Meanwhile, the object of Angel's obsession is huddled in her apartment bleeding and shaking when Lindsay arrives. The lawyer with a teeny tiny heart of gold plated lead is freaked out when he sees that Darla has smashed every reflective surface in the place, and tenderly tends to her wounds. Darla is a little on the completely manic side, as she asks Lindsay if he has anyone. A girlfriend. A boyfriend. Lindsay shakes his head no, and she bemoans the fact that they're all alone. After 150 years with Angelus, she realises she never knew him. But now they're soulmates.
Flashback to the Virginia Colony in 1609 where a very human, very terminal Darla is being bled by a chirurgeon while veiled nuns look on. The room is nice--and it has a view, one she'd rather not contemplate as she lays dying, and she asks that the shutters be closed against the sun. Their death vigil is interrupted by a robed priest. "I didn't ask for a priest. Who invited him here?" Darla rasps. "You did," says the priest from the shadowy recesses of his hood. "You cried out for me last night in your delirium."
Gosh. That voice seems familiar, doesn't it?
"I don't remember. Do you even know what I am?"
"A woman of some property. No husband, no inheritance. Yes. I know what you are."
"I'm a whore."
"Well, yes, that too," he notes and then dismisses the doctor and nuns before revealing he's not priest--but the Master. Fruit-punch mouth and all. He vows that while God never did anything for her, he will be her savior. She almost smiles as he drains her
Back in the present, Angel is having a staff meeting. Cordy, Wes, and Gunn are not so thrilled with Angel's latest plan: go on the offensive. He's a bit vague one exactly how to do that. "Come on guys. We are a detective agency. We investigate things. That's what we're good at."
"That's what we suck at," Cordy points out, ever ready to rain on her boss' parade. " Let's face it, unless there's a website called www.Oh-By-the-way-we-have-Darla-stashed-here.com, we're pretty much out of luck."
(Or Angel could try www.ohbythewaywevegotdarlastashedhere.com/. Oh come on, you knew that was gonna happen, right?)
Gunn however comes to the rescue with a rare bit of logic: follow the money. The lawyers have to be putting Darla up somewhere, right? So all they have to do is find out where they house out-of-towners. Angel tells them to check out places with a view. Darla was always one for the view.
Flashback to London in 1760. Coifed and painted, and looking quite a bit like Marie Antoinette, Darla presents her latest toy to the Master. Angelus is still young, and cocky as hell, and Darla beams with pride and quite a bit of lust. Angelus, however, isn't too taken with the Order of Aurelius idea of flash digs--namely, the London sewers. After the Master starts to beat the crap out of Angelus for his impudence, Angelus gives Darla an ultimatum: stay in the sewers with her sire, or come back to the world above and linen, silks, and the world he can give her. To the Master's dismay, Darla leaves with the battered but triumphant Angelus. The Master sniffs and gives them a century--tops.
Back in the good old 21st century, Angel is disturbed to note that the name Darla, meaning 'dear one', didn't come into common usage until a century after she was born. He had never even known her real name. Wesley interrupts him, and Angel asks if they've made any progress on finding Darla's digs. Nope. Nada. However Wesley points out that if Wolfram & Hart's sole purpose for bringing her back was to keep Angel focussed on their and not on what their left hand was doing, it's working.
Speaking of left hands, Lindsay takes Darla back to the office, where's she's still on edge. Holland Manners appears, and pulls Lindsay outside for a moment, upset that Lindsay brought her back to the office when the plan called for her to stay out once contact with Angel had been made. Lindsay is worried about Darla's mental and emotional state, but Holland isn't surprised to learn how fragile she is--in fact, he's only slightly vexed that she's falling apart quite so quickly, and shrugs and says they'll just have to accelerate the timetable. Lindsay is confused, and then concerned as Holland advises him to remove anything sharp from his office.
Flashback to 1860, where the newly-made and mad as a hatter Drusilla is upset because she's lonely. Darla could care less, and it shows, but Angelus dotes on his crazy little girl, and suggests she make herself a treat. Dru is giddy at the prospect, and just then a bespectacled young man clutching a folio of paper stumbles into them, choking on sobs. Gee, he seems awfully familiar too--espeically since we just saw this footage forty minuets earlier...Darla and Angelus wander off, arm in arm wondering if she'll find a good one. "I found you, didn't I?" Darla teases Angelus as Dru trails after young William.
Back at the ranch, Angel is skeptical as Cordy presents Angel with the likeliest location their research as turned up.
"It has a view," Cordy points out.
"That's not enough." Angel scowls.
"And Berber carpeting."
"Nah, we need to narrow it down further. Keep looking."
"And my sister is living in unit 319."
"You don't have a sister," Angel calls back over his shoulder as he walks away from her desk.
