Previously: Younger Gunn sold his soul for a truck, Wesley was released from the hospital with nobody to collect him, and Angel performed the feelsiest crib-dismantling of ever.
Sweeney: The episode starts with a lot of shots of Los Angeles before taking us back to Brooding Hotel, where the gang is patching up the earthquake damaged hotel and Groo is pleading with Angel to heed his advice…on the new color selection. I won’t lie, I’m kind of a fan of Groo. Not in the sense that I actually care a great deal what happens to him, but he’s kind of precious and amusing.
Lorraine: He was a little off-putting at first, especially in the sense of the love triangle and cockblocking, but I’m warming to him as well.
Sweeney: Angel says no and stops Gunn from throwing away something that is seriously charred. He just wants everything “the way it was.” Hugs. Cordelia says their little team can’t actually do the kind of repairs to make that happened and makes a brief reference to his final Sunnydale residence in a “rotted out mansion.” She trails off when he’s getting feelsy over a snowglobe he found in the rubble. He bought it for Connor because it doesn’t snow in California and he might like to look at it. Everyone gets really awkward because it’s one of those moments where you want to be comforting and helpful but what do you even say?
Kirsti: Truth. Meanwhile, I’m kind of distracted by the giant crack in the wall because cracks in the wall tend to end badly in my universe:
Lor: YES. OH GOD. Good Who reference, friend.
Sweeney: Angel realizes this and promptly suggests that they all get back to actual work, instead of construction work. They point out that they haven’t been getting business, so Angel goes to wait for walk-ins, which is Cordelia’s cue to inform us that it’s a Sunday. That’s a sweet little reminder that the gang really is a family unit. It’s Sunday and they have no work to do, so what’s everybody doing? Trying to repair Angel’s destroyed room. It makes me even sadder for the absent member of the family, but I’m trying to concentrate on the good family feels because we need good feels.
Downstairs, contrary to Cordelia’s, “Not on Sundays” prediction, there is, in fact, a walk-in. He calls out, looking for someone at Angel Investigations and gets creeped out by the remnants of the pentagram from the spell that gave Sahjhan solid form. While he’s ringing the bell we see a clear squirrel-sized insect-looking thing crawling about. It kind of reminds me of the demonic consequence of Buffy’s resurrection spell, only with a clearer form – that was more blobby. Just before Angel returns, the clear thing jumps inside Sunday Walk-In’s face. He turns around, looking dazed, and awkwardly tells Angel that “we” have to go. Angel assumes he was spooked by the pentagram. Electric Cellos.
After the credits, Cordelia comes downstairs and tries to get Angel to open up about all the things that happened while she was gone, particularly the details of the spell they used so she can be prepared for the primordial repercussions. (She says “cosmic price” but no “the” so I’m reserving the star to see if it’s properly earned by somebody else later on.) (Also, also, does this mean the clear insect demon is a CROSSOVER MAGIC demon?)(L: A+ being good at TV, girl!) She mentions that the person who would be best at sorting that out is now off the team and that makes him snap. She then asks him why he didn’t call and let her be there for him and does some feels venting of her own, mentioning her useful connection to The Powers That Be Contriving and her new demon status. The conversation ends with Angel saying that she can do something for him: find him a case to work on.
Seizure Cut to Sunday Walk-In looking awful while drinking ALL THE PEACH SMOOTHIES at a restaurant and getting super ragey and violent when they refuse to give him more.
K: BRB, waiting for The Doctor to turn up, because this shit is straight out of Waters of Mars…
Sweeney: At Wolfram & Hart, DDK congratulates Lilah on getting Angel one step closer to the dark side with the whole smothering-one-of-his-closest-friends-with-a-pillow thing. Lilah’s not taking his compliment because when a colleague tries to pat her on the back she checks for the knife. This conversation doesn’t appear to serve much purpose beyond establishing them both as characters who will be in this episode that also know all the things and still have a rivalry, of sorts.
Brooding Hotel. Angel is sitting at Wesley’s desk. Fred and Gunn are looking in on Angel and she says it’s weird to see him there instead of Wesley. She wishes that there was a way to come back from that, but Gunn thinks that there is no coming back from that and that Angel might just kill him on principle. I’m with Fred in the general arena of doubting that, especially if the gang played a role in making that peace happen. But Gunn’s the most obvious person to be the voice chanting that trust has been broken forever.
K: I’m with Fred, but I also think there needs to be some kind of cooling off period involved before you start trying to put the group back together again. Especially after attempted murder.
