|Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 2 BtVS/season 3 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.|
Nahdrahs are purple-robed demons who wear chrome face plates. Nahdrahs are ruled by a prince. The prince's head wears out every once in a while and need to be replaced.
Dead Guys: How can Brian, the dead ex-boyfriend of Allie, be stalking her? There are any number of mystical reasons. Wesley concludes in this case that Brian is a zombie. As a rule, however, zombies do not have their previous human identities and free will in tact. Brian more closely resembles the dead guys in the Zeppo than a mindless zombie. It it likely he was raised from the grave by a loved one with a spell.
Was Lorne tipsy? In Over the Rainbow, Lorne tells the others that alcohol can't get him drunk. So what had him tipsy when he came to tell the gang what he'd learned about Holtz? Well, his attempt to loosen the tongue of a Gar-wahk snitch involved lighting water on fire and chanting and smoking through a bong. Use your imagination. Whatever it was, Lorne has discovered that Holtz is recruiting humans to kill Angel.
Evil and Good in "Provider"
The Nahdrahs offer the Angel Investigations gang 50,000 dollars to complete a puzzle "as gift to their prince". Fred and Lorne go to their barge at the Marina. Fred handles the task easily while Lorne goes upstairs to yack in the bathroom. Upstairs, he discovers the Nahdrahs' true plan for Fred--they want to transplant her brainy head on the shoulders of their leader.
While Cordelia is back at the hotel minding the store and looking after Connor, she has a vision of Fred's impending peril. With Connor in hand, Cordelia bravely goes to the barge to exchange the $50,000 for Fred. The Nahdrah's aren't in a bargaining mood. Gunn and Wes and finally Angel appear to help defeat the Nahdrahs. The gang decides they've earned their $50,000.
Moral Ambiguity "Provider"
Angel has his non-beating heart in the right place--he wants to earn money to raise his son. But he soon loses perspective about his priorities and leaves his son vulnerable in his fanatical attempt to dust a nest of vampires for a man, Sam Ryan, who is offering him more money to do the deed than the vampires are extorting from "his company". But Ryan doesn't own the company and doesn't have 10,000 dollars. He is simply determined to slay the vampires who killed his friend. Angel is reminded that there more important things in the world than money--like family, and friendship.
Daniel Holtz is turning increasingly dark. He tests recruit Justine's commitment to his anti-Angel cause by punishing her for ignoring his commands out in the field. He has pinned her hand to a table with an awl, and she must endure it until he pulls it out if she wants to prove her "commitment". She can also chose to take the awl out herself and walk away. Justine chooses to stay and endure the pain. "Let's just say feeling something is better than feeling nothing," she says. Holtz tells her to go out and recruit other humans like them, people with a personal vendetta against vampires. Justine agrees, but that doesn't mean she can't slug Holtz in the face first.
Waiting In the Wings
Good, Evil, and the Metaphysics of "Waiting In the Wings"
Sorialus the Ravager is a hideous six-breasted demon who eats human flesh. According to one of Cordelia's visions, she's coming to town to destroy the humans that killed her mate... in another month or so.
Temporal shifts: Count Kurskov, a powerful wizard, owned the Blinnikov World Ballet Corps in the 1890's. Kurskov was obsessed with the Prima Ballerina of the company. When he found her with another man, he went insane with jealousy and "pulled her out of time". She is now doomed to repeat the same performance of the ballet "Giselle" over and over year after year.
The Count has taken this performance of Giselle on tour, transposing illusionary turn-of-the-century backstage hallways of the original theatre onto a modern theatre backstage. The performers on the stage are also illusions created by Kurskov, all except the Ballerina, who is alive and human and waits in the wings between her cues to dance. When the Count's power weakens, the antique backstage fades in and out of existence and the performers begin to disappear as well.
