Written by David Fury
Directed by Fred Keller
At the hotel, Wesley is explaining to Angel how the reconciliation process will be long and difficult, and it will require Angel to be less asocial. The office is now Wesley’s office, and Angel seems a bit twitchy about letting him have it. Especially because Angel’s new desk is a tiny little corner of the reception desk. Also, everyone wants him to go get their coffee. Yeah, the respect is something he’s definitely going to have to earn back.
A couple is making out in their car somewhere in town when they’re attacked by some dudes in blue robes.
Why does Wesley wear sweater-vests over T-shirts? Is that actually a thing? Because if so, I’m glad I failed to notice it for the entire duration of it being a thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m opposed to sweater-vests in general (although I might be willing to make exceptions for argyle-patterned ones). Who would want to wear a sweater-vest when they could wear a waistcoat instead? (Though, not over a T-shirt.)
Wesley pointedly nods in Cordy’s direction, so Angel tries to strike up a conversation with her. More painful awkwardness ensues, largely because Cordy doesn’t want to talk to him. She eventually tells him she’s tired, sweaty, and excited to start working on cases again. But she doesn’t currently consider him her friend. Ouch.
Cordy has a vision of the robed guys attacking the couple in the car. These guys seem to be capturing a bunch of people and taking them somewhere. Somewhere that has a large red metal bird on the outside. Angel tries to check on Cordy after she’s done with the vision, and he advises her to take the night off. So she does. There’s a weird creadking noise when she’s on her way out of the hotel, though.
Turns out Harmony is in town to visit Cordelia! Hooraaaaay...not. Cordy doesn’t know Harmony is a vampire. Cordy sort of explains about Angel Investigations and what she does. Harmony says she’s in L.A. to have some fun after a horrible breakup with a guy who couldn’t live without her. Yeah, that’s definitely an accurate description of Harmony/Spike. Cordy invites Harmony to stay at her place. Crap!
By the time the guys get to the car, the robed guys and the couple are long gone. They’re about to split up and search when they hear screaming. They save someone from getting hauled off by the robed guys, who are vampires! They dust them. Weird thing is, they’re wearing green robes, not blue ones. Angel is being a spaz. Wes isn’t happy that Angel sent Cordelia, Wesley’s employee, home early. Angel is very upset that Cordy doesn’t consider them friends anymore. Wes says he just has to give her time.
Cordy and Harmony are having a girls’ night with wine and reminiscing. And even though they were the ruling class of high school, Cordy feels much more happy and fulfilled now. Harmony is incredulous. And pretty vague about how her own life has been going. Also, Harmony’s getting really hungry. Cordy orders pizza, but that’s not what Harmony wants.
That night, Harmony creeps into Cordy’s room. She’s been eyeing Cordy’s neck all evening. She sits on the edge of the bed. Then Dennis slams the door, waking Cordy up. Harmony apologizes for failing to resist her urges about Cordy. Cordy thinks Harmony is a lesbian, and they continue the conversation with her thinking that and Harmony still talking about being a vampire (but in nonspecific terms). In the end, Cordy reassures Harmony that she doesn’t mind, and Harmony is relieved.
Cordy calls Willow in the morning about Harmony. Willow is very alarmed, but Cordy would like to know why none of them told her Harmony was a lesbian. Willow straightens things out. Cordy doesn’t seem particularly afraid, just amused and embarrassed by her mistake. Harmony catches her just as she’s hanging up.
At the hotel, Wesley is looking up stuff about the robed vampires and the snake symbol on their robes. Willow calls to tell him about Harmony. Next we see, Angel and Wesley are breaking into Cordy’s apartment to save her from Harmony. Who is giving Cordy a pedicure. Cordy is very indignant that they were just going to barge in and kill her friend.
*record scratch* Wait, seriously? She’s a soulless vampire! What is wrong with everyone? Harmony might not be much of a threat to the genre-savvy good guys, but she kills civilians on a regular basis! SOULLESS VAMPIRES ARE NOT FRIENDS.
Ugggggh, I suppose I have to go along with this for now. Cordelia feels that Harmony deserves their help, not the pointy ends of their stakes. Angel decides to side with Cordelia because he’s so desperate to earn her friendship back that he’s willing to abandon his principles. Wesley still objects because he isn’t a moron. He needs Cordy’s help at the hotel, but he doesn’t want to leave Harmony unsupervised. Harmony doesn’t want to stay at Cordy’s place alone with Dennis the ghost, so it’s a win-win.
