The Bachelor Party • S01E07 • TPN’s Angel Guide


The Bachelor Party finally gives the last
member of our Angel Investigations trio some backstory to work with. In a season that has to this point felt a
little drab or awkward at times, the Bachelor Party is nothing but fun. Angel is aiming for another evening with good
book, I’m thinking Descarte this time? Cordy is going out for an evening with an
early 2000’s lunkhead that Doyle and Angel grill at the door. I was struck by how dated her date actually
looked compared to how timeless Charisma looked in that dress. Doyle’s jealousy is showing as is his insecurity. He is given a vision and he and Angel set
out for a little Angel-style entertainment. Cordy’s date talking about stock options
provides her a harsh contrast to the life she has versus the one she thinks she wants. Doyle is for some reason unwilling to fight
in his stronger demon form which Angel comments on. After Cordy’s date abandons her to a vampire
we see Doyle’s reluctance to go demon taking a toll. He saves her and Cordy seems to take notice. As Cordy begins to take a chance in through
the door walks Doyle’s wife Harry. Harry is getting engaged and her fiance, Richard,
is played by Carlos Jacott, another actor to repeat in the Buffy verse as a different
character. Jacott played the cultish demon in the episode
Anne. Harry has brought Doyle divorce papers so
she can move on. Doyle laments love lost with Angel as he nods
knowingly. Angel bends to Doyle’s desire to check into
Richard. There is a shot I really like of Richard,
walking through a dark alley, and the camera panning up to reveal Angel following on the
rooftop. Very Batman. Angel sees Richard go demon with his fiance
and attacks. Turns out Harry already knew and Richard is
just a fuddy duddy demon. This leads to Doyle coming to understand something
significant. “Harry didn’t leave because of the demon
in me. She left because of me.” Harry’s entourage are sitting around planning
the party itself “Darts. Then we have the ritual eating of the first
husband’s brains. Then charades.” “Wait what was that? Charades?” Doyle brings Angel to the bachelor party which
throws a wrench in the works for the entourage. Angel sees the ritual occurring and gets kicked
from the party. Doyle consents to endorsing Richard, unwittingly
agreeing to let Richard eat his brains. He tries to back out. 36:00 “Now I’m not so sure I even want
to eat your brains.” Angel breaks up the scene and Richard gets
in trouble with Harriet. And the episode ends with Doyle having a vision
of a certain someone…in danger. I enjoyed quite a bit in this episode. Glenn Quinn’s performance of Doyle as a
squirrely anxious and reluctant do-gooder has been fun to watch but until this episode
his character hadn’t really been given any meat to work with. His backstory with Harriet is nice to take
in as Quinn wears Doyle’s grief on his sleeve, as well as his eventual willingness to move
forward. Again Doyle’s story here acts as an interesting
and obvious parallel to Angel’s. Doyle’s struggle with his demon was also
ultimately responsible for the loss of his relationship. Borrowing a page from Buffy’s structure,
so far in 7 episodes if the plot wasn’t about Angel specifically the story related
to him metaphorically. It’s not a plot device they sustain but
it occurred to me this episode what a useful way it was of revealing Angel’s backstory
early on, at least the emotional underpinnings of it. Cordy’s shame over who she was an her belief
that her current state in life is a sentence. Doyle’s relationship here. “She didn’t leave because of the demon
in me, she left because of me.” “It’s not the demon in me that needs killing
Buffy, it’s the man.” Anyone who’d not watched Buffy early on
could still have a strong emotional grasp of Angel’s part in it thanks to these early
episodes. Of course Richard’s brain eating tradition
is hilarious commentary on the very idea of bachelor parties themselves and other archaic
customs. “My family would never agree to the marriage
unless we went through the custom.” It is believed that as far back as the Spartan’s,
men used to assemble to drink and celebrate a groom’s final night being single. It wasn’t until the 1960s that women began
having bachelorette parties, a tradition altogether different than the bridal shower. The episode’s opening cuts between Cordy’s
rich but tedious dinner date juxtaposed against Angel and Doyle cleaning out the vampire nest
were a nice lead into to where her story may go. Though, I’m still getting undistinguished
echoes of other bits. Doyles rescuing Cordelia and her ensuing smitten
reminded me a bit of Xander saving her in Some Assembly Required. It is interesting that she describes both
Xander and Doyle as fixer uppers when, the lacking characteristics that make them so
(namely wealth and success) are things she is also lacking. I love that contradiction. This episode doesn’t exactly raise some
new questions regarding the lore so much as pushes them farther. Does Richard’s demonessness introduce a
continuity problem? Is it ever explicitly stated all demons are
soulless? We DID have Whistler. And the demon Faith killed to get the books
of ascension. Doyle’s soul is assumed a part of his human
half. But clearly demon’s can be good guys capable
of some degree of altruism. Sure he and his clan nearly engage in a barbaric
ceremony but it was just that. Ceremony. Something we covered with the Cruciamentum
in Helpless. Clearly Richard loves Harry and most of these
demons are living normal suburban lives. But what about vampires? In the Harvest, Giles’s reads from origin
of vampires: The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed
their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by
the demon’s soul.” So if human’s have human souls and demons
have demons souls this may yet again be an argument that flies in the face of Whedon
saying the soul is simply the moral compass, an idea that much of Buffy’s metaphorical
framework is built around. If you’re a new fan of either Buffy or Angel
understand, this conversation has no end. Whedon himself he would always prefer to go
for an emotional truth even it meant contradicting the lore in some fashion. And he’s right. I think that is the higher aspiration. But as fans…we’ll never stop talking about
it.

