Previously: Shit got really, really misogynistic and murdery. This had major consequences for Wesley, who seemed like he was finally ready to make a move on Fred, and will instead be battling some major inner demons after attacking her.
Sweeney: I’ve been over here wondering when Darla’s going to turn in up in LA like she promised. I’m not necessarily a fan of all the things they’ve done in the interim, but I think I like that they took their sweet time with this. FINE, SHOW. FINE. But I think the suspense is over because we kick this episode off in Rome, 1771. TERRIBLE WIG FLASHBACK TIME! Angelus is running around in a sewer (the more things change, the more they stay the same). He’s being chased by some monk like dudes. Maybe they’re not monks, but they’re wearing big brown robes and I can’t be bothered to differentiate the kinds of people who wear big brown robes.
Lorraine: Basically, don’t wear a big brown robe if you don’t want the Snark Ladies to mistake you for a monk.
Angelus comes to a dead end, cornered by many of these monks. A door opens and he cowers away from the light. In rides Holtz. He thanks a religious man in red (Cardinal? IDK, man. Too many religious outfits.) who orders Angelus chained up. Holtz gets straight to the torture, rather than the kill. A little while later, Holtz is still torturing as Angel explains that he came to Rome because Darla loves the Sistene Chapel.
K: Holtz doesn’t seem to be particularly good at the torturing thing because Angelus doesn’t seem particularly phased it. Also, this flashback includes Angelus’ Terrible Accent of Doom. UGH.
Sweeney: Wait, who is supposed to be getting tortured here? It seems like it’s us…
Holtz gets up to resume torture and adds that he wants nothing, since he has no family. He’ll track Darla down himself, since Angelus isn’t likely to give her up. For now, though, he’s content to just see if there will be anything left after beating and torturing the demon from his human flesh. He thinks the answer is probably not.
While Holtz is doing his big dramatic monologue about how he can’t be saved without a soul (YOU KNOW, BECAUSE KNOW HE HAS ONE AND STUFF) Darla rolls up holding a flaming crossbow with several minion vamps behind her. They kill everyone but Holtz and ride off into the sunlight under cover of some blankets. Angelus asks why they spared Holtz, but Darla adds that she’s having so much fun ruining his life, since he’s basically family now.
In present day LA, Darla is telling a city bus driver to drop her off. She thanks him and he looks back, terrified, at his bus full of vampire victims. Darla walks off smirking as he tries to radio this hot mess in. Electric cello time.
After the credits, Cordelia is setting up some flowers down in the Fang Gang’s training room. They’re fake because nothing warm can actually live down there. Cordelia and Angel’s banter suggests that it is his birthday. He has a precious little smirk as he tells her that he’s never met anyone like her. “Well, duh,” she Cordelias.
K: I’m too distracted by her fringe, which seems to have gotten shorter and more awful overnight.
Lor: OMG, YES. I have very strong feelings about those little, bitty bangs that were popular at the time and that mostly look like hair caught in a paper shredder to me, but I mean, if you are reading this and you have those bangs, please don’t hate me. But also, stop it.
Sweeney: Preach. If you like it, that’s fine — you do you — but I think it looks stupid.
Cordelia wants more fight practice. He’s giving her tips as he’s deflecting some solid punches. When he looks down to ask her where her weight is, she takes an awesome swing at his face. She apologizes and he turns to her, smiling, insisting that she can’t hurt him because he’s a vampire, before turning away and adjusting his nose, visibly in pain. Cordelia says he’s off his game because he’s worried about the end being near. Angel swears it’s NBD, what with everyone always uncovering ancient scrolls and stuff. He’s seen this many times in his very long life. By “many times” he means three. So actual big deal, but shhhh, not really.
They mention Gunn and Wesley getting their B&E on, so we cut to that happening at a well-lit mansion. They end up needing to do none of the breaking and some very easy entering through a back door. Inside they immediately find the one room museum of creepy demonic shit they were looking for.
They’re trying to find something valuable, which Gunn suggest is in the vault. He then says that he has a very bad feeling about this — because there is a man holding a revolver standing behind Wesley. The revolver-toting man has a Mr. Rogers sweater, without the color. But the gun is pretty menacing. Anyway, Monochromatic Mr. Rogers grabs the phone to call the cops, but is saved by Wesley insisting that some random demonic powder that this guy has a large amount of is, under a microscope, indistinguishable from GHB. I’m going to assume this is ultra clever quick thinking and not epic contrivance, because Wesley.
