A woman is running though the night, under a bridge. Splashing through a puddle reflecting the moon, and looking behind her in terror, she slides to a stop, eyes wide with terror, as someone steps in front of her, and grabs her throat. The figure uses a metal finger claw to cover her mouth in a shushing expression, then cuts her cheek with it before biting her and draining her blood.
When the figure looks up after dropping his dead victim, it is Angel in his vamp face.
Angel wakes up from this apparent dream shaken. Meanwhile, Kate is investigating the crime scene, which is real, and not just from Angel's dream. She comes across the woman and tilts her face to the side, revealing a cross has been scratched into the woman's face. She announces that this was done by the same "guy" — this woman is his third victim — before speculating that he's just getting started.
The next morning, Cordelia is practicing business-related lines to an empty chair, when Wesley interrupts her. He tells Cordelia he's brought the office's mail, but Cordelia remarks that the address is wrong—the mail actually belongs to the dentist's office next door. Suddenly, Wesley sees something on the front page of the paper that catches his interest. His expression turns from one of contentment to one of concern, and he leaves when he hears Angel coming up the elevator, claiming that he needs to return the mail to its proper owner.
Angel comes into the office in a bad mood, and Cordelia suggests having Kate help them run a license plate for their runaway case. Angel is so distracted he almost walks out the front door, during the day, and announces he'll take the tunnels to get to Kate.
Kate is having her own troubles, but agrees to help Angel. While there, Angel sees the victim from his dream in one of Kate's active cases. He instantly is unnerved by the revelation that his dream is more than just a figment of his imagination. Kate reveals that the tabloids are calling the killer "The Pope", but Angel disagrees; this isn't a religious man, this is a man mocking God.
Angel leaves and Kate gives a criminal profile to a room of police officers, and her profile of the murderer known as "The Pope" resembles Angel: he sees himself as subhuman, he is a loner, and he likely doesn't remember what he has done.
Back at the Angel Investigations office, Wesley quickly runs in, asking where Angel is. Cordelia states he isn't here, noting how rude it is to bring a stake into a vampire's office. Wesley shows her the newspaper article which depicts the mutilated victim from Angel's dream. He also shows her his extensive research, specifically on Angel; the way the victim has been killed is identical to Angelus' method in the 1800's. Cordelia is extremely defensive against Wesley's accusation, and tells him that Angel isn't Angelus anymore. Angel interrupts her and admits that Wesley is right and tells them of the dreams he has been having, mentioning that he enjoys the actions during the dreams. Wesley thinks that it is possible that Angel sleepwalks before dawn, the same time the murders take place. They decide that, for the night, Angel will be tied down to his bed while Wesley makes sure that Angel doesn't escape.
As Angel sleeps, he dreams of a time in the 1800's where he is stalking a frightened girl who is trying to flee. A figure gets in front of her, cuts a cross into her cheek, then bites her, draining her blood. The next morning, Cordelia comes in and happily explains that Angel couldn't have killed the woman because there has been another murder. Both Wesley and Cordelia seem happy about this, but Angel interrupts their happy situation by insisting he is responsible.
In the office, Angel explains that he sired another vampire, Penn, and taught him to kill in the exact way these victims are being slaughtered. He says he has always had a connection to those he's sired, which explains why he sees the murders through Penn's eyes.
They realize that Kate is hunting Penn and getting too close. However, this could be good, Angel decides, as they can use Kate and her resources to track down Penn. He visits Kate and gives her a drawing of what he assumes Penn will look like now. While he is there, he sees crime scene photos from "The Pope's" murders. Angel realizes Penn has been killing people in this same way over and over, re-living murdering his family; he's killing people that remind him of his mother, brother, sister, and father. He tells her the next victim will be a white male adolescent in a low-rent neighborhood, probably by a liquor store. He steals a police radio to make sure Kate's team is safe, and so Wesley can intervene if necessary.
Penn proves Angel correct by preying on a white male teen, who is begging for alcohol "for his mother". Penn lures him in by offering to buy the alcohol he needs. The police interrupt just as Penn starts to drink the teen's blood, and he flees into a nearby warehouse window.
