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Recap / Angel S01 E10 "Parting Gifts"

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Angel goes to the Oracles to ask them to reverse time again so he can prevent Doyle's death, but they will not help him, citing that Doyle sacrificed himself to save Angel's life and that bringing him back would make the gesture pointless. Angel protests that Doyle, aside from being his friend, was also his only link to The Powers That Be. Cryptically, the Oracles tell Angel that when one door closes, another door opens, before imperiously waving him out of their realm. Meanwhile, in the real world, an unprepossessing demon runs frantically down an alley in broad daylight, trying to evade the pursuit of a mysterious, black-clad motorcycle rider. At Angel Investigations, Cordelia despondently seeks something tangible to keep in memory of Doyle. Angel tries to be understanding, but Cordy shies away from further discussion of her feelings, until her watch beeps a reminder that she is scheduled for an audition. When she opens the door to leave, the demon being chased by the motorcyclist is just coming in to ask Angel for help. Sending Cordelia on her way, Angel tries to ascertain whether he can help this demon, whose name is Barney, as well as whether he wants to. Proclaiming himself an empath demon, Barney admits he uses his ability to read people's emotions to get the edge at cards, or at the fights. Angel bluntly identifies Barney as a cheat and wonders whether the guy on the motorcycle might have good reason to be after him. Barney protests that, even though he's not perfect, he's not "evil" and can't imagine why this guy has tracked him across state after state. At her audition, Cordelia breaks down sobbing in the middle of her reading and then, when the three producers generously give her another try, suffers her first vision.

The man on the motorcycle continues to track the demon he's after, dismounting to examine more closely a viscous yellow fluid he finds on the corner of a building. Returning from her audition, Cordelia silently zeros in on an alert but essentially unprepared Angel, and kisses him with extreme thoroughness. Realizing that Doyle's kiss was the mechanism for passing his visions to her, Cordelia embarks on a kissing spree to rid herself of his unwanted "gift," unaware or uncaring that if she succeeds she'll foist the visions off on a truly hapless soul. After Cordelia amazes Angel and disgusts herself by kissing even (amazed) Barney, Angel leaves the empath demon under her care, with instructions to also try to sketch what she saw in her vision. As he checks out Barney's decidedly low-rent motel room, Angel is ambushed by the motorcycle man, revealed in the flickering light of the dark corridor to be armed with a crossbow. After shoving Angel further into the room and leveling his crossbow at the vampire's chest, the man reveals himself to be Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Buffy's former Watcher. A little surprised and certainly unthreatened, Angel effortlessly disarms Wesley, who tells the vampire that he has quit the Council and is now a self-styled 'rogue demon hunter'. As Angel and Wesley compare notes on their overlapping cases, an enormous demon, oozing viscous yellow fluid, drops on them with a roar. Slinging Wesley against the wall with ease, the demon lands a few good punches on Angel, until Wesley shoots it with the crossbow he retrieves from the floor. To their surprise, the demon screams and crashes out the second story window to run away, limping and moaning, as fast as possible down the empty street.