At the hotel, Harmony ambles about, loudly popping her bubblegum in the middle of Wesley’s theorizing about where the red bird statue could be, completely oblivious to how obnoxious she’s being. Wesley wants to stake her just for the gum, which she then wads up in a torn-out page of one of his priceless 7th-century reference books. He actually gets out a stake then. Angel gives Harmony some of his pig’s blood so she’s not so hungry. She doesn’t understand how Angel can handle being a vampire and not attacking humans. Oh hey, Harmony actually said something funny, not just annoying!
Gunn arrives. He almost starts flirting with Harmony (who is pouring a ton of sugar into her blood), when Cordy and Wesley introduce her. Gunn is as confused as I am about why they aren’t staking her. They figure out thanks to Gunn’s new information that the robed guys might have a large-scale vampire operation, and it’s gone undetected because they’re mostly turning people instead of killing them, so there aren’t a lot of bodies.
Cut to some kind of auditorium, where a guy who looks like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite (if he let his creepy mustache get very out-of-hand and also was a vampire) is giving a motivational speech to about a hundred robed vampires.
They seem quite motivated! Also he’s running a vampire pyramid scheme that involves turning people and bringing back live humans for food. That’s why there haven’t been any bodies.
Wes and Gunn are mapping out all the places people have been abducted lately. Cordy is working on the computer, trying to find out what the snake symbol is about. Harmony can’t believe this is something Cordy enjoys doing. But more on that later, because she found the symbol! It’s just a fancy version of the logo of an old pyramid scheme. The guy who ran it was one Doug Sanders, motivational speaker and “life coach.” He’s the Kip vampire. Before they can read much about him on the website, Harmony spills her blood on the keyboard and shorts out the whole computer. Wes hates everything.
Harmony is super bummed about being a screw-up who’s totally alone. Cordy decides what Harmony needs is advice from Lorne. So they go to Caritas and Harmony sings “Memories.” She’s even worse than Angel, somehow, and just as not-self-aware about it as she is about everything else she does. Okay, the lack of a word that means “lack of self-awareness” is a serious flaw in the English language. I propose we use “self-oblivious” for that purpose, and I shall do so from now on if nobody objects. We could put a picture of Harmony next to the definition in the dictionary.
Lorne has no advice for Harmony, except that she should stick with Cordelia. The guys arrive. They’ve narrowed down the location based on where most of the abductions happened, so they want Cordelia’s help doing recon. Harmony will just chill at Caritas with complementary blood and potato skins while she plans her next karaoke number.
The team marches down the street, and the team, to their surprise, includes Harmony. She has interpreted Lorne’s advice to mean that she is now part of A.I. Nooooooo. The guys are horrified, and even Cordy isn’t super thrilled. They drive around in Angel’s car, Harmony yammering on about how exciting it is to have purpose. Gunn has the best flat stare, and Angel and Wesley argue over which one of them has to tell Cordelia to get rid of Harmony.
Cordy spots a bird that resembles the one in her vision. But not quite. It’s not red. They get out and try to figure out if it’s really the right bird. They’ve decided it’s not the one, but Angel went over and turned on the neon sign of the neighboring store, which casts a distinct red glow on the bird. Ha! They make their battle plan and start moving. They leave Harmony to guard the car—without maiming or killing anyone. Angel pulls Cordy aside and tells her this thing with Harmony has to end because Harmony is soulless and evil. THANK YOU. Cordy is very indignant. She doesn’t feel that soulfulness in a vampire is a very good sign of being a good guy these days. Ugh, no no no. People with souls can be good or bad. The soul is what allows that option. But without a soul, the only option is evil. Cordelia is particularly angry with Angel for donating her clothes to the teen shelter, and she was very afraid he was going to become Angelus again.
Gunn and Wes have checked the place out. There’s no way in that wouldn’t immediately tip off all the vampires. Angel volunteers to go in as a mole, but that won’t work because he’s rather well known. Wait, really? I mean, yeah, in general he probably is, but among this crowd of newbie vamps turned for Doug Sanders’ pyramid scheme? Hey, maybe Harmony could be the mole! Wow, what a terrible idea. Gunn and Wes agree with me. Harmony is anxious at first, then gets pumped about it. She vamps out and heads in.
A yellow-robed guy hands harmony a copy of Doug’s book, Selective Slaughter: Turning a Blood Bath into a Blood Bank. *snort* She sits down in the auditorium and listens to the presentation. A vampire who’s recently leveled up to yellow is rewarded with a human to drain!
