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Recap / Angel S 02 E 16 Epiphany

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Angel pulls on some clothes and struggles to the balcony, falling to his knees in pain as Darla watches on, waiting for him to become Angelus. She thinks his struggle is the bitterness of his soul leaving him. She tells him that she had come there to kill him, but she felt him surrender to her so completely that there was no need. But then Angel tells her that she saved him, and thanks her, and apologizes for not being able to save her; Darla realizes that he still has his soul. Darla can't accept that she failed to rid him of his soul, with the implicit realization that sex with her does not mean true happiness for Angel. Instead, surrendering to Darla symbolized Angel's perfect despair, and this has reawakened the good in him and making him realize his recent mistakes. Darla's words to Angel remind him of Kate's desperate phone message and he quickly orders Darla to leave, saying the next time they meet, he will kill her.

Angel rushes to Kate's apartment and finds her unconscious from her drug and alcohol overdose. He manages to revive her, but she is not grateful and orders him to leave.

Lindsey returns to his apartment to find Darla, telling her that after her recent power play the firm's security have orders to stake her on sight. He then notices Darla has possession of the now powerless Band of Blacknil and demands to know where she got it. Darla tells him it was 'payment'. Upon realizing that Angel and Darla had sex, he demands all of the details from her.

Angel shows up at Caritas after hours and wakes the Host for advice. Angel regrets his recent actions, with the Host telling him that sometimes one needs to hit rock bottom before they can see how far they've fallen. Angel admits he doesn't know how to go back to the way things were before, but the Host tells Angel there's no going back; instead he needs to use the moment of clarity he experienced to help him move on in his life and find a new place in the world. The Host also assures Angel that the lawyers in the wine cellar were always going to die with or without his help, although the Powers That Be would likely have preferred it to happen without. Angel wonders what the Powers want him to do next only to be reminded that he fired his connection to them. Angel realizes he may never be able to earn his friends' forgiveness only to be told that may not be a problem as, the way things are going, they will be lucky to live through the night. Cordelia arrives at the Sharp home and finds all of the family dead. She receives a vision about a demon attacking her, only to have it actually occur moments later.

Cordelia realizes that the demons have an eye on the back of their heads and they want all of her friends destroyed in retaliation for destroying the spawn they had implanted in Stephanie Sharp. Wesley hears noises in his apartment and just before one of the Skilosh demons attacks, Angel arrives, but can't enter since Wesley has never invited him inside before. Wesley refuses at first, until two Skilosh demons attack. Angel is quickly invited in, and the two are able to kill them and share a brief moment of camaraderie before the walls go back up again. Angel explains the reason for his return is to help his friends.

As the two travel to the office hoping to find Cordelia (Angel having already checked her house), Wesley tells everything he knows about the demons, their reproduction through human hosts, and the destruction of the demon in Stephanie and Angel notes that they kept the name Angel Investigations although Wesley assures him it's going to be changed. The two make their way to the office, but there is no sign of Cordelia. Angel jokingly says that, knowing Cordelia, she's out partying with friends, but Wesley castigates Angel for not noticing the changes in Cordelia over the past months, since she began having visions. Unlike Angel, she could not ignore the visions, and has turned into a serious young woman who has dedicated herself to helping others. Angel is left very ashamed of himself and this deepens his resolve to save her and make amends.

The Skilosh demons are upset about losing two more of their kind so they use Cordelia as bait to bring hosts for more, and they implant their spawn in Cordelia. Wesley lectures Angel about how little he knows about his friends or about helping people. Gunn shows up at the office, and is angry to find Angel there. Angel notes the bond that has developed between Wesley and Gunn and, after some detective work, the three head to the Sharp's to save Cordelia. After being attacked while driving, Angel leaves the car for Gunn and Wesley and stops to take care of the demons. As Angel's about to start fighting with demons, however, Lindsey arrives in a pickup truck and repeatedly runs Angel down. Lindsey gets out and starts beating Angel with a sledgehammer, all the time demanding to know what happened with Darla. Angel turns the tables on Lindsey and starts hitting him, all the while apologising for everything (including that Darla will never love him, and that he didn't try hard enough to save him when Lindsey came to him for help). Angel finishes by smashing his prosthetic hand with the sledgehammer and stealing his truck to rescue Cordelia and the others, but not before telling Lindsey that it could have been the other hand if not for the epiphany.

