Written by Tim Minear and Shawn Ryan
Directed by James A. Contner
Gunn is hauling Angel into the hotel after the events at the end of “The Trial.” He’s extremely beat up and incoherent. Wes, Cordy, and Gunn assume Darla is behind this. Angel tells them Darla is dead. They’re shocked. He tells them it was Drusilla, and Cordy and Wes are immediately super alarmed, but Gunn needs some backstory. Angel goes into the office, looking for something. He wants to find Darla. He wants to save her. Wes thinks that’s crazy, but all Angel means is that he can stake her before she rises again—saving her from what her demon will do.
Wes has been filling Gunn in on the backstory of Angel’s sire line. Gunn is super weirded out that the “granddaughter” (Drusilla) just re-vamped the “grandmother” (Darla). Everyone seems pretty convinced that Darla will rise as a vampire sometime before the next morning, but why should she? Most vampires don’t rise until they’re in their graves, which often doesn’t happen until several days after death. Pfft, continuity. Angel joins them, drinking blood out of a container. He plans to track down Lindsey. Alone.
Problem is, Lindsey has completely cleared out of his old apartment. A woman, the apartment manager I guess, finds Angel there. Lindsey moved the day before. The lady doesn’t want to give out any information, but when Angel says it’s about a mutual friend who needs medical attention, she caves. There’s no forwarding address, but the lady figures it’s about Lindsey’s “cousin,” Drusilla. Drusilla is all excited about getting a nursery ready for her baby. Somewhere near the stars.
Sure enough, Drusilla has found a plant nursery on a rooftop so that there’s a good view of the stars. Darla is lying there, currenly dead. Lindsey is there too, trying to play along with Drusilla’s weirdness. Lilah and Holland join them. The lawyers all leave, Lindsey with some prodding from Holland. Drusilla reprises her creepy little lullaby from “Lie to Me,” which is fantastic.
Cordy has found a bunch of addresses for the team to check—places Darla might be. Angel thinks cemeteries are more likely than mausoleums, because there has to be a view of the stars. Wesley thinks even a cemetery isn’t necessary; all Drusilla really needs is dirt. Angel realizes that Drusilla sees it as a birth rather than a death, and she was talking about a nursery. Gunn thinks she might have meant a plant nursery rather than a baby nursery. And for such a place to be near the stars, it would need to be on a rooftop—and probably owned by W&H. Ding ding ding!
Angel arrives at the rooftop in question. Darla is now buried shallowly in a long, narrow planter. Angel unburies her face and pulls the veil away. He looks at her for a moment, then slowly pulls out his stake. Yeah, he should probably have sped things up. Then Darla would’ve been dust and Drusilla wouldn’t have had the opportunity to knock him down with a shovel. While they fight, Darla wakes up and sits bolt upright in her planter. By the time Angel resumes his attempt to stake her, she’s already gone. Then she grabs him by the throat and holds him off the ground. Drusilla is delighted, which distracts Darla enough for Angel to break free. They end up in a sort of confusing fight in which Darla and Angel are both fighting everyone, while Drusilla tries to help Angel and fight Darla. Darla seems kind of out of it. She jumps off the roof, and Drusilla vanishes some other way.
Angel goes back to the hotel and tells everyone to gear up to hunt Darla and Dru down. He has no idea at all where they’re going, but he hopes they can at least find one of them before they team up. The only lead they have right now is W&H. Cordy thinks that’s insane. Gunn is the only one who doesn’t need more convincing to go with Angel, but Cordy and Wes resignedly join them anyway.
Holland and his wife are throwing a wine tasting later, and Holland wants to know if Lindsey has a plus one. Nope! Holland wants Lindsey to have more in his life than work. Drusilla is there in the office. She has Miss Edith with her. Holland is rather unnerved by her, which is very gratifying after how unnerving he’s been himself. She knows Angel is on his way to W&H. Sure enough, they get a call from security that there’s a vampire in the building (besides Dru). But it’s just Darla. Lindsey is happy to see her, and she promptly starts smelling his neck. Then she chucks him across the room and runs off with a delighted Drusilla. Holland tells security to let them out, then clarifies to a very pissed off Lindsey that he should find healthy attachments.
Angel is driving like a maniac to get to W&H, but then Cordy has a vision that requires them to go the other way. Angel super doesn’t want to, everyone’s furious at him and Cordy even points a stake at him. He turns around.
Elsewhere, Darla is beating Drusilla up, to Drusilla’s confusion. They end up in the road, and Drusilla gets hit by a car. Darla keeps beating her up. She wants to know why Drusilla turned her. She’s very upset that she might have misunderstood what Darla wanted, and she starts crying and being crazy. Darla softens and hugs her. An impatient driver comes to ask them to get out of the street. Darla vamps out and bites him. So much for catching up to Darla and/or Dru before they teamed up and Darla fed. Darla wants to go shopping, and they head off hand in hand.
