Wesley, Angel, and Lorne are looking for Cordelia in the club. She's in the demon dimension and is soon being chased by a demon. Lorne is incoherent. Wesley wants to plan, but Angel decides they need to get Cordelia back. He grabs the book and reads from it, but nothing happens. Lorne tells them his world isn't a good place to look like a human. The beast catches Cordelia and then starts licking her like a dog. Another demon arrives and calls off the beast. It really is a demon dog. The other demon refers to Cordelia as a cow and says she'll fetch a good price at the market. He ties her up and gags her.
Lorne tells Wesley and Angel he hates Pylea, his home dimension. That he accidently went through a portal to Earth, 5 years ago, and ended up in an abandoned building he turned into his club. he never wants to return. He doesn't know who opened the portal. He says there is no music in Pylea. He could always hear music and thought he was crazy. Wesley explains the portal would not reopen because the psychic hot spot was cold. They need to find a hot spot. Also, beings entering the portal tend to separate, so they need to figure out a way of staying together. Gunn arrives and tells them he is not going with them. He explains having lost one of his friends he's not ready to abandon them for a one way trip to a demon dimension. He leaves and Lorne says he's not going either. Angel says they need him as a guide. Lorne says he may be able to find them the hot spot. He leaves and Wesley tries to explain Gunn's actions to Angel. Angel says they have to work together to figure out how to get Cordelia back.
Cordelia is in the market place (hanging from a rod) and the demon who captured her sells her to a female demon for a pig and a pint of flib liquor. He frees Cordelia and puts a collar on her.She starts talking and the female demon presses a button which causes the collar to hurt Cordelia. She does this a few times until Cordelia shuts up and follows her. A human girl has been watching this. Gunn is in his truck thinking. Cut to the office of a telephone psychic and a poorly disguised Lorne coming to talk to her. Her name is Aggie. She says she'll help him find the hot spot but only if he goes to Pylea with the others. She says it's the only way to clear up the issues he is dealing with.
Wesley thinks a binding spell may keep them together as they enter the portal, but the side effects could be devastating. Angel is getting frantic as 12 hours have already passed since Cordelia went through the portal. Two lawyers from Wolfram & Hart show up. They tell Angel his lease on the hotel is up in 6 months and they are there to look it over as a possible purchase. He throws them out, but they say they'll be back. Cordelia is mucking out the stable and grumbling to herself. The demon woman, who is nowhere in sight, activates the collar. Cordelia tries to get it off and the human girl we saw before tells her not to, that it will kill her. The girl is on the other side of the wall and they talk through a hole. The girl seems a little crazy and her thoughts are scattered. She says something about not having the math to get back. A demon constable and some men arrive and seize the girl who is a runaway cow and has disabled her collar although not removed it. They take her away.
Angel is leaving a message on someone's answering machine explaining what is happening and that they will be leaving as soon as Wesley figures out how to keep them from scattering. Lorne comes in to see how Angel is doing and Wesley shouts Eureka. He knows how to keep them together through the portal. Cordelia is in the market place carrying packages for her mistress. She still keeps talking, driving the demon crazy. Then she has a vision of a demon being attacked by a Drokken. She tells them and the demon woman shouts that her cow is cursed.
Lorne, Angel, and Wesley have pulled up in front of a movie studio - the hot spot Aggie found. Wesley has the book. He says being enclosed on 4 sides by metal (the car) will keep them together. He's 96% sure. Gunn arrives, he got Angel's phone message. Lorne tries to leave, but they stop him. Wesley opens the portal, they fasten their seat belts, and they drive through. They end up in a wooded area in bright daylight. Angel starts screaming for a blanket, then notices he isn't burning. The two suns of this demon world aren't lethal to a vampire. They start gathering brush to hide the car.
Cordelia is dragged into a room. The constable appears and says her vision was true and she is cursed. She says she has visions and uses them to help people. Another demon appears and says they have to test her. A table of what look like torture implements is brought in. The demon takes one and says they'll see if she is really cursed. He walks toward her and she starts to scream. The gang have hidden the car and notice the book is missing. Wesley speculates the book only works one way and so wouldn't open a door on this side of the dimensional barrier. The demon says the tests are completed and Cordelia is cursed. They carry her off.
The gang arrive in town. Lorne says he's going to see a friend and for the others to keep out of sight. The friend chases Lorne out of the house and shouts that he's a traitor. Soon the gang are surrounded and a fight ensues. They lose. The constable arrives and Lorne knows him. Lorne is taken away for interrogation. The others are charged with assault and told they will be sentenced by the royal highness. Both Angel and Gunn take some punches. They are taken to a dungeon.