Gunn and Wesley try to sneak into the Sharp home but are caught. Angel crashes Lindsey's truck through the house, kills the demons and rescues his friends however Cordelia is not ready to forgive him. Lindsey returns home to find that Angel has returned his truck, but that Darla has disappeared..

Angel talks with Kate about his existential epiphany; he has realized that if there is no greater meaning, no plan or no great cosmic force and it is all ultimately futile, then the only thing that exists is each other, and the smallest act of human kindness is everything. Angel admits that recently he's been fighting for his redemption or to score points off lawyers, but now he's choosing to help people simply because he doesn't believe they should suffer the way they do. Kate marvels at his epiphany, and reveals that's she come to her own conclusion: she believes there is a higher power watching out for them, and she has come to this knowledge because she realizes that she never invited Angel into her home yet he was still able to enter to save her. Kate is now at peace and has accepted that her future will not be with the police.

Angel returns to the Angel Investigations office and apologizes to his friends. They tell him they are not ready to go back and work for him. But he says he doesn't want that; he wants to work for them to earn their trust back. Everyone's doubts are put on hold when Cordelia has a vision, and the reunited team sets out to help the helpless.

Tropes featured

  • All Is Well That Ends Well: Averted until Angel tells the Fang Gang he doesn't want to come back as their boss, but to work for them. Cordy then has a vision and they're off on another soul save-age!
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Angel's epiphany.
    If nothing that we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Angel beats up Lindsey, all the while apologising for everything (including that Darla will never love him, and that he didn't try hard enough to save him when Lindsey came to him for help).
  • Bait-and-Switch: Angel appears to have lost his soul again, but his Restraining Bolt is still intact, as sleeping with Darla was an act of despair, not happiness.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment
    Wesley: (with a smile) "We came to rescue you."
    Cordy: "I knew you would!"
    [Two Skilosh demons push Gunn and Wes inside — their hands are bound]
    Gunn: "But then they caught us coming in the back door."
  • Call-Back: Several to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Innocence", including Angel staggering out into the rain after having sex and Darla's Meaningful Echo.
  • Captain Obvious: Even the Powers That Be aren't immune to this trope. Cordelia finds the massacred Sharp family and has a vision of herself being attacked by a Skilosh demon...only to open her eyes and see that same demon charging at her.
    Cordelia: [yelling at ceiling] THAT WAS HELPFUL!
  • Car Fu: As Angel's about to start fighting with demons, Lindsey arrives in a pickup truck and repeatedly runs Angel down.
  • Car Meets House: Angel does his Big Damn Heroes thing by driving Lindsey's pickup into the house where the demons are holding the Fang Gang.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Angel sleeps with Darla despite the Gypsy Curse that says he will turn evil if he has a perfect moment of happiness. Turns out it wasn't quite perfect happiness, so Angel kept his soul. Lorne explains it clearly, "You think you're the first guy to wake up, see what was next to him, and freak out?"
  • Cool Car: Averted with Lindsey's pickup.
  • Continuity Nod: Cordelia mentions she's been impregnated with demon spawn before.
  • Covered in Gunge: Wes after giving a demon both barrels.
  • Deus ex Machina
    Kate: "I don't know what I believe, but I have faith. I think maybe we're not alone in this."
    Angel: "Why?"
    Kate: "Because I never invited you in."
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: The second Lorne sees Angel he immediately guesses he slept with Darla and got over his issues. Gunn figures it out quickly when instead of the epiphany being, "wake up, then bang" Angel quips that it was the other way around.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kate overdoses on pills after her career ends. Angel is able to miraculously revive her.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Angel's descent into darkness and apathy is cured by sleeping with Darla, his sire and enemy. Angel turned evil after sleeping with Buffy, so has been avoiding sex for years. He eventually sleeps with Darla as a Despair Event Horizon but when he fails to turn evil the morning after, realizes life isn't quite as bad and gets back with his friends.
    Gunn: So, you had an epiphany, did you? So, what you just wake up and "bang"?
    Angel: [smirking] Well, it was sort of the other way around.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Lampshaded by the Host when he says that he'd prefer Angel went evil than broody again — at least he'd be wearing leather pants.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Skilosh demons.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The Skilosh demons. And their victims, too.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Though they're demons, not aliens, the Skillosh impregnated Cordelia by injecting their spawn into her skull after stabbing her head with a tongue stinger.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Wes determined to charge in and save Cordy, then keeling over when he tries to stand up.
