Shiny Shelf

Angel: Carpe Noctem

By Mark Clapham on 15 May 2002

Surprisingly for a show with such frequently dark subject matter, ‘Angel’ has always had a sense of humour about its own immense silliness. Lovers of farce will appreciate this take on that age old fantasy farce plot, The Body Swap. With a character as straight laced as Angel, having him act out of character in some excessive way is always going to push some humour buttons, and David Boreanaz has a lot of fun playing the role of an old man living vicariously through Angel’s body. Eating Tacos, chatting up Fred, presuming Angel is gay, drinking, almost having sex with Lilah Morgan (across Wesley’s desk, no less!)… the whole thing is deliriously silly. And, if the whole episode was as sharply played as those comedy scenes, then it might hang together well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t – the idea of people being trapped in the body of an old man, unable to escape, only to be obliterated when their own bodies melt due to the magical forces at work… it’s a nightmarish situation, and the scenes with Angel in the old people’s home are bleak. Unfortunately all that dark stuff can’t really develop when balanced against the farcical events at Angel Investigations, and the end result is uneven or unsatisfying. That neither actor involved in the body swap does an accurate impersonation of the other doesn’t help, certainly compared to the eerie mimicry performed by Sarah Michelle-Gellar and Eliza Dushku back when Buffy and Faith did the whole body-swap routine.

As with most lightweight episodes of ‘Buffy’ or ‘Angel’, there’s some good character material on the sidelines to enjoy. Here we get to see Angel trying to deal with Fred’s doe-eyed infatuation with him. It’s a funny and charming sub-plot, and a good lead in to next week’s Fred-centric episode.

Byline: Mark

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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