Written by Tim Minear and Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Tim Minear
We pick up right where we left off, where Angel is with Connor and trying not to feel crappy about Cordy running into the Groosalugg’s arms. Lorne joins him, and then he starts getting petty about Groo because Angel is very bad at doing jealousy gracefully. Lorne helps. Angel is trying to convince himself that he’s better off single. (Um, the world is better off with Angel single. I thought that was the way he was consoling himself about that, like, always.) But he’s not very convincing. (Except that this whole Angel having feelings for Cordy plotline isn’t very convincing in the first place.)
At Cordy’s apartment, she’s changing out of the fancy dress while Groo describes the revolution in Pylea that ended with him hopping dimensions to Earth to get away from it. He hasn’t had any other love interests since she left, and he’s very romantic with Cordy. It’s sweet. If I can’t have Cordy/Doyle, then this is definitely my ship for Cordy. She and Groo are kissing when Cordy has a vision of a particularly ugly demon. Her new pain-free visions can be a little weird; this one makes Groo look like the demon.
Angel comes down to the lobby with Connor, and Wes is the only one there. Wes wants a word. Angel would like an excuse to suspect Groo of skullduggery, so he assumes that’s who Wes wants to talk about, but Wes is actually talking about Connor. They still haven’t really figured out how Connor is even possible. Wes thinks they need to find answers because their enemies will probably be looking for them. Angel votes they try raiding W&H for those prophecy scrolls Lilah stole back. Wes isn’t sure that’s necessary; someone else might’ve already worked on the prophecies, so they just need to pick up those research trails.
Cordelia arrives, and to Angel’s relief, she didn’t bring Groo. No wait, she did. He’s playing with the weapons in Angel’s weapons cabinet. Cordy says she and Groo didn’t sleep together, and Angel’s hopes shoot right back up, but unfortunately for him (though fortunately for anyone who doesn’t ship Angel/Cordy), that wasn’t because she didn’t want to sleep with Groo. It was because of the mood-killing vision. She sketched the demon for them. She also doesn’t want to sleep with Groo yet because she might lose her visions to him, since that was what would’ve happened in Pylea. She’s really not happy with this situation. Wes suggests finding a supernatural prophylactic. Angel fails to convey through hinting that Wes should shut up about that.
Cut to Fred and Gunn (finally) having breakfast in a diner. Gunn is kind of surprised that Fred went for him instead of Wes, but she just thinks of Wes as a friend. Apparently them getting breakfast together has been a thing for weeks. That is SO ADORABLE. Gah. They do a lot of shy smiling and Fred’s being panicky and anxious about how the rest of the team will react to them being together. The way Gunn looks at her is just so heart-melting. Then they get paged by Wes.
It’s briefing time for the demon-fighting mission. Wes tries not to let on how jealous he is of Gunn and Fred, and Angel is much less subtle about his issues with Groo. Wes has Angel and Groo head out together (much to Angel’s chagrin) and Fred and Gunn head out together. Angel is still being a petty dork and it’s very irritating.
Angel and Groo are looking for the demon in the sewers. Groo is afraid Cordy is unhappy with him. Angel grudgingly offers him honest advice. That’s better. They find a blood trail leading to the demon and then catch up to it in some kind of factory or utility room or something. They fight it, and it ends up fleeing into the daylight. Angel can’t go out there, so Groo follows it by himself and defeats it alone. The rest of the team arrives in time to see him kill it. It turns to goo and vanishes. Everyone in the park claps for Groo (including civilians who witnessed the fight), and Angel watches from the shadows as Groo’s heroics are celebrated.
Back at the hotel, a potential client is describing an alleged witch who’s put a spell on her fiancé. Angel is slightly distracted by all the attention Groo is still getting, particularly from Cordelia. Wesley is tracking down sources regarding those prophecies. He stands strategically so that he can see Fred in the lobby but not Gunn. *resigned sigh* Yeah, the Gunn/Wes bromance is officially dead. Wes jumps at the chance to separate Gunn and Fred by sending Gunn out to do recon for the client Angel’s been talking to, but Fred just goes along with him.
Angel and Wes are at a magic bookshop, and Angel is sulkily talking about how Cordy and Groo should just be together already since they make each other happy. Wes is skeptical; he doesn’t think office romances are a good idea. How does that apply to Cordy and Groo? Groo doesn’t work for them; he’s only there in the first place because he loves Cordy. If Groo is part of the team now, then that isn’t an office romance, it’s nepotism. Also, the only reason Wes is opposed to office romances is because he isn’t the one having one. *smacks him up the back of the head* Stop being an illogical hypocrite, Wes.
Angel wonders if it would be such a bad thing for Cordy’s visions to go to Groo. Wes is surprised, but Angel isn’t talking about Groo replacing Cordy. He’s talking about Groo replacing him. And suddenly Angel’s plight is actually a poignant one. This would be such a better episode if it wasn’t about Angel’s feelings for Cordy, and instead was about him feeling inadequate generally. Wes thinks Angel’s being ridiculous. Even if Groo hadn’t been there to kill that demon, the rest of the A.I. team would’ve been in just a few more seconds. They could’ve handled it. There wouldn’t be an A.I. if Angel wasn’t part of it.