  • Fake Arm Disarm: Angel smashes Lindsey's prosthetic arm, and tells Lindsey he's lucky he didn't pick the real one.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Poked fun at. Cordelia receives a vision from the Powers where she's attacked by a Skilosh demon - and then to her annoyance, it happens immediately.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Averted; Wesley starts to smile after Angel fights the Skilosh demons alongside him, then remembers he's supposed to be angry and scowls instead. Lampshaded however with Wesley and Gunn who pointedly show off their friendship with an elaborate handshake ritual.
    Angel: "So, ah...I see you guys have bonded."
    Gunn: "Happens when you fight shoulder to shoulder."
    Wesley: (laughing) "Or rather hip to shoulder these days."
    Gunn: "This man took a bullet for me!"
    Wesley: "Ah, it was nothing!"
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Angel hacking up the Skilosh demon behind the sofa is shown only by its splattered green blood.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lindsey is furious that Angel slept with Darla, insists that Darla provide him with details, then goes berserk on Angel with a truck and sledgehammer — even the Skilosh demons run at the sight of him.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The demons fail to search their prisoners before tying them up — they later free themselves with a hidden clasp knife.
  • Grudging "Thank You": After Angel revives Kate from her overdose she says only, "Thank you. Now get out." She does however thank Angel properly at the end of the episode.
  • Head Full of Demon Wing Wong: The reproduction method of Skilosh demons
  • Handicapped Badass: Wesley. He is still in a wheelchair in the episode, but is able to fight off demons with a shotgun.
  • Humiliation Conga: Lindsey finds out that Darla slept with Angel, gets his ass kicked by Angel, gets his fake hand smashed and his truck stolen by Angel, gets same truck returned in a smashed-up condition and then finds Darla has run out on him. Also Darla — her years of professional experience aren't enough to give Angel his moment of perfect happiness, and the Band of Blacknil doesn't even work because Wolfram & Hart have done a disenchanting spell.
  • Idiot Ball: Cordelia enters the Sharp house even though the lights are out and the door ajar. Her reasons are lampshaded later on.
    Angel: "Guys, guys; does it make sense that she would go there in the middle of the night without calling either one of you?"
    Gunn / Wesley: "They owe us money."
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: Cordy was right — having sex does make Angel feel better.
  • Last-Second Word Swap
    Wesley: You'd have known that, if you hadn't had your head firmly up your... place that isn't on top of your neck."
  • Look Behind You: Cordy finds you can't sneak away from a demon with eyes in the back of his head.
    Cordy: "I'm guessing 'hey! Look behind you!' is really not gonna work, is it?"
  • Made of Iron: Lindsey runs over Angel, repeatedly bashes his face and ribs with a sledgehammer, then goes to his pickup to get a stake only to turn around and find himself facing Angel who proceeds to beat the bejezus out of him.
  • Meaningful Echo: Darla's reaction to Angel still having his soul echoes that of Buffy's when Angel lost his soul.
    Buffy: "I-I don't understand. Was it m-me? (meekly) Was I not good?" (Angelus' response: "Oh, you were great. I thought you were a pro.")
    Darla: "You're not evil. I-I don't understand. Was I... Was it... not good?" (Darla continues [paraphrased]: "I know it was good. I used to do this professionally!")
    • Darla accuses Angel of deceiving her into thinking he wanted to lose his soul, saying, "You made me trust you! You made me believe!" Angel then remembers Kate's drunken message on his answering machine saying the same thing and realises Kate has been Driven to Suicide.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Darla gets up after Angel, who has pulled on a shirt and sweat pants, and walks across the room wearing the bed sheet, practically like an evening gown.
  • Must Be Invited: Angel has to get Wesley to invite him into his house before fighting the Skilosh demons, yet charges into Kate's place even though she's unconscious and had pointedly refused to invite him in earlier. Kate suspects divine intervention let him in.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: In the previous handful of episodes, Angel managed to alienate his entire team because he was under the impression that there would be some sort of Grand Finale where the forces of evil are defeated forever. After having a morally devastating realization on the universality of evil, he resolved that all he could do was simply help the innocent. This epiphany wavers as his life kept taking turns for the worse, but he regains it right before the end; he even referenced it in his Rousing Speech three seasons later, just before the Grand Finale. It's all the more awesome as, in the previous episode, "Reprise", Holland Manners delivers Angel his version of the speech about evil's implacability, which causes Angel's brief Heroic BSoD.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cordelia wakes up and finds a Skilosh demon standing behind her.
