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Recap / Angel S01E20 "War Zone"

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A girl named Alonna walks down the street, followed by a group of vampires, but when the vampires turn around, Alonna's brother Gunn and many others are there, armed and ready for a fight. Several are killed on both sides and in the end the vampires run off leaving the humans to deal with the wounded.

Team Angel meet multi-billionaire and prospective client David Nabbit at a party, who explains he is being blackmailed by Lenny Edwards for going to a demonic brothel called Madam Dorion's. Angel tracks down Lenny Edwards, and makes him promise he will hand over the incriminating photos the following night. Gunn, after receiving news that a vampire is near by, witnesses Angel intimidating Edwards from afar, and plots to kill Angel. David pays Angel Investigations with a very large check, and promises more when the job is done.


The next night, Angel meets with Lenny, who brought the photos and a demon security guard. Angel kills the demon and gets away with the photos. However, he gets staked in the chest by a couple of the human gang members. He is chased and forced to run through a gauntlet of vampire killing weapons. When confronted by Gunn and the others, Angel tries to explain that he is fighting for good.

Cordelia dresses Angel's wounds while they look at the graphic pictures that were being held for blackmail. Angel is still in pain, but goes off to find the nest of vampires before the gang of kids find it. Gunn questions Angel and his motivations for supposedly helping them. The vampires throw smoke bombs into the humans' hideaway, forcing them to escape to the surface. Covered in heavy clothes and wearing gas masks, the vampires capture several of the teen gang members, including Alonna.


Angel offers his assistance to Gunn and the others, but Gunn refuses and locks Angel in a meat locker. Angel tries to punch his way out of the locker, only to have Cordelia and Wesley open the door for him. Searching for the vampire's lair, Gunn finds a newly undead Alonna, but at first can't bring himself to kill what used to be his sister. When she offers to make her brother a vampire, he stakes her.

Angel kills the vampire gang leader and arranges a truce with the rest of the group: he'll allow them to live if they leave town and never return. Cordelia considers getting involved with David for his money, but ends up talking herself out of it. Angel tells Gunn he may need his help in the future.

Tropes in this episode:

