Guise Will Be Guise
...a grate in the floor of the elevators next to the parking complex of Wolfram & Hart. Angel and Gunn emerge and keeping their head's down so that the two employees chatting my the elevators don't see them, they step into the elevator and pray for the doors to close in time. However, as they have only a few inches to go, a briefcase is jammed between them and the door spring open to reveal Wes and Cordy, smarted up and posing as lawyers. As a war of "Door Open" and "Door Close" button pushing ensues, Cordy begins to berate Angel for going off half cocked, and Gunn defends Angel until he finds out Angel's plan for getting inside is to walk really fast. Then Gunn's pretty much on Wes and Cordy's side. When the doors spring open again, it's a security guard this time. A stake pops out of his nightstick, and even as Angel snaps to Cordy that he's not angry, Angel punches the guard and stakes him through the foot with his own stake before stalking off through the parking complex, admitting that perhaps he is a touch angry.
Gunn's first introduction to Caritas is two drunk Japanese businessmen singing "I've Got You Babe" while Angel sits at the bar with the Host. Angel's at his wit's endhe's frustrated and angry and wants to act before he explodes, but seems aware that acting rashly won't solve anything. He's desperate for help, and finally, completely cowed, admits that he'll sing if he has to. But the Host pats him on the shoulder and let's him know that "You don't have to sing. A break for you, a break for me, a break for Mr. Manilow." He's sending Angel to the T'ish Magev, a powerful swami in Ojai that can help him. Angel retrieves Wes, Gunn, and Cordy who is a little too thrilled that Angel doesn't have to sing.
Wes and Cordy are having a healthy, honest snoop through Angel's office when Angel arrives at the swami's place. The doors opens to reveala guy. A big guy, very human, and not at all what Angel was expecting. "I'm looking for the T'ish Magev...?" Angel asks, and the guy insists that Angel's found him. He invites Angel in.
Meanwhile, back at the Hyperion, Cordy's still in Angel's office when a Goombah arrives and asks for Angel. She tries to tell him that Angel's not there, and is freaked when he pulls out a gun. Wesley overhears the mook telling Cordy that he'll kill her if she can't produce her boss, the vampire with a soul, because his boss needs him. Wesley has one of those lightbulbs like in the cartoons appear over his head, and rushes off to implement said idea just as Cordy's about ready to beg for her life. Just as the goon squad is about to pull the trigger, a finger in Angel's long, flowing, King-of-Pain coat appears. As we pan up, the music swells and it's...
"I'm Angel," Wes says, with eyes of flint and jaw of Superman. "You're looking for me?"
At the swami's, T'ish and Angel are sitting in front of the fireplace, talking about Angel's car. The swami insists that you can tell a lot about a manor vampirefrom his car. In true TV shrink fashion, the swami completely deconstructs Angel's persona, from the flash car to the all-black wardrobe, to the hair gel while Angel can only weakly defend himself and look cutely self-conscious as only he can. The T'ish asks how Angel thinks those around him see him just as we flash to Wesley, doing his very best Angel impression.
The goon explains that "Angel" is gonna come with him, or Cordy gets plugged full of holes. Wesley doesn't have much in the way of a choice, and goes with him. When they arrive at the goon's boss's place, Wes is hard pressed to remember that as a vampire, he needs to wait to be invited it. However, no one notices his gaffe as he steps inside and then skips right back out again as Benny (the goon) invites him in formally. Once inside, Wesley is introduced to Magnus Bryce, famous businessman (who bears a striking resemblance to the Tooth Fairy) who is arguing very quietly;y with a business rival, a European named Lanier.
Turns out the Bryce empire frequently splashed all over the business page and celebrity mags was built on custom spells. His grandfather started off with garage kits, and parlayed that first height illusion into the empire Magnus now controls. But he's surrounded by enemies, and he's hiring "Angel" to protect his daughter Virginia. Offering "Angel" a glass of fresh blood, Bryce outlines what he requires of "Angel" who valiantly struggles to keep down a mouthful of blood before pouring the rest unobserved into a potted plant.