Lor: Agreed. I think a fast, “YOUR POWDERY SUBSTANCE WILL LOOK LIKE ROOFIES” lie is about the best thing ever, so I want give Wesley proper credit for that.
Sweeney: Speaking of people being on point, after Monochromatic Mr. Rogers hangs up the phone and says he’ll kill them anyway, Gunn grabs some little red glass orbs and starts juggling with them. Gunn asks how much they’re worth, and MMRs anxiety suggests that the answer is, as Gunn suspected, “a lot.” Gunn drops one on purpose for emphasis, but carries on juggling, insisting that they’re not thieves, but investigators and they just need to look at the man’s scrolls. Gunn is a very good juggler. I wonder if J. August Richards actually possessed this skill or needed to get juggling stunt training. I hope it’s the latter because it would be delightful if this were a thing that happened.
K: According to the internet, he actually possessed that skill. As do Patrick Dempsey, Tom Hanks, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Thanks, internet!
Sweeney: I’m equal parts impressed with this random skill and dismayed that they didn’t make him learn to juggle for the sake of this episode.
After MMR relents, we seizure cut to Fred coming down into the training room. We hear Cordelia and Angel talking about bending and unnatural things and it all sounds very sexual. It turns out that they’re just fight training. THAT’S ALL. FOR NOW. Fred stands at the bottom of the stairs and watches, smiling. As Cordelia leaves, Fred says a word I can’t quite make out, but adds that it’s the one nice word she remembers from Pylea.
After Cordelia’s gone, Fred explains to Angel that it’s a word that two heroes say when they meet each other in the field of battle and recognize their mutual fate. She always thinks of this word when she sees Angel and Cordelia sparring, adding how brave Cordelia is and that it’s only natural that she and Angel would be drawn to each other. I didn’t catch it initially, but this is where I paused when my battery died so it was only on a second past that I caught the rest of Fred’s translation — “recognize their mutual fate,” which adds a whole tragic dimension to all of it. Regardless, this is a sweet way of addressing and moving past Fred’s Angel crush. Though, as usual, I want to hug Fred. Fred and I could have a big uncomfortable hug session, because I’m sure her hugs are awkward too.
K: Mostly, I love that Fred – who’s been so book-smart but so oblivious about social stuff to date – notices the changing relationship between Angel and Cordy before they do.
Lor: She’s always looking at Angel anyways, you know? And now she sees him starting to look at Cordy the way he never looked at her. Sorry, I think I just accidentally gave myself more Fred feels.
Sweeney: Those Fred feels just keep coming. Ms. Feels For Days quickly changes the subject because plastic flowers are her favorite. (Presh.) Angel denies that anything is going on between himself and Cordelia, but Fred’s not having it, because they’re both heroes and totes in lurve. He gets frustrated and defensive, and raises his voice a tiny bit, just as Wesley is walking in. He asks what’s going on and adds that Fred’s been through quite enough without people yelling at her. Fred says Angel didn’t mean anything by it, which then makes everyone get sadpanda and awkward, on account of demonified Wesley having meant her harm. This definitely gave me Wesley feels, but I have to back up and say that I don’t like that brand of defensiveness of Fred. Turning her into a damsel in distress is not the way to counteract misogyny, bro.
K: A+ and 1430. And a fistbump, because of reasons.
Sweeney: You know what is a good way to set things on a better course? Asking Fred to do math to help the gang. Fred runs off excitedly to do that and Wesley adorably asks Angel who gave him all the flowers. “NOBODY!” Cute.
Seizure cut to upstairs. Fred, Wesley, and Gunn are talking about her fun Roman calendar math. Angel comes upstairs and the tinkly orchestra of feels swells as he watches Cordelia working at her desk. Back inside Wesley’s office Fred’s questioning her math, because she realizes that this can’t be right unless the world ended last March. LIKE WHEN CRANGEL GOT HIS SEX ON. (L: SEX-PIPHANY.) Wesley then explains that the prophecy talks about the rise of “the person or being that brings about the ruination of mankind.” Oh, I got this one! E. L. James was born on March 7, 1963.
Sweeney: Nah, but also maybe ruination is purification. So definitely not that. Wesley’s translations have it meaning ruination in one language, purification in another, and both in a third. Cordelia jokes that he doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Wesley explains the whole Angel’s-gonna-die-JK-he’ll-live kerfuffle to Fred. Angel listens outside the door as Fred clarifies that it means he’d get to have a normal life. Cordelia jokes about taking him to the beach. Fred checks her numbers again and is still pretty sure that if her numbers are right, the bad thing is already there in LA.