The demon who did the tests says Cordelia is cursed and measures must be taken and blood spilled. Gunn is trying to break free of his chains but cannot. Angel can hear the guards talking outside the door about a girl with visions being tested and screaming. They are going to take the gang to the castle to be sentenced. At the castle, they are reunited with Lorne, also chained. The constable says they will all be executed. They are taken into the throne room for sentencing and start fighting in an attempt to escape. Then they realize that Cordelia is sitting on the throne.
I like a tv show or movie best when it surprises me. We all know that the plot is going to take certain twists and turns. We all know the hero will win at the end, more so on tv than in film. So surprise is tough to accomplish. But good shows do it and Angel and Buffy consistently have. But not this week. It was obvious that the gang would go to Pylea (the only surprise to me was Gunn coming along). It was also obvious (as soon as the interrogation of Cordelia began) that the word curse was being used to throw us off the scent. Of course, the visions are a curse. But lots of cultures revere people cursed in this way. Primitive societies often see the mad, who have visions, as touched by the gods and thus special and sacred. The interrogator spoke really nicely to Cordelia, calling her my child and saying he hoped she wasn't cursed. This was far nicer talk than anyone had had with a cow in the past. This alone suggested torture and death were not in the works for her. And once you figured that out, the oblique references to the monarch (no name mentioned and Lorne seemed quite unaware of who this was) pretty much guaranteed how the show would end. So I guess, Gunn, Angel, Wesley, and Lorne have met the wizard and he turns out to be Dorothy. Too bad she already tried and failed at the heel clicking trick.
I really cannot think of much to say about this episode because I don't think it did much - two episodes of that sort in a row now. It did have snippets of character development. Lorne is being forced to confront his fears. Of course, this would have worked better if the psychic he visited had been introduced in the past (she was the weakest kind of plot contrivance this episode) and if he were more than a minor character whose dominance of a storyline is probably the worst thing about it. In small doses, Lorne is great. He's an ideal greek chorus. But in the large quantities we've had him in the last couple of weeks he's poisonous. We got Gunn opting to join the gang (I actually though Angel was leaving that phone message for Buffy). I hope Gunn has made his decision. I'm getting a little tired of his inability to decide whether he wants to be with Angel Investigations or with his friends in the neighbourhood.
Wesley is also trying to figure out his role in things. He blames himself right away for what happened to Cordelia. He tries to take control, saying they have to plan, and Angel wrests control from him insisting on immediately opening the portal. But when the portal doesn't open, Wesley is in command again and his plan of research is back on top. Ultimately, everything depends on him finding a way to get them through the portal together. It's interesting that the constable hits both Angel and Gunn but not Wesley. Wesley doesn't talk back to him, but clearly faces him down.
The only other point of interest was Wolfram & Hart looking to buy the hotel. I wonder whether we'll find time moves differently in the demon dimension and when they return the hotel is already sold. I also wonder what happened to David Nabbit who was helping them with this deal. He would have the resources to save them from Wolfram & Hart. That's a character who has just vanished. Of course, the goal may just be to have Angel change offices every year so we can get a new set. And that's not such a bad idea.
All the talk of a covenant suggests some kind of deal which benefits the power structure of Pylea. It's interesting that the testers were heavily cloaked and many of the soldiers wear helmets. We cannot actually see if they are demons or not. Or if they are the same kind of demons as the others in Pylea.
Some quick final thoughts. Landok did not seem such a terrible fellow. And Lorne's ok. I can understand enslaving humans - even humans have done that. But everyone we met on Pylea seemed mean and vicious only all the people from there we met before seemed alright. This struck me as weak writing. How did Lorne accidently arriving in our dimension gather the resources to start a club? And how did he acquire so much human cultural background in so short a time? The guy must do nothing but listen to music, watch tv, and go to movies 24/7. He's only been here 5 years and he got the Lorne Greene reference while Wesley and Cordelia didn't. Lorne Greene has been dead more than 5 years. I will admit his comment about thinking he was crazy because he heard music in a dimension without music was really interesting. The girl's comment about needing to do the math to get back home suggests some kind of calculation is needed to determine where the portals open and I suspect Wesley will figure this out.
Lines of the week:
"How could I have let this happen." - Wesley feeling responsible.
"Is this thing out of batteries." - Angel being strangely right.
"I was right. It was the batteries." - Angel learning he was right.
"We could emerge on the other side as a freakishly hybridized Siamese twin." - Wesley with the downside to binding spells.
"Don't you people sleep during the day." - Angel with an interesting vampire take on lawyers.
"You mean he actually really says 'Eureka'." - Lorne amazed at Wesley.
"I think we're winning." - Wesley being very wrong.
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