Psychic hot spots: When Cordelia and Angel enter the 19th-century dressing room of the Prima Ballerina, they begin to recreate the moment in time when Kurskov found the Ballerina and her lover entwined. Cordelia takes on the persona of the Ballerina, while Angel takes on the persona of her lover, Stephen. The energy "possessing" them does not come from ghosts or spirits, or at least not the spirit of the Ballerina, who is alive but trapped in time. It is more likely a psychic connection--Angel and Cordelia are being influenced by the Ballerina's memories of the events that lead to her being trapped in her timeless prison.
Later, Wesley hits one of these psychic "hot spots" as well, taking on the persona of Count Kurskov after he has discovered the lovers. He grows angry and jealous. These hot spots have been created by the energy of the emotions of the Ballerina and the Count--the Ballerina's despair and loving memories of Stephen, and the Count's obsession and jealousy.
Overloading the temporal shift: Maintaining the temporal shift that has the Ballerina trapped requires considerable power and concentration on the Count's part. The more effort it requires, the harder it is for Kurskov to control it. When the gang is attacked by the Count's lackeys, the Count's hold loosens and the illusionary backstage fades momentarily back to the real modern backstage. This gives Wesley an idea for a plan of attack. The Count's lackeys have the ability to multiply by splitting into two identical versions of themselves. They only do this when they are killed. Creating new lackeys takes work on the Count's part. Wesley, Fred, Gunn, and Cordelia take on the lackeys to overload the Count. One of the Count's lackeys stabs Gunn in the back. Fred rushes to his aid and fights off the Tragedy goon with a prop. Wesley takes on Comedy and slays him.
In the meantime, Angel takes on the Count himself. The source of the Count's power is a bejeweled medal around his neck. When the 19th-century backstage briefly disappears, Angel enters the backstage of the modern theatre. There he encounters the Ballerina. He tells her that the Count's power is faltering. She has the ability to fight him as well by changing the choreography of her dance. When she does, the other dancers begin to disappear. Angel finds the Count and shatters the stone in his medal. A flash of mystical energy bursts from the broken jewel. The Ballerina fades, and the Count dies.
Moral Ambiguity in "Waiting In the Wings"
The Ballerina's life was the Blinnikov World Ballet Corps; her heart belonged to her lover, Stephen. She should have been able to reap the rewards of both. But Count Kurskov's obsession with her limited her choices. She kept her romance with Stephen secret for fear of what Kurskov would do. Stephen told her that she should leave with him, but she hesitated. She didn't want to give up the ballet. Sure enough, Kurskov found them and cursed her to endless servitude to him. Now she has the opportunity to resist him, and she takes it.
Gunn and Wesley are rivals over the affection of the winsome Fred. But he who hesitates is lost. While Wesley is building up his nerve to ask Fred out, Gunn is on wooing patrol. He takes Fred to breakfast and tells her she's gorgeous--and she's not even dressed up for a night on the town. Even when he is wounded, Gunn still takes the opportunity to flirt with her, cajoling Fred to kiss him. She does. Wesley sees them and is hurt.
Fred and Lorne are convinced that Cordelia and Angel will get together. But Cordelia seems oblivious to Angel's feelings. This may be because she stopped thinking of him as a potential love interest four and a half years ago when she found out he was a vampire. Meanwhile, Angel is well aware of his feelings, but resisting them. The ol' one-moment-of-true-happiness-turns-him-evil thing makes him wonder what he can offer Cordelia beyond friendship.
Then the two of them become possessed by the erotic feelings of the Ballerina and her lover. Neither is left unaffected, but Cordelia still suggests that they not talk about what happened. Angel, on the other hand, decides to confess his feelings to her. Before he can, though, Cordelia sees the Groosalugg across the room and runs into his arms. The Groosalugg has been deposed by radical elements in Pylea who did the dance of revolution. He has come to Earth to be with his princess.
The Metaphysics of "Couplet"
The Senih'D is an incorporeal demon that manifests itself in its dark, spiny physical form in order to feed. Cordelia has a vision of a Senih'D that will rise under the mid-city area sometime before nightfall. When the demon is stabbed to death by Groo, it melts into nothing.
