Soulless

So we'll start in the beginning (note – I don't know just how detailed I'm gonna make this one, it sort of depends on how things will flow). The very first scene is one of Connor, fighting a bunch of vampires out in the streets, and it seems the more he takes out, the more coming. They're 'tourists', it being the best way to put it – just the beginning of the wave of vampiric 'population' towards LA once they find out the sun there is blocked. It's obvious from the way in which Connor is fighting just what is the motive behind it all (aside from saving the world from vampires, that is). He's releasing steam – a *lot* of steam. And that, by the way, is also mentioned later on in the episode when he makes it clear to Cordelia he doesn't want to stay in the hotel, he can't. Obviously he still hasn't been able to deal with the turning of Angel to Angelus. So we got the kid confused, and angry. It being Connor, who's more than known for acting upon instinct of the moment instead of actually considering the consequences of his actions in the long run, the outcome of that could be deadly. And by the end of the episode… let's just say it's going to come pretty close.

Now, if to judge by the fact that later on, as the gang was placing Angel's soul into a safe Connor was absent, it's safe to say he snapped more or less the moment Angel's soul was lifted and took off. Seeing as he hadn't come back until much later on, he had a lot of time to calm down, but still was made very clear to us, throughout the entire episode until the climax in the end, that Connor *hadn't* calmed down. He's *not* over it, and he *still* doesn't know how to deal with this confusion, pain and commotion inside of him. However, while appearing thrown to an outsider's eye, he has a laid out plan working its way to completion inside of him. It is stupid, and it is selfish and it is careless, but hell – the boy *does* know what he's doing and *why* he's doing it. Personally, I was disappointed with the turning in Connor's character this episode, in some ways – very disappointed. But I also... I don't know, expected it in some sense.

What was *really* uncalled for in the beginning of this ep was Gunn. I mean, come on, who are they trying to kid? In "Awakening" he was so eager to go out against Angelus, like your average idiot who doesn't know what's waiting for him in the end of the road. Now don't get me wrong, I hated that, but *whom* are they trying to convince that he's changed so much within a few hours, that now he's cautious, smarter, more intelligent in making a decision? I mean, *come on*! This is just ridiculous, just what exactly happened to knock so much sense into him all of a sudden? What, Angelus' eeeeevil smile scared the poor baby off? Because I'm *not* buying that. Sorry.

And now moving on to my favorite topic – Angelus:). First, I loved the little implications to Buffy's second season in "Soulless".

=> Lorne's "Puppies nailed to walls" as an example of Angelus' cruelty -
"Giles: Look, here's another. Here. Um, 'Valentine's Day.' Yes, uh... 'Angel nails a puppy to the...'"
- Giles, BtVS 2x16, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"

=> Cordelia's comment, "We're Angel's only link to umanity, Angelus will hate us for that, he'll wanna make us suffer."
"Spike: You've really got a yen to hurt this girl, haven't you?
Angelus: She made me feel like a human being. That's not the kind of thing you just forgive."

- Spike and Angelus, BtVS 2x14, "Innocence".

=> And of course – the blunt reminder of Buffy by Angelus himself, "That Slayer… she's a pistol," something the B/A shipper in me just *can't* miss:).
"Angelus: Spike, my boy, you *really* don't get it, do you? You tried to kill her, but you couldn't. Look at you, you're a wreck! She's stronger than any Slayer you've ever faced. *Force* won't get it done. You gotta work from the inside. To kill this girl... you have to love her."
- Angelus, BtVS 2x14, "Innocence".

Above all, Angelus is portrayed by Wes as a vicious killer whose cruelty was legendary to say the least, he does not underestimate him, he says he's smart, much more focused than they are, he use Angel's knowledge about them and will use them against them. As he prepares to go down to the basement to talk to Angelus, Wes warns the others, if they're not careful, he'll cloud their judgement instantly, play on their emotions, make them drop their guard. If that happens for a moment only - they're al dead. I liked how Wes was so level-headed in this, in fact I liked him all-around in this episode, he was mostly a very positive character (though making the moves on Fred was *very* uncalled for). Wesley doesn't only warn them to be careful, the warning is also addressed to himself, *he* understands he stands as nothing against someone as Angelus, he's not a worthy rival for him, he's been preparing for this his entire life and he says he's still not ready. He must be on constant guard, he slips *once* - Angelus wins.

