Angel has a thing for convents.
Wes calls Gunn, and the Fang Gang are off to vanquish evil. But not before Cordy notes that Angel's been acting weird lately. This weird behaviour is made quite clear as they attack the thrall demon's acolytes in St. Bridget's and Angel is just wailing on this one guy, leaving Gunn to fight alone. Demon gets toasted, acolytes wander off, and Angel goes for a walk downtown. As he's passing through a crowd of clones, food vendors, and folks out enjoying the night, he spots a very familiar blonde.
Darla. We flash back to London, 1860, as Darla gives Angelus his first glimpse of Drusilla, out walking with her sisters and parents. Upon learning Drusilla's a virgin seer, Angelus is tickled pink and Darla is impressed by her fledgling's imagination when it comes to torture. Flash back to the promenade, where Angel tries to catch up with Darla, but he's lost her.
Meanwhile, back at the Hyperion, Cordy and Wes are interviewing a new client. Apparently the man's wife is regularly abducted by aliens--however, he's beginning to suspect something's up when he finds a hotel receipt in her pocket from a day when she was supposed to be in the farthest reaches of the Galaxy. Angel arrives and is curt with the customer,r putting Cordy on the warpath as she reminds him that they have bills to pay and nothing to pay them with, and then gets completely creeped out when Angel starts smelling her hair.
Our man Angel is losing it. He apologises to Cordy, and finally spills that he saw Darla the night before. Wes and Cordy, having come onto the scene long after Angel staked his sire and don't even know what she looks like, are concerned that Angel's losing his mind, but Angel's adamant.
Meanwhile, Lindsay and Darla are gloating over their progress. Wolfram & Hart apparently have given up on the idea of kill Angel, and now want to turn him back to the dark side. Darla, as his sire, is their instrument. Darla and Lindsay apparently have quite a bond going--lust, and mutual hatred of Angel's sweet, sappy soul. Darla wants her boy Angelus back. To that end, Lindsay makes sure Kate gets a file with Angel's new whereabouts. Kate's been exiled from downtown, and all her old colleagues and friends have abandoned her, but she's so obsessed she doesn't really seem to care any longer.
Angel, Wes, and Cordy are at the Franklin hotel, spying on Mrs. Alien Abductee, who is telling a good looking guy who is definitely not her husband that the aliens abduct her when the mood hits and the mood hit pretty hard that morning right about the time her husband left for work. Cordelia, dressed up in a cocktail waitress outfit, makes sure that last bit gets on tape, and Angel is listening in behind a potted plant when he decides that paycheque or no paycheque, this is not what he signed on for. Angel confronts Mrs. Alien Abductee and tells her that her husband knows she's having an affair, and to work it out. Cordy and Wes are shocked, but Angel's not in the mood. However, he freezes when he notices a Darla in the hotel lobby.
Cordy and Wes follow bewildered as Angel grabs Darla and starts demanding to know what her game is--but Darla, who calls herself DeEtta Kramer, acts frightened and angry. Cordy and Wes think this is just further proof that their boss is wacko, and then just as Security arrives to escort them out, Angel gets the real kicker--
"DeEtta Kramer" steps into a patch of sunlight. She's human.
Cordy and Wes are humiliated when they return to the Hyperion, and Cordy's on the furious side, but Angel is even more convinced that evil's afoot and orders them to find out everything they can about DeEtta Kramer while he pays a visit to Caritas. After belting out the angriest version of "Wang Chung" ever preserved for all time on film, Angel demands that the host tell him where Darla is and what she's up to. But the MC shakes his head, telling Angel to "let her go, bro. That way lies badness."
Angel refuses, and getting DeEtta Kramer's address from Cordy and Wes, who berates Cordy for not standing up to Angel once she's hung up the phone. Worried, they call Gunn. At Chez Kramer, Darla is eating with her "husband", a method actor who really has no idea what he's in for.
At the Hyperion, Cordy and Wes tell Gunn about the soul clause, and Gunn's a little taken aback. Okay, a lot taken aback. Just when he was getting used to the idea that he was working for a good vampire, he finds out there's a loophole. Flashback to the convent in 1960, as Darla arrives to find Angelus giddy as a kid in a candy store after slaughtering the nuns and novices, and Dru cracked as a china plate that's been dropped from the Eiffel Tower sitting on the floor babbling. Darla wants to know why she's still alive, and Angelus fills her in on the plan--make Dru one of them. The ultimate torture. Darla realises his capacity for evil dwarfs even her own, and is of course turned on by it. They start ripping each other's clothes off right in front of Dru, who is laughing an weeping at the same time.