The Tree Demon appears to be an ordinary tree above ground, but down in its root system it hides its demonic face. The demon uses a tongue-like root to impale its human victims through the heart and drain out their life force (the energy that keeps a person alive) much like a machine draws energy from a battery. Other roots entangle future victims for later eating.
Defeating the Tree Demon: When the Tree gets a hold of Groo, it finds a food source bursting with life energy. Angel tempts the Tree into taking a taste of him instead. It sticks its root into Angel. But Angel is a vampire with no life force to drain. If fact, tapping into an undead body has the reverse effect: it drains the Tree of its strength so that it can be killed.
Paranormal prophylactic: When the Groosalugg and Cordelia fell in love in Pylea, they were unable to consummate their feelings because the act of love-making would have caused Cordelia's visions to be absorbed by Groo. Now Groo has come to Cordelia on Earth, and the problem remains. Wesley suggests that they find a "paranormal prophylactic". Cordelia does some research and discovers a woman who makes such potions. When Groo and Angel return with the potion, Cordelia takes off with Groo to get on with the com-shuking.
Prophecy: Wesley reminds Angel that they still don't know how Connor came to be or what his purpose is according to prophecy. They lost the Nyazian scrolls, so Wesley decides to find texts written in response to the Nyazian prophecies in hopes of getting an idea what the scrolls have to say. In Grammaticus' Commentaries (Greek, Third Century), he finds a key passage. It translates as "The Father will kill the Son".
Good and Evil in "Couplet"
The Tree Demon is made of flesh, not bark, but it looks tree-like enough to fool its victims. It lures humans to its location with an internet connection it has nestled in its roots. It uses the connection to chat with with "lonely hearts" on line. They think they are coming to the tree to meet a date; instead, they are pulled under the ground by the demon's roots and drained alive.
The Champions: When the gang sets out in search of the Senih'D demon, Angel and Groo hunt it in the sewers. Suddenly, the Senih'D jumps them. They fight it, but the demon escapes through a wall that leads out into a sunny park. Groo chases after the demon and slays it; the vampire Angel must remain inside.
Later, a woman, Susan Frakes, comes to Angel Investigations to put them on the trail of her fiance, Jerry, who she believes is cheating on her with a witch. In truth, Jerry has been lured and trapped by the Tree Demon. Fred and Gunn discover him when they, too, are sucked in by the tree's roots while on surveillance of Jerry. They call Angel. He takes Groo with him into the sewers to locate the Tree. When they find the Tree's lair, Groo charges in. But Groo cannot save them, because he is vulnerable to the demon as well. The demon is able to draw great strength from Groo's powerful life force.
It is up to Angel to save them all. Angel's plan? He begins to hit Groo unconscious while telling the Tree Demon how much more powerful he is than Groo. The idea is to tempt the Tree Demon into going after Angel instead (Groo's tough--he can take it). The Tree takes the bait. Angel slowly drains the Tree of its power. Then Gunn stabs the tree between the eyes.
Moral Ambiguity in "Couplet"
Angel lets his jealousy of Groo make him doubt himself as a warrior. Not only does Groo have Cordelia's affections. Groo shows him up by killing the Senih'D out in the day light that Angel can't enter. Angel is feeling rather useless. Cordelia has her champion, Angel Investigations has a new champion, what good is he? Wesley reassures Angel that he is essential--Angel's calling by the PTB's to be a warrior for Good is the reason for Angel Investigation's existence.
