Nerds and Beyond is getting spooky for October. Each day one of our staff members will be sharing one of their favorite Halloween-themed television episodes to get you into the Halloween spirit. On this third day of October, we are hitting the dance floor with Angel season 5, episode 5, “Life of the Party.”
Originally aired on October 29, 2003, this episode follows Lorne, the gang’s friendly peace-loving empath demon. The former club owner turned head of Entertainment at Wolfram & Hart in Los Angeles, after Angel Investigations takes over the firm, finds himself in a tailspin as he prepares for the company’s annual Halloween bash. Lorne finds himself under an extreme amount of pressure to make sure this party is a blowout. Lorne decided to have his sleep removed, which is proven to be dangerous for an empath demon.
During the party, Lorne’s timely advice to his friends started happening literally. Winifred and Wesley get drunk without drinking after Lorne tells them they aren’t having fun because they are sober. Eve and Angel have sex after Lorne tells them to get a room. Gun starts relieving himself on everything he sees when Lorne suggests that he marks his territory. But the things get even stranger yet when guests, including the advisor to Archduke Sebassis, the firms headlining guest, wind up dead.
It turns out Lorne’s friends weren’t the only victims of his sleep deprivation. The dark side of the demon’s subconscious had manifested itself into a hulked out version of Lorne. To destroy it, Winifred and Wesley needed to return Lorne’s sleep.
I always enjoy holiday-themed episodes, especially Halloween ones. What stands out to me the most with this episode is the fact that, yes, it is a Halloween themed episode, but the plot as a whole is not about Halloween. The focus of the story is about the characters and the awkward and hilarious situations they find themselves in. Angel is a supernatural show, built around dark themes. You have characters who have portal jumped, and the main character is a vampire with a soul. It’s not a program with very relatable characters. However, this episode did an excellent job of humanizing these characters. While each character was under supernatural influences, it had a way of showcasing what it was like being put into situations you typically wouldn’t find yourself.
I think that is something everyone has had to deal with at some point in their life. Even as the characters began to piece together what was going on, they were able to recognize that they were not their authentic selves.
Even with the moral realizations of the story, the episode will make you laugh out loud. If you are familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you will recognize Angel as being the mysterious, handsome vampire hero with a chip on his shoulder. One of my favorite laugh out loud moments was when Lorne seeks him out, only to find Angel hiding in his office while sitting in the dark. Lorne is trying to get Angel to do his job, which is playing host. Angel is reluctant. When asked what he is doing, Angel replies, “I’m brooding.” Quickly, you learn he is watching hockey, and his team is losing. Not only was it funny, but it picked at a dominant personality trait in his character. That subtle way of making fun of the characters without actually making fun of them, to me, is a sign of quality writing. Fictional characters are flawed. Writers need to be able to recognize those flaws in their storytelling.
Another moment from the episode that made me laugh was when everyone started to realize that Lorne was the reason all these strange things were happening to them. The gang storms Angel’s office, thinking he was in there, but the room looks empty at first. Suddenly, a naked Eve and Angel pop their heads up from behind the couch. Everyone looks on in shock as the two find themselves in a compromising situation. Then, as if things couldn’t get more awkward, the Archduke Sebassis interrupts with weapons drawn, thinking Angel was the one who killed his Advisor. All Angel could do was stand there uncomfortably with no clothes on while being threatened. Sebassis continues to walk away, unfazed by seeing the naked vampire.
Angel is rated TV-14. The majority of the episodes contain violence and gore, with multiple episodes showing individuals tortured. There is no nudity, but there are conversations talking about sex and mentioning brothels. The show aired from 1999 to 2004 with five seasons and is the spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I hope you enjoyed this recommendation and give Angel a watch. Make sure to check back daily for more Nerds Gets Spooky articles all month long.