In the basement, in the cell, we finally see the very object of everyone's fear, as he's listening to their conversation upstairs - Angelus. Oh. My. God. Okay, even the first shot of him in this episode is beyond any level of amazing! I was just sitting in front of my screen with my mouth dropped open. David Boreanaz does *such* an amazing job playing him, it's unbelievable! This character has such a captivating and enchanting presence on screen that it radiates from him even if he doesn't do anything, and when he does, when he's talking, even when he's just moving, it's something you simply can't turn your eyes away from. It's like his presence alone captures you. I should have been expecting it after the way "Awakening" ended, but… hell, *nothing* can prepare you for Angelus - there is no such thing.

So. Completely unimpressed with their heavy preparations to see him, he sits in the darkest corner of his cell… singing:). He's singing! He's humming a song, "Teddy Bears' Picnic". Now, if it were just any song, it could be simply attributed to his calmness in the face of the gang 'threat', in the face of that he's locked in a cage, that he's their captive (Angelus is a captive, right). But nothing is simple with Angelus, isn't it? If you take one look at the lyrics of the song, you'll find one of the most sadistic songs out there, one that describes perfectly the situation of the gang (only note one thing, Angelus replaces the word "today" with the word "tonight", interesting:)) -

"If you go down in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise

For every Bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any care

At six o'clock when Mummies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little Teddy Bears
Every Teddy Bear who's been good
Is sure of a treat today

There's a lot of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
Cause that's the way the Teddy Bears
Have their picnic

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday

If you go down in the woods today
You'd better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home

For every Bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic
Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday"

Well? What did I tell you? Personally, I couldn't think of a better song to have him to hum because this is just perfect (by the way, did anyone noticed his singing skills definitely improved since "Mandy" lmao?;))

In short, this little 3 seconds scene proves only one important thing - Angelus possesses an enormous amount of confidence. He doesn't work to achieve anything, he doesn't have to and he knows it. From a *cage* he can work things to his will because everything just surrenders *to* him. And the best part is - we're there to watch it happening:).

As soon as Wesley enters the basement, the real show begins. And as soon as he does, he slips. He slips instantly, regardless to how much he’s been preparing for this meeting. The dialogue is played out very well, it keeps us focused on how much Wes manages to maintain his guard against Angelus (when Angelus mocks Angel, saying Wes is the one with the brains, etc), so we’re supposed to go like – ‘great, he’s holding strong, he’s doing great’. We’re not supposed to even notice the seemingly insignificant line, “Nice acoustics, wouldn’t hate a chair” (in other words –“For your information, I can hear *everything* you say up there”). Now, if Wes only noticed that, he’d also notice that that was Angelus’ test for *him* - is he really as focused as he tries to be, does he really pay attention on the *important* things? Wesley failed that test, Angelus got his answer right from under Wesley’s nose. Wesley is on guard, but… from the wrong things. He’s on guard on the surface, Angelus, however, works from the inside.

As the conversation moves further down the line, Wesley observes that being one-on-one with the legendary Angelus is a high point for every Watcher, that he’s read all about him. He’s been waiting for that opportunity. Angelus notes he knows Wes is trying to butter him up to get the information required to stop the Beast, but he’s willing to play along nonetheless. He asks Wesley where does he want him to start his tale, he’s an open book, he suggests “How sweet that virgin gypsy tasted, the smell of a newborn's neck, my first nun – now *that’s* a great story,” as a beginning. Do mind that these characters represent not only Angelus’ cruelty, supposedly being the innocent and the purest and the least suspecting of the society (again, that is the surface, that part I’m sure Wesley notices), but they also represent his target victim. He *hints* Wes he’s already have someone specific marked he’s going to play with. He doesn’t need Wesley (he’s got other plans for him, Gunn and Fred as we’ll se soon), nor does he need Cordelia (her he’s also going to reduce to nothing just by a few lines), he definitely doesn’t need Lorne. That leaves us with Connor, who perfectly fits the pattern of the three mentioned above (virgin, newborn, nun). He’s going to work with Connor to have his will, because he’s the easiest to influence, the easiest target to mold to fit his needs. Wesley misses that hint (and boy will he regret that later on). *There* he should have been on guard… he wasn’t.

