Friday Five: Favorite Episodes of Angel


It's Friday, folks! So another special edition of Friday Five. This week I get to revisit what probably remains my favorite show of all time: Angel. Narrowing my favorites down to five was hard, but I did it. There are at least 20 other episodes good enough to sit at the top, but these are my choices for now.

Here they are, in reverse order.

5. Rm W/a Vu


Why It's Awesome: Like many, I questioned why they brought Cordelia, of all people, over from Buffy. After this episode, I doubt anyone had any doubts. The premise is simple: Cordy finds her dream apartment, and it's haunted. Things get progressively out-of-hand from there, but lets just say there are loan-shark demons, spells and a phantom who resembles my high-school English teacher.

Favorite Quote:

"I'm no snivelling Cry-Buffy from Sunnydale." (this feels all the more appropriate as Buffy returns the following episode, and I swear she cries through that entire dumb episode)

4. To Shanshu In L.A.


Why It's Awesome: This one solidified what made the show precisely so wonderful: these guys are not just a family unit, but they're destined to be together. It's a horrible episode in many ways, probably the first where Wolfram and Hart try to screw Angel by messing with Cordy's visions, which are taking more and more out of her every time. But this episode also sets up all the storylines for the rest of show, the most important one being that Angel can one day be human again if he does enough good. Oh, and Darla.

Side note: I don't think Angel's ever looked hotter than he did in this episode...ahem.

3. Smile Time


Why It's Awesome: Words cannot describe it. When the ads first aired, I thought the show had jumped the shark (which would have been a neat trick as it was 6 episodes until the end :(). But no, it was awesome. It had the right blend of humor and seriousness, and this episode alone seems to have set the tone for the entire new Doctor Who series. And of course, Wes and Fred finally hook up. FINALLY.

Favorite Quote: "I do not have puppet cancer!"

2. Birthday


Why It's Awesome: This is your basic "It's A Wonderful Life" scenario, where Cordy gets to experience life as it would have been if she'd never bumped into Angel in L.A (in real life, she's about to die). But, as it turns out, you can take the girl out of reality but you can't take the hero out of the girl, and Cordy finds her way back to the gang. And also, in order to live, she becomes a demon with a whole new set of powers.

Favorite Quote:

Wesley: Angel, what are you doing on the floor?
Angel: I had this dream that Cordy was here. She was trying to umm... tell me something, something really important.
Cordy: Yes, and, and...
Angel: It's weird.
Cordy: How are *you* a champion? In what way are you a champion?

1. You're Welcome


Why It's Awesome: For one all-too-brief moment in Season 5, we got the return of Cordelia Chase. It's a key episode in many ways, as Cordy passes things on to Angel that we don't learn until the final episode. But we also find out the sad truth: had Cordelia not been body-jacked and put into a coma, she probably would have stopped Angel from taking over Wolfram and Hart, a decision that turns out to be tragic in all kinds of ways. But let's face it, we love it because it's Cordelia, and unlike so many in this show, she gets to die like a hero. And most importantly, Angel and Cordelia get to declare their love for each other before she dies. And it's sad but beautiful. I'm teary just thinking about it.

Minor Irritation, but not really: I don't know if it's just laziness or what, but Cordy can't seem to bring herself to button up her shirt all the way. She's a beautiful woman, but the cleavage is distracting. Also it is vast and all-encompassing...but I digress.

Favorite Quote:

"Let me get this straight. Spike's a hero, and you're CEO of hell-incorporated! What kind of bizarro world did I wake up in?"

What are your favorite episodes, guys? Any quibbles?

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8 Responses to “ Friday Five: Favorite Episodes of Angel ”

  1. I was (am?) an unapologetic Buffy/Angel 'shipper, so while I didn't actually follow much of Angel past Season 1, the episode "I Will Remember You" is just one of my favorite episodes in the Buffy world ever. True, I do sometimes stop it before the final five minutes or so, but Willow did the same thing with Moulin Rouge (ditto), so I'm in good company!

    Also, I really liked "Five By Five", mostly for that final scene in the alley. I also enjoyed the Darla story-arc that took place on Angel ("The Trial" was a great ep, I think), even if it did result in Connor, whose appearance probably coincided with my loss of interest in the show.

  2. I love that you included "Birthday" as your #2, so few people seem to rank that very highly, but it's my favorite epp of all, actually! :D Glad to see someone else putting it up there...though YW is pretty amazing too, so I can understand that bumping "Birthday"...;)

    Don't agree about "Smile Time" though, the puppets were cute but too much OOC-ness, especially in how Angel was dealing with Nina when CORDY JUST DIED...:/

  3. Small quibble I'd say, while I couldn't agree more about 5-2, You're Welcome, ugh. I had major issues with Saint Corbuffy in the later seasons of Angel. That said, I'm having a hard time with a replacement, I'd say "She"(though it's a terrible epi) JUST for the Angel dancing at the end credits 'cause that still makes me laugh. Since Buffy is my number 1 over Angel, I'm going "I Will Remember You" I think it really captured the overall mythology of both characters and ended it in a heartbreaking (and typical) way.

  4. I'm surprised! I remember even the Cordy-haters being moved by You're Welcome.

  5. That's true about Angel in Smile Time, but the Fred/Wesley! I did love it apart from the Nina bit.

  6. The Darla arc was really great, but it's difficult to single out a particular episode (though I guess To Shanshu In LA works because that's the one that brought her back)

  7. I liked BtVS better than AtS, but I still enjoyed Angel.  I thought the first two seasons were the best and that the show went downhill in season 4, but rebounded some in season 5.  I actually liked Cordelia's character arc on AtS much more than Angel himself, which is why when Whedon decided to destroy the Cordelia character because of issues he was having with Carpenter, it pretty much destroyed the show for me.  I DID like the You're Welcome episode, but it was a double edged sword because it reminded us just how much better the show was with Cordelia on it and that she was now gone for good.  I wrote about the show here:  You can also see my comments on BtVS and other Whedon shows by clicking on the "All Things Joss Whedon" label at the bottom of the post.

  8. I largely agree, I do hate what the writers did to Cordelia. (and I don't know why people don't talk more about the behind the scenes drama between Whedon and Carpenter, I remember it being very ugly).
    The show suffered without Cordelia. I would have loved if she was a full time character in season 5.


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