Written by David Fury
Directed by Jefferson Kibbee
Angelus discovers Lilah’s body where evil Cordy left it. Gunn and Wes find him there, drinking her blood. Angelus flees out the window at the end of the corridor, and Wes silently reels from Lilah’s death. Down in the lobby, Fred is treating Cordy’s leg wound. Connor goes running upstairs. Cordy does an evil little smirk about how “it’s started.”
A short time later, the whole team is there as Gunn and Wes wrap Lilah’s body in a plastic sheet. Connor wants to go after Angelus, but Wes and Cordy know there’s no point; he’ll be coming after them above anyone else. Fred votes they prepare for the next time he shows up. Lorne proposes using the anti-demon violence spell that he used at Caritas. Connor hates the idea of using magic, because it always backfires unpleasantly. Speaking of that, Fred wonders how the reensoulment spell failed. Gunn wonders how Lorne failed to read that Angelus was still Angelus. Connor points out they need to take steps to ensure Lilah won’t come back as a vampire. Wes pulls the axe he threw at Angelus back out of the wall and volunteers to do it.
Angelus is at a demon bar. He greets the crowd and informs them he’s Angelus again. This earns him applause from all present. A blonde vamp chick he apparently met in Tuscany in 1845 wants him to come hang out with her and some friends. He finds her annoying, so he stakes her. He likes being popular, but not that much. He goes to the bar to ask a gross flabby demon about the Beast. He wants an autograph, so Angelus stabs him in the back of the hand. A nearby vampire is more helpful.
Wes slowly pulls the plastic away from Lilah’s head. He picks up the axe, then brushes her hair out of her face. Her eyes open, and she asks him why he’s sad if he wanted her out of the way. Doesn’t it make things easier for him? He says he didn’t want this. She laughs. He hated himself for being with her. He tries to convince himself that she didn’t really love him. She appears again, this time in different clothes and with her hair styled, her body still lying on the table. They’ll never find out if she really loved him or not. How much regret will Wes feel over this?
Angelus tries roughing up some vampires down beneath a bridge for more info on the Beast, but he seems to catch his scent, because he lets them go and walks off. The vamps are bummed that the awesome Angelus ditched them.
Fred, Gunn, and Lorne are working on that anti-violence spell. The Furies are talking Lorne through a homemade version of the spell. Connor is impatient and unpleasant. He doesn’t want to follow Wesley’s orders not to go hunting down Angelus. Fred points out that Angel’s soul is still out there. They could still find it and bring him back. Connor insists there’s no going back from this. Shut up, you little punk. He starts to head out, but then Cordy collapses, which provides an effective distraction for him. He helps her get upstairs to her bed. Gunn and the others are at a loss for how to deal with both Angelus and Connor. Well, there might just be someone who can handle them.
Cut to a women’s prison, where the sun still shines. Faith walks out into the yard. YES. While Faith is doing pull-ups, a lady with a mullet tries to come stab her with a fancy knife that looks a lot like one of those Harbinger knives. She tries to stab Faith, but Faith beats her up, concluding by hitting her in the face with the end of a weightlifting bar, weights still on it. The guards know the other lady attacked first, so Faith isn’t in trouble.
Nicely dressed Lilah has a theory as to why Wes is taking so long to chop her body’s head off. He feels guilty that he couldn’t save her from herself. The fact that she’s a figment of his imagination sort of supports that theory. Some part of him hoped he could help her find redemption. He says sorry, raises the axe, and finally does it. The figment Lilah vanishes mid-sentence.
Angelus wasn’t tracking the Beast’s scent; he was tracking the scent of Lilah’s blood on the bone dagger. The Beast lured him there with it, to pass along a request from his master. Angelus is flattered by the lengths the Beast’s master went to in order to get Angelus. However, Angelus isn’t interested in following orders from a flunkie. He wants to deal directly with the boss. He goads the Beast into attacking him by calling him a bunch of different synonyms for minion until he lashes out. Then he jumps out of reach and leaves. Unfortunately for Angelus, he’s a little too good at leaving quickly, because the second he’s out of earshot, Cordy shows up to scold the Beast for losing him. Angelus is very important for her plan, so the Beast can’t screw up like this anymore. She has ways of getting Angelus to come round. She snogs the Beast. Ew.
Lorne and Fred finish up the sanctuary spell. They’re not sure it worked, especially Connor, who goes into a teen snit about how stupid magic is until Lorne tries to whack him over the head with something out of sheer annoyance. But a blue forcefield stops him! So, success. Wes comes back from beheading Lilah, and he’s decided they’re going to capture Angelus and reensoul him, because Angel is their best shot for defeating the Beast and his master.
Wes pays Faith a visit at her prison. He got there by saying he’s her lawyer. She’s very surprised to find him paying her a visit, and she approves of his new rugged handsomeness. Faith doesn’t think they need her, but then Wes tells her Angelus is back. That changes her mind. She tells Wes to back away from the glass, which she then dives through. She beats up the guards, grabs Wes, and jumps out the outer window with him, cushioning him with her own body three floors down.
