Season 1 Episode 20

War Zone

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 09, 2000 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • Here's Gunn


    The Good;

    Charlie Gunn, yay! David Nabbit too and some nice humour at the brothel (love the characterisation of the Madam, hard as nails but extremely streetwise as to the sensitive realities of her business)

    The Bad;

    Not much, good story although the slum allegory is laid on a bit thick.

    Best line:

    Gunn; "I don't need advice from some middle class white dude who's dead"

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    A nasty incestuous vibe between Gunn and his vamped-sister.

    Apocalypses: 4

    Angel Cliches

    Damsel in distress; 15, in this case it's the male characters who need help

    Inverting the Hollywood cliche; We expect a patrician speech from Angel to Gunn at the end. Instead Angel actually asks Gunn for his help in future, again recognising talent when he sees it. CC and Wes rescue Angel who forgets to use his mobile phone to get himself out of the meatlocker.

    In disguise; 4

    DB get's his shirt off; yep, Angel getting patched up so 7

    Cordy's tattoo;3

    Cheap Angel; A paying client for AI, Cordy must be so happy. Angel also wants to 'see the cheque'


    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 8

    Wes: 2

    Fang gang knocked out:

    Cordy: 9

    Angel: 10

    Wes: 4

    Doyle; 1


    Cordy: 3 vamps, 1 demons

    Angel: 3 vamps and 1 demon for Angel so 4 demons so 14 vamps, 10 and 1/2 demons, 2 humans.

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 1/2 a demon

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 16 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.


    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 2

    Alternate Fang Gang: no but Angel refers to himself as Angelus to intimidate the other vamps

    Cordy: 2

    Angel: 6

    Characters killed: 2 of Gunn's people killed.


    Recurring characters killed;


    Total number of Angel Investigations: Gunn a long way from joining yet

    3, Angel and Cordy and Wes

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 8,

    Packing heat; no but one of Gunn's guys uses a flamethrowers which Wes will employ later to good effect.

    Wes; 2

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 1

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost:

    Cordy: 2 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Kinky dinky:

    Angel's entire visit to Madame Dorians and the David Mabbet stuff is just SOOO out there, especially the tail gag (this was the era of Madame Alex/Hedi Fleiss etc). That said of all the demon girls am I the only one to find Lina the only attractive one? One of the demons appears to be one of the girls from She, her Ko well and truly intact (hope she's still not burning people)Cordelia is once again tempted to prostitute herself to a wealthy man as she was in the pilot. Cordy says that David's name feels 'Good in her mouth'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I don't think even Faith would say that?)

    Captain Subtext;

    Not so subtle racial and social hints, even the vamps bemoan the sort of people they now have to feed on.

    Know the face, different character; 2

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Angel once again tortures a vamp

    Buffy characters on Angel; 11

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

    Questions and observations;

    Gunn's strategy seems ok to me, taking the fight to the enemy rather than waiting until they come to you. By contrast Angel lets the vamps go at the end, to kill others? The vamps attacking Gunn's headquarters resemble the aliens in the War of the Worlds series. Both Angel and Gunn have killed their sisters.

    Marks out of 10; 6/10, an ok ep but one that's hard to watch at times, largely significant for the introduction of Gunn (and his truck) and his motivations.

  • Okay, okay, before you start bashing me for calling this pivotal, think about it. It really is. This episode basicly set up Gunn's entire story line for the next four seasons.

    I really liked this episode. Not because of the demons in bikini's, not because of David Nabett (although he was entertaining), not because of the 'mutual respect between worriors' seen between Angel and Gunn.

    It's the backstory.

    Close your eyes and imagin... well oviously your not gonna close your eyes cause then how would you read this? Anyways the point is, the thought of a war, hidden within the dark places of the streets. What most people blame as "Stupid black kids", is actually the same kids saving thier lives. The idea of not just a gang of vampire hunters, but a whole army of em, is well... cool.

    They roll out with thier crossbows, spears and stakes, in thier trunk with a harpoon launcher. And they go to war against an army of Vampires.

    Again, you may beat me black and blue for calling this pivotal, but if you stoped to think... and if you REALLY thought about it... where would Gunn be without this episode? WHO would Gunn be?

    The only thing I could have wished for is for Gunn's leadership quality to have been shown more in later seasons.
  • 'I don't need advice from some middle-class white dude who's dead!'