Angelus gets right to the point and starts talking about the Beast. He has no trouble admitting he’s encountered it before though he has no idea why Angel wouldn’t remember, he assumes it’s because Angel never remembers the good times. He asks Wesley what’s the deal with Angel and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (a reference to an Indiana Jones movie). Wesley asks what he means and Angelus tells him that’s pretty much what Angel’s soul-removing fantasy looked like (“caves, booby traps, the requisite phallic sword”), also pointing out he apparently doesn’t need to only be the hero, he also needs the whole gang pitching in to be happy. Wesley asks if Angel killed the Beast in his fantasy, Angelus says it was necessary for it to work, everything had to be worked out to achieve a perfect world, a perfect happiness. He says everyone wants something, it’s the way the world works. Wesley asks if he’s about to tell him what he *wants*.

Angelus doesn't waste any time with that - he wants to be the hero, get everything from him about the Beast and save the world, the rhetoric question is, why now? He points out it's definitely not because an apocalypse's coming up, there's always one of those around the corner, what Wesley wants is to impress the girl, move in, make her love him, eventually get her into his bed the old fashioned way. He describes what Wes is going to do with Fred as, "After a couple of days of flowers and chocolate covered cherries, you bend her over the kitchen counter and…" as he does that, he slams his hands over the bars, starting Wes into remembering his crossbow. That's another test he puts him through - again, Wesley fails it. To the unknowing eye, he failed because his crossbow should have already been on the alert, but in truth, that was not Angelus' intention, that he did only for Wesley to prove himself he wasn't sinking too deep into Angelus' words (he did grab the crossbow in time). As he was talking, Wes should have noticed the words, he didn't. He didn't even think (my guess would be, anyway) that Angelus has already begun working on the triangle of him, Fred and Gunn. Gunn was listening to all he was saying, and Wes did nothing to stop him from talking. As harmless as it might seem, that speech was pushing Gunn's buttons and Wes neglected *that*.

Wesley steers the subject back to the Beast, but Angelus doesn't play along, instead continuing the conversation about Gunn and Fred, "I bet he loves to rub that shiny bold head against her soft milky skin". Wesley finally gets where he's going with that and sends a side glance at the camera, guessing inwardly what must be going through Gunn's head right now.

Upstairs, Cordelia, Gunn, Fred and Lorne listen to the conversation and Gunn's anger is boiling inside of him. Fred notices that and says they can't believe anything Angelus says, her boyfriend points out it *is* true. Cordelia notes he distorts everything, he plays with the truth to his advantage, the ironic part is that there is nothing to play *with*, the only thing Angelus does is say *everything* that's been kept beneath the surface and brings all out into the open.

Wes congratulates him on the victory, but asks if they can move on to talk about the Beast. Angelus points that, "they've been digging in the wrong place." Wesley says what the right place would be, he asks again if Angelus and the Beast were adversaries. Angelus says he's met many characters in his life, some friends, some enemies, hard to keep track. Mostly what he points out is that it's hard making the difference between friends and enemies, a hint which Wesley misses - again, but Angelus wouldn't let him, he's just about to broaden up on that as he recalls Wes' little betrayal in stealing his son. However before he gets to that, he mentions again, why is it that Fred's not interested. He points out that in spite of the new clothes, the new looks, Wes is still the same loser none of the kids wanted to sit with at lunch, he has no backbone, no stamina, nothing with which he can possibly have the upper hand against Angelus. At Wes' threat to re-ensoul Angelus if he doesn't talk, he says it will just make him a failure - again - in Fred's eyes, no less. He knows what to play with, he knows that underneath the 'new look' there is still a part of the old Wesley, whose self esteem is shaky enough to toy around with. One of Wes' biggest weaknesses is his low self esteem, back from Sunnydale days, when he was still trying to be a Watcher, he's always been trying to prove himself, he failed repeatedly and miserably. Angelus knows all that, he knows that it's only recently that Wesley got spine, so to speak, he knows that the wounds of Wesley's past are very easy to open, if he only wants to. And he does. And when Wes is about to leave but stops, it shows how much he succeeds.