On the way back to L.A., Wes has been filling Faith in on all the stuff she’s missed while she changes into civvies in the back seat. She thinks it’s all pretty insane. Wes is confident the police won’t bother looking for her while everything else is so crazy. Faith makes sure Wes knows she won’t be killing Angelus because Angel is the only person who never gave up on her, so she owes him the same. Wes knows; it’s why he wanted her in this. But have her Slayer skills atrophied? She thinks no, but Wes was looking for more of a practical demonstration. Which is why he casually stopped the car near a gang of vampires, who grab Faith through the window. Wes gets out of the car too, making sure all the vampires go for Faith. Vamp #3 opts to flee instead, because he’s not an idiot. Faith stakes the first two handily.
At the hotel, Connor is practicing with a sword. Wes and Faith return. Faith loves the hotel, and Wes introduces her to everyone. Cordelia emerges and is super not happy to see Faith. Faith won’t be taking crap from her because there isn’t time. She organizes the hunting party. She wants Gunn on the tranq gun, and she wants everyone clear on this being a salvage mission. Connor takes issue with that, and Faith gets in his face. If Angelus needs to be killed, she’s the one who’ll do it, not him. He doesn’t say anything, and it seems he may have a crush. Bahaha.
A woman is fleeing from two vampires and runs right into Angelus’s arms. She thinks he just saved her, but then he vamps out. He’s about to bite her when he overhears the other vamps talking to a demon about how there’s a Slayer in town. That distracts him enough for the girl to run away. He’s very interested. He goes to a pay phone and calls the Summers’ house. Dawn picks up and recognizes his voice. He asks if Buffy’s home, and Dawn apparently says yes. He hangs up, disappointed that it’s Faith, not Buffy.
Connor is intrigued by the idea of vampire Slayers. He’s heard of them. He wonders why they’re always girls. Faith doesn’t know and doesn’t feel like chatting. Connor keeps leading her, Wes, and Gunn towards Angelus by scent. They’re in something of an “it’s too quiet” situation, so Faith advises caution. A vampire jumps out and Connor dusts him immediately. Faith slams him up against a wall because he’s clearly not interested in following her orders not to kill Angelus. She wants him gone if he can’t listen. He tries to fight her, and she beats him easy, puts a crossbow to his throat, and informs him she’s a murderer and will choose Angelus over her. He backs down. That was awesome. Gunn agrees. Connor leaves. Gunn goes with him to make sure he actually goes to the hotel.
Faith and Wes continue alone. Faith is confident they’ll find a lead to Angelus, even without Connor’s tracking. Something subtle will point to him. Like a giant sign that says “WELCOME, FAITH.” Wes laments their loss of the element of surprise, but really, that’s his fault for trying to sic that vampire on Faith and then not killing him when he ran away instead. I suppose Angelus would’ve just killed that woman if he hadn’t wanted to set up a welcome party for Faith, though, so maybe this was the better option for humanity.
Wes and Faith both feel they should go in from different sides. Faith goes up to sneak into the warehouse from above, while Wes stays outside to deal with Angelus’s fanboys. Angelus is delighted for an opportunity to actually meet Faith, since it was just Angel faking last time. He plays warm/cold with her until she finds him. Or, well, until he emerges behind her. What she wasn’t expecting was for Angelus to have the Beast there with him.
Angelus introduces Faith to the Beast, who isn’t pleased he brought a Slayer. Faith attacks the Beast. Angelus makes a threesome joke, and Faith is fine with having to fight them both at once. She punches the beast a lot, but then he punches her through a large crate. Angelus is mostly a spectator in this fight. Outside, Wes is still fighting the fanboys. Faith is not doing well against the Beast. He’s tossing her around like a ragdoll. Angelus is having less fun watching this now. Faith is in a lot of pain and can’t even get up. The Beast is unimpressed with her.
Angelus walks up next to him, echoing what he said about being stronger than Faith. ‘Cause, you know, made of lava rock or something. Which means he probably couldn’t be seriously harmed by anything except himself. So maybe he shouldn’t have made a dagger out of himself, because Angelus sticks it in his back. The Beast tries and fails to pull the dagger out, and then brilliant light starts spilling from the crevices in his rocky skin, finally pouring out of his mouth. Here comes the sun. The vampires Wes was fighting both burst into flames and disintegrate. Wes runs inside to find Faith, who is watching the Beast crumble. Angelus is very annoyed that killing the Beast actually brought the sun back. He’ll still happily finish Faith off, though. But she sends a bunch of chains on a zipline thing crashing into a window, spilling sunlight over her so he can’t come closer. He saunters off.
