Happy Wednesday TV Fans! I just finished my Angel re-watch and I’m left wanting more! I mean, we were left with a cliffhanger in the end, but there is something to be said about this series, which truly resonates with me. For today, I am going to be ranking my top 5 episodes from Angel. Over my many re-watches of the show, these episodes still stand out and captivate my undivided attention.
The series has so many great episodes and I have plenty of honorable mentions as well because it was truly difficult to just pick five episodes. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show has a lot of funny moments, but it is also very dark and extremely heartbreaking. I relate to the characters on this show so much and I think that’s why some of these episodes truly stand out for me.
It’s not just about advancing the plot or introducing a new big bad. These episodes mark epic moments, but they also remind us how much we truly connect to these characters, even after all this time. While some episodes are shocking, other ones are beyond heartbreaking, but they are absolutely brilliant and worthy of a discussion for sure. During my re-watch, I chatted with so many Buffy and Angel fans and it was interesting to see which episodes stood out for them compared to my own.
While I may have my own personal preferences, it just furthers my opinion that Angel is an underrated spin-off and deserves some recognition as a standalone series as well. Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not yet watched the series. My top 5 episodes from Angel are:
“Rm w/a Vu” (Season 1, episode 5)
Cordy: I’m not a sniveling whiny little Cry-Buffy. I’m the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no one…Back off! Polygrip. You think *you’re* bad? Being all mean and haunty? Picking on poor pathetic Cordy? Well, get ready to haul your wrinkly translucent ass out of this place, because lady, the bitch is back.
Maude: Do you think that I’m going to take that from trash like you?
Cordy: I tell you what I think. I think that you’re going to pack your little ghost bags and get the HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!
So for me, this episode has to be the one that hooked me onto Angel for good. When I first began watching Angel, it coincided with season 4 of Buffy and I was mostly looking for crossover events. However, this episode changed all of that for me. I always loved Cordelia Chase on Buffy, played by the amazing and beautiful, Charisma Carpenter. However, she didn’t always get enough screen time on Buffy and she started to really grow as a character toward the end of season 3. She even staked her very first vampire at graduation!
I was excited to see her on Angel and this episode allowed her to step out of her supporting role and into a leading one with flair. This episode is absolutely hilarious and kind of creepy at the same time. I have to admit that I always hesitate before looking in the mirror in the bathroom just because of this very episode. I mean, you never know if Maude is still hanging around.
I love this episode because Angel and Doyle are trying to fight off other demons, but it’s Cordelia who needs to find the strength within herself to cast out the ghost of Maude, proving that you should never underestimate a girl with confidence and attitude.
“Reunion” (Season 2, episode 10)
Lilah: For god’s sake, help us.
Holland: Angel – please. – People are going to die.
Angel: And yet, somehow, I just can’t seem to care.
My top 5 list would not be complete without including “Reunion.” I absolutely adore both Drusilla and Darla and often felt like they didn’t get enough time on Buffy either. Fear not, these bad-ass ladies make their triumphant return on Angel and wreak havoc on the entire city. After being brought back from the dead, Darla realizes that she is dying as a mortal and the lawyers of Wolfram & Hart enlist Drusilla to turn Darla back into a vampire.
In this episode, these two ladies go shopping, which is enough to make this episode truly stand out, especially when Drusilla starts “ringing all over.” I mean, you gotta love modern technology. However, they do not stop here, as they decide to go to the Wolfram & Hart party and truly make a splash. Darla reminds Holland and the other lawyers that they ordered a massacre and these two ladies show up to bring the massacre to them.
While this moment is shocking on its own, Angel shows up and closes the doors on the lawyers, turning his back on them and refusing to help. Drusilla recognizes that this man is not Angelus, but Angel’s humanity is tainted here, as he gives up and even fires his team at the end of the episode, causing our fearless leader to question everything.
“Birthday” (Season 3, episode 11)
Skip: You may wanna think about that. The only way *you* get to keep the visions is by becoming – part demon. The process isn’t easy. It’ll make your vision pain feel like a stroll through candyland. And even after the pain subsides the effects of the transition will be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again.
Cordy: So – demonize me already.
I love this episode because it is a Cordy-centric one; however, it also allows Cordelia to really transform and grow as a selfless hero, which is extremely important. In this episode, Cordelia’s painful visions catch up with her, as she ends up in some kind of deep sleep or coma, as Angel and her friends try to help her.
