“On the eve of a 75-year review at Wolfram and Hart, Angel seeks a magic ring that will take him to hell to look for the firm’s ‘senior partners.’”
- Abandoned graffiti and garbage filled building. Creepy Doll…
- Angel cautiously approaches.
- Omg, he’s in a room full of goats.
- Lol, and there are two guys who are reading Ikea-like instructions about sacrificing goats and it’s kinda hilarious. “Using a clean, diagonal motion slit throat of sacrifice with the pre-blessed ceremonial dagger provided. - I didn't see that in the box."
- Angel knows the guys are being given orders by W&H.
- These two morons don’t even know what they’re praying to – they don’t know what they’re doing. They just work here.
- And in continuity from last episode, Wesley is in a wheelchair & the little girl who had a third eye is now cured.
- The mom now thinks it’s a big scam and won’t pay.
- Wesley thinks it’s okay. Cordelia and Gunn do not.
- Gunn makes up some excuse to leave and we don’t see him for the rest of the episode.
- W&H: Lindsey & Lilah are worried about their review in two days. She mentions a fellow-lawyer who gave her first born as a sacrifice to a demon and wow. Neither seem fazed by this.
- Lilah also mentions Darla & Drusilla and asks Lindsey if he’s seen them. He lies, no.
- Angel, meanwhile, goes to Kate for help.
- Also happening on Friday? Kate’s review time. Internal Affairs are investigating her because of what happened with the zombie cops last week.
- She also pulls out a picture of the dead lawyers from the wine cellar.
- Lindsey comes home. Darla, still with some burns, lies sick on Lindsey’s couch. He’s had her the whole time. Apparently, according to Exposition Darla, Drusilla brought her to him & Dru is gone, presumably having left LA.
- When Lindsey goes to take a shower, Darla gets up like she’s not as sick as she’s making out to be. She opens the file Lindsey brought home.
- Caritas is overflowing with people. And lawyers.
- “I’m not here to sing” “Is that what we’re calling it now?”
- So this review happens to W&H every 75 years and everyone’s worried about it. Lorne sums it up in two words: Senior Partner.
- Angel is desperate. He needs to know what’s happening. Lorne insists all the rituals happening around the city are just brown-nosing – nothing important.
- Lorne: “I’m picking up one other thing. They’d really like to see you dead.” Pan to half a dozen lawyers staring at Angel with dagger-eyes. Heh.
- Angel tries to do research but he can’t find the ones he’s looking for.
- He barges into the new crew’s office and demands a book. Cordelia is pissed but Wes wants to just get rid of him and he tells Cordelia to give him the book.
- “If it was anybody else, I’d just say get laid already.”
- And then Wesley’s stitch reopens.
- Kate’s review. I guess it’s Friday? Kate won’t talk because what can she say? The reviewers bring up her father which I guess is her only characteristic. And she’s been fired.
- “I’m glad your father’s not around to see this.” Me: “Oh, Fuck you.”
- Ooh, more continuity. Angel visits the bookstore owner that he visited back in the 50s. He’s of course much older and Angel is the same age. He’s fascinated even though Angel pretty much admits that he didn’t help the hotel people & just let the demon have everyone.
- So Angel does research about the ring that Lorne mentioned – it gets you to home office all right, but home office is just a fancy term for ‘hell.’
- And now there’s a mention of a glove that he needs. It’s all pretty convoluted and even Angel thinks so too saying, “Ok, now you’re just making this up.”
- The Book Store owner thinks everything is going to be all right now. And oops, he’s stabbed through the torso by Darla – as is Angel who needs to recover – so he can’t immediately run after her.
- Meanwhile Wesley/Virginia. Don’t know whose place this is. Doesn’t matter. Virginia, who grew up with evil demons and such is scared for Wesley. The demons she’s used to. The guns, not so much.
- “The gun was fired by a zombie if it makes you feel better.” It doesn’t. She wants Wesley to quit.
- And they break up? And it all just happens so fast and weirdly. I’m not really sure why except maybe Virginia didn’t test well. They don’t really use her much. Zelda and I are always surprised when she’s there. Because she’s just “there.” And that’s not the actress’s fault. They didn’t give her any agency like they did with other boy/girlfriends of Buffy characters like Oz, Anya & Tara.
- Kate meanwhile brings her stuff home and is sad.
- Lilah walks with her security guards who Angel takes out easily. Angel coerces her into getting inside but she notices his wound.
- Wes calls Cordelia indicating that he won’t be in tomorrow. She takes it in stride. They talk about life and friends and it’s nice & also a little bit sad.
- Cordelia’s about to leave when the mom from earlier calls to say she’s going to pay them but this is obviously a set up.
- When the mom turns around, there’s a demon who obv made her call. And then the demon kills her.
- W&H: Chanting and suits and pentagrams. You know, the usual. Security lets Nathan Reed know that there’s a vampire on the floor and then of course Angel shows up.
- Lilah gets away by elbowing him in his wound.
- Angel finds Darla who is wearing the glove. They fight. Lindsey looks on helpless.
- But oooh, someone is rising from the pentagram.
- Lindsey punches Lilah out for saying “stake the bitch” re: Darla.