Cordelia looks up and asks Angel why he’s creepily staring at her. She gets up and pours some coffee as a means to interact rather than be stared at. Angel then awkward some stuff about fate and different kinds of people, the highlight of which is when he calls himself a “man…pire.” He laughs too hard at her joke about putting vodka in the blood.
K: As a general rule, any Angel laughter is laughing too hard. He’s not being with the laughter.
Sweeney: She asks if he’s trying to tell her that he loves her. She then says she loves him and he looks like he’s about to burst. It’s precious, except for his happiness being scary on account of shitty soul plot. Cordelia then says loudly that they all love each other and the rest of the gang chime in, “We love you Angel” from Wesley’s office. CUTE CUTE CUTE. I love that.
Lor: Too cute. I’ll be over here expecting the sky to fall soon.
Sweeney: Cordelia goes on to say that they’ve all been saying it, just in case the latest End Times prophecy is legit. She then discourages him from going in for the hug.
Angel awkwards that he was just trying to say that they’ve been through a lot together as friends, bringing out the best in each other. Cordelia adds that the good she’s seen far outweighs the bad. As they wrap this up, noting that this is what friends are for, we hear Darla chime in, “If you ask me, they’re for knocking you up and leaving you high and dry. Hello lover. Long time, no see.”
After a Not Commercial Break, everyone but Fred takes turns saying, “Darla!” Gunn then explains to Fred that this is Angels OTHER ex who died and came back to life. The vampire one. (K: I love that they still avoid saying Buffy’s name, intentionally or otherwise) Hmm, if you’re willing to accept the STDs and emotional trauma, dating Angel does seem to correlate to being supernaturally brought back to life. They’re never all that happy about it, though, so nevermind. Maybe we’ll file that under “cons” as well.
Lor: I loved Fred asking for a chart of Angel’s conquests, and Gunn admitting they have one, probably complete with birth dates, deceased dates and resurrection dates.
Sweeney: Definitely a handy thing to keep around this office.
Angel asks when this happens and Darla’s all, “You know exactly when this happened.” Cordelia’s horrified, asking if Angel slept with her and Angel awkwardly tries to avoid answering her, but insisting that vampires can’t have children and turning to Wesley for confirmation, which he offers. Fred suggests that this is probably the bad thing they were expecting.
Darla asks what Angel did to her and punches him. Cordelia says stop that, and Angel says he’s all right, but she wasn’t talking about him. She says he’ll hurt her, adding, “Haven’t you done enough?” Well, that’s interesting. Cordelia then tells Angel that he looked her in the eye and said he’d never do a thing like that. Darla says that she hasn’t been to a doctor, but she’s been to every shaman in the Western hemisphere, and also it kicks and yes, for fucking serious, there’s a baby. Cordelia sassily asks Angel if he’s going to take responsibility for this.
Cordelia’s rage is weird. Is this a slightly jealous rage? It seems a little much for him having lied about sleeping with Darla and all of the actual anger over him impregnating her is total nonsense because it’s not like he had any more idea that this was going to happen than she did and just learned about it 60 seconds ago. I’m hoping we’re going to address this rage and I’m going to be all, “Right, stupid comments are stupid,” but I’m pointing it out now because it’s a feeling I’m having right now.
K: I like to think of it as Cordy having leftover issues trusting men after last week’s total nightmare of an episode, plus a little dose of “Demons keep magically knocking me up and it really sucks.”
Lor: I have issues with this sort response-sexism. Misogyny sucks, but being all, “ALL MEN SUCK,” is stupid as well. I don’t know. This definitely feels like a strange, and flipped switch response.
Sweeney: YES! Exactly. Anyway, Angel wants Wesley to look in books and figure shit out, but Wesley points out the stupidity of that plan and suggests that they go to Lorne for answers.
Segue Magic to Lorne saying something is all wrong, but it’s him overseeing renovations on the amazing karaoke bar. The three Angel fangirls who cast the protection spell are also there – the new spell will be sure to include humans. The Fang Gang arrives and Lorne gushes about reopening the club, before finally settling down to address the Darla situation when he sees how few fucks they give about his news. Rude, guys. (But, fine, legit, bigger fish to fry, yadayada.)
