Angel - Dead End

Summary

We see Lindsey waking and going through the normal morning routine, made a little difficult by having only one hand. He shaves, selects a tie (preknotted), and stares longingly at the guitar he can no longer play. Cut to a normal family of four at breakfast. As the wife and kids go to the car, the husband grabs a knife and stabs himself in the eye. Cut to Cordelia having a vision of this. She falls down sobbing.

There is a meeting at Wolfram & Hart. They discuss how to deal with a customer which is a utility. Lilah says they can tie the issue up in litigation forever. Lindsey says they've already looted 3.5 billion, they can pay half a billion, not admit fault, avoid unpleasant litigation, and Wolfram & Hart can take 20% off the top. Then they are asked about the status of Angel, which is not what Wolfram & Hart want. Lindsey and Lilah are meeting with the CFO from Lycor on Thursday. They are told their division will be reevaluated on Friday. Lilah feels Lindsey is stabbing her in the back. Nathan calls Lindsey into his office. He tells him he has good ideas but his attitude toward Angel is unprofessional. He tells Lindsey he has made an appointment for him and has cleared Lindsey's calendar for the day.

Cordelia is trying to puzzle out her vision with no luck. Gunn is given the job of calling hospitals. Wesley checks the morgues and Angel says he'll interrogate some demons. Lindsey's appointment is at a clinic, one which provides health care for Wolfram & Hart. They also do some other things, they are going to give him a hand transplant. We see the operation and the key part involves a Pockla demon. Gunn is not having any luck with the hospitals. Angel shows up and Gunn tells him how Cordelia has been involved in maniacal cleaning all day. Wesley returns and they realize they have nothing. They need to talk to Cordelia. Angel says Wesley is in charge and Wesley assigns him the task. Cordelia realizes what he wants. She says it still hurts and all she has been doing is thinking about it. At his behest, she looks again. She sees a book bag from Delancey School. She cries. Angel tells her to get some rest.

Next morning, Lindsey awakens and goes through his normal morning routine, now with two hands. He picks up his guitar and plays it. He goes to his meeting with the Lycor CFO, Irv. Lilah sees his hand and realizes it means Wolfram & Hart has picked him. Lindsey has a solution for Irv which delights him. But Lindsey has been doodling (with his new hand) and it keeps writing kill on the paper. Lindsey leaves. He tries to reproduce the automatic writing later, but cannot. He looks at his hand and says "who are you".

Angel pays a delivery man for food he has ordered. He has turkey, ham, roast beef, and vegetarian sandwiches. Plus soup and salad. Cordelia asks why he ordered this and he says he forgot what she likes and she was upset with people always asking if she wanted something. She says I love you and he smiles. She tells him he should do that more often. She has a flashback of her vision. She realizes that before stabbing himself, the man was happy with his eye as if it were new. Wesley and Gunn arrive. They found the man and went to his house. It is empty and completely cleaned out. They are at a dead end. Angel realizes they have to go to the bar and he has to sing. The others dread this. But when they arrive at the bar they discover Lindsey there singing. The host says he came all the time before losing his hand, but now he has a new one. He sings well and everyone except Angel appreciates this. But they shush Angel. When he finishes, he asks the host about his hand and the host directs him to Angel. Angel mocks his singing, but Cordelia stops him and she and Wesley and Gunn compliment him. Lindsey cannot believe he has to work with Angel. He leaves threatening to kill Angel if he sees him outside the club. The host says resentment is ugly and he hopes Angel is over his because Lindsey holds the solution to his problem. Gunn says shouldn't they be following him. But Angel remembers what Cordelia said about the man's eye and now Lindsey has a new hand. They need to find out about the transplants. He picks up Lindsey's glass which has the new hand's fingerprints on it. He says they need to find out who it belongs to.

Lindsey breaks into Nathan's office and goes through his files. He looks at Lilah's file and then at the file about the clinic. Angel tells the gang he knows who the hand belongs to, Bradley Scott who did time for embezzlement. He's secretive about where he got the information but eventually confesses he hired a private detective. Gunn and Wesley are upset. Cordelia discovers Scott worked for Wolfram & Hart before going to jail. He reported to his parole officer once and disappeared. Lindsey leaves Nathan's office and sees Lilah going through the files in the storage room.