- Angel pushes the demon out the window with the glove which I guess kills it? Z & I are unclear about how but whatever. He’s dead and Angel has the ring.
- He puts on the ring and says home office.
- And then elevator to hell opens in the middle of nowhere. Holland is inside giving the slow-clap. He indicates his contract with W&H extends beyond death which is super creepy. I’m glad they brought him back for this.
- Of course the elevator to hell has elevator music.
- On the way down, they discuss the apocalypse which of course.
- Holland explains that they’ve always been there and always will. “The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us - because of us.”
- When the elevator opens, they’re right back where they started. I guess the point being hell is Earth. Hell is other people. How philosophical. And how pointless.
- Angel does a slow walk thought LA. Through the homeless, people fighting. Kate is sad. Wesley is sad. Cordelia is about to meet her death. That sorta thing.
- Angel comes home to hear Kate leaving a message on an answering machine. For those Gen Zers out there: this is an answering machine.
- She drunkenly rambles at Angel. It seems there’s alcohol and drugs mixed which is never good. It’s not her last episode, but it is her second to last so we’ll see what happens next week with her.
- Angel comes home, defeated. Darla is there. He tosses her the ring of pointlessness. And then Angel really hits rock bottom. He has sex with Darla. I don’t know what he’s hoping for. He says he just wants to feel something. I don’t know if he thinks it’ll turn him evil. But he tosses her through a glass door so too late?
- Anyway they have their vampire sex and it’s surprisingly vanilla.
- Cut to the next day when we assume Angel’s gonna turn. He wakes up with a start like he did the night after he slept with Buffy. And then….we cut.
- The titles for this show are so whatever. So many titles are just one word and I don’t know what any of them mean so I can’t remember the plots without reading a synopsis. Anyway this is the one where we find out where hell is. Well one of the hells. Angel was in a hell, after all. Is that why it’s a reprise? Like. Why what.
- Anywhen, in an abandoned graffitied building, he finds a room full of goats. Oh right, goat sacrifice. Okay.
- Hah that’s David Fury. Random. His other Whedonverse cameos feel more … playful.
- OMG they’re doing the ritual sacrifice for W&H and shoutout to S5 when goat sacrifice is one of the phone options.
- They’re the lackiest lackeys though and know nothing, so Angel destroys the altar and sends them running.
- And Not!Angel Investigations has gotten rid of the eye in the back of that girl’s head between episodes. I’d call it a weird way to tie up the arc but I know the future etc.
- Anyway, the mom’s being real shitty and refuses to pay them because an eye in the back of a head isn’t possible therefore they’re charlatans and what utter bullshit. I guess next time take photos for before and after views?
- Wes is cool letting them go and I’m confused he’s not concerned about the money since he just racked up a major medical bill, between the ambulance and hospital stay. To say nothing of the future physical therapy to recover his strength once he’s out of the chair.
- Anyway, W&H and Lilah and Lindsey and blah blah some big review is coming up. I guess that’s what the goats were for.
- Angel brings his concerns to Kate, who … isn’t concerned. “Why is this so important to you?” // “Because it’s important to them.” // “Oh right, and therefore it must be stopped.”
- Apparently Kate’s job is on the line because of that time Angel beat up the zombie-raising police captain.
- Kate’s calling Angel out, not for all the shit she knows about, but the shit she just figured out: That Darla and Dru had to break out of the wine cellar after the Holland Manners massacre. That Angel locked them in there. She says she’s done helping him, and damn straight. See, hating Angel for being a vampire was annoying and stupid. This? Justified. Proper. Right.
- Meanwhile it turns out
Lindsey’s been sheltering Darla while she recovers from her burns. No word on
where Dru is, but I think she has her appearance in Buffy around this time, yes? [Yep,
seven days earlier – imdb]
- Lorne time! Yay Lorne!
- Angel wants the skinny on the W&H doings, and there’s a bunch of lawyers in the bar. He tips Angel off that they’re worried not about the upcoming review, but the reviewer. The. Senior. Partners!
- Angel, not able to find the research he needs at the hotel, storms into the gang’s new office to swipe some books. Cordy tries to stop him, but it’s enough to make Wes stand and say “Just give him the damn thing. Let him get the hell out.” Aaaaaaand tear his stitches. So, more medical bills.
- Kate’s getting fired but they’re offering her therapy as part of her severance. “You people have no idea what’s going on in this city.” // “Is this the part where you start to talk about monsters? We’ll need your gun and your badge.”
- And then one final dig: “I’m just glad your father’s not around to see this.”
- And that’s it. Kate’s career is over.
- Awwwww Angel goes to the same old bookshop he went to back in “Are You Now…” and it’s got the same proprietor, Denver, only much older! That’s a nice callback.
- Well at least we finally know what Angel thinks the way to win his war is: go to the Home Office/Hell, and destroy “the whole lot of them.” I guess that’s the same plan he goes into S5 with?
- There’s a magic glove. Angel’s got experience with those too.
- Aw fuck. Darla kills the store proprietor and takes the glove. I forgot about that. “The ring’s not about vengeance, Angelus. It’s about power. We’ll get to the vengeance part soon.”
