Previously: A weird demon was having a crapton of one night stands and bursting out of people, Alien style. Also, Angel met a cop named Kate.
In the Dark
Kirsti: We open with a hippy looking girl running down a dark alley. She hides in a doorway, then peeks out. When no one’s there, she tries to run for it, but the guy she’s running from is behind her. He’s kinda insane and sweaty – the best kind of boyfriend, right? WRONG. He hits her and then pulls a gun. He’s about to pull the trigger when Angel appears out of nowhere and grabs his arm. They fight briefly, and Angel knocks the guy out. He asks the girl if she’s okay, and we learn that she hired him to help before the camera pans to a nearby rooftop. Spike’s there, and I’m going to give you his full impersonation because it’s AWESOME:
Lorraine: I especially love that he’s called Angel a fluffy puppy, seeing as how Buffy referred to her bite mark as caused by an angry puppy. Everyone agrees: Angel is a puppy!
Sweeney: CROSSOVER MAGIC. Also, I’d like a puppy, please.
K: ME TOO. Except, you know, an actual puppy. Not an Angel puppy. Can we just stop for a second and appreciate the fact that Vamp!Willow was the one who named him that? Solely because Vamp!Willow was awesome and I wish she’d stuck around longer. BACK TO THE EPISODE. Spike lights a cigarette as he watches Angel escort the girl to his car, and monologues that there are a few surprises in store – namely, the Gem of Amara, Spike, and DEATH. In that order. Spike grins evilly, and the credits roll.
After the credits, we’re in Oz’s van. He pulls up outside Angel’s office (which, HOW DID BUFFY AND THE SCOOBIES SUDDENLY KNOW HOW TO CONTACT ANGEL?!), and we cut inside to Cordy being all “YAY, PAYING CLIENT.”
Sweeney: I’m going to assume that Cordelia and her advertising played a small role, but contrivance is probs the biggest explanation.
K: Truth. All I can pay attention to is the fact that she’s apparently learnt to type in the past week. And at speed, nonetheless. Doyle points out that there’s a big difference between sending an invoice and actually getting paid. Spoil sport.
Oz walks into the office with a “Hello, LA“, and Cordy gets all excited and hugs him, which is even more awkward than you’d imagine.
Lor: It also highlights how wee Seth Green is. Charisma Carpenter, though probably in heels of some sort, towers over him.
K: He really is a miniature man. Even Daniel Radcliffe is taller than him, according to IMDB. There’s some small talk and an introduction to Doyle, and then they fill Oz in on the whole being detectives thing.
They head down to Angel’s apartment, where Angel and Oz have a typically taciturn reunion. Oz hands over the ring, which Angel can apparently identify on sight, despite it having been lost for centuries and no one knowing what it looks like. He takes it, and gets all broody and mopey on account of Oz mentioned Buffy’s name. Doyle’s all “DUDE. MAGIC RING OF INVINCIBILITY. PUT IT ON!!!” But nope. We have to mope some more first. Because Buffy sent Oz, rather than delivering the ring in person. Cordy makes it worse by pointing out that Buffy didn’t even send a note. Doyle, bless him, tries to make it better by telling Angel that if he puts the ring on, he’ll stake him and it’ll be fun. But nope. We’re in the Brooding Basement, what else would you expect! Doyle, Cordy and Oz go for a “Yay, Angel’s invincible” drink while Angel heads for the sewers, where he hides the ring behind a loose brick.
Lor: I wasn’t entirely sure why the ring was making him so broody, but I figure it’s ’cause of what it stands for? The ring means he’ll be able to walk around in daylight and basically be able to lead a “normal” (invincible) life. It was a huge reason why Angel decided to end things with Buffy and I guess having it sent to him by Buffy gave him feels?
Either that or ancient jewellery depresses him. I’m not sure.
