The Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel, really hits some greatness in its second season. Fans’ feelings about Pylea are mixed, and the multi-episode arc (though I think it’s great), isn’t included here. Here are some of the best before the season gets weird.
5. Reunion- Ever wonder why Angelus is so much more evil than a lot of other vampires? Perhaps it’s because ensouled Angel really has a dark side too. We see quite a bit of it in “Reunion” when Angel lets Darla and Drusilla do some very bad things. It adds a lot to our understanding of the character, and to the overall arc of the season.
4. Dead End- This episode takes all those creepy transplant horror story cliches, and makes them feel…I really don’t want to use the word “fresh” in this context…but yeah. Really fresh. When Lindsay is given a new hand, we are exposed to some of the worst things that Wolfram and Hart have ever done. But knowing Wolfram and Hart, the shocking conclusion of this episode might not even be on the list of ten worst things. “Dead End” really puts into perspective how bad the big bad law firm is.
3. Epiphany- This episode shows us that there is a good side to Angel, and that perhaps everything that he does is for some higher purpose (a theme that the show comes to many times). This is also the episode where Kate Lockley starts to get interesting–before disappearing for good.
2. Darla- If you’re a fan of Angel and Buffy, stop what you’re doing right now and watch the season five Buffy episode “Fool for Love” and then watch this episode. That is, if you haven’t done so already. “Darla” shows us the same Boxer Rebellion flashbacks from one of Buffy’s more famous episodes, but from a totally different perspective. It’s pretty amazing the way the two episodes crossover, but “Darla” is great in its own right, opening up the complexities of Angel’s life after the curse.
1. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? The demon in this episode is one of the scariest that I’ve ever seen in the Buffyverse. This could be just me, or it could be the fact that it’s like fifteen feet tall. The episode tells us a lot about Angel, and about the nature of fear. It’s one of the creepiest, moodiest, darkest and best of the series. And you’ll remember it a little bit each time there is a long shot of the hallway at the Hyperion Hotel where the episode takes place, and where Angel sets up shop for a little while.