Angel realizes he does have something to offer after all when his vampiric physiology allows him to save Groo and the others. But he steps back graciously on the matter of Cordy and Groo. Angel suggests that Cordelia take Groo on vacation somewhere sunny. Angel is giving Cordelia the same chance he gave Buffy when he broke up with her three years ago--the chance to live her life in the sunshine instead of in the darkness with him. And Angel realizes that this choice does not mean he is alone in this world--he has his son.
|Cordelia's feelings towards Angel are still not clear. She very plainly desires Groo, but when she gives Groo an Earth-guy make-over, Groo ends up looking suspiciously like Angel. Still, Cordelia dismisses Angel as a eunuch who would not be tempted in a demon brothel. And no matter how brave Angel is, when Groo confesses his reckless charge into the Tree's lair and gives the credit to Angel for getting them out there, Cordelia only has eyes for her "noble" Groo.|
Wesley is jealous of Gunn and Fred's blossoming romance and decides to get Gunn out of the way by putting him on a case. Then Fred invites herself along on the stake-out, and Wesley resigns himself to translating the prophecies concerning Angel and Connor.
The Metaphysics of "Loyalty/Sleep Tight"
Prophetic dream? Wesley falls asleep at his desk and dreams that Gunn and Fred are in the room with him. He hides his translation of the prophetic commentaries from them. Then Angel enters the room with Connor and digs his fangs into the baby. Wesley looks down. Blood is seeping out of the book pages on to his hands.
Demon infections: A singer, Kim, comes to Lorne with an odd ailment. Over the past few days, she's developed a tendency to morph into an angry gray-skinned demon. She explains to the gang that she started singing for a nice, mellow band. But after a few weeks, they began mutating into demons playing "industrial trash noise funk". Fred puts Kim's green saliva under a microscope. It shows traces of Penloxia, a mystical chemical excreted by demons known as Wraith-ers. Kim has been infected by them. Fred suggests twenty milligrams of Cylenthium powder (a mystical antibiotic) twice a day for a month.
Wraithers are demons that can make themselves look human for short periods (ten days to two weeks), then they revert back to their demonic form.
The Burger Loa: Wesley asks a wizard to put him in touch with an oracle that can help him interpret the prophecy he's translated: "The father will kill the son". The wizard sends him to the outdoor speaker of a fast-food restaurant. It is in the shape of a giant hamburger. Wesley sprinkles powder from a bag over the hamburger statue, then holds his palms up in front of him.
Mange sec loa, Alegba. Accept this offering and open the gates of truth. Loa Kalfu, make your crossroads here.
A red light flashes and the hamburger comes to life.
Loa are spirits in Voodun cosmology. They're kind of like gods. Look them up on the About.com religions section for better info (Apophis, 2/25/02 21:11).
...I think it is not insignificant that the loa Wesley consults is Legba--he's the master of the crossroads, yes, but he's also a trickster, and you just can't trust them tricksters--they're tricky! (leslie, 2/26/02 10:21)
Interpreting the prophecy: Wesley fears that the prophecy, "The father will kill the son" means Angel will kill Connor. He asks the Loa if this is so. The Loa replies, "That the vampire will devour his child is certain." But "killing the son" and "devouring his child" are not quite the same thing. A vampire can devour someone's blood without killing them.
Subsequently, Angel discovers he has been drinking pig's blood laced with Connor's blood. This may be what the Loa was referring to. The Loa also tells Wesley the event will occur after three portents: "The first portent will shake the earth. The second will burn the air. The last will turn the sky to blood." But Angel does not kill Connor after an earthquake starts a fire in his suite and wounds his forehead, getting blood all over Connor's puffy-cloud sky-blue blanket. It is possible that Angel only begins to consume the spiked blood after these events. More on the prophecy.
The portal to Quortoth: Sahjhan raises his hands:
"Lekko Najine Forkahdio!!"
His words rip open a hole between dimensions. The ground shakes, the edge of the passageway crackles. On the other side is a dimension of storms and lightening with a blood-red sky. This is Quortoth, "the darkest of the dark worlds". Holtz carries Connor through the passageway. Then Sahjhan closes it:
"Forkahdio Najine Lekko."
The fissure to Quortoth disappears.