"Sure I do. My older--way older, like 400 years older--blonde sister Darla, no last name." Angel's interest is piqued as Cordy turns on the Acting Classes. "I've been desperately trying to find her because" dramatic pause "mom and dad are in the coma. Sue, the property manager was - very helpful." Cordy turns to Wesley, grinning. "She even cried."
Angel is all set to go, but Wesley points out that it's daytime, and Angel really shouldn't be so hot to burst into flames. So Wes and Gunn follow up the lead, while Angel is left to stew.
Meanwhile, Lindsay comes back to his office to find Darla staring out the window at the beautiful day. She asks him who she is--is she the human girl who died whose name she can't even remember? Or is she the four hundred year old murderous fiend who would rip Lindsay in half?
"Both," Lindsay says, and then frowns. "Neither. You're just you. Whatever that is."
Darla surprises him by asking him why he hasn't;t kissed her yet. Lindsay admits that he didn't know if she wanted him to. Darla seems amused by this--she had never hesitated when she wanted something, so why should he? He kisses her softly, and then again, and she smiles. "That's nice," she purrs, "but it's not me you want to screw."
"What?" Lindsay has lost the thread here. Could be all the blood rushing to parts of his body other than his brain.
"It's him. You all think you can use me to get to Angel."
"Maybe," Lindsay concedes, and then kisses her again--passionately.
The kind of kiss that if this were cable would then lead to immediate nudity and cheesy music. However, this being Angel, it leads to Darla biting Lindsay with her blunt human teeth. He jumps back, shaken as she asks once again who she is. Lindsay assures her that he knows what she's going through. "Nobody understands," Darla raves. "Nobody can understand. I can feel this body dying, Lindsey. I can feel it decaying moment by moment. It's being eaten away by this thing inside of it. It's a cancer, this soul!"
Speaking of souls, back in 1898 Rumania, Darla is royally pissed that her beautiful Angelus has been infected by a filthy disgusting soul, and she's taken Dru and Spike to the gypsy camp to force the Kalderesh to undo their spell. Darla promises to spare the leader's family if he'll do it, but Spike got peckish and ate them, negating the threat. Furious Darla snaps they man's neck and orders Spike and Dru to raze the camp and show no mercy.
Back at the Hyperion, Wes and Gunn show Angel photos of Darla's trashed apartment. Angel's convinced that it's Darla's conscience at work--and that she's going through he same crisis he went through when the Rom restored his human soul. Wesley is skeptical, but Angel's convinced that Darla won't go through it alone, the way he had to. As they're talking, the phone rings--it's a terrified Darla, calling Angle from Lindsay's office. As she begs Angel to help her, Lindsay returns, followed by a security guard. Lindsay asks Darla to please hang up, while the guard asks if everything's okay. Lindsay tells the guard to leave, but apparently the guard has other orders. Darla flings the phone at Lindsay,a and tries to make a run for it, but the guard pulls his gun. Angel can only listen in on the phone, helpless, as Darla struggles with the guard, whose gun goes off.
Next thing we see is Lindsay--grim--as he goes over the security videotape that clearly shows the guard dying, and Lindsay dragging Darla out the door. Holland seems nonplussed by Lindsay's betrayal, however. The guard's family has been notified, and Darla didn't get far--only two blocks. Lindsay asks if she's safe, but Manners stonewalls him, and tells him that the project has been terminated and they'll start fresh in the morning.
Back at the Hyperion, Gunn asks Angel if he needs him, but Angel's determined to go alone. Wesley points out that Angel wandered for a hundred years before becoming a vampire Xena, seeking redemption. Angle says he knows--he wasn't seeking redemption. He sought Darla. Flashback to the Boxer Rebellion. As the city burns, Darla returns from dinner and is grabbed from behind by a filthy, slightly unhinged Angel. He tracked her, Spike and Dru to China, and wants her to give him a second chance. He can get the whirlwind back, he promises, as they kiss passionately.
As Lindsay stalks through the underground parking garage dialling his cellphone in one hand, He is grabbed him behind as Angel wraps a cord around his neck and lifts him up onto tiptoes. Gasping for breath, Lindsay hands him the cellphone just as Cordy's voice can be heard on the other end "Angel Investigations, we help the helpless. How can we help you? Hello? Hello?"
Angel loosens the cord and Lindsay drops back down to his feet. "They're gonna kill her. You got to stop it." Angel is dubious. "She needs you. Please."
It was the please that did it. Angel jerks the cord again. "You're a liar."
Lindsay gives him the address of an abandonned bank that W&H use for "disposal" and Angle swears that if Darla's not there, he'll come back for Lindsay. Hell, he might just come back for him anyway.