"There are two yous," the T'ish Magev says in voice over as the camera lingers on Wesley, and then we're back in Ojai as Angel is perplexed. "Two mes?" he asks, and the T'ish tosses Angel a bo staff and explains that Angel is at war with himself.
Back in Beverly Hills, Wesley is escorted to the bedroom of Bryce's daughter Virginia, a striking young woman who is furious at being kept like a pet by her rich daddy who thinks everything's for sale. However, despite her anger, she and "Angel" actually begin to hit it off, and she decides to take "Angel" shopping.
AT the Hyperion, Cordy and Gunn are going over their options. Gunn will go to the swami's to get Angel, while Cordy goes through mug shots to try and ID the gunman who took Wesley. She's genuinely worried about him, and wonders where he is. Cut to Wes and Virginia in a store that looks like it even smells expensive. It's a the kind of magic shop that makes Giles' shop look like Wal-Mart next to Tiffany's. Well dressed customers sip champagne and mill about between display cases of expensive artifacts and do-dads such as the talismans Virginia is debating buying for her father. His fiftieth birthday is coming up, and his diety-du-jour is the Goddess Yeska. Wesley geeks a little, advising her to skip the gold talisman because one good spell would melt the soft metal, and go for iron instead. Ginny frowns, admitting that Wes sounds just like her father. She used to love when she was a child and her dad would teach her about the family business, but the only thing he loves is the job. Wesley tries to counter, pointing out that he obviously cared enough to hire Angel to protect her, and she points out that "he has his car insured too."
Their bonding session is interrupted by two thugs who attempt to snatch Virginia, but "Angel" scares them off by waving his big reputation in their faces, and they learn the thugs were sent my Bryce's rival, Lanier. Wes decides he should take Ginny home, where she'll be safe
Meanwhile, the swami is kicking the crap out of Angel, who is holding back. Finally, the swami gets him to admit that he's holding back because if he doesn't his demon will hurt the swami. T'ish points out that Angel is the demon and right now Angel is fighting himself an idea Angel is not thrilled with. he insists that he has to keep a tight reign on the demon inside, because he can't let it control him. The T'ish knocks Angel to the ground and looks down at him. "You don't think it controls you?"
Time cut to the T'ish on the phone, and icepack held to his head. "I don't know how long I can keep up this yoda gag," the swami is telling the mysterious stranger on the other end of the phone. "Sonofabitch is strong...Plus something we didn't think about...you know the guy can smell blood."
"What are you talking about?" Lanierthe Eurotrash who tried to snatch Virginiaasks in disbelief form the other end of the phone line.
He's a vampire. It's only a matter of time before he sniffs out where I stashed the real Magev's body... I know you wanted me to keep him up here for the whole weekend, but..."
Uh-oh, kiddies. The swami's a phony.
"The vampire's with you?" Lanier asks, confused. "Then who the hell's the English guy?"
Cordy's multi-tasking, looking through mug shots and the current issue of a People-like celeb rag. She freezes in chock as she flips to a photo of businessman Magnus Bryce and his lovely daughter Virginia, bodyguard Benny looming as only as thug can loom in the background. Recognising him as the guy who threatened to blow her brains out earlier that evening, Cordy's off like a shot.
At Bryce's mansion, Wes is escorting Virginia back to her bedroom, where she's dismayed to find robed henchmen. She's pissed, until they grab her and Wes realises that they are hired goons and takes them out in a flurry of rogue demon hunter moves. Flushed (and surprised) from his success, Virginia asks why he doesn't go all "grrr."
"I suppose I'm not...like a regular vampire," Wesley covers, and we flash to Angel and the smarmy swami, fishing off the dock of the bay. Angel is explaining the whole Darla thing, while the swami nods sagely. His advice? Find a girl the the same hair and build as Darla, bed her, love her, then treat her like crap. Break her heart.