Unanswered question: Cordelia's off in Mexico with Groo. Still, why didn't she get a vision of her friends in trouble?
I think ...that Cordy stopped getting visions for the duration of the potion's potency. If she or Groo were getting them, I'm sure AI would be getting messages about them. C may be on vacation, but it doesn't mean she stopped caring (bienbizare, 3/07/02 11:05).
Or maybe, she's only getting visions of things happening in the near vicinity of wherever she's at. Like she did when she was in Pylea (pagangodess, 3/07/02 11:48:15).
Good and Evil in "Loyalty/Sleep Tight"
The good fights: After a woman, Aubrey, tells Angel Investigations about a nest of vampires at the Santa Monica pier, Wesley sends Gunn to do reconnaissance. Gunn and Fred see a man breaking into the carousel. The impulsive Gunn follows him. But he and Fred are walking into an ambush. They find themselves surrounded by vampires. Gunn fights the vampires while Fred runs for safety. But Gunn is soon outnumbered. Fred returns with stakes in hand. Gunn dusts one vampire while Fred stakes the other.
Later, Holtz' men attack Angel Investigations. One of them tries to stake Angel. Fred shoots him with a crossbow. Lorne lets out a high shriek that disables the men, then kicks one of them in the face. Gunn knocks another one out. A brave defense all around. Too bad Holtz' only intention was to distract the gang long enough for Wesley to take Connor away.
Sahjhan's plan: At the doctor's office, a woman posing as a mother steals a tube of Connor's blood. She is from Wolfram and Hart--if they can't steal Connor to study him, they'll take his blood instead. But then Sahjhan comes to Lilah with a better use for the blood.
Angel begins drinking blood in greater and greater quantities. He becomes giddy. Hyper. When he, Gunn and Fred go to kill the Wraither band, Angel morphs into vamp face and tears the demons apart. At home, he complains about Connor and yells at him. Angel realizes something isn't right. Lorne points out how much blood he's been drinking. Fred runs an analysis on it and finds traces of human blood. Lilah and Sahjhan have been giving Angel a taste for Connor's blood so he'll want more.
The gang's discovery allows Angel to stop before he kills Connor. So what about the portents that were suppose to usher in the prophecy? It appears as if Lilah and Sahjhan used magic to create them. And they send Wesley over the edge.
Moral Ambiguity in "Loyalty/Sleep Tight"
A woman named Aubrey comes to Angel Investigations and tells them about how her son was turned into a vampire. She was so frightened of his behavior that she didn't invite him into the house. He died in the light of morning. Although Aubrey is one of Holtz' followers, there is no reason to believe this story is false. She is using her own personal tragedy to lure the Angel Investigations gang out where Holtz' army can observe their fighting skills.
Angel tells Aubrey that her rage at vampires and Holtz' hatred of him are justified. But that doesn't mean Angel will let Holtz or one his followers kill Connor or his friends. Despite Angel's outburst at Connor, he is a good father and he'd move heaven and Earth to save his child's life.
|Wesley: While Angel has been spending time with Connor, and Gunn and Fred have been enjoying a blossoming romance, Wesley has been hold up in his office by himself trying to discover the meaning of the dire prophecy, "The father will kill the son". He doesn't want to share the prophecy with anyone until he confirms what it means. But this only isolates him further. He fears that Angel will kill Connor, and he sees signs of it everywhere. Will Connor make Angel too happy and bring out Angelus? Was Angel serious about snacking on Connor after Wesley witnessed the earthquake, fire, and blood, or was it just a tasteless joke? Wesley has no one to share these questions with.|
And of course nothing adds to your sense of unreality more than a cranky animated hamburger prognosticating doom.