Angel and Wesley arrive, realizing Penn must still be in the building. Angel throws the car in reverse and stops by a drainage pipe, which he climbs into. Alone, Kate creeps into the warehouse, searching for Penn, who fearlessly comes down the stairs. She orders him not to move, but he continues, so she shoots him three times. Penn falls and Kate approaches, checking for a pulse and, of course, not finding one. Penn wakes up, says "Ouch," and throws Kate across the room. As he makes his way toward her, Angel breaks in from the higher floor and confronts Penn. While Penn and Angel catch up, Kate radios in for extra help. She watches from afar as Angel changes into his vampire face, promising to kill Penn, and the two fight. Angel orders Kate to flee to safety, although she ignores his request. Penn throws Angel into Kate and escapes, and Angel realizes that this is the first time Kate has seen him as a vampire. Kate is stunned at the sight.
Later, Kate asks Angel what he is, and he says she already knows the answer. He tells Kate that she won't stop him without decapitation, a stake, or direct sunlight. She insists he is wrong, but he argues back that she is just in denial as there are some things in this world she just doesn't want to face.
Angel leaves and Kate goes back to the station. She starts researching murder cases that match "The Pope's" profile beginning at the first records they kept.
Back at Angel Investigations, Cordelia is repeating her speech and we see she is talking to Penn, whom she thinks is a potential customer. She soon realizes that he is pumping her for information and figures out who he is. Penn tells her she'll never make it to the exit, but she opens the curtains behind her just as Angel arrives, asking her for a stake. Penn and Angel argue with one another before Cordy returns and hands Angel the weapon. Wesley walks in and Penn grabs him, shoving him to Angel as a distraction before fleeing.
Kate has taken the time to study everything she can on vampires, as well as Angelus, who she has figured must be Angel. When Angel goes to her house, she remarks that he has to be invited in, but that she certainly won't be inviting him, because she knows what type of person he was in the past. She blames him for everything Penn is doing, and tells Angel she no longer needs his help, as she now knows what to do. The next time she sees Angel, she says, she'll kill him.
Cordy finds reports from murders related to "The Pope", and, with Wesley and Angel's help, figures out where Penn is hiding; he is a rather predictable vampire and kills in the same place every time he begins this reenactment. They go to Penn's hiding spot, a hotel, and search for him, coming across the newspaper clippings Penn has kept as trophies. They come across information on a school bus and its route, but Angel realizes this is just a distraction, and runs to find Kate who is being assaulted by Penn at the police station.
Penn drags Kate into the sewer and tells her he's not going to kill her, he's going to make her wish he had by making her one of them, because then Angel will kill her. Kate throws Holy Water into Penn's face and runs away from him, as Penn tells Angel that he is correct: he has spent the past 200 years sticking it to his father, although notes Angel is his real father, as he has improved him in so many ways his mortal father never could. Angel accepts the role as father and tells Penn he's grounded. The two vampires fight, and Penn gets Angel pinned so that if Kate is going to stake him, she'll have to go through Angel. Kate, however, shoves the spear through Angel's stomach and up into Penn's heart, killing him. Angel says she missed, but Kate says she didn't. The two sit in the tunnel together in silence, their relationship permanently strained. While Kate is able to see that Angel isn't evil, she still cannot forgive him for forcing her to see the supernatural underside that lurks throughout L.A. and making her realize that the world is far more unusual and deadly than she imagined.
Later, Angel sits alone watching the city from the balcony of his apartment. Cordy tells him she has had a new vision, and Angel tells her he's wondering if the world really does change. Cordy assures him the world does change, and that he has changed. She assures him that the message she got in her vision wasn't for Angelus, it was for Angel, and that the Powers That Be know the difference.
Angel asks her what she'd do if the day ever comes that he reverts back to being Angelus. Cordelia doesn't hesitate in assuring him that she'll kill him dead, and for this he is genuinely grateful.
Tropes in this episode:
- Agent Scully:Kate: I donít believe you.
Angel: I know you donít. Even after what you saw you wonít let yourself, which is why youíll lose.