Groo and Cordy kiss, and she wants to know if he’s sure about something. This is clearly one of those annoying misdirection jokes where out of context it sounds like they’re talking about sex at first—yep. She’s about to give him a haircut. She’s about to give him a new look because he’s on Earth now and kind of conspicuous. He hopes maybe she’ll like him better once his appearance is acceptable to her. She’s still reluctant to be with him because of her visions. She does love him. She needs to just tell him she’s worried about losing the visions already, because he clearly thinks the problem is that he’s somehow inadequate.
Fred and Gunn are tailing that fiancé guy all the way to a park next to a tree with a rather impressive root system. He’s standing there with flowers, waiting for the alleged witch to show up. Fred and Gunn start getting too distracted by each other to be very effective on this stakeout, but luckily, they have a camera. Gunn thinks love is like magic, and Fred thinks it’s like science. The fiancé guy vanishes one of the times they get side-tracked by kissing. Oops!
Angel and Wes return to the hotel. Angel feels better about Groo being in the team after talking to him, although when they step inside, Groo is standing there with an Angel haircut and wearing Angel’s actual clothes. Including a long leather coat, which definitely wasn’t necessary. Angel marches into the office to inform Cordy how much he is not okay with sharing his wardrobe with Groo. She steamrolls right over him, then asks for him to help her by taking Groo along to go pick up one of those supernatural prophylactic things. She builds up to the request as if it’s this big, meaningful, personal favor, which makes him feel really important and needed, and then it turns out to just be that wildly inappropriate request.
Seriously? This isn’t an errand you can do yourself, Cordy? You’re sending Angel *with Groo* to pick up this potion from a demon brothel because you don’t think it’s a good idea to send Groo alone, what with all the seductive ladies present, but it didn’t occur to you that a simpler solution would be to go by yourself or to be the one who accompanies Groo? This is completely ridiculous!
Fred and Gunn are trying to figure out where the fiancé guy went. Um. You do remember that you recorded—yes, they finally remember about the camera. They replay the footage and see the fiancé guy getting sucked underground by a bunch of roots.
Angel and Groo arrive at the demon brothel. The madame thinks they’re a couple (what with the matching outfits and all), and because Groo is basically Drax and the madame isn’t being 100% literal about what she means, he accidentally encourages that idea, to the annoyance of Angel. She leads them to a room where there’s a man chained to a wall. Groo tries to rescue him, but Angel explains that he’s actually happy there. *snort* Groo pays for the potion, and then Angel gets a call from Gunn. He and Fred are now trapped in a cave under that tree, which is a demon, and it’s using a tentacle/root thing to drain the life out of the fiancé guy. It’s been getting its prey through catfishing! Wow, first demon robots, now demon trees. Never online date in the Buffyverse. Fred and Gunn are very embarrassed about their situation and don’t want to get Wes involved. They want Groo’s help.
Angel and Groo head through the sewers to that park with the demon tree, and Groo hands Angel the potion for safekeeping, then charges in to fight the demon. It grabs him and starts sucking his energy pretty much immediately. Fred doesn’t think Angel can kill it by hacking at it with his sword. Really? He can’t stab it in its Grandmother Willow face? Whatever. It’s stronger than ever now that it’s using Groo as a battery. Angel drops his sword and rants at the demon tree about how much Groo sucks and he’s better. He also punches him a few times. Before the audience can entirely despair over Angel’s personality, the demon tree latches onto him instead of Groo, and we see that it was all a trick! This tree can’t get anything from a vampire, so it starts dying as soon as it’s tapping Angel. Fred and Gunn are free, and Gunn actually does stab it in its Grandmother Willow face. Success!
The case is closed, and that fiancé guy is safe, although I’m less certain about his relationship. Wes, however, is not happy with Gunn. He has him stay behind while Fred heads off to get cleaned up. He thinks Gunn should have told him about him and Fred sooner, but Gunn disagrees. Wes is mainly just concerned for Fred’s safety. He wants Gunn to make sure he looks out for her. This might be the first time Gunn realizes how strong Wesley’s feelings are for Fred, and he’s sorry he’s hurting. Wes isn’t mad at Gunn anymore. He’s resigned about Fred’s choice, and it’s not like Gunn can help it. Gunn leaves Wes alone in the office.
Cordy is bandaging Groo up, at the expense of Angel’s shirt (which makes Angel wince). Groo is about to confess that he almost blew the whole case when Angel steps in and tries to give him the credit. Aww. But Groo won’t let him. He insists that Angel was the one who saved the day. Ironically, Cordy admires Groo for being so humble, even though that’s pretty much the same thing Angel did. They take the potion and are on their way out the door when Angel hands her a roll of cash so that she and Groo can go have a vacation together. She pauses before she leaves, wondering if Angel’s okay. He says he is. She leaves.