They all worry that Angel is going to have to sing (K: Gunn’s “OH GOD PLEASE NO” reaction is hilarious), and Cordelia notes that Darla’s got the baby. She gets up and grabs Lorne by the tie before grunting out, “Oh Danny boy,” and demanding to know what’s inside of her. Darla’s debilitated state seems like pure nonsense, given the massacre and casual strolling we witnessed in the opening scene. Definitely a smart move if it is an act. (And I hope it is, because otherwise contrivance and bullshit.) This is way beyond singing, though, so he sends everyone else away to address the crisis.
Lorne says this is way beyond his depth too. Wesley fills him in on the “ruination of humanity” prophecy. Angel laments that his child will be “the scourge of mankind,” which is a fun throwback to the “scourge of Europe.” Meanwhile, Cordelia is distressed that everyone is upsetting Darla. I’m not the only one who thinks this is weird, right? Cordelia and Lorne help her into his room to lie down and she tells Angel that they can handle it.
Lor: It is weird. I don’t like it. This is DARLA, not some innocent girl off the streets. STOP DEFENDING DARLA.
Sweeney: RIGHT? Cordelia’s driving me nuts with this shit. It’s proof of how far we are from Sunnydale that I’m genuinely upset with this episode for making me mad at Cordelia, because even though every episode’s not a winner for her, it’s rare that she’s someone who makes me go, “SRSLY?” Yet here we are.
Back in the bar, the guys are discussing what all of this means. Lorne says it seems a little unfair for all Angel’s do-goodering to result in evil spawn, but Angel doesn’t see how any kid of his and Darla’s can be good. They ponder the prophecies some more, and Wesley suggests that perhaps the Shanshu prophecy was really about this kid and Angel’s destiny was just to help bring it into the world. Fred interjects and it’s fucking amazing:
“Can I say something about destiny? Screw destiny. If this evil thing comes, we’ll fight it, and we’ll keep fighting it until we whoop it, ’cause destiny is just another word for inevitable and nothing’s inevitable as long as you stand up, look it in the eye and say, ‘You’re evitable!’ [long pause] Well, you catch my drift.”
Lorne is awestruck. “Oh, I like her so much.” US TOO, LORNE. US TOO. Angel wants to see the prophecy and the math and all the things. Fred heads back to the hotel for that. Lorne tells Angel that Darla’s doing terribly and that Cordelia’s mega pissed and he should probably stay out of her way.
In the bedroom, Darla moans that she doesn’t get why anyone would willingly do this crap. Cordelia talks about her mystical overnight pregnancy. She says it was real miserable while it lasted, and starts to ask Darla about her current hunger status, which is her cue to go, “Oh wait, I’m hanging out alone in a room with a horrible vampire!” She slowly goes to leave, but Darla vampire jumps out of bed and pins Cordelia to the door she was just about to leave through. Cordelia punches her and pulls a cross on her, but Darla knocks that arm out of the way and covers Cordy’s mouth before going in for the bite.
K: I was legit cheering when Cordy punched Darla. Shame it had to take that turn for the worse.
Lor: And this is why we don’t go rushing to Darla’s side, Cordelia.
Sweeney: After a Not Commercial Break, Cordelia is getting bit while having migraine visions of kids playing somewhere that looks like a Chuck E Cheese. This is interrupted when Angel pulls Darla off and chucks the pregnant lady across the room. Angel is tending to Cordelia and promising Darla will pay for this, but Cordelia says he’ll have to find her first. In the bar, Gunn says they tried to stop her by hitting her fists and feet with their faces, but, you know…
Seizure cut to Angel’s room at The Hyperion, where Cordelia’s laying down. Cordelia says this was her fault because she felt sorry for her — Darla looking like a helpless mother made Cordelia forget what she really was.
I guess this is somewhere in the neighborhood of legit. I still fall more on the side of “general annoyance” with her, though.
Angel sets off and Gunn is left standing watch with a crossbow. Cordelia stops Angel before he goes, because she forgot to mention the vision. She says Darla is so hungry and doesn’t know how to make it stop, but Cordelia thinks she knows where Darla’s headed.
Downstairs Angel is, once again, heading off alone, in spite of Darla being super strong with her mystical pregnancy. Wesley asks why he does this and Fred wisely offers that Angel probably can’t stand to have them see him do it. In spite of being a vampire who tried to kill Cordelia, she is carrying his child — “the one thing he can never have, even if he lives forever.”
With talk of children, we cut to the Chuck E Cheese type place from Cordelia’s vision. A little blonde boy is wandering around looking for his mommy. Darla appears and offers to help him find her. (K: STRANGER DANGER) A random woman comments on Darla’s bravery as nonsense set up for Darla to get to say, “Oh, I love children; I could just eat them up” before the Not Commercial Break.
