Angel - Loyalty

Summary

Gunn and Fred enter the office to find Wesley slumped over his desk. Fred goes to look at his papers, to see if he found out anything about Connor, but he awakes and tells them not to touch anything. Angel comes in with Connor. He asks if they want to see Connor do something cool. He turns into a vampire and says he's taught him how to die. He bites Connor. Wesley's book turns to blood, coating his desk. Fred and Gunn smile and look on. Gunn says he's running out of time. Wesley wakes up at his desk. Angel walks in with Connor.

Angel and Wesley are at the doctor with Connor. Angel is giving great advice to the mothers with their babies. The doctor tells them Connor is perfectly healthy. He has taken a blood sample to test, but just as a precaution. They leave. A woman enters and takes the blood sample, switching it with another.

A delivery arrives for Angel and Gunn doesn't understand how he could buy anything over the Internet given that he has no credit card and no bank account. Fred says you just hack into the database, find someone buying what you want, and substitute your address for theirs. They stare at her. Angel says he just memorized Cordelia's credit card number. He opens the box and removes two child sized hockey sticks. There is also a puck and a tiny hockey sweater. Gunn says he's bored, they have had no action since Cordelia left. Gunn points out hockey is the whitest sport and Angel says it's played indoors and the games are mostly at night. He talks about how he looks forward to doing so many things with Connor as he grows up. They start playing hockey and Angel breaks a window. A woman comes in saying she needs their help. She tells them her son was out all night at the pier and returned just before dawn. She was scared and didn't let him in. He went up in flames. She wants them to get the things which did this. Wesley sends Gunn to the pier on recon.

Later, the woman is with Holtz and his allies. She is going over the gang, detailing their names and abilities. Her name is Aubrey and she works for him. Later, Holtz' allies are training fighting vampires they have captured. Justine is talking to him, asking how people could work with Angelus. Holtz says he made a pact with a demon. He thinks they believe they are doing the right thing. One of the chained vampires breaks free and Justine subdues it. Sahjhan appears. He wants Holtz to kill Angel. Holtz says Sahjhan can do nothing to him and should just let him alone to do what he is doing. Sahjhan wonders what he is doing. He goads him by talking of his dead family. Holtz tells him to leave or he'll trap his dimensional essence in a resikhian urn. Angry, Sahjhan leaves.

Wesley is on the phone arguing with a wizard. He wants the wizard to do something, which appears to be dangerous, and the wizard is reluctant. Fred comes in and compliments Wesley for being so supportive of Aubrey. She encourages him to get out of the office and suggests he give Aubrey a call and ask her out. Wesley says they are not there to date and tells her to go to the pier and do her job.

Lilah is at her office on the phone to her mother who sounds as if she has Alzheimer's. Sahjhan materializes in her office. She reveals that she knows all about him. About recruiting Holtz. And she realizes his appearance there suggests Holtz is not working fast enough for him. He says he's familiar with Wolfram & Hart in this and other dimensions. She tells him company policy is to let Angel live, but she writes 'count me in' on a piece of paper and holds it up. He says she can help him by getting him some of Connor's blood. She reveals they have it, they swiped it from the doctor. Only it's perfectly normal. Sahjhan says her lab guys didn't know what to look for.

Gunn isn't taking the recon very seriously. He thinks Wesley wanted him out of the office so he could chat up Fred. Fred realizes Wesley knows about them and says she thinks he doesn't approve. Gunn asks if she had his back and told Wesley it was none of his business. Fred says she didn't and suggests when they are working they should just work. Gunn says he wants it all, the great girl and the great job. Fred goes along with this.

Angel is playing with Connor. Wesley tells him he has to leave for a while. At the pier, it is night and the place is deserted except for a guy Gunn and Fred see breaking into the carousel building. Fred wants to go back and report, but Gunn insists on tracking down the vampires. The carousel starts and a gang of vampires appears, surrounding them. We see Justine and one of the allies videotaping this. Gunn tells Fred to go, but she stays. He pushes her out while fighting off the vampires. He's doing well, but then a vampire gets the upper hand. But Fred returns and stakes the vampire. She tells Gunn she's got his back.