Wesley notes that Angelus must hate the fact that Angel fights evil. Instantly, Angelus twists it 180 at Wes, and says that *he* hates it. He hates the fact that everyone admire Angel, call him a champion. He asks if anyone ever called him a champion? Wes says he does his part, but it shows on his face it's 1:0 in Angelus' favor (gee, is it still just 1?:)). Again, working on his self-esteem and Wes is powerless against it never-mind how he tries to stand strong. Angelus reckons his failures, such as letting Lilah suck Lorne's brain and the best and biggest - Faith, what a great job he's done being her Watcher (another hint on that Faith is about to show up soon?;)). Wesley retorts, saying Angelus, on his part, managed to have his soul restored not once but twice, saving the world in the process, nobody's perfect. On that Angelus has the perfect comeback - "And there is kidnapping the fruit of my loins". Wesley says he survived. Angelus mentions that Wesley just can't understand the type of bond between father and son (another implication on Connor specifically being his target that - surprise - Wes misses). He says his father was ashamed of him, at that Wesley comebacks, saying Connor is ashamed of *him*, so the universe is maintaining balance. I sort of expected Wes to pull something like "your father was ashamed of you", which is true… well, I guess he didn't know that much about Angel. However I still wonder, did that little comment had something to do with Angelus' deeply buried anger towards his own father? I guess we'll never know.

Wes cuts him off again, returning to the Beast, mentioning Cordelia saw it and Angelus together in her vision. Instead of picking up on the lead, Angelus starts talking about Cordy, "Now there's a rack to write home about, too bad about the personality though, yap yap yap yap yap…"

It's interesting, you know, that being the way in which he describes Cordy, however Buffy he simply describes as "That Slayer… that's a pistol". I don't know if that's the B/A in me speaking, but either way… left me satisfied, I can tell you that much:).

Angelus goes on, as he imitates Cordy's love confession to Angel, that she loves him, but she can't be with him because he's so bad, eating babies… he sums it up, "chicks". He wonders which is higher on the scale, stealing his kid, or banging him, like Cordelia did. He spills the beans, holding nothing back everyone hears it, everyone knows - so typical of him, and *so* expected. It's clear what Angelus is attempting to do - just as in Angel's happy fantasy the gang was together, Angelus wants to *divide* them, create the opposite. It is the oldest trick in the book and even though they might be expecting it (at least I think Wesley does), there really is nothing they can do about it. He works his way into them, manipulating their emotions in the most artistic and skilled way it could be done.

Everyone look disbelievingly at Cordelia as they realize Angelus is telling the truth, and Fred even says something like "It's like sleeping with your own son," before Lorne signals her to stop. In that moment, Connor enters the lobby and Wes comes up, saying Angelus want blood. Too confused to be in the same room with Connor and Cordelia, Fred and Gunn quickly offer to go down and get him some.

As they enter the basement, Angelus greets them saying they're his favorite couple, Othello and Desdemona (from the Shakespearean play "Othello", in which the couple was also interracial, Othello black and Desdemona white). The only difference was that Desdemona wasn't in love with the other guy, he implies Fred is. Gunn tells him if he keeps talking, he'll dust him and sweep the cage's floor when he's done. Angelus mentions his boss might not approve of that, and Gunn says he doesn't have a boss. Angelus says he'd better tell Wesley that, thereby adding some more fuel to Gunn's already burning fire.

Seeing Gunn is preoccupied enough with what he's just thrown at him, he moves on to Fred, "Ah, Fred… you look all fresh and sweet, I hear you at night, in your room, with Gunn. The things you say, I'm lying there, listening, hands under the covers, can't help myself, it's so… gripping."

