Angel's Secrets

Angel the Series Episode Guide

"Carpe Noctem"

Episode # 48
Original Air Date: October 15, 2001
Review by: Anne

Episode Summary

At the hotel, Angel joins the others downstairs and asks who wants to go see a Charlton Heston double feature. Fred is the only other one who does, so she and Angel go to the movies. Elsewhere in a hotel room, a seemingly healthy young man suddenly has terrible pains; he chants, light shoots out of his eyes and mouth, and the body collapses into a shell, much to the surprise of the two ladies he was with. The next day, Cordelia tells Angel to talk to Fred about the crush she has on Angel. Avoiding the subject, Angel starts a new case after reading about the young man's death in the newspaper. At Wolfram & Hart, Gavin tells Lilah that there are no official records of Angel. Looking for clues, Angel winds up at a retirement home, questioning an old man - Marcus - who switches bodies with Angel then knocks him out. Marcus in Angel's body (MnA) goes back to the hotel with Cordelia. Later that night, Lilah brings forged paperwork for Angel. After several drinks, she and MnA are doing the "mystery dance" on Wesley's desk, until MnA vamps out and bites her. Lilah pushes him away and leaves quickly vowing that he will never get that close to her again. MnA goes to a bar and meets a woman. At the hotel, the others piece together clues that Angel has been body-swapped just like the other guys in the case they are working on. Outside the bar, MnA fights three men and wins; happily realizing that he'll be young and strong forever, he goes to kill Angel, who is in Marcus' former body. At the "old folks' home" Gunn, Wesley, Fred, and Cordy come to Angel's aide, and he is able to switch bodies with Marcus. Back at the hotel, Cordelia tells Angel that Willow is on the phone and that Buffy is alive.

Episode Review

I was looking forward to seeing how this episode depicted a very promising story line. Okay, I admit that I look forward to any new episode of Angel, but I did think this one had great potential.

In Marcus' body, Angel found himself in several new predicaments. First, he was old and of failing health. Second, because of the frail condition of that body, he was completely helpless and needed his friends to come to his aide. On the plus side, he was human again; he had a reflection and a heartbeat.

I was disappointed that Gunn, Wesley, and Cordelia, who claim to be detectives, took so long to recognize that "Angel" (Marcus in Angel's body) was acting strangely. Perhaps we don't commonly assume that our friend's body has been taken over as an explanation for odd behavior, but G, W, & C are supposed to be accustomed to magic. I would expect them to be a bit more suspicious than regular people when one of them suddenly acts out of character.

This is the second show in the current season where someone has mentioned that Angel isn't a good vampire. Actually, that's exactly what he is, although the two terms are rarely used together. Marcus described Angel as the world's worst vampire. In the role of vampire, Angel isn't traditional, to say the least.

On the other hand, Marcus destroyed others so he could be young again; he already possessed the evil nature of a vampire. He even did some research so that he could be a good vampire, that is, so he could know more about the part that he was supposed to play. Ever the predator, Marcus made one of the same fashion choices as Angelus: leather pants.

Also challenging her traditional role was Lilah. She went from being Angel's enemy to being his ally - by forging the papers that he needed - to almost being his lover. I'm looking forward to their next meeting.

This episode showed us again that Cordelia seems to expect the worst from Angel. When Fred mentions that she saw Angel making out with a woman on the desk, someone says that isn't like him. Cordelia disagrees that it is "totally like him." Excuse me? Since she's known Angel he's had sex one time with his one true love, that they know of anyway. (I'm not counting the time when he became Angelus again.) In any event, the desk incident with MnA and Lilah along with Fred's crush on Angel served the purpose of bringing up Angel's curse and the assumption that he can't have sex because he would experience perfect bliss.

Carpe noctem means seize the night. Marcus was certainly doing some seizing. Could there be a moral to this story where the fun-loving, party guy lifestyle caused the ruin of both young and old lives?

Angel Episode List

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