Angel - Long Day's Journey

Summary

Angel is in his room drawing a picture of the beast. Lorne enters with a glass of blood. Angel makes it clear he doesn't want company. Lorne says he can't sit upstairs brooding but has to come down and work with the others, that as a champion he has responsibilities he just can't shirk. Lorne reveals he knows about Cordelia and Connor, he picked up on the vibe. Angel tells him to leave. Lorne says when all is said and done, Connor will still be his son. And if he doesn't find perfect happiness with Cordelia, there are other fish in the sea.

Gwen Raidan, the electrogirl from Ground State, is meeting a client, Ashet. He wants her to steal some protective amulets. She is turning down the job. She says she's going on vacation to Tahiti. He threatens her, but is suddenly killed by the beast. It knocks her flying. She sees a bright light come out of Ashet's body and the beast pulling an object out of it. It turns to her, she prepares to use her power, but when she looks up, he's gone.

Cordelia wakes, she's been sleeping on the floor. Connor is sitting in the window. There are sirens outside. The devastation of the fire storm continues. There is chaos as people turn to violence and looting. She tells him it's not his fault. He wants to go to the hotel and talk to Angel. She wants to stay put. He thinks she doesn't want to go back because the others think he's connected to the beast and that she doesn't want him anymore for the same reason. She tells him Angel knows they slept together and that knowledge has hurt him and that's why they can't go to the hotel. She has a vision of the beast. She won't tell him what it was and says she has to see Angel. He asks her what makes her think he'll be there when she returns. She says she trusts him.

At the hotel, Gunn says he doesn't trust Connor. He thinks the little girl in the white room was referring to Connor when she said 'the answer is among you'. Fred disagrees, saying the little girl was evil and probably just playing mind games. Wesley arrives and tells them he has confirmed that Wolfram & Hart are cut off from the senior partners with the little girl gone. But he also found out she is Mesektet, one of 5 enormously powerful beings linked to the embodiment of the ancient sun god Ra. She was one of 5 totems who form the Ra-tet. They speculate that the beast killed the little girl for that reason. Lorne walks in and says a powerful shaman he knows was killed by the beast - had her heart ripped out. Wesley says it doesn't match the MO of what it did to Mesektet. Fred asks if the shaman was Ma'at. Lorne says yes and she says she was a Ra-tet. Wesley says it still isn't proof he's after them. With all the people he has killed, just two might be a coincidence and not a pattern. Cordelia arrives and says she has to see Angel.

Angel tells her to leave, but she enters his room anyway. He doesn't want to talk. She tells him Connor is scared Angel thinks he's connected to the beast. Angel says it does turn up when Connor is around. Cordelia tells him she had a vision. She says he has to get over it. That people need him and he can't afford his self indulgent snit. He asks about the vision and she says it was different. That she felt she was inside somebody else watching the demon. She doesn't know who or where or what the demon said. But it does mean the powers are communicating to them and that gives them some hope. She tells Angel he is the leader and he has to lead.

Downstairs, Angel tells the gang about the clue. He says they're going to go on the offensive and attack the beast. The gang point out they have no leads. Gwen walks in. Fred is still angry over Gwen almost killing Gunn. Cordelia and she immediately have the claws out. Gwen asks if the world is ending. She tells them about her meeting. Wesley asks if anything was removed from the body and she says she didn't see. Fred realizes the dead client was a Ra-tet. There are now two left, Manjet (who was last seen two years ago in Belize) and Semkhet who is in Death Valley. Angel says they have to find Semkhet and protect him. He goes off with Gwen.

Angel and Gwen climb down, awkwardly, into the cave where Semkhet is living. They're too late. Semkhet had been ripped apart. Angel says they don't know why the beast is doing this. A man appears and says he does, the beast is going to turn off the sun. He says he's Manjet, Manny, and that if the beast kills them all and performs a complicated ritual he will turn out the sun. There will be everlasting darkness and all the creatures of the night will be able to come out all the time. It will start in LA and then spread throughout the world. They convince Manny to come with them so they can protect him. He wonders whether Gwen will give him a lap dance.

They get Manny to the hotel and explain the situation to the others. Fred says they need a small contained space to hide Manny. Gunn suggests the meat locker and Wesley says it doesn't make sense to hide him in the home of the only people they know the beast knows. Gwen says she knows a place. They go to what seems to be an abandoned tenement. Manny explains that he's the manifestation of man, although he is immortal. Gwen takes them into a lavishly decorated apartment. The tenement is just her cover. She says her butler is in Tahiti and they are alone. Angel explains the axis of Pythia was worth $33 million and he gave it back to her when he was done. She stashes Manny in her panic room - a completely sealed space with 12 inch steel walls. They agree to watch him in shifts, Gwen and Gunn go first and Angel and Cordelia second. Four hours on and four hours off.

Gwen tells Gunn her origin story. He's preoccupied and she realizes he's thinking about Fred and Wesley. She says a few months ago Fred was devoted to him and wonders what happened. He says it's a long story. Angel and Cordelia relieve them. Cordelia wants to talk. Angel says no. Next thing, Gwen and Gunn are waking Angel and Cordelia who fell asleep. Manny is dead, his body torn apart. Gwen says the beast probably took the orb from his body. Angel realizes Gwen knows more than she has let on. She reveals what she saw the beast do to her client. Cordelia says it's impossible that the beast snuck in, spiked their drinks, and quietly got into the panic room and killed Manny. She thinks it's an inside job. Gunn thinks it's Connor, but Angel says he doesn't smell him. Cordelia points out he didn't smell his spiked drink or hers. Gwen remembers she has security cameras in every room. Angel tells Gunn to call the hotel and tell them what they learnt. He says they will check out the Connor lead as well. The power went out and there is nothing on the tapes. Gwen discovers the power was cut moments before the watch change. She says it's definitely an inside job.