Then Wesley follows Aubrey to Holtz' Victorian hide-out. Here he finally finds someone to talk to. Holtz is convinced Angelus will reappear--one of Wesley's fears as well. When Wesley returns to Holtz' house a second time, Holtz tells Wesley that if he doesn't do something about Angel, Holtz will. But now Wesley has a plan. He is going to take Connor away from Angel.
|Wesley returns to the Hyperion where Lorne is baby-sitting. He picks up the baby, humming a song. Lorne reads his intentions. Wesley attacks Lorne and knocks him unconscious. Then Angel and the rest of the gang return. Wesley leaves with Connor. But Holtz double-crosses him. When Wesley goes home to get a few things, Justine approaches him. She says Holtz has hurt her, but it is an act. She tumbles against Wesley, pulls out a knife, and slices it across Wesley's neck. Wesley falls. Justine takes Connor from him, puts the baby in the car, and drives off.|
"Holtz talks about 'justice' and it's stirring, but what he wants is revenge. He's driven by it, blinded by it, and if you, me, or anyone else gets in his way, he'll kill for it." --Wesley
...Holtz seemed more like a cult leader than righteous leader. His prime objective is to make Angel suffer, like the gypsies did. Creative revenge is what Holtz is about, not the protection of mankind.... He expects his followers to be as "willing" to die for the cause as Fred was willing to for Gunn, missing the fact that it was her love and loyalty that made her come back and help, not anger. He has chosen broken people to follow him, he can manipulate them easier than the unpredictable demons that were paid to accompany him before. He is a piece of manipulative work, uninterested in the suffering his followers brought to this cause, only using their pain to get them killed in the name of his vengeance. As soon as he became more interested in the torture of his opponent than the protection of humanity, Holtz became a liability, it's what contributed to his families death. It's what will contribute to his downfall. ...Family was at the bottom of his priority list, so much so he never even thought to leave them well guarded.... He's just another creep with a cause that will get many people killed for nothing but revenge (Rufus, 2/26/02 11:31).
Holtz has assembled a group of angry, mourning people to serve as soldiers in his revenge against Angel. Justine trains them for the day they will go up against Angel Investigations. But when Wesley comes to see Holtz, Holtz changes his plans. He decides to separate Angel and Connor. It will devastate Angel and save the child from Angelus' evil. After Wesley leaves the Hyperion with Connor, Holtz and his army appear in the lobby with weapons. Holtz is stalling, giving Wesley enough time to get home and run into Justine.
Afterwards, Holtz rendezvous with Connor and Justine. But they don't get far. Lorne tells Angel about Wesley. Angel commandeers one of the Wolfram and Hart humvees and uses the commando's radio intelligence to intercept Holtz. He tries to take Connor, but Holtz is willing to kill the baby rather than give him to Angel or Lilah. Then Sahjhan opens a passageway to Quortoth. Holtz takes the child and leaps into that world.
Sahjhan: Holtz' attitude towards Angel is not what you'd expect from a man hell-bent on revenge. Why not just torture Angel a bit, then kill him and get it over with? Why build armies and steal children? The answer: Holtz knows that he is dealing with more than a monster. A monster can't feel, can't care. But a man can be hurt. Holtz can no longer merely kill Angel as he planned to do with Angelus. He must hurt Angel's family and friends. He must hurt him in the way he was hurt.
But Sahjhan wants death--specifically, Connor's. He goes to Lilah with a plan to expedite Connor's demise. Then Lilah double-crosses him. She decides to take Connor back to her firm alive so that Wolfram and Hart can discover what makes the miracle child tick. The baby falls into Holtz' hands. Holtz is unwilling to kill the baby as well. In anger, Sahjhan opens a passageway to a demon dimension and threatens to consume all of them--Angel, Connor, Lilah and Holtz--with it unless Lilah kills the child. When Holtz jumps through the portal with Connor, though, Sahjhan is satisfied with the outcome. He doesn't imagine Holtz and Connor will survive in Quortoth.