Wesley is walking to the location the wizard gave him. He ends up in front of a statue of a anthropomorphized hamburger at a hamburger restaurant. The restaurant closes and a couple of kids leaving it laugh at him. He sprinkles a powder on it and does a supplication. It comes to life, growing to considerable height, and calls itself the loa. The loa says Wesley has the answers and only searches for the questions. Wesley asks if Angel will kill his son. The loa says the vampire will devour his child and what Wesley wants to know is when. He says he wants to know how to stop it. The loa says he can't and Wesley insists there must be a way. The loa strikes him down, saying he may be seeking death that there is a pain in his heart. He tells Wesley betrayal and agony await him. Wesley says nothing but death will stop him and the loa says his pain is only beginning. Wesley asks when it will happen and the loa says the portents will be earthquake, fire, and blood. The loa returns to a normal statue.

Lilah is in a bar drinking scotch. A guy sits next to her, but she blows him off. Sahjhan shows up. She tells him their plan is on, she outsourced the labour and buried the costs. He wants to chat. She asks him why he wants Angel dead, he says they have their history. She asks if he's afraid of Angel and he says no. She asks what he is afraid of and he says it's time to leave. He asks when the plan starts and she says it already has.

Wesley is at the office, staring at Connor. Aubrey comes in. She thanks him for what they have done and gives him a cheque. She asks if he is ok and he says he hasn't been sleeping well. She asks him out for a coffee, saying she feels lonely and needs a friend. Wesley says she's good, that he likes the lonely bit. Angel suddenly appears behind her. She grabs a stake from her bag, but he disarms her. He tells her he knows she set up his friends. Wesley realizes the story about her son is true and that is how Holtz recruited her. Angel tells her that she is right to protect Holtz, that he's one of the good guys. That he has every reason to hate Angel. But if he ever hurts one of his friends or endangers Connor, Angel will kill him and anyone else who gets in the way. She leaves and there is a small earthquake.

Holtz is going over the videotape of Fred and Gunn. He explains that Fred was willing to die and so must they be. Aubrey returns and he realizes she was found out. He says he's not upset about that, although he is annoyed she let herself be followed. Wesley enters. One of the allies attacks him, but he knocks him down. He says he didn't come to fight, he isn't their enemy. He says Angel isn't either, that he isn't Angelus. Holtz knows about the curse. He says it provides vengeance, but not justice. Wesley says if they want to kill someone, they can kill him. He argues he is just as responsible for what Angelus did as is Angel. Holtz says Angel physically was responsible and that Angelus is still in his nature and will reemerge. He says Wesley knows this and is afraid Angel will kill Connor. He says the child is not safe with the demon. Wesley finds his concern hard to believe. He says they are looking for revenge and Justine says that's all some of them have left. Holtz suggests Wesley may soon share their pain.

Gunn and Fred are at the restaurant they always have breakfast at. Gunn says he's not mad at Wesley. Fred says she should have stood up to him. Gunn says he's the boss and they should respect that. He seems to be backtracking on his want it all policy. Fred says if Wesley makes them choose, what will he do. He says he's fought demons most of his life, he's always had that sense of doing good and making the world a better place. But he's never had a Fred before. He'll choose her. He says he doesn't think that will happen, that Wesley can be trusted to do the right thing.

Wesley walks in on Angel with Connor. Angel turns on the gas stove to heat some formula. Angel says he knew about Aubrey because he would do the same thing if anything happened to Connor. He says he loves him and Wesley says love can be a terrible thing. Angel says he used to feel that way, but what he feels for Connor is beautiful. Wesley starts laughing, saying talking to hamburgers and worrying about things that will never happen is funny. There is an earthquake. The stove is knocked over and starts a fire. Holtz' headquarters are also rocked by the quake and he saves Justine. Angel saves Connor. Some of his blood supply has spilled and there is blood pouring down. It's coming down his face and dripping on the baby's blanket. Wesley realizes this is the earthquake, fire, and blood the loa foretold.

