Previously: Darla and Dru went on a bad girls rampage and Angel crossed a dark side line.
Lorraine: A seizure cut introduces the episode as Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn leave the Brooding Hotel with their possessions in white boxes. Cordelia echoes our feelings at the end of last episode with a, “what just happened?”
Sweeney: The end of the last episode was a reminder of how fun being a new watcher of a show can be. I’m surprisingly spoiled on this show, BUT I STILL CAN’T STOP ASKING THIS QUESTION, CORDELIA. Good job show. But also, PLEASE EXPLAIN YOURSELF.
K: Agreed. Also, A+ gif selection, Lor.
Lor: I knew you would like it.
Wesley thinks that maybe Angel will change his mind and Gunn reminds them (and the viewing audience!) that Angel locked 20 lawyers in a room with Darla and Dru. “I’d say his mind is changed enough.”
Gunn is cavalier about the whole thing, saying it was only a side job and Angel going cray is no skin off his nose. Cordelia says that her nose skin is angry and hurt. Wesley offers, “disappointed” for good measure, and Cordy nods sadly. The Feels Soundtrack backs her up as Wesley suggests that maybe Angel just needs to be alone, and that they should let him be. The Fangless Gang take off in different directions.
Angel burns all of his creepy stalker Darla art. It’s for the best, Angel. Roll electric cellos.
After the credits, Angel is doing pull-ups in the Brooding Hotel basement. This fades into a mini-montage of him doing various other exercises as his voice over proclaims, “I’m not ready yet. Too many years spent sleeping in soft beds, living in a world where I don’t belong. I can’t fight them. Not yet. But soon.”
Sweeney: LOL. The fight-prep montage set to broody monologue feels a touch ridiculous to me.
K: Only a touch, Sweeney? I thought that there’d been a mishap that caused the DVD to be replaced by an 80s movie about boxing.
Lor: About Batman boxing.
To really hammer home the crazy Angel (can I call him CrAngel?) we head the basement where Dru and Darla ate themselves a bunch of Wolfram & Hart lawyers. I randomly start wondering if vampires don’t get full. 20ish lawyers seems like a lot for two petite women to eat. Anyways, the real point of this scene is the Lindsey is alive and he’s shocked to discover Lilah is too.
K: Maybe they tipped it into wine bottles and took it home for later? Also, Lindsey and Lilah being alive was the biggest piece of contrivance of EVER.
Lor: Virginia sits on the couch in Wesley’s very nice apartment. I guess maybe some of the Racist Bag o’ Money went to putting them up in nice digs. She’s having a hard time understanding that Wesley was fired. She asks if he was in a union, but Wesley doesn’t even know what his job title was. Wesley guesses that Angel will be hunting Dru and Darla down and doesn’t want anyone in his way. Virginia cutely assures Wesley that he’ll be employed in no time! Except Wesley admits that he doesn’t actually know how to do much.
Angel continues training in the basement while his voice over let’s us know that it’s time. He dons his billowy coat, looks over his apartment and heads down into the sewers. “I’m not on their level. But I can get there. And when I do, I’ll be right up close. I’ll bring the fight to them.”
Sweeney: Setting aside my feeling that these montages are accidentally campy (BUT ALSO BATMAN-ISH) it’s also interesting. Doyle’s whole thing was that Angel needed to be part of the world in order to help it (and, by consequence, himself). It’s fitting that his response to his failure with Darla would be to turn on that philosophy. I mean, I’m sure the show is going to show us that he’s all sorts of wrong, but I get it.
Lor: At Wolfram & Hart, Lindsey is checking for messages but there are none for him. Lilah comes up to him and asks if he’s being frozen out too. Lindsey is generally pissy as Lilah points out that they’ve been treated with a marked lack of empathy since the massacre. She thinks they are in prime position to be made scapegoats, even though Lindsey insists he was just following orders by bringing Dru in. Lilah says that someone is going to pay for what happened and they are the only ones left.
Except of course, Darla and Dru who are waiting in Lindsey’s office. Drusilla crazies about Lindsey having cow eyes and I remember a time not too long ago when Dru’s crazy was really, really annoying to me. Maybe it helps that right now it’s being directed at Lindsey, because LOL.
Sweeney: Right? Her crazy is infinitely more welcome in Los Angeles. Fitting.
K: It also reminded me of Helena in Orphan Black baaing down the phone at Sarah. Different brand of crazy, still highly entertaining.
Lor: Anyways, he asks Darla why she spared him.
Sweeney: This moment was the best, but this gif somehow makes it even better. AWESOME. Worthless Snark Lady Credit for everyone!
K: YES. This scene was FABULOUS.
Lor: Darla’s real reasoning is that she thinks that either Lindsey or Lilah will get promoted and she wants the in with Wolfram & Hart still, for power and money, but I guess the sort of power that isn’t being a super strong vampire and the kind of money she can’t steal for herself. Lindsey wonders if all this power has a target, like say a broody vampire. Darla gets defensive at the mention of Angel, but does say she’ll kill him in good time.