Gunn’s response to that is that that’s not worth that much, coming from a guy who can’t get any, *ever*, however Angelus is not nearly impressed. He wasn't aiming at Gunn, he doesn't care about him, he has a different plain carefully laid out for each and every one of them. He was aiming at Fred. And by her reaction - he hit the mark. Gunn holds up the cross bow, telling him to stand back while Fred brings him the blood on the cart, Angelus calmly complies. Moving back into the shadows of the cell as Fred moves forward. It seems everything goes smoothly, she nears until the cart hits the bars of the cell and he takes the blood on it… but do things ever go smoothly with Angelus? No.

He's *never* taken his eyes off hers, note that. The entire time, his entire attention was focused on Fred, he didn't give any to Gunn, Fred was his victim even before she got close enough for him to reach. He was working on her mentally, he had her *eyes* captured in his, he had her entire being captured by his stare, she was a putty in his hands ever since she locked eyes with him, *that* was her careless mistake. She didn't even noticed how, in a flesh, he kicked off the cart, gripping her by the throat and pressing her back to the bars, saying he "might get some now". As for Gunn, when he woke up… it was an instant too late. He couldn't hit Angelus without the arrow going through Fred.

However, Angelus' intention wasn't to strangle Fred, hell he wasn't trying to harm her at all. He was stalling, waiting, until… Wes shows up. Holding a tranquilizer gun, he shoots a couple of darts at Angelus, knocking him out and thereby freeing Fred. Now that should be it, shouldn't it? Everyone's safe and rescued. However what Angelus played out here was the 'big hero' scene he had said earlier Wes was attempting to be. He let him be the hero, knowing exactly how it was all going to work out later on, they *all* were already a putty in his hands and they probably didn't even know it yet. So Wes did the hero gig, but as he walks up the stairs, he sees Fred thanking Gunn for rescuing her, and he sees them hug. *That* is the moment when everything really sets off on the one way street to a *not* very bright future for the three of them.

Up in Connor's room, Cordelia walks in and brings him a clean shirt to wear, saying she hopes he likes black. Connor accepts it and points out it's "his", as in Angel's. Cordelia asks him not to go out again, saying he's exhausted, Connor says somebody has to, and adds he can't stay in the hotel. The reason he gives her is that everyone's looking at him as though they still think he's connected to the beat (the reason he doesn't give her is that he still has Angelus to work through). Cordelia assures him the looks earlier were not because of that but because they all know now that they've slept together. Connor's is apathetic, he doesn't care. If Angel doesn't care everyone knowing, why should he? Cordelia notes it's not Angel, Connor brushes her off. Apparently to him, they both are the same. We only learn later on it is true only on the outside. On the inside, he knows the difference very well. The question now is how he's going to use it…

Fred walks into Angel's office and finds Wesley there, leafing through books, he says he had Angelus mentioning a sword in Angel's fantasy and he thought it might be a clue. Fred gets right to the point, saying she's there to thank him, that if it wasn't for him, she'd be dead now. Wes notices she keeps looking back to see if no one's watching her and says Gunn isn't there. Fred explains Gunn just took very hard everything Angelus said about how he feels about her, that's why he's being the way he is. Wesley is tired of pretending and he simply leans in and kisses Fred, who, at first, kisses him back. Just as she pushes him off her, Gunn walks in. he knows what he's just walked in and his self-composure finally snaps, the longed-for fight finally ensues. From beneath, in his cell, Angelus lies on his back, with his hands tucked under his head, listening and smiling. He chuckles to himself, saying, "that was fast". As the fight grows more intense, Wes and Gunn start seriously going at it, punching each other, until one of gun's elbow accidentally connects with Fred's face, knocking her down. They stare at each other for a moment, both shocked, and it seems it was enough for everyone to calm down… just as they look at the monitor to see that in all the commotion Connor slipped into the basement. By the way, it sort of snaps me back to when Wesley was infected with Billy's blood back in season 3, and went homicidal on Fred. That time, Gunn saved her from him though he could have killed her himself. That was the point when she chose Gunn over Wesley, at least in my eyes. Will this incident be the point she would reverse her choice? I'm leaning towards yes… even though I don't want Fred and Gunn to be over.