Cordelia ends up in a limbo of sorts and meets her guide, Skip, who is a hilarious demon that really almost deserves his own spin-off series. Cordelia is brought to a mall so she feels comfortable and is given the chance to re-write her life. Skip makes it so she never bumped into Angel at the party in LA and she ends up becoming famous with her own show, Cordy! It seems like she has the perfect life, but Cordelia’s path intertwines with helping the helpless and she later makes the decision to accept her visions and become part demon.
Skip warns her that there will be consequences, but Cordelia is ready to accept her fate, understanding that it is her true purpose to help others. This episode is so important because we have really seen Cordelia’s goodness shine through, as she will do anything to help. In previous seasons of Buffy and maybe even earlier on Angel, Cordelia would have taken her shiny new life and ran with it, but she’s not that girl anymore. She has become a hero one can truly be proud of and she’s ready to embrace her new destiny.
“Not Fade Away” (Season 5, episode 22)
Illyria: You’re fading. You’ll last 10 minutes at best.
Gunn: Then let’s make ’em memorable.
Spike: In terms of a plan?
Angel: We fight.
Spike: Bit more specific.
Angel: Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon…Let’s go to work.
I was a little torn between my number 1 and 2 picks, but I am going to give the series finale of Angel my number 2 spot. However, please note that this was a very difficult decision because this episode is fantastic. Season 5 really got things back on track for the show, but it also provided us with some heartbreaking moments that still make me cry today.
In the series finale, the apocalypse we have been hearing about for 5 seasons is finally unleashed by Wolfram & Hart. Angel and his team are ready to fight, even though the odds are definitely not in their favor. The episode does a great job of summing certain things up and providing us with some closure. For example, we get to see Harmony being Harmony and Connor returns to stand by his father’s side, which is important. We also get to see some heartbreaking closure for Wesley as well, which I am going to devote another blog entry to, so stay tuned on that.
At the end of the episode, it is raining and our remaining heroes debate over the plan. Angel wants to fight the dragon of course and simply tells them to “go to work,” leaving fans with a major cliffhanger at the end of the series. So, we don’t know if the prophecy will be fulfilled and if Angel will eventually become human and we don’t know the fate of some of our remaining characters as well.
However, I think this series finale is one of the best I have seen on any show because it reminds us what the show is about. While Buffy had more closure and the opportunity to do whatever she wanted at the end of the series, Angel and his team are left fighting the good fight, which is why he came to LA in the first place. It’s not about achieving the happily ever after. It’s about the fight until the very end to “help the helpless” and that’s exactly what Angel and the others do.
Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Angel are:
- “I Will Remember You”
- “Five by Five”
- “To Shanshu in L.A.”
- “Guise Will Be Guise”
- “Life of the Party”
- “Harm’s Way”
- “A Hole in the World”
“You’re Welcome” (Season 5, episode 12)
Angel: I need you here.
Cordy: Don’t make it hard, Angel. I’m just on a different road… and this is my off-ramp. The Powers That Be owed me one, and I didn’t waste it. I got my guy back on track…We take what we can get, champ, and we do our best with it. I’ll be seeing you.
Oh, what the hell. One for the road?
There really has to be something said for the 100th episode of this series. I remember being so disappointed when I saw that Cordelia was no longer in the main credits at the start of season 5 and I was wondering if she would ever wake up from her coma. In this episode, fans get their wish and Cordelia returns. Her bright smile is back and she is excited for some “shopping” with Angel and Wesley, giving fans a real sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the start of the series.
The episode is absolutely brilliant from start to finish, but nothing could prepare me for the very end. Joss Whedon is fantastic at creating twists that we never see coming and that’s what he did here. Cordelia reveals that it’s no longer her time and that the “Powers That Be” owed her one, allowing her to get Angel back on track with his destiny.
Throughout the series, Angel and Cordelia had a will-they-won’t-they vibe going on and I really loved the chemistry between these two. That being said, I am a Buffy & Angel fan for life, but I’m not going to knock the connection between Angel and Cordelia. After missing literally every opportunity to be together previously, it seems like they are now going to get a chance at a “happily ever after.” Only this is a Joss Whedon show and happily ever after is not possible, as we learn that Cordelia never wakes up from her coma and Angel is informed at the end of the episode that she died. A
ngel is initially confused, as he tells the person on the phone that she is standing right there, but realizes that she is gone. However, Cordelia does her job by reminding Angel what he stands for and they even get the chance to share an epic kiss that had me swooning for sure.
In classic Cordy-style, she says, “You’re welcome” at the end of the episode and we are left with Angel simply saying, “Thank you,” which broke my heart all over again, as he is now standing there alone.
I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post some of your thoughts on your own favorite episodes from Angel below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!
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