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Recap / Angel S01E11 "Somnambulist"

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A serial killer is stalking the streets and Angel fears it might be him. The truth is no less unpleasant: A protégé Angelus sired back in Ireland is recreating the murders of his own family over and over again.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Agent Scully:
    Kate: I don’t believe you.
    Angel: I know you don’t. Even after what you saw you won’t let yourself, which is why you’ll lose.
    Kate: I’ve heard enough.
    [Angel closes his fist around the cross dangling from her necklace and she gasps at the sound of his flesh sizzling.]
    Angel: No, you haven’t heard a word, and you won’t. Not now, not yet. [she looks down at the smoke rising from his fist] Because there are some things in this world you’re just not ready to face.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Cordelia again, though she appears to have learnt some lessons from the previous episode, or from working with a vampire—she quickly realises Penn is a vampire from his Badass Longcoat used to shield himself from the sun, and raises the blinds to block him off from her.
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  • Ax-Crazy: Penn's been a serial killer for more than 200 years, and joyfully anticipates killing whatever victims he can get his hands on.
  • Bad Dreams: The problem is, Angel enjoys them.
  • The Bait: Angel plans to use Kate's police resources to locate Penn, while following close enough to prevent her death. After Kate finds out who Angel really is, she organizes surveillance on Angel, knowing Penn will try to contact or kill him.
  • Blessed with Suck: Vampires share a Psychic Link with their kin. When a vampire he sired 100 years ago starts killing people locally, Angel feels it.
  • Boring Insult: Penn thinks he's a master killer; Angel calls him a cheesy hack.
    Angel: Look at you. You’ve been getting back at your father for over 200 years. It’s pathetic and clichéd. Probably got a killer shrine on your wall, huh? News clippings, magazine articles, maybe a few candles? Oh, you are so prosaic.
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  • Bus Full of Innocents: Penn appears to be planning to attack one. It turns out he's taking advantage of this trope to send Angel off on a false trail while he attacks Kate. Angel realises this however.
  • Calling Card: Before being cursed with a soul, Angelus enjoyed 'signing' each of his victims by slicing a Christian cross on their cheek. Its purpose was twofold: To keep score, and to spite God. Penn, having been sired and mentored by Angelus, adopted this trademark as his own.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Like Liam, Penn has daddy issues of his own, even to the point of considering Angelus his "real" father after being sired. Similar to Angelus, Penn evened the score by slaughtering his entire family. Over the next two centuries, Penn deliberately sought out victims who resembled his family, killing them in order to reenact his past murders (later redirected toward Angel himself).
  • Continuity Nod: Kate hands out pictures of Angel taken from the same precinct surveillance tape of Angel that Lee Mercer was studying in "Sense & Sensitivity".
  • Create Your Own Villain: Pretty easy to do when you're a vampire.
  • Double Entendre:
    Wesley: While executing my duties as Watcher in Sunnydale, I did extensive research. Specifically on Angel, given his uncomfortable proximity to the Slayer.
    Cordy: He looked pretty comfortable to me.
  • Do You Trust Me?: Angel asks Kate if she trusts him before handing over information on a Serial Killer without revealing the source. Kate doesn't hesitate to say that she trusts Angel; subverted in that after discovering that Angel is a vampire (and digging up Angelus's history) she never fully trusts him again.

    This also serves as a Meaningful Echo from the last time Angel used this trope, to Buffy in "Lie to Me", an episode about how the comforting illusions of childhood give way to the Grey and Gray Morality of real life. Lacking Buffy's sixteen year-old schoolgirl romanticism, the Kate/Angel relationship ends before it begins.
  • Evil Speech Of Evil: Penn enjoys the sound of his own voice, and tends to go on a bit.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Kate is facing down Angel (who she's just found out was a vampire, a fact she's not at all happy about) and Penn. She arranges to stab both of them with a giant plank that impales Angel in the stomach (leaving his Healing Factor to work, eventually) and Penn in the heart (dusting him instantly).
    Angel: You missed.
