PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.

REVIEW ARCHIVES

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I Am Pleasant

 Episode 2.08: The Shroud of Rahmon. Original Airdate: 11.21.00







“Posing as a hip Vegas vampire, Angel infiltrates a gang of thieves bent on stealing a supernatural shroud housed in a museum vault.”
 



Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • Ominous detectives acting ominously, mentioning a dead body and a she who might die and it’s all very ominous and what could it meeeeeeeeeeeeeean.
  • Ah yes, Wesley is in the interrogation room, all emotionally tortured. “She shouldn’t have been there. She didn’t know. I had to warn him. He didn’t know what he was getting into. None of them did … You didn’t bring it here did you?” Yes yes, very ominous.
  • But then we have Wes doing a classic Whedon Writes Crazy move and saying, apropos of very little, “I’m quite good with the ladies myself, you know.” Knowing the future, I guess this is somehow still the after effects of the Shroud? But … ugh fine.
  • And we get a flashback shot of a body falling to the ground, a scene we’ll end up seeing four times this episode, each time with a different context.
  • “He should never have been there! Of all people he should never – You don’t tell him what to do, he’s the boss … he helps people, you know? When he’s not in trouble himself.”
  • And as Wes remembers Cordelia, we flashback to Before It All Went Wrong.
  • I do enjoy some non-linear narrative with my TV.
  • Anyway WHAT have they done to Cordy’s hair WHAT. It’s shorter, it’s much darker, it looks like a wig but I think it’s just a bumpit giving it body on top (since she doesn’t have the same lift to it later). Poor Charisma.
  • Oh but for a nice change of pace, Angel is out helping Gunn on a mission. Nice to see Gunn’s still got his own thing going on.
  • Apparently there’s a heist job Gunn’s cousin Lester is the driver for, and they’re expecting a “psycho vampire from Vegas,” and I like the touch that as Lester stumbles over the name, Angel recognizes and names him: Jay-Don. We can even pretend this is a nod to the fact that Angel!In!History! has spent some time in Vegas, though I don’t think we know that yet.
  • Oops, so much for Angel “helping” Gunn; he’s now taking over the case and pushing Gunn out. “Since when do I take orders from you?” // “Since I’m paying you.” // “This ain’t no paying gig. I brought it to you.” Ugh stop just stop. Then he even tells Gunn to knit him a sweater.
  • Oh look Kate is back, still looking for Darla, and threatening Angel with a cross carved into a stake. Ooh, a multitool!
  • “You get stuck between me and Darla, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.” Well then.
  • We don’t get to count it since it happened off-camera, but apparently Wes had a prat-fall at the premiere and spilled cocktail sauce all over Cordy’s blouse. Oops.
  • Okay you know what, no, this is a dumb joke. I know they’re trying to make a joke about how guys don’t notice things and so it’s taken both Wes and Angel ten days to notice Cordy’s new wig hair, but no, they wouldn’t suddenly both notice on the same day, this is very stupid and I am calling a shenanigan.
  • So in case anyone was curious of the degree of douche with this Jay-Don vamp, he wears sunglasses. A vampire. Who can’t go out in the day. Wearing sunglasses. Which Angel, after pretending to be a fanboy and ascertaining that there’s no password, swipes as he stakes the dude.
  • I do enjoy seeing DB have fun as these sillier characters, both the fanboy and Jay-Don himself.
  • But uh … according to the captions he’s doing a “New York” accent, and well 


  • Gah-gasp! When “Lester” shows up, it’s Gunn! Who saw this coming? Seriously Angel why did you not see this coming? Do you even watch TV? “I told you I’d handle this.” // “I told you I don’t take orders.”
  • Oh, it’s pronounced Rah-MON, not RAH-men. Well, our crossfire below is about to make less sense.
  • Ah, they need a vamp because the vault has a thermal sensor and there’s that whole body heat thing. Okay, sure.
  • Angel is trying to pick enough of a fight with Gunn that they can take it outside and have it out, but ta-wist the heist is tonight and bossman doesn’t want anyone opening up any Zoom breakout rooms. Welp.
  • It’s funny because I know two of our heist boys are well known faces but they are both covered in demon makeup! So how are two bloggers to tell?



