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Recap / Angel S 05 E 01 Conviction

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In a dark alley, a woman is attacked by a vampire; however, Angel easily manages to save her. He advises her to stay out of dark alleys and when he moves to leave, she asks who he is. He simply responds that it "doesn't matter..." when suddenly an operations team from Wolfram & Hart turn up. The man in command, Agent Hauser, introduces himself and explains that they tracked Angel through a homing device, while lawyers get the woman to sign release forms. Angel then learns that the vampire worked for one of the law firm's clients, before he and the woman he saved are put together for photos. The woman asks if he saved her for the publicity, but Angel (who is offered coffee by an assistant) tries to assure her he helps the helpless... Despite it looking entirely to the contrary.

At Wolfram & Hart, the gang start moving in to their new setting, which turns out to be far different from working out of an abandoned hotel. Fred gets lost en route to her office. Wesley finds her and she tells him that her lab is "giganormous" and she's unsure of the function of most of the machines in it. Her assistant Knox catches up to Fred; Wesley tries to make conversation by asking him how long he's been evil. After Knox leads Fred to her office, Gunn meets up with Wesley, who complains that Fred called her lab assistant "Knoxy". Gunn admits that though he feels completely out of place, they can turn things around and make them better even if its going to take a while to get comfortable... Only for Lorne to pass by talking to clients on his phone, showing he's already more than settled in. Meanwhile, Angel's liaison to the Senior Partners introduces herself as Eve; she tosses him an apple to drive home the irony of her name. She points out that if he wants to use Wolfram & Hart's power to do good in Los Angeles, he will have to be prepared to do some bad too, saying "In order to keep this place running, you have to keep it, well, running."

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In his office, Gunn encounters Eve, and says that things were a lot simpler when he was just hunting vamps on the street with his gang. She wonders if he's ready for "the next step" and he confirms that he is; she hands him a business card and says "You'll feel like a new man."

The next day, Angel is unhappy to learn his new secretary is ditzy vampire Harmony Kendall who tried to have the gang killed during their last encounter; she tells him, "I'm strong, I'm quick, I'm incredibly sycophantic—if that means what that guy said—and I type like a superhero… If there was a superhero whose power was typing." Angel notes that the blood she's brought him tastes good; she tells him that the secret ingredient is otter. Wesley arrives, explaining he picked Harmony from the pool because he thought Angel would like having someone familiar around. "You turned evil a lot faster than I thought you would." Angel replies. Harmony's happy to be reunited with the group, especially Cordelia, until Angel breaks the news that Cordelia is in a coma and they have no clue if she'll ever wake up.

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Harmony brings in client Corbin Fries, on trial for smuggling in girls for prostitution and cheap labor. He readily admits he's guilty; when Angel says he has no incentive to keep him out of jail, Fries says "Either you get me off, or I drop the bomb."

In a conference room, Lorne has each employee sing so he can read them for potential evil. In the science lab, Fred explains Lorne's skills to Knox; Knox tells her that if she wants him to, he'll go up and get read so that she can be sure he's not evil. Fred is still unsure that she'll be capable of running the whole lab. In Angel's office, the gang wonders if the bomb Fries threatened is mystical. Harmony says she has the address for a guy named Spanky, a "freelance mystic" whose name has shown up in Fries' file. Angel heads to the garage, which houses a fleet of expensive corporate cars, and takes one out to pay Spanky a visit. Spanky reveals he built a mystical container which can hold anything until the container is dissolved by a magic word. Back in the science lab, Fred and Knox look through Fries' file and discover he is linked to a cult which specializes in "quick-fire disease scenarios." When Fred tells him that Fries may be messing with a virus, Angel says that he knows where the bomb is: inside Fries' son.