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Comments

  1. "Wait what was that?" Is one of my favorite moments of gliding over a very odd topic and just worrying about something minor like a charades.

  2. I always look forward to your videos! Absolutely love your channel can't wait to see what you have in store for us

  3. Great episode, Ian, and truly fresh out of the editing room… 🙂

    Doyle got way too little time; I'll always be sad that they had to let the actor go, even though the consequences did boost the series (Cordy's development and Wesley's marvelous character arch). Oh, well…
    And the soul thing… Whedon loves to make our lives difficult, but that is truly the most confusing piece of lore ever. It's just plain mean (but oh-so-much-fun).

  4. Yay, two reviews!!!! 😀
    As always, I'd like to comment on Cordy. Her way to cheer Doyle up ("Move on!, Get over it! Did I mention to move on?") together with a few extremely short and honest statements proved to be a valid way to help Doyle, and the only way to help Angel.

  5. Weird watching this after the editing livestream.

    Guess going Brachen demon is like turning into the Hulk or something? Incidentally the only reason I remember the name of the demon type is cause one guy on a forum went by the name Brachen Man.

    Yay Angel door kick.

  6. I clicked as soon as I saw this! I can not wait till the next Angel episode!!!! You are so amazing at these! Thank you so much for doing them

  7. It's very cool to have been able to see it in construction vs. the finished product. Definitely gives an even greater appreciation for all the effort you put in – thank you!!

  8. Xander and Doyle are NOTHING alike. Doyle was a hero like Angel, he wasn't a tool and mean to Cordy the way Xander was… I never would have assumed they would be similar. I even heard that it was thought that Doyle was a little too similar to Angel (just more expressive). How could he be very similar to Angel but gave Xander references? Doyle almost had a piece of everyone.. a little bit of Wesley in him, a little bit of Angel in him.. he was a cool guy.

  9. The person all main character s go on dates with in random episodes always look dated even during the initial airing while Carisma Carpenter is just always flawless.

    SPOILER I thought for sure Harry was going to be recurring and am glad she was not. END SPOILER

    Side note: Carlos would eventually be known for being on three of Joss's shows (It was a big deal for actors to be on BtVS, AtS, and Firefly).

    SPOILER The start of the three part crossover. PS I find it amusing that Joss hated crossovers but became willing to do them in case AtS didn't continue. He wanted the characters to still tie into BtVS.

