Angel - Quickening

Summary

It's York in 1764 and Holtz is hunting down Angel and Darla. But they are at his house convincing his little girl to let them in. As Holtz breaks into the house Angel and Darla have been staying at, they kill his wife and children. He finds a message from them and realizes where they are. He hurries home, but too late. In the present, Angel enters Darla's room and puts his hand on her stomach. She wakens.

Holtz is watching a condensed history of the last 200 years on a bank of tvs. The demon who awakened him comes in. He asks about England and the demon tells him it is still there. He asks how Angelus and Darla have survived and the demon says that's why Holtz is there, because their destinies are intertwined. The demon says he has moved through the dimensions, living in other dimensions where time moves differently. Hence, he is unaged.

Angel and Darla are talking about them having sex and making the baby. The gang enter. Wesley has discovered that the tro-clon is not a person or persons, but a confluence of events. Darla points out she has tried to get rid of the baby and can't. It is protected somehow. Wesley says when it is born they can cut its head off. Gunn suggests a flame thrower. Angel says they will do none of this, that they will wait until they figure out what is going on and anyone who has a problem with that can leave. Darla tries to leave and he stops her. Cordelia punches Darla in the face and says she's in. Darla starts moaning and Fred realizes she is having contractions.

At Wolfram & Hart, Lilah is signing some documents in blood. Cyril from the mailroom shows up. He shows her a recording of herself and Angel having sex in his office from Carpe Noctem. He says Gavin made it. That the exterminators sent to the hotel planted bugs. Gavin and his tech guy are watching the hotel. Only the room with Darla doesn't have a video hookup and they don't know what is going on. Lilah comes in. Gavin isn't surprised, Cyril is actually working for him. Lilah looks through the transcript the tech guy made of the audio and asks who the unidentified pregnant female is. The tech guy shows her the old tape and she recognizes Darla. She calls Linwood.

Darla's contractions are irregular. The gang decide to take her to a hospital. Linwood has arrived at the office and wants to find out what is happening. He is afraid of what the senior partners will do. Lilah has gathered the seers and mind readers. Lilah and Gavin try to reassure him. Cyril is lurking nearby. He makes a phone call to someone or something called Tarfall and says they must tell the others.

It's York, nine years after Angel and Darla kill Holtz's family. The demon who has awakened Holtz confronts him in his home. He says he won't get a chance to destroy Angelus and Darla for 200 years. But he'll take him into the future, if he promises to show them no mercy. The gang have Darla at the hospital. Wesley thinks she's having false labour. Gunn and Fred find an ultrasound. Holtz is eager to go attack Angel and tries to attack the demon, but he's intangible. The demon tells him greater powers are at work. He transforms his face so he looks human and says they have to go and pick up some men he has got to help them.

Wolfram & Hart are interviewing their psychics. Linwood is talking to one and says he'll give him a chance. But the psychic realizes he's going to have him killed. Linwood says he should have demonstrated that foresight when they needed it. Lilah says there is a prophecy about a vampire birth, but the scroll is missing. Linwood says lots of cults and groups will be seeking the baby and they have to get it first, dissect it, and figure out what makes it tick. Gavin says there is a call from Berlin. Linwood is worried about the senior partners finding out. He says he'll blame Lilah. She makes a phone call. Cut to a guy alone getting a phone call. He picks up his sword, telekinetically.

Wesley is doing the ultrasound. He says it's a boy. Angel is stunned at being a father and having a son. Fred notes they are surrounded by vampires. They are. One of the vampires starts talking about the miracle child. Holtz and the demon are walking down the street. The demon tells him people haven't changed. Holtz notes they still have families. The demon knocks on a door, introducing himself as Sahjhan, saying this is where Holtz will get his men. They enter and it's a gym of demons, Sahjhan calls them grappler demons. Holtz asks if there are any more surprises. The vampires say they are there to protect the child. The guy with the sword comes leaping through a window. The vampires swarm on him and kill him. The lead vampire says Ul-Thar had prophesied this. He says they will now kill the humans and feed their blood to the mother and child.

Gavin is showing plans of the hotel to a military guy they have called in to lead a raid and capture Darla. Lilah comes in with Dr. Fetvanovich, the world leader in paranormal obstetrics. Darla is ready to sit out the fight, but the vampires say they intend to cut the baby out of her and feed on her entrails and eyes as they worship it. Fred asks Gunn for a knife. She holds it to Darla, saying she'll kill the baby if the vampires don't back off. She whispers that they don't know the knife can't hurt the baby. Darla points out they do know since vampires have great hearing. They fight and the gang manage to escape.

