Season 2, Episode 14 - “Innocence”
Original airdate: Jan. 20, 1998
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 15, 2009
As good as the first part of this two-parter was, it can’t hold a candle to this episode. THIS, more so than any of the first 32 episodes of this series, is what “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is all about (and just wait ‘til we get to episodes 33 and 34, for the really heart-wrenching stuff).
There are definitely some key subplot things in this episode, but I don’t care about those right now. I care about Buffy and Angel.
It’s common to go to the analogy of “Romeo and Juliet” when discussing any set of star-crossed lovers, but it doesn’t really apply in the case of Buffy and Angel. Buffy, for the most part is pure good. Not only is she the slayer (the chosen warrior of the powers that be in the battle between good and evil), but she’s also, up until the end of “Surprise”, truly innocent.
On the other hand, Angel, in his demon form, is truly the face of evil. He is cruel, sadistic and merciless. He is the exact opposite of Buffy. In essence, they’re like the two polarities of a magnet, pulling toward each other. When Angel had his soul, the attracting force was love. Without his soul, it’s hate. I hate to use the cliche of there being a thin line between love and hate, but it really seems to apply in this case.
I think for the entire 7-season run, Angelus is probably the best villain in terms of both character and acting. To be honest, when the series started, David Boreanaz wasn’t that good of an actor (in fact, sometimes in Season 1, he was quite bad). But the scene with Buffy in Angel’s apartment was his crowning moment. I’d argue that for sheer dramatics, Boreanaz wouldn’t top this moment until “You’re Welcome” in Season 5 of “Angel”.
The final fight scene between Buffy and Angel sets the stage for the rest of the season, and does so very well. One important bit of foreshadowing is that Buffy gets the upper hand on Angel in the fight and has to take the final shot to finish him off -- only she can’t do it, because something in her hopes that there’s some little bit of Angel’s soul left. Keep that in the back of your mind for when the season finale comes along.
I wish I could explain better how I feel about this episode, but it’s just hard to put into words. Know this -- as of this point in the series, it’s my No. 1 episode, and will be for at least another... well, week and a half.
Oh, and it’s time for me to re-introduce something I did back when I posted my original “Buffy Top 10” back in 2005: picking my favorite quote from the episode (and actually in this case, it’s a change from my 2005 pick).
Angelus: I knew it. You can’t kill me
(Buffy kicks him in the groin)
Buffy: Give me time.