    When the video was talking about Glen Quinn's performance as Doyle, my thought process was that there was a reason he was THE fan favorite until Fred came along.

    I never looked at the characters relating to Angel that closely unless there were flashbacks like in SPOILER The Prodigal. END SPOILER It is a nice realization on my part that it goes deeper that the single lines given.

    My favorite part of this episode was Cordelia learning Doyle was a teacher to the "We Are the World" joke.

    436-the end of the video just has no answer at all. In the fictional lore of the show or even in real life.

    I am (mixed emotions) over the next episodes review. Cannot wait.

  10. I also love the idea of what looks and sounds evil is just a natural cultural thing to do, like playing poker for kittens

  11. i honestly love your guides. It has encouraged me to think more about each episode and other movies, tv shows, and books. Its also nice seeing that some of my own thoughts are shared with others

  12. Thanks a ton for the new episodes Ian. My girlfriend looks forward to your new content perhaps more than any TV series, or any other internet based video, and sometimes the wait feels excruciating haha. Am I missing something, or is Wild At Heart all of the sudden gone from the channel? Hope all is well, and we anxiously await the next set of episodes as always.

  13. Ah, excellent, a Buffy and an Angel episode in the same day! This must have been a busy week; thank you for putting in the work (I know it can be draining).

    This is a great episode, and my favourite up to this point in Angel's saga. And aye…I can't believe "I Will Remember You" is next. I remember watching it during my first run-through and thinking, "Well, that's got to be fixed in a later episode.

    Nope.

  14. i dont get why it cant be both. i mean even different human coutures have different morals why cant demons? i always found it wired how the show seemed to hold demon ideals up to human ideals. humans are a plague on the earth and seem to out number demons by this logic it always seemed like humans were almost like live stoke to demons. what makes us different from cows? i sware i have no problem with eating cows.

  15. So if demons are bad and humans are good does that mean that good demons are demons psychopaths like bad humans are human psychopaths…..My head hurts…

  16. Can't say for sure that these guys had SOULS… but Lorne and Clem were arguably the sweetest demons on both shows!!!

  17. What I quite enjoyed about Cordelia's reaction to Doyle rescuing her was that it wasn't just that he saved her. Angel does that. It was that he saved her, got hurt, and still asked if she was okay before worrying even about himself. That's pretty darn sweet.

    My spirit may levitate from my body when your next Angel guide drops.

  18. Why does the concept of soul as moral compass contradict the idea of demon souls? A moral compass does not need to entail the same moral value system in all forms of consciousness. On Buffy (the show) we've seen vampires submit their self-centric urges to another controlling set of codes, such as the Three who submit willingly to the Master's judgement (execution) rather than prioritize the animal urge to live. In fact, it's far more interesting to see demonic consciousness as embodying an archaic but no less sophisticated idea of morality, something that at times has continuities with human values and practices ("good" and "bad" ones). As the reviewer says, we fans can talk about this endlessly:-)

  19. Your reviews have re-light my passioin for buffy and angel which I've had since age 6, keep 'em coming bro, i get excited everytime you put a new one up, can't wait for your review of my favourite angel episode 1×14 I've got you under my skin, I know its not Hero or the Produgal, or even the amazing Five by Five, but its so fucking creepy, that that twist at the end, beautiful.

  20. Is it fair to call this what POTN might call a candy episode? A lot of people see this as one of the first season clunkers, but I actually do enjoy it for the most part. That Angel entrance scene that made the credits was just bad ass! And like POTN said it does have some good character growth. For the first time Doyle felt like a human being, well as much as a part human/part demon can!

  21. Great review.

    This is an interesting episode. If Angel aired today, this episode would probably be considered filler or some of the fans would be thinking their building up Doyle for a reason other than character development. I'm not sure what the fan reaction was back during the original airing, because I didn't watch Angel live when it aired. I only got into it years and years later.

    This is definitely a character driven episode and it does wonders for Doyle. This is also the calm before the storm. That being the next two episodes which really push forward the season.

