Angel: Season 1, Episode 11

Somnambulist (18 Jan. 2000)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 524 users  
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After learning about a new serial killer's M.O., Wesley believes that Angelus has returned.

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Title: Somnambulist (18 Jan 2000)

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Detective Kate Lockley (as Elisabeth Rohm)
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Penn
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Skateboard Kid
Kimberleigh Aarn ...
Precinct Clerk (as Kimberliegh Aarn)
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Brian DiRito ...
Task Force Member #1 (as Brien DiRito)
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After learning about a new serial killer's M.O., Wesley believes that Angelus has returned.

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sepia flashback


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18 January 2000 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: [Walking into Angel Investigations, not seeing Penn the vampire] Nothing on the streets about a new vampire in town.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: [Cordy tries to warn him, but Penn grabs Wes from behind and gets him in a choke hold] ... Which is maybe because he's here - and has me by the throat.
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A rash of killings in LA has the whole gang worried
19 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fathers and sons are a recurring theme on "Angel." These early relationship shape how the characters interact and view the world. (For instance, take Wes's paralyzing fear of his father. It undermines his actions every day, even through his dad is an ocean away.) Angel and Connor's relationship will dominate seasons 3 and 4 (unfortunately) and "Somnambulist" is sort of the prologue to what's to come. Penn, a vampire Angel sired, comes to town and suddenly Angel is seeing his own mistakes reflected and magnified in his vampire "son." This is also the episode where Kate learns that Angel is a vampire, which changes her opinion of him forever. Honestly, this isn't the best episode, but if you're watching on DVD you probably shouldn't skip it.

"Somnambulist" revolves around a rash of killings in LA. The style of the murders are strikingly familiar and Angel is worried. The look a lot like his victims, back when he was Angelus. He's been having nightmares about the killings. (Or dreams, really, as he's been enjoying them.) Wes, meanwhile is also worried about the killings, since he recognizes Angelus' old calling card, a cross carved into the victims cheek. Angel lets Wes and Cordy tie him to to make sure that he isn't somehow committing the crimes. He's not. It's one of the vampires that he sired a couple hundred years ago, an ex-Purtian named Penn. Angel starts hunting him down.

The cops are also looking for Penn. When Kate, Angel and Penn all meet up in a fight, Angel vamps out to battle Penn. Penn escapes. At first, Kate refuses to believe that Angel and Penn are vampires. When she finally sees the truth, though, she no longer wants anything to do with Angel. Penn comes to Angel Inc., to demand some answers as to why Angel's a White Hat now. After terrorizing the gang, Penn decides to get back at Angel by going after Kate. He attacks the police station and drags her into the sewers. Angel has to track him down and save Kate.

There are some good parts to this episode. I like how Wes has done research on Angelus and his history. The guy's good at his job and he's preparing for the worst. (Ironically, when it comes to the worst in season four, Wes is the one who refuses to use drastic measures to reign Angelus back in. No matter what his research tells him, his emotional connect to Angel always wins at the end of the day.) And I really enjoy the scene where Penn comes to the Angel Inc. offices and tries to attack Cordy. He's separated from Angel by this big swath of sunlight. Somehow it seems to represent the divide between them now that Angel has a soul. Penn can't understand what's gone "wrong" with Angel and Angel can't go back to being the "father" he remembers. And all Penn's flashback scenes are pretty fun. I like seeing Angelus, even if it is only for a few minutes. Finally, I like the scene where Angel grabs Kates cross and smoke starts spiraling up. It's just cool.

On the down side, do vampires really have a connection with the vamps they sire? I think that this is the first time that that's been mentioned in the Buffyverse. Spike sure didn't seem to have it when he was siring all those people in BTVS's season seven. Neither does Angel in season five's "Why We Fight." And Angel could have used that trick back in BTVS season two with Drusilla. Just a thought. Also, I've never seen Angelus do that little cross thing on the cheeks before. And I think that there's something wrong with the chronology in this episode. Penn says that he waited for Angel in Italy until the 19th Century, meaning 1800-1899. Angel replies that he got held up in Romania. (Where he regained his soul in 1898.) So, when did Angel plan to get to Italy? He was there with Spike, Darla and Dru during this period (see season five's "The Girl in Question") So, why didn't he hook up with Penn then? And why does no one else ever mention Penn? Where's he been? Did Angelus plan to meet up with him at all? I've never seen Penn in any other flashbacks and in season five's "Destiny" Angelus tells Spike that he's never hunted with another man before. The character of Penn just doesn't make a lot of sense.

My favorite part of the episode: Cordy and Wes's delight that the killer has struck while Angel was chained up, which means that he couldn't have done it. "Great news, sports fans! There's been another murder."


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