\m/15-Minute Hellmouth\m/: Buffy the Vampire Slayer DeepWatch: Season 1, Episode 7: “Angel” (airdate: Monday, April 14, 1997): Part 2 of 3

15:01 – 30:00

In Part 1 of this BTVS DeepWatch, Buffy Summers and the mysterious guy known as Angel finally spend the night together in Buffy’s bedroom.

No, not like that. It’s more of a chaste, mostly-innocent sleepover. Buffy takes Angel to her home, inviting him inside, which is important because he’s a—you know—vampire, a fact that Buffy hasn’t glommed onto yet. Even though you’d think one of the Slayer’s main superpowers would be vampire detection. Seems like Giles said something like that once or twice.

Buffy allowed Angel to hide out in her bedroom to keep him safe from The Three, a trio of Mad Max vampires employed by the Master to kill Buffy. It doesn’t make complete sense for Angel to stay at Buffy’s house while she goes to school to tell the Scooby Gang about him spending the night with her. She also manages to get in some quarterstaff training with Giles, knocking him to the floor as we reached the 15-minute mark.

We cut to the Summers House, later that evening. Buffy has brought some food for Angel, who has been hiding out in her room. All Day. Buffy knew he was there.

I think this show moment is the crowd favorite for this episode’s WhaFuh?!? trophy. It seems like a strange plot moment for me. She left a virtual stranger alone in the house with her mother. In hiding from her mother, in fact. But, when she sneaks food in for him, like he’s a stray dog she’s hiding from her mom, her chief concern is that Angel may have read her diary.

This story beat skews a little too young for me, only serving to remind me about Buffy’s icky relationship with Angel. She’s supposed to be sixteen years old, fer cryin’ out loud! I know, she’s older. She’s of age, as they say. And, even if we all know that the character Angel is much, much older, he looks like a man in his twenties.

Joyce Summers could have him arrested, at the very least. I think Angel is a pedophile.

I sounded a lot like Xander in that last sentence.

Anyway, Buffy and Angel share their first ever kiss in this scene. A passionate rom-com smooch session. Only, our expectations are subverted (I told you that you should learn to expect that), and Angel reacts by going full-on vamp face.

Angel wigs out and leaps through a window as Buffy screams. Buffy is left watching him as he scurries down the roof and away.

It’s the end of our first act, as Joyce responds to her daughter’s scream, only to be told that Buffy thought she had seen a shadow.

In Act II, the next scene is back at the high school, the following morning. This is a Scoobies-walking-outside-Sunnydale-High scene. Walking and talking. The West Wing didn’t have a monopoly on that.

As always, Buffy has shared her intimate moments with her friends. This time, she’s shocked them with the knowledge that Angel is a vampire. Buffy asks Giles if a vampire could ever be a good person. To which the librarian/watcher replies, “No.”

Giles says that a vampire isn’t really a person at all, even if it may retain the personality of the person it took over. Giles, ever the teacher, says a vampire is still a demon at the core. There is no halfway. This was Vampire Rule #5, from all the way back to “Harvest,” the second BTVS episode. I believe that Giles is a moral absolutist.

Buffy is confused. Angel was good to her. He doesn’t make sense as part of the Master’s plan.

This pleases Xander, as you might imagine. He suggests it’s clear what Buffy should do in this situation. She is, after all, the Vampire Slayer. For once, Giles seems to agree with Xander. Buffy needs to dust Angel.

Xander says he doesn’t understand why Buffy has a problem with all of this. It’s not like she’s in love with the guy, right? Right?

Buffy looks away, slightly embarrassed.

“You’re in love with a vampire?” Xander says. “Are you out of your mind?”

To which Cordelia—just passing by—says, “What?” And, then Xander has to convince her he said “umpire” instead of “vampire.” A little comedy. Very little. Hee-hee, ho-ho, ha-ha.

Wasted on Cordelia, however, because her consternation was inspired by another student wearing the same style of dress as she is wearing. She’s too self-absorbed to hear Xander talking about Buffy’s love life, vampire or umpire.