K: To paraphrase Buffy in season 3, Angel’s logic is not like our earth logic. The next day, Doyle is nursing a hangover. Angel’s downstairs doing another one of his part tai chi, part interpretive dance routines. The phone rings – it’s Hippy Girl, telling him that Douchey Boyfriend has been released on a technicality. He heads to the Angel-Mobile (which is what I’m going to insist on calling it for the rest of the series, BTW) only to have Spike hit him in the face with a wooden beam. They fight, and Spike snarks.
Apparently he had a good, well thought out plan, but he got bored. There’s more fighting, but Spike runs off when Doyle and Cordy turns up with stakes. Angel urges them into hiding until it’s over while he hunts down Spike.
After the Not Ad Break, Doyle’s phoning his contacts trying to find out where Spike might be, while Cordy’s all “Ew, your apartment is gross.” Across town, Angel’s giving Hippy Girl a “LEAVE THE DOUCHEBAG” pep talk. Back at Doyle’s, Cordy fills him in on Spike’s previous evil-doings. Angel phones, and Doyle gives him a possible lead. Cue montage of Angel beating people up until they talk. Eventually, he tracks Spike down – eating a girl behind a dumpster in an alley. He makes a run for it, and Angel thinks he’s caught him until another vampire appears from the shadows, and lassos Angel around the neck with a chain.
Cut to the next morning. Cordy and Doyle are watching the phone, and stressing that something’s happened to Angel. Doyle postulates that maybe he’s gone surfing, on account of having the magic ring and all. But nope – he’s chained up in a warehouse. Lasso Guy, Spike tells us, is a master torturer. Lasso Guy prepares his tools while Angel struggles to escape. Spike’s eager to get to the “ouchy part“, but Lasso Guy takes his time. He then starts by running Angel through with a red hot poker. Cut to some time later. Angel’s still not talking, and Spike’s throwing a hissy fit. He threatens to stake Angel, but Lasso Guy tells him to be patient. Angel points out that hiring another vampire may not have been the smartest thing Spike’s ever done, on account of any other vampire will want the ring too. So Spike fights dirty, and tells Angel about Buffy sleeping with Parker. Angel basically does this:
Lor: You lie! He swallows down his feels like a champ. A broody, broody champ.
K: He has a little teary moment before he swallows the feels.
Sweeney: NOPE. BROODY, BROODY CHAMP.
Lor: HE HAS HOT POKERS IN HIS BODY. He’s allowed a teary split second.
K: Spike lets Lasso Guy take over again.
Cut to Spike climbing into Angel’s apartment from the sewers. He searches unsuccessfully for the ring, which basically amounts to trashing the joint. Back at the warehouse, Lasso Guy has run out of pokers, and has moved on to shooting holes in the corrugated iron ceiling. Angel now has to dodge spots of sunlight. While hanging from the ceiling. With a millionty pokers in him. Back at the apartment, Spike opens a door to be confronted by a crossbow-toting Cordelia, and a crucifix-holding Doyle. Except that Cordy didn’t load the crossbow. Whoops. Spike orders them to do the searching instead, because he’s bored. They have until sundown to save Angel, or POOF.
Back to the warehouse again, where Lasso Guy is pulling the pokers out. Angel, meanwhile, is using his feet to try and grab the stake Spike dropped earlier. He succeeds and pulls a “please make it stop” act to get Lasso Guy in close. He then pulls his feet up to stake him, but Spike arrives and stops him. The torture resumes anew. Over at the apartment, Cordy and Doyle have exhausted all searching possibilities. So they head to the sewers to search there. As Cordy puts it, “This is not a needle in a haystack, this is a needle in Kansas!” Thoughtfully, Doyle demons out (can you use “demon” as a verb?!) (S: YOU JUST DID AND I FULLY APPROVE.) while Cordy’s back is turned, and sniffs his way to the ring. Yay, ring acquired!
Lor: WTF? Ring sniffing demon? Magical-smelling-abilities? WHUT?
Sweeney: I’m slightly less bothered by this than all the other contrivance because while this is REALLY. FUCKING. CONVENIENT., we know so little about Doyle‘s demon status that it’s still fair game for them to insert powers as we go.
K: PLOT CONTRIVANCE, WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!
