It is the instant after the end of last week's episode. In slow motion, we see Connor shoot stakes from his stake gun at Angel. Groo throws his ax at Connor. Both manage to evade the weapons. Connor fires again. Cordelia tosses Angel a sword. He fights Connor and Gunn and Groo join in. Connor is winning until Angel steps it up and knocks him down. But he lets him go and Connor flees outside. Again we go slow motion with Connor running into the sunlight, Angel trying to follow, and Gunn and Groo dragging him back inside. Groo and Gunn run after Connor, but he's in the middle of a busy street and the traffic stops them from getting to him. He leaps on top of a passing bus. They return to the hotel, The bus number is 17 and Fred goes to look it up. Cordelia says what happened was her vision about Angel. The 17 goes all the way downtown. Angel tells the others to take the surface and he'll go underground. He leaves. The gang realize the dimensional rift is still open. Cordelia tries using her new powers to seal it, but it doesn't work. Fred suggests Wesley, but Gunn says he went to him once and they can't go again. Lorne says he knows someone who knows someone. Cordelia and Groo stay to guard the rift. Lorne goes to find someone to seal it. And Gunn and Fred go after the bus. Fred realizes Gunn went to Wesley to save her.
Lilah shows up at Wesley's. Uninvited, she walks in. She notes there are no flowers or anything from his friends. He realizes she's come to offer him a job and he tells her to get out. She talks about the benefits of Wolfram & Hart, including a great library. He's not interested. She gives him a gift, a 16th century copy of Dante's Inferno. She points out that Judas was depicted as the worst sinner. That the worst spot in hell is reserved for those who betray. She tells him not to think he's too good to work for them.
Connor leaps off the bus before it gets to the station. Gunn phones Angel and tells him they think Connor got off the bus. Angel tells them to keep following Connor. Connor is on an overpass. Below a female junkie is arguing with her dealer. Connor leaps down. The girl's name is Sunny. The dealer tells Connor to go away. He makes fun of his clothes and asks about the stuff he has hanging around his neck. Connor says it's things he killed. The dealer calls for his men and three guys come up behind Connor. One hits him and knocks him out. The dealer rips off the ornaments. He tells his men to get rid of Connor. Connor fights the men. The dealer gets a gun and the girl hits him causing him to miss Connor and shoot one of his own men. The dealer goes to shoot Sunny, but Connor stops him and knocks him out. Sunny steals his drugs and Connor cuts off his ear.
At the hotel, nothing has happened. Groo demonstrates he can stand absolutely still for a very long time. They talk and Cordelia tries to reassure him that she still cares for him. They kiss and an energy bolt from the dimensional rift hits them and knocks them both out.
Gunn, Fred, and Angel are at the scene of the fight. They tell Angel what happened. He tells them to go to the hotel. It's close to sunset and he'll track Connor now. Sunny takes Connor to a place where they can squat. She thinks Quortoth is a place in Mexico. She gives him some clothes to change in to. She says Tyke (the dealer) is bad but the cops are worse and it's good he didn't kill him. They share some junk food. He picks up a spoon, but she takes it from him because it's for her drugs. She shows him the drugs and tries to explain why she takes them. Fred and Gunn return to the hotel and find the unconscious Cordelia and Groo. Connor tells Sunny he came to LA to find his father. She says she came to get away from hers. She says parents should take a test and be sterilized if they're unfit. Connor says if they are evil, they should be killed. She kisses him and he kisses back. She tells him she'll be right back.
Wesley looks at the book. He sees an illustration of the devil, but closes it and puts it aside. Connor awakens alone. He finds her dead in the bathroom and realizes it was the drugs. Angel appears. He fears Connor took drugs, but he says no. Angel says they'll take care of it together, but Connor says it's too late. He realizes Connor plans to hunt Tyke. They fight as Angel tells him he can't do that, that he'll get into trouble. He tries to run out, but Angel stops him. He tells Angel to stop calling him Connor, that his name is Steven.
At the hotel, Fred fears the beast which came through the rift might have a mate. She wants to contact Wesley, but Cordelia says Angel wouldn't like that. Sarcastically, Groo says they must always obey Angel's wishes. Lorne walks in with Mistress Meerna. She specializes in transdimensional magic and one of the side effects is that she seems to pop from place to place.
Angel says Steven is a good name, but not Irish. He says he wants to get to know Connor. He asks what it was like, whether he made friends. He says he tried to get him back, to follow him, but couldn't find a way in. Connor notes he found a way out. Angel says he wants to know everything about Connor and Connor must have a million questions. Connor says his father told him everything. Angel says Holtz is not his father and Connor hits him saying he doesn't get to say or think that name. He says he knows Angel is a vampire. He describes how you kill a vampire and he says he knows they have a second face. He wants to see it. Angel shows him. Connor says that's the face Angel used to kill his father's family. Tyke arrives with some goons. He asks about Sunny and they tell him she's dead. Angel says he's Connor's father. He wants to talk things out, but Tyke hits him and points out he lost an ear. Tyke wants his coat, Connor is wearing it. A goon comes in and tells him the police are there and looking for Tyke.