The commandos have taken the hotel. The doctor comes in with two cages, one for Darla and one for the baby. The gang are in the car. Angel wants to leave town. Wesley says first they need to get the scrolls at the hotel, because they have information the gang needs about the baby. At the hotel, Holtz takes out a guard outside. Inside, the doctor is looking over his instruments. Holtz enters and asks where Angelus is. Linwood, Gavin, Lilah and the tech guy are watching this over the monitors. Lilah notes Holtz called Angel by his old name. Linwood orders them to take out Holtz. They lose video and we just hear sounds of a battle and screaming. Linwood tries calling again, but no response. The gang have arrived at the hotel and Angel says he will go in alone. He says to leave if he's not back in five minutes. Inside, he finds the commandos and the doctor dead. Holtz confronts him. In the car, the gang don't know what to do since it has been longer than five minutes. Darla screams. Her water has broken and she's really in labour.

Analysis

Things are getting confusing, something Linwood points out. Every gang seems intent on getting that baby. We've got Wolfram & Hart, Cyril and his mysterious buddies (is he involved with the vampire gang or the swordsman), Lilah's mysterious phone call (was that to the doctor or the swordsman or someone else), Holtz, and Sahjhan. And maybe there are other players we haven't been clearly introduced to yet.

Wolfram & Hart are evil and they intend to kill Darla and the baby. And their motivation is self interest. Mostly, they are scared that they missed something and may be made to pay for it. Cyril may be evil or good. His motivation is unclear. It sounded as if he were calling a demon, but that doesn't necessarily imply evil in the Angelverse. We know Lilah is evil, but occasionally she will do something good (like killing Billy in Billy). The vampires are evil, but they want to protect the baby which may be good. Holtz is good, but he may have been turned to evil by what Angelus and Darla did to him. His intention is to destroy the evil vampires Angelus and Darla. Will he realize Angelus is now Angel. Will he have mercy on Darla's unborn child. And what of his vow to Sahjhan? It sounded as if Sahjhan feared Holtz would have mercy or could be drawn to Angel's side. Hence, he made Holtz promise to show no mercy when the time came. And we don't know if Sahjhan is evil or not. Angelus and Darla certainly were evil, so helping Holtz against them is not necessarily an evil thing. But Sahjhan seems to have knowledge of the future, so he may have known Angelus would become Angel. And his real interest may be the baby, which may be a force for good or evil.

Sahjhan keeps talking about gender versus species. He calls the grappler demons men, meaning they are male and makes this point to Holtz. Wesley says the baby is human, but then says it is a boy. While he can determine gender from the ultrasound, can he also determine humanity? And even if the baby is human, we still don't know if it is good or evil. It seemed to me Wesley's boy remark was meant to remind us of Sahjhan's gender remarks.

Vampires don't have babies, but other demons do. So Fetvanovich can't be the only demon obstetrician. Why couldn't the gang find one? We've seen demon doctors in the past. And given that we've seen everything from demon electricians to demon bookies, we know a parallel demon world exists in LA and the gang should be connected to it. Or at least Lorne should be.

Other than confusion, and a couple of good lines, this episode doesn't say much. It's clearly setting the stage for a lot of future activity. New players, like Sahjhan and Cyril, are presented. And there's the possibility of the gang heading out of town. But unlike the recent Buffy episode Once More, With Feeling, which also set up a lot of future plot points, this episode was individually unfulfilling. It was confusing and did little to develop the characters. The closest we got to that was Darla almost saying something to Angel near the end. And Angel's musings on fatherhood, both themes barely touched upon. In fact, last week there was more on this theme, when Fred mused about Angel going to kill the child he could never have.

Some quick final thoughts. What is it with Gunn and Vegas? Clearly, we are meant to see a parallel between Holtz's family and the family Angel has created. By killing Darla and the baby, Holtz would be taking an equivalent revenge on Angel for his actions as Angelus. This is made evident when Darla asks Angel if he'll kill Holtz's baby or should she, then says basically the same thing when he enters her room and puts his hand on her stomach.

Lines of the week:

"If they've heard about this in Berlin, Singapore and Muncie can't be far behind." - Linwood realizing time is running out.

"I'm guess I'm getting dinner after all." - Darla being practical.

"I look forward to dissecting both the mother and the child." - Dr. Fetvanovich putting the para into paranormal obstetrician.

"Ok. I'm in." - Darla quick to change sides when she needs to.

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