Wesley and Gunn are eating Chinese food. They are extra nice to Cordelia when she walks by, but Fred, who is eating under a table, says they don't sound sincere. They get her to stand up and Gunn tries to get her to use chop sticks or a fork (she's eating with her fingers). Cordelia comes by again and says she knows what they are doing. Gavin Park, the Wolfram & Hart lawyer, shows up. Angel arrives and Gavin gives him a list of 57 violations of the city code the building has. He says he has filed the list. Angel takes them and Gavin leaves. Angel starts talking to Fred, but Cordelia has a vision. She sends them to look for a coin at a herbalist shop in Chinatown with clawed demons. She goes into the bathroom and we see she has claw marks on her body matching what she saw in the vision.
Fred is looking through the phone book and finds 5 herbalist shops in Chinatown. They decide to go hunting, but Angel talks to Cordelia first and asks Fred to take her home. At the herbalist, they find an elderly couple who are the clawed demons. They defeat them and get the coin. Lilah and Gavin meet in the hall and he tells her he has been transferred to special projects. They argue and clearly don't like one another. Cordelia tries to get Fred to leave (she's eating peanut butter), but she says Angel told her to stay. Cordelia has another vision and passes out. Fred sees scarring appear on her face and neck.
Cordelia tells the gang she had a vision of a key and a yuck monster. She cannot understand why the powers are sending her these visions which are damaging. She shows them the claw scars. Fred suggests the visions are transmitted electronically into her brain and they can trace them back to their source. Wesley has an idea. He sends Gunn and Fred to the hotel to get some books and tells Angel to trust him and get the key. Angel finds the store and defeats the yuck monster. Gunn and Fred go to the hotel where they find fumigators. At Cordelia's, Angel comes with the key. Lorne is there. The idea is for him to trace the vision Cordelia gets back to its source. Cordelia is resisting, partly because she fears losing the visions and no longer being necessary to Angel. But he tells her he needs her, not the visions. So they start.
Lilah is talking to a man in her office. She reminds him about the fire. He sits down and levitates. He removes his hat to reveal his uncovered brain. He is sending the visions to Cordelia. This one of flames. She gets it and it sends Lorne flying. She's badly burned. The man tells Lilah she got the message. Cordelia tells Angel she doesn't want the visions any more, that she's scared all the time. Wesley call him into the other room. Lorne has discovered the visions aren't real but false ones. He suggests checking out enemies.
Lilah is playing computer golf. Angel appears behind her. He says Gavin helped him get in. He tosses the coin and key on her desk. She tells him he'll need them for his mission. She wants him to rescue an imprisoned man. If he does, Cordelia will be saved. The man is in a demon dimension. He agrees.
Wesley tells him the coin and the key are artifacts of good and the demons he defeated were aligned with good. He says the demon dimension probably has fire and guards. He wants to go, but Angel insists he stay. He shows Angel how the key works. He's transported to the demon dimension, but all his weapons remain behind. He finds the man in a prison of flame. He talks to the guard, Skip, who tells him the man must have done something really terrible to be sent there. He realizes Angel is good and Angel explains that he still has to break the guy out. They fight and Angel, with the help of the prisoner, manages to win. The prisoner is freed.
Angel, Wesley, and Gunn take the prisoner to meet Lilah on a deserted stretch of road (there's debris on the ground including what seem to be pieces of metal). Angel tells Lilah to fix Cordelia and she goes to her car and talks to the person who sent the visions. Wesley calls Fred who says Cordelia is better. Angel hands over the prisoner. As Lilah and her crew prepare to leave, Angel picks up a piece of pipe and hurls it into the car piercing the skull of the psychic and killing him. He tells Lilah that if she tries anything like this again, he'll kill her.
Cordelia is making Angel breakfast, toaster waffles. She says Wolfram & Hart won this time and he says it's not about winning but about what is at stake. She is more important than winning and he will deal with the consequences of freeing the prisoner.
Darla is visiting the shaman. She tells him the father is a vampire. He tries, but cannot help her saying it's not to be known. She says it's time to visit daddy.
Last week, I wondered what had happened to Wolfram & Hart's bid to get the hotel. Well, I wasn't disappointed this week when Gavin showed up and again threatened the hotel. He looks to be the new threat from Wolfram & Hart and the person Lilah will work both with and against. Always nice to see some infighting at Wolfram & Hart. We may already have seen some of this, Angel says Gavin let him into the building. But it's possible that this was done in concert with Lilah since she seemed to be playing Angel.
Cordelia is clearly a weak point for Angel and her visions are often used against her. In Pylea, they were practically the cause of her death. In To Shanshu in LA, they were used against her and the continual viewing of the visions was driving her mad. Now her visions are being infiltrated and used to send false or misleading information to Angel. This is a very interesting idea and attacks a key source for Angel. He relies on the visions to guide him. Introduce doubt into the equation and you weaken him. No wonder he kills the demon who hacked into the visions and threatens Lilah the same way. He needs to be sure about those visions. And Cordelia is physically the weakest of the gang and so the one he feels most needs his protection. Which, logically, makes her the first point of attack.
Gavin noticed Fred and I think that means he may see her as an attack point. It will be interesting to see if he shares this information with Lilah. So far, Gavin has done very little to really threaten Angel. I assume the exterminator, a part of the story not resolved, was part of Gavin's plan.
Lilah got what she wanted this episode, the release of the prisoner. But I think she got much more and made serious progress in her attack on Angel. In addition to undermining his faith in Cordelia's visions and causing him more worry about the safety of his companions, she forced him to fight against other warriors for good. This will blacken his name in the supernatural community and also cause him addition emotional distress. In Judgement, Angel accidently killed a demon seeking to do good and then risked his life to set things right. This time he was deluded by the false visions into fighting the guardians of the coin and the key and then knowingly fought the guard. But his perspective here is different. Angel has discovered, through the events of last season, that he cannot focus on some grand plan or the great battle against evil. That he won't win that huge battle and no absolute victory may ever happen. All he can do is what is right at the moment. So he fights to save Cordelia because even if the prisoner is very evil, letting Cordelia die would be worse than freeing him. If Angel can maintain this perspective, Lilah's attack on him will fail.
I have to wonder whether Lilah wasn't responsible in some way for Darla's pregnancy. It's the kind of move she would make, again attacking Angel emotionally and not physically. She's realized the futility of that approach. If so, then Darla is also her dupe and trying to find out what happened herself. I have to wonder whether Lindsey will make an appearance this season with some as yet unknown piece of information.
Some quick final thoughts. It was nice to see Cordelia being herself and focusing on Gavin's suit and shoes. I loved Lilah and the demon discussing payroll and taxes. Was Darla trying for an abortion or trying to understand what had happened to her?
Lines of the week:
"I've been forking with Gunn." - Fred not quite normal yet.
"Next to you I am downright linear." - Cordelia defining Fred.
"You're Angel's lassie." - Fred defining Cordelia.
"Who knew William Shatner could sing?" - Lorne with a very bad example.
"It's just business." - Lilah trying to rationalize evil.Got a comment? Send me mail.
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