Lor: Agreed. Homeboy can’t even see snow globes at the moment with out drowning in feels. I think a cooling off period is best for all involved.
Sweeney: Fair and true. Their conversation was making up or not, without recognizing the third option of making up eventually.
Cordelia and Groo are making another pass at scrubbing the pentagram with no success. She sends Groo off to dump out a bucket and Fred pulls her aside to talk. Cordelia cuts her off before she can even make her request saying that she can’t and won’t talk to Angel about Wesley. Fred points out that Cordelia has known them both the longest. Cordelia concedes that while Angel might listen to her, he doesn’t want to hear it right now. Fred is trying to make her focus on Wesley’s feelings, but Cordelia says that Angel’s feelings are the only ones she cares about. Naturally, that’s Groo’s cue to appear. She then has a quick, painless vision of Angel being thrown across the lobby, just as Angel appears at the lobby desk. A second later Lorne (wearing a fedora) enternounces that the juice bar across the street is being torn up by a crazy man.
Lor: The painless vision confused me for a second, even though she was conveniently in the middle of a speech about painless visions. That’s going to take some getting used to.
Sweeney: The whole gang goes over to find the last remaining customers fleeing and Sunday Walk-In looking even gnarlier and downright zombified. Angel recognizes him, but adds that he didn’t look like that in the morning. Fred finds his wallet and IDs him. Angel tries to talk the guy down from the juice binge, but he just shouts, in a demonic voice, “WE’RE THIRSTY!” He starts to attack but Angel knocks him out and eagerly announces that they have a case.
They carry SW-I to Brooding Hotel and Fred goes off for water while Angel, still a touch too chipper, muses that the guy kept referring to himself with a plural pronoun. Cordelia’s trying to cut off the amusement to focus on the vision of him being in danger, because The Powers That Be Contriving don’t send her those messages for no reason. Just as Angel is telling her that he’d rather think about somebody else’s problems, Sunday Walk-In stands up and points at Angel, telling him that this is all happening because of him. “This is all your fault.” Then he collapses onto the pentagram and his head crumbles to dust.
K: Womp womp. I’m guessing that was a little bit more than SW-I bargained for when he turned up wanting help to find his missing dog.
Sweeney: After a Not Break, Angel’s trying to figure out how it’s his fault. Lorne steps up to note that it wasn’t the SW-I talking, but the Crossover Magic Slug Thing, which scurries out of Sunday Walk-In’s clothes and out of sight. Angel is trying to figure out what it is or what it could possibly have to do with him but Cordelia notes the obvious fact that SW-I died in the middle of the pentagram she just mentioned might have some unpleasant repercussions.
Later, they divvy up tasks. Groo and Angel exchange weapon-size-but-actually-dick-size quips. Angel assigns Fred to the research task, but she’s taken aback, insisting that she doesn’t even know where to look. Angel awkwardly tells her where to look, specifically saying that it’s a consequence of using dark magic. (SO IT IS THE CROSSOVER MAGIC SLUG THING!) Cordelia says wants them to slow their roll on going looking for a thing to kill until after the research has happened, but as per usual for the Buffyverse, the eponymous hero wants to get with the smashing.
Angel and Lorne are walking the halls of the hotel and Lorne’s getting his I-told-you-so on and there are a few more mentions of “a price” but still no “the.” YOU’VE GOT TO EARN THE STAR, KIDS. (K: Truth. We can’t just hand these things out like lollies.) Angel says that in spite of the fact that the spell didn’t do shit for him and he still doesn’t have his son, he would absolutely do it again because it was his son and he had to do everything he could.
They make their way into a room where they hear weird gulping sounds (relevant because Cordelia earlier informed us that the Crossover Magic Slug Thing drank all the fluid from a man’s body.) Sure enough, it’s gulping from the toilet. Lorne accidentally knocks out a light. In the dark, they manage to stab it to the floor, and they’re proud of themselves for a hot second, but then it manages to get away because any idiot could tell you that Crossover Magic Slug Things don’t play by the rules of earthly physics. Duh.
Downstairs, Fred is freaking the fuck out because she hates this. Gunn also hates the thing, but that’s not what she’s talking about. She hates this because all this demon stuff is confusing and she knows All The Science but not demon things. This annoys me. I get that we’re highlighting that Wesley is important but (1) Wesley contributes more than just research skills -and- (2) The Scoobies got their ancient text research skills on as high school students. It feels like they are undermining Fred’s abilities in order to make that point and I don’t like it. I’m going to choose to believe that she’s pretending to be worse than she is in her personal quest to prove how much they need Wesley back.
