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Recap / Angel S01E03 "In the Dark"

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Oz comes to LA to drop off a gift for Angel from Buffy: The Gem of Amarra, which makes a vampire invulnerable to all of his usual weaknesses. Unfortunately for our heroes, Spike comes too, seeking the gem. Angel is tortured but refuses to give Spike the ring. Doyle and Cordelia, with Oz's help, save the day and Angel, using the gem's magic power, gets some time in the sun. After watching his first sunset in 200 years, however, Angel destroys the ring, realising it's more likely to tempt him away from his path to redemption.


  • 2 + Torture = 5: After valiantly fending off Marcus' torture in "In the Dark", Angel casually admits to Doyle that he was an inch away from spilling everything.
    Angel: I mean, one more hot poker, and I was giving him the ring, Your Mom, everything. — How is your mom?
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Marcus deliberately and repeatedly asks Angel, "What do you want?" while torturing him with sunlight and hot pokers. Because he is a Living Lie Detector, Marcus is unfazed by Angel's false answers. (The real answer, of course, turns out to be forgiveness.)
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  • Attack Hello: Spike makes his presence known to Angel via a wooden plank to the face.
  • Bald of Evil: Marcus is bald, in addition to being a pedophile and torturer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Angel stops Rachel from being shot by her abusive boyfriend in the teaser. Oz and his van get to save the day twice, first when he smashes into the warehouse where Angel is being tortured, then when he initially refuses to go after Marcus, but Angel says he has a thing for children. One Not So Stoic look later and Oz races to the beach to stop him.
  • Break Them by Talking: Part of Marcus' torture involves this. Angel responds with an attempted staking.
  • Call-Back:
    • While filling in Doyle on Spike, Cordelia references the Judge's "arm in a box" from the Buffy episode "Surprise".
    • As established in "School Hard", Spike can come up with brilliant plans, but he blows them by getting bored and making his move too soon.
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    • As in "The Harsh Light of Day" the Mundane Solution to an invulnerable opponent is just to yank the ring off their finger.
  • Captain Obvious: Oz sees Angel in the daylight.
    Oz: You're incredibly pale.
    • On the other hand this could be regarded as an Informed Attribute.
    • Especially funny that redhead Oz is saying this, as he is likely much paler than Angel.
  • Car Meets House: Oz uses his band's tour van as a battering ram in Spike's lair. He later uses it to knock down Marcus.
  • Chain-Link Fence: Subverted when Spike, in a rare demonstration of competence and careful planning, pretends to accidentally run down a blind alley — when really, it's Angel who's just been trapped.
  • Chain Pain: Marcus captures Angel this way.
  • Character Overlap: Oz visits L.A. for a gig with his band, and stops by Angel's place to drop off the Gem.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Marcus shoves hot pokers through Angel's body and shoots holes in the ceiling to let sunlight burn him.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Courtesy of the Gem of Amarra. Marcus heads straight to a beach to better indulge his pedophiliac tendencies, while Angel simply enjoys his first sunset in 200 years.
  • Domestic Abuse: Lenny, Rachel's boyfriend.
  • Fake Static: Calling his old contacts in order to locate Angel has the added consequence of stirring up Doyle's creditors. Eventually, Doyle starts resorting to the 'wrong number' trick.
    Doyle: [nasally accent] House of Pies...
  • Faux Affably Evil: He might be a repulsive sadist, but damn if Marcus isn't impeccably polite at all times.
  • First Time in the Sun: Angel gets to watch his first sunset in about two centuries.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Marcus makes a point of donning his spectacles before he gets to work.
  • Gag Dub: Spike's Funny Moment of an introduction: he spies on Angel from a rooftop and dubs the conversation between Angel and the woman he just saved from a domestic abuser. Spike's narration is pretty spot-on.
  • Guns Akimbo: Oz does Crossbows Akimbo. Now that's cool.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Doyle starts wishing for one of those head-cracking, brain-splitting visions to hit him... because it would pale in comparison to his hangover.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Marcus is complimenting a bare-chested Angel on the lack of damage to his skin over 200 years.