Tony Todd                                      Demon Todd
W. Earl Brown                       W. Earl Demon  



  • Cordy: “Okay, two words I don’t like right off the bat: tomb and unearthed. People, you’ve got to leave your tombs earthed.” Oh my god did y’all read about all the new mummies they discovered? Can we please make them leave them alone? 2020 DOESN’T NEED AN EXTRA CURSE.
  • Angel tries to get them to leave Gunn, as the driver, with the truck, but no dice. Oh well. Also, again, Gunn isn’t looking for Angel to protect him. He asked for an assist, not a takeover.
  • Cordelia, speaking truth: “Why is it always virgin women who have to do the sacrificing?” // Wes: “For purity, I suppose.” // C: “This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. You can bet if someone ordered a male body part for religious sacrifice, the world would be atheist like that.”
  • A nice touch—when Angel gets near the casket with the Shroud and hears the whisperwhisper, his eyes flash vampire yellow but his bumpy forehead and fangs don’t come out.
  • Oh never mind, his forehead went vampface for a minute.
  • Gunn: “When they gonna start making some pretty demons.” // Me, on behalf of Lorne: Hey!
  • Aaaaaaaaaand now I’m angry because Shroud or no Shroud (and we find out later that Angel’s only sort of under its influence), it is crossing a major line to throw Gunn’s trauma of losing his sister back in his face as if it didn’t happen less than a year ago.
  • Anyway, spiny Tony Todd demon beheaded the human guard member of the heist boys, so that’s the dead body our prologue detectives warned us of.
  • So okay I am CONFUSED. Wes told us the Shroud makes people go all ragey, and we saw that it raised Angel’s vampface. And now that the vault is open, those vibes are flowing out through the museum (I guess???), but then why is it just making Cordy and Wes act very very stoned? That’s … the opposite of ragey? I AM CONFUSED.
  • But sure, let’s have Wesley put on his best absent minded professor routine while Cordelia stares at her reflection in a display case and announce her teeth are big.
  • Oh and now she’s stealing a beaded necklace off a mannequin in Indigenous regalia and if this isn’t a fucking microcosm.
  • And now Angel, two for two on the What the Hell Man game, taunts Kate about her dead father.
  • Though I guess biting her neck and drinking her blood is also kind of bad.
  • But when the budget SWAT team show up, all they find is a bewildered Wes kneeling over an unconscious Kate. The shroud, the heist boys, they’re all gone.
  • But at heist lair, they’re finally opening the casket and the whisperwhispers get more intense, and now it’s in a four-way tug of war. Nope, make that three, Spiny got shot.
  • But somewhere in there, Angel sobers enough to say “Gunn, I remember. You have to trust me. I know what to do with this.” And Gunn sobers enough to hear him and let go of the Shroud, so Angel can destroy it.
  • And now we’ve caught up in the timeline with Wesley in the interrogation room and I guess this wasn’t as nonlinear as I had hoped it would be. But anyway before they can finish arresting Wesley, a waxy-skinned red-eyed Kate stops them and releases Wes.
  • And then we get our third iteration of the bite, where Kate remembers Angel whispering “Stay down or they’ll kill you.” Which tells us he had at least some self-control but still felt like it was a good move to needle two of his friends’ biggest open wounds.
  • And back at the Hyperion, Cordelia is insisting—while still wearing her appropriated necklace—that she returned everything she stole. Meanwhile, Wes is worried that Angel drinking from Kate will reignite his bloodlust because he thinks Angel hasn’t had human blood “in a very long time,” so are we ignoring that he drank from Buffy two seasons ago? That’s not that long in Vampire Time.
  • And see here’s my stink. I get that they were trying for a whole recovering addict metaphor for Angel in S1, and that that is somehow connected with his tipping into possible Angelus territory, and if they had actually done anything with that idea in the past twenty episodes, I’d be willing to consider it, but they haven’t. Far more effective to lean into the whole “Angel needs to be invested in the world he’s saving” element, which does feel earned and exercised, and connects much better to his current Darla Problem, because she’s trying to pull him out of that investment.
  • But sure, let’s end the episode with Angel remembering drinking Kate’s blood, his expression ambiguously blank. 