Meanwhile at Angel's apartment, Cordelia tries to sketch the "ugly, gray, blobby thing" she saw in her vision. At loose ends, Barney attempts to engage Cordelia in conversation by offering sympathy for her grief, and immediately finds himself the target of her anger and suspicion. When Barney assures her he didn't mean to intrude, it is Cordelia who apologizes for her rudeness and, to make amends, opens up a little about Doyle. Just then, Angel comes downstairs, bringing the black-clad motorcycle rider with him. Barney runs and hides and Angel follows to reassure his timid client. Checking to see that Angel is out of sight, Cordelia slides into silent stalker mode, accosts Wesley, and kisses him. Not dumbfounded for long, Wesley pulls his old Sunnydale friend (whom he recognized immediately) into a tight clinch and (unlike Angel) kisses her back. Cordelia's focus is so intent that she only recognizes Wesley after exclaiming with disgust and disappointment that the visions are still with her. As Angel and Barney reenter the room, Wesley snaps back on task and disappears in the direction of Angel's library, only to reappear moments later having identified their opponent as a Kungai, a demon of Asian origin. The "rogue demon hunter" claims that continuing to track the Kungai is his job, or their job, if Angel insists, but Angel, still raw from losing his partner, orders Wesley to stay behind. Bribing the belligerent desk clerk (who seems to recognize Angel) to let him in back at the Lotus Spa (featuring Korean mineral baths), Angel finds the Kungai demon, but it is dying because the Tak horn on its forehead has been, literally, ripped off. Angel speaks Korean, apparently, but can't understand what the Kungai so urgently wants him to know. Back at Angel's apartment, Cordelia continues to sketch the object from her vision and, apparently feeling more herself, begins to complain about Doyle's "gift." With surprising insight, Barney gently chastens Cordelia, guessing that Doyle must have honored her with both his trust and his most valuable possession. While Cordelia makes coffee, Barney makes a call to his associate, Hank, and, dropping the timid, sensitive act, reveals that it is he who stole the horn from the Kungai demon. But, Barney tells Hank, he now has a line on something even more interestingóCordelia's clairvoyant powers.

Wesley shows up at the spa and helps Angel by translating the Kungai's last words, which identify Barney as his murderer. At Angel's place, Barney permanently dispenses with his mild-mannered persona and starts to terrorize Cordelia. Physically overmatched by Barney's demon strength, Cordelia is unable to prevent him from tying her wrists behind her. Still, she fights back by pretending to get a vision and, in the demon's moment of distraction, kicks him squarely between the legs. Originally wishing to empathically savor Cordelia's fear, Barney has worked her into such a frenzied state that she now refuses to leave quietly. With mild regret for damaging merchandise (and with maybe a tinge of vengefulness), Barney knocks Cordelia unconscious with a punch to the jaw and takes her from the building. Returning to the empty apartment, Angel and Wesley both feel responsible for Cordelia's fate. As Angel hunts for clues, Wesley collapses in despair over losing yet another young woman from his care and finally admits that he didn't quit the Watcher's Council, but was fired for his total failure to control either of the slayers placed under his care. Angel, initially annoyed, now listens with more patience, even as he continues to comb the place for evidence. When Angel finds the crumpled drawing Cordelia made from her vision, he rotates the paper ninety degrees and recognizes it as the gray, blobby sculpture, "Maiden with Urn," by an artist with whom he's familiar. Finally getting a clue, he and Wesley both snap into research mode. Angel queries the web and finds that the sculpture is currently owned by a hotel chain with many establishments in the L.A. area. Wesley, having looked up the one Kungai phrase he hadn't been able to translate, finally figures out that "caller sale" means "auction." This gives the guys the last piece of the puzzle and, taking only moments to arm themselves, they race to Cordy's rescue.

Meanwhile, Cordelia wakes, bound and gagged, in a strange room where the only familiar object is the ugly, gray blobby thing from her visionówhich she is looking at sideways because she's lying on her side on a settee. As she tries to get her bearings, Cordelia notices a long cloth-draped table covered with various grisly body parts and organs, dominated by a still-beating heart in a pedestaled bell jar. Hearing Barney talking with someone and approaching from the other room, she hastily closes her eyes and lays her head back down. To her consternation, they seem to be discussing whether to remove her eyes before or after the auction, as Barney's wild-eyed associate, Hank, obsessively clicks the extractor device over and over. The auction begins. The item for sale immediately before Cordelia's lot number comes up is the Tak horn from the hapless Kungai. Hank brings Cordelia to the podium, where she stands aghast while Barney opens the bidding for her lovely seer's eyes at $2,000. While Angel and Wesley zero in on her location, Cordelia buys time by inciting a bidding war between two patrons. When the contest proves lethal for one bidder and the matter seems settled at a substantial $20,000 (which has Barney practically hopping with glee), the representative from Wolfram & Hart suddenly bids $30,000. Barney nearly passes out, but manages to bang his gavel and close the deal before anything can interfere with such an unexpected windfall. Cordelia is now the evil law firm's property, and Angel and Wesley are nowhere to be seen.