Kate: Iíve heard enough.
[Angel closes his fist around the cross dangling from her necklace and she gasps at the sound of his flesh sizzling.]
Angel: No, you havenít heard a word, and you wonít. Not now, not yet. [she looks down at the smoke rising from his fist] Because there are some things in this world youíre just not ready to face.
- Alone with the Psycho: Cordelia again, though she appears to have learnt some lessons from the previous episode, or from working with a vampire—she quickly realises Penn is a vampire from his Badass Longcoat used to shield himself from the sun, and raises the blinds to block him off from her.
- Ax-Crazy: Penn's been a serial killer for more than 200 years, and joyfully anticipates killing whatever victims he can get his hands on.
- The Bait: Angel plans to use Kate's police resources to locate Penn, while following close enough to prevent her death. After Kate finds out who Angel really is, she organizes surveillance on Angel, knowing Penn will try to contact or kill him.
- Blessed with Suck: Vampires share a Psychic Link with their kin. When a vampire he sired 100 years ago starts killing people locally, Angel feels it.
- Boring Insult: Penn thinks he's a master killer; Angel calls him a cheesy hack.Angel: Look at you. Youíve been getting back at your father for over 200 years. Itís pathetic and clichéd. Probably got a killer shrine on your wall, huh? News clippings, magazine articles, maybe a few candles? Oh, you are so prosaic.
- Bus Full of Innocents: Penn appears to be planning to attack one. It turns out he's taking advantage of this trope to send Angel off on a false trail while he attacks Kate. Angel realises this however.
- Calling Card: Before being cursed with a soul, Angelus enjoyed 'signing' each of his victims by slicing a Christian cross on their cheek. Its purpose was twofold: To keep score, and to spite God. Penn, having been sired and mentored by Angelus, adopted this trademark as his own.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Like Liam, Penn has daddy issues of his own, even to the point of considering Angelus his "real" father after being sired. Similar to Angelus, Penn evened the score by slaughtering his entire family. Over the next two centuries, Penn deliberately sought out victims who resembled his family, killing them in order to reenact his past murders (later redirected toward Angel himself).
- Continuity Nod: Kate hands out pictures of Angel taken from the same precinct surveillance tape of Angel that Lee Mercer was studying in "Sense & Sensitivity".
- Create Your Own Villain: Pretty easy to do when you're a vampire.
- Double Entendre:Wesley: While executing my duties as Watcher in Sunnydale, I did extensive research. Specifically on Angel, given his uncomfortable proximity to the Slayer.
Cordy: He looked pretty comfortable to me.
- Do You Trust Me?: Angel asks Kate if she trusts him before handing over information on a Serial Killer without revealing the source. Kate doesn't hesitate to say that she trusts Angel; subverted in that after discovering that Angel is a vampire (and digging up Angelus's history) she never fully trusts him again.
This also serves as a Meaningful Echo from the last time Angel used this trope, to Buffy in "Lie to Me", an episode about how the comforting illusions of childhood give way to the Grey-and-Gray Morality of real life. Lacking Buffy's sixteen year-old schoolgirl romanticism, the Kate/Angel relationship ends before it begins.
- Evil Gloating: Penn is monologuing away, saying that just because Angel has stopped being evil, doesn't mean he's going to stop as well. "It doesn't end, it just goes on and on." Cordelia does a Walk-In Chime-In. "That's not the only thing that goes on, and on."
- Exactly What I Aimed At: Kate is facing down Angel (who she's just found out was a vampire, a fact she's not at all happy about) and Penn. She arranges to stab both of them with a giant plank that impales Angel in the stomach (leaving his Healing Factor to work, eventually) and Penn in the heart (dusting him instantly).
- Angel: You missed.
Kate: No, I didn't.
- Failed a Spot Check: Wesley enters Angel Investigations' office with their mail—a transparent pretext for Wesley to start trolling for work. He remarks on how he, Angel, and Cordelia make a great team.Wesley: Yes, most effective; your cryptic visions, Angel's brawn, my highly developed powers of deduction—
Cordy: This isn't our mail.