Wes emerges from the office and sees Angel alone in the lobby. Angel heads up to Connor’s room, where Lorne is putting him to bed. Cordy might be gone, but Angel still has Connor. He’ll be fine. Down in the office, Wes has finished translating the prophecy. Angel comes down with Connor, being cute. He walks away. Wes looks deeply troubled, and we see why. The prophecy reads: the father will kill the son.
“Couplet” is also annoying! Ugh. Angel being jealous of Groo is extremely irksome to watch, even though he gets over it and his nobility wins in the end, and there was no logical reason for him to be the one Cordy’s errand at the demon brothel, since she was apparently just waiting at the hotel for him and Groo to get back the whole time. Like I mentioned earlier, this episode could’ve been much better without the Angel/Cordy element. This could’ve been the “Faith, Hope, and Trick” of Angel, where Groo is to Angel as Faith was to Buffy. Angel has plenty of reasons to be jealous of Groo even if he doesn’t have feelings for Cordy. Sometimes, it’s just hard when your closest friend would suddenly rather spend all their time with a new significant other. That would’ve been both compelling and convincing. And Fred spent five years hearing (and possibly witnessing) the heroics of the Groosalugg in Pylea, so her hero-worship of Angel might’ve been briefly eclipsed by her admiration of Groo. Same with Lorne. Gunn now follows where Fred leads, so that would leave Angel with only Wesley for company, just like how it actually plays out in the episode. Once again, I like Fred and Gunn’s side of the story, even though the rest is irritating, and I think the setup for what’s coming next was actually pretty good, particularly with Wesley and Angel’s dialogue “I thought I was alone.”/“So did I.” and then panning down to the prophecy. Angel sending Cordy and Groo on vacation and Fred dating Gunn means that Wesley is now isolated from anyone he could confide in about the prophecy. Except Lorne, I guess. I hope there’s a good reason for him not to talk to Lorne about it. And really, why can’t he tell Angel himself? The person most concerned about Connor’s life is Angel. He would definitely want to know if there’s a prophecy that says he’ll kill him.
Why are you being such a petty dork, Angel? Also, why is everyone overusing the word “champion” all of a sudden? What happened to Angel being a detective? A stoic, aloof, uncomfortable-around-people detective? The moment where Groo goes out into the sun to kill that demon could’ve been an interesting callback to “In the Dark,” when Angel deliberately smashed the Gem of Amara because he thought he’d become worse at fighting the good fight if he could do it in the sunlight. But they don’t take that opportunity. Boo.
Cordelia is really kind of an insensitive jerk in this one. I mean, who makes their opposite sex friend buy birth control for them? Because that’s basically what she’s doing. Even if Angel didn’t have feelings for her, that would be super weird. Especially when she doesn’t actually have something pressing she needs to be doing instead that makes it necessary for someone else to do her shopping for her. And the idea that Cordy is lonely seems to have come out of nowhere. She hasn’t had a love interest (besides Groo during the Pylea arc) since Doyle, unless you count that guy who knocked her up with demon spawn. Very rarely have there been moments where she seemed genuinely sad about being single, and most of the ones I can think of were in the episode right before this one. Her longing for companionship definitely could’ve been built up more effectively.
Wesley really needs to not bottle up his own issues. He had a really good moment there with Gunn when it finally came out that he has strong feelings for Fred but doesn’t want to get in the way of her happiness. And I’m back on the subject of Wesley being technically the boss but not so much the boss in practice. He does delegate all the tasks for solving their cases, which is the first time he’s done that instead of Angel in a while, but he raises no objections when Angel sends Cordy and Groo off on a vacation together. She’s vision girl! They need her around, don’t they? And Wes was just talking about how it would be handy to have another warrior on board. Also, this episode sort of proves my theory that “Provider” was just a weird outlier in the number of cases they had. Since then, the only case in “Waiting in the Wings” was one they stumbled into by going to the ballet because they had no current cases, and they only had one client case in this one. Boo.
Gunn is so freaking cute with Fred. I love it, and I don’t even ship them! This is mindboggling, because I usually detest the sight of characters in relationships with characters I don’t ship them with. Why can’t more love triangles be like this? The characters could be like Wes, Fred, and Gunn, and the fans could get along like Willow/Oz fans and Willow/Tara fans.
It just struck me how much I like that Fred is the one with two actually believable love interests. Cordy is the popular, curvy, outgoing type you’d expect to have an active dating life, but the shy, awkward, skinny nerd girl is the one who (at least until this episode) has had more suitors.
“Angel, you’re the reason we’ve all come together. It’s your mission which animates us.”
“Oh, wait, it’s not like your strength is in your hair or anything like that, right?”
[with complete earnestness] “No, I...believe it is in my muscles.” *flexes*
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.