K: While this is an excellent point, I’m going to go with the theory that it’s like me and cooking – I know how to do it, and am pretty good at it for the most part, but considering my dad does most of the cooking at home, I rarely use the skills. Therefore, when my parents go away, I have a tendency to burn things and melt plastic utensils and almost chop off my own finger. Wes has been responsible for most of the research for the past two seasons. The others are capable of doing it, but don’t quite remember how. You know?
Lor: A good explanation as far as explanations go, but it still feels heavy handed to me. It plays too much like, “READING IS SO HARD.” and coming from Fred, it’s weird. We could also argue that Wesley had very advanced, pedantic books where Giles was handing out Demons for Dummies to the Scoobies.
Sweeney: I appreciate all the theories. I think your comment here – that it plays like, “UGH, READING!” is what rubbed me the wrong way about it.
Gunn turns around to assure her that she is going to figure it out and they will manage, but unfortunately (contrivantly) this means he misses more Crossover Magic Slug Things appearing from the air above the pentagram.
W&H. Lilah receives a confidential email (computer screens on this show are HILARIOUS) that requires her to enter a password. In order to do that she has to get out a safe and do a bunch more password crap to get at a spider which will type the password for her. LOLWUT? Nope, sorry. No message I receive is important enough for this.
K: Seriously. A magic tarantula that a) can survive locked in a box for indefinite periods without food or water or light and can type in passwords? This is a new and horrific low.
Lor: “Did you get my super secret email?” “Oh, the one I have to open by magic tarantula? NOPE. BYE.”
Sweeney: The email is informing her that the Fang Gang is researching Crossover Magic Slug Things, aka dark magic consequences. Just then DDK barges in and asks if she received this confidential email. He’s there to gloat about the possibility that the Crossover Magic Slug Things – a product of the spell Lilah helped him cast – could kill Angel, which would upset the senior partners. Lilah begrudgingly realizes that this now means her job is to go save Angel.
Groo and Cordelia are going through the halls and Groo brings up the thing he overheard her say earlier. Oh good, I’m glad we didn’t drag out this out into a misunderstanding plot. Cordelia not-entirely-helpfully clarifies that Angel’s feelings are her work priority and Groo is her “other stuff” priority. Um, OK, Cordelia. He gets a scary look on his face, but when he tells her not to move, she realizes that it’s a Crossover Magic Slug Thing [CMST] and she quickly swings at it behind her, but it gets away.
They open a door and find Lorne and Angel, saying that they saw the CMST. Downstairs, the full gang is discussing the fact that there are probably multiple CMSTs roaming about. For some reason I don’t entirely follow, they conclude that they’re easier to kill with the lights out.
K: Not easier to kill, just easier to see. Apparently they glow in the dark, because of contrivance.
Sweeney: Oh! Got it. Makes sense. Thanks for the spooky darkness, contrivance!
Fred extra hates this, but she gets to hang out in the office with a lantern, which isn’t all that much consolation.
The others turn out the power and then we cut to Fred, sitting over the books with a CMST crawling on the wall behind her. She turns around and it latches onto her face. NOT FRED! We see the others busting their way through the building before Gunn returns to Fred in Wesley’s office. She lets him in and then sits down, gripping her head and saying she’s very scared. He’s not catching on, and talks about how great it would be for them to get a vacation like Cordelia and Groo when this is over. She tells him that he has to get out of there and smashes the snow globe so she can drink the fluid from it. Gunn realizes what’s going on just as she looks up at him, split lip, and says, “We’re thirsty.”
K: Ew. Almost entirely unrelated story: as a kid, I had a Santa snowglobe. Given that it had Santa in it, it lived in the box of Christmas decorations and only came out to play once a year. One year, I pulled it out and there were big strings of green mould/algae through it, and my mum insisted (rightly) that we throw it out before everyone puked. I’ve never been able to look at snowglobes quite the same. So the thought of Fred drinking the contents of one made me gaggy.
Sweeney: Gunn and Fred find the others. Fred is mostly focused on the thirsty, but she gets lucid when Angel talks to her. (L: There’s an interesting moment where Gunn’s all, “she won’t respond,” and Fred’s all, “ANGEL?” Angel is making all the boyfriends jealous this episode.) She explains that she can’t go out to a hospital because she can feel that the thing really wants to get out and kill. Her voice gets low and ominous as she looks at Angel and says that it really doesn’t like him. Gunn tries to take her out of there, and Angel says he can’t do that because Fred would feel terrible if he did that and more people died. Gunn rightly acknowledges that this is ultimately Angel’s fault. Their fight is interrupted by Groo saying that the sounds are coming from under the floor. They start hacking away at it and the whole gang crowds around the whole in the floor. It’s a whole glowy CGI pool of Crossover Magic Slug Things.