  • After Action Patchup: Cordy patches up Angel after his fight with the demon and Gunn's gang.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The vampires throw smoke grenades into Gunn's hideout. He orders the others out into the daylight and prepares to fight, then realizes no one's attacking. As the others rush out into the open coughing and rubbing their eyes, vampires wearing gas masks and longcoats grab Alonna and haul her into a van.
  • Ambiguously Human: Madam Dorion seems entirely human but can tell that Angel is a vampire on sight.
  • An Aesop: Averted.
    Angel: What am I gonna tell you, that you haven't already learned?
  • Arrow Catch: Alonna triggers one of the booby traps; Angel stops it from killing her by catching the arrow—through his palm. "Ow!" as he puts it.
  • Bad Boss: The head vampire Knox claps his buddy Ty on the shoulder and says its not his fault for getting ambushed by Gunn's crew. Right before he stakes him.
  • The Bait: Alonna for Gunn's ambush, and later for the vampires' ambush.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Angel ducks under a roller door to get away from the Gunnmobile; he's stopped for a moment on the other side when the wooden spear mounted on the hood smashes through the door, barely missing him.
  • BFG: The vehicle-mounted, compressed-air stake-gun.
  • Blackmail: The client is a Dungeons & Dragons fanatic who went a little to deep into character—specifically, the 'demon seductresses' part—and ended up being photographed at a demon brothel.
  • Blood Knight: Gunn, until he's forced to stake his own sister.
    Gunn: You think I like this?
    Alonna: No, I think you love it. And you won't quit until you get as close to death as you possibly can.
  • Booby Trap: Angel gets chased into an Abandoned Warehouse full of them.
  • Call-Back: One of the Oden-Tal demon girls from "She" works at Madam Dorion's.
  • Ceiling Cling: Spoofed; a vampire is waiting above to ambush Angel, who calmly steps aside, making the vampire crash to the ground in front of him.
  • Chain-Link Fence
  • Close-Up on Head: Cordy and Wes in the convertible pretending they're at the beach, when they're actually in a trashy back alley.
  • Death from Above: Not so much—Angel easily dodges the Ceiling Clinging vampire.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Knox's speech to his fellow vampires about how the neighborhood has gone downhill.
    Knox: Used to be decent people lived here—working people. And now? You can't even finish one without wanting to puke!
    • Gunn's gang is made up mostly of African-Americans and Latinos while Knox looks like a skinhead and several of his gangs of vampires are also caucasians.
  • Evil Feels Good: Vampire Alonna's recruitment spiel to her brother.
    Alonna: We were on the right track—just on the wrong team. All that rage and hatred we got? We get to keep all that, only on this side there is no guilt, no grief—just the hunt and the kill—and the fun! And come on, how often did we go out in the daylight anyway?
  • Fantastic Racism: The demon brothel doesn't take vampire clients, though Lina is willing to make an exception in Angel's case, despite her being a demon and he being a vampire.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Used for a Bait-and-Switch. We're meant to think the sword-wielding Badass Longcoat is Angel, expecially when a vampire gives a "You!" Exclamation, but it turns out to be Gunn.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Gunn's second-in-command Chain has a flamethrower for the attack on the vampire nest. Unfortunately we don't see it used until the Season 3 episode "Dad".
  • Game Face:
    • Used for intimidation.
      Lenny: Look, pal, you obviously not from around here. But trust me; you do not want to see my bad side.
      Angel: You show me yours, [vamps out] I show you mine.
    • The demon prostitute Lina is willing to have sex with handsome Angel despite Fantastic Racism, as long as he doesn't do that face thing.
  • Foreshadowing: For the Season 8 comics, where Gunn is turned into a vampire.
  • Gas Mask, Longcoat: The vampires uses these to attack Gunn's gang in daylight.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Lina is implied to be touching up Angel with her tail. "Look ma, no hands!"
    • Knox telling Gunn his sister was "so smooth going down... if you know what I mean."
    • Cordelia's That Came Out Wrong moment.
      Cordelia: I like David. It's such a—strong, masculine name. It just feels ... good in your mouth.
  • Gold Digger: Cordelia ponders whether she should 'prostitute' herself to incredibly rich geek David Nabbit, but realizes even she can't sink that far.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Wesley's reaction to some blackmail photos of his client's antics at a demon brothel. When Angel points out that he's looking at the picture upside-down, Wes almost faints.
  • Horny Devils:
    • Madame Dorion's, the demon brothel in Bel Air. According to Wesley, "The Watchers Council is ripe with stories about it." I'll bet.
    • Lina appears to be an actual example; even willing to have sex with a vampire, though likely because Angel is hot.
  • I Have Your Sister: The vampire gang grabs Alonna knowing that Gunn's gang will come after them.
  • Money Fetish:
    • The Fang Gang walk into Nabbit's expensive party.
      Cordelia: Oh, I miss that smell!
      Wesley: Camembert, I believe.
      Cordelia: What? No—money—I like the smell of a little money once in a while.
      Angel: She's not just saying that. Hide some in the office sometime to watch her. It's uncanny.
    • Also her reaction to the size of the check.
  • Must Be Invited: Angel grabs the sentry at Gunn's hideout and forces him to tender an invitation.
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Angel gives his "L.A. is my turf" speech to the vampire gang. "You might want to stay out of it for the rest of your eternal lives."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Pretty much every bad thing that happens to Gunn is due to his recklessness.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner
    Alonna: [vamps out] Say goodbye to everything you ever knew.
  • Pun: "The guys were joking about getting some tail." Later we get a hint at the interesting uses to which demon prostitute Lina puts her tail.
  • Roof Hopping: Happens off-screen; a gang member rushes in to tell Gunn that a vampire (revealed to be Angel) is jumping from roof to roof.
  • Schmuck Bait: The kidnapping of Alonna. Angel warns her brother that if he tries to invade the vampires' nest, it will turn into a bloodbath. Predictably, Gunn doesn't hear him—or care.
  • Self-Made Man: David Nabbit made his millions by inventing software which allows blind people to surf the internet.
  • Spikes of Doom: Angel gets to experience the full extent of Gunn's vampire-proofing. Upon chasing Angel into Gunn's own building, Gunn rams the wall with his spiked truck, narrowly missing Angel's head. Disoriented, Angel stumbles over a tripwire, triggering a hurricane of arrows as well as a falling spike trap.
  • Staking the Loved One: Gunn, to Alonna, after allowing her to believe she convinced him with her Evil Feels Good speech.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Angel is trying to break out of the meat locker Gunn locked him in when Wes and Cordy open the door from the outside and ask why he didn't just call for help on his cellphone.
  • Storming the Castle: Gunn ignores Angel's warning that the vampires are expecting him and goes to assault their nest. It turns out the vampires have recruitment rather than ambush in mind.
  • Sword over Head: Pressed by Gunn's oncoming gang, Angel ends up violently disarming one of his attackers and almost stabs him with his own stake. He stops when he realizes that his prey is a mere kid.
  • That Came Out Wrong
    Cordy: I like David. It's such a... strong, masculine name. It just feels... good in your mouth.
    Wesley: [as he leads Cordy out] "Feels good in your mouth"?
    Cordy: I was flustered!
  • Transhuman Treachery: Alonna, predictably, after the vampire kidnap and quickly feed on her in their escape van.
  • Vampire Hunter: Charles Gunn and his gang, fighting back against the vamps that prey on L.A.'s poor and destitute.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Lina is willing to sleep with Angel as long as he doesn't do "the face thing".
  • Weaponized Car: The pickup truck with massive wooden stakes on the hood and a mounted stake-gun in the back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alonna mentions that the vampires have been leaving them alone recently, until Gunn's ambush stirred them up.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Of course, that can apply both ways.
    Knox: Who the hell are you? You know who you're talking to, you fool?
    Angel: The name's Angelus. [stakes Knox] And I wasn't actually talking to you.


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