The subject of Cordy’s vision is some dude who is about to commit ritual suicide for this demon he worships when the A.I. team shows up. Cordy warns Angel that this job will take delicacy, but Angel just chucks the dude’s boom box at his head. He ducks, but it smashes all his demon worship stuff. Angel takes his pistol away and tells him his demonic deity is a loser and adds (unconvincingly) that he has so much to live for. Angel feels like his work here is done, but Wes and Gunn are pretty sure the Powers that Be sent the vision to keep Angel away from Darla and Drusilla. Angel doesn’t care, and he leaves. They’re stunned.
Darla and Dru are in a dress shop, trying on various items. Drusilla’s cell phone rings, but she doesn’t realize what it is and just thinks she’s started making random beeping noises. Bahahaha. Darla sardonically pulls the cell phone out from where Dru stashed it in her cleavage.
It’s Holland on the phone. He offers Darla and Drusilla a massacre, courtesy of W&H. Darla and Dru are interested. One of the employees in the shop isn’t dead yet, and Darla asks her for shoe suggestions for Dru. She’s crawling away in terror, and Darla gets annoyed enough to snap her neck.
Lilah thinks Darla and Dru should be sufficiently distracting for Angel for a while. Holland agrees. Angel won’t be a problem anymore. Cue Angel crashing through the office window, having somehow swung over from another building on a rope. Holland introduces himself, and a whole battalion of guards with nightstick stakes come in. Holland reveals to Angel that he’s W&H’s special project, not Darla. Holland is pretty confident that Angel won’t kill him, since he’s human. Angel doesn’t really feel like people who sit in towers playing chess with innocent lives qualify as human. Holland doesn’t care. He has the guards escort Angel out; he needs to get to that wine tasting at his house.
Lindsey walks with Angel and the guards all the way to the police cruiser waiting to take Angel away. He, personally, still wants Angel dead. Kate is sitting in the cruiser too. Angel expects Kate to be harsh and judgmental like she has been lately, but she’s all business. She knows about the murdered clothing store employees and that Darla is one of the culprits, and she hopes Angel can do something about it. The officer driving the car pulls over, Kate uncuffs Angel, and he gets out.
Now we’re at Holland’s rather palatial house. Lindsey has arrived with flowers. He heads down to the wine cellar after greeting Mrs. Manners. The Senior Partners are very happy with the Special Projects Division’s work. They’re ahead of schedule. (If that means their plans for Angel, then...gulp.) Holland toasts Lindsey and Lilah for all their great work, but he trails off nervously when Darla and Drusilla stroll in. They managed to secure an invitation from Mrs. Manners, who, based on what Drusilla says next, is now dead. Holland and the rest of the lawyers are horrified and afraid. Darla has decided she and Dru will be taking Holland up on his offer of a massacre...by killing all of them. They vamp out.
Angel is at the dress shop. He manages to sneak inside. One of the detectives investigating the scene hears something, but doesn’t see anyone in the mirrors. Haha, nice. That awesome ghostly whistle sound rings out when he bends back down and we see Angel behind him. Angel makes his way to the dressing rooms.
Drusilla plays eeny meeny miny moe to pick who she’ll kill first. Holland tries to do damage control by assuring Darla how delighted W&H is that they were able to save her. Darla isn’t buying it. She wants to pay them all back for what they put her through while she was human.
Angel finds a customer in the changing rooms. She’s been hiding there ever since Darla and Dru killed the employees. She’s huddled in the corner, terrified. She rambles a bit. She tells Angel about a party they were going to. A wine tasting. Angel helps her head out to the police outside.
In the wine cellar, Drusilla is seeing visions of terrified people hiding there back when it was a bomb shelter in the Cold War. Holland explains the history of the place, but he and the other lawyers aren’t off the hook yet. Drusilla wants everyone to huddle together in fear. He tries to apologize to Darla and convince her that everyone present will be at her beck and call, ensuring she gets anything she wants. She finds that amusing. They all just smell terrified to her. Except Lindsey. She wonders what’s up with that. Lindsey says he cares about dying, but he doesn’t mind. (???) Holland laughs. Nobody’s going to die! They’re allies! Yeah, about that. Chaotic Evil generally doesn’t appreciate Lawful Evil trying to control it.
Angel is at the threshold of the Manners home. Mrs. Manners is still alive, and she invites him in with a plea of “Help us!” Drusilla senses his arrival. Angel’s heroic music is playing as he approaches the wine cellar. He stands in the doorway. Darla and Dru would love for him to join the tasting, but Dru is very disappointed that he’s not Angelus. Holland hopes Angel’s here to save them. Angel ignores him. He apologizes to Darla for not saving her in time. She’s not sorry. Then he promises her she’ll get her goodbye kiss, but not tonight. The lawyers start panicking. That doesn’t sound good. Lilah and Holland both bet him to help. Angel tosses Holland’s line “I just can’t seem to care” right back at him and closes the doors, locking all the lawyers in with Darla and Dru. Chaotic Good doesn’t appreciate Lawful Evil’s machinations much either. Yikes. Holland looks like he’s in a living nightmare. Drusilla thinks this means Angelus is back. Holland continues trying to convince Angel to help them right up until Darla bites him. Angel walks up the stairs and out of the house, ignoring the screams of the lawyers filling the air.