    ‘War Zone’ is a very well written episode and way to introduce a new character to the show. But the episode is not perfect.

    The teaser features a girl on the street and some vamps following her, but then someone tough shows up but it’s not Angel ‘are you expecting somebody else?’ actually, yes.

    This case, Angel and his co-workers go to a party of a famous guy named David Nabbitt. David has been a bad boy and is a big nerdy millionaire. He has slept with some demon prostitutes and someone made pictures of it, that person is asking David for money or else he will give the pictures to the public and it would ruin David so he’s trying to prevent it. The storyline isn’t exactly exciting even though it added some hilarious lines of Cordy who is money freaked and they got a lot of money from David.

    Meanwhile the gang fights the vampires but one of the group dies. Alonna who is the sister of the leader Gunn, is afraid that Gunn might die as well but he tells her that it isn’t gonna happen. Both characters were immediately loveable especially because of the brother/sister bond they had.

    While Angel finds himself the guy who took David’s pictures, he threatens him a bit and makes him scared. On the second time when he brings the pictures the guy brings a demon to protect him, after Angel struggling he breaks the demons neck and the guy leaves the pictures. Angel stays wounded but before he knows it he gets attacked by Gunn’s gang. Angel escapes into some sort of tunnel that turns out to be filled with booby traps and when Alonna attacks him he grabs her, but he has no interest in her and dumps her on the floor and saves her from an arrow that gets shot on her. Gunn lets him go because of that but tells him that he will kill Angel if he shows up once again.

    He less interesting side of the episode was the vampire gang, they were a bit corny and eye-rolling. They set up a trap for Gunn and when Alonna tries to flee she gets kidnapped into a truck, Gunn tries to rescue her but it’s to late and they bite her and hit him away.

    The best part of the episode was when Gunn seeks Alonna, he finds her undead and she tells him how much better it is as a vampire. It was a powerful scene and the dialog was superb on how she talked to Gunn about their past and that he is falling now, when she reaches to sire him he says goodbye and stakes her.

    Gunn proved to be a worthy character and Angel tells him to stick around because he might need his help, that made it obvious that Gunn was going to play a bigger role on the series.
    The Cordy/Wesley interactions were also getting better and funner, the episode proved to be worthy except for the lame vampire gang.

  • Overall, this episode serves to introduce an important new character, one that has a massive impact on the future of the series.

    After a long first season with a general lack of direction, the writers had to take stock of what was working and consider how the series could be revised towards a more serial format. While growing apart from Buffy and getting more comfortable with his redemptive mission were very important, the series wasn’t quite hitting all cylinders without the familiar arc structure that had dominated “Buffy”.

    In particular, the writers began to focus on the idea of Angel as the “apocalyptic warrior”. Expanding the cast was important to that goal, because Angel’s actions had to be seen from an outside perspective in the second season. Wesley and Cordelia had already demonstrated an ability to rationalize Angel’s choices. Adding someone completely unrelated to Angel’s past was an important step, especially in the post-Doyle days.

    “Prodigal” had taken Kate’s involvement in Angel’s life in a completely new direction. In essence, his ability to use law enforcement contacts as a means of information retrieval disappeared in short order. Angel was forced further into the shadows. Yet he still needed to find a connection with real people. A close look at the series after the first season makes it clear that Angel has a wealth of blind spots that make him psychologically vulnerable.

    “Five by Five” and “Sanctuary” also made it clear that Angel believes that he’s on the right track. He wants to believe that, because among other things, it makes Doyle’s sacrifice more meaningful. Giving Faith a chance at redemption, even at the risk to his own existence, was a way to tie up the larger themes of the first season.

    But in the wake of “Sanctuary”, the writers had to focus on the more obvious task of preparing for the second season arc, which meant setting up the new characters and solidifying the antagonism between Angel and Wolfram and Hart. The Faith situation was the first step in the latter process; this episode introduces two of the three characters that were meant to enliven the second season.

    Perhaps as a means of drumming up confidence and interest in the series during its critical growth phase (the series was still struggling to find its identity, after all), the producers were more than happy to trot out the new characters in the same manner that they praised Bai Ling and made her seem like a solid new addition to the cast. As it turns out, between David Nabbit and Charles Gunn, only one would ultimately be viable.