Cordelia is having nightmares about her vision from earlier. She tells Gunn she needs to go talk to Wesley. She says that this vision-dream is partially about what’s inside Darla, though she doesn’t quite get it. There’s some “Angel doesn’t get technology” jokes in here as they try to reach him, which are a suitable enough subcategory of Angel-is-old jokes, which equal shots. Cordelia says she thinks the Powers That Be Contriving are trying to tell her why Darla’s craving younger victims. But, not yet, because we still have 8 more minutes of episode left.
Back at the Not!Chuck E. Cheese, Darla’s alone with the little boy, looking for his mommy. She vamps out and then Angel appears and stops her. The little boy runs off to his actual mommy. Everyone sees the vampires fighting and runs off screaming. (L: This episode is a strong case against Chuck E Cheese.) They fight and banter. Darla says he doesn’t know how the hunger pounds and Angel says he’ll make it stop. Angel finally gets her in staking position and she screams at him to do it. He hesitates and she gets hysterical, telling him to do it. Then she sobs in his arms and the spinny cameraman pans around them while Angel explains that she’s been craving purer and purer blood because whatever is inside of her has a soul. This logic does not resemble our human logic, but OK, sure.
K: RIGHT???? This logic made precisely zero sense to me. “The thing inside you has a soul, so you should go kill the most innocent of innocents and drink their blood because the totally pure soul-having thing inside you demands it.” Um. What.
Sweeney: Brooding Hotel. Angel is assuring Darla that she’s not alone, as she’s chucking the mug of pig’s blood at the wall. On his way out he tells a crossbow-wielding Gunn to keep an eye on her. Given what a fight she gave Angel and that Wesley said she’s now stronger than him, this plan seems majorly unwise.
Downstairs, Angel is telling the ladies that they can’t go near Darla without Gunn and Angel and lots and lots of crossbows. That extra annoys me after the last episode. STFU. (K: *applause*)
Cordelia says that this means Angel’s going to be a father. She adds that she felt it in her vision – the same thing that he felt when he was with her earlier. I liked this little bit. Not that it wasn’t clear in the scene with Darla, but I got distracted by that weird explanation for Darla’s cravings, and I like this idea that it was just a ~feeling. The mythology doesn’t always need big epic explanations, but I’m a proponent of them being clearer on the notion that sometimes it can just be this feeling in your gut.
Fred has a big uh-oh moment. She babbles about all the translation/math woes they’ve been having all episode, until the others cut her off. She pulls out a stopwatch and says the thing is arriving, “in about 3 – 2 – now.“
We cut to a park, of sorts, so that we pan go underground to a weird sanctuary, of sorts, with lots of fire. A demon in a brown-hooded robe starts chanting about rising a prophesied one as he tosses dust at a statue in the middle of the sanctuary.
K: Because, you know, chanting at a stone statue in the middle of a sanctuary worked out SO WELL last time…
Sweeney: Then he starts smoking, because EVIL. He checks his watch while he waits, because gags. The Terrible Special Effects Team cues some lighting and stuff before the statue cracks. Left behind is a dude on all fours. The demon goes to him and welcomes him to the 21st century, adding that Angelus is here, but it’ll be a while before he’s strong enough. With that, the man cuts him off and stands up to reveal that it’s Holtz.
Well, that was fucking random and unexpected. I mean, I should have expected it, what with that opening making no practical sense with the rest of the episode besides, maybe, “Hey, one time Darla saved Angelus!” but still. Curve ball successful, show.
K: I don’t know how to feel about this episode. On the one hand, it has so many moments of fabulousness – Fred, and Gunn juggling, and Cordy being a BAMF. But on the other hand, it was pretty much like none of the shit from the previous episode ever happened, and that pisses me off like whoa.
Lor: It’s kind of weird that after seven episodes, I’m now getting the, “now we’re getting somewhere!” feeling. Mostly I’m glad that things are building up.
Sweeney: Agreed — I’m glad things are building up. I’m not sure how to feel about this episode because it made me frustrated with characters who seldom frustrate me. There were some really great moments though — I loved the whole Gunn/Wesley break-in scene, every single thing Fred said and did, and a few other bits, but it wasn’t a standout episode either. It seems like a big set-up episode, though, so hopefully exciting stuff is on the horizon.
Next time: Angel tries to figure out what exactly Baby Brood will be in Angel S03 E08 – Quickening.