Meanwhile, Gunn is enduring a stressful procedure at the doctor's office. Back at the firm, Fred tells Wesley that they've had no luck figuring out what virus Fries might be using. Eve pays Angel a visit in his office; she finds it ironic that Angel's dealing with a guy who put a virus in his own son when Angel just lost his son. She reminds him that Connor is happy and he's the only one who remembers him. Angel tells her that he doesn't want her to say Connor's name, and Eve says that if he takes every case this personally, he won't last long. Fred and Knox spend the night looking over files and photos while eating Chinese takeout. Frustrated, Fred accuses her crew of not working hard enough to save people. The next day, Fries' trial continues; Lorne calls Angel from the trial and says that he thinks they should isolate Matthew (Fries' son); as Agent Hauser listens in, Lorne tells Angel that Fries has no chance of getting off. Hauser tells his agents to take out the kid and anyone within 50 yards of him, and as Angel heads for Matthew's school, Harmony tells him that the special ops team are already on their way and they called for the cleaners. However, when the special ops team gases Matthew's classroom, they realize it's empty except for Angel. "So it turns out" he says, "with this new deal and all, I own a helicopter."

Fries' trial heads into final summations as Wesley reveals to Lorne that he's smuggled a gun into the courtroom, preparing to use it to stop Fries if necessary. Suddenly Gunn arrives in a nice suit and gets Desmond Keel to cede to him. Gunn moves for a mistrial and announces that the judge should remove herself from the case because, according to the judge's tax records, she holds stock in a company owned by a company owned by Fries'. The judge claims not to know about the connection, but Gunn says he discovered it in only six hours. The judge quickly calls a recess and holds an urgent meeting with the lawyers present. As Angel and the agents fight, Hauser calls him a "pathetic little fairy" who doesn't have what they have—conviction. Angel replies that he has something more powerful than that—mercy. He demonstrates the last of his by making Hauser shoot himself. Later, Eve explains to the group that Gunn agreed to let the firm "enhance" him with legal knowledge (and "Gilbert and Sullivan" for elocution). Angel wonders how Gunn knows for sure that nothing else was done; he said that he was in the White Room and is sure. Eve tells the group that they needed a lawyer, and Gunn had "the most unused potential"—and that he, unlike Angel, just saved the day without using violence. Wesley notes that they did disable the vessel and Gunn says that Fries has to lie low until the trial comes up again, and when it does, he can drag it out for a long time. Fred wonders if they're actually going to do good while they're there, since they've not only helped save a criminal but also returned him to the son he was willing to kill in order to gain revenge, but Angel thinks that they are. He opens an envelope he received earlier and the amulet he brought to Buffy in "Chosen" drops out. The amulet activates and Spike materializes in the office.