Analysis

Understanding prophecy is a tricky business. They are ambiguous at best. So Wesley may be jumping to conclusions here. Of course, the guy doesn't seem to have gotten much sleep, is facing Holtz and his allies, and is dealing with losing Fred. So maybe we can forgive him for not thinking things through as clearly as he ought to. In a way, Wesley in repeating Angel's walk into the dark side during the Darla arc.

About a day after watching this episode, it occurred to me how like Holtz Wesley is. Both are British. Both dedicated their lives to fighting demons. In fact, if there was a watcher's council in Holtz's time it's likely he actually belonged to it. And both had their lives irrevocably changed by contact with Angel(us). Holtz lost his family and was turned into a monster, desiring only revenge and willing to make any deal to achieve it. Wesley was given a family and the opportunity to grow as a person. Now, Holtz is turning against his demon (Sahjhan) even threatening to imprison him and Wesley is turning against his demon (Angel).

When Wesley and Holtz meet, Wesley attempts to bring Holtz onside, telling him he and Angel are not the enemy. Holtz tries to do the same, saying Connor is in danger from Angel. Since Wesley already believes this, it's a powerful strategy. Wesley makes a joke, he talks about Holtz' low, scary voice. Holtz sees no humour and just continues. And that's where the similarity between the two breaks down. They may end up pursuing a joint agenda, but they will never be the same. As tough as things have become for Wesley, he still has a bit of a sense of humour left. And Holtz has none, he's completely humourless. Which makes him, ultimately, a little less than human.

Dream Angel says Wesley knows the answer, he needs the question. The loa says the same thing. But Wesley isn't asking the question. I'm guessing it's why does the father kill the son or as the loa put it devour him. The dream has Angel drink his son's blood. After the earthquake and fire, Angel is holding Connor and saying he would have something to snack on - referring to the spilled blood but reminiscent of the dream. To fulfill the prophecy does Angel have to drink Connor's blood? And does drinking his blood have to equate to killing him?

The Gunn/Fred relationship is moving fast. It's interesting that no mention of sex has been made and it's not at all clear whether they've had sex. They've kissed and they spend an incredible amount of time together, but sex has been pretty much nonexistent. However, emotionally, they are moving really fast. They are already making a major commitment to one another. Fred has promised to watch Gunn's back. He's committed to choosing her over everything else. Meanwhile, their unity is isolating them from the rest of the gang. They seem completely unaware of what is happening to Wesley and of the danger hanging over Angel.

Angel is becoming increasingly isolated from his friends. He sent Cordelia away and she hasn't even been in contact. Gunn and Fred are too wrapped up in themselves to notice him. Wesley has come to the conclusion Angel is a threat to Connor and may soon be siding with Holtz against him. Lorne seems to have vanished this week. Meanwhile, his enemies are working together. Holtz has built a powerful army of allies and is training them hard. Sahjhan has joined forces with Lilah and gained the informal backing of Wolfram & Hart. In many ways we are seeing a reprise of last season, with Angel becoming increasingly isolated and his enemies gaining in strength and power.

Some quick final thoughts. We rarely see Angel drinking. In this episode, he was drinking blood several times. As a Canadian, I have to approve of hockey as Angel's chosen sport.

Lines of the week:

"Wesley needs a life." - Gunn getting to the heart of things.

"And they bitch about my cold hands." - The doctor on Angel's defining characteristic.

"When somebody becomes a vampire there's no turning back." - Angel with a really strange statement from him.

"We're not here to date." - Wesley on Fred trying to set him up.

"I got your back." - Fred to Gunn.

"If this doesn't work, I'm gonna kill that wizard." - Wesley revealing he doesn't have much of a sense of humour.

"Not on your best day." - Lilah with a great put down.

"She was prepared to die for the cause, rather than abandon her comrade. We too must be willing to die, only more so." - Holtz on what it takes.

"It could be the low, scary voice that's giving me trouble." - Wesley testing Holtz.

"A child's coffin, Mr. Wyndham-Pryce, weighs nothing." - Holtz with a not so veiled threat.

"Wesley's a good man. He'll do the right thing. He always does." - Gunn saying the kind of thing that almost certainly will turn into irony.

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