Written by Mere Smith and Shawn Ryan
Directed by R.D. Price
At Cordy’s apartment, Gunn and Wes are facing off at...Risk! Gunn is winning. Cordy comes out of her room, very annoyed. Once again, she would like the main base of operations to not be her place. Their instinct is still to wait for Angel to contact them. Which he isn’t. They need to come up with an entirely new business. Wes and Gunn get so caught up in thinking of new business slogans that they miss the fact that Cordy’s having a vision. It’s of a very big two-headed fire-breathing demon that’ll be popping up in the sewer beneath a girls’ school.
Thanks to a careless bike rider, Angel bonks into a blonde lady on the street, knocking a box of clothes out of her hands. She looks familiar. It’s Anne (aka Lily aka Chanterelle aka Sister Sunshine)! Evidently she’s learned how to take care of more than just herself since Buffy got her the waitress job and the tiny flat. She’s now in charge of a homeless shelter! Angel helps her pick up the stuff, and they talk about the shelter a bit. Then they go on their separate ways.
When Angel gets back to his room in the hotel, we learn that he didn’t just bonk into her on accident. He took her wallet, and he has lots of pictures of her. Oookay, there had better be a way this isn’t super creep—ah, one of those photos is of her with Lindsey. Bingo.
Wes and Gunn are in the sewers, finally having their first scene alone together, preparing to attack the two-headed firebreather. Gunn wishes they’d brought explosives. The thing is more than twenty feet tall. We don’t get to see it, though. That darn budget. They leap into action.
Angel pays Merl a visit. Merl is just thrilled. Why does Merl have an iMac in his lair? That’s hilarious. Angel wants info about Anne from Merl, specifically what her connection is to W&H. As far as Merl has discovered, the homeless shelter is legit, but they get a lot of their funding from W&H. Also, Angel is very disappointed in Merl’s decorating choices.
Angel comes to the shelter with some clothes to donate. I really like Anne’s outfit, which is not something I often say of an outfit with so much orange in it.
The clothes he brought are Cordy’s. Ooh, that’s going to go over well. Anne assumes they’re his ex-girlfriend’s clothes, and Angel makes a hilarious expression—the kind of expression I would make if someone mistook one of my brothers for my boyfriend. I love them, but ew. Angel volunteers to help Anne out. She shows him the main office. The shelter runs entirely on donations. Anne considers W&H a godsend. They’re going to be throwing a charity ball with a wild west theme and a bunch of TV star guests.
Merl gets another unwanted visitor. This time, it’s a big blue demon who has old beef with Angel. Big blue wants to know what Angel’s up to these days, and Merl tells him about the two lawyers Angel particularly hates.
Cut to Lilah getting in her car. Angel shows up in her backseat very suddenly, to congratulate her on her promotion. He’s really looking forward to paying her and Lindsey back for screwing with him so much. Then he vanishes.
She goes to share her panic with Lindsey in his office. Big blue comes to visit them. His name is Boone. He’d like their help carrying out his grudge against Angel, which goes back to the Juarez in the ‘20s. They fought for hours, then Boone let Angel go when the sun came up. He’s all about honor in combat. Boone intends to intercept Angel when he comes for Lilah and Lindsey, so that they can finish up their honorable death match. Also, he doesn’t want to do it for money. Lilah doesn’t think this is a good idea, because the Senior Partners don’t want Angel dead. Lindsey doesn’t care.
Apparently Wes and Gunn succeeded in killing the two-headed firefarter (forgot to mention—apparently it doesn’t breathe fire). They’re regaling Cordy with the tale, and they are totally bros now. They have a handshake and everything. While they were out, Cordy started looking for a new office. They head out to visit the place she found, but they start arguing about who they should name the business after.
Angel is still planning to strike at W&H through their connection to the homeless shelter.
Elsewhere, Lilah and Lindsey are taking advantage of the fact that Boone namedropped Merl. Merl is really not having a pleasant week. Merl wants money, but their goon just punches him. He starts talking. About Anne.
Who is in her office at the shelter. She senses something and goes out to the main room, where Angel is waiting. He admits he’s been following her, showing her the pictures and the wallet. She is understandably freaked out and wants to call the cops. He explains about W&H, how they’re using her and the shelter. Anne doesn’t feel inclined to trust her. In comes Lindsey, who is very concerned for Anne’s safety. And he also brought Boone. Who has some pretty scary brass knuckles. They fight. Boone is winning. Angel eventually runs, and Lindsey stops Boone from following him.
Anne is a bit perturbed that her guardian angels are using demons for protection detail. She doesn’t care that Angel is a vampire either; she wants answers about Angel’s accusations against W&H, like that they’ll be pocketing most of the money from the fundraiser. Lindsey doesn’t have a very strong argument in W&H’s favor, and Anne’s claim that Angel has proof of shenanigans doesn’t go over well.
Lilah isn’t happy to hear about Angel’s alleged proof either. They actually are planning to steal $2 million from the shelter. Lindsey and Lilah play the blame game of which one slipped up and let Angel get proof, but then they realize they’ve just been talking about this out in the open, so if he didn’t have proof, he has it now. Lindsey thinks Angel will be at the fundraiser to personally take them down, so he has W&H double the security and bring a vampire detector.
Angel comes to see Anne. I wish one of them would remember that they actually met in “Lie to Me.” She hasn’t been a fan of vampires ever since Spike bit her, but she’s not afraid of Angel. All she cares about is the shelter, even if the people funding it are dirty. Angel asks if she really doesn’t care what W&H will do with the other 95% of the money. She wavers, but she won’t agree to help Angel get into the fundraiser.