 
 
Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Ok we got two suits talking cryptically about someone.  Ah, they’re cops.  I guess.  Yeah, the way they were talking and the way they’re dressed, I shoulda guessed that.
  • They’re interrogating someone and we’re not supposed to know who he is but it’s obviously Wesley. 
  • They mention a body without a head.
  • Wesley mysteriously says, “You didn’t bring it here, did you?” 
  • We flash to Angel with blood on his mouth and a woman falling to the ground.  A blond woman.  Darla? 
  • I don’t remember this episode at all.
  • Wes continues to narrate after the credits. He describes what we saw…before the credits.
  • He mumbles something about trying to stop him and he shouldn’t have been there.  All weird vagueness.
  • We flashback to Wes & Cordelia.  There’s no 24 hours earlier tag or anything and -
  • OH GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO CORDELIA’S HAIR. WHAT IS THAT.


Even Cordelia has no idea


  • Cordy exposits that Wes is still dating Virginia – and Angel is helping Gunn with something.
  • Angel & Gunn are talking to a friend of Gunn’s. The guy is nervous about a job regarding another vamp.
  • Angel recognizes the name of the big bad vamp. And he wants to take on the job himself and leaves Gunn. Okay.
  • Detective Kate surprises Angel at the Hyperion in his room.  She’s silent the whole time but the chip on her shoulder gabs a lot.  She’s looking for Darla.  Also, search warrant much?
  • They’re really playing Kate up to be an enemy for Angel.  She even holds up a cross with a chiseled wooden stake at the bottom end.
It looks cool, anyway


  • Angel catches Wes & Cordy up with what’s happening with Gunn’s case.
  • Jay-Don, the vampire that’s coming in to LA is apparently loud, flashy – and ran with the Rat Pack.
  • Cordy and Wes look at Angel like it’s make-over time.
  • Angel is actually good at undercover – pretends that he’s excited to see this Jay-Don – and dusts him – but not before stealing his sunglasses….and then does a quick change!
  • A demon lurks around. Angel acts like Jay-Don and gets in a car with him.
  • Jay-Don meets with two demons and a security guard human.  They’re waiting for the driver, Lester.
  • Gunn takes a page out of Angel’s book and goes to the meeting in Lester’s place.
  • And I love that.  Because he’s using Angels methods while also kinda using it against him.
  • It’s also convenient that none of these people have met and/or know what they look like.
  • Angel fabricates animosity between him and Gunn for some reason – I guess so they don’t suspect them as working together?
  • Cordelia, on a museum website: “Don’t they have a section of like, things you want to steal?”
  • Ok, Angel says he hit Gunn to protect him. Gunn reciprocates by punching him back when they’re alone and tells him not to do it again.  Good for him.
  • Two Demons, Two Humans and Vampire Break Into a Museum.
  • Angel stops the demon from killing another security guard.
  • Kate and her detectives have security cam pictures of some of our heist members. And of course Kate recognizes Angel.
  • Cordy makes good points about why religions always need virgin women for sacrifices.  It’s a nice moment but it’s not like it’ll change anything.
  • Cordy & Wes find out that this shroud is something that makes you crazy, so that’s fun. 
  • And indeed it does.  As soon as they open the vault, you can see the affect it has on Angel.
  • Gunn sees Angel’s eyes turn and is concerned.  
  • Wes & Cordelia show up and they’re not even near the shroud but they’re all of a sudden acting like they’re drunk. As if the shroud is doing something to them.
  • And Detective Kate has arrived as well.
  • Glass in the box cracks which makes their emotions run even higher.
  • This is the part of the heist where the security guard who is in on the con gets tied up to deter suspicion. But he yells about getting someone to hit him so it looks like he’s a victim. One of the demons obliges…by twisting his head off.
Oops

  • So the shroud changes peoples’ behavior I guess?  Angel is getting angry, Wesley is getting stupid, Cordy just seems drunk…  Gunn kinda stays the same? For some, it looks like it heightens their emotions. Gunn becomes more angry about his sister.  Kate gets more angry about her dad.  It’s kinda like the the types of drunks they are.  Wes is a stupid drunk. Cordy is a happy drunk and the rest are angry/sad drunks.
  • Angel gives another speech to Kate about how she uses her father’s death to be angry with the world.  And it would be powerful if it was the first time we’ve heard it, but it’s not.
  • And then Angel bites Kate! Oh, I guess it wasn't Darla.  Remember when I thought that?
  • Next everyone’s gone but Kate and Wesley while the fuzz surround them and I guess arrest Wesley is the assumption.
  • The four remaining robbers are back in the warehouse fighting over the shroud.
  • And it gets violent.  Demon #1 shoots Demon #2.  It’s really interesting that a demon uses guns.
  • And then there’s the moment where Angel ‘sobers up’ for lack of a better term.  He knows what to do with the shroud and he asks Gunn to trust him which he does.  Which is why they make good teammates.
  • Angel burns up the shroud. 
  • We’re back in the interrogation room. They’re about to arrest Wesley when Kate, looking drained [literally - Z], opens the door and tells them to let Wes go.
  • She flashes back to the moment where Angel bites Kate – but as we know from the past, Angel knows just enough to drink.  We see that he whispered to her to stay down or they’ll kill her.  She does so.
  • So once again, Angel saves Kate’s life.  She seems to appreciate it this time by letting Wes go.  But will it last?
  • As she’s wearing the stolen necklace, Cordy tells Wesley she returned everything she stole.  Oops.
  • And Angel sits and remembers feeding off of Kate. 

