Monday, January 16, 2012

"Somnambulist" (Angel 1.11): The Vamp Locker

So I was just resigning myself to another Kate episode of Angel when, holy shit, is that JEREMY RENNER??? Yes, my little Whedonites. Before he was being nominated for Oscars, he was Angelus's vampiric protege, Penn.

Angelus and his mini-me, both horribly be-wigged.
J-Penner is slicing up folks all over Southland, causing headaches and nightmares for his sire, and saving "Somnambulist" from Kate-induced banality. Without further ado, the Angel guide to featuring Jeremy Renner as a guest star.
In addition to making him wear adorable little reading glasses.

DO up the creep factor. There's a serial killer stalking seemingly random victims in L.A., and leaving a distinctive calling card--a cross carved into their cheeks.
Looks like Faith. Isn't.

We don't need Kate to tell us this, because Angel has been seeing it all in his dreams. And here's the kicker: He's. Enjoying It.
Know what I'm not enjoying? Angel wearing a shirt in the "tie him to the bed to see if he's the killer" scene.

DON'T think the past is dead. To quote a wise man, it's not even past. We learn that J-Penner was made by Angel back in his Irish-accented days, and that he periodically returns to L.A. to reenact his first few murders as a vamp.
"Ahhh. Nostalgia."

It's sort of like when a group of friends take that same Spring Break vacation every five years to reconnect, except with more killing and eating of humans.
"Angelus! Let's hug it out, bro!"

DON'T underestimate Kate's capacity to be obnoxious. According to Tim Minear, this episode's writer, the point of the show was to reveal Angel's vamped-out face to Kate. And oh, how I love it when Angel intentionally burns himself on a cross.

 Pop quiz, hotshot: Name the show, season, and episode.

But this focus gives us too much Kate reaction, not enough J-PENNER.
Pictured: NOT the correct response to discovering the hot and tortured hunk you've been flirting with is a vampire with a soul.
Staking J-Penner through Angel was pretty rad, though.

The episode ends with Kate tenuously accepting Angel's capacity to be good, and Angel and Cordy having a heart-to-heart on the rooftop, where she promises to "kill you dead" if he ever does become Angelus again. As my intrepid co-watcher Jenn points out, it is impossible to enjoy this snappy exchange as much as we should, since season 4 is looming ahead of us like a big mountain of suck.

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