Lindsey goes to the home of the parole officer. He tells him he wants to know where the body parts are. He explains that he works for Wolfram & Hart. The parole officer asks for the code, Lindsey doesn't know it. The parole officer hits him, knocking him down. The parole officer has a gun and is trying to question Lindsey. Something comes flying through the window and we see Angel outside. The parole officer drags Lindsey to the window and leans out saying he'll kill Lindsey. Angel wraps a noose around the parole officer's neck. Lindsey gets free and gets the gun. He's angry at Angel for interfering. He and Angel argue. Angel asks about Bradley Scott and tells Lindsey that's whose hand he has. The parole officer won't talk. He says they can kill him, but Wolfram & Hart can do worse. Angel puts on his vampire face and says why would he kill him when he can live off him for a month. He tells them that he took Scott to an address, not the clinic. He doesn't know what happens there.

At the office, Wesley and Gunn peek in at the obviously suffering Cordelia. They realize the post vision effects are getting worse and longer. Wesley says she got the visions from Doyle who was half demon. He's not sure if a human can take the pain. He talks about the events in To Shanshu in LA when a demon forced a series of visions on Cordelia and she almost went mad. They hear her talking to herself and think she's gone crazy. They burst in to find her on the phone with Angel. Angel and Lindsey are in the car. Angel tells Lindsey about the man who stabbed himself. He asks if his hand is doing anything strange. He says Lindsey doesn't seem very happy. He realizes it must be tough on him losing Darla and losing Angel as an object of his anger. Angel says it seems the more Lindsey gets, the less he has. They park and Angel gets the parole officer out of the trunk who identifies a travel agency as the place he took Scott. Angel hurls an ax through the window and he and Lindsey fight and defeat the guards.

They find a trap door and go downstairs to find people in various states if disassemblement in giant tubes. The room has been blessed by the Pockla who Angel says are demon healers. He points to Bradley Scott with his hand missing. Lindsey realizes he knows him, they started in the mail room together. Brad asks him to kill him. Lindsey asks Angel what he should do, Angel tells him it's his decision. Lindsey turns off the power and kills Brad. Angel frees the still whole people. Lindsey trashes the place. As Lindsey gets the people upstairs, Angel opens up some oxygen tanks. Upstairs, he throws a burning piece of paper down. As they leave, the building blows up.

At the office, Cordelia is better. But she admits the visions are taking their toll. At Wolfram & Hart, the division evaluation is being held. It's clear they are choosing Lindsey. Lilah opens her purse to get her gun, but Lindsey stops her. He tells her she didn't have what it takes, an evil hand. He gets up and walks around the room saying how he has an evil hand and he never knows what it will do. Nathan calls to the guard, Lindsey slugs him and takes his gun, shooting him in the foot. He shoots up the furniture. He says he's honoured they chose him, but he would have chosen Lilah. He says she's worked hard and has lots of data on them. He says she has files on Ronnie's stock manipulations and Nathan's offshore accounts. He says if something happened to her and those files got to the senior partners - they'd eat them alive. He says he's unreliable, he's got the evil hand. And he's bored. He's leaving. Lindsey walks out, goosing Lilah with his evil hand as he goes. Nathan amends the minutes to say Lilah was promoted. He asks for someone to call an ambulance.

Lindsey is throwing his stuff into his truck. Angel is there. He likes the truck, a 1956 model. He says back in the 50s people thought the future would be like the Jetsons with robots and air cars. He says he'd really like an air car and Lindsey smiles. Angel tells Lindsey not to come back and he says he doesn't plan to. He gets serious and tells Angel not to let Wolfram & Hart get him to play their game, to make them play his. That's the secret to beating them. Angel warns him not to speed. Lindsey gets in the car and speeds off. We see Angel has taped a sign saying COPS SUCK on the back of the truck.

Analysis

I have this horrible feeling that someone, somewhere is thinking about spinoffs. In this week's Buffy (Intervention), Spike was developed in a way that makes a spinoff similar to Angel quite possible. And in this episode, Lindsey seemed spinoff prone. I can easily see Lindsey in Chicago, Boston, New York, or maybe Washington DC (Demon Central?) working as a lawyer in the day time and fighting demons by night. And maybe occasionally calling upon his not quite friends from Angel Investigations for help. With the evil hand adding a little excitement. And, I suspect, if any of these spinoffs actually happen, the quality of these series (old and new) will be diminished and they'll become just ordinary.