Connor strolls around the cage, smiling to himself, as Angelus sits hunched in a corner. Finally, Connor observes that everyone's afraid of him. At that, Angelus asks if that's his shirt he's wearing, Connor says it's not his anymore. Angelus says it looks good on him, emphasizing the word "son", and Connor says so did Cordy (is it just me or are they actually comparing her to a shirt here?:)). Angelus simply says Cordy looks good on anybody (lmao!!!!!).

Connor said Angel warned him about Angelus, told him to remember he's not his real father, Angelus takes the opportunity to mock Angel's speech. He says he promised Angel to kill him, he says that with Connor's track record, he'd be staking himself by the end of the day. Angelus also tells him Darla felt the same way, she staked herself not to hear his first whiny breath. So did Holtz, he disappointed him, that's why he staked himself in the neck. Connor says he doesn't know anything about it. He starts referring to Holtz as his father at first, but before the word goes past his lips completely, refers to him as Holtz. It didn't go unnoticed by Angelus - he's on the right track - Connor's loyalty to Holtz still holds strong to a certain extent, that's exactly what he's going to play with. Connor says Holtz was a good man, all he ever wanted was for Angelus to be punished, and he says he *will* be punished (as in, by him now that Holtz's gone). Angelus just stares at him, unimpressed - he's got him right where he wants him. Everything falls perfectly into place. Angelus moves on to talk about Cordelia, about Connor being in love. He points out it should freak Connor out that she's the same woman who used to change him diapers, that the first woman he boned was the closest thing he's ever had to a mother. I love how Angelus puts out all the ugly truth of these characters, especially how he strips Cordy down to nothing on *every* chance he gets, it's amazing just to watch:). Connor tells him that nothing he says does anything to him, that he was warned by Angel, that he told him to remember who his real father was, that Angelus would only try to hurt him. Angelus looks as though Connor's words really cut deep, eventually saying he's "gonna cry" (that just had me rolling on the floor:)). Unexpected, Connor finishes saying Angel only thought he believed him. He didn't. Connor knows who his real father is and it's not Angel, but Angelus. All the mocking expression is gone from his face and Angelus almost allows a tiny grin of victory as he hears that, he challenges Connor to come and get him, to not "disappoint daddy" (as he earlier said Connor did with Holtz). Connor is more than up to the task, it's obvious he's going to keep Angelus alive and only to continue where Holtz left off, *that* I his weakness and Angelus is going to *enjoy* using that! That moment Cordelia walks in, she sends Connor away. As Connor leaves, she turns off the camera.

She comes on bluntly, saying she offers him a deal. He gets her in return for sharing the information about the Beast. Angelus laughs her in the face, he's *not* buying that deal. She tells him this is the sacrifice she has to make as a champion (oh so she also thinks of *herself* as a champion now, amazing!) He mucks her, calling her a "little lam", but admit there are a few thing's he wouldn't mind "doing with that body, other than the obvious." Cordelia promises him she's not lying. She manages to convince him, as we see later on when she tells the gang she's got him to talk (by the way, you noticed how when they're all assembled together, Connor sits at Angel's chair in the office?;)). She really is behaving like the little lam in all that scenario, I have to say, because her self-sacrificial 'tude is getting sickeningly ridiculous. Makes me wanna gag, honestly. The funny thing is that she only thinks she bought him with her "promise", the real truth is that Angelus again - buying time. He's about to send them on a wild goose chase, see how that works out. For him - perfectly.