We cut to Angel returning to his apartment, which I had forgotten that he had. A real apartment, not a crypt. Darla is waiting for him there. He even comments on her “Catholic schoolgirl” outfit, which is similar to what she wore in the teaser, but not the same (I checked). Angel says the last time he saw her, it was kimonos.

Later, we’ll find out that they last saw each other during the Boxer Rebellion, which is a Chinese historical event. Kimonos are Japanese. Perhaps I nitpick too much.

Darla counterpunches with the fact that the last time Angel wasn’t into high school girls.

Ouch. Darla thinks Angel is a pedophile, too.

Darla reminisces about their time in Budapest, during an earthquake at the turn of the century. She says Angel was a real bad boy then. Then she comments on the fact that Angel has chosen to live above ground. “Like one of them.”

She opens the blinds on a window, admitting sunlight that seems overbright in the dimly-lit room. Angel recoils and retreats into the shadows.

I think we’ve talked about the vampiric aversion to sunlight before, especially when mentioning their penchant for using Sunnydale’s intricate sewer system for travel. But, it’s time to make it an official “rule.”

Vampire Rule #8: An oldie but a goodie. Direct sunlight kills vampires, just like we’ve always been told. It doesn’t make them glitter. There’s some debate over how much sunlight is fatal. Possibly some in-series inconsistencies, which we’ll discuss as we encounter them.

“But you’re not one of them,” Darla says. “Are you?”

“No,” says Angel. “But I’m not exactly one of you either.”

Darla opens Angel’s refrigerator, which is stocked with bags and bottles of blood. She says Angel can’t suppress his real nature forever. She hopes she’s around when it explodes. She tells Angel to talk to the Slayer and tell her about the “curse” (we haven’t even heard about the curse, yet). Maybe Buffy will come around.

As an exit line, Darla says if Buffy still doesn’t trust him after he tells his story, he knows where she’ll be. End scene.

I’m not exactly sure what this scene was meant to accomplish, unless it was to establish that Angel and Darla have a history together and to hint at Angel’s backstory. From a present-day story perspective, Darla’s visit doesn’t really seem to serve a purpose. She is vaguely threatening, especially when she opened the blinds, but it’s more as if she were trying to seduce Angel than harm him.

It also establishes yet another triangle. This one is formed of Angel, Buffy and Darla.

Character relationships are important in this series. Buffy represents Good; Darla represents Evil. And Angel? He’s somewhere in-between.

We return to the library, where all of the Scoobies are reading books. They are trying to find info on Angel. Giles discovers something in a diary of one of the watchers who came before him. Two hundred years ago, in Ireland, there was a vampire named Angelus.

“The one with the angelic face,” Giles says.

He asks Buffy is she knows if Angel has a tattoo behind his right shoulder. Buffy says he does. This was that long-legged snail we were talking about earlier.

That’s enough to convince everyone that Angelus and Angel are the same vampire. Giles estimates he’s been around for two hundred and forty years or so. He told Buffy he was older than she is. I thought the romance angle was icky when he was in his 20s and Buffy was only 16. This knowledge takes ick to a whole new level.

Giles hits us with a huge info dump. Angelus left Ireland and wreaked havoc in Europe for several decades, then came to America eighty years ago. Then, curiously, he began to shun other vampires and lived alone. There’s no record of him hunting in America. Which, Giles is quick to point out, doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hunting. It’s in his nature.

There is no doubt that, a hundred years or so before he came to America, he was like the rest of the vampires. “A vicious, violent animal,” Giles says.

Now we’re back at the Master’s Lair, for a quick scene.

Darla wants permission from the Master to take care of the Slayer. She has a plan of her own. She wants to arrange things so that Angel kills the Slayer himself and returns to the fold. The Master says Angel was the most vicious creature he ever met; he misses him. Darla now has the Master’s permission to do what she can to arrange things, to execute her plan.

Next, we’re back in the Sunnydale High library, at night, where Willow is helping Buffy study history. Buffy is having trouble concentrating on the Civil War, when Angel would have already been over a hundred years old.