Bathed, changed, and looking more like the Angelus of old, Angel walks through the riots in China calling Darla's name. He comes upon a white family cowering in the dark, a tiny baby in their arms, and Angel kills a Chinese man about to attack them without thinking. Dazed and confused, he backs away from the terrified English only to run into a giddy Darla who is in the mood for Missionaries. They are joined by Spike and Dru, who seem not at all surprised that their sire has joined them after his two year absense. Dru is so proud of her little Spike for killing a slayer, but Angel is dour and grim, and wants to leave. Dru, however, picks up the scent of the missionaries. Angel, slightly frantic, tries to reassert his authority and orders them to go, but Darla senses he's covering somehow.
Meanwhile, as W&H's goons drag the pale and terrified Darla out of the back of an unmarked van into the concrete underground vault, Darla is crying out for Angel. Back in China, Darla confronts Angel. She went back and found the missionaries, and killed them all, but brought the cooing little baby back with her. It's simple. To prove he has changed, all Angel has to do is eat the baby right there in front of her.
At the bank, Darla's prayers appear to be answered as Angel pulls up in the angelmobile. Darla is thrown against a wall, and cracks her head as Angel starts beating the hell out of the assassins. When the last guy is down for the count, Angels bends down to find Darla unconscious.
Meanwhile, Lindsay is angry when he spots the "guard" from that afternoon in the reception area, in plain clothes, shaking Holland's hand. Holland sees Lindsay. When Holland follows Lindsay into his office, Lindsay confronts Holland, livid that Holland played him. Holland insists he had to, because it needed to be real. Lindsay and Darla had to believe it, so that Angel would believe. Lindsay laughs, saying that if he thinks that Angel's gonna have a moment of "perfect happiness" with Darla now, he doesn't know Angel very well. Manners says he knows that--and that's not the plan.
Lindsay is bewildered. "Then what do you expect him to do?"
"What he will do. What he must do. Save her soul."
At the Hyperion, Darla wakes up on the red couch, Angel bending over her concerned. He dismisses the Fang Gang, and Darla tells Angle how lucky she is to have him--someone who understands. She realises now how alone he must have been back then, but he doesn't care now. All that matters is that she's okay. She smiles. She knew he'd help her. "You'll make the pain stop, won't you?" she asks, and he assures her he will.
She bares her throat, and Angel backs away.
Darla begs him to make her what she was--make her a vampire again, but Angel refuses. Her humanity is a gift, he tries to explain. But all she can see is pain, disease, and death. "I released you from this world once, I gave you eternal life. Now it's time for you to return the favor."
"Favor. Is that what you think?" Angel is amazed by her lack of comprehension. "You think you did me a favor? You damned me." "If it's such a punishment, take out your revenge, pay me back!" She's frantic, and then at the look in his eyes, asks "Please."
Darla closes her eyes.
Back in the Boxer Rebellion, coifed Darla snaps "What do you mean you can't? You won't!"
Angel however cannot bring himself to kill the child. "You disgust me," Darla says, and Angel grabs the basket and leaps through the French Doors out into the night.
"Darla, wait!" Angle calls after 21st Century Darla as she runs for the doors.
"No!" she cries, furious and hurt and afraid. "Don't look for me again."
Angel lets her go.
Review: Building off of the excellent lead-in from Buffy's flashback extravaganza Fool For Love, Darla suffers from only one flaw: at this point, one has to wonder what Wolfram & Hart's plan ever was. It's ambiguous for ambiguity's sake, tot he point where the audience can no longer tell what was part of the plan, and what was a departure, and I for one wonder if the writers even had it clear in their heads exactly what W&H was thinking when they brought Darla back from the dead. However, the Angel/Darla/Lindsay is so much fun that I don't much mind it. And it's always possible that as the Darla arc draws to a close, all the loose ends will be tied up in a tight little bow. The journey is always more important than the destination, right? Still, I keep hoping that even if we never get to see the map, the writers actually do have one. Somewhere. Lindsay's falling for Darla seems to have been inevitable -- yet I for one can't get over the incredible heat and passion in their one lone romantic scene, and Darla's observation that Lindsay hates Angel just as much as he loves her is what gives that sequence resonance and depth. Minear does a great job with his directorial debut, and Benz in particularly gives an excellent performance as both the 21st Century Darla, and the flashback Darla's as we see how her relationship with Angel grew and changed over the centuries. The lack of Fang Gang is made up for by the scenes they are in, as Wes, Cordy and Gunn all get excellent lines to deliver, and they deliver them with aplomb. I especially loved Cordy's description of finding her long lost "sister", and Gunn and Wesley's recreational B&E. Huge kudos to Christian Kane as Lindsay as well, who despite desperately needing a haircut in ways I cannot begin to describe, reminds us why we love Lindsay and his poor battered morally ambiguous soul. Holland Manners, alas, continues to be nothing but a plot device. But that looks like that all may change, and soon...
My rating: 8/10
Next week, it's a caper. Quite a caper. And it looks like an especially interesting ride for Kate...