They head out to find Spike, and tell him that they’ll only tell him where to find the ring when they’ve seen that Angel’s alive. Spike takes them to the warehouse. Once there, Doyle tosses the ring into a patch of sunlight, and says that now Spike has the ring and they have Angel, so they can both just walk away. Spike’s all “OH PUH-LEEEZE!!” At which point, Oz’s van smashes through the wall of the warehouse. He screeches to a halt, and covers Cordy and Doyle with a crossbow in each hand as they rescue Angel. Oz is a BAMF here, and I love him so much.
They load Angel into the van and pull out as Spike discovers the ring is gone. Cut to Lasso Guy walking into the sun and grinning evilly.
In the warehouse, Spike throws another hissy fit, which leads to a monologue so long that he doesn’t realise he’s standing in one of the bullet holes of sunlight until his hair catches on fire. LOL. This, I feel, is an excellent time to mention that James Marsters had to bleach his hair EVERY TEN DAYS FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TIME AS SPIKE. Holy crap, you guys. Ow.
Cut to a beach, where Lasso Guy is staring at all the pretty tanned people. Over in the van, the gang are discussing whether to take Angel to a hospital or wing it themselves. Angel tells them to turn around because Lasso Guy has a thing for kids. a) EW and b) Oz pulls one hell of a slingshot turn in response.
Lor: Also, while I appreciate everyone’s concern: Angel = vampire. Undead. Heals quickly. Hospital? Really?
K: He heals quickly, but not INSTANTLY, so I guess it was just reflex? Or stupidity. Who knows. Back at the pier, Lasso Guy approaches a scout troop. In a nice piece of contrivance, Oz drives up the pier and right into him, throwing him through the air. There’s a minor fight between Lasso Guy and Doyle before Angel throws himself out of the van. He bursts into flames, runs into Lasso Guy and throws both of them off the pier and into the water.
Under the pier, Angel and Lasso Guy are fighting, which involves some rather serious structural damage to the pier. This reminds me of my brother (a structural engineer)’s response to seeing The Avengers: “I think Joss Whedon has a very flawed understanding of structural integrity.” ANYWAY. Angel shoves Lasso Guy onto a convenient piece of wood and yanks the ring off his finger. Lasso Guy turns to dust. Angel puts the ring on and walks out into the sun for the first time in 225-ish years. (L: Except for these past few episodes in which he’s been dabbling in sunlight.) (True) The gang come running up. He thanks Oz for his critical help, and Oz’s response is “You’re…INCREDIBLY pale“, which cracks me up.
Sweeney: The fact that he comments on it multiple times is excellent. It’s great because it’s less of his usual deadpan and more genuine shock.
K: It’s also hilarious on account of HE’S GINGER, and therefore incredibly pale himself. For Oz to comment on how pale someone is, they must resemble a piece of blank A4 paper. On top of a skyscraper, Angel’s watching the sunset. He tells Doyle that he’s not going to wear the ring, on account of he’s not worthy and it interferes with his brooding schedule or some shit.
Lor: A+. He shouldn’t wear the ring on account of how easy it is to steal, apparently. But his stupid ass “I’m not worthy” explanation or whatever was LAME with a capital UGH.
Sweeney: Agreed. I almost mentioned this earlier but it’s more appropriate here. This speech confused me. Since we saw it stolen from two separate vamps, it’s slightly less fool-proof than one might expect. That, to me, is the primary reason to destroy the thing. I kept waiting for him to bring that up and then he didn’t and I was annoyed. Fail.
K: And surely you’d keep it super hidden for special occasions/emergencies?? I mean, it’s not like any vampires that come after it are going to believe you if you go “Oh, I destroyed it so it didn’t interfere with my brooding.” STUPID. As the sun sinks below the horizon, he smashes the ring with a brick.
Welp. Nice try, Buff…
Next time on Angel: Some woman has a creepy stalker with detachable body parts and that really is a new breed of creepy stalker for the Snark Squad. Tune in for S01 E04 – I Fall to Pieces.