The auction is over. Cordelia is in the back room listening to Barney negotiate with Mac, the lawyer from Wolfram & Hart, about the additional fee for removing her eyes, and to Hank still clacking the three-pronged extractor. To Cordelia's horror, Mac agrees to the extra grand and Barney, taking the extractor away from the seriously disappointed Hank, holds the seer down and starts to do the job himself. At that moment, a body comes flying through the curtained doorway and Angel and Wesley, who have worked their way from the front of the hotel to back here behind the Tulip Room, follow immediately after. Barney raps out, "Hank? Stakes!" and the fight is on. Mac, having already made a strategic exit, uses her cell phone to give a situation report as, behind her, Angel wades in, shouting to Wesley to get Cordelia. The hilarliously bumbling Wes manages to ungag her, but must use a claw that got knocked to the floor nearby to cut her bondsóbecause he can't get at the knife he earlier taped so securely to his leg. Just as Wes and Cordy head for the nearest exit, Barney blocks their path, the homicidal glint in his eyes matched by the righteous fury in Wesley's. In the ensuing struggle, Barney quickly gets the upper hand and starts to throttle the demon hunter who tracked him so relentlessly. With a shout, Cordelia grabs the Tak horn and stabs the murderous empath demon in the back. They watch in horrified fascination as the Tak horn's power drains his life force and his body shrivels and blackens and sinks away. Angel dispatches the last of his foes and, when an overjoyed Cordelia flings her arms around him, acknowledges Wesley's invaluable assistance.

Back at Angel's apartment, Cordelia sits at the kitchen table and frames her ugly, gray, blobby drawing as a memento for saving her life, and as a reminder that something of Doyle's will always be with them. Moved, Angel silently turns back to the stove and continues to scramble eggs, while Wesley finishes packing up his things. As Angel moves gracefully from stove to cupboard to table to stove, Wesley makes his farewells, wistfully drawing out his departure to give the other two ample opportunity to invite him to stay. When Angel finally relents and says, "Breakfast?", Wesley accepts with alacrity and the three friends enjoy each other's company for this moment of peace and warmth and safety.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: Wesley announces that he's become a rogue demon hunter. Cordelia's response: "What's a rogue demon?"
  • Amoral Attorney: This episode introduces another Wolfram & Hart lawyer named Mac, who regularly attends Barney's auctions on behalf of the firm.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Barney kills a lot of people, viciously mutilates their bodies, and starts the bidding for Cordy at a paltry $2000.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Angel is talking to two Koreans. One of them speaks Korean fluently, but the other has lines that are technically correct but very simplistic and childish. When Angel speaks to them, his lines are complete nonsense that sort of sounds like an Asian language.
  • Auction of Evil: Cordelia is kidnapped and her "Seer's Eyes" are put up for bid, along with various other stolen organs with special powers. And when it appears she is about to be sold for much too low a price (from Cordelia's viewpoint) she takes over from the auctioneer to drive the price higher, and to buy time for the Big Damn Heroes to show up and rescue her.
  • Badass Biker: Wesley trying to go for a more badass look. When Angel isn't impressed he tries to become a Badass in a Nice Suit. Besides, the leather pants tend to chaff his... legs.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Determinator pursuing Barney turns out to be Wesley. Then Barney turns out to be the villain.
  • Break Them by Talking: Barney does this to Cordelia.
  • Bound and Gagged: Cordelia; the gag has less to do with restraint than making her shut up.
  • But Now I Must Go: Wesley tries playing this trope, but is disappointed when Angel and Cordy don't appear to be paying attention, and rushes back when Angel casually invites Wes to join them for breakfast.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Barney: First off, you should know—right away, before there's any misunderstanding—I'm a demon.