Unbeknownst to the Scooby females—Giles and Xander do not seem to be around—-Darla is hiding in the stacks, where she is eavesdropping on Buffy and Willow’s conversation.

Willow talks about her fantasies of Xander kissing her, hitting that “Willow has a crush” character trait note again, and asks Buffy how was kissing Angel before . . . well, you know.

Buffy smiles and says, “Unbelievable.”

Willow mentions how Angel will stay young and handsome forever, even while Buffy gets wrinkly and dies. And what about the children? Willow stops herself, seeing how this conversation is affecting Buffy. Buffy says it’s okay, she needs to hear this because she needs to get over him, so that she can . . .

She’s the Slayer. Angel is a vampire. We get it. These two have more obstacles to overcome than the Capulets and Montagues.

Buffy tells Willow she’ll give the history studying another half hour, after which she needs to go home for some major moping. At her listening post, Darla smiles and backs away into the shadows.

The scene shifts to the Summers house, where Joyce is working on her taxes and drinking coffee at the kitchen table. She hears noises from nearby, like floorboards creaking on the front porch. She gets up and looks out the window, even opens the front door to look outside. When she turns to go back towards the kitchen, we see Darla’s fully-vamped face peeking through the window.

There is a knock at the door and Joyce answers it. It’s Darla, no longer all vamped out, unthreatening in her Catholic schoolgirl getup and squeaky voice. She claims to be Buffy’s friend. She is supposed to have a study date with Buffy, she says. Willow’s the Civil War expert; she’s the Revolutionary War guru—her family goes back to that time, she says.

Joyce does the polite thing and invites Darla inside the house. Which, as we talked about earlier, is something you should never do with a vampire. Joyce asks Darla if she would like something to eat, and Darla says she would. The vampire follows Joyce into the kitchen.

As Buffy’s mom opens the refrigerator door, she asks her invited guest if she’s in the mood for something little or big.

“Something big,” Darla says, and as the camera turns to her, we see she’s wearing her vampire face again behind Joyce’s back.

Oh, no. She’s about to kill Buffy’s mom.

Outside the house, Angel is doing what he’s most frequently doing: lurking.

He walks up to the front door and is about to knock, when he seems to think better of it and begins to leave.

Suddenly, he hears a scream.

He forces his way through the front door, and there is Joyce, unconscious in Darla’s arms, with a couple of puncture marks in her neck.

Darla tells Angel that she’s only fed a little and offers Joyce to Angel, saying that she’s sure he would like something warm after all this time. The sight of the blood seems to make Angel vamp out involuntarily. Darla casually passes the unconscious Joyce to Angel and leaves, so that Angel is caught in a compromising position as Buffy arrives home. It looks like Angel attacked Joyce. This looks like an excellent place for an act break.

Act III begins as Buffy tosses Angel through the big window in the living room, and then tells him he’s no longer welcome in her home. She adds that if he returns she will kill him.

I’m not sure that this counts as “uninviting” a vampire into your home. We’ll see. In any case, Darla hasn’t been uninvited. She can come and go as she pleases. I seem to recall that rescinding an invitation required incantations and spell casting of some kind.

Buffy calls for an ambulance, telling the person on the phone that her mother cut herself. We find out Buffy’s address in this scene as well: 1630 Revello Drive. She’s lost a lot of blood. Hurry!

Xander and Willow show up at Buffy’s house together. Willow was just with Buffy at the library, so we can’t be certain where Xander came from. They ask Buffy what happened, and she says, “Angel.”

Naturally, we’re at the hospital for the next scene. Rupert Giles appears and is introduced to Joyce. The teachers really do care in this town, Joyce says. Buffy’s mom tells her that “her friend” stopped by and she was just going to the kitchen to make them a snack when she must have tripped and cut her neck on something. The doctor says it looks like a barbecue fork, but Joyce doesn’t think they have a barbecue fork.

Here, in mid-scene, we reach the 30-minute mark. Join me next time for Part 3, when we’ll complete our discussion of “Angel,” one of the episodes essential to the worldbuilding in not one but two television series.

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