Alkeni Rewatches: Angel the Series, Episode 1x11 “Somnabulist”
Okay, so, yeah, it has been a long while, and I apologize for that. These rewatch posts take several hours to actually do (one hour and change to watch an episode, take screengrabs and take notes, another nearly two hours or more to write it up and be happy with it, etc) and I haven’t had several hours uninterrupted time in front of my computer on a weekend in quite a long time, except late at night when I’m just reading till I fall asleep.
BUT, anyway, I have time now, However, my new Chromebook absolutely sucks at the whole screengrab process - it takes the image, but I can’t C&P it anywhere and then cut out the parts I don’t want, etc, etc. It was a whole production the one time I tried to do it and even then I couldn’t take the image I’d then edited and paste it anywhere. I did find a way eventually, but it isn’t worth the effort to do every time.
Almost all the images in this post, bar the top one, were taken from here (x) and used without permission. If the poster of those screengrabs wants me to take them out, I will.
Anyway, on with the rewatch!
Afternote: This goes on a little long even by my standards.
I. Sleepwalking in Los Angeles
So, as anyone who knows me can probably guess, I am a huge fan of this episode - it’s got Kate Lockley and Lockangel Feels? How can I not be?
Opening with Angel ‘killing’ in what we think is just some weird nightmare (and then we see the girl really died) is a very nice start - were left wondering wtf, and if Angel is doing some sleep killing, which fits with the name perfectly.
Cordelia practicing her overdramatic pitch on the empty chair is so her though - while she’s still angling for her acting dream career, she latches onto any chance she gets to be dramatic and over the top, which she does here, with her commercial-like promo (our rats are low) of Angel Investigations.
Wesley drops in, being the desperately lonely guy he is, but also trying to play the ‘loner tough-guy’ card that he’s clinging to (but at least he’s lost the black leather - sorry Wes, I love you man, but you cannot pull off black leather pants and coat). Also “I think it’s about to speak.” We’re just getting to know this new Wesley, and the writers and Alexis Denisof together do an excellent job to introduce us to him in glorious detail - from the snarky, tough outsider (who is bad at pretending to be tough… oh so bad) to the secretly desperately lonely guy who wants to hang out with Angel (who he’s got a serious hero-worship thing going with) and Cordelia, who was basically the only person in Sunnydale (or anywhere, probably, at least in recent memory) who was friendly to him. And his constant reference to working alone ‘solitary soldier’, etc, is amusing af.
Cordelia initially doesn’t really have a lot of patience for his posturing - or, really, him quite at this moment. She doesn’t hate him or even close, but let’s face it, Wesley can be pretty annoying early on.
“Something wrong? You stopped Yammering.” *Ominiousness*
“You look half-dead… which for someone who’s completely dead would be kind of neat.” Keep digging Cordy, keep digging.
Angel being so tired that he nearly steps into the sunlight - LOL.
Wesley being all sneaky and standing there hiding.
Kate being willing to do favors for Angel - the Friend on the Force trope that is an important aspect of the noir/detective genre that starts to lose it’s grip here on the show (it sticks around until Prodigal and then they just… lose it, but the process of it going away begins here). Kate and Angel have shown themselves to have a good working back and forth favor partnership in episodes 2, 4, 5, 6, so this scene makes sense.
“Why don’t you stop by tommorrow, by then I’ll have invaded a citizen’s right to privacy for you-” who doesn’t love this snark? she’s great, and she’s not really being attacking at her so much as herself and the whole situation.
And Angel just ‘vanishing’ like that is very amusing.
As part of their ongoing effort to make us wonder if it really is Angel, Kate’s voice over of their suspect profile while Angel walks around is a nicely done bit of sleight of hand (and that little moment where Angel thinks he sees Buffy is a nice touch as well)
Wesley being immediately suspicious of Angel when he sees the news article is a very interesting bit - it’s the first hard indication that we get (it will be a running theme down the line) that Wesley knows so much about Angel and what he’s done in the past as Angelus (later in Season 4 he says to Angelus that he’s read everything about him) and that some part of Wesley will always be wary of Angel, a theme that comes up again and again - Wesley, because of who he is, because of his training, will always be willing to kill Angel, will always look at the man just a little bit concerned and suspicious. Here, it’s presented as Wesley being a little unreasonable and over-reactive, but on the other hand… isn’t Wesley right to be concerned?
Cordelia, being Cordelia, is immediately rejecting the idea, but then when Angel says he did it, she’s got a hilarious turn-around 180. “You stake him and I’ll cut his head off.” She does remember Angelus, after all.
Honestly Angel, saying they should believe you because you could kill them if you wanted to is not really the best way to do this, you awkward dork.
And then they hit upon the not unreasonable plan - chain Angel up and find out what happens. As we saw in BtVS S3, even a Slayer or a Vampire can’t break free of quality manacles on their own. At least not very easily or unnoticeably.
“My glamourous L.A. Life. I get to make the coffee and chain the boss to the bed.” Cordelia, Cordelia - we all love you so much. Also her ‘like I need instructions from you’ bit - what is that supposed to mean? When did Cordelia manacle someone up before? Do I want to know? (p.s. yes, I do. :P)
“I don’t want to stick around for your nocturnal commissions.” This show has such comedy gold lines.