    David was meant to be a source of financial and technical support, if memory serves. It’s actually hard to be sure, because his character and his role never truly materialized as more than a momentary solution to larger problems. In retrospect, his role in the episode is a bit intrusive, given his later lack of involvement. But it does serve to place Angel in the right place at the right time to meet Charles Gunn.

    Gunn is a character that had equal potential for a quick exit, but the character fulfills a very important role: someone completely non-privileged with no connections at all to Angel and his past. In other words, someone with plenty of incentive to keep an eye on Angel. Such a character is more likely to view Angel and his allies with an objective point of view, at least initially, and as the progression of the series would demonstrate, change in that perspective can also be compelling.

    For that to be true, such a character needs to come at Angel from a position of strength. Spending so much time on Gunn and his world provides the necessary background. Gunn is also given a set of flaws, very important in the interests of keeping him grounded. Gunn lives with an amazing amount of fatalism, and he has just lost the one good thing left in his life. He has a death wish, something that changes as he finds hope as the season unfold. But for now, he is also someone in search of something to believe in, which makes him the perfect companion in Angel’s journey.

    Beyond the introduction of Charles Gunn, this episode is also notable for showing Wesley in a more confident position. Wesley changes after his experience with Faith, and while he never completely loses the awkward side of his nature, competency does finally arrive. In this case, he has a certain droll response to Cordy’s sarcasm that wasn’t present in quite the same degree in previous episodes.

    In fact, having faced down the temptation of doing what he was told to get some vague sense of reward in “Sanctuary”, Wesley has taken ownership of his alliance with Angel. The arrangement is no longer a temporary means of survival or self-confidence; Wesley made the choice to stick with Angel and be a true member of the team. As later seasons would demonstrate, Wesley’s sense of responsibility would make him a flawed leader at best, bringing out his dark side when his efforts aren’t so appreciated.

    Cordelia also shows signs of personal growth. Faced with David and the chance to be some rich man’s toy, she does little more than wistfully entertain the notion. She’s not nearly as serious as she would have been in “City Of…” or the episodes immediately thereafter. In terms of a character arc, it carries forward the process that the pain of the visions would ultimately complete: conversion of Cordy from self-centered to selfless.

    If there is one weakness in this episode, it’s Alonna. Not the concept of the character, since it is a simple way to get Gunn into the right psychological space, but the actress who plays the character. It’s never a good thing when the supporting character, slated to die by the end of the episode, actually acts as if they don’t have plans to be around. Alonna wasn’t very convincing in terms of communicating her own tragedy, and that was a slight miscue.

    But in terms of setting the stage for the second season, this is an important part of the process. Gunn would be an important character right until the end of the series (and beyond, in fact), and Wesley’s increased confidence is another step in a direction that makes the character far more interesting in later seasons. While this forces Angel into the background to a certain extent, the effect is minimal and the episode succeeds in its appointed task.
  • Important episode, but definitely far from a favorite.

    When I first started watching "Angel" on TNT, this was one of the first season one episodes I saw. I hated it. The second time I watched it was when I bought the season one DVD. I liked it a lot better than I did the first time around, but I wouldn't consider it a fantastic episode by any means.

    This episode introduces the character of Gunn, the leader of a street gang of teenagers who fight vampires. Gunn will become a part of the cast, and becomes a very important character later on, but frankly, I don't like him here, nor do I like him in season two, and only a little in season three.

    This episode had some pretty good moments. The early action scenes are very cool and entertaining, and the moments between Gunn and his sister are nice, but I was a little bored with the A story beginning with the time we really get to know the vampire gang and their leader. I hate the Slayerverse vampires so episodes revolving around vampires rather than demons and such are not that entertaining to me.

    I did like the B story, with Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley being hired by a billionaire to recover pictures of him in a demon brothel. The scene where Angel goes to the brothel and is hit on by the demoness was pretty funny. There were also some nice Cordy moments, as always, and Wes continues to become a more likeable character.
  • hello gunn :)

    this episode introduced gunn. far from spectacular but not bad either.
    i felt bad for gunn when he killed his sister. it was emotional. but the episode is a little slow for me and i prefer something bigger than this. i did not really care much for gunn ever so this episode is very decent. not bad though!

    what i do not like is that after watching it you dont really feel like much happened. there is not much to tell about this episode either. it is just decent.
  • We get introduced to some new folks

    This was a pretty solid episode. We are introduced to David Nabbit, a rich geek who needs help with some incriminating photos of him at a demon brothel (who knew?!) More importantly than that we get to meet Charles Gunn for the first time. I loved the intro with him and his crew being the one who is battling the vamps instead of Angel and co. Charles is a troubled guy who is the leader of a gang of vamp killers and he is also a caring big brother to Alonna. He has basically lived his whole life on the streets and he knows the score when it comes to vamps. So he is none too happy to meet Angel, of course. When I first saw this ep, I just knew that Gunn would be a character who stuck around and I am glad I was right.
  • Gunn Fully Loaded!