"Um..." says Angel guiltily, and then we cut back to Wes and Virginia, now perched on the end of her bed.
Virginia opens up to Wesley about her fantasies of running away and living a mundane life as a perfume sprayer in a department store, or working in a tire store. Wesley can relateno doubt he had moments growing up where he would have liked to have been a grocer or an RAF pilot and not a Watcherand the two are close enough to kiss... which they do. Virginia draws back, murmuring that she knows about the curse, and that Angel can't...
"Curse?" the smarmy swami asks Angel, who is surprised that the T'ish didn't know about the whole Romany curse thing. "So it's a sex thing, this curse?" the smarmy swami asks, and Angel says "Well... not specifically..." The T'ish presses. "Well, then what specifically?"
"Perfect happiness," Wesley says softly against Virginia's mouth, getting a bit lost in the moment. "That this whole "curse" thing has been widely misinterpreted," Wes says between kisses. "Less of a curse, more of a... hex, really. Barely that. A recommendation."
"You sure you're telling me the truth?" Virginia asks, and Wes crumbles.
"Virginia, I want to be honest with you. I want to tell you everything" She shuts him up with a really passionate kiss, just like in the romance novels.
That's itthe limey's a lost cause.
Flash to morningWes's curled up with Ginny, and Gunn's pulling up to the T'ish Magev's cabin. The phony swami opens the door, and asks if he's seeking enlightenment. Nope, Gunn says, he's seeking Angel. The T'ish invites him in, and then punches him out just as Angel opens the door and asks what he's done with the real swami. The phony swami laughs and taunts Angel from his place in the sun, but he's not smiling when Angel picks up a fishing rod and hooks himself a big onethe fishhook catching the phony in the face. Angel reels him in, and we cut to
Cordelia running up to Virginia's door just as Wesley is sneaking out. She's there to rescue him. Wes doesn't want to be rescuedhe's there to protect Virginia, and protect her he shall. However, her dad has other plans. Seems an anonymous caller tipped him off that Wesley's not Angel, and Virginia is heartbroken. Wesley tries to explain, but he and Cordy are thrown out.
Bryce is pissed at Benny for brining him the wrong man, we learn as Bryce berates the dim-bulb henchman in his study, because Benny could have blown the entire sacrifice. They check out the sacrificial altar, complete with chains, in the centre of the room.
Sacrifice? Huh? Hey, daddy's not the nice man we thought he was!
Gunn and Angel arrive back at AI headquarters to find Wesstill in Angel's coatpacing as he works to put together the clues. Angel wants to know why Wes is wearing his coat, and why was he in Virginia? "That's beside the point," Wesley mutters in one of the funniest double-entendres of all time. What's important is that Lanier obviously killed the T'ish to keep Angel at the swami's, and still poses a threat to Virginia who will be at her dad's party.
"What party?" Gunn asks.
"Her father's birthday," Wes explains, "Big wizard event. Cake, ice-cream, tributes to the Goddess Yeska..."
"She's no goddess," Angel tells them. "Yeska's a Davric demon."
"But they don't serve humans... unless the humans make a sacrifice," Wesley realises even as he's saying it that is is so not good. Apparently Davric demons eat live sacrifices, generally girls. They grant huge power to the person that offers the sacrifice on their fiftieth birthday. Bryce is going to sacrifice his own daughter. Lanier was trying to snatch Ginny because he didn't want the competition to get that much power.
Angel's a bit at seabut Wes is in charge guy, and has a plan. They'll party crash, and save the girl. If that's okay with Angel. Wes realises belatedly that he really shouldn't be in charge guy now that the real in charge guy is back. But Angel decides it's okay, he'll follow Wes' lead, since Wes knows the score. But can't he have his coat back?
Meanwhile, at the party, Ginny is miserable but mingling as a good society daughter should. The place is packed with her dad's business associates, including Lanier. Virginia looks over the altar with distaste, muttering "I hope a girl isn't going to jump out of it or something."
