Previously: Los Angeles had a bit of a zombie cop problem, one of them shot Wes in the gut, and Cordy told Angel to fuck off.
Kirsti: We open in an abandoned looking place full of corridors and the camera promptly zooms in on a shopping trolley with a creepy doll sitting in it. But not a Drusilla creepy doll. More like a Chucky creepy doll. Thanks, Zoomy Cameraman, for weirding me out like 10 seconds into the episode.
Angel appears in the background. He heads past the creepy doll and opens a door. He heads into the room, closes the door behind him, then turns on the light. The room is filled with goats. Angel looks as confused as I do.
Lorraine: His confusion makes no sense, considering all the bleating and also his super whiffing powers, but I like it all the same.
K: YES, LOR. The more I stare at that amazing gif that Sweeney made for me (there was grovelling), the more I’m like “…So he can smell a drop of blood from a million miles away and do a Sherlock Holmes impersonation, but he can’t smell a room full of goats?!” YAY JOKEY CONTRIVANCE!
There’s a door on the opposite side of the room, and he heads towards it. On the other side of the door, two guys are reading from the Idiot’s Guide to Goat Sacrificing, and complaining about how the kit didn’t include the preblessed ceremonial dagger it claims to. That would be because Angel has it. He sasses at them about their ineptitude, and then reveals to us that the building is owned by Wolfram & Hart. He wants to know who our resident evil lawyer have them sacrificing goats to. They don’t know, apparently, because the ritual is in Latin. The sacrifice needs to be done by midnight though. Angel lets the men go, and they run out as he starts smashing up the altar. Roll Electric Cellos.
After the credits, we’re over at the Fangless Gang’s misery office. They’ve successfully de-third-eyeballed the girl from the last episode. However, instead of being grateful, the girl’s mother insists that she can’t pay them. Her husband has deemed the bill ridiculous and has decided that they’re running a scam. Therefore, no money for the Fangless Gang. She grabs her kid and storms out as Cordy yells after them that the back of their kid’s head was blinking, dammit!
Lor: And this kids, is why you collect payment BEFORE you de-eye anyone.
K: SRSLY. Wes – currently in a wheelchair – says to let them go. He suggests that they’ll come around given time. Gunn is less convinced and heads out to see if there’s any evil brewing in his neighbourhood that needs taking care of. Cordy suggests that maybe things have been slow because evil’s been stuck in traffic. Having hung out with Sweeney in LA for like four hours in January, this seems completely plausible.
Sweeney: I laughed at this line because I knew you’d mention it, being that LA traffic was a significant player in the 4 hours where you ventured beyond the confines of LAX.
K: It really was. Cut to Wolfram & Hart, where everyone looks slightly panicky. Lilah tells Lindsey that she’s been looking for him, because the review is in two days. He’s all “And your point is?” and she hands him a file covering everything she’s dug up on the last 75 year review.
K: Thank you. Lindsey thinks they’ll either pass or not, and that it’s too late to do anything now, but Lilah insists that a few last minute sacrifices and rituals can’t hurt. She reminds him of their mistakes, including but not limited to Darla and Dru. She asks if he’s heard from them, and he says that even vampires as powerful as those two need time to recover after being set on fire by CrAngel. She gets paranoid about them popping up and causing more havoc before the review, and the list of guest stars would seem to back her up on a Darla appearance.
We head over to the police precinct where Angel is filling Kate in on all the goat sacrificing evil he’s been finding all over town. She wants to know why it’s so important to him, and he replies “Because it’s important to them.” He suggests that she charge them with butchering animals without permission, but Kate has no fucks to give because the captain of the Zombie Precinct has filed a complaint against her and she’s on desk duty. Apparently Internal Affairs have been looking for an excuse to get rid of her, and she couldn’t handle that because she doesn’t know how to be anything but a cop. She pulls out pictures of the wine cellar victims, and says that she’s done helping him. Does this mean we’re done with her as a character? Because I’m totally on board with that!
Sweeney: Word. We’re all over your presence, Kate.
