Angel is teaching Cordelia how to fight. She realizes he's only showing her how to defend herself until she can be saved and she's angry. She says she wants to know how to really fight. He shows her a move and she points out that as a cheerleader she only had to be showed once. She demonstrates how quick a learner she is. At Wolfram & Hart, Lilah is angry that she wasn't informed Billy had been found. She rushes into her office, where Gavin is entertaining him. She's upset to see Gavin horning into her territory. Billy has been missing for three days. His uncle, a powerful congressman, shows up. Billy leaves with him and Gavin takes credit for finding him. Lilah is angry at Gavin and they quarrel. Gavin attacks her. As he walks through the building, Billy smiles.
Wesley says he's proud of the training Cordelia is doing with Angel. He says he's considering doing the same thing with Fred. Cordelia says if he wants to know Fred better, the next time he invites her over for an intimate dinner for two he shouldn't invite all the rest of them. He realizes how obvious he was. He wonders whether they shouldn't be coupling, at least not with each other. Office romances are difficult under normal circumstances. She wonders if they aren't meant to be alone. But she tells him to go for it, to tell her how he feels and hug her. Then she has a vision. It's of a man attacking his wife. Only she realizes the crime happened a week ago. She doesn't know why the powers sent her this vision.
Later, Wesley comes in with a complete file on the crime, including surveillance footage from the convenience store where it happened. Angel realizes Billy was in the store and that is the connection. Cordelia is upset, believing she is responsible for what happened and that is why she got the vision. Angel tells them neither of them is responsible. He blames Lilah and goes to see her. She is badly beaten, her face all bruised and swollen although she says the other guy got it worse. But she refuses to help him. She tells him Billy's family is extremely powerful and the law won't touch him. And she won't turn against the firm or her client. Angel realizes Billy has a power to make men attack women.
Angel, Gunn, and Wesley are at the Blim estate where Billy is. Angel leaps over the fence and goes to the house where he sees Billy on the phone. He smashes the window and walks in - Billy is a demon. The police arrive. Angel puts his hands up, but Billy says they are looking for him. They are. The phone call was to tell the police where to find a body. An officer goes to cuff him and he touches his arm, asking he not be cuffed and promising not to cause any trouble. They agree. In the squad car, the officer he touched starts fighting with his female partner.
At the hotel, Wesley has gotten the information about the murder Billy called the cops about. Angel wants to go to the police station and get him. But Fred bursts in saying he's not there. She was listening to the police scanner and heard about the accident the police car carrying him was in. At the scene, Wesley learns the female officer shot her partner and she is in the hospital. He sends Gunn there to see what he can learn. Angel says some of the blood in the car is Billy's and it is not human. Angel finds some of his blood on a wall. Wesley takes a sample to analyze and Angel goes off tracking Billy.
At the hotel, Cordelia is packing a stun gun and a cross bow into her bag. Fred asks what she's doing and she says she's going to run an errand. Fred says she doesn't think she should do this. Cordelia says how can she not. After she leaves, Wesley arrives and asks Fred to help him analyze the blood. Cordelia goes to see Lilah. She wants information about Billy. Lilah says she's not switching sides like Lindsey, she understands the perils of her job. Cordelia points out she knows she was crying. Cordelia calls her a vicious bitch. Lilah tells her Billy affects men by touching them and it works differently with different men. Some turn violent immediately, some take hours. Cordelia talks about how she suffered when Lilah hired someone to hack into her visions in That Vision Thing. She says it is not the pain, but the helplessness. She asks Lilah where Billy is going.
Angel comes to the scene of another incident, a cabby beating his passenger. He finds out the address the cabby took his previous fare to. Cut to a party given by Dylan. Billy, his cousin, arrives. Dylan isn't happy. At the hotel, Wesley and Fred are looking at the blood sample which definitely has demon elements. Wesley asks about Cordelia and is angry at Fred when she is evasive. He threatens her. Fred tries to leave, saying she's going to call Cordelia, but Wesley orders her to sit down. He accuses her of wearing provocative outfits. He says she taunts and humiliates him. He slaps her, knocking her to the ground. She runs to the doors, but he catches her. He grabs her by the neck and throws her down. She scrambles up the stairs. He goes to the weapons cabinet.
Angel has come to Dylan's. He knocks on the door asking for Billy. When asked if he's a friend, he says he's looking to kill him. Dylan lets him in. He says Cordelia had already been there and said a melodramatic guy called Angel would be coming. He says Billy took some money and went to Santa Monica where they have a plane. Wesley is going upstairs, looking for Fred. He has an ax. He tries different rooms until he finds a locked one and breaks the door in. He searches the room for her while having a diatribe against women. He finds her hiding under the bed. He grabs and kisses her. She knees him and flees.
At the airport, Cordelia confronts Billy. She knocks him down with the stun gun and then points the crossbow at him. Fred is walking through the hallways of the hotel, trying to escape Wesley. She runs into Gunn. Billy tells Cordelia he doesn't hate women, he hates everyone. He thinks both men and women are disgusting. She is about to kill him when Angel runs up and stops her. He says he'll kill him. Billy grabs Angel and we see his power working on him.
Fred and Gunn have run into a room and Gunn is barricading the door. Fred explains about Wesley being infected, probably from the blood. Gunn realizes he handled the bloody fingerprint downstairs and is also infected. He tries to leave, but Wesley starts breaking the door down. He suddenly turns on Fred, then realizes what is happening. At the airport, Angel tells Cordelia to go, but she won't. It looks as if he is going to attack her. But he turns and attacks Billy. Billy has no power over him. Gunn smashes a chair and gives Fred the leg to hit him with. She doesn't want to, but when he turns on him she hits him twice, knocking him out. Angel and Billy are fighting. Cordelia gets her crossbow, but can't get a clear shot. There are two gunshots and Billy drops. Lilah has shot him. She walks off.