The team heads to the back door and waits for Harmony to let them in. She does. She’s very proud of herself for her work. She leads the way inside, to the door she left open for them. The whole way in, she’s yammering about how much she appreciates them for setting her on her path. And by her path, she means the path to vampire self-actualization, Doug Sanders style. Yeah, she’s betraying them now. What a shock! Vampires surround them. They give Harmony a blue robe. Wesley gives the order to fight the vampires. A surprising number of them flee, considering that they outnumber the team twenty-to-one. Angel fights Doug, Cordy fights Harmony, Wesley works on freeing the humans in the cage, and Gunn provides cover for Wes.
Angel beheads Doug. Once Cordy has a crossbow aimed at Harmony’s heart, Harmony tries to beg for her life and their friendship. Cordy lowers the crossbow, but they are not still friends. She tells Harmony to get out of L.A. now, or she’ll kill her. JUST FREAKING STAKE HER ALREADY.
At the Hyperion the next day, Angel visits Wes in his office. Wes wants to talk about Cordelia and all the strain between her and Angel. Angel doesn’t think the talk is necessary. He understands Cordelia’s feelings and he’s willing to give her space. Wesley is very pleased until Cordelia busts in, extremely ecstatic because Angel bought her new clothes to replace everything he donated. They’re officially friends again, and Wesley is very annoyed. Cordelia does the happy dance of new clothes while Angel grins shamelessly.
Angel’s quest to earn back the trust and friendship of the team continues! And if the scenes of him being painfully awkward with everyone weren’t enough, now we also get Harmony. I do not appreciate an almost Harmony-centric episode infringing on the awesomeness that is Angel season two. “The Shroud of Rahmon” is completely pointless, but “Disharmony” is obnoxious—unless you consider Harmony to be effective comic relief. I don’t. I loathe her. She poisons any episode in which she has significant screentime. Partly because when I wonder if it’s possible for someone in real life to be that shallow and stupid, it fills me with despair, but mostly because it’s infuriating that nobody’s staking her. But I’m going to try very hard right now to analyze the episode in spite of Harmony. Normally, when I watch this episode, I’m so distracted by how irritating it is that she isn’t dust already that I fail to notice much else about it. The one thing that makes Harmony’s presence even a little bit worth it is Wesley’s extreme impatience with her. That’s fun. Doug Sanders, his moustache, and his pyramid scheme are hilarious. That stuff is comedy gold, and just the kind of wacky urban fantasy shenanigans you’d expect to find in the Buffyverse, especially now that the Buffyverse includes a karaoke bar where you can learn your future from a green-skinned, red-eyed demon with horns.
I don’t think Angel realized how much crow he was going to have to eat after his defection. The team sure doesn’t have any qualms about humbling him. Will the way he bought his way back into Cordelia’s good graces cause problems between him and Wesley? I can’t remember. It was a brilliant move for Cordy, but—and I never thought I’d say this—maybe Angel should’ve taken a leaf out of Xander’s book and been slightly more anonymous about it. He could’ve dropped the clothes off at her apartment while she wasn’t there, maybe with an apology letter attached. That way he wouldn’t be rubbing it in Wesley’s face that he benefited from doing exactly the opposite of what Wesley advised. *frowns* On second thought, maybe sticking it to Wesley was deliberate after the way Wesley made him get coffee and gave him a really humiliating desk. In which case, well played.
When this episode isn’t making me angry with the writers for keeping Harmony around, it’s making me angry with Cordelia for thinking a soulless vampire is a good candidate for a friend. But I think I figured out what the writers were trying to do here (even if I still don’t appreciate them using Harmony to do it). Angel’s shadiness, his abandonment of Cordy, his threats, and his general lack of compassion for the last few months have seriously damaged her understanding of how good and evil operate within an individual. If someone she considered family, who protected her and worked with her to save the people in her visions for a year—if he could turn his back on her, then maybe a soulless vampire isn’t necessarily evil, particularly when she shows up acting all friendly and vulnerable and needy. By the end of the episode, Harmony shows her true colors and Angel proves he understands her by buying her a ton of gorgeous new clothes. All is right in the world again. Well, mostly. Harmony is still in it.
Wesley’s unwillingness to compromise about Harmony reminds me of his attitude in “Choices,” when he wanted to destroy the Box of Gavrok even if it meant the Mayor and Faith would most likely kill Willow. For all the character development he’s already had, he’s still remarkably consistent.
Gunn continues to work seamlessly with Wesley, which always makes me happy, even in an episode full of Harmony. I also appreciate his attitude the entire time she’s around.
"Well, I'm unaware of any red bird statuary in downtown Los Angeles, so unless you are suggest—someone put a stake through that woman's heart if she persists in popping her bloody chewing gum!"
“So, uh, what do you think?”
“I think your friend should reconsider the name Harmony.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.