Angelus begins telling the tale to Wes, he starts at 1789, in Prussia, the first and only time he encountered the Beast. He tells Wes that he's noticed on his way to Vienna that he's been watched by someone. He came across a massacre, and the trail of bodies was what led him eventually to what they refer to as the Beast. Angelus points out the Beast and him had a lot in common, brutality-wise. He says it appears the Beast has been watching him, that it committed the massacre to impress him. Wes asks why and Angelus says it needed his help in "girl trouble". Angelus asks Wes if he's heard of the Svea Priestesses, saying they're big on banishing and the Beast was next on their list. However, the Beast couldn't touch him due to some magick. A vampire could. But Angelus declined, he refused to team with the Beast, saying he worked better alone. The Beast almost killed him for that, but was banished by the Priestesses before it completed the job. That's the take Angelus had to tell. How they banished it? He didn't know, he was too busy with the passing out.

Upstairs in the office, the gang try to research the Priestesses, or the ritual of banishing, but nothing comes up. The books only proof that Angelus didn't lie, what he said that happened really did happened, but there wasn't even the slightest clue on how to find the Priestesses, until Gunn brings up a phonebook, pointing out that the Priestesses are about 25 minutes away, in Pacoima. Apparently, he found them by name.

When Cordelia, Wesley and Connor arrive at the house in question, they find nothing but scattered bodies of the entire Svea family. They're all dead. After checking the bodies, Wes concluded they've been dead for days, way before Angel's soul was lifted by the shaman, noting Angelus had nothing to do with it. They are the ones who should have been on the alert, they should have known the Beast would go after the Priestesses first. Though everyone is taking it hard, no one nearly as Connor does. While Wes and Cordy investigate the scene of the tragedy (in the process finding something that looked like the 'banishing incantation'). He takes in the children, one of them lying next to a bloody teddy bear, the calendar with a day heart-shaped marked as 'daddy's birthday'. Unable to look at the bodies of children and parents anymore, he runs out of the house to throw up. I think this is the weakest state in which I've ever seen Connor until now, I never expected this from him. it shows again the human side of him, but I sort of... never expected to get it like that. He just broke down, there was nothing strong and composed left in him, all the barriers just fell. It's like he's gone from black to white or vice versa, he was… a boy. I think it was the first time Connor has ever been portrayed that way.

But as Cordelia tried to comfort him, he says what touched him wasn't that they were dead humans rather than demons but that there was something about the family. He never finishes that line because they're attacked by vampires, but personally… I think we were left hanging here on purpose. I sure as hell would wanna know what he meant to say;).

Back at the hotel, Lorne, Gunn and Fred listen to Angelus sing in the cage (again, "Teddy Bears' Picnic":)). When Gunn asks Lorne if he picks anything up from him, Lorne says he doesn't wanna know. Wes, Cordelia and Connor walk in saying their investigation misfired, the entire family was slaughtered by the beast. Wes notes Angelus told them everything he was going to, he's no use for them anymore. It's time to bring back Angel. We see Connor's face, and they strangely darken, as he turns away from the rest and goes upstairs. Wes is going to get the shaman, Cordy goes to the basement to talk to Angelus.

Angelus wants to be paid, he wants his part of the deal. Cordelia works her way out of it, saying she only promised him herself if they save the world - they didn't, hence he doesn't get her. Angelus grins slyly, saying she mustn't be thinking he's gonna let the whole thing drop. She points out he doesn't have that many other options. He says he won't be in that cage forever, she tells him only for another hour - they're putting his soul back. He laughs, saying it's not gonna happen. Cordelia doesn't read through the lines. While it appears your everyday confidence, it's not. He says it's not gonna happen because *he* knows it's not. What he knows, that the other don't, that *we* don't, is that Connor already stole the bottle with Angel's soul from the safe. That boy isn't going to let anything stand in his way of tying loose ends with Angelus, he sure as hell succeeded molding Connor to dance to his tune. Angelus isn't a bit impressed with Cordelia's threats, he throws some vulgar threats back at her, but she plays it tough in the face of him being in a cage and unable to touch her. What interesting is when Angelus says he'll "start with the twins". Does he mean her breasts (my guess) in that line or what she's carrying inside? It's interesting to find out, he is unpredictable, you can never really tell.

Well she sure as hell doesn't look so brave when she goes upstairs to find out that Angel's soul is missing… can't wait to see her in the next episode:).

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