The Metaphysics of "Forgiving"
Dimension-hopping: The passageway Sahjhan opened to Quortoth was not a portal. The only way to enter Quortoth is to rip a hole through the fabric of reality itself (as opposed to finding a natural "hot spot"). Punching a hole into Quortoth requires dark magicks, powers it would take someone centuries to build. Sahjhan tells Angel that his magicks allowed him to create an opening to Quortoth only once. If he tries again, the whole universe might be destroyed. Or so he claims.
Prophecies are tricky creatures, especially if a time-traveler gets a hold of them and rewrites them deliberately. When Sahjhan read that, "The one sired by the vampire with a soul shall grow to manhood and kill Sahjhan", he set out to change the course of the future. He rewrote the Nyazian prophecies (the version Wesley and then W&H had were Sahjhan's), then sicced Holtz on a pregnant Darla. Holtz failed him. He allowed Angel to escape with baby Connor in his arms and later kidnapped the child to raise as his own. But Sahjhan's false prophecies stirred Wesley into action. Sahjhan worked with Lilah to set up the signs that would convince Wesley to try to save Connor from Angel. And this time, Holtz took Connor to a place that the child may very likely never return from.
The White Room: Linwood instructs Lilah to take Angel to a "room" in the offices of Wolfram and Hart where Angel can get the answers he seeks. It is likely this room is not actually in the Wolfram and Hart building, but in another dimension that they accessed through magicks tied into the elevator controls. In the room, Angel and Lilah find an entity who appears to be a young human girl dressed in red.
|She explains that Sahjhan is a Granok, a species of violent demons given to torture and killing. A group of powerful beings (the red girl [Mesektet] being one of them), who preferred a more methodical, controlled kind of evil, disliked the chaos these demons created with their destruction. So they made the members Sahjhan's species immaterial. Granoks can apparently be captured in Resikhian Urns in both their physical and immaterial state (Holtz mentioned trapping Sahjhan's "interdimensional essence" in a Resikhian Urn in Loyalty, and then Justine trapped Sahjhan in Holtz' urn when he was in his physical state).|
The red girl tells Angel how to make Sahjhan corporeal again. She wants to help Angel get his revenge. But Angel wants to find a way to Connor as well. Mesektet returns.
The ritual to raise Sahjahn: Angel draws a pentagram in a circle on the floor of the hotel in red paint. Candles sit at the points of the pentagram. Lilah drips some of her human blood in the center. Angel lowers the lights. He reads:
"Corpus granok Sahjhan demonicus"
Mystical energy swirls up from the pentagram. It appears to start forming into a being, then dissipates. A bioplasmic disturbance occurs at the same time miles away. Sahjhan materializes on a city street.
Trapping Sahjhan: When Sahjhan threatens Angel, Gunn, and Fred in his lair, Justine returns with Holtz' Resikhian Urn and opens it. Mystical energy pours out and sucks Sahjhan into the urn where he is now trapped. (Sahjhan's return)
Evil in "Forgiving"
"Revenge... It's so much more fun than forgiveness"
The corruption of Angel: Is the red girl sending the emotionally vulnerable/unstable Angel down a dark path? Angel was already heading down that path before he met her, but anyone in cahoots with Wolfram and Hart surely wants to encourage Angel to make all the wrong choices. There is no indication that Wolfram and Hart's plan for Angel has changed any. They want him dark; working on their side. And Angel's first bad choice is asking Linwood and Wolfram and Hart to help him find Sahjhan.
Moral Ambiguity in "Forgiving"
Justine feels betrayed by Holtz. Instead of leading his followers in the destruction of Angel(us), Holtz took Angel's child to Quortoth to torment Angel for the rest of his (un)life. More importantly to Justine, though, Holtz abandoned her. To assuage her anger, she leads the rest of Holtz' gang in an ambush of Angel that barely slows the vampire down.