    Spike: Do you two need to be alone, or can we go on to the ouchy part?
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Spike tells Cordelia and Doyle he'll exchange Angel's life for the Gem.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Marcus, like some other vampires, can sense Angel's soul.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Angel battles Marcus beneath the shade of an overhanging pier. Angel impales him on a large beam, but the Gem of Amarra renders Marcus invincible — until Angel yanks it off his finger.
  • The Informant: Manny the Pig and Frankie the Tripod.
  • Invincible Hero: After the preceding Buffy episode ended on Buffy sending the Gem of Amarra to Angel, this episode is required to devote itself to averting this trope so the show can retain some sense of tension.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Angel chases and corners Spike in an alley blocked by a Chain-Link Fence. Spike doesn't even attempt to leap the fence, instead turning around and surrendering with an air of smugness. Angel takes the bait, and is garroted by Spike's henchman, Marcus. Whoops.
    Spike: Caught me fair and square, white hat! Guess there's nothin' to do now but go along quietly and pay my debt to society.
  • Lean and Mean: Marcus has a very slender, creepy look to him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    Angel: We duke it out, huh? Is this your big strategy to get the ring back?
    Spike: Hey, I had a plan!
    Angel: You? A plan?
    Spike: A good plan. Smart. Carefully laid out. But I got bored.
  • Light Is Not Good: Marcus, a torturer vampire with pedophiliac tendencies, wears a white shirt.
  • Living Lie Detector: Part of what makes Marcus' torture effective is that he knows when someone is lying, even if they just give up false information to make the pain stop.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Spike has been griping about Marcus constantly playing "that bleedin' Brahms!" (Marcus corrects it's actually Mozart), but smiles when he makes Angel scream.
    "Now that is music!”
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: Spike makes a half-hearted attempt to search Angel's quarters, runs into Doyle and Cordelia, and figures it's more effective to just threaten Angel's life so they'll find the Gem for him.
  • Mineral MacGuffin
  • Mood Dissonance: Marcus plays a gramophone of Mozart's Symphony #41 while torturing Angel.
  • Must Be Invited: Cordelia wants to hide from Spike at her place, as Spike hasn't been invited inside. Doyle points out that Spike can get round this problem just by burning down the building.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Also mocked by Spike re: the Spiky Hair.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Angel destroys the Gem because it's too dangerous in the wrong hands (including his own, should he lose his soul again), and because being able to follow a human-like existence would tempt him away from his path of redemption.
  • The Nose Knows: Doyle, while in Game Face, can smell the Gem of Amarra, presumably perceiving the materials the gem is made of or its mystical power.
  • Not So Stoic: Although usually eerily calm with a placid expression, Marcus shows much more emotion when he gets the Gem of Amara.
  • ...Or So I Heard: After Angel receives the Gem, Doyle suggests they go check out a few strip clubs which offer a fabulous luncheon buffet... or so he's been told.
  • Pædo Hunt: Marcus is all but outright-stated to be a paedophile.
    Spike: You like kids, don't you, Marcus? Well, likes to eat. And other nasty things.
  • Perp Sweating: A quick perp sweating montage as Angel beats his way to Spike.
  • Psycho for Hire: Spike hires Marcus explicitly because he has no interest in the Gem of Amara; his only desire is to hurt people. Unfortunately, he also realizes that the Gem gives him more opportunity to hurt people.
    Angel: You hired a vampire. What do you think he'll do with it when he finds it? Hand it to you?
    Spike: Oh, good lord, why didn't I think--? Oh, half a mo. I did! I hired a guy who doesn't care about the ring or anything else except taking blokes apart one piece at a time. It's called addiction. We all have them.
  • Put on a Bus: Spike won't return to the series until Season 5 (except for flashbacks in the episode "Darla"), becoming a regular character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Spike finding the Gem of Amarra is shown in the Buffy episode "The Harsh Light of Day".
  • Rescue Sex: Spoofed by Spike's Gag Dub.
  • Ring of Power: The Gem of Amarra, which grants invulnerability to staking, fire, and sunlight.
