makes up for it. This episode also marks the introduction of the queen b!%ch of Wolfram and Hart, Lilah Morgan. She doesn't make much of an impression here but she will in future episodes. I also like Wesley and Cordelia trying to rescue Angel, especailly when they fake being investigators to get inside the club. Also their are other funny scenes like Wes getting eletricuted and The Reptile demon stealing the hair from Wesley. This episode again has the one of the running themes of Angel that humans as just as sick and twisted as demons, which comes across quite strong here. I mean a brother killing his other brother just to see demons fight...shock! All and All, a good episode with a good plot and theme to it.
  • Slave demons fighting to the death.

    This is another great episode. It starts off with a man enlisting Angel's help to save his brother from "non-humans", which turns out to be a trap to lure Angle to a "to-the-death " underground fighting ring. Angel gets captured to fight in the matches, but refuses too. The captures put bracelets around the slave demons wrists that will kill them if they step outside the red lines. Angel tries to get the help of the other demons to not fight, hence no more killing, but fails. In his first fight, Angel is trying to not fight, but is forced to kill when his opponent is given a knife by the organizers of the fights. Wesley and Cordelia con their way into the fights as spectators and end up with one of the bracelets. They are able to create a key to unlock the bracelets to help free Angel. One of the other demons takes the key from Wesley and ends up using it to free the other demons, including Angel, and stop the underground fighting ring.

    In the end the other demons are all freed and Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley wonder if they have done a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Angel gets captured by an illegal demon wrestling ring.

    The Ring is quite an average episode of Angel yet entertaining also. It introduces a key character that will become integral to the show in later seasons but aside from this is thoroughly unremarkable in terms of plot. The demon wrestling thing is quite far fetched and the fights aren't exactly as exhilarating as they could have been. The demons didn't look amazing either. Cordelia and Wesley were back to being amusing but Angel was rather annoying through the whole episode with his "Freeing Demons" mission. In fact his stupidity is highlighted at the end when Cordelia says "Didn't we just set a group of demons free?". Another thing is: why didn't he just jump out of Lilah's office window? He would have hit the ground hard but it wouldn't have killed him and he could have saved the demons easier.

    Lilah Morgan's introduction was the best thing about the episode. Seeing W&H's sexiest lawyer in her first appearance is excellent and Stephanie Romanov really plays her with perfection- she's definitely the best actor between her, Christian Kane and Thomas Burr. Lilah is so completely evil yet you can't help but like her- she's pretty, sassy and to be honest, cool. The action scenes really could have been a LOT better. As it stands they were quite run of the mill and boring- bad for an episode based around action scenes. The Ring is a solid episode with some definite good points but could have been handled better, with a somewhat bad plot and lacklustre actions scenes marring it.
  • While investigating the disappearance of a man, Angel is captured and is forced to fight demons to earn his freedom.

    I thought this episode was great in some places and totally ordinary in other places. I thought the plot was actually quite good, but the action sequences were not really up to scratch. If they had of been more exciting i think this could have potentially been a great episode.
    I thought the double-cross was kind of clever, i actually didn't see it coming, and i can usually pick those things from a mile away. This episode was original in the fact that Angel was trying to free the captured demons, instead of wanting fight them. He was not totally out of character though, still trying to play the hero and get himself killed to protect them.
    I did find it hard to believe that the demons had not tried to work together to escape before Angel arrived. Their trust in their captor releasing them after their 21st win was borderline ridiculous.
    Overall, good plot with mediocre action, still a good watch nonetheless.
    Watch for Cordelia's great stoke of genius to save the day.
  • Angel is forced to fight in a Arena with other demons to the death.

    This was a really good episode but I mainly remember it for one thing. It has the first appearance of one of my top favorite character's on this show. Lilah! Love her character, even if I'm not suppose to. My opinion is shes not really bad just misunderstood. Plus her character in general I can relate to a lot of the time, no matter how bad it is admitting it. Also more to the story line I like how the Angel series really points out more that not all demons are bad. In Buffy they kind of mentioned it at times but didn't really go too deep into it. This episode and many upcoming ones do and I really enjoy them for it.
  • The Ring

    The Ring was a perfect episode of Angel. This episode is definitely one of the classic episodes of Angel. This episode introduces us to Lilah one of Wolfram and Hart's Lawyers. The story of this episode was very entertaining and exciting. I really enjoyed watching the episode unfold. There were some unexpected surprises and interesting turn of events. There was a lot of character portrayed by Angel in this episode. He truly wanted to help the other demons being held against their will, and Angel is trying to help set them free. This is a very heroic gesture considering what he is up against and the fact that he is helping demons. I thought this episode was very entertaining and builds upon the future of the series!!!!!!!
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