It’s fundraiser time! They’re playing Dixie Chicks music (gross) and showing a video of Holland acting very saintly in support of the homeless shelter. A bald guy in big black glasses finds Lilah and Lindsey to touch base on how well the fundraiser is going. He’s Nathan Reed, another W&H higher-up. Lilah introduces him to Anne, who seems somewhat less happy about W&H than she was. Lindsey is on the balcony, making sure security is in place.
Lilah starts giving a speech about Holland Manners’ charitable vision. She introduces the TV stars who are dressed as bandits and will be pretending to rob the donors of their money at gunpoint. The actors proceed to do just that, and there’s a fun meta moment about one of the actresses’ characters being gay on the show—obviously a reference to the response to Willow/Tara. There’s still been no sign of Angel.
OR HAS THERE? He’s dressed in the robe of the vampire detector. I hope they didn’t pay too much money to hire that thing. Boone finds Angel. He wants to finish their fight now.
The actors are done collecting the money (and they’re trying to pretend they’re not super annoyed for getting roped into this gig), and Lilah is thanking everyone for their efforts to make the world safer for children. But everyone gets distracted by the sounds of Angel and Boone’s fight up on the balcony. They topple down onto the dance floor. Most of the people there think it’s just another gimmick for the ball. Lindsey pats Angel down, looking for the tape. Too late! Anne has the tape. Also, Boone is the one who helped Angel get in. Anne puts the tape in the machine, and Lindsey and Lilah freak the hell out. On national television. Turns out, Angel was bluffing the whole time. It’s Cordelia’s audition tape. Also a bunch of Wesley being a dork.
Lindsey and Lilah realize Boone has left with the money, but it’s already gone. Mr. Reed is not impressed. He chews them out for their idiocy, and promises that he won’t show them the same favoritism Holland did. Lindsey doesn’t appreciate the no-killing-Angel policy. Reed explains to Lindsey that Angel is a major player in the apocalypse, but the prophecies aren’t super clear on which side he’ll be on. Reed considers Lindsey and Lilah expendable, particularly if Angel is the one who kills them.
Anne follows Angel out and slaps him. She doesn’t care that the money was tainted; it could’ve helped a lot of kids for a long time.
Back at the hotel, Angel gets a visit from Boone, who still has the bag of money. That’ll be the prize for whoever wins their fight. They square off. All we see is Angel dropping the bag on Anne’s desk. The money now has literal blood on it. Also, Angel is super beat up. Anne is confident she can hide the money from W&H. Also, she’ll wash the blood out of the money.
“Blood Money” isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not in the same league as the last few episodes. Angel’s side of the story is pretty much a western that happens to take place in modern Los Angeles. Angel is the lone gunman, Anne and her homeless teens are the helpless townspeople whose livelihoods are at stake, W&H is the evil bank trying to suck them dry, Merl is the stoolpigeon who gets stepped on by heroes and villains alike, and Boone is a random black hat who makes everything a little more complicated. With all that and the wild west theme of the charity ball, I kind of wish we’d gotten flashbacks to the actual wild west when Angel and Boone had that initial disagreement over a señorita. Or maybe Angel could have been disguised as one of the guests at the ball, wearing a full cowboy getup. Oh well. It’s fantastic to see Anne again, of course, and to see that she’s come so far since we last saw her. This Anne isn’t a timid homeless girl—she’s strong and capable, and she’s using all of her energy to pay forward the kindness Buffy paid her. I love Anne, and I kind of wish she could’ve become a series regular. (In fact, I ship her with Gunn.) We meet another upper-level W&H guy who’s keeping the noose nice and tight around Lilah’s and Lindsey’s necks, just so it’s clear they’re not quite on top yet. So far, they aren’t very good at working together. And that brings me to Cordy, Wes, and Gunn’s small subplot. It will surprise no one that I was delighted to finally arrive at Wes and Gunn’s first scene with just the two of them, and they and Cordy are moving along nicely in their pursuit of the good fight, Angel or no Angel.
Angel’s willingness to crush a homeless shelter if it means sticking it to W&H is, I think, one of his most questionable tactics. At least when he left all the lawyers for Darla and Dru to kill, he knew the collateral damage would only be evil lawyers. This time, if his plan succeeded, he’d be depriving innocent, very downtrodden kids of funds that could be the difference between life and death. It was only because Boone was more interested in settling their grudge through battle than with a payoff that Angel was able to make it right. I suppose it’s something that he did give the money to Anne instead of keeping it, but when that’s the best I can say in an episode about one of my favorite characters ever, things are getting pretty bleak.
Cordelia’s apartment once again becomes headquarters. Which is extra frustrating when Angel still has the giant hotel all to himself, but I also want to see where Wesley lives. Cordelia doesn’t just complain about them being in her apartment; she goes out and finds them a new office.
Wesley’s bravery is inspiring, particularly in contrast with his performance in his first battle back in “Bad Girls.” It’s good to have him back in the field. As a rogue demon hunter, it would be a shame for him to end up just as research man.
Gunn becoming friends with Wesley through battling side-by-side is excellent, and it’s yet another example of how this show forges friendships opposite of how Buffy does. After struggling against Plot A together, they find they’re quite compatible in Plot B, rather than people who are compatible in Plot B deciding to tackle Plot A together.
“What if this guy’s actually as good as he says and actually kills Angel?”
“Boo hoo! Let me wipe away the tears with my plastic hand.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.