  22. As a general rule I'd give any continuity established in a shows first episode a bit of a pass. Giles says a "Demon's soul" passed to a human, but you could easily replace that with "Demon's essence" and you get the same result without conflicting the lore.

    For me there's enough for the showrunners to worry about when first developing a show that any spotty continuity aspects from early on I can usually just ignore if they're contradicted later. Minor example: the Trio from the season 1 Buffy episode "Angel" get their arms around the open doorframe of Buffy's house, whereas every other vampire will bounce off an invisible barrier even if the door is open.

  23. I always joke about how "I forget nothing," but I honestly forgot this episode. I think what's interesting is that Angel (the series) is more morally gray when it comes to demons whereas in Buffy, for better or for worse, demons are inherently evil and humans aren't subjected to the Slayer's judgment. This will become an even grayer area when morally ambiguous humans are placed as the antagonists for both Buffy and Angel (The Initiative and Wolfram and Hart, respectively).

    Doyle is so endearing. It’s sad that Glenn Quinn died.

    Hey, is that an iceberg ahead or is it just me?

  24. I caught a bit of the livestream. It's so weird to see it being constructed, and then to see the finished product all put together. Very good work.

  25. The moral compass problem was settled in seasons five of Buffy:
    Buffy: Angel's different. He has a soul.
    Dawn: Spike has a chip. Same diff.

    You've got a moral compass when it hurts you to hurt people.

  26. Having caught the live streaming show, I have this stunned appreciation for how labor intensive these reviews are. I have a fuller grasp of why you can't pump these out once a week like I and others would wish! Thank you, Ian, for doing these guides.

  27. I cant wait for your review of The Prodigal, I really love that episode, the only one that I like of this season, the rest of the seasons were great, more and less, but the first season always appear to be awkward.

  28. The Doyle moments always make me sad, knowing not just the fate of the character, but the actor as well. It just makes it that much harder to watch. Not looking forward to "Hero."

  29. Demonic souls are moral compasses that tend to point in the opposite direction. And just as you can get people who are psychopaths, you can get demons that aren't.

  30. Great as always. On the demon soul thing…I think the demon referred to in Welcome to the Hellmouth is a pure demon, like the tentacled thing that tries to come out of the Hellmouth or what the Mayor transforms into. Every other demon on the shows are tainted with human blood, although seriously watered-down, so they still have potential for a soul. The demon in vampires are pure just inhabiting a human host whose soul has left their body thus they cannot be good because they have no conscience. That's how I rationalise it anyway. It's the internal logic that works for me.

    The demon not meaning evil is where Angel differs wildly from Buffy. Buffy started as a high school show for teenagers about teenagers. The demons were mainly metaphors and of course they were evil. Because when you're a teenager things are very black and white. Evil is obvious and defeated more simply, well theoretically anyway. When you're older everything becomes greyer, less definite, more shadowy. You yourself have less structured direction and things you thought you understood about the world aren't always right (demons aren't always evil). It's a struggle to hold on to your ideals and you have to compromise…that's why things in Angel are more complex morally. The demons in real life are often less obvious and more difficult to defeat and they often defeat you without realising it. Buffy's about the torture and drama of high school whereas Angel is about the struggle for purpose in your 20s learning about the real world.

  31. Great to see Doyle being fleshed out finally, considering there are so many more episodes for us to enjoy Doyle's role. Er, um…

  32. i think demons have their own kind of souls that are plenty diverse (from fairly moral/upstanding to Ultimate Evil) just like humans, it's just that their whole biology/culture/etc influence the shape of their souls. ultimately they just have a very fundamentally different view of the world. if humans can be everything from "tramp through the woods shooting bambi and eating it for dinner" to "total vegan who won't even touch butter" i think demons can be everything from "tramp through the city streets snaring babies to eat for dinner" to "i just eat sewer slime/burgers/already-dead people" and as with both of these examples the latter can be anything from dietary restrictions that make it that way or a personal choice because of what you see as ethical/unethical.

    i like the humanization of demons and such that happens over the course of both series, particularly on ats, which is appropriate since Angel was the first real human/moral demon we met on btvs.