Batman, I mean Angel, descends upon a group of vampires in the tunnel and stakes all but one of them. The last one, he decapitates with a sword and then he weirdly abandons the sword and his Billowy Coat of Pain, while the voice over once again proclaims that he is ready.
Sweeney: Word. I get your symbolic disposal of your broody billowy coat, but the sword too? Really?
K: Pretty much all I noticed from these voice over Batvamp sections was that Angel is wearing pants that are enormously baggy, and it weirded me out. Maybe he’s always worn them and the Billowy Coat of Pain has just covered them?? IDK.
Lor: At my favorite place ever, Lorne’s bar, Lorne is singing Lady Marmalade. Wesley enters and orders a Bloody Mary, but has to specify that he would like it sans real blood. Lorne finishes up and says they’ll take a break before seeing who will be the next brave soul to participate. Wesley steadies himself: “Steady-on Wesley. Perhaps something by Cat Stevens.”
Wesley freaks a little when he sees that Cordelia is just arriving too. They banter about what each of them is doing there until they both just settle down at the bar and admit that they are there to see what their destiny is post-Angel-wiggage. Wesley asks who was going to help Cordelia in her destiny-finding. Shania Twain or Madonna. Wesley says he’s embarrassed and we hear Gunn ask, “how do you think I feel?” Cordelia calls him out on his whole homeboy, this is a side piece act. Wesley asks what he was planning on singing, and he puts a hand on his shoulder and says, “You wouldn’t know it.” Everyone knows Gangster’s Paradise, Gunn!
K: I loved this scene SO MUCH. Fangless Gang Karaoke Night!! I feel like we should hold a Snark Squad Karaoke Night at some point. Except not in public, because NOPE.
Lor: Angel is torturing some information out of a demon we’ve seen before by dunking him under water. The demon tells him that Darla and Dru have been recruiting demons, and have yet to hit up one particular baddie club. Angel stalks off and leaves his reluctant informant suspended from the ceiling.
At the club, a demon with noodle hair is fitting a vampire, surrounded by a group of assorted baddies. The vampire is pinned down and taps out of the fight. D&D [Darla and Dru] enter with some sarcastic clapping. They introduce themselves, but Darla says their reputation probably proceeds them. Noodle Hair says he’s never heard of them, so Drusilla RIPS HIS EARS OFF. Darla says they have a proposition for everyone in the room that still has ears (something like that) and the camera heads into the crowd to reveal that Angel is there, in vamp-grill and wearing a gray hoodie.
After a Not Commercial Break, Darla goes on about recruiting muscular slaves. Angel makes his way through the crowd, and Dru senses him. She tells Darla that he sees her and she’ll never be alone again. Darla freaks, even more so when Dru says that Angel is watching her at this moment. Darla pushes the crowd aside a little, as Dru goes on that Angel wants to punish them for being naughty, and that he remembers what Darla felt like when she was warm. Darla tells Dru to STFU and hurriedly finishes her speech to the baddies. There will be muscular slave auditions later that night.
Angel is catching his breath as his voice over tells us that he isn’t ready. We get a flash of Darla whispering his name as the VO says that he’s still too close to her to fight her.
Sweeney: Is it just me or does he have an extra-layer of pasty!vamp makeup in this scene?
K: If so, it’s probably to emphasise his move towards the Dark Side. Remember how Angelus always had a couple of extra layers of pasty!vamp make up back in BtVS season 2??
Lor: At Wolfram & Hart, Lilah enters Lindsey’s office and says she can’t put up with the waiting to see which one of them will die, and which one will be promoted. Lilah suggest they run away together instead and take files with them as insurance. She’s being super flirty and suspicious. Lindsey leans into her, but only so he can grab the wire she has tucked into her shirt. He speaks directly into the mic when he says that of course he would never steal files from his employer. Lindsey tells her that one of them is gonna die and she should just take it like a man.
At Caritas, Cordelia is slurring her way through blaming Wesley for Angel firing them. Gunn says that if he had to hear those two bicker all day long, he’d kill them, not fire them. In this way, they go around blaming each other– Gunn for not being able to take orders, Cordelia for not getting nearly enough visions. They even start name-calling:
K: The true brilliance of this moment is lost in this gif, because Wes actually says “arse” and not “ass” and it’s grating on my nerves…
Lor: I’ll tell Sweeney to make you an arse gif.
They all start talking over each other and then we cut to the three of them up on stage, singing We Are the Champions, terribly off key, but with a lot more stage presence than Angel ever had.
Then we cut to the three of them sitting around a table, as Cordelia calls tequila a true evil (K: Agreed). Wesley: I need to be dead now. Lorne comes over and says he sees they’ve reached the maudlin portion of the night. Cordy asks for the guidance they’re supposed to get since they sang, but Lorne says that when the big guys talk, he just shuts his trap. With that, Cordelia gets a vision of a demon dragging a bloodied woman down an alley. Cordy tells them what she saw and they mobilize.
Sweeney: Lorne sweetly folds his jacket to use as a pillow to catch Cordelia’s head when it snaps back for her seizure vision. It’s kind of adorable. Also, he’s sporting some bright blue and red and it really pops with the bright green skin.