Wesley finally breaks into the room. He looks for Fred. He says she's predictable. Having lived so long in a cave, she always looks for a small, dark place to hide in. He opens an armoire, only she's not hiding in it. She's behind him. She says he's right, she likes small, dark places. She also likes to build things. She pulls a rope which sends the fire extinguisher flying. It smashes into his head knocking him down and through a hole in the floor. He falls to the floor before and is knocked unconscious.
Cordelia is training with Angel. She doesn't get why Billy's touch didn't work on him. He says Billy brought out hate and anger in people and he lost that a long time ago. As an evil demon, he killed for pleasure and pain. She says in a strange, twisted way it's noble. Wesley is in his apartment and Fred comes to visit. She tells him he should go back to the office - he has stayed away for days. He says he can't go back after what he did. That he doesn't know what kind of man he is. Fred says he is a good man. That Billy didn't bring out something in him but did something to him. Finally, he agrees to return. After she leaves, he cries. Outside, she hears this but walks away.
All relationships are tough and none are tougher than man/woman relationships even when they are not romantic. This week we see two tough relationships examined: the nonromantic Angel and Cordelia and the budding romantic Wesley and Fred.
Angel and Cordelia have a long relationship. Angel has saved her time and time again. He saved her from a vampire and poverty when she first came to LA in City of. He saved her from her visions run amok in To Shanshu in LA. He saved her from demons in Epiphany. And he saved her from the false visions in That Vision Thing. And those are just the highlights. But his actions haven't always been positive nor has it been entirely one sided. He needed Cordelia when he first came to LA. Doyle told him this. He needed her to preserve contact with humanity. Now he needs her visions because she is also his contact to the powers that be. He also hurt Cordelia by abandoning her and the others and giving away her clothes. She has helped him with her often cruel honesty. In That Old Gang of Mine, Angel told Gunn he would know he could trust him when he had to kill Angel and did. Cordelia has made it clear she would kill him in a heartbeat if she needed to. And she reminds him of that at the very beginning of this episode, when they are training. She says she can't rely on him to rescue her because it may be him she is fighting.
Angel is still trying to work off his debt to Cordelia for abandoning her and also for bringing her into his group. He's guilty on all counts. By bringing Cordelia in he saved her. But he also caused her to encounter Doyle, get the visions, and suffer greatly. All of the risks she takes are because of her encounter with him. It hurts him to think she doesn't feel she can count on him to save her. And it hurts her to think he believes she will always need saving and cannot defend herself. Angel wants to be protective, to help and to nurture. He stops Cordelia from killing Billy because he believes it is his job. He wants to protect her from having to defend herself, from being violent. Cordelia wants to be independent.
She preaches the credo of independence to Lilah and it takes root. While they are obviously diametrically opposed - Lilah has clearly dedicated herself to evil and I don't think we'll see a Lindsey like turnaround from her, they share certain attributes. Both are strong women who speak their minds and act for themselves. Both track down Billy themselves rather than relying on the ready and willing Angel to exact their vengeance.
It's interesting that Cordelia is the one who wonders whether they are meant to be alone, especially since she encourages Wesley to approach Fred. She has been romantically interested in both Angel and Wesley. With Angel in Sunnydale before she realized he was a vampire and with Wesley when he was Buffy's watcher. They actually dated and discovered themselves incompatible. Her luck with men has not been good. There was the failed relationship with Xander and in LA she has been unfortunately attracted to vampires and other demons and half demons. No wonder being alone is starting to look good to her. And so she is developing the skills to survive alone. While this is good, it may also token a hardening on the part of Cordelia and possibly a distancing of herself from humanity, not unlike the Angel she met when she first came to LA.
Wesley has always been hesitant in starting relationships. He has always needed someone else to tell him it is alright. In The Prom, he needed Giles' ok to ask Cordelia to dance. His only major relationship was with Virginia and that got started when he was impersonating Angel. Now he needs Cordelia to prompt him to approach Fred. But before he can, he's touched by Billy. In the Pylean arc, Angel was embarrassed at his friends seeing the demon within him. He felt he could never go back to them once they had seen what was really within. But they realized that wasn't the true Angel. Wesley is embarrassed at what he did. He thinks he revealed an inner darkness there and cannot go back to his friends again. But Fred reassures him, even as she reassured Angel. She realizes that the darkness isn't Wesley.
Wesley's diatribe against women, however, does seem to come from his inner fears. He feels helpless, unable to read them successfully. Fred is a mystery to him as was Cordelia. He talks about women being more closely connected to life because they are the childbearers. Of course, this just brings the focus on his own sense of weakness and unoriginality. It's interesting that at the end of the fight he talks about being able to defeat Fred because she is predictable and she defeats him because she is creative.
Fred obviously really cares for Wesley. She goes to his place to talk him into returning to the office. She says he's a good man. But there isn't any indication of romantic feeling. Certainly nothing like the crush she had and maybe still has on Angel. In fact, we've seen her demonstrate as much interest in Gunn as in Wesley. And Wesley has not really demonstrated all that much interest in her. I'm not sure if this is a relationship that is going anywhere.
Some quick final thoughts. I love Angel being upset at Cordelia thinking he is melodramatic. This episode carried a warning about violence, something I don't normally see on Angel episodes. Of course, this was a rare episode in which the violence was on real people (like Lilah) rather than demons.
Lines of the week:
"I have never hurt a woman in my life. I just like to watch." - Billy being evil.
"There's not a thing about badly reapplied mascara that I don't know." - Cordelia going with her strengths.
"Your demonness makes you less petty than humans." - Cordelia on why Angel didn't turn evil.
"You're a good man." - Fred on Wesley.Got a comment? Send me mail.
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