    it's why demons living 'normal' lives is interesting to me …. as with SPOILERS FOR S5 OF ANGEL Harmony in W&H she never gets soulled or anything but she's capable of living 9 to 5 and helping out and all that. she'll also betray you if it suits her but Angel doesn't even hold that against her, he just knows it's part of her nature which he fundamentally accepts (and it's fun that his whole "there's a reference in your desk" or w/e bit comes when he's fighting the guy who makes him ultimately go vamp in a moment that really celebrates/accepts his demon nature.) but back to Harmony, she doesn't cause trouble because, hey, as long as life is working out for her why would he? she makes good money and has access to all the blood she needs, even if it's not human — she's content.

    i think of it as kind of a modernization/the world getting smaller impacting demons too. they can't live the way they used to. so they either adapt or die. compare this to "check out disco dave" and how Faith/Buffy both can recognize vamps because they dress in an out-of-date way.

  33. I love that shot of Angel busting the door in that ended up in the credits. So badass. I also forgot we got a crossover this early! I block out I Will Remember You from my memory. Finally, I love Doyle, and Cordy. Now I'm welling up.

  34. I think much of the 'soul' questions can actually be answered from Anya. Remember, per her (a demon/former demon herself), the demons that walk the earth are hybrids–they're all created from true demons, but are hybridized with something else. If most are hybridized with humans, this would explain why most of the demons we see have humanoid forms, as opposed to the primordial or serpent-like forms we see from true demons.

    In addition, it is implied that vampires are the only demons who specifically, lack a soul. My theory is that they are created through death. Most demons are shown to have family structures, and in theory are born/hatched/birthed within that structure, like Richard is. Demons are alive, while vampires are undead. Demons are born, and have all the soul that comes with the presence of life. This doesn't ensure they'll be good people–after all, we see countless, souled humans just as foul and evil as any monster–but doesn't guarantee they'll be bloodthirsty or monstrous either. Vampires, though, are created by humans. A demon possessing a corpse. If the soul or spirit is separate from the brain–which is heavily suggested throughout the Buffyverse–then the demon gets the brain and all its memories and personalities, but the soul is gone. Richard, then, probably has a soul, as do many of the demons encountered throughout the show, but chooses to ignore it. He's really no different (in terms of soul) than a W&H lawyer. And as a hybrid, he may not have a specifically human parentage, but his ancestry comes from humans and demons alike.

  35. The way Angel contradicted the btvs concept that "all demons and vampires are bad till we say otherwise" philosophy did annoy me.It is annoying when you look back at some old Buffy episodes where she's killing demons left right and center without them even attacking her. It also makes you think even more "how the hell do people not know supernatural stuff exists".

    I thought up until this point I thought good demons were rare. Thankfully Angel and btvs did eventually mesh better together with the introduction of clem etc. but still all those demons that got killed that could have redeemed themselves or been good…

    I get why Angel has more supernatural creatures trying to redeem themselves in his show though as it parallels well with the man himself. As said in this video, Doyle parallels well with Angel.

  36. I had mixed feelings about the "demons are just like us" episodes. It led to some very entertaining and funny scenes,
    but at the time the show was airing I was more concerned with how this was likely pushing away a mainstream audience and assuring that only the same people who were watching Buffy were watching Angel. And I don't feel like any of it was essential to the storytelling. If Buffy is about humans experiencing human rites of passage through a supernatural setting, Angel could have been the opposite: a supernatural being living in a human world. Instead, an episode like The Bachelor Party feels more comparable to a Star Trek episode in which the roles of the Aliens of the Week are played by the Demons of the Week, and the
    plot is about discovering the one special quirk that makes this week's aliens not as normal as they seem. Only in this case, the Enterprise is also crewed by aliens, so it's aliens interacting with aliens, solving alien social issues through diplomacy/punching people in the face. And sure, I'm up for that kind of story, but I'm a huge nerd. I think having the supernatural lurk mostly unseen behind the very human front of an entity like Wolfram & Hart was the better formula for mainstream appeal, had they stuck with that tone from the beginning. If David Boreanaz can co-captain a show like Bones to 12 seasons (perfectly fine show for its genre, not slighting it), then a show like Angel certainly had potential to make it past 5.

