Angel - Life of the Party (Party Animal)

Summary

Lorne is wheeling and dealing. He wants to talk to Angel but, after killing a demon and getting soaked with burning demon blood, Angel just wants to take a shower. Lorne goes to his office where his reflection talks to him. Lorne appears distraught and eventually smashes the mirror. But the reflection continues to talk and sing. Lorne exits the office singing like the reflection.

Angel is in the shower and Eve enters the room. She had a key. Angel takes it from her. She suggests he was masturbating. He denies this and asks why she's there. She points out they had a 7:30 meeting. He dresses and they go downstairs to find Lorne planning a Halloween office party. Lorne says the A list guests aren't coming. Angel doesn't care. Lorne blows up, saying Angel is killing him. Then he says Angel is obviously upset and they should talk when he has a chance to calm down. He says 25 minutes in Angel's office.

Wesley, Fred, and Knox are debating the weapon they gave Angel which failed. Each thinks the other's department was responsible. Lorne arrives and both Fred and Wesley say they aren't planning on going to the party. Knox says they should and starts telling them about last year's party. But his story is about burning cows alive and Lorne stops him. Fred and Wesley say they have to fix the weapon. Lorne says someone else could do that and Knox volunteers. Lorne says he'll see Fred and Wesley in Angel's office in 15 minutes. Lorne goes to Gunn's office and says he's the up and coming guy. He says Gunn has to stake out his territory. He tells him to be in Angel's office in 10 minutes.

Cut to Angel's office where everyone waits. Spike says in his day no self respecting demon went out on Halloween. Lorne arrives and says they want to emphasize to Angel how important the party is to all of them. Gunn agrees. Angel says all those evil demons together is a recipe for a blood bath. Lorne says he ran caritas for years and this is his forte. Harmony comes in with blood for Angel. Eve says it's a morale thing. Harmony says morale stinks. She says they are afraid of being fired or killed. Angel admits he may have killed a couple. Lorne points out he has also killed clients and potential clients. Angel surrenders. Lorne says he needs his help. He wants him to visit the archduke Sebassis, demon royalty, and get him to come. If he comes, everyone else will. On the way, Angel notes this matters to Lorne personally. Lorne says he's not a fighter, or knowledgeable about mysticism or science. But he can do this and he believes it's important. He asks Angel to leave the talking to him.

Sebassis and Angel are barely polite to one another. Sebassis says he preferred Angelus. Angel says he's mellowed in his old age. Sebassis finishes his drink and signals to a slave who removes a tap from his body and pours his blood into a glass. Sebassis offers some to Angel, who refuses. Sebassis says he understands Angel prefers the blood of swine, filthy beasts. Angel says that's a common misconception. Lorne intervenes and brings the topic back to Sebassis coming to the party. Sebassis says he'll go. Angel and Lorne leave. Artode, an aide to Sebassis, says he thinks it's a trap. Sebassis says it may be, but he's in the mood for intrigue. He says they will go armed.

The party has started, but other than Harmony dancing by herself, not much is happening. A couple of staff complain about the lack of ritual sacrifice. Lorne orders them to mingle. He talks to a demon disguised as a human who makes some lame jokes. Wesley and Fred watch this from the buffet table. They both note they aren't good at parties. Lorne tells them they should be drunk. He goes to Angel's office where Angel says he has things to do. He says he's brooding. Lorne sees he's watching hockey. Angel says his team is losing. Lorne insists Angel go out and work the party. Lorne has a spasm, but just gets right back at it.

Lorne and Angel are walking through the party. Harmony tries to get Spike to dance with her, but he refuses. He tells Lorne and Angel the party is dead. Lorne asks him to be more positive. Sebassis arrives. Lorne compliments Artode on his jacket which Artode tells him is Pylean. Made from a Pylean Artode skinned himself. Angel is furiously shaking Sebassis' hand and telling him how happy they are he came. Lorne drags Angel away. Fred and Wesley walk by, They're drunk and she's telling him how for 8 years straight she went out as Raggedy Ann. He says they don't celebrate Halloween in England. Fred spots potstickers, but Harmony tells them somebody peed all over there. They agree that's wrong.