Sensing Angel watching outside the Kramer household, Darla picks up the phone and calmly dials 911. As she starts crying and screaming into the phone that a man had broken into her house, her "husband" watches confused. Hanging up the phone, Darla tells the W&H goon to "do it." Goon morphs into game face and starts snacking on hubby. He backhands Darla to "make it look real" and she starts screaming and outside, Angel hears the sound of breaking china and screams. He busts through the door to find Darla crouching over the dead actor, wailing, just as two cops come in with guns drawn.
Angel's pissed. Telling Darla that she's pay for this, he gets out of the house, cops on his trail. Kate arrives on the scene, and is taking Darla's statement. Tearfully, she tells Kate that Angel had been stalking her for weeks, and thought she was some woman from his past named "Darla". He showed up at the house, and she told him "to just stay out, that I was calling the police. But he just broke in!" Kate is, of course, now even more motivated to find Angel and bring him down. She steps away from "DeEtta" to talk to some uniforms about getting any security tapes or eye-witness accounts from the Franklin Hotel, and doesn't see Darla snatched by Angel.
Kate shows up at the Hyperion with a fleet of uniforms to search the place. Cordy, Gunn and Wes stand up for Angel, all doubts about their boss disappearing when Kate tells them what DeEtta told her and they realise that it's impossible--as a vampire, Angel couldn't have gotten into the house unless he was invited, or the real owners were dead. Kate however doesn't really give a damn any more--she's too upset about the innocent people that get hurt around Angel, such as "Mr. Kramer" and if they're right, the real owners of the house. It doesn't matter one bit to her that Angel hasn't killed anyone--the fact is that those people would still be alive if they hadn't been caught in the crossfire.
Meanwhile, Angel has taken Darla to St. Bridget's. At first she's still pulling the weeping DeEtta Kramer act, until finally she drops it completely and says she's not going to scream, and starts kissing Angel passionately.
However, now Angel knows for sure that Darla was what W&H raised in that box. And he wants to know why. Darla tells him that she doesn't really care about W&H's plan--all that matters to her is that she gets her boy Angelus back. But Angel tries to get it through her skull that it's never going to happen. The only thing that can activate the curse is a moment of pure happiness, a moment where his tortured soul is truly at peace. The only woman who has ever truly made him happy was Buffy--Darla doesn't stand a chance. Ever. She never did, because it was his filthy, disgusting, human soul that gave him the capacity to feel true love, and she never for a second made him happy. Enraged at being tossed aside for a human "cheerleader", Darla taunts Angel, who then points out that she's human now too.
And she has a filthy, disgusting, human soul. His theory is that along with that soul came a conscience, and that no matter how hard she tries to ignore it, it will eat away at her from in inside with 400 years worth of evil that she's done, and that she has a choice to make. She can deny it all she likes, but the choice still has to be made. He warns her that if she hurts anyone else, he'll kill her.
"Will you? Isn't that against your cub-scout code?" Darla purrs. Angel insists he'll make an exception in her case, and she laughs, telling him "You're gonna miss those dreams, honey. You should have heard those things you said in your sleep. Nasty things, Angel. Things like..."
Angel's hand shoots out and he grabs her by the throat, yelling, "Stop!" Darla pulls out a cross and presses it against his chest. "No, you stop!" she says as his chest begins to smoke and burn. He still has his hand locked around her throat.
"See? No matter how good a boy you are, God doesn't want you!" Darla taunts, and Angel lets go of her. "But I still do," she says, and then steps back into the sunlight and walks out.
Wes and Cordy tentatively knock on Angel's door, and when he opens the door and proclaims he's not evil, Cordy hands the tranq gun off to Wes and smiles brightly. However, all of them know that something big is coming, and Wolfram & Hart are in the middle of it, but Angel doesn't care. If it's war they want, then it's war he'll give them.
Review: Excellent portrait of Darla and Angel's relationship and companion piece and sequel to the first season Buffy episode Angel, albeit a darker, more complex continuation. The flashbacks are the real treat, as is Angel and Darla's confrontation at the water tank which is unfortunately broken up into smaller chunks by scene with Kate at the Hyperion which ultimately water down the momentum of the confrontation, not to mention the fact that one minute it's perhaps midnight at the latest, and in the next scene, it's dawn. One has to wonder where the missing six hours went. However, despite the poor plotting and pacing in the last two acts, the emotional content is all first rate, and Darla is scathing and sultry and evil and pure fun. Gunn and Kate get some nice bits as well, although the Kate portion of the plot is unfortunately left hanging and has no real resolution. Her speech about the innocents caught in the cross-fire is however an excellent reminder that the good guys and bad guys both tend to view those innocents as canon fodder, although Angel will no doubt be haunted by the spectres of the real DeEtta and Stephen Kramer for a while yet, and hold their deaths against his now-human sire. Good resolution of the dream arc, and moves the plot along in a spectacular fashion, but the episode could have benefitted from some tweaking in acts III and IV to be tighter and flow better--and more logically--without watering down the explosive climax.
My rating: 8/10
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