Written by David H. Goodman
Directed by Fred Keller
The team returns to the hotel to find the debris left by all the stuff that happened there in their absence. Especially creepy are the cages labeled “baby” and “mother.” Lorne shows up. He feels entitled to stay at the hotel now that his club has been destroyed on their account yet again. Angel isn’t letting anyone else hold the baby, who has a little scratch on his cheek. Cordy offers to put ointment on it, but Angel insists on doing it himself. Also, demons are attacking. Gunn and Wes dispatch them in short order, but they won’t be the last ones to come after the baby.
Angel changes the baby’s diaper on Wesley’s desk. Angel would be much more comfortable using an old-fashioned cloth diaper, but he figures it out much more easily than most TV dads. In the lobby, the team is making a list of factions likely to come after the baby. Who starts crying again. Cordy tries to help with the bottle and Angel just takes it. And then, like, waves it in the baby’s face. What’s he supposed to do with that? Stick it in his mouth, you idiot.
Cut to Holtz, who returns to the underground lair with Sahjhan and the demon minions. He’s very annoyed Sahjhan didn’t tell him about Darla’s pregnancy. Sahjhan thinks Holtz is super overthinking killing Angel. He should just stake him and get it over with. Holtz would rather lead a crusade. He’s poisoned the demon minions because he wants human warriors.
Cordelia informs the team that there are already three different websites with a bounty on the baby, and Angel is *still* waving the bottle in his face. Also, Lorne has gotten the Furies to put a barrier around the hotel so that nothing else can get in. A temporary measure. There’s a password-protected exit in the sewers. Cordy informs Angel that the baby should get his newborn checkup. Lorne has noticed a weird humming sound, but they don’t think it’s anything serious yet. Angel wants everyone to do better than their best at tracking down everyone coming after the baby.
W&H is still watching camera feeds from the firm. Lilah, Gavin, and Linwood are talking about the irritating technicality of the baby being alive without being born, thus fulfilling the prophecy but not dying in the process like they expected. And Lilah quotes Macbeth! Excellent. Linwood still wants information about Holtz.
Angel is trying to get the baby to stop crying. Well, did you ever actually give him the bottle? Whatever. He tries singing him an Irish lullaby, which is the least painful singing he’s ever done. Lorne takes over, and he is much better. This doesn’t work either, though. Angel has no idea what to do and he thinks he’s a horrible father. Lorne thinks the baby is crying because of how anxious Angel is, so he needs to chill. Angel needs to realize what a precious miracle his son is and de-stress a little. He does, and then he tries making funny faces at him. He tries vamping out, and inexplicably, the baby stops crying. This is such a weird episode.
Lilah pays a visit to the files and records department, which consists of Flo from those annoying Progressive Auto Insurance commercials, back when she had brown hair instead of red.
She pulls out a giant binder, and Lilah tries to leave with it. But it’s just the index of the actual file, which is thirty-five file cabinets of documents. Lilah orders Chinese and settles in for a good long day of research.
Holtz is scoping out someone he thinks could be an asset for him. A sad redhead who’s related to someone who died recently. She’s completely plastered, which comes in handy when she needs to headbutt someone, like Holtz, who she then headbutts. He tosses her against a car. She’s up for a fight if he wants one. He does not. He gives her his pitch. Her twin sister was killed by vampires and she’s been trying to get revenge. Holtz wants to help her get it. She’s not interested.
Cordy brings Fred some coffee, and Angel comes downstairs with the baby. Who is quiet! Angel’s being nice instead of demanding now, but he still wants to take 100% responsibility for his safety 24/7. Cordy points out that he needs sleep and that he can’t do things like go out in the sunlight if the baby needs the hospital in the middle of the day, or if he wants to play outside, or PTA meetings or something. Angel sticks his hand in the sunlight to prove he’s willing to risk anything for his son’s sake.
Lorne comes downstairs. He slept quite well. Gunn comes in, loaded with a fresh selections of weapons. He spotted a few different groups camped out near the hotel. A particularly dangerous one will be able to break the protection spell come nightfall.
Lilah is very frustrated with her research, which hasn’t turned up anything about Holtz, whose name she can’t even remember. But Files and Records Lady knows! She may not be entirely human; her eyes do this weird flip thing and she can recall word-for-word anything in any of the files. She tells Lilah about Holtz, who killed 378 vampires in his quest to destroy Darla and Angelus.
Holtz and Justine (his recruit) are at the cemetery. She’s picking a fight with a vampire, and he’s watching to see how she does. She almost gets killed, so he stakes the vampire. She claims she could’ve won without help if he hadn’t distracted her. He wants to teach her how to fight properly. She’s still a bit wary, but interested enough to go with him.
Those demons are working on bringing down the force field now. The team is preparing for battle. Helpfully, a couple of the factions are attacking each other over dibs on the baby. Angel doesn’t think this is a good plan at all. He’s going to leave with the baby. The team interprets this as a retread of when Angel fired them all and left them with his mission. But that’s not what he’s doing. He just wants the team to stall the demons long enough for him to get a head start. Fred particularly doesn’t want Angel to leave.