    Kate: No, I didn't.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Wesley enters Angel Investigations' office with their mail—a transparent pretext for Wesley to start trolling for work. He remarks on how he, Angel, and Cordelia make a great team.
    Wesley: Yes, most effective; your cryptic visions, Angel's brawn, my highly developed powers of deduction—
    Cordy: This isn't our mail.
  • Five-Finger Discount:
    Wesley: Where'd you get the police radio?
    Angel: Police car.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Cordelia: And no offense Angel, but maybe you are committing those horrible crimes just in your dreams, but even so, I don’t want to stick around for your nocturnal commissions.
  • Get Out!: Cordelia to Wesley after he deduces that the serial killer is Angelus.
    Cordy: You get to leave now.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Kate checks Penn's pulse after she shoots him three times in the chest and naturally finds he doesn't have one. Then he gets up.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Angel grabs Kate's cross necklace and holds it for several seconds while his hand smokes, to make a point.
  • Human Shield / Grievous Harm with a Body: Penn escaping Angel Investigations using Wes for a shield.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Wes is trying to convince Cordelia that Angel is behind the killings.
    Cordy: No! I don’t care how many files you have on all the horrible things he did back in the powdered wig days! He is good now. And he’s my friend. And nothing you or anyone else can say will make me turn on a friend!
    Angel: [doing his Walk-In Chime-In thing] Cordelia. He’s right.
    Cordy: [to Wesley] You stake him and I’ll cut his head off.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Wesley is holding Angel at cross-point, while Angel is trying to reassure him he's not the killer.
    Wesley: Why should we believe a word you say?
    [Angel laughs, grabs Wesley’s arm and spins him around to grab him by the neck.]
    Angel: Because this is how fast I could take you if I wanted to.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad / Punctuated Pounding
    Penn: Well, you were right about one thing, Angelus. The last 200 years has been about me sticking it to my father. But I’ve come to realize something—it’s you! [he jumps up and kicks Angel in the stomach] You made me! [kicks him in the face, then double fists him a couple of times] You taught me! [Angel drops to the floor and Penn jumps on his back] You approved of me in ways my mortal father never did! You are my real father, Angelus.
    Angel: [gets up, holding Penn up above his head] Fine! [slams him into the ground] You’re grounded.
  • I'm Going for a Closer Look: Despite having half of LAPD on site to back her up, Kate enters an Abandoned Warehouse alone to search for a serial killer.
  • Ironic Echo: The serial killer is called "The Pope", which Angel joked to Kate about being in "Rm w/a View".
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Played for Drama when Kate gives a profile of the serial killer they're looking for at a police briefing, which is crosscut with a montage of Angel walking the streets—needless to say, the profile fits Angel as much as it does Penn.
    Kate: Our suspect will be a white male. To the observer he will not seem a monster. His victims put up little or no struggle, so it’s likely that he is charming, attractive, but at his core he is a loner. Possibly a dual personality, who, once the crime has been committed, retains no memory of the act. He will not view his victims as subhuman, rather it’s himself that he views as something other than human, more than human, a superior species. Stalking his prey, getting to know them. It’s unlikely that he’ll be married, though he may have recently come off a long-term relationship that ended badly. We look for a precipitating event in cases such as this, and a painful breakup is always at the top of the list. Prior to failing, this relationship may have marked an inactive period in our suspect's life. He would have regarded it as a lifeline, his salvation, but once ended, it resulted in his recidivism. What is not in question is his experience. He’s been doing this for a very long time, and he will do it again.
  • Just Between You and Me: Spoofed by Penn.
    Kate: What are you going to do?
    Penn: Well, first I thought I’d stop everything and tell you my plan. Or better yet... why don’t I just show you? [morphs into his Game Face]
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    Cordelia: They were just dreams, Angel. They weren’t even your dreams. They didn’t mean anything.
    Angel: But I enjoyed it.
    Cordelia: It’d probably be okay if you never mentioned that part ever again.
