Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Tom Wright
We pick up right where we left off, with Angel jolting awake in the middle of a storm after having slept with Darla. The music is really ominous. He exhibits again his ability to put on clothing while suffering intense pain. Darla wakes up too and is looking forward to what happens next.
After the credits, Angel is still in pain. He stands up. His expression is one of horror. Huh. That’s not very in-character for Angelus. Darla thinks he just needs a fresh kill to help him adjust to soullessness. Apparently the reason she showed up in his room at the Hyperion was to kill him, but there’s no need now that he’s lost his soul! Except...he hasn’t. She’s horrified. She runs back to the bed and tries to make sense of this. There’s a deliberate and rather hilarious call-back to Buffy and Angelus’s conversation, with Darla echoing Buffy’s “Was I...not...good?” line. Where it was heartbreaking and horrible in “Innocence,” here it’s hilarious. Darla knows for a fact that they just had exceptionally good sex, so why the hell didn’t it break his curse? Maybe they just need to try again. Angel doesn’t want to. He seems much more clear-headed than he’s been in a while. He’s accepted that he couldn’t save Darla, and that acceptance is what snapped him out of the very dark place he’s been. Something Darla says reminds Angel of Kate’s phone message. He leaves, but not before warning Darla that the next time he sees her, he’ll kill her.
Angel hammers on Kate’s door. She’s already unconscious. He kicks it down and breaks in. She’s not dead yet. He pulls her into her shower and uses the cold water to get her awake. Once she’s clear-headed again, she thanks him and kicks him out. Well that’s nice.
Lindsey comes home to find Darla there. He’s annoyed that she didn’t contact him. W&H’s orders now are that Darla be staked on sight. He’s upset about what she pulled at the office and that she didn’t warn him. She’s playing with the ring Angel gave her—the one he took from the Senior Partner. It’s no longer good for interdimensional travel. Lindsey demands to know how she got it, and she admits in a rather unpleasant way that she essentially got it as payment for sex, from Angel. He’s furious (at Angel).
Someone buzzes incessantly at Caritas’s door until Lorne opens it. It’s Angel! Cut to later, after Angel has explained everything to Lorne. Lorne is quite pleased that Angel is done with his dark phase. Angel’s kind of bewildered by everything, and Lorne explains that he’s had an epiphany. It’s not about getting back to how things used to be; it’s about moving onto what they should be next. Oh hey, and Lorne totally confirms my theory that the lawyers would’ve been massacred with or without Angel’s help, and that the Powers just tried to keep him occupied so that it wouldn’t be on him. Nice. Angel is indignant that the Powers weren’t very specific if that’s what they wanted. Lorne verbally smacks him for that one. Angel wants advice on what to do, and Lorne gets annoyed. He’s not Angel’s conduit to the Powers. That would be Cordelia. Who he should try to make up with now, if he can keep her alive for the rest of the night.
Cordelia has arrived at the Sharps’ home. All is dark and quiet there. She sees the bodies in the kitchen, then has a vision of herself getting attacked by demons! About ten seconds before she gets attacked by demons. Really useful warning, that. She gets knocked out. When she wakes up, a demon explains to her that it will make Cordelia and the other two who destroyed its spawn pay for that. There are two other demons there, and when the first one turns around to talk to them, Cordelia sees its third eye. Yeah, the spawn they destroyed was the parasite inside pre-teen Leah Pipes’s skull.
Wesley is at his apartment, sorting books. A three-eyed demon is lurking outside. Wes tries to get his shotgun from his closet, but it’s on a higher shelf than he can comfortably reach while still wheelchair-bound. Eventually, he gets it and loads it. Then Angel breaks open his door and demands an invitation. Wesley doesn’t feel inclined to give one, until three-eyed demons break in through his window. Angel fights them. Killing them is a basic hack-and-slash job. Wesley gets one with his shotgun—but he also gets his ceiling. Angel gets the other one. Angel smiles hopefully at Wesley—they just fought their way out of a deadly situation together! Can all be forgiven? Wesley smiles, then frowns. No, all can’t be forgiven! Aww.
Lindsey and Darla are sitting on his couch, as far away from each other as possible. Lindsey grabs some boots and leaves without saying a word to her.
