Angel - Calvary

Summary

We're at the shaman's. A guard comes hurtling in. Wesley, Connor, and Cordelia enter. They tell him Angel's soul is missing. He says he has no need for it. He can't tell them where it is but says it is still in the container. If the container is broken, the soul can be returned or destroyed. He knows no way to return the soul without the container. At the hotel, Fred and Gunn are upstairs and they can hear and see Angelus on the monitor. Gunn is preparing a flame thrower. Fred realizes Angelus knows they lost the soul. Gunn says they should never have let the shaman in. Fred says he pushed for it and Gunn says maybe he did wrong. Angelus says that would be like when he hit Fred. He says Wesley would never have hit her, being proper and British. And that girls love the accent. He says he had an Irish brogue and he can use it on Fred when he rapes her to death. Gunn shuts off the monitor. Fred says it's just words, that Angelus knows he will never get out. Lilah appears in the basement, with a crowbar. She points out he's in cage. He notes she looks a wreck. She wants Angelus to kill the beast. She says it killed everyone. Not just the office staff, but every Wolfram & Hart employee except her. Angelus rides her about losing Wesley.

Fred tells Gunn he shouldn't have attacked Wesley. Gunn says he knows Wesley was kissing Fred. Fred says it just happened. Gunn says she let it. He says he has never felt so much for anyone. That he would do anything for her. He says he can't do it anymore. The others return from the shaman. They tell them what happened. Gunn turns the monitor on and sees Lilah. They run downstairs. Gunn shoots Angelus with a tranquiliser while Lilah flees into the sewers. Wesley pursues her. Gunn tells Connor to stay in case it is a setup and there are others. Gunn has Connor check the cage. They wonder how Lilah knew Angelus was there, whether she took his soul, and whether she cut a deal with the beast. Wesley catches up with Lilah. He sees her wound from the beast isn't healing. She says taking Angel's soul caused ripples, she still knows people who like ripples. She realizes it was Wesley's idea. She says she didn't intend to release Angelus, the crowbar was just to convince him she was desperate. She just wants her life back. All her possessions. She says that selfishness is why they wouldn't have worked out. He says there are many reasons they wouldn't have worked. There's a long pause, he picks up a book. Lilah says she was looking for information about the beast and he says there's nothing in it. He opens it and sees a passage on the beast. He says his copy is identical, but has no such passage. Lilah says it's not a local copy, she got in on the pandimensional black market. He wonders whether other references to the beast were removed from books in this dimension.

In the basement, the gang are wondering whether Lilah killed Manny and the priestesses. Fred doesn't think she could do that. Gunn wonders whether the beast has minions doing his dirty work. Angelus awakes and calls them morons. He says the beast is the minion, that it has a boss. He says it's obvious. The beast he knew had brawn, but not much in the way of brains. Now it's rain of fire, destroying the Ra-tet, blotting out the sun - clearly something smarter and scarier is pulling the strings.

Later, Lilah and Wesley enter the hotel and the others immediately ask where the soul is. But Lilah didn't take it. They ask how she got out from Wolfram & Hart and she just says she got lucky and looks at Wesley. Gunn continues to think she has a deal with the beast. Wesley says she was just gathering intelligence from Angelus. Gunn reveals what they learnt about the beast being controlled. Wesley reveals the book. They realize something has wiped all reference to the beast. This explains why Angel didn't remember and Angelus does. Angel's mind was present when the spell was cast, but not Angelus'. Wesley tells Fred they have to compare the new book with the information from Lorne's brain. Gunn goes downstairs to guard Angelus. Fred starts after him, but Cordelia says to let him go. They need to focus on getting Angel's soul back so they can fight whatever it is the beast is working for.

Downstairs, Angelus is working Gunn saying he likes that Gunn sticks to his strengths, he knows his place. He says they are on a streak: letting LA burn, losing the sun, demons taking over the town - but at least he has the love of a good woman, only he doesn't. He reveals even Angel figured out they killed the professor and Gunn lets slip it was him. Angelus says too bad Fred wasn't grateful for it. He says she went for the brooding English guy. That for the first time, Gunn wasn't dark enough. Gunn fires the flamethrower, driving Angelus back and making him laugh.