- Five-Finger Discount:Wesley: Where'd you get the police radio?Angel: Police car.
- Get Out!: Cordelia to Wesley after he deduces that the serial killer is Angelus.Cordy: You get to leave now.
- He's Dead, Jim: Kate checks Penn's pulse after she shoots him three times in the chest and naturally finds he doesn't have one. Then he gets up.
- Holy Burns Evil: Angel grabs Kate's cross necklace and holds it for several seconds while his hand smokes, to make a point.
- Human Shield / Grievous Harm with a Body: Penn escaping Angel Investigations using Wes for a shield.
- Hypocritical Humor: Wes is trying to convince Cordelia that Angel is behind the killings.Cordy: No! I donít care how many files you have on all the horrible things he did back in the powdered wig days! He is good now. And heís my friend. And nothing you or anyone else can say will make me turn on a friend!
Angel: [doing his Walk-In Chime-In thing] Cordelia. Heís right.
Cordy: [to Wesley] You stake him and Iíll cut his head off.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Wesley is holding Angel at cross-point, while Angel is trying to reassure him he's not the killer.Wesley: Why should we believe a word you say?
[Angel laughs, grabs Wesleyís arm and spins him around to grab him by the neck.]
Angel: Because this is how fast I could take you if I wanted to.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad / Punctuated Pounding: Initially averted. Penn clearly holds Angelus in high regard, even after 200 years, and is clearly pleased to see him when they reunite. This is quickly played straight once Angel's HeelĖFace Turn is clear, and that he intends to kill Penn.Penn: Well, you were right about one thing, Angelus. The last 200 years has been about me sticking it to my father. But Iíve come to realize something—itís you! [he jumps up and kicks Angel in the stomach] You made me! [kicks him in the face, then double fists him a couple of times] You taught me! [Angel drops to the floor and Penn jumps on his back] You approved of me in ways my mortal father never did! You are my real father, Angelus.Angel: [gets up, holding Penn up above his head] Fine! [slams him into the ground] Youíre grounded.
- I'm Going for a Closer Look: Despite having half of LAPD on site to back her up, Kate enters an Abandoned Warehouse alone to search for a serial killer.
- Ironic Echo: The serial killer is called "The Pope", which Angel joked to Kate about being in "Rm w/a View".
- I Resemble That Remark!: Played for Drama when Kate gives a profile of the serial killer they're looking for at a police briefing, which is crosscut with a montage of Angel walking the streets—needless to say, the profile fits Angel as much as it does Penn.Kate: Our suspect will be a white male. To the observer he will not seem a monster. His victims put up little or no struggle, so itís likely that he is charming, attractive, but at his core he is a loner. Possibly a dual personality, who, once the crime has been committed, retains no memory of the act. He will not view his victims as subhuman, rather itís himself that he views as something other than human, more than human, a superior species. Stalking his prey, getting to know them. Itís unlikely that heíll be married, though he may have recently come off a long-term relationship that ended badly. We look for a precipitating event in cases such as this, and a painful breakup is always at the top of the list. Prior to failing, this relationship may have marked an inactive period in our suspect's life. He would have regarded it as a lifeline, his salvation, but once ended, it resulted in his recidivism. What is not in question is his experience. Heís been doing this for a very long time, and he will do it again.
- Just Between You and Me: Spoofed by Penn.Kate: What are you going to do?
Penn: Well, first I thought Iíd stop everything and tell you my plan. Or better yet... why donít I just show you? [morphs into his Game Face]
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again:Cordelia: They were just dreams, Angel. They werenít even your dreams. They didnít mean anything.Angel: But I enjoyed it.Cordelia: Itíd probably be okay if you never mentioned that part ever again.
- Macho Masochism: When Kate refuses to accept that vampires exist despite seeing Angel in Game Face, he seizes the cross around her neck and holds it despite the smoke rising from his palm.
- Mad Artist: Penn considers his killings to be his art, but Angel calls him out on his unoriginality and ego. At least he takes Angel's critique.Angel: I'm sorry what I turned you into.Penn: A first-class killer? An artist? A bold re-interpreter of the form?Angel: Try "cheesy hack"." You've been getting back at your father for over 200 years. It's pathetic. You've probably got a killer's shrine on your wall. News clippings, magazine articles, maybe a few candles. Oh, you are so prosaic.