Lorne is meeting and greeting. Gunn says he thinks it's working out. He asks Lorne where he gets his energy. Lorne says he's had his sleep removed. He hasn't slept in a month. Gunn thinks that's a great idea. Artode tells Sebassis he thinks Angel is setting a trap. Sebassis says their spells worked and their weapons are undetected. If something happens, they will kill them all. Artode excuses himself. The blood slave is smelling the plants and says 'peepee'. Eve goes to Angel and tells him his fake greeting of Sebassis was obvious. She says he was banging it out to the cheap seats. He says the same of her dress. Lorne comes up and says you could cut the sexual tension with a knife and tells them to get a room. Next minute, they're in Angel's office making out. Artode is in the mens room. He hears a noise and says it's occupied. The stall door bursts open and he screams.

The party really happens. Sebassis tells a minion to find Artode. The minion bumps into Fred who starts yelling at him. Wesley drags her off. She notes she's loaded. But she hasn't had anything to drink. Wesley is drunk and all he had was a third of a half of his beer. They realize this is weird. They go to Gunn, who pees on Wesley's shoes. Gunn notes that's weird. Spike comes over and says it's a great party. That really makes them think it's weird. Spike says it happened after he talked to Lorne who told him to be positive. Lorne comes up. They drag Lorne into Angel's office where they find him having sex with Eve. They think he's also under Lorne's influence along with Eve. Gunn reveals Lorne had his sleep removed. Wesley thinks that could be a problem with an empath demon. Angel asks why he did it and Lorne says he had to do something. Angel tells Wesley and Fred to find Lorne's sleep and a way to return it. Lorne says someone has to look after the party and Spike volunteers. Angel tells Gunn to check if anyone else is under the influence. He tells Eve to stay with him and have more sex.

Sebassis has found Artode's body. Wesley and Fred are in the psychic component storage room. She says they should hang out more and do friend stuff. They hug. She says she wants to share stuff, tell each other what they're thinking. He says that would be nice. She asks what he thinks of Knox. Sebassis and his people burst into Angel's office. Sebassis is furious that Angel has killed Artode. He has weapons with darts which would put him in a coma for a week and kill the others. He says he's going to execute Angel. There is screaming outside and they all walk out to find the demon who dressed as a human dead. Angel denies he did anything. Lorne tries to calm everyone down. Wesley is looking up sleep disorders. Fred discovers they don't just do sleep; Madeline Chu in accounting had her ennui removed. She finds Lorne's sleep. Wesley reads that the effects on an empath can be catastrophic. The empath becomes a transmitter instead of a receiver, changing people's destinies. And eventually the subconscious can manifest itself.

At the party, Lorne tries to explain that he's responsible. Sebassis doesn't buy this, but then the manifestation appears, looking like the hulk and jumping down at them. Sebassis and his people fight it to no avail. The blood slave runs off. Lorne tries to stop it, but it knocks him down. Fred and Wesley are waiting for the elevator. They realize they didn't press the button. Angel tells Sebassis to run and attacks manifest Lorne, but is knocked aside. Gunn tries with the same result. Manifest Lorne goes for Sebassis again and Angel attacks. Fred and Wesley arrive. Manifest Lorne is beating up Angel. Fred shoots Lorne. As he falls asleep, manifest Lorne disintegrates. Everyone returns to normal.

The party is over and the cleanup has begun. The staff are saying it was better than last year. Knox shows up. He tells Fred he fixed the weapon, but he doesn't understand why he volunteered to do it. She says she was wishing he were at the party. He asks if she'd like to get a coffee and she says she'd prefer a drink. Wesley tucks in Lorne and tells Angel the monster was Lorne's subconscious acting out the emotional conflicts Lorne deals with daily. Eve leaves and Angel runs after her asking if she wants to talk. She says it isn't the first time she's had sex under a mystical influence. Wesley asks Angel how he's doing. He says he doesn't know. Wesley sees Fred and Knox together. Gunn enters and says Sebassis is okay with what happened, he likes a little blood sport at his parties. Angel says they focussed so much on the evil outside they forgot the one within. Gunn warns Angel not to sit in his chair and says he has called janitorial. Spike thinks that's marvelous. Angel kicks them both out. Lorne speaks in his sleep, saying it's hard to be host of the party. Angel says he doesn't have to be.