Cordy, Wes, and Gunn are sitting, appalled in front of Angel’s desk at the hotel. He’s just told them what happened. Angel is so unrepentant that he’s actually kind of sarcastic. He feels W&H deserves what they got for trying to use Darla and Dru against him. Cordy seems pretty close to tears. Wes and Gunn regret not speaking up more when they’ve disagreed with Angel’s methods. It’s time to change the way he’s doing things. They’re all that’s standing between him and the dark side. He agrees. He fires all of them, then gets up and walks out. Credits!
While Angel abandoning his mission from the Powers in favor of waging an extremely brutal one-man war against W&H is upsetting on one level, it’s also FREAKING AWESOME on so many other levels. He just went from being Daredevil to being the Punisher (yeah, that’s what I’m watching right now when I’m not doing these reviews). So “Reunion” is pretty fantastic. It’s very satisfying to watch all of Holland’s manipulative plans come back to (literally) bite him, especially with Angel tossing his line back at him. That’s one of my favorite tropes. It’s also great to have Drusilla back. She’s one of my favorite characters, and she is just perfect for this arc. I remember about ten years ago when I was watching Angel in order for the first time. I loved Dru from Buffy S2, but I had no idea she was going to come back outside of flashbacks after that, so it her arrival at the end of “The Trial” was simultaneously the coolest and most horrifying thing ever. That’s the kind of stuff that makes Angel S2 such phenomenal television. And Kate is in this episode, but she’s not horrible! She’s more like the Kate I liked from early S1! Awesome! The only ones who get the short end of the stick in this one are Wes, Cordy, and Gunn. From where they’re sitting, nothing is awesome. And now the fracture in the A.I. team has finally cracked open and shattered.
Angel wanted so badly to save Darla, and then W&H—Lindsey, specifically—took that away from him right in front of his eyes, using his greatest sin (Drusilla) to do it. If there has ever been a situation in which it was understandable for someone to go completely off the rails, I think this is it. I doubt Angel could have imagined that the outcome could be so perfectly tailored his own worst nightmares. So even though it’s definitely not okay to sic two wrathful vampires on a room full of trapped lawyers, even if said lawyers are very evil and have been devoting most of their time to personally screwing with him, it’s really hard for me not to cheer when he locks that door. I don’t think W&H really stopped to consider that they might not like what would happen if they achieved their goal of making Angel snap. Or maybe they did, but the Senior Partners didn’t inform Holland that he was an expendable asset. The detour to save the suicidal demon worshipper illustrates pretty clearly how Angel could have avoided going down this path. This is the first time he’s ever been so dismissive of someone he was supposed to save. It’s likely that Darla and Drusilla would’ve killed all of the lawyers anyway, even if Angel had taken the time to work with that guy and get him back on track. Maybe those deaths were supposed to happen, but they weren’t supposed to be on Angel.
Cordelia reacts to Angel’s actions (or inactions) as if they’re a personal betrayal. He has earned her trust and her faith in his ability to help people and so the right thing. He never ignores her visions or treats them like an inconvenience. But now he’s going against all of that. He can turn away from the visions, but she doesn’t have that option. When she tears up from how upset she is with him, it’s one of her more vulnerable moments in the series so far, but even that isn’t enough to move him.
Wesley seems to realize that he hasn’t been vocal enough with Angel, but things really did escalate too quickly to do much about it. While Darla was still human, the only valid objections to Angel’s methods were that he was being a little too reckless and spending too much time focused on Darla. By giving Darla top priority, Angel did succeed in getting through to her, so he was pretty much right about all of that. The only thing I can see as a missed opportunity for Wesley is that he could have insisted on going with him to the nursery. Gunn too. Together, they might have been able to overpower Drusilla and give Angel enough time to stake Darla before she rose. But once Darla and Drusilla were running amuck, nothing was going to stop Angel from going after them. I’m worried Wesley will still try to make it his fault. He’s too good at self-blame.
It’s interesting to watch Gunn’s expression during that last scene in Angel’s office. All season, Gunn has been willing to get into any dangerous mess Angel could cook up. This is the first time Angel has given him serious reason to regret that. Gunn enjoys participating in violence for a good cause, but now he’ll likely be considering things more carefully before he dives into the fray. This is also the first time he’s sided with Wes and Cordy against Angel about something.
“I saw you coming, my lovely. The moon showed me. It told me to come into the twentieth century.”
“It’s the twenty-first century, Dru.”
“Aww, I’m still lagging.”
“And yet, somehow, I just can’t seem to care.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.