Lor: Speaking of fashion choices, Angel is filling up a bag with weapons and accessorizing with wrist stakes. It really is a statement piece.
Cordy, Wes and Gunn arrive at the alley from the vision, and find a pool of blood. They freak out about being fang-less, but Wesley snaps that Angel isn’t there, but that they can’t also walk away from their duties. Wesley crouches down to examine the pool of blood and in the process, discovers a trail leading up a wall into an abandoned building. Cordy asks how they are supposed to get in there.
D&D are leaving another baddie bar, and Drusilla references her obsession with poking out eyeballs. She also licks her fingers, which EW. Drusilla brings up Angel again, and how he’ll never leave them alone.
Darla: Why is everybody trying to make this about Angel?! I mean, for God’s sake, can’t a woman wreak a little havoc without there being a man involved?
Dru: You miss him, like a heartbeat.
Darla: I don’t miss my heartbeat, Dru. It was a symptom of a disease I’ve since been cured of.
Darla does say that in a perfect world, she’d have Angel by her side. She says Angel and not Angelus. Then Drusilla just starts doing her crazy writhing while talking about fires. Darla’s all, “that’s nice, dear.”
Angel heads over to the muscular slave auditions, and drops his bag of weapons down in slow motion.
K: Because, obviously. It just doesn’t have the impact if you don’t drop your bag of weapons in slow motion.
Lor: He took all that time packing it. He can at least enjoy a slow motion drop. Inside the abandoned building, the Fangless Gang spot the injured woman just as the demon drops down in front of them. Cordelia goes off to get the woman while Wesley and Gunn do their best to fight off the demon. At one point, the demon is on top of Wesley, and just starts chomping on his shoulder. Gunn grabs a nearby stool and breaks it over the demon’s back. Then, he uses a splintered piece of wood to kill the demon. Wesley stands and says they need to get the woman to the hospital. Wesley tries to down play his own injuries until he gets a good look at his chewed on shoulder. Gunn says they were nearly ripped to shreds and Cordelia rather strongly says, “Yeah, but out of everybody here, which one of us is the dead one?”
D&D arrive to their auditions to find that all of their soldiers are already dead.
K: It’s pretty BAMF-y.
Lor: Much better than his training montages.
Darla picks up a sledge hammer and runs outside where she knocks the top off of a conveniently placed fire hydrant. D&D stand under the water until the flames are extinguished. Darla holds Dru and she says that what they just saw wasn’t Angel and it wasn’t Angelus. Dru says that it hurts, as Darla wonder who that was. DARLA, IT WAS CRANGEL.
At Wolfram& Hart, Lilah and Lindsey are called into a meeting. They are both reminded of their list of foiled villain plans, and how they aren’t really qualified to take Holland Manner’s place. However, it has been decided that the competition between the two of them keeps them in line, so they are both being promoted. Lindsey kind of looks like he’d rather have died.
Sweeney: That gif is also priceless.
K: It really is. But also: UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH.
Lor: In the Brooding Hotel Basement, Angel is throwing knives at a target with precision. Wesley enters the basement and informs him that the Fangless Gang are choosing to keep the agency open without him. Angel doesn’t respond or acknowledge him at all. “You may have turned your back on your mission, but we haven’t. Someone has to fight the good fight.” Wesley leaves.
Angel throws the next knife and it is way off to the side. He closes his eyes as the voice over says, “Let them fight the good fight. Someone has to fight the war.” The next knife he throws hits the bulls-eye.
So, a few things: (1) I’m not a fan of CrAngel. Angelus has his whole bad, IDGAF thing going on, and Angel is broody, but he has the knight in shining armor thing. CrAngel is some weird combination of all of that – bad AND broody. Trying to save the world AND not giving a fuck.
(2) That said, I’m still a fan of the development. It’s such a good carry over of all the themes we’ve seen playing out on Angel and his worry was that he wouldn’t be able to fight Wolfram & Hart because they didn’t fight fair. He’s stooping to their level.
(3) The Fangless Gang moments were the highlight of the episode, because as I mentioned, CrAngel? Not so much.
(4) I liked a lot of little things about this episode, like the way Angel set Darla on fire at the beginning and end of the episode, and like how Drusilla foresaw the fire. I liked that Angel didn’t speak a line of dialogue throughout, even if the voice overs were campy. I liked how it was implied that fighting the good fight distracts Angel from his current focus.
Sweeney: Agreed on all counts. CrAngel is a bit unpleasant to watch, even if it is a logical and solid development. The rest of the episode was pretty great for me, but points must be deducted when CrAngel comprised such a large portion of it.
K: Seeing as how I’m not really a fan of Angel and his uber-brood at the best of times, CrAngel tipped things over the edge into a place where I actually wasn’t really paying attention to his voiceover scenes at all. This entire episode could have just been the Fangless Gang and I would have been perfectly happy with it.
Lor: As with most of my episodes because the Number Gods are not a fan of me, not amazing, but good.
Next time on Angel: Angel helps a woman being cheated by Wolfram and Hart on S02 E12 – Blood Money.