"Happy Anniversary"
Written by David Greenwalt; directed by Bill Norton

Angel is at the Hyperion, doing nothing. Cordelia and Wesley are at their new office, which they can’t really afford and which is in bad shape, having basically been abandoned by the previous business. Gunn returns to the office, having left fliers on cars in the neighborhood (“we just slightly irritated almost a hundred people”). Unfortunately, no one can call the office, because the phone doesn’t work. Wesley crawls under the single desk and messes with the wires, knocking out all of the electricity. At the Hyperion, Angel is woken up by someone singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the lobby. He goes downstairs to find Lorne, who’s happy with the acoustics in the hotel. He also comes bearing the information that the world is going to end the next night. Lorne tries to get Angel to offer him coffee, but Angel declines. Lorne tells him that his aura is beige. Lorne wonders why Angel fired Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn; Angel wonders why Lorne won’t give him details about the end of the world. Lorne starts his story, which began with “a Torto demon and his parasite…murdering the Everly Brothers” at Caritas. Another guy got up to sing, and Lorne tells Angel that there wasn’t anything extraordinary about him. The guy sang “All By Myself,” and for some reason his singing knocked Lorne out. Lorne read him and saw that the guy had no future after 10 p.m. the next night, and neither did anyone else. Angel asks why Lorne came to him; Lorne says that Angel is a “champion” (there’s that word again). Lorne notes that he has sent Angel on some unsuccessful missions in the past, but he promises that he didn’t expect anything bad to happen to Angel. Angel wonders why the guy left the club before he could hear what Lorne had to say about him. Lorne thinks that he got scared, or might not have even known that Lorne can read people’s auras. He suggests that they go to some other karaoke bars to find out more about him.

The next day, a student named Gene looks at some equations on a dry-erase board as colleagues named Mike and Val discuss his studies on “the time paradox.” Val goes into the lab and talks about some really boring stuff with Gene. Gene apparently wants to freeze time. The writers of this show, do, too. Gene’s girlfriend Denise enters and they discuss their one-year anniversary, which they’ll celebrate the next night. Angel and Lorne head to a karaoke bar (their seventeenth of the night) but don’t find the guy they’re looking for. They talk to a bartender, who may have seen the guy and mentions that he could be a grad student. Lorne tells the bartender to get a picture of the guy in his head and sing something. He does, and Lorne confirms that he’s thinking of the guy they’re looking for. He asks which college the guy goes to. That night, Gene is working on his equations but isn’t having much luck. After he leaves, a demon enters, says, “He’s the one,” and changes part of an equation. Cordelia tries to dress up the new office; Wesley and Gunn encourage her to “just let the depression settle in.” Virginia enters with champagne and a gift basket, announcing that she has a case for the reduced MoG. She tells them that a friend’s family is being harassed by a demon and is willing to pay them a lot of money. The next day, Gene returns to his lab and notes that the equation (which he thinks he himself changed) is now correct. Angel and Lorne go to the library on the same campus; Angel suggests that Lorne hide his conspicuousness by pretending to be the new school mascot. Angel and Lorne start looking through yearbooks as the demon from Gene’s lab watches them. Outside, Gene eavesdrops on Denise and Val, hearing Denise admit that she doesn’t think things will work out with her and Gene. Val encourages Denise to break up with Gene before their anniversary celebration, but Denise knows that he has something special planned and doesn’t want to ruin things. She says that things were good for awhile, but they don’t have “the kind of love that lasts.”

Lorne finds a picture of the guy (okay, enough, it’s Gene) in a yearbook and Angel uses it to find out where he is. Before he can head to the lab, the demon chops him in