K: Cut over to Lindsey’s apartment. He apologises for being home late, and says that he didn’t call because that would have been his house guest would have had to get up to answer the phone. The camera pans across to show Darla wrapped in a blanket on the sofa. (L: As if we expected anyone else.) (The credits gave it away for one thing, but also, yeah.) She says that she feels a little stronger today, and that she’s glad he saved her from that sewer, and that now that Dru’s left town, he’s the only one who hasn’t left her. “And I never will,” he replies. She strokes his face, and DUDE. HOW STUPID ARE YOU?
Anyway, he offers her a bottle of blood and says he’s going to take a shower to wash off the Wolfram & Hart cooties. He walks into the bathroom, and she rolls her eyes, then throws the blanket off and wanders around the room. She opens his briefcase, finds the file Lilah gave him, and flips through it while sipping on her blood.
Sweeney: Darla’s eye roll after he goes into the shower, brooding about always being dirty is excellent. Julie Benz gives excellent bitch-face-eye-roll. (Something we can never have too many gifs of around here.)
Lor: I think her secret is like a back to back, whiplash eyeroll. Go stare at that gif for a few more seconds.
K: I foresee that turning into a reaction gif that sees a lot of use around here.
Lorne’s bar. The place is packed. Angel pushes through the crowd and tells Lorne that they need to talk because something’s coming. Lorne’s all “Uh, DUH” and points out the table full of Wolfram & Hart lawyers on the other side of the room. Angel gets CraAngel-y, and Lorne tells him to calm down. Angel demands that Lorne tell him what he saw when the lawyers sang, and Lorne refuses because of some kind of karaoke singer-empath demon confidentiality agreement? IDK. But he can basically tell him anyway because some lawyers were blabbing in the bathroom – the big panic is less about the review and more about the reviewer: one of the senior partners. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Angel demands more information, and tells Lorne that killing the senior partners is his destiny. Angel wants to know what the senior partner is and how he can stop it, but Lorne informs him that a) he doesn’t know, and b) Angel doesn’t stop it. In the end, he gives him three tips, although he doesn’t really know what they mean:
1. The band of Blacknil;
2. Home office; and
3. All the Wolfram & Hart lawyers really want him dead, which Lorne picked up through the death stares the entire table is giving Angel.
Seizure cut back to the Hyperion. Angel’s flipping through books as the Violins of OMG TENSION! get to work. He hurls books around the office, because what he wants isn’t there. Over at the Fangless Gang’s office, the door bursts open and Angel strides in. He heads straight to the books as Cordy and Wes are all, “DUDE, WHAT THE FUCK”. He grabs the book he wants, and heads for the door. Cordy snatches it back, and hands him the Yellow Pages instead, then stands between him and the bookshelf. “Don’t make me move you,” he threatens. Wes stands up from his wheelchair and tells Cordy to give Angel the book. She glances at Wes, then shoves the book at Angel and tells him that she doesn’t even know what he is any more. “I’m a vampire. Look it up,” he says on his way out.
She tearily calls him a jerk as Wes collapses back into his wheelchair. Cordy says that if it were anyone but Angel, she’d tell them to get laid, and then says maybe Angel SHOULD get laid because then they could just stake him. Wes interrupts to ask her to phone an ambulance because he’s popped his stitches and is bleeding everywhere again.
Sweeney: This scene broke my heart. I’m so torn on this whole CrAngel arc, because while I appreciate the idea behind what we’re doing, it’s getting too painful to watch. CrAngel threatening to move Cordelia? NO. This scene was the first time that I really wanted someone to kick his ass. Anne slapping him was gratifying, but the slap was sufficient. I get all his epic feels directed elsewhere — Wolfram & Hart is fucking with him in a big way. Fine. I even get firing the gang. But watching him have this interaction with them? That shit was painful.
Lor: AGREED. And especially since I expected him to be a little more repented after the last two episodes. I hate CrAngel.
K: Seriously. Also, I feel like he’s verged away from crazy and heading straight for Asshole Territory.
