I mentioned this elsewhere, but I love how the cast is coming together this season. Angel's first season felt a lot like it was Angel and the other ones, while this season the ensemble is really working wonders as a real team instead. First Impressions continues the theme of splitting Angel Investigations down the middle, but it split the team off into two winning pairs, Cordelia and Gunn creating sparks while off on a demon-hunt, and Angel and Wesley generating a lot of laughs and sexually ambiguous chemistry with the nakedness and the motorcycle-sharing. Or maybe I'm reading way too much into things...
Elements of the Gunn story didn't make a whole lot of sense (I'm still a little unclear about the Deevak reveal), and some of the dialogue felt a little forced (cram it, preachy Cordy), but I really admired most of the banter between Gunn and Cordelia. They made a great team, and the show cleverly exposed the vast social and personal differences between them. I also continue to appreciate the way the writers are opening up the Angel universe, with the party they crash and the insight into Gunn's group of vampire hunters.
The real highlight for me, though, was the entire Darla subplot. She's haunting Angel's dreams, and we got a bunch of gorgeous visuals as the two of them sunbathed at night (moonbathe?) and danced in a suddenly-empty Caritas. Julie Benz has a ridiculous sensuality in her performance, which makes Darla even more irresistible and potentially dangerous. And that ending? Where she's revealed to be actually there in Angel's bed? Damn! B+
Guest stars David Herman (David Nabbit); Andy Hallett (Lorne); Chris Babers (Henry); Cedrick Terrell (Jameel); Julie Benz (Darla)
Writer Shawn Ryan Director James A. Contner