W&H watches Angel sneak out, and they’re very pleased they now have a chance to get first dibs. Linwood thinks this baby is a serious threat to them and all the other forces of evil. He’s impressed with Lilah, who wants to make sure the baby’s still alive when they get him so they can dissect him. (Technically, they’d be vivisecting him if he was still alive.)
The force field comes down, and the various factions attack. Wes and Gunn psych themselves up by imagining they’re movie action heroes. Angel emerges from the sewer next to his Plymouth and drives off. W&H’s new batch of troops pursues him. Demons and vampires attack at the hotel, but Wes opens literal fire with a flamethrower. By the time one straggler vampire realizes Angel has left with the baby, all the demons and vamps are dead. Nice! But that’s not everyone. There’s at least four more vehicles of enemies, and they’re all going after Angel now.
Angel heads up a thrilling car chase out into the desert. Angel is less worried about the demons than about all the questions the baby will have for him as he grows up. Aww. He pulls up to an abandoned mine and drives straight through a boarded up entrance. He climbs down into the mine and waits. The demons brawl with each other again, then swarm the place. Angel tries to get out the back, but it’s blocked by heavy bars. He tosses them the baby and gets out on a rope. Also, the baby is the teddy bear strapped to a bomb. Angel gets away clean, and all the pursuers get blown up in the mine shaft.
The baby is actually with the team at the hospital, getting his newborn checkup. At W&H, they’re trying to figure out how Angel gave them the slip. Lorne, it turns out, realized that they’d bugged the place (that was the humming he kept hearing), and he gave Angel a note. That whole scene with the team thinking Angel was abandoning them was an act to trick W&H. Lilah briefs Linwood on Holtz. She’s still not sure how Holtz, a human, is still alive. Alarms go off, because Angel is at W&H. He slices Linwood’s cheek in a way that matches the baby’s cut cheek. He tells Linwood he’s making him personally responsible for the baby’s safety; anything bad that happens to him, happens to Linwood. Linwood is the baby’s godfather. Bahaha.
The doctors have a very positive report about the baby. He’s completely healthy. Angel arrives, and he’s finally giving the baby a name. Connor. The team told the hospital staff that the baby’s father is Heraldo Angel. *snort* Gunn arrives with a stroller, and Cordy puts him in it. They’ll be safe from anyone hunting the baby for now, thanks to what Angel told Linwood. We end on a power shot of the whole team marching down the hall, with Angel at the center, pushing the stroller.
“Dad” is largely an arc episode, but also clears out the clutter of all these random demon factions coming after Connor and deals with Angel’s mindset in his first couple of days as a father. It’s a decent episode, but a bit less fun than any of the ones with Darla. In some ways, it feels like a more effective execution of “Spiral.” Instead of everyone hopping in a clunky Winnebago and driving off in a random direction at a slow enough speed for their enemies to easily catch up with them, Angel uses a decoy! And he managed to set this up even while the hotel was under W&H surveillance. Then he succeeds in twisting another enemy’s arm into providing protection for Connor. How different would Buffy S5 have been if Buffy had done some of that stuff about Dawn? I’m not sure the writers were entirely successful at making it seem like Angel was really abandoning the team, since his plan did seem like a better one than waiting to be attacked from all sides, but I love that Lorne hearing a humming sound turned out to be central to a plot twist. Files and Records lady was also a cool touch on the W&H side of things. Now that I know the original plan was to have Kate be Holtz’s lieutenant, Justine seems a bit more disappointing than she used to. Holtz keeps getting more menacing and less sympathetic, though. He used to be a good man, and he did a great thing by killing so many vampires, but he’s become seriously twisted now.
Angel goes from being an anxious wreck with very stupid ideas about how to protect Connor to being much more loving and more reasonable about using the resources available to him, particularly his team of very loyal friends, who he doesn’t have to be a jerk to in order to get the best help out of them. I can sort of see why he’d initially be reluctant even to let the others hold Connor, though, since last episode they were all still talking about possibly needing to kill the baby. No matter how many times I rewatch the show, the scene where Angel makes weird faces at Connor never gets less cringe-worthy. Ugh. And was it the director’s idea to have Angel just wave the bottle in Connor’s face instead of sticking it in his mouth? Is anyone actually baby-dumb enough to try something like that? Whatever.
Cordelia is pragmatic with Angel in a much gentler way than she usually is. He tends to respond better to this kind of quiet reason than her traditional habit of being blunt and insensitive.
Wesley does the same thing Giles does when faced with the prospect of baby-naming: volunteer his own name as a very strong option. Bahaha.
Gunn seems more touchy about the idea of Angel abandoning the team than I would’ve expected, especially considering how easily they defeated the few demons who came inside the hotel. I think he considers himself kind of the older brother of the group; when Angel defects, he’s the one in charge of everyone else’s safety. As such, he’d naturally be the most openly hostile at the possibility that Angel might leave again.
Fred sees Angel as her hero. She doesn’t want to fail him (by not tracing the baby bounty websites fast enough) and she doesn’t want him to fail her (by deserting the team right when they’re about to be attacked by numerous demons).
“I’m Files and Records. It’s my job.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.