Seizure cut to the police station. The review panel are asking Kate to explain her actions over the past eight months, and she complains that they’ve taken everything out of context, which makes it impossible for her to explain. The head of the panel says that she’s been isolating herself, and that she’s bound to be frustrated that no arrests have been made in regards to her father’s murder. Another member of the panel notes that Kate didn’t take any time off after Trevor’s death, and says that they’ll make counselling available to her as part of her severance package. She tears up as they demand her gun and badge, and then says they have no idea what’s happening in the city. As she leaves, her lieutenant says that he’s glad her father’s not alive to see it. Uh, RUDE.
Lor: Seriously. “Good thing your dad is dead,” is not an okay line, dude.
K: At a bookstore somewhere, Angel’s paying a visit to an old friend – Denver, the bookstore attendant that he threatened in 1952 and who apparently still hasn’t retired 49 years later. Sucks to be you, Denver. Denver asks how that whole paranoia demon thing went, and Angel’s all “Oh, I let it kill everyone. Now about my current problem…” Denver’s taken aback – unsurprisingly – then says that he thinks the senior partner is a Kleynach demon, because they use a special ring to manifest between dimensions. Angel wants to know if anyone can use the ring, because his Worst Plan Ever is that he’ll kill the demon, take the ring, zip over to the hell dimension known as Home Office and kill the rest of the senior partners.
Angel asks how to kill a Kleynach demon, and contrivance demands that Denver is the only person with the means to do so – a magic armoured glove that he bought at a garage sale. He gives it to Angel, and promptly get stabbed to death by Darla. Angel steps towards Denver, and Darla pushes her sword all the way through Denver and into Angel. He collapses onto the floor with Denver’s dead body on top of him, and Darla grabs the glove. She says that this is about power, not revenge, and that the revenge is still coming. She kicks Angel in the face on her way out the door and leaves him to pull himself off the sword as we fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Wesley’s telling Virginia that he stood up to Angel, and that’s what’s important. She, on the other hand, thinks that standing up METAPHORICALLY would have been a better option, as it wouldn’t have popped six stitches and required a trip to hospital. She goes on to say that while she knew about the demons and the monsters, she didn’t know his job was Real Life Dangerous and of the gun involving variety. She wants to know if he’d give it up, and he reads between the lines (either that or he can hear the Flutes of Feels):
Wesley: “This is difficult for you, isn’t it?”
Virginia: “I just don’t like to see you hurt.”
Wesley: “No. I mean…I mean breaking up with me.”
She just looks at him without saying anything.
Sweeney: We haven’t seen enough of Wesley/Virgina for me to care about their relationship for its own sake, but this scene was brilliantly acted by Alexis Denisof, because it made me feel like we had been following this relationship closely. I just want to give him a hug.
Lor: Agreed! Also, I don’t need to know much about the Virginia equation of this to know that I don’t want Wesley hurt. Also, also, I just want to always give him a hug.
K: Agreed – it’s hard to care about a relationship that largely took place off screen, but Alexis Denisof was fantastic in this scene. Cut to Kate’s apartment. She carries in a box of stuff from her desk and dumps it on the floor. She pours herself a drink, slugs it back and pours another. Heading over to a shelf of trophies, accomplishments and photos, she bursts into tears and sweeps them all to the floor. She picks up a photo of her father and cries.
Sweeney: Another thing we can never have enough? Gifs of people sobbing and throwing shit.
K: Another one that will prove useful as a reaction gif in the future!
Wolfram & Hart. A town car pulls up out the front and Lilah gets out. She and her two security guards head for the front door, but before she gets there, Angel jumps out and knocks her guards unconscious. She asks what he wants, and he says “The same thing I took from Lindsey.” He grabs her hand, and scans her thumbprint to access the elevator. She mentions the vampire detectors inside, but CrAngel is a honey badger.
Lor: I thought he was actually going to chop off her hand. I know this is terrible but Angel cutting Lindsey’s hand off is still one of my favorite Angel things ever.
K: YES. I thought the same, and I agree on that being one of the best things to come out of Angel thus far.
