Shiny Shelf

Angel: Waiting In The Wings

By Mark Clapham on 15 May 2002

This is something to get excited about – an episode both written and directed by Joss Whedon. As his attention is split between more and more projects, so the rarity of getting a single, undiluted dose of Whedon’s vision increases. In ‘Buffy’ this year we’ve only had the musical episode ‘Once More With Feeling’, and now he turns his attention to the companion series, producing a companion piece to his own musical. Where ‘Once More…’ was about music, ‘Waiting…’ is about dance and dancing, centring around an enchanted ballet company doomed to repeat the same performance for over a hundred years. And just as the characters in the musical sang their innermost feelings so, like a ballet, the characters in this episode dance around each other. Interaction, rather than introspection, is the order of the day.

To be honest, the story isn’t entirely fresh. The masked underlings are straight out of ‘Once More…’, and the idea of doomed love repeating down the decades is reminiscent of ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. But the moments of dance – Angel and Cordelia moving around each other in a sensual near embrace, Wesley collapsing to his knees after his romantic dreams are shattered, the theatrical swordfights – take the episode up a notch. And, as is appropriate in an episode with this title, there’s a someone lurking at the edge of the story, only showing themselves in the last scene. By episode’s end the balance of relationships have changed. The dance is over, and no-one is standing quite where they were when it started.

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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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