    War Zone-Angel tracks down a nerdy millionaire's blackmailer, but gets caught in the middle of a gang war between street kids and vampires and meets the leader of the vampire hunters, Charles Gunn. Although Gunn is suspicious of Angel, he soon realizes Angel may be a valuable ally in the cleaning up of the City of Angels.

    An episode that introduces another Fang Gang member, Charles Gunn. While J. August Richards plays Gunn fine, the character comes off as an arrogant, stubborn, and reckless gangsta with hardly any real leadership. But it's nice to finally see show minorites on this show, I mean this is L.A. after all! Also, the plot itself is nothing special and too "typical" for an introduction for such a character. The only real good parts are when the vampires take Gunn's sister and he sees them feeding on her. Then there's the scene where Gunn has to kill his now vamped out sister and the scene where Wesley and Cordelia unlocked the door when Angel is trapped in the meat storage with the hilarious dialogue afterwards. But besides that, there's nothing to talk about. All and All, a pretty average episode that's bearly a good introduction for a future pivatol character on Angel.
  • Not the best introduction for a pivotal character, but it works.

    So-So episode surrrounding an L.A. gang of amateur vampire hunters who are just trying to survive on the streets. The gang is headed up by Gunn, a cocky and sometimes loose-cannon of a character who goes on to be a staple to the Angel mythology. HIGHLIGHTS: Gunn introduced with the "hero-shot", tricking the audience into thinking it was Angel. Gunn helplessly watching his sister get eaten by vamps through the back of a moving van was jarring. Angel getting flustered when Wesley tells him to use his cellphone when he's in danger. Angel tells Wes and Cordy that he's the boss and he's the one who decides when cellphones are used. Priceless.Angel dusts the head vampire of a gang while the guy is in mid-sentence, then tells the dustee he wasn't even talking to him in the first place. LOWLIGHTS:The L.A. gang scene is lame and uninteresting. You're kind of wishing the whole episode that Angel and company would just go back to their base of operations and pick up a new case. Gunn and his sister's relationship is lame. Their interaction feels synthetic and forced. You don't really care when the vamps get her... and her vamp makeup is hilariously bad.
  • The introduction of Gunn.

    War Zone introduces one of the main characters of Angel, one that would be in every single episode after this. It could and should have been brilliant. But it's merely good. The entire story of street kids against vampires is just so unoriginal and poorly handled. It also doesn't help that every single Gunn focused episode from Seasons 2-4 is basically the exact same thing over and over. War Zone is probably best of the lot but still not amazing or anything.

    The introduction of Gunn was a good thing. He is a good character but is definitely better for a supporting cast role. His back story is cliched and uninteresting and in all honesty I hate episodes featuring Gunn's gang (especially Sacrifice as it was right in the middle of the Jasmine arc and just annoyed me).

    I didn't really care when Alonna died neither to be honest, she was only on screen for about 10 minutes altogether. The scenes with David Nabbit were much better in my opinion and Cordelia was hilarious "It just feels good in your mouth". The vampire scenes were also generic as well and sitting through the big vamp guy's speech was pointless and boring. I just didn't care about anything he was saying at all.

    War Zone was a solid episode but bogged down with too many speeches and a cliched plot. For an episode that introduces such a pivotal character it should have been much better.
  • War Zone

    War Zone was a perfect and classic episode of Angel where we are introduced to Gunn, a kid from the streets of LA running a crew who hunt vampires. This was such an interesting episode because it explores how many different subcultures can exist in a place like LA or NY. I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had a great story, great actors, great directing and clever editing. This episode had a lot of character building for Angel as well as Gunn. I look forward to seeing more of him in the future. I can't wait to see what happens next!!!!!!!