Over at the Fangless Gang’s office, the phone rings. Cordy answers and Wes says that he’s not coming in the next day. She says they’ll cope without him, and he tells her that it’s a Friday night and she should be out having fun instead of at the office. She says that having fun would require friends, and she doesn’t have any of those. He says that it’s not true, and she says he doesn’t count. He tears up a little because OUCH before she insists that he knows what she means. He says that things are going to get better, and hangs up. A moment later, the phone rings again. It’s Backward Cyclops’s mother. After a minute, Cordy says something about how they can take a personal cheque, and writes down their address. We head to Backward Cyclops’s mother’s end of the conversation where a creepy white faced demon is standing behind her. “One of them is on their way here,” she says and the demon snaps her neck.
Sweeney: This whole Backward Cyclops plot is weird. The other thing that the show is struggling with, I think, during this CrAngel business, is running the tandem plots. I feel like we’re not getting enough of the Fangless Gang’s story and I don’t just mean that in the sense of, “I WANT TO SEE MORE FANG GANG,” but in the sense that these bits with Eyeball Kid keep feeling super random. I suppose there is good reason for that — being that it’s still Angel’s show — but it’s weird and I’m not fond of it.
K: Seizure cut to Wolfram & Hart. A bunch of lawyers are standing around a big Day-glo pentagram on the floor, looking nervous. The boss guy that was introduced to Anne back in Blood Money asks Lindsey where Lilah is, and then gets cranky when a member of security informs him that a vampire is on the floor. Angel drags Lilah into the room. Lindsey spots them just as Lilah elbows Angel in his stab wound and runs away. Security runs after Angel, but he…I don’t even know, you guys. He magically escapes and ducks back into the room without anyone noticing.
He scans the crowd, then notices a brunette in a red cocktail dress. He pulls a bottle of holy water out of his pocket, pops the top, pulls off her brown wig, and throws the holy water in Darla’s face. She vamps out, and he yells “VAMPIRE!!”
Lor: Weird. I thought holy water would do a lot more if SPLASHED IN THE FACE. Huh.
K: On account of that time someone threw holy water in Darla’s face in Buffy season 1 and she ran away screaming and sizzling? Yeah, me too.
As everyone freaks out, he tries to grab the glove from her, but she punches him in the face. They fight a little, and Lindsey is horrified to see Darla. There’s a weird fingernails-on-chalkboard sound, and a red robed demon starts to appear in the pentagram. Angel wrestles the glove from Darla and puts it on as Lindsey knocks out the security guards holding Darla. Angel launches himself at the Kleynach, and it bursts into ashes as they fall through the window and down to the street below. Lindsey helps Darla escape as Angel hits the ground. The ring tinkles to the ground beside him, and I’m gonna call bullshit because I have a ring that has a tendency to fall off, and it ends up slightly misshapen when it falls from like a metre off the ground. After a 15 storey fall, that shit wouldn’t be ring shaped any more.
Lor: Kirsti. It’s a magic, fall resistant ring.
K: Of course. How foolish of me. ANYWAY. He tells it that he wants to go to Home Office, and slides it on. With a ding, the doors on an elevator in the side of the building open. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, there’s a round of applause from the elevator. It’s Holland Manners, because when you work for Wolfram & Hart, you don’t get to stop working just because you’re dead. He informs Angel that it’s a one way trip, but Angel pretty much channels Catherine Tate:
The doors close and the lift descends rapidly. On the way down, Holland asks Angel what he plans to accomplish with his Big Damn Heroes plan. Angel says that it will be the end. Holland replies that while it will be the end of Angel, he was thinking about the broader sense. Angel says that he doesn’t care, and Holland brings up the Spirit Stick Prophecy. Apparently Angel doesn’t really care about preventing the apocalypse, because he thinks he can stop Wolfram & Hart from starting one at all. Angel tells Holland that they’re not going to win, and Holland laughs a little because they don’t care about winning. They know that there’s no fight. Evil goes on regardless. It’s been there from the beginning and it will be there until the end.
With that, the elevator comes to a stop. The doors open to reveal that they’re back exactly where they started – outside Wolfram & Hart’s LA office:
Holland: “Welcome to the home office.”