We get some shots of Los Angeles in the sun, then the hotel. The team is very happy to have the sun back. Gunn and Connor don’t have any stories for Fred and Lorne about how this happened. Connor runs off to talk to Cordy. Gunn is feeling pretty optimistic about the Angelus situation if Faith allegedly could kill the Beast. Cordy is not happy at all about this development, but Connor is too impressed by Faith to notice her attitude. She sits him down and shows him her pregnant belly. He seems very freaked out, but she makes him put his hand on her belly. He doesn’t understand how this could happen. She acts like the baby changes her attitude about their relationship. As in, she’d like to have one now. Being a dumb kid who wanted to be with her anyway, he’s fine with that. They kiss, and they probably do more, but mercifully it cuts to the end credits before we find out for sure. Ew.
“Salvage” is awesome, despite the Connor/evil Cordy pregnancy ending, and it’s mostly because of Faith. It’s been two and a half seasons since her last appearance (or mention, on this show, at least), which is just long enough to make you totally not expect to see her again. I love it. And I also love the subtle crossover, with the Harbinger knife and with Angelus on the phone with Dawn. I love Faith’s interactions with Wes and basically everyone. She’s currently showing better leadership skills than Buffy, actually. Her voluntary three-year incarceration has clearly done her a great deal of good. The sanctuary spell subplot was fun, and Wesley’s scenes with dead Lilah were fascinating. I also like that the writers opted not to keep the Beast around longer than necessary. Angelus and Faith are way more interesting, and getting the Beast out of the way makes room to deal with his master instead. Angel season four definitely has some major flaws, but Faith, Angelus, cool minor characters like Gwen Raiden, Wesley’s arc, and the fact that I was never very attached to Cordelia so a complete character assassination on her isn’t quite a deal-breaker for me, make it worth it.
It’s not surprising that Angelus wouldn’t be interested in following orders. He pretty much took over Spike and Dru’s operation the second he strolled into their abandoned factory lair, and he almost got killed by the Master for showing so little respect when Darla introduced him. It was stupid of the Mayor and Faith to fall for Angel’s act—him being willing to do what the Mayor wanted should’ve been a dead giveaway. Chaotic Evil does not follow orders. It’s one of the traits he and Angel actually have in common (since Angel is Chaotic Good). Angel always had to make a conscious effort to follow Wesley’s orders without balking, and he gradually slipped back into the role of leader even though Wes was still technically the boss. But Angelus has taken that so far as to actually kill the Beast just out of spite for the Beast attempting to control him. But not until after the Beast had made Faith less of a threat. He’s not only good at manipulation when he’s locked up.
Cordelia might be possessed, but her reaction to Faith was pretty much how I’d have expected the real Cordy to act. Aside from that, it’s a really unconvincing performance, so it’s kind of pathetic that nobody has started suspecting her.
Upbeat Gunn is back a little bit! Yay! Thanks for making that happen, Faith. I miss Gunn being grumpy and irritable but prone to cracking jokes. He’s been so angry for most of the season that the jokes have largely been replaced by complaints and insults. Is the change because he’s no longer burdened by his and Fred’s failing relationship? Seems likely, since nothing good has happened besides their break-up. I do feel like it’s weird, though, that he still hasn’t gotten in touch with his old crew. They must be up to their ears in vampires, since they hole up in abandoned buildings. How are they doing? Do they need help? Is their territory the safest place in town right now?
Fred has a pretty minor role here, but I like that she’s the first one to speak up in favor of making some kind of plan to get Angel back. She, like Faith, doesn’t want to give up on him unless there is no other option.
Connor continues to be very irritating when it comes to Angel(us), but his reaction to Faith is fun. She’s attractive and she can beat him up, so of course he immediately has a crush on her. More than Connor’s reaction to her, though, I love how she handles him. But dang it, Connor really needs to learn how to think with his head instead of his hormones, because the entire situation with Cordy screams badness. I suppose it helps her side of things that Holtz probably never explained to him how normal human gestation works. For all he knows, maybe it’s normal that she’s far enough along to be showing even though everything since they slept together seems to have happened in the space of a couple of weeks.
I don’t think Wesley has become quite morally gray enough to actually be glad Lilah’s dead. But he’s definitely afraid he’s capable of such a callous feeling, which is a good sign. And he might think he didn’t inspire Lilah to change for the better, but I think he’s wrong. For all her efforts to get him to bat for W&H, she ended up being the one helping him and the people he cares about, not the other way around. I really like Wesley’s interactions with Faith. They really haven’t interacted much since she tortured him, but they can be very businesslike in a cynical sort of way. He might actually be capable of being an effective Watcher to her now. It’s interesting how now that Fred and Gunn aren’t together anymore, Gunn seems to have much less of a problem with not only letting Wes be in the team again, but following his orders.
“But hey, I’m no different from the next guy. I put my victims’ skin on one leg at a time.”
“Eh, just like riding a biker.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.