  • Shout-Out:
    • May be unintentional, but Marcus uses a gun and sunlight to torture Angel the exact same way Deimos tortures Carlos in Vampirella.
    • Spike prefers Mozart's earlier, funnier works.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: In the third sequence showing Angel's torture, Marcus quotes Hamlet: "There is nothing either bad or good but thinking makes it so."
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Marcus has a very calm, even voice that is oddly disarming. He's also a merciless torturer.
  • Spiky Hair: "And I'm almost out of that nancy boy hairgel I like so much."
  • Status Quo Is God: Of course the ring had to be destroyed by the end of the episode.
  • Stealth Insult: Spike to Cordelia.
    Spike: Cordelia! You look smashing; did you lose weight?
    Cordedlia: Yes, there is this great gym at... hey!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Manny the Pig" told Doyle he didn't know anything about a vampire named Spike... before Doyle said anything about Spike.
  • Tantrum Throwing/Failed Attempt at Drama
    Spike: Son of a bitch! I do the work, I do the digging, fight off a Slayer, drive to LA, hire the help, and what do I get? ROYALLY SCREWED, is what! Well that cinches it. No more partners. From now on I’m my own man. A lone wolf. Sole survivor. Look out, here comes Spike! The baddest mother— [a beam of sunlight hits the back of his head and his hair ignites] ARRGH!
  • Tempting Fate: Spike mocks Angel for being "defanged" by love and a pesky curse. On returning to Sunnydale, the Initiative will implant Spike with a Restraining Bolt that prevents him from killing, and he eventually falls in love with the same woman that Angel did.
  • Terse Talker: Oz vs. Angel.
    Angel: Oz.
    Oz: Hey.
    Angel: Nice surprise.
    Oz: Thanks.
    Angel: Staying long?
    Oz: Few days.
    Doyle: Are they always like this?
    Oz: No, we’re usually laconic.
  • To the Batnoun!: Spoofed by Spike. "Quickly, to the Angelmobile! Away!"
  • To the Pain: Marcus is enamored of pain, and waxes poetic about it to his literally captive audience.
    ''"It's through the pain that we find the truth of who we are. It strips us of our defenses. We are made innocent again, like children. I like children, Angel. I'm here to help you find that innocence here with the light.
  • Torture Technician: Marcus' entire thing is torture. It's his job, his hobby and his passion. He's legendary for it.
    Spike: Marcus is an expert. Some say "artist" but I've never been comfortable with labels. He's a bloody king of torture, he is. Humans, demons, politicians, makes no difference. Some say he invented several of the classics but he won't tell me which ones.
  • The Triple: From his rooftop vantage point, Spike tells Angel to enjoy playing the hero while he can, as he's got an eventful time coming up. "The Gem of Amarra, a visit from your old pal Spike and oh yeah, your gruesome horrible death."
  • Vampire Detective Series: Lampshaded and spoofed by Spike.
    Angel: Might as well go home, Spike. The Gem of Amarra stays with me.
    Spike: Why? Because you're "Angel: Vamp Detective" now? What’s next? Vampire cowboy? Vampire fireman? Oh, vampire ballerina.
    Angel: I do like to work with my legs. [kicks Spike in the face]
  • Villain Ball: Spike thinks he's averted the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder problem by selecting an accomplice who's only interested in torture and molesting children. It doesn't occur to him that Marcus - a vampire - could do those things more effectively given the immunity of the Gem.
  • We Will Meet Again: Spike to Angel.
    Spike: I’ll get that ring. This isn’t over until one of us is a pile of dust, mate.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: According to Cordelia, Doyle drunkenly apparently quoted Angela's Ashes and began to weep. He was also under the impression that the main characters were named Bam-Bam, Barney and Betty Rubble.
  • Wicked Cultured: Marcus likes to play classical music (specifically Mozart's Symphony #41) during his torture session.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: The Cold Open follows Angel saving a woman from her drug addict boyfriend, who Angel proceeds to pound unconscious. Ouch.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Children are Marcus' preferred targets.

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