K: Probably went to sell his soul for another truck. Too soon?
Lor: What do you think?
Sweeney: W&H. Lilah is on the phone issuing orders. DDK arrives to gloat. Lilah sends her last two dudes on their merry little way. Lilah was trying to get this all handled before Linwood found out, but obviously DDK tipped him off. Having recently been tortured by Angel, Linwood is more on the, “Let them die,” train and will make Lilah pay for the unauthorized ops out of her own salary and dole out some sort of punishment upon his return.
Gunn pounds on Wesley’s door. He opens it, scruffy and haggard looking. Gunn says they need his help.
Back in the kitchen, Angel is dragging Fred aside to talk to the CMST inside of her. “We’re thirsty,” she says. Angel begs Fred to help it talk and explain what it wants. “To live, to drink, and be merry.” She does a brief crazy laugh and says that they have to get out and flee because it hurts. Lorne notices that she’s dropping the plural pronoun. Fred continues about a destroyer and bringer of pain. He asks what it wants with her, but she clarifies that it’s coming after Angel.
After a Not Break, Gunn is inside Wesley’s apartment trying to explain what happened. Wesley’s wearing sweatpants. They’re his version of Buffy’s Overalls of Overall Sadness. He solemnly says that Angel will figure out a way to kill the things eventually. Gunn says he needs to know how to get them out of a person. Wesley still refuses to help, but when Gunn says it’s Fred, he sighs a bit and grabs a drink. Gunn says that they don’t have time for this because she’s dying. Wesley goes on to say that he was dying, having his throat slit and whatnot. He fought to live so that he could see the people he loved and trusted and explain his side of what happened. He tosses the bottle to Gunn, saying that they know nothing and that he’ll help because it’s Fred, but none of them should come there again.
K: I kind of hate this. I mean, I get that Wes is pissed about everything at the moment. But DUDE. You pretty much brought this on yourself by not using your words. And to be all “No, fuck off and die” until you find out that it’s Fred who’s in trouble? Dick move.
Lor: I guess on this side of survived and alone, Wesley has a new version of events. I don’t blame him for being pissed at how things happened when he really had good intentions, but I figure he’d know where the others were coming from. He did give his boss’s baby to their sworn enemy.
Sweeney: Kitchen. Fred’s looking extra zombie/dead. Angel says they need to get Fred to a hospital as they no longer have time to worry about not infecting the world. They need to keep her hydrated while they work on a cure. Not sure why they couldn’t just keep her on a steady flow of liquids there in that kitchen. Seems like she could die on the trip to the hospital at this point.
Angel’s filling up a sink, as part of his master plan to buy time. They open the doors and the CMSTs enter. Cordelia refuses to go – she stays to fight with Angel. Groo sees this and continues out with Fred in his arms. As Lorne and Groo are about to leave with Fred, Gunn returns with the bottle from Wesley. He tells them to hold her so that he can force her to drink it.
Kitchen. Cordelia and Angel are fighting off the CMSTs. One latches onto Cordelia’s arm and they’re both stunned and confused.
Upstairs, Fred continues to drink until she eventually hacks up the CMST. Groo is ready with a sword to kill it while the others sit by her side.
Kitchen. Cordelia gets crazy glowy as the thing latches onto her. She asks Angel what’s happening but he’s got nothing. She eventually explodes GLOWtasticness. We see it in the whole hotel, including the lobby and bursting out of the windows. It stops and the lights come on. Lorne asks what the hell just happened as Angel enternounces that it was Cordelia. She feels fine.
K: What. I was on board with BAMF Sword Fighting Cordelia. Magical Glowing Cordelia I have issues with.
Lor: I… I’m not even sure what happened. She glowed them to death? Is she a disco ball demon? An angel demon? A blinding light demon? WHAT IS THIS?
Sweeney: I DON’T KNOW. IT WAS WEIRD.