"Not really," Benny mutters around a mouthful of cocktail franks
Daddy thanks everyone for coming, and starts chanting a prayer to the Goddess Yeska. Virginia is confused, and then frightened as Benny grabs her and chains her to the alter. She realises too late that Dad plans to sacrifice her to his pet demon, and starts yelling for help.
Cue big hero music as Wesley, Angel, Gunn and Cordy break in.
"Release her or die!" Wesley says.
"Isn't that my line?" Angel wonders out of frame, and then stunts ensure. As Gunn and Angle pummel goons, and Cordy whaps people upside the head with a champagne bottle, Wes struggles to get Ginny out of the chains before Yeska appears. Daddy finishes chanting and a truly scary looking chick materialises in front of Virginia.
"The sacrifice..." the demon Yeska begins, and then frowns as she gets closer to Virginia, "is impure!"
Yeska vanishes, and Bryce is livid. Wesley gets Ginny out of the chains, just as Bryce yells "She's impure?! She's not a virgin?!" His gaze turns to the man he found sneaking out of his daughter's bedroom that morning. "You!"
Cordelia is in shock.
"You were supposed to be Angel!" Bryce snaps. "This wouldn't have happened! That's why I hired him! He's a eunuch!"
"A eunuch?" Angel's miffed.
Virginia, however, is ticked off at Dad. For one thing, helloshe hasn't been a virgin for a very, very long time thanks to a succession of chauffeurs. But mainly, she's pissed that Dad was gonna kill her.
"Not a eunuch!" Angel points out, still miffed. "The curse isn't even all that clear!"
Virginia punches her dad, and disowns him. Somehow, I doubt she's going to work in a tire store, but either way, she's now got a posh British boyfriend that she didn't have 24 hours earlier.
A few days later, Angel's sitting at his desk when Cordy stalks in, magazine in hand. She shoves it at him, and he sees that it's photos of Virginia and her new beau, Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Pryce "private detective and bodyguard to the stars."
Cordy's ticked that Wesley is getting famous off this when she is supposed to be the one getting famous off stuff like this. Angel, however, is slightly more annoyed that his detective agency isn't mentioned anywhere. However, in the photos, Wes looks happy as a clam with Virginia on his arm.
Review: I want to buy Jane Espenson all the Godiva truffles she could ever eat. It's the only thing I can think of to begin to compensate her for the 44 minutes of television she has given me. First, last year she gave Cordelia an apartment, dead roommate, and a degree of depth that made me love her all the more, not to mention giving Doyle some of the best character development he ever got in what was my favourite episode of first season. A year later, she's given Wesley a chance to shine, not to mention some of the best Angel character analysis (and the hair gel is always ripe for ridicule) thus far. Not to mention a solidly entertaining episode that never once put a foot wrong (except perhaps for Ginny not noticing Wes's body temperature or pulse). Those folks over at Angel continue to surprise me my getting better with each episode. At this rate, I may have to stop writing reviews because I'm gonna run out of superlatives before we even get to February sweeps. Alex shines in this episode, not because he's playing "Angel"but because he turns in a masterful performance playing Wesley playing Angel, and it gives us tremendous insight into his character, not to mention reminding us that there's more to Wesley than just the accent and the pratfalls. Kudos also go to the ubiquitous Art LaFleur whom I can forgive for not being Mike Starr, because he played the T'ish Magev with comedic flare so well. Solid guest performances really are like icing, and Brigid Brannagh (proving with this and her guest spot on West Wing this season that Kindred was not the end of her career which make me happy because she was one of the folks who didn't suck on Kindred) was a delight as Virginia. And how can you not love the Tooth Fairy (Todd Susman) as Bryce? Great twists in the middleboth of themfantastic dialogue, excellent structure and pacing, Guise Will Be Guise is a winner from start to finish.
My rating: 10/10
Next week, women wear corsets, men wear wigs, and it's all Spike, all the time...