  37. I have a suggestion for a top ten video! Top ten Buffy and Angel characters who are hair-pulling-ly frustrating

  38. The wait is nearly over……..

    I don't think you can quite imagine how I've literally been going out of my mind wait for you to review the next episode of Angel.
    I hope it a review that goes on for days!

    So very excited 🤗

  39. I like the fact the writers never let the lore bog themselves down. They were never dogmatic about sticking to the lore which granted them a lot of flexibility as the seasons went on.

  40. Love your videos and how you break down the metaphor behind them! I gotta say I agree with your reviews for the most part so I was wondering if I could get an opinion on the Comics? I was thinking of getting into them but I'm not much of a comic reader and I really like how Angel and Buffy ended so I've been a little hesitant explore the Buffyverse further that way. Can anyone tell me if the comics are worth the read?

  41. As far as the soul argument goes there are really two different camps all the demons on both shows fall into.
    1. Demons capable of forming social structures and complex interpersonal relationships.
    2. Demons incapable of social interaction or only capable of forming hunting packs.

    The first group has souls as a moral compass that are analogous to human souls, though in the case of the demon family in this episode those moral compasses are drastically different from standard human morality and social norms.

    The second group includes vampires and most of the things that Slayers need to kill on sight.

    While Clem, maybe Toth, some of Willie's Bar customers, and the Shark-headed kitten loan shark from Buffy fall into group 1 just about all the other demons on Buffy that choose to live on the hellmouth fall into group 2. In LA and on Angel there is a much larger representation of group 1 demons since the ones that are barely more than wild animals mostly gravitate to the hellmouth.

    One other clue to this distinction between demons is the reaction to Angel's game face at the bachelor party. The clan demons have no problem with eating the brain of a sentient being in this one instance since that is what their religious beliefs call for, but that doesn't mean they are anything like vampires and the sheer audacity Harry's ex has to invite a "filthy vampire" to their family gathering is unforgivable.

  42. I don't think of the soul as a moral compass but rather humanity. Animals can still have emotions and to be loyal and love but they aren't human and aren't capable of grander thoughts than the ones that children might have.

  43. I think JW's comments perfectly encapsulate what I love about his work and what frustrates me to no end. Truthfully, I loathe the soul canon. Every time they mention it in-universe, I'm filled with cold-fired rage. But at the same time, I know I only feel that way because Joss has made me care about the characters so much.

  44. One of my least favourite things – when i see a video of yours is released then come back to watch it in peace a bit later and it's gone 🙁 Where is Pangs? 🙁

  45. I'm not sure if you know this or not but you video for "pangs" has been blocked by fox and can't be watched

  46. I don't think Cordi calls Doyle and Xander "fixer-uppers" because of their lack of wealth and status, I think she is talking about emotional immaturity. I think this is also why meeting Harriet changes things for her. She sees he isn't a boy like Xander, he has lived a life and has more depth than she thought. She is seeing him in a new light, and maybe herself too. Cordi talks a lot about material things and status, but like Cordi herself, this talk has layers.

  47. RIP Glenn Quinn, you were my favourite character on this show, despite your limited time on it. Such a tragedy.

  48. I don't think the comment on Xander and Doyle being "fixer-uppers" is specifically because of their lack of wealth/success, since it's not like Cordelia has much power to "fix" either. She made frequent jabs at both for being badly-dressed, uncool and looking stupid and I think it's that she expects she'll have to change to be happy in the relationship.

  49. I always saw the soul, as shown in Buffy-verse as hardware to running the software of your personality. As such both demons and humans have souls, it's just the human soul have components capable of running an "empathy" subroutine that the demon soul lack. As such a vampire is the version of a person character but without the capability of empathy and with more carnal elements given more ram than in humans.

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