    Cordy: "Oh God. You're still here. You're not leaving, are you? And no one's coming for me. No one's expecting me any place. No-no one's gonna miss me...and how come I can see you? (Reaches around to the back of her head and finds an eye) Oh. Oh, no!"
  • Previously on…: Includes a narrator doing exposition.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: Angel still has his soul: not one moment of happiness that whole night with Darla! No reason for his chest clutching is given (beyond Angel's implied love of melodrama while having a personal epiphany).
  • Put on a Bus: The last appearance of Kate Lockley, partly because Elizabeth Rohm moved on to Law & Order and partly because the show had already begun to drop the idea of Angel as an Occult Detective who'd need to work with the police in favor of a broader Urban Fantasy story. She did return in the Angel: After The Fall comic series that continued the storyline after the show ended.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Angel tries to return to the team after his "epiphany", Wesley calmly and quietly delivers one of these speeches in defense of Cordelia. Although it's less of a the-reason-you-suck speech and more of a my-best-friend-is-awesome-and-you-suck-because-you-haven't-been-around-to-notice-it speech.
    Angel: Knowing her...
    Wesley: But you don't. You don't know her at all. For months now you haven't cared to. Otherwise you might have realized that our Cordelia has become a very solitary girl. She's not the vain, carefree creature she once was. Well, certainly not carefree. It's the visions, you see. The visions that were meant to guide you. You could turn away from them. She doesn't have that luxury. She knows and experiences the pain in this city, and because of who she is, she feels compelled to do something about it. It's left her little time for anything else. You'd have known that, if you hadn't had your head firmly up that isn't on top of your neck.
  • The Reveal: As it turns out, sex itself doesn't necessarily turn Angel back into Angelus; it's sex with someone he's in love with (plus, he'd previously told Darla that in all their years together she never made him happy).
  • Revenge: The Skilosh want payback for Angel Investigations exorcising their spawn. They've also killed the entire Sharp family, presumably for the same reason.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Angel delivers one to Lindsey, while opening a can of whoopass on him. And then "borrows" his truck. (He does leave a "Thank-you" note.)
  • Run or Die: Lindsey warns Darla that Wolfram & Hart has ordered her to be staked on sight.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud:
    The Host: (to Angel) You think you're the first guy who ever rolled over, saw what was lying next to him and went, "Guyeah?!?"
  • A Shared Suffering: Angel tries to bond with Wes over their recent gut wounds. Wes is unimpressed.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Wesley kills a Skilosh demon with a shotgun.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen:
    Gunn: You checked her pad?
    Angel: I stopped by there earlier.
    Gunn: You enjoying your visit to 1973? I meant her message pad.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Skilosh demons call Wesley "The Wheeled One".
  • Telepathy: The Skilosh demons know instantly when their colleagues have been killed.
  • Title Drop: Angel repeatedly states the reason for his changed state of mind is because he's had an epiphany.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Angel being run over by a pickup truck to Gunn saying (while looking at the eye in Cordy's head) "Man, That's Gotta Hurt."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Angel is skeptical that Cordy is out working on a Friday night. Wesley takes the opportunity to make a few cutting remarks.
    Wesley: "You don't know her at all. For months now you haven't cared to. Otherwise you might have realized that our Cordelia has become a very solitary girl. She's not the vain, carefree creature she once was... Well, certainly not carefree. It's the visions, you see. The visions that were meant to guide you. You could turn away from them. She doesn't have that luxury."
  • Writing Indentation Clue: Angel suggests rubbing the notepad Cordy left behind to get an impression of what she last wrote. Gunn points out that they can just look at the carbon paper underneath.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Suggested by Cordy, and it turns out this was exactly what Angel needed, sleeping with Darla made him see the depths of despair he had sunk to and redouble his quest to help those in need not for reward or redemption, simply because it's the right thing to do. Of course, releasing three years of pent-up sexual tension is bound to improve your outlook as well.
  • Your Head Asplode: Apparently what happens when a Skilosh demon spawns from the back of your head.