  • Macho Masochism: When Kate refuses to accept that vampires exist despite seeing Angel in Game Face, he seizes the cross around her neck and holds it despite the smoke rising from his palm.
  • Mad Artist: Penn considers his killings to be his art, but Angel calls him out on his unoriginality and ego. At least he takes Angel's critique.
    Angel: I'm sorry what I turned you into.
    Penn: A first-class killer? An artist? A bold re-interpreter of the form?
    Angel: Try "cheesy hack"." You've been getting back at your father for over 200 years. It's pathetic. You've probably got a killer's shrine on your wall. News clippings, magazine articles, maybe a few candles. Oh, you are so prosaic.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: By Wesley and Cordelia, though actually averted with the police; by the time Kate finds out Angel is a vampire she already knows he's not the killer—not that she's any more trusting.
  • Montages
  • Must Be Invited: Unlike certain people in Sunnydale, Kate isn't foolish enough to invite Angel in once she knows he's a vampire. Later Angel walks into Penn's hideout and points out that as Penn is a vampire he doesn't need an invitation.
    • Chekhov's Gun: The fact that she doesn't invite him in will become a fairly huge deal in the s2 episode "Epiphany".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Angel asks Cordy who she was talking to she replies, "Nobody [the chair]. And Wesley."
  • Not What It Looks Like: Inverted; when Wes enters Angel Investigations with a stake ready in his hand, he assures Cordelia that it's exactly what it looks like.
  • Origins Episode
  • Perverted Sniffing/The Nose Knows
    Penn: Ah, smell that fear. Makes the blood sweeter.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Wesley
  • Rape as Backstory: Inverted, in that rather than having a character who was raped as part of their backstory, we have a character who was a rapist. Angel(us)' past is brought up by Kate, who has done a little research- and is horrified by what she finds ("please. Now there’s a word I imagine you heard a lot in your time. Please, No... Don’t.")
  • Room Full of Crazy: Lampshaded by Angel, when he derides Penn for his lack of imagination, saying he undoubtedly has a wall lined with newspaper clippings of his crimes. It turns out he does.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Angelus advises Penn to do this, and Penn has fun recreating the crime over the centuries.
  • Serial Killer: Although he's no different from any other vampire, really. Like Angelus.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Penn is using Angel for a Human Shield, facing Kate armed with a large stake. Kate rams the stake through Angel's body to dust Penn. Angel gasps, "You missed [my heart]"; Kate yanks out the stake and says, "I didn't."
  • Staking the Loved One:
    Cordy: People really do change.
    Angel: Yes they do. And sometimes they change back. If the day ever comes that I—
    Cordy: Oh, I’ll kill you dead!
    Angel: [blinks] Thanks.
    Cordy: What are friends for?
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Kate shoots an unarmed Penn three times in the chest when he doesn't stop walking toward her.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Cordelia practising the Angel Investigations sales pitch to a chair.
    Wesley: I think it’s about to speak.
  • Sleepwalking: Angel fears he may be committing homicidal somnambulism—murders committed while sleepwalking.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: Kate is briefing her officers on Penn when the killer in question starts complaining about the terrible likeness of his artist's sketch.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Penn had an antagonistic relationship with his father, who never approved of him and placed him under pressure. Even after killing him (and his entire family) Penn never got over it and has been reliving that murder for 200 years.
  • Wolverine Claws: Penn has a metal finger extension which he uses to carve a cross into his victim's cheek.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A notable one comes when Cordelia convinces him he's better than Angelus or Penn, while cheerfully agreeing to "kill [him] dead" if he ever does become Angelus again.
  • You Remind Me of X: Angel sees a young blonde girl who from the back appears to be Buffy. The episode also has numerous Call Backs and Ironic Echos of Bangel incidents in Angel's interactions with Kate Lockley.
  • You Talk Too Much: Penn says that just because 'Angelus' has suddenly stopped being evil, doesn't mean he's going to stop as well. "It doesn't end, it just goes on and on." Cordelia does a Walk-In Chime-In. "That's not the only thing that goes on and on."

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