Analysis

This is the first Angel Halloween episode and I hope the last. I've complained about the writing this season, but we've hit a new low here. Angel has sex without any discussion of the curse (during or after). Tension is artificially invoked by introducing yet another (remember Crane in Unleashed) scary character who we've never heard of and who really isn't scary. And, worst of all, we get that awful hulk performance from Lorne's manifestation. Well, maybe that's just tied for worst along with the presence of both Knox and Eve and the scary promise (the only really scary thing this episode) of more of both of them.

We suffer through all of this to learn a lesson we've learnt already - Wolfram & Hart is destroying the gang from the inside out. Something Spike noted the moment he arrived on the scene. Angel is riddled with doubt. Gunn is being urged to take power from Angel. Lorne is in way over his head. Fred is bizarrely smitten with Knox and Wesley is going into another jealous funk and those never end well. But all this was pretty much true last week and the week before and the week before that. And they all knew it. They've even articulated it. They just don't do anything about it. So everyone acting weirdly gets ignored until mysterious deaths start occurring.

This episode struck me as more a sitcom than a drama. Everything seemed played for laughs. We get to laugh at Wesley and Fred drunk (and the elevator scene really was funny). At Gunn peeing all over the place (with a pretty solid laugh at the end when he talks about Angel's chair). At Spike being impossibly positive about everything (my favourite being his statement that this may be the best song ever written). At Angel and Eve having sex (especially Eve saying I'm on it). Even Artode's death (on the toilet) and the big fight scene at the end (the blood slave running off) were over the top. Now I can appreciate a little bit of humour in the series. It's a necessary counterpoint to an exceedingly dark and sometimes depressing story. But this wasn't a little bit. It wasn't counterpoint. There was no dark story, no drama. Just laughs. Admittedly, they were often real laughs. But that's not what this show is about. So please don't write to me and tell me you found it funny or that I don't have a sense a humour. That's not the point. The point is this isn't what we signed up for. We signed up for the dark knight and we got lorney-tunes.

I will admit to one quite nice scene this week. The one in the car with Lorne saying that while he cannot fight or aid with his knowledge of magic or science, he does want to contribute and he believes what he can contribute is important. Angel agrees and this is an important moment. Wars aren't won because of the actions of heroes alone, but because of a complex series of actions, many of them very small and seemingly insignificant. It's the 'for want of a nail' theory. Lorne is one of the small players, but he has been critical in times past and likely will be critical in the future.

Some quick final thoughts. Why is Angel talking to Eve about his problems? Given that she is the enemy, that's crazy. Even crazier than Fred and her interest in Knox. Given that Angel is a vampire and Lorne said stake out your territory to Gunn, why urinate over the place rather than the more obvious use of stakes? I wouldn't have thought it was possible to completely waste screen time with Spike, but I think they accomplished it this episode. Angel has mentioned a liking for hockey before, so at least that was in character. It's a good game for him. It's mostly played at night and always indoors. The reset button is getting hit a lot on Angel this season. Despite all that happened, Gunn assures us Sebassis isn't angry. Just as Angel killing the Grox'Lar in Just Rewards had no long term impact.

Lines of the week:

"I may have killed a couple of them." - Angel admitting he is not the most progressive of bosses.

"Do they think I'm throwing this thing so I can slaughter them." - Angel realizing he's a demon serial killer.

"I must really hate myself." - Lorne possibly right.

"They've shot Lorney-tunes." - Harmony revealing she does care.

"It's not like this is the first time I've had sex under a mystical influence. I went to UC Santa Cruz." - Eve with an interesting educational update.

"It's hard being host of the party." - Lorne on his problems.

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.