Angel asks how Fred is doing. Gunn tries to say that he just got the idea to dehydrate the body and force the slug out with alcohol. Then he gets really defensive about how he had to go get help because someone he cared about was dying. Angel says nothing through all of this and Gunn eventually realizes that Angel does understand and they’re good. Lorne’s jumps in to note that “The Destroyer” is on the way and this makes them decidedly not good. Fred sits up, anxiously remembering that The Destroyer is coming and she thinks that’s going to happen now.
Lightning begins to strike over the pentagram. A crazy large gross demon appears, but it’s misdirection because he’s quickly killed by what follows – a teenager dressed like Rufio. He holds up his arm, which has some sort of gun attached to it, towards Angel and says, “Hi dad.” End credits.
Welp. The batshit crazy continues! I’ve been trained to expect all things on this show because shit never makes sense. I’m going to assume that introduction means Connor’s not excited about this reunion and we’re going to have infinity episodes with epic teenage angst. Like, I hated my dad because he made me move in high school. Imagine if you blamed your dad for your growing up in the darkest of the hell dimensions? Angst on steroids! Just a guess. Thoughts/feelings on this pending confirmation/denial.
I enjoyed this episode. Maybe because I was excited about the subtle bit of crossover magic, or the fact that there was so much going on. It also had a lot of that family stuff I love so much, albeit down one member.
So let’s talk about the one scene that I expect will be a popular discussion topic. Unfortunately, it seems like the fates are bound and determined to give me views that alienate people. Let me start with the opinions that I think you’ll agree with and work my way down to the bit that’s going to make you angry, OK? Gunn’s little bit about not wanting to be there in the first place was rude and unnecessary. I had started to say that I liked that Wesley was being brought back into the fold by way of being truly needed, because of how he checked out after the misogyny demon. I withheld that thought, thinking it would be better down here. Then it turned out that I was misreading where this was going entirely.
I get that Wesley’s upset, having been left for dead in that hospital. Cordelia probably should have gone to him. Fred should have held off on the latter half of her speech, at least until he was home and had the capacity for speech. That said, I’m not willing to excuse his reaction based on that. Things got to this point because of his refusal to open up to anybody or talk to any of these friends he supposedly loves and trusts. He shut them out and is now mad at them for letting him do it? It’s a rough situation and there are feels to go around here, but I’m not sure how to process Wesley’s reaction here.
K: Team Heartless Cow is living up to its name and has no feels for anyone. BRB, moving my ottoman over to the asshole corner.
Sweeney: As for the rest of the episode: I didn’t like Cordelia’s whole, “ANGEL’S FEELINGS ONLY” speech. I love everything else about the way she and Angel interacted, but that bit seems like a weird bit of nonsense inserted only to advance Wesley’s weird new rage arc and their romantic subplot, which I was already pretty #meh on. Feeling like she threw Wesley under the bus for it doesn’t help. Gunn was only all right in this episode. I hate that he’s always got rigid views on right and wrong, though I appreciate that he was the one with the sense to go to Wesley for help, particularly after Fred noted that they were going to need that. Cordelia’s new glowing destruction power was weird and contrived, but I didn’t mind it. They did a nice enough job of reminding us at the episode’s beginning that we still don’t know all of what her new power entails.
Lor: Bringing it back over to the Crossover Magic, I went over to Afterlife and re-read that recap, as we referenced it above in connection to thaumogenesis. Willow, in that episode, calls it a price for dark magics, but Anya says it isn’t quite a price. It’s almost like the byproduct of dark magic. She called it a gift with purchase, I believe. AND THIS IS WHERE I GET ALL THE FEELS: what was Willow’s price for bringing Buffy back to life? It wasn’t the byproduct demon. Perhaps we just watched it happen. It cannot be a coincidence that Angel’s episode is all about a price, when on Buffy, we watch Tara die. Buffy’s life for Tara’s death.
And, bringing it back to this series, the slugs were probably just the gift with purchase. What’ll be Angel’s price to pay?
Finally, that was VINCENT KARTHEISER. WHUT. How do I manage to not know who will even be on this show? Also, this guy is probably part vampire because he still looks like a baby.
Sweeney: Ah! Excellent point about a price v. gift-with-purchase. It’s definitely implied, in a host of ways, that the price is more related to Connor. (Not the least of which in the fact that nobody would say the damn thing!) The episode is called “The Price,” but ends on that mega dramatic reveal, after even the Crossover Magic Slug Things warned that the thing to be feared was still coming. Very interesting indeed. In all, a mostly enjoyable entry in the ever-growing crazy that is this show.
Next time: Connor’s back, and he’s not happy. Find out who gets sliced and diced in Angel S03 E20 – A New World.