At the hotel, Gwen and Cordelia are still going at it. Lorne has discovered the ritual the beast has to perform. Since one of the totems is metal, Gwen says if she can get close enough she can melt it. Wesley and Fred have an idea as to how to defeat the beast. They will open a portal and back it into it. Gunn isn't happy, but Fred tells him it's the only way. Cordelia has the vision again. She sees more, a massacre. She doesn't hear the beast, but she does feel that whoever he's talking to is someone she knows. Angel thinks it's Connor. Cordelia says they have to bring him into this, that he's their best chance at finding the beast. There's a knock on Connor's door. It's the beast.

The beast easily defeats Connor, hurtling him out the window. He crashes to the ground just as Angel and the others arrive. They think it has to do the ritual in the place where Connor lives. They rush upstairs to fight the beast, leaving Cordelia to tend to Connor. The beast begins the ritual. The gang attack and it doesn't go well. Cordelia gets more of the vision, hearing the beast. Wesley and Fred open the portal. On the street, Cordelia and Connor see the sun start to dim. They push the beast into the portal, but the ritual is complete and darkness falls. Cordelia gets more of the vision. The beast returns and tells Angel he told him before they need not be enemies. Cordelia realizes her vision is of the beast talking to Angelus in the past. That the answer is among you referred to Angel. The beast swallows the orb. He says they'll meet again and flies off. They go down to the street and Connor and Cordelia. Cordelia says the beast knows Angelus. That she was having a memory, not a vision. That as a higher being, she experienced all of Angel's life. Her memory faded, but the powers jogged it. Wesley thinks the beast has some power over Angel, controlling his actions possibly and making him forget. Cordelia says she thinks all that happened is just the first part of the beast's plan. Wesley says the only way to defeat the beast is to get Angelus.

Analysis

A friend of mine loved this episode. But he admitted he loved any episode which featured spandex. And, frankly, that's pretty well all this episode had going for it. It wasn't bad. It just didn't have much substance. Maybe I'm spoiled by last week's incredible relationship episode, but I was really let down this week.

Normally, I don't give advice to people who know a whole lot more about producing and writing a tv show than I do. And the folks at ME definitely fit into that category. But I've just got to say something. Stop trying to set up a romance for Angel. It didn't work with Kate, it never went anywhere with Jhiera (aren't we all happy she never showed up again), it didn't work with Cordelia (face it, that was a romance that came out of nowhere and never made much sense), and it won't work with Gwen. Angel had his big love, Buffy. Leave it there. Leave romance up to Fred and Gunn and Wesley and Lilah. Those relationships are intense, but the Angel relationships just never achieve lift off. He's a character doomed to romantic failure - that's the curse. So why keep having him try?

I think this was a poorly constructed episode. A lot of illogical or at least hard to believe things happen just to keep the plot moving. For example, the drive to and from Semkhet is 4 hours each way. That's basically a day of travel. Another four hours pass with Gunn and Gwen on watch. So we know at least 12 hours passed between the death of Semkhet and the attack on Manny. Only Manny was in the cave where Semkhet was. Why did it take the beast so long to track him down? You'd think he could do that in a matter of minutes? Then there was the blood at Gwen's place. Gunn specifically refers to Angel's drugged drink as blood. Why does she have blood or are we supposed to believe Angel walks around with a thermos of the stuff? Then we've got Fred and Wesley taking days to come up with a plan they'd already used before. And since the beast is obviously capable of interdimensional travel (how'd it get to Earth in the first place, huh?) what makes them think it will work. Worst of all, you've got Angel being petty and Cordelia being jealous because he goes off with Gwen. She slept with Connor. A road trip with the spandex queen really doesn't seem that evil in comparison. And she knows there won't be any sex - Angel still has the curse to contend with. Both of them were being pretty petty and that really isn't in their characters.

It's interesting that Gunn's animosity toward Wesley seemed to lessen this episode, although Gwen notices it, and his animosity toward Connor grew. His obsession with blaming Connor seemed strange and appeared to be contrived just to keep throwing this big red herring at us. It's so obvious that I have to think no one believed it. You've got to be a lot more subtle if you really hope to confuse people. This was one of those rare occasions when a Buffyverse show didn't seem to trust it's audience to get it. Another example of this was Lorne and Cordelia both giving Angel the 'suck it up and be a leader' speech. We know Angel's big flaw is his morose character. You don't have to tell us. Certainly not twice an episode.

Some quick final thoughts. Last week, I suggested Angel consider an NBA career. He might also make a living as an artist. I guess if you're practically immortal you can develop a lot of talents. It occurs to me that Angel may really be angry because Cordelia and Connor didn't tell him they had been together. Maybe the deceit bothers him more than the act and if Cordelia had confessed he might have handled it better. It was nice to see the tribute to Glenn Quinn at the end.

Lines of the week:

"Shut the door on your way out." - Angel making it clear he doesn't want company.

"You're a champion. You don't get personal days." - Lorne on Angel's responsibilities.

"I know enough to go to Tahiti." - Gwen on the practical application of knowledge.

"So lead." - Cordelia pretty much summarizing what Lorne said.

"Not having the best week." - Angel with understatement.

"Is the world about to end." - Gwen asking the question of the moment.

"The evil ones can't pull it off. It gets camp." - Lorne on lamé.

"Where were you when they taught stealth in superpower school." - Gwen not quite getting the snappy dialogue.

"As far as evil plans go it doesn't suck." - Wesley admiring the beast.

"You're supertramp." - Cordelia making with the catty.

"We'll meet again. Soon." - The beast getting prophetic.

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