The research is not going well. Wesley tells Fred they will find a way. He says what happened before wasn't what he wanted and asks her to tell Gunn that. She says he won't listen to her, they split. He asks if it was because of him and she says things hadn't been right for a while. Wesley says he wishes he could be sorry. Lilah and Cordelia come in and interrupt, asking if there has been progress. Wesley says he'll relieve Gunn and see if he can get anything from Angelus. As he walks out, Lorne enters. He has nothing. Lilah says they need to sic Angelus on the beast. Cordelia says they will find a way to return his soul. Lilah thinks they're dreaming. Cordelia says it comes down to fear. She says Lilah is too scared to hope. Lilah says her eyes are open, that the beast's boss will end life as we know it. Cordelia has a vision of how to reensoul Angel.

Fred goes to the basement to get Wesley. Angelus mocks her, talking about her time in Pylea. He makes fun of Wesley. Then he reveals that Wesley and Lilah were together, for months. Fred laughs, then realizes it is true. Gunn and Connor are attempting to dig up a soul eater, buried by the Chumash a couple hundred years ago. They need its skull for the spell. They find it, only it's still alive and attacks. It almost gets Connor's soul, but Gunn cuts off its hand, then its head, and keeps whacking away at it until it stops moving.

The beast makes an offering to an unseen being who is likely its boss. Cordelia and Fred have been making the necessities for the spell, which required getting week old Buffalo wings. Connor and Gunn arrive and Cordelia says she needs the skull, not the soft bits. Wesley tells them to take it into the kitchen and remove the flesh and soft parts. Lilah enters and she and Lorne immediately go at each other. Lorne walks out leaving Wesley and Lilah alone. Wesley is surprised she hasn't escaped. He realizes she has nowhere to go. She says being in it for yourself means you're always on the winning team. Fred comes in with a question from Cordelia. She looks awkward at interrupting them. Both women walk away.

The gang begin the ensouling spell. Angelus points out it is a bad idea to use black magic to restore his soul. He tries to talk them out of it. Lilah and Fred squabble. He claims Angel let them take his soul because he knew they would lose and wanted out. He says they are so obsessed with their own issues they can't see the world to save it. The spell seems to work, but they aren't sure. Gunn says to have Lorne read him. He sings "Raindrops keep falling on my head". Lorne says it's him. Fred goes to let him out, but Angel says no. He fears the spell may be temporary. He tells them to stop the backbiting and to focus on getting out of it alive. He says he never gave up on them. He tells Wesley and Fred to hit the books, Lilah to make coffee, Lorne to look for the beast's boss, and Connor and Gunn to work damage control. They leave and he's alone with Cordelia. She says she won't take orders from a guy afraid to come out of his cage. She believes he won't come out because he's ashamed and can't face the others or her. She says they understand Angelus is not Angel. She tells him to leave him and what he did inside the cage. She opens it. He comes out and turns into Angelus. She hides in the cage, he grabs her, slams her head against the bars, and she falls down. He shouts 'stay down' and goes upstairs.

Angelus, pretending to be Angel, finds Fred. He asks for a hug, but there is a sudden crash and when Fred turns he is gone. Lilah dropped the tray with the coffee. She says it's her inner megalomaniac rebelling at making coffee. Angelus appears and says he has a mission, he has to save the world. He dashes off. Fred comes in and asks if anyone has seen Cordelia. We see her in the cage on the monitor. The gang are heading out after Angelus and Wesley says they aren't looking to capture him. Angelus is roaming the streets, but can't find any humans.

Cordelia and Lilah are left in the hotel. Angelus appears and Lilah shoots at him to no avail. Cordelia tries the crossbow. Angelus catches the bolt and hits her with it. He gives Lilah a 10 second head start. Cordelia fires at him again. He says not to be jealous, Lilah's the warmup and he'll save the good stuff for her. The others realize Angelus has doubled back. Angelus catches Lilah. She tries to deal with him, but he's not interested. She manages to knock him downstairs and flees. Cordelia grabs her. Lilah says Angelus will kill them. Cordelia says she knows and stabs Lilah. She says that's why she let him out.

Analysis

Amazing, isn't it, how just seconds of Wesley/Lilah have more impact than any number of Cordelia/Angel or Fred/Gunn or even Fred/Wesley scenes. I knew she'd be back and I'm really glad to see her. And I'm also glad to see that my 100-1 chance Cordelia is actually now the leading candidate for the theft of the soul. Not that I like being wrong, but it does show you this series can still surprise even the most ardent of fans.