    Angel: [glances at horns, hooked nose, pointy ears, and blotched skin] I appreciate your candor.
    • Later Barney the Empath demon overhears Cordy struggling to decipher a cryptic vision and grunting angrily.
      Barney: You're frustrated.
      Cordelia: [glares] That's one spooky talent you got there.
    • Angel and Wesley nab their suspect, a wounded Kungai demon, only to discover he's dying. Angel points out that it wasn't Wesley's arrow which injured him; his horn's been broken off. Wesley leans over and starts translating the Kungai's dialect.
      Wesley: [looks up] I think he's telling us his horn was taken.
      Angel: We got that!
  • Cat Scare: Angel, stalking through a sauna with an axe, is startled when a horrible demon yanks open a curtain and snarls at him... then politely asks where they do the Shiatsu massage.
  • Cutting the Knot: An auctioneer being outbidden by a rival solves the problem by snapping his neck.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: This episode is the only appearance of Mac, played by Dominique Jennings. While the other three Wolfram & Hart lawyers associated with Villains of the Week, namely Lindsey McDonald from "City of", Lee Mercer from "Sense & Sensitivity", and Lilah Morgan from the future episode "The Ring", appear as a team towards the season's end, Mac never appears again after this episode.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Cordelia laments that Doyle had nothing special he left behind so she could do this trope; she's less than impressed to find that Doyle did leave her something specialóhis ability to experience painful visions.
  • Damsel in Distress: Cordelia, who's kidnapped by Barney and is about to suffer a pretty grisly fate until Angel and Wesley arrive to rescue her.
  • Decoy Damsel: Barney is a Gender-Inverted Trope.
  • Description Cut: The Oracles tell Angel that someone will come along to replace Doyle; cut to Barney being chased by a helmeted man on a motorcycle. But it's a Bait-and-Switch as Cordelia is the one to inherit Doyle's power. Though it was played somewhat straight in that the biker, Wesley, also joins the team.
  • *Drool* Hello: Wes informs Angel that the demon he's chasing can be tracked via the Alien Blood it's leaving behind... like the kind that's now dripping on his shoulder.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Angel finds himself facing a man in the shadows holding a crossbow; a Determinator who's been chasing Barney across several states. Angel is unimpressed when his old acquaintance Wesley steps out into the light.
  • Epic Fail: Wesley shows he strapped a dagger to his thigh and boasts about being well prepared. During the big fight scene at the end, he is unable to unstrap it.
  • Eye Scream: Demons attempt to remove Cordelia's eyes while she's still conscious.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Wesley, as a Running Gag.
  • First Kiss: Angel and Cordy kiss for the first time; subverted in that Cordy is trying to pass on Doyle's visions. There's also a Call-Back to Wes/Cordy's disastrous first kiss when Wes admits their second time was an improvement.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Koreatown.
  • Game Face: A hotel employee wisely provides Angel with directions to the auction when he vamps out.
  • Groin Attack:
    Cordelia: I'm having a vision! A demon... it's definitely you. You're in great, great...
    Barney: Danger?
    Cordelia: Pain. [kick]
  • Half-Truth: Wesley's myriad of excuses for why he can't return to England.
  • Hopeless Auditionees: For once Cordy has an excuse for her Bad "Bad Acting". She plays a stain remover commercial melodramatically due to grief over Doyle. When the bemused auditioners ask her to try again with a little more happy, she then experiences her first vision. Needless to say, she doesn't get the part.
  • Insistent Terminology: Wes wants to make sure everyone knows that he's a rogue demon hunter.
  • It Meant Something to Me:
    Cordelia: Doyle! I thought our kiss meant something. And instead, he-he used that moment to pass [prophetic visions] on to me. Why couldn't it have been mono or herpes?