- This is another interesting piece in the Why Fight the Fight argument that this episode (and next episode) are making. We see here evidence that Angel does and has made a difference. He changed Denver’s life, gave the man hope. But we also see that just as easily, that life can be taken away by someone who doesn’t even care that he ever existed.
- Virginia’s taking care of Wesley, but it’s clear she’s rattled by his injury, by the fact that it came from a regular gun and not some supernatural element. She asks if the battle always feels like it’s worth the fight.
- Wesley realizes that this might be the deal breaker for their relationship, if he keeps fighting this good fight.
- But fighting that good fight, that’s the big thesis of this arc, and leading up what is a lot of people’s favorite line in the whole series.
- But before we reach that epiphany, we’ve got to keep digging deeper to get to that rock bottom. Kate’s self-medicating her pain with alcohol and trashing her apartment. And Angel’s planning that daytrip to Hell.
- And we all know any daytrip to Hell starts with knocking out Lilah’s bodyguards and breaking into W&H again.
- Meanwhile the Sharps are calling again, after stiffing the gang on their fee, and Cordelia’s heading over … on her own. But Cordy! Admiral Ackbar wants you to know that IT’S A TRAP. The Skilosh demon made her call Cordy over, then snaps her neck. Well then.
- Hey how did Darla get on the floor without setting off the sensors like Angel did?
- Anyway, Angel and Darla fight over the glove at W&H while the ritual summoners keep summoning. Lilah says “Stake the bitch” to the guards tackling Darla, and Lindsey punches her for it.
- Meanwhile Angel tacked the summoned whatsit, it disintegrates, but he’s got the ring and the glove! He’s got all the accessories.
- And an elevator opens. Inside the elevator, clapping that slow clap, is Holland Manners! Hi buddy! So much more compelling than Nathan Reed.
- “I’m quite dead. Unfortunately my contract with Wolfram & Hart extends … well beyond that.” Another nice bit of foreshadowing for spoiler in S4, including that the death injury remains on the body.
- Holland warns him the trip to the Home Office is one-way.
- Holland wants to know what Angel’s long term goal is here. “Now, let me see, there was something—in a sacred prophecy, some oblique reference to you. Something you’re supposed to prevent. Now what was that?” // “The apocalypse.” // “Yes, the apocalypse, of course. Another one of those. Well, it’s true, we do have one scheduled.”
- “Of course all the people you save from that apocalypse would then have the next one to look forward to, but hey it’s always something isn’t it.”
- Angel: “You’re not gonna win.” // Holland: “Well, no of course we aren’t. We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic as winning.”
- Angel wants to know why then. Holland says for W&H there is no fight, they just go on. “We’re in the hearts and minds of every single living being … The world doesn’t work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us.”
- Y’all this is a good scene.
- The doors open on the Home Office – it’s the same bit of street Angel just left. Angel’s got tears in his eyes as he takes in the truth. The Home Office is Earth. Hell is other people, and all that.
- We music montage our way among Angel walking through the petty evils of humanity, his last bit of righteousness leeching out of him; Kate, adding pills to her self-medication and sinking further; and Wes, lying on the couch, wounded and heartbroken. And Cordelia, off to go fight that good fight.
- And honestly it’s so important the montage ends with Cordelia. Angel’s lost his last bit of hope, his war is over because it was never a war to begin with. Kate’s almost gone. Wes is alone and hurting. And while all this is happening, while everyone is sad and alone and scared and broken, Cordelia keeps fighting the fight. That’s what you do. That’s what she does.
- When Angel gets back to the hotel, we hear that he never took Cordy’s voice off the voicemail. Kate’s drunk dialed to leave a message, blaming him for making her believe and letting her be crushed. “I won’t care either. I won’t feel a thing.” And even hearing his friend hitting her rock bottom doesn’t pull him out, it reconfirms everything he now knows. Everyone is ugly.
- So when Darla shows up, he gives in. He throws her against a wall and starts tenderly kissing her. “I just wanna feel something besides the cold.” And now she’s laughing as he bends her over a table and kisses her more passionately. So he throws her through the French doors. “What are you doing?” // “Doesn’t matter. None of it matters.”
- Aaaaand sex.
- And, as he did at the end of “Surprise” on Buffy, he wakes from his post-coital nap with a gasp.
- Is his soul gone again? Tune in next week etc. etc. etc.
Zelda: Not a line, but the montage ending with Cordelia going off to do good.
Recurring: Detective Kate Lockley, Lindsey McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Lorne, Holland Manners, Virginia Bryce, Nathan Reed, Darla, Francine Sharp, Stephanie Sharp, Denver (bookstore proprietor)
Generally Known TV Face: Thomas Kopache
Whedonverse Hat Trick: David Fury (writer and producer for Buffy and Angel; first of three roles on Angel, Mustard Man on Buffy, Newsman on Doctor Horrible)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Angelcakes
Caritas Song List
Cordelia’s Hair – chin bob, highlights, slant bangsDead Humans – 2
Dead Undeads – 1
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 – 0
Apocalypse Called – 1
Prophecy Called – 1 (Angel has to prevent the apocalypse)