Angel and Wes are on the way to the new office. Angel very awkwardly tries to make conversation and to explain why he’s back. Wesley isn’t interested. Holy crap make this scene end already. It’s so painful. Finally Angel shuts up and lets Wesley exposit on the three-eyed demons. Wow Angel is actually worse at kissing butt than Wesley was in S1. Angel quietly praises Wesley and the team for helping the girl with the three-eyed parasite. Wesley thanks him. It’s the first genuine moment between them since the battle ended.
Cordelia tries to sneak way from the three-eyed demons, but it’s kind of hard to sneak away from someone with an eye on the back of their head. The leader demon announces “two more have been destroyed,” and Cordy thinks it means Wes and Gunn. Before she can get too devastated, he keeps talking, clarifying that three demons now have been destroyed. They grab Cordy and inject more spawn into the back of Cordy’s head. Dang, she has really bad luck when it comes to demon spawn, doesn’t she?
Angel and Wes don’t find Cordy at the office, of course. Angel thinks Cordy might be out partying because it’s Friday night, and Wes lectures Angel about how he can’t presume to know any of them after all the time he’s been AWOL. Cordy isn’t a party animal now; she’s much more solitary and focused on the needs of others than she used to be. All her time has been spent dealing with cases and her visions. Angel senses something approaching. They turn off the lights and get ready.
A shadow cuts the doorway. It’s Gunn! Who adds to the guilt-tripping of Angel. They do their secret bro handshake. Angel is a bit surprised to find that they’re so tight now. When he fired them, they were barely friendly. Gunn wants to know what Angel’s doing there. Angel explains, and then Gunn asks Wesley to explain instead, because Angel was taking too long. Angel keeps trying too hard to be helpful and just ends up making a prat of himself. Gunn checks Cordy’s message pad and finds directions to the Sharps’ house. He and Wes are ready to leave immediately, but Angel doesn’t understand why they’re so convinced she went there without contacting them. Until they say the Sharps owe them money. Angel isn’t so very alienated from the group to know how Cordy would handle that.
Cordy wakes up. She can see the demon behind her. Because she has a third eye now. She realizes that she didn’t tell anyone where she was going, and now she’s got three-eye spawn in her head.
Angel, Wes, and Gunn are in Angel’s car, on the way to the Sharps’. Angel thinks they’re being followed (also, Wes saw a truck passing in front of the office a few times earlier). Gunn wants to know about Angel’s epiphany and how long he’s planning to stay sane this time. If anything happens to Cordelia, Gunn is going to take it out on Angel.
A three-eyed demon jumps the car and tries to attack Wesley in the back seat, but Gunn kicks it until it falls off the car. More demons come running. Angel doesn’t drive away. He stays to fight the demons so they won’t be able to provide reinforcements at the Sharps’ house. They’re reluctant to let Angel go off on his own again, but he swears he’ll meet up with them at the Sharps’.
Angel faces off against the demons...who scatter. Huh? He turns around and gets hits dead-on by a very old Ford pickup, driven by Lindsey. Lindsey puts it in reverse and hits Angel again. He is pissed.
Gunn and Wes reach the Sharps’. They can see Cordy surrounded by demons, and sporting a fun new third eye. Wesley wonders what’s keeping Angel. Well, that would be getting repeatedly run over by an old Ford. Like, four times. Wes and Gunn decide they don’t need to wait for Angel.
Lindsey gets out of the truck. He has a sledgehammer! I’m not sure how he expects Angel to give him answers if his jaw is shattered from sledgehammer blows. Dude, ow. That’s brutal. Two to the face, one to the stomach, two to the spine. Then another to the face. Holy crap. Lindsey goes back to his truck to get a stake, but Angel is already on his feet. He punches Lindsey several times while apologizing that Darla doesn’t love him and that he didn’t try harder to help him in “Blind Date.” Then he shatters Lindsey’s plastic hand with the sledgehammer and knocks him out. He’ll be borrowing Lindsey’s truck now.
