The following article contains spoilers for the Angel episode “Smile Time”, and is fair game for spoilers of any episodes preceding it, as well as the entire run of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer.
When Joss Whedon and the Buffy team announced that they’d be doing a musical episode, people were skeptical. I mean, how can you make a musical about slaying vampires?
Oh we of little faith. “Once More, With Feeling” was one of the best hours of television made in the last quarter-century*.
As I began watching Angel a few months ago, I heard rumblings that there was an episode centered around puppets sometime in the fifth season. I finally got there and my tweet**, no lie, was: Oh crap… it’s the puppet episode. Now, I knew there were some big story pieces coming up — the arrival of Illyria, the coming apocalypse, and the series finale, just to name a few of the things to be crammed into the next eight episodes. I’ve just been waiting to get to that part. The one I watched prior to this was a World War II-era submarine story where Angel and Spike are caught on a captured U-boat, and it… wasn’t that great. So I didn’t have high hopes for “Smile Time”.
Should’ve learned my lesson from OMWF: trust in Whedon and his team, and he will never lead you astray.