Gunn and Fred go in search of Wesley, but find his apartment empty. Then Lorne tells them that Holtz took Connor into Quortoth. They go to Holtz' to get answers from his followers. There, Fred finds Wesley's research notes in a dumpster. She and Gunn discover that Wesley was trying to repudiate the prophecy "The Father will kill the Son." But everything he read and the oracles he consulted all seemed to confirm the prophecy. They see Justine leave in Wesley's car and follow her to Sahjhan's underground lair. Justine tells them that Wesley is innocent (presumably, of giving the baby to Holtz). She also tells them she slit Wesley's throat and where they can find him. But Wesley is no longer there.
Angel: When Angel returns from the place where Holtz took Connor into Quortoth, he wants to take action. He wants to find Sahjhan and make the demon open a passageway to Quortoth. But the gang's research on Sahjhan is quickly brought to a halt by a lack of... Wesley. So Angel kidnaps Linwood to get information on Sahjhan. For a moment, we see the demon within Angel emerge as he coolly threatens Linwood with a spindle. But Linwood relents, and ensouled Angel pulls back. Linwood sends Angel to the red girl, who tells Angel how to make Sahjhan corporeal. Sahjhan and Angel meet in Sahjhan's lair. They fight. Sahjhan is about to kill Angel when Justine traps Sahjhan in the urn.
Fred and Gunn find Wesley. Angel meets them in the hospital. He enters Wesley's hospital room and tells him that he understands why Wesley did what he did, and that he knows it was hard for Wesley to make the choices that he made. Angel understands, but he has nowhere left to focus his rage. He can't save Connor from Quortoth, he can't defeat Sahjhan in a fight. He decides to take his rage and frustration out on the defenseless Wesley. He makes it clear that he is not Angelus, but Angel. Then he starts to smother Wesley with a pillow.
The hospital incident had nothing to do with the demon inside him. The demon would have no attachment to the baby so no grief at its lost. It was the HUMAN soul that encouraged Angel to act the way he did. Not the demon, but the man (ApplePie, 5/11/02 19:33).
Ethical Quandaries in "Forgiving"
For what should Wesley be blamed?
Wesley kept the prophecy about Angel killing his son to himself while he checked all the sources he could to confirm it. Then he saw the signs the Loa said would occur before the vampire consumed his child. After Angel started displaying disturbing behavior, Wesley decided he had to get Connor away from him. He unwisely let Holtz know of his plan. Now Holtz has stolen Connor and taken him to the dimension of Quortoth.
Lorne counsels Angel to forgive Wesley, arguing that he did the best he could given what he knew. But Angel isn't interested in forgiveness. Should he be?
Ever since "Waiting in the Wings," Wesley has been... distant and separating from everyone. I think that had something to do with not sharing his worries. He wasn't going to try to talk to Angel about whether or not he was going to eat his son, especially since Angel starting acting very weirdly. He wasn't going to talk to Gunn or Fred because he really didn't know how to act around them and I think he wanted to avoid them. Cordy was gone during the time he was sorting this out. I can't really see him talking to Lorne about it, although I guess that was possible. I don't think he did "the best he could with the information he had," but I also don't think he did anything unforgivable. I NEVER thought he was going to hand Connor over to Holtz. I think his escape scene where he got his throat cut was indicative of that. He didn't want to approach Justine, but he grudgingly did because he thought she needed help. She tried to kill him to steal the baby. No, Wes intended to steal Connor and disappear... the rest of the group... were relieved to find out that... he had reasons. Understandable reasons. And so I think they forgave Wesley--forgave him meaning that they did not have to hate him. But I think it will be a while before they trust him fully again (Liz, 4/16/02 15:48).
...from a legal perspective, but also from a moral one, I'm hard put to excuse Wesley from responsibility for Holtz seizing Connor. Wes took the baby under false pretenses. In doing so, he took him away from his best protection and becomes (legally at least) responsible for Connor thereafter. If a kidnapper drove away with a child who is then killed in a car accident, the law would certainly hold the kidnapper responsible. Isn't that our moral sense also? (Sophist, 4/18/02 15:01)