NY Times Crossword:
Guys, look at the Times Xword today:




Crossfire!
Z: “The Shroud of Rahmon.”
D: *giggles* Rahmon.
Z: I love ramen!
 
Favorite Lines:
Zelda: “This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. You can bet if someone ordered a male body part for religious sacrifice, the world would be atheist like that.” – Cordelia
Daniel:  
Cordelia, on a museum website: “Don’t they have a section of like, things you want to steal?”
 
 
Arc/Continuity:
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley
Already Famous Person: Tony Todd
Generally Known TV Face: W. Earl Brown, Dwayne Barnes, Tom Kiesche
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Michael Nagy (Jay-Don on Angel, Alfonse on Buffy, Particularly Dressed Man on Firefly)
Angel’s Alias: Jay-Don fanboy; Jay-Don
Gunn’s Alias: Lester
 
Stats:
Cordelia’s Hair – We don’t even know. It’s much darker, it’s bobbed to just above her shoulders, there’s a bumpit in there giving the bob a very Mod look (1960s/70s?)
Dead Humans – 1
Dead Undeads – 2
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I Give it a Century – Tops

Episode 2.07: Darla. Original Airdate: 11.14.00.


“Lindsey finds himself drawn to Darla as her mental state deteriorates.”
 
Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • Angel brooding in his room, drawing. I weirdly like that that is one of his talents. And they keep bringing it back.
  • He’s drawing Darla when he senses Wesley lurking.
  • Wesley’s worried and it’s because he knows Angel’s starting to get obsessed: littered on the ground are dozens of drawings of Darla.
  • What’s interesting here is while it’s revealed on Buffy that Darla was Angel’s sire and that he was the one to kill her in the end, that was really the end of that.  Angel never seemed obsessed with Darla on that season of Buffy.  He just warned Buffy that Darla was dangerous.  He didn’t mourn her demise and I think he rarely spoke of her again (if ever).  There were some flashbacks with Darla that we saw through Spike. But they retconned a lot with Angel’s history - or at least they hadn’t fully planned it out when Darla (or even Spike was first introduced.). Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s brilliant that they brought Darla back & filled out her and Angel’s backstories respectively.  Just an observation that on Buffy, Darla never seemed as important to Angel has she does now.
  • Meanwhile, Darla is having a crisis of her own.  She’s destroyed her apartment.  She’s also starting to remember all the horrible things she’s done in her life (death?).  
  • She’s also bleeding.  It doesn’t look like she’s slit her wrists on purpose…just a few cuts from breaking glass.  But  it’s gotten to the point where an ex-vampire (or a vampire who’s recently gotten a soul) starts to remember and feel guilty about all the things they’ve done. 
  • And we’ve got Darla in History as we see that she lived in 1609.  She’s dying of some kind of venereal disease.
  • It’s the Master, Buffy’s first Big Bad – and this is a brilliant move to bring him back for this.   
It's Fruit Punch Mouth!