Cordy is both happy and annoyed to see Gunn and Wes there to rescue her, because they got caught. The demons are about to impregnate Gunn’s and Wes’s heads when Angel, accompanied by full, blaring hero music, drives into the Sharps’ living room and starts taking the sledgehammer to the demons. Wes and Gunn get each other untied and do the spell to get rid of Cordy’s three-eyed parasite. It works, and Angel kills the demons. Angel tries to see if Cordy’s okay. She tells him she’s not okay—with him. Reconciliation is definitely not over yet.
Angel leaves Lindsey’s truck parked in front of his apartment, its windshield shattered. But there’s a thank you note on it! Aww. When Lindsey goes back inside his apartment, all of Darla’s things are gone.
Angel and Kate are in the courtyard of the Hyperion. She’s still not sure what to do with herself if she’s not a cop, but she’s not suicidal anymore. Angel’s epiphany, it seems, is that even if there’s no grand plan or light at the end of the tunnel, we can still create meaning with our own actions, by helping people. Kate likes that, and she’s very grateful that he saved her. She has faith that they’re not alone in the good fight, too, because she never invited him into her apartment.
The phone rings at the office. Wes hands it to Cordy. They start doing their thing, then trail off because Angel shows up. He apologizes to them. Wesley gets up with the help of a cane. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in hearing this. He warns Angel that none of them want to work for Angel again. Angel is fine with that. He wants to work for them. They’re a bit staggered. Cordelia isn’t sure she can trust him, but he’s okay with earning that. Vision time! She starts explaining what she saw, but then breaks off, confused that she’s not on the ground. Angel caught her! She’s okay with him helping now.
As much as I enjoy Angel’s dark arc, it’s still a relief to reach “Epiphany” and have it end. With the exception of the extreme awkwardness of Angel when he tries to interact with the team again, it’s a very enjoyable episode. “The Thin Dead Line,” “Reprise,” and “Epiphany” are almost a three-parter in the way they’re linked together by the three-eyed demon case and Wesley’s recovery from the bullet wound. They’re like the three acts of a single story. “The Thin Dead Line” is the setup, “Reprise” is the climax where everything is at maximum angst and danger levels, and “Epiphany” is the resolution—the danger is averted and the team tentatively gets back together. I like how pretty much everything about the episode hammers in (at times literally) that Angel can’t just have an epiphany and expect everything to go back to normal. It’s very difficult to fix things, but that’s okay, because they’re worth fixing. Kate is the most likeable she’s been since S1, but sadly, it’s her final episode. I would’ve been quite happy to see more of Kate as she is now. This episode is also the first time Angel is a huge dork.
In addition to learning how difficult it will be to make everything right with the team, Angel also learns that Angel Investigations doesn’t revolve around him as much as he thought. He didn’t press pause on the rest of the team so that when he decided to come back, they’d be right where he left them. They grew and changed without him. It’s like when two of your friends who met through you end up becoming better friends with each other than they are with you. You feel a bit left out and jealous. Angel totally deserves it for ditching everyone, but it’s still pretty sucky. What’s great about Angel is that when he realizes his approach isn’t working, he changes it. He’s humble enough to work for them and earn their forgiveness that way, rather than leaving his door open and waiting for them to walk back in it.
I don’t think Wes and Gunn would’ve been willing to give Angel another chance if Cordelia hadn’t been okay with it. She is definitely the emotional center of the team. And now she’s past her second of three demonic pregnancies! That trope just gets funnier and less repugnant every time they use it, doesn’t it?
Wesley’s recovery rate seems rather impressive. Hasn’t it been barely a week since he was shot? I don’t think it could have messed up his spine, but it probably did a lot of damage to his abdominal muscles and possibly some organs, so wouldn’t it require a lot more down time and then weeks of physical therapy to recover from that? I mean, at the very least, if he popped his stitches just by standing up, he shouldn’t be okay to stand up and walk around less than twenty-four hours later, right?
It’s interesting how Gunn leaving to go spend some time with his crew and/or with Anne at the shelter affected Wes (and possibly Cordy, though she had more pressing concerns to focus on). Angel’s defection really does seem to have given Wesley some lingering trust issues, and Gunn’s pointed comments about that sort of confirm my idea that he spent so much more time with Cordy and Wes than he previously spent with Angel, Cordy, and Wes because he felt extra protective of them after Angel kicked them out.
“If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.