Meerna says something punched its way through from Quortoth. She seals the rift, but leaves saying she doesn't know if anything else came through and doesn't want to meet it if it did. A fight breaks out between Angel and Connor and Tyke and his men. Tyke grabs Connor, holding a gun to him. Angel says he should use him instead, that he is bigger and will make a better shield. The police burst in and a gunfight ensures. Angel tells Connor to go out the window. But when he sees Connor is about to get shot he stands up and takes the bullet for him. Connor sees this and pauses. Angel gets up and leaps out the window with him. In the street, they evade the police and are safe. Angel invites him back to the hotel, but he says he has to go. We see Connor wending his way through the city and finding Holtz.
This episode is a discussion of what is evil and how do you deal with it. You've got the evil of Angel/Angelus, Tyke, Wesley, and Holtz. There are parallels between Angel and Holtz and between Tyke and Wesley. But very little gets resolved and the episode is just a set up for future events.
The Angel/Holtz parallel is obvious. Both are Connor's father. It's no accident that he ended these last two episodes with the same words "Hi dad". He is Connor to Angel, the father he sees as evil, and Steven to Holtz, the father whose mission he seems intent on carrying out. Connor lets us in on his mindset when he talks to Sunny about parents. She takes a passive approach, wishing her unsuitable for parenthood parents had been sterilized and hence she had never been born. But Connor says evil people should be killed. Sunny likes this sentiment, it has the simple black and white morality which appeals to people trapped in a complex situation and seeking an easy way out. And Sunny, the junkie, is the epitome of easy way out seekers. Connor wants to kill Angel. He knows he is a vampire, a thing of evil. He knows he killed Holtz' family. He knows of the demon face Angel hides. All these things spell kill to him. He also knows Holtz is the father who looked after him.
But things get complicated. Tyke, a human, comes across as more evil than Angel. He's no demon, but he tempts others to their damnation. Connor realizes Tyke is responsible for Sunny's death. He also sees that Angel is trying to avoid violence. He tries to talk his way out of the confrontation with Tyke. Then, when the shooting starts, his concern is for Connor's safety. He puts himself in harm's way to save Connor. It's clear that Connor is confused at this point. But not so confused that he doesn't insist he is Steven (although Angel never really calls him that) and leave Angel for Holtz. Still, he has seen that things are more complicated in this new world than simple black and white. Holtz has no doubt made it all seem easy. Angel is evil, he committed evil acts, he deserves to die. But now Connor has seen a good side to Angel. How will he deal with concept of complex beings?
A key point occurs when Connor insists on seeing Angel's vampire face. He says he knows this is the face Angel uses to kill with. The face which killed Holtz' family. But in Dad, this was the face which stopped baby Connor from crying. It was a moment when Angel realized he could reveal his inner self to his child. Now he reveals that inner self again. The relationship between Connor and Angel can only be healed (and it's interesting that the subplot of this episode was the healing of the dimensional rift paralleling the rift between father and son) when the son can understand that the monster and the man are the same person.
The Wesley/Tyke parallel actually resides in their relationship with others. It's more accurately the Wesley/Lilah and Tyke/Sunny parallel. Lilah comes to Wesley's home to tempt him. She points out he has been abandoned by his friends and that his own actions make him no better than her - maybe worse. She attempts to lead him into despair. Once despairing, incapable of asking for help, he will be easy pray for her. Judas was a suicide, the epitome of despair. Tyke is also a tempter. He tempts people with drugs and his victims are also sunk in despair. Sunny says she takes the drugs to make her happy because she cannot imagine anything else which will lead to her happiness. Like Wesley she is cut off from friends and family. Her closest relationship is with the very evil which ultimately destroys her. Just as Lilah is striving to make Wesley feel his closest relationship is with Wolfram & Hart. The drugs which Sunny gets from Tyke are similar to the book Lilah gives Wesley. Both hold forth the promise of more and of a temporary respite from a grim reality.
Tyke destroys Sunny and out of this destruction comes the potential for a relationship between Connor and Angel. Lilah has only begun to undermine Wesley's self confidence, but the fact that he has kept the book (just as Sunny kept and later used the drugs even when she admitted that with Connor she wasn't sad) tokens some further sorrow. However, if the parallel holds, his relationship with Lilah may lead to a renewal of his relationship with Angel and the others. Just as Connor struggled to save Sunny from Tyke so Fred seems intent on reintegrating Wesley into the group.
Groo continues to reveal a depth of perception previously unseen. His sarcastic comment about Angel today makes it clear he doesn't buy Cordelia's argument that she really cares only for Groo, at least in a romantic way. It will be interesting to see how Cordelia copes with the inevitable confrontation or whether Groo simply steps aside because he feels that's the right thing to do.
Some quick final thoughts. Is it just me or is Holtz starting to look like Sahjhan. I liked Groo getting a little sarcastic. He's starting to act almost human.
Lines of the week:
"So don't pretend you're too good to work for us." - Lilah reminding Wesley of where he stands.
"So he won't forget me." - Connor with a weird idea of memorabilia.
"Too late." - Connor saying something Angel does not want to hear.
"It's a good name. Not Irish." - Angel on Steven versus Connor.Got a comment? Send me mail.
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