  • His features are the same as they were in the 1990s.  Since animal-like features come with the age of the vampire, it would have been cool to see The Master in a different form.  I mean, how old can he be?  Also, Darla is about 400 years old…how come her features haven’t changed? 
  • Meanwhile the Fang Gang are trying to figure out how to find Darla.  Gunn comes up with the only plausible idea – looking into real estate W&H might own. 
  • In the ago: Darla introduces Angel to the Master. They don’t see eye to eye.
  • It’s interesting that Darla, a 400 year old vamp and The Master, a (probably more than) thousand year vamp…(a millennial?) are both killed relatively easily in season one of Buffy (especially Darla.) 
  • Darla chooses Angel over her sire.
  • The Master: “I give it a century, tops.”
  • It took a while for Darla to break.  And it only took a brief conversation with Angel to do that.
  • Apparently Holland Manners knew this would eventually happen but Lindsey did not.
  • We flashback to a century later and Drusilla has joined the gang. 
  • I love that Dru calls Darla grandmother.
  • They bump into William, pre-vamp, a bumbling idiot.
  • Cordelia used her “acting skills” to get Darla’s address.  Except I shouldn’t call them acting skills. This here is proof that lying isn’t acting.  To lie is to deceive. When you’re acting, the audience is in on it.  You’re not trying to deceive anyone. That’s why you can be good at one but not the other. [THANK you. - Z, a good actor and a terrible liar]
  • Darla’s now getting all philosophical about who and/or what she is.
  • While she’s trying to figure it out, she makes out with Lindsey. So that’s fun.
  • We find out that that the Romani people who cursed Angel to bring back his soul were massacred by Darla, Dru & Spike.
  • And Darla calls Angel. She is so damn broken.
  • Lindsey catches her. She begs Lindsey to let her go to Angel.
  • Darla tries to knock Lindsey out and she kills the security guard.  Still, Lindsey helps her escape.
  • Lindsey’s such a sap.  I don’t understand why the powers that be haven’t already gotten rid of him.  They’ve killed people for less.
  • One more flashback: China.  An ensouled Angel finds Darla.  Surprising that she hasn’t come after him. But she doesn’t kill him.  Because she loves him.  And as we all know vampires are capable of loving someone:

  • In the ago, - Boxer Rebellion - Angel tries to be bad again, but he can’t. And this is also where Spike killed his first slayer.
  • Darla, in the ago, tells Angel that he only kills evildoers.  Like Dexter!
  • She wants him to prove himself by killing a baby.
  • In the present, Angel saves Darla from the men who have been ordered to kill him.
  • But we find out the entire thing was a ruse. The security guard we thought was killed – is still alive.  Holland Manners set this all up so that Darla will get close to Angel again.  I think he’s still under the theory that orgasms=perfect happiness.
  • Cordelia rightfully corrects Darla as she calls him Angelus. “Around here we call him Angel.  Just Angel.” I love how protective she is.
  • Darla wants Angel to turn her back into a vamp.
  • Julie Benz is giving this all she can – she’s amazing – and…I wish she had a better acting partner.
  • “Favor? You think it was a favor?  You damned me.” -Angel
  • In the ago, Angel can’t kill a baby which disgusts Darla.  He even runs and takes the baby with him, saving it.
  • It’s juxtaposed with Darla running from the Hyperion.

Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • I’m excited! I hope this episode is as good as I remember it being.
  • Aw I love that they keep this consistent thing, that Angel is good at the pencil sketches.
  • But whooooooooom is he drawing? (spoiler: it’s Darla)
  • Wes is checking up to see if Angel’s okay, as he’s camped out in his room drawing … and that’s because the floor is covered with discarded drawings of Darla because *sing-song* somebody’s obsessssssssssssed.
  • Darla, meanwhile, is camped out in her trashed apartment, every reflective surface smashed, and I guess that’s her soul finally making itself known, like Angel warned her it would.
  • Darla asks if Lindsey has someone special, but we know he’s nursing a crush on Darla. But she’s still fixated on Angel, on how he’s no longer Angelus, she’s no longer the Darla she was. And she’s decided that now they’re “soulmates,” as she laughs quietly – and not too sanely – to herself.
  • Flashback time! Darla human, the first time, dying in 1609. A dying prostitute, with a slightly English accent, okay sure, but HEY GUESS WHO’S VISITING HER, IT’S THE MASTER.
  • I do like this touch quite a bit, this remembering that he is who made her (although actually this may be the moment we find that out for canon sure). Fruit punch mouth and all.
  • “God never did anything for you, but I will.” Nice mirroring of what she said to Angel (“God doesn’t want you, but I still do.”)
  • And back to the present, Angel wants to mount yet another Darla hunt and everyone else is like hey this is a dumb plan.
  • A: “We investigate things. That’s what we’re good at.” // C: “That’s what we suck at.” She’s … not wrong.
  • But hey, reminder that Gunn is actually effing smart and suggests that if they look into housing owned by W&H they might find her. Angel’s input: “She’d want something with a view … Darla always loved something with a view.”
  • Flashback time, this time to 1760 (seven years after Angelus was sired, according to my quick internet search), to Darla bringing Angelus to meet Dad the Master.
  • So I don’t think I clocked how long the Master was trapped under Sunnydale, but I had assumed it was longer than Angel had been a vampire. But here is he, not trapped. (again, internet tells me he got trapped in 1937)
  • Anyway, Angelus with his shite Irish accent has very little respect for any of the Master’s plans or aesthetics. The Master thinks they should live below ground, but Angelus wants to live above ground, give Darla her view, her fancy clothes and niceties.
  • The Master keeps smacking Angelus, and he’s ignoring him, just telling Darla they should leave together, go off to Naples. A: “Tell the truth, whose face do you wanna look at for eternity? His or mine?” // M: “Idiot. I made her.” But oop, off she goes with Angelus. Master’s gonna get empty lair syndrome. Time to make Luke?
  • “It won’t last. I give it a century – tops.”
  • Hah, funny retcon by the writers: Angel finds out the name Darla wasn’t in common usage until a century after she was born, and credits the Master with naming her. Like Angelus, she got a new name when she changed from human to vampire. I don’t mind it much, but it is more evidence for what Daniel talks about above, that they clearly had no idea/plan for the history of Darla, giving her too contemporary a name for how old she is.
  • Wes points out what should be obvious: that they brought Darla back to keep Angel focused and yet distracted, so he won’t pay attention to what the other (evil) hand is doing. Big ol’ yup. And Angel acknowledges: “It’s working.”
  • Holland chastises Lindsey for bringing Darla to the office, then realizes “She’s cracking up … she’s way ahead of schedule.” Annnnnnd Lindsey is pissssssed. It’s clear he wasn’t let in on the full plan with Darla. (spoiler: even by the end of the episode he’s still not in on it)
  • Hey now we’re in the past again with Darla, Angelus, and Drusilla, and man Darla does not enjoy Dru – either the weird talk, or her referring to Darla as grandmother 
  • ALSO HEY LOOK IT’S SPIKE BUT NOT YET SPIKE.
  • A beautiful beautiful beginning of the crossover flashback event with Buffy episode “Fool for Love,” as a brokenhearted William knocks into them and tearily yells “Watch where you’re going,” and Dru looks after him, intrigued.
  • It’s not a great sign when literally half of everyone on this team’s job is protecting Angel from himself. Cordy’s figured out where Darla is, and Wes stops Angel from running off, saying he’ll do recon with Gunn (and Cordelia has to remind him it’s the middle of the day and the apartment is in Sun Valley).
  • Darla!In!History!: she doesn’t remember her human name. “I was Darla for so long, then I wasn’t … I wasn’t anything. I just stopped. He killed me. I was dead.”
  • “What did you bring back, Lindsey? What am I? Did you bring back that girl whose name I can’t remember? Or did you bring back something else? The other thing …” This reminds me a bit of when Spike will later struggle with his soul, speaking of it as a separate presence from his fractured mind.
  • And Darla finally calls L’s crush out, asking “Why haven’t you kissed me?” He says he wasn’t sure if she wanted him to, and she asks why that matters, and ugh consent can we just.
  • Anyway, they kiss and it’s actually quite sweet, for some evil-ish folk.
  • Welp, she bit Lindsey on the neck.
  • She really is cracking up. “I can feel this body dying … it’s a cancer, this soul.”
  • Ah right, we don’t know yet that she actually is dying.
  • Flashback, this time to 1898, to Darla bargaining with the Romani tribe to remove Angelus’s soul, to restore him to his evil glory.
  • Dru, meanwhile “He shall be very cross if he finds we had a lovely mass slaughter without him.”
  • Darla tries to leverage the man’s family in the wagon against Angelus’s soul … and then Spike emerges from the wagon and burps, having already slaughtered the family. So much for that bargaining chip.
  • Dru: “They cry out for mercy.” // Darla: “Show none.”
  • Present day Darla calls Angel on the phone. “I don’t remember anything. It’s a great big nothing. Could it be there’s no hell?” // “There is a hell. A few of them. I’ve been to one.”
  • Angel can apparently hear Darla’s heartbeat through the phone and … nope. Shenanigans on that. There’s no enhanced vampire hearing that can override the limits of phone tech.
  • And now we’re in China in 1900 and it’s the Boxer Rebellion! Which means Spike’s off killing a Slayer. Angel, dirty and disheveled, finds Darla. She holds a knife to his throat. “You reek of vermin. Is that what you’ve been living off of?” And Angel asks her to kill him. Or take him back. “You and me, together, Darla … I miss the view.”
  • Mercifully, his accent is finally (if inexplicably) gone. Maybe his soul was like “there ain't room for the both of us in this dumb vampire” and kicked it out.
  • Lindsey’s doing his waffle dance again, asking Angel to help him get Darla away from W&H control. And knowing the future, we know that in fact Holland Manners & Co were counting on this, knowing Lindsey’s weakness.
  • Wow, here Angel is in fucking China and he finds the one white family. Did they … did they just not try to hire any Chinese actors? I guess they’re supposed to be missionaries but come the fuck on. Even when the show gives itself an opportunity to cast more non-white actors, it … doesn’t. Did they think the only way we would care about his sparing innocents – especially the baby later – is if they were white? This is full on racist garbage.
  • A nice detail, just because in Spike’s flashbacks to this moment on Buffy, we don’t clock Angel had his soul already. It adds a new angle to his reaction to Spike’s murder of the Slayer. Angel, grim, “I guess that makes you one of us.”
  • Dru, smelling fear in the alley behind Angel, is smelling the family with a baby he’s trying to protect from the vamps.
  • And now we have the slo-mo hero walk, this time clocking how Darla watches Angel.
  • Flashback!Darla confronts Angel, pointing out that the only men he’s killed have been murderers and rapists, scoundrels. She found the family he tried to protect, killed the parents, and brought the infant for him to finally prove himself to her: either kill the ultimate innocent, or leave her.
  • Lindsey sees the security guard he was told was dead, alive and shaking hands with Holland Manners, and realizes he’s been lied to. And now we wonder – about what else.
  • “We had to make you believe it, Lindsey.” // “Why?” // “Because she has to believe it. Because Angel has to. The crisis needed to be real.”
  • “What do you expect him to do?” // “What he will do. What he must do. Save her soul.”
  • Darla: “I’m so lucky to have someone who understands. Who knows. That’s something you never had, is it.”
  • Darla asks him, small and vulnerable: “You’ll make the pain stop, won’t you?” Angel thinks she means grappling with her soul. But she wants him to turn her. She’s weeping, asking him to stop her beating heart. But Angel sees the gift that it is, to be human again. You know … that thing he had and threw away in S1?
  • And in both flashback and present, Angel tells Darla he can’t give her what she wants: “I can’t seem to be what I’m not.” He won’t turn her; and in the past, he wouldn’t kill a baby. And in both times, she rejects him. “You disgust me.” / “Don’t look for me again.”
  • Fuck. That was a good episode, y’all. As a show (and as a protag) I still like Buffy better, but damn when this show is good, it’s good.
 
