Angel - Somnambulist

Summary

A woman is running through the streets. She runs into someone, a vampire who kills her. The camera pulls back to reveal it's Angel. Only he wakes up to reveal it was a dream. A police car with Kate in it rushes to the scene of a murder. It's the woman from the dream killed as Angel dreamt it.

Cordelia is practicing her sales pitch on an empty chair. Wesley comes in with Angel's mail and newspaper. He says he thought they might exchange information, but neither he nor Cordelia have any information to exchange. She realizes he picked up the wrong mail and gives it to him to return. Only when he sees the newspaper, with a report on the killing, he's disturbed. He leaves and an upset and grumpy Angel enters. Cordelia was supposed to track down a license plate for a runaway case, but DMV won't talk to her. She asks Angel to take the number to Kate. He agrees.

At the station, he sees photos of the murder victim. He tells Kate that the killer (who carves a cross on his victims and is called the Pope by the tabloids) is mocking God. In the briefing she gives her people, Kate gives a profile of the killer which could easily match Angel.

That evening, Wesley shows up ready to stake Angel. He shows Cordelia evidence about the murders and about identical killings Angelus committed in the past. Angel comes in and says he thinks Wesley may be right. He says he doesn't remember killing, but he has been having dreams of those killings. And he has enjoyed those dreams. He may be sleep walking. So they decide to chain him up that night.

Angel dreams of a killing in the past. When he wakes, there has been another killing and he is cleared. Only he says he isn't. He realizes the killings are being committed by a vampire he sired and trained, Penn. He goes to see Kate and gives her a sketch of Penn and tells her where he thinks the next killing will take place. He also steals a police radio so he and Wesley can be there when it happens.

Penn does try to kill as he predicted and is chased into a warehouse. Kate goes in after him, but Angel arrives in time to save her. He and Penn fight and Kate realizes they are vampires and know each other. Penn escapes. Kate does not trust Angel and doesn't really believe in vampires. Later, she starts going through old files and realizes Penn has been doing the same killings for years.

Meanwhile, Penn is at the office pumping Cordelia for information. He goes to attack her, but she opens the blinds putting sunlight between them. Angel enters. He tells Penn he is just repeating himself. He says he has to stop. Wesley comes in and Penn uses him as a shield to get out. As he leaves, he says he will do something shockingly original.

Angel goes to Kate's, but she won't let him in. She believes now and she's done research on Angelus and found out about his past. She says she'll kill both Penn and him. Angel and the others track down where Penn is staying. At his place is evidence he plans to attack a bus of school children. But while Kate is briefing her people, Penn comes in and grabs her. He takes her underground, but Angel follows. He intends to turn her into a vampire and have Angel kill her. When Angel shows up he's distracted enough so Kate can pull out some holy water and splash him with it. She breaks free. Penn says he realizes that the hatred he was directing toward his father really should be directed at Angel. As they fight, Kate grabs a large stake. Penn holds Angel in front of him and she drives the stake through Angel and into Penn. Killing him. Angel survives. Kate admits she wasn't aiming for his heart.

That evening, Cordelia has a vision and gives Angel a new assignment. He worries that he has not really changed, but she assures him that he has. That Angel is not Angelus. And that if he changes back, she'll kill him.

Analysis

I remember Kendra once asking Buffy if anyone had explained the concept of secret identity to her. Well, Buffy has certainly spilled the secret to a lot of people and at least Angel didn't just blurt it out to Kate. She found out by accident. And her knowing should make the series more interesting. It should also explain a lot of things to her.

At first, Angel fears he might be killing again. That's pretty bad. Then he realizes that the one doing the killing is his own creation acting as he taught it. That's worse. But worst of all is the realization that he enjoyed the dreams. That after all the years of the curse and all the attempts to become a better person, he could still take pleasure in killing. And that's very bad.

I never much liked Wesley when he was on Buffy. But he seems a much more interesting character on Angel. Perhaps because he doesn't exist purely in opposition to other characters but actually has a role to play himself. His decision to take on Angel was a very brave one. And, if Angel had really turned evil, a certainly fatal one. But he does demonstrate the deductive skills he brags about. He puts together the information in the newspaper with what he knows of Angel and comes to a reasonable explanation. In fact, the same explanation Angel had come to himself. So you have to give Wesley some credit.

You have to give a lot of credit to Kate. In this week's Buffy Doomed, it was tough for Riley to accept what he had learnt about Buffy. And he already knew about demons. Kate was introduced to it all at one time. And Angel isn't some innocuous slayer, he's a vampire. The fact that she only freaked out a little speaks well for her. As does her ability to aim a very large stake.

The conflict between Angel and Penn isn't the battle between father and son, but between the two halves of Angel. He has had this battle before, with Spike and Dru. But each time it seems to get worse. Possibly because Angel in his present form is getting better. As he becomes a better person, more caring and sensitive, the evil of his past becomes harder for him to confront and accept. He never felt the need to kill Spike or Dru the way he feels the need to kill Penn. Nor did he feel the same responsibility for the killing they did. In battling Penn, he was battling the Angelus Kate talks about and fears and that Cordelia tries to assure him no longer exists. Angel is terrified not of those he sired, but of himself. He knows that he still has the capacity for evil and fears that he may have the will to be evil again. Cordelia is ready to live with that. Buffy already did. But Kate has still to make a decision.

Some quick final thoughts. Kate's profile, which fit Angel so well (and Wesley and Riley and Spike and Xander and if you ignore gender Willow), is a good example of how such profiles, or at least the media versions of them, are useless. When Angel agrees with Cordelia that people do change, he's talking about her as much as himself. Cordelia comforting others is a real stretch.

Line of the week:

"Get me a stake"
"It's like 8:00 in the morning." - Cordelia not quite getting Angel's request.

Got a comment? Send me mail.

Go to more Angel reviews.
Go to other tv reviews.
Go to my home page and get links to everything.