When Lilah talks of her selfishness and that's why things wouldn't have worked out, you know she's grasping at straws. That's a little thing, a thing which can be ignored or corrected or worked around. She's still yearning for Wesley. We see that all through the episode. She does comb her hair and put on lipstick - not for Angelus but for Wesley. She is clearly angry when she sees him with Fred and tries to work away at that budding relationship. And when Wesley tells her there were many reasons their relationship was doomed, there is just silence. A long and uncomfortable silence which only ends when Wesley abruptly changes the topic.

When Lilah and Wesley show up and reveal what they've learnt, Lilah takes a shot at Fred saying she's surprised Fred didn't think of it. There's a stare from Fred at this point. It's obvious she's wondering why the personal attack on her. Later, when she and Cordelia walk in on Fred and Wesley she comments on how he's trying to make progress and looks at Fred. Below, Angelus can hear all this. He realizes this makes Fred ripe for the revelation about Lilah. She'll be quick to believe it because it will explain things. Also, she will realize that Lilah still cares for Wesley.

Wesley asks Lilah why she hasn't fled and she says it's because she has nowhere to go. But you have to wonder whether she isn't there because Wesley is there. She repeats that she's in it for herself, but surely the most sensible thing for herself would be flight - maybe to another dimension. She wants to be around Wesley, at least until she can tell if anything will happen with Fred. This scene is ended with Fred breaking it up, paralleling the earlier scene between Fred and Wesley which Lilah broke up. And Fred is uncomfortable, clearly thinking more than a casual conversation was happening. Wesley's relationship with both these women is so intense he simply can't have a casual conversation with either one of them. It's interesting that scene ends with both women walking away - in opposite directions - and Wesley left alone in the middle.

Lilah's wound seems significant to me. It's a mark of connection to the beast, but it's also a pseudostigmata. It's also interesting that she wouldn't let Wesley look at the wound. I still have that pregnancy theory kicking around. The title of this episode, Calvary, talks to the crucifixion. So who was crucified. Angel lost his soul, but Lilah is the one physically wounded (twice once the old wound from the beast and a second time by Cordelia at the end of the episode). And Cordelia may have been taken over by some demonic force. While the Christian parallels aren't exact, they are there. Which means we will likely see a resurrection - presumably the rebirth of Angel. If the parallel holds, we'll see Angel denied by one of his disciples and another betraying him - presumably Cordelia.

Of course, there is no guarantee the person we see is Cordelia, or is Cordelia uncontrolled and unaltered. After all, she has been very different since her return. She had no memory, then she went off with Connor and had sex with him. That seemed strange at the time, but in retrospect may have been a clue that this wasn't the same Cordelia we knew from before.

Cordelia talks about the need to focus, to stay together and on target. She may be misleading the gang, but if so like Angelus she lies with the truth. Angelus is attacking relationships throughout this episode. He points out to Lilah that Wesley has abandoned her for Fred. He points out to Gunn that Fred has abandoned him for Wesley. And he tells Fred that Wesley has betrayed her with Lilah. As Angelus says, they are so obsessed with their own issues they can't see the world to save it.

Angel really seems like Angel at first. So, was the spell a masking spell which confused Lorne. Or was it really temporary as he feared. Or did it get broken by Angel leaving the cage? That last would explain why the apparently evil Cordelia was so keen on getting him out of there.

Some quick final thoughts. A little continuity happened with the reference to the Chumash. They were the tribe who messed up the Buffy Thanksgiving in Pangs.

Lines of the week:

"Must acquire better guards." - Something the shaman is a week late in working out.

"I can use it on you when I rape you to death." - Angelus on his Irish brogue.

"It's just words." - The Fred mantra.

"Evil doesn't have to mean sloppy." -Angelus on personal grooming.

"Because you let it.' - Gunn blaming the victim.

"I'm selfish that way. That's why we wouldn't have worked out." - Lilah, still hoping.

"There are many reasons we wouldn't have worked out, Lilah." - Wesley, killing hope.

"Morons. The big rock doesn't have minions. It is the minion." - Angelus with a really scary idea.

"I'm surprised you didn't think of that." - Lilah taking a shot at Fred.

"You just weren't dark enough." - Angelus working all the angles on Gunn.

"Except the part about banging Lilah for the past six months." - Angelus letting one more cat out of the bag.

"Sometimes you just gotta keep whackin'" - Gunn on defeating evil.

"Dumpster diving for week old Buffalo wings." - Cordelia on the fun part of her job.

"People, this never goes well." - Angelus on using black magic.

"Leave him and what you did inside the cage." - Cordelia possibly saying the opposite of what we think.

"Why do you think I let him out, you stupid bitch." - Cordelia surprising us all.

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