Lindsey has never really been happy being evil. But he hasn't been able to make the break. Possibly because his hatred of Angel came to be the dominant thing in his life. He hated him for cutting off his hand and he hated him for taking Darla. He's been portrayed as purely evil, but there have been indicators of something else. He helped Angel once and in Epiphany we can actually empathize with his motivation for attacking Angel. And we realize his attacks and his actions are generally not at the behest of Wolfram & Hart. In this episode, we get a little more insight into his humanity. The opening scene with Lindsey struggling to do the normal day-to-day activities is touching. And even more so is his longing gaze at the guitar - impossible for the one handed man to use. This slightly abnormal domestic scene is counterpointed by the totally normal domestic scene of the family. Normal until the man stabs himself in the eye. We eventually learn that the self destructive act is the result of being tainted by a demon. And I think we have to accept that Lindsey's similar acts are the result of similar contacts. Shaking off the taint of Wolfram & Hart isn't easy. Angel may have expected Lindsey to simply abandon evil, but that wasn't realistic. In fact, even Angel had some set backs.

It's interesting that Nathan is worried about Lindsey's attitude toward Angel and seeks to remedy that by giving him a new hand. Lindsey's rage against Angel made him a good tool at one time but now is making him uncontrollable. Giving him a new hand will dampen that rage and make him beholden to Wolfram & Hart. Or so they must think. And since the hand is tainted, it will drive Lindsey further into darkness and evil. Only this backfires. They make the mistake of giving Lindsey a hand from someone he knew. When he finds this out, everything changes. He realizes no good can come from association with Wolfram & Hart. That eventually everything they touch is tainted by evil. That the only way to avoid that is to leave them. He doesn't do this because he suddenly becomes good but because he sees what evil leads to and doesn't want to go there. Angel has told him that the more he gets the less he seems to have and Lindsey realizes this is true. Working for Wolfram & Hart and fighting with Angel have deprived him of the things he most enjoys in life.

I'm not quite sure whether Lindsey really believes the hand is evil, although it is certainly tainted by its contact with the demon. I think the kill it kept writing on the pad referred to the original owner's desire to die - something Lindsey granted him. You can call that a mercy killing. Of course, there's still a lot of evil involved in the getting of that hand and Lindsey has to redeem himself in some way if he's ever to live peacefully. But killing his friend was a step forward. Wolfram & Hart may not be aware of all that happened at their human parts warehouse and may not realize Lindsey has begun moving forward. I think Lindsey's road to redemption begins when he says 'who are you'. He needs to know where his hand came from. He needs to know what evil has happened and how he can redress it. And he does do that and Angel helps him.

We get a lot of emphasis in this series on the pain of Angel. He has to deal with being a vampire with a soul. He can't have the things he wants because of the curse. He suffers constantly, not part of the world and not wholly out of it. But we tend to ignore the suffering of Cordelia. She was also cursed, with the gift of her visions given her by the dying Doyle (given to her in Hero and discovered in Parting Gifts). The gift almost kills her in To Shanshu in LA and has caused her a lot of pain ever since. Like Angel, she exists in two worlds. She's a normal human. But her visions don't allow her to ignore the evil in the world the way most people can.

Now, the others are beginning to understand the burden of those visions and what they are doing to Cordelia. It is taking her longer and longer to recover from them. She tells Angel it is still hurting - long after the vision. She tells him she has been thinking about it all day. She cannot separate herself from the visions and what they tell her. She cries with the effort of her visions. Finally, she admits the visions are taking their toll. Since Cordelia is their contact to the will of the powers that be, something has to happen to improve this situation.

Some quick final thoughts. Why do they explain to Gunn about Cordelia being in the hospital because of her visions. He was there. They all know this. Angel sent him and Wesley and Cordelia learnt this when Gunn first started working for the firm. I loved the delivery man and his comment on Angel's dollar tip. It's part of the continual humanization of Angel that he resents the criticisms of his singing and the praise of Lindsey's and pulls that prank on Lindsey at the end.

Lines of the week:

"Why does everyone keep asking me that?" - Cordelia upset at people wanting to get her something because they don't know what to do or say.

"Who are you." - Lindsey taking the first step.

"A whole dollar just for me." - A delivery man critiquing Angel's tipping.

"When I was in charge here nobody questioned my methods or my singing." - Angel being a little secretive and a little hurt.

"You got that half right." - Cordelia bringing Angel back to earth.

"Can't you just taste that butterfat." - Angel being gross.

"Seems like the more you get, the less you have." - Angel giving Lindsey some advice.

"I got these evil hand issues." - Lindsey on why they shouldn't promote him.

"You're here to talk me to death." - Lindsey not quite ready to give Angel a break.

"Don't let them make you play their game. You gotta make them play yours." - Lindsey giving Angel some advice.

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