Tropes

  • Adam and/or Eve: Eve tosses Angel an apple with obvious symbolism. Accepting her challenge, Angel takes a bite out of it.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...
    Angel: Hmm. So tell me... (Reveal Shot that Angel's staring at a wall full of paddles and whips) Why do they call you "Spanky"?
    Spanky: I'm a big "Our Gang" fan.
    Angel: That's what I figured.
  • Author Appeal/Foot Focus: This episode (directed by Joss Whedon) has a group shot blatantly centered on and composed around Fred's bare feet put up on a stool or table.
  • Backhanded Compliment
    Wes: Your run-on sentences have got a lot less pointless.
    Fred: Oh, that's so sweet. And a tad condescending.
  • Berserk Button: Mistreatment of children. Particularly sons. And on that note, do not mention Connor. Ever.
  • Better Living Through Evil: Angel loves his cool cars and Harmony loves her benefit package.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gunn pulls it this time, by successfully getting a ruling of mistrial.
  • Big Eater
    Fred: I think I've lost my appetite, which is kind of a first.
  • Bondage Is Bad: In the DVD Commentary, Joss Whedon actually notes his use of this trope, and states for the record that he does not believe bondage practitioners are actually evil.
  • Call-Back:
    • This episode begins the same way "City of" began: "Angel in a dark alley saving a damsel in distress from a vampire," Joss Whedon says. "We did this deliberately because we really wanted to call back what the essence of the show was. Angel is the kind of guy who goes into a dark alley, saves the woman, doesn't say what his name is and takes off." However, the new structure of the show means that, as Whedon says, "all of his heroism is falling by the wayside and he's a little bit pathetic".
    • Harmony quickly getting over the news of Cordy's coma harkens back to Cordelia doing the same thing in her Buffy days. (e.g. Willow being turned into a vampire in "Doppelgangland".)
  • Card-Carrying Villain / The Fundamentalist: Agent Hauser is unimpressed with the stated mission of their new CEO and tries to kill him.
  • Chaos Architecture: The interior of Wolfram & Hart has changed since "Home".
  • Chekhov's Gun: The envelope addressed to Angel, which he finally opens at the end of the episode. The Deus ex Machina amulet from "Chosen" falls out, emitting a swirly thing which turns into Spike.
  • Chekhov's Gunman
    • Harmony was last seen in Season 2 "Disharmony", and Spike in Season One's "In The Dark" (for BTVS watchers, it was his Heroic Sacrifice in the Grand Finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Harmony had joined the Fang Gang only to betray them on her first assignment. And the last thing Angel found out about Spike was that his One True Love Buffy Summers had inexplicably fallen for him. Needless to say Angel is not happy to see either character.
    • We discover who the masked man pushing a mailcart is in "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco". The spooky doctor (Dr. Sparrow) reappears in "Smile Time".
  • Cliffhanger / To Be Continued: The Return of Spike!
  • Cool Car: Angel geeks out over his garage full of them.
  • Continuity Nod: Spike rematerialises in flaming agony, just as he died in the BtVS finale "Chosen".
  • Double Entendre: Angel tells Eve not to mention the Connor word.
    Angel: That's not a name I want passing through your lips.
    Eve: (grins, coyly) And what would you like passing through my lips?
  • Dynamic Entry: Spike
    • Averted with Eve.
    Angel: You like to make an entrance.
    Eve: You always open both doors when you enter a room? (Angel looks down) I don't need to make an entrance. I need to make an impression.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Gunn is no longer bald.
  • False Reassurance: Hauser, who now nominally works for Angel, gives him a speech about how he's stronger than Angel because he believes in being evil, while Angel is conflicted, and there's nothing more powerful than conviction. Angel replies that there's one thing more powerful, "mercy." Hauser clearly sees this as confirmation of his own assessment of Angel's weakness. Then Angel forces Hauser to blow his own head off, to the shock of the subordinate mooks present. In other words, the power of mercy was the only thing that had kept Angel from killing people like Hauser long ago.
    Mook: What happened to mercy?
    Angel: You just saw the last of it.
  • Feet-First Introduction / Sharp-Dressed Man: Smart!Gunn.
  • Flashback Cut: A brief flash-frame of the panther from "Home".
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Angel tries to get the hang of his new intercom system.
    "You have reached Ritual Sacrifice. For goats, press 1, or say 'goats'."
    "To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound button."
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Hauser's brains get splattered against the wall of the school building. We get a flash-frame of Eve checking out the mess.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Angel kicks Hauser's shotgun so it discharges under his own chin.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The W&H Spec Ops team open fire on Angel across the length of a school classroom. Admittedly what bullets did hit him wouldn't have killed him.
  • Insistent Terminology: Harmony objects to being called a secretary — she's an 'assistant'. Angel threatens to kill her because he's still pissed about Harmony's double-cross the last time they met. "Secretary's fine!"