Favorite Lines:

Daniel:
“Around here, we call him Angel. Just Angel.” – Cordelia
Zelda: Darla: “I don’t remember anything. It’s a great big nothing. Could it be there’s no hell?” // Angel: “There is a hell. A few of them. I’ve been to one.”

 
Arc/Continuity:

Recurring:
Angel’s A+ drawing skills, Lindsey McDonald, Holland Manners, Darla, Drusilla, Spike, Angel’s “Irish” “accent”
Buffy Crossover: The Master, Drusilla, Spike, Romani Man
Cordelia’s Alias: Darla’s sister
 

Angel! In! History!

There are a few hells. Angel’s been to one of them.
It took Angel a century of soul-having but soul-not-wanting to start his redemption arc. During the Boxer Rebellion (when Spike murdered his first Slayer), Angel was souled but trying to get Darla back. It didn’t work out.
 

Darla! In! History!

In 1609 Darla was a sex worker dying in the Virginia colony, and was turned by the Master.
After siring Angelus, she brought him to meet the Master in 1760, but then left the Master’s Order of Aurelius to go on Angelus adventures. 
In 1880 London the group picked up Spike. 
In 1898 she tried to bargain with the Romani tribe to remove Angelus's soul.
In 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion she tried to reconcile with Angel, but ultimately rejected him. 
We don’t know when she returned to serve the Master, but it was sometime after this.


Stats:

Cordelia’s Hair – half up, hanging straight
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 0
Dead Flashbacks – 6 (+ Romani caravan, presumed many in China)
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 0