Angel: “This isn’t…”
Holland: “Well, you know it is. You know that better than anyone. Things you’ve seen. Things you’ve, well – done. You see, if there wasn’t evil in every single one of them out there? Why, they wouldn’t be people. They’d all be angels.”
Angel tears up as the glove drops to the floor of the elevator. He walks out into the street and DUDE. I’m pretty sure that glove was worth keeping hold of…
Sweeney: Angel does have a problem with abandoning potentially useful stuff. He needs to work on that.
K: RIGHT?? He walks through the streets, looking at the people around him as the Tinkly Piano of Doom starts up.
Sweeney: Pause, because this is kind of brilliant. I was a skeptic about the W&H plan and I admit to being wrong. They’ve essentially just convinced Angel that he’s living in a hell dimension. His 100 years of brooding were wasted because he was only repenting for murder and destruction in a dimension where that is to be expected. The show has done a lot of set-up for this prior to this moment — prior, even, to the big epic W&H plan. I did a bit of a slow clap in my bedroom when I watched this. Not really. In my head though — totally did it in my head. Maybe.
Lor: My favorite part of this full circle thing is that in addition to giving him the full picture, it was meant to convince him not to fight. There is no fight. There is no winning. Even CrAngel had a mission, but this is beyond that, because there is no mission.
K: We cut briefly to Kate’s apartment where she gets out a bottle of pills, then to Wesley staring at nothing, then to Cordy leaving the office, then back to Angel. He reaches the Hyperion just as the answering machine picks up a call. It’s Kate. We cut to her apartment, where there are pills on the floor and an almost empty bottle of vodka next to her, and now I feel really bad for saying that I was on board with the end of her as a character… She says that Angel made him trust her, and that they’re all going to say that she couldn’t take the heat, but that she won’t feel a thing. He turns the volume down on the machine.
Sweeney: WELP. Having a fictional character you loathe leave by way of suicide? The exact opposite of gratifying. Now I just feel awkward about telling her to GTFO each episode.
Lor: Right. Like, that’s not really what we meant Kate...
K: Seriously. Upstairs, he walks into his room, then stops to ask what Darla wants. He throws the ring on the floor and she runs to it. He grabs her and throws her across the room, then kisses her. She tells him not to play games, and he says that he isn’t – he just wants to feel something. They kiss some more, and then Darla starts to laugh. He throws her through the glass doors into the bedroom and crazies a little more. He tells her that nothing matters, and a really bizarrely cut sex scene follows. Cut to an unspecified time later. Lightning flashes outside as we pan through the bedroom to see Angel and Darla asleep. Thunder crashes and Angel sits up in bed with a gasp.
Fade to black.
K: I dunno, you guys. I know a lot of people refer to this as one of the best episodes of season 2, but it was decidedly so-so for me. There were so many different things going on at once that it was hard for anything to be fleshed out suitably. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I’ve seen the follow up episode, but the fact that it wasn’t billed as a two parter implies that this is meant to be a stand alone, and from that perspective it just didn’t quite deliver for me. Also, it was kind of heavy on the feels, and we all know how Team Heartless Cow feels about those. I’ll be on my ottoman, eye-rolling with Darla.
Sweeney: I can +1 your general grievance that there was a little too much going on, but this moment in the W&H plot was excellent, so I can see why people love this episode so much. This show fucking adores broody montages of Angel walking, and that was one of the few times where that didn’t feel forced or cheesy. I was watching it and my feels were right there with Angel and a general feeling of, “Well, shit.“
Lor: I think if this episode suffers, it suffers from set-up. There was a lot that came to a head here, and we haven’t quite reached the payoff. I still enjoyed watching it crescendo, however. I don’t think it was especially feels-y either. Or, I mean, not especially sappy or maudlin. There was a lot of commentary on evil, standing up to it, and what you lose when you do. I enjoyed it a lot, and most of all, I wanted to hit play on the next episode immediately.
K: Honestly? I think I might have felt differently if they’d just added “TO BE CONTINUED” at the end…
Next time on Angel: Will Angel lose his soul on account of all the Darla sexytimes? And what will happen to Cordy when she heads off to get that cheque? Find out in S02 E16 – Epiphany.