  • Imagine the Audience Naked:
    Barney: Iím sensing a little performance anxiety here. Little trick, picture everybody—
    Cordelia: In their underwear.
    Barney: I was going to say dead, but hey, if that underwear thing works for you...
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
    Barney: I never said I was a Boy Scout. Iím an empath demon. I can read emotions. It gives me a slight advantage at cards. You know, Black Jack, Poker. Ooh, itís also good for the fights.
    Angel: So youíre a cheat.
    Barney: I chose to think of it as going with my strengths. Look, whatever. Iím a demon. Iím evil. But Iím not, you know, Evil!
    • Subverted since Barney is playing a little Obfuscating Stupidity, he's actually a sadist and the true villain.
  • I Work Alone: Both Wes and Angel say this. They doth protest too much.
  • Last-Second Word Swap:
    Wesley: These pants, they tend to chafe oneís... legs.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...:
    Barney: ďSo what youíre telling me is that all this time your friend wasnít hunting me, he was hunting something else that was hunting me?Ē
    Angel: ďThatís about the size of it.Ē
  • Lightning Reveal: A faulty light reveals the Sinister Silhouette of the rogue demon hunter.
  • Made a Slave: An option for Cordy at the auction; unfortunately the lovely lawyer from Wolfram & Hart is only interested in her eyes.
  • Mook Horror Show: Barney fleeing from Determinator Wesley.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Hanks pleads with Barney to be allowed to take out Cordy's eyes. Barney tells him to stop embarrassing himself.
  • Omniglot: Angel can speak Korean, while Wesley can understand the Kungai's dialect.
  • Organ Theft: Specifically, the organs that serve as focuses for various powers, sold at an Auction of Evil to those who want to acquire such powers.
  • Perp Sweating: Wesley tries interrogating Angel when they first meet. Angel casually swats away his crossbow, leaving Wesley looking rather dejected.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: After Doyle's death, Cordelia tries to do this, but finds that Doyle didn't have any personal effects kept in the office, so she couldn't learn any more about him. But then, it turns out he did leave something behind (albeit not something tangible); his visions. At the end of the episode, Cordelia frames a drawing she made of her first vision as a reminder that something of Doyle's is still there.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    Wes: You! Butcher an innocent girl, will you?! [pushes his glasses up on his nose] Iím going to thrash you to within an inch of your life AND THEN IíM GOING TO TAKE THAT INCH!
  • The Pratfall: Wesley tries to pull a knife out of an ankle holster to cut Cordy's bonds and ends up falling on his backside.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Angel goes off on a tirade about media stereotyping when Barney thinks he sleeps in a coffin.
  • Rogue Agent: Wesley has reinvented himself as a "rogue demon hunter." In truth he's been fired from the Watcher's Council after losing both Faith and Buffy.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Cordelia kissing Angel—it turns out she's just trying to transfer Doyle's power.
    • The remnants of the Cordelia/Wesley attraction from Season 3 of Buffy are touched on again when he shows back up, as she tries to pull the kissing trick on him as well. While Cordelia did it without even registering that it was Wesley she was kissing, a shaken Wesley notes that it was definitely a much better kiss than their one in "Graduation Day, Part 2".
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Wesley joining Angel and Cordy for breakfast shows his acceptance into their group.
  • Title Sequence: Doyle is kept in to sow confusion about who will replace him, or even if he'll be brought back from the dead. Wesley won't receive his Promotion to Opening Titles until the next episode.
  • Vampiric Draining: The effect of the Kungai horn.
  • Whammy Bid: The item for sale is Cordelia's visions, or more specifically, her eyeballs. To stall for time, Cordelia incites a bidding war by claiming to be able to see the locations of buried treasure. This escalates until one of the two highest bidders kills the other one. Finally, a female attorney for Wolfram & Hart closes the auction with a whopping bid of $30,000.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: Barney is about to extract Cordelia's eyes.
    Barney: Now, be a good girl and hold still. This will only hurt a lot.