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!
    Hauser: You pathetic little fairy.
    Angel: Hey! I am not little.
  • Ironic Echo: Spanky tells Angel he doesn't spank guys. Angel knocks him across the room with one of his bats. "I have no problem spanking men."
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Gunn's head is now filled with human and demon law, plus the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Apparently it helps with elocution.
  • Mad Doctor: Gunn gets a brain upgrade via a spooky doctor's Zeerust equipment.
  • The Magnificent: Fred keeps trying to answer the phone with her formal department head title, then gives up and just introduces herself as 'Fred'.
  • Miss Exposition: Eve, their Liaison to the Senior Partners.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Angel as usual.
  • Mood Whiplash: Harmony is distraught over the news that her childhood friend Cordelia is in a coma. Briefly.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Wes enters the trial room and sits next to Lorne, who says they're running out of ways to stall the trial. What are they going to do if Fries is convicted? Wes pulls aside his jacket to reveal a shoulder-holstered pistol.
    Lorne: Oh, and here I thought we were desperate.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Angel discovers this when he tries to do his usual mysterious stranger rescues Damsel in Distress in The Teaser, only to be swamped by the Wolfram & Hart Spec Ops Team toting automatic weapons, lawyers who get the Victim of the Week to sign an indemnity, and a PR man to take photographs of their new CEO in action. The girl incredulously asks Angel if it was all for the publicity.
  • Off on a Technicality: Gunn gets the Client of the Week off (well, technically it is only a mistrial) by digging up dirt on the judge
  • The Oner: The long shot in which Fred, and subsequently the other characters, arrive at the Wolfram and Hart building is three and a half minutes long and took 27 times to get it right.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Lorne sits at the back of the courtroom in a trenchcoat, hat and sunglasses. Despite having a conspicuously green face, no-one notices anything.
  • Perp Sweating: It helps when there's a wall of BDSM equipment in the room.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Fries has implanted the virus in a magical container inside his own son.
  • Power at a Price: Eve makes it clear that if Angel wants to continue running the LA Branch of Wolfram & Hart, it has to make a profit. Which rules out just murdering his way down their client list.
    Eve: And that means keeping your clients — most of them, anyway — happy.
    Gunn: Means letting them get away with stuff.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech / Title Drop
    Hauser: You're minuscule. A dust mote on the shelf of that great institution. Now, you think I'm just a trigger-happy jerk who follows orders, but I am something you will never be. I'm pure. I believe in evil. You and your friends, you're conflicted. You're confused. We're not. That is why you are gonna lose, because we possess the most powerful thing in the world... conviction.
  • Roof Hopping / Slow Motion: Angel in The Teaser, doing his thing.
  • Say My Name: Spike comes back.
    Wesley: Spike? [in confusion]
    Angel: Spike [in anger]
    Harmony: Blondey Bear? [in joy]
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: Gunn is instantly upgraded to über-lawyer thanks for Wolfram & Hart's surgeon. The procedure makes him an expert on human and demonic law within a few hours.
  • Secret Ingredient: In the mug of pig's blood Harmony gives the boss. It's otter.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Harmony's description of her typing skills. "I type like a superhero. If there was a superhero whose power was typing."
  • Signed Up for the Dental: Harmony on why she joined Wolfram & Hart.
    Harmony: And let's face it, who needs dental more than us?
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil (In-Universe): Lorne is assessing the Wolfram & Hart employees to see how evil they are. His tick list has the categories: Okay, On the Bubble, Evil, To Be Fired, Yikes!
  • Spoiler Opening: James Marsters is in the opening credits, though he doesn't turn up 'til the last scene of the episode.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Eve has a habit of turning up in peoples' offices uninvited.
    Gunn: This gonna be a thing with you, jumping out at people, or do you just not have an office of your own?
  • Tracking Device: Angel finds out he's being tracked by his own company, who aren't impressed by his tendency to play the lone hero.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The reveal of Spike was supposed to be hidden until the end of the episode. Unfortunately, The WB released the Season 5 poster almost immediately after Chosen aired.
  • The Triple:
    Wes: (surprised) Spike!
    Angel: (Death Glare) Spike...
    (Harmony pops her head around the door)
    Harmony: (delighted) Blondie bear!
  • Tuckerization: Corbin Fries was named after Joss Whedon's nephew.
  • Van in Black: The Spec Ops team are in one, listening in on their CEO's phone conversation.
  • Verbal Backspace
    Fries: Let me put it this way. If they bring in a conviction, bye-bye, California. I say the magic word, the only people left standing are gonna be the ones that are already dead.
    Harmony: (sighs) Oh, well, that's a relief. (stutters) I mean— (points angrily) Hey!

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