- Mistaken for Murderer: By Wesley and Cordelia, though actually averted with the police; by the time Kate finds out Angel is a vampire she already knows he's not the killer—not that she's any more trusting.
- Must Be Invited: Unlike certain people in Sunnydale, Kate isn't foolish enough to invite Angel in once she knows he's a vampire. Later Angel walks into Penn's hideout and points out that as Penn is a vampire he doesn't need an invitation.
- Chekhov's Gun: The fact that she doesn't invite him in will become a fairly huge deal in the s2 episode "Epiphany".
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Angel asks Cordy who she was talking to she replies, "Nobody [the chair]. And Wesley."
- Not What It Looks Like: Inverted; when Wes enters Angel Investigations with a stake ready in his hand, he assures Cordelia that it's exactly what it looks like.
- Origins Episode
- Perverted Sniffing/The Nose KnowsPenn: Ah, smell that fear. Makes the blood sweeter.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Wesley
- Rape as Backstory: Inverted, in that rather than having a character who was raped as part of their backstory, we have a character who was a rapist. Angel(us)' past is brought up by Kate, who has done a little research- and is horrified by what she finds ("please. Now thereís a word I imagine you heard a lot in your time. Please, No... Donít.")
- Room Full of Crazy: Lampshaded by Angel, when he derides Penn for his lack of imagination, saying he undoubtedly has a wall lined with newspaper clippings of his crimes. It turns out he does.
- Self-Made Orphan: Angelus advises Penn to do this, and Penn has fun recreating the crime over the centuries.
- Serial Killer: Like all vampires, Penn loves killings and rampages, but unlike most he has a particular pattern which he has kept for centuries, making him a truer example. As a human, he used to be a man who hated the restrictions of his puritan father. After being made a vampire by Angelus, he murdered his family and deliberately sought out victims who resembled his family, killing them in order to reenact his past murders. He then carved a cross on their faces - the police believes it was because he thought he was doing God's work, nicknaming him "The Pope", but it's actually to mock God.
- Shoot the Hostage: Penn is using Angel for a Human Shield, facing Kate armed with a large stake. Kate rams the stake through Angel's body to dust Penn. Angel gasps, "You missed [my heart]"; Kate yanks out the stake and says, "I didn't."
- Staking the Loved One:Cordy: People really do change.
Angel: Yes they do. And sometimes they change back. If the day ever comes that I—
Cordy: Oh, Iíll kill you dead!
Angel: [blinks] Thanks.
Cordy: What are friends for?
- Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Kate shoots an unarmed Penn three times in the chest when he doesn't stop walking toward her.
- Surrogate Soliloquy: Cordelia practising the Angel Investigations sales pitch to a chair.Wesley: I think itís about to speak.
- Sleepwalking: Angel fears he may be committing homicidal somnambulism—murders committed while sleepwalking.
- Walk-In Chime-In: Kate is briefing her officers on Penn when the killer in question starts complaining about the terrible likeness of his artist's sketch.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Penn had an antagonistic relationship with his father, who never approved of him and placed him under pressure. Even after killing him (and his entire family) Penn never got over it and has been reliving that murder for 200 years.
- Wolverine Claws: Penn has a metal finger extension which he uses to carve a cross into his victim's cheek.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A notable one comes when Cordelia convinces him he's better than Angelus or Penn, while cheerfully agreeing to "kill [him] dead" if he ever does become Angelus again.
- You Remind Me of X: Angel sees a young blonde girl who from the back appears to be Buffy. The episode also has numerous Call Backs and Ironic Echos of Bangel incidents in Angel's interactions with Kate Lockley.
- You Talk Too Much!: Penn says that just because 'Angelus' has suddenly stopped being evil, doesn't mean he's going to stop as well. "It doesn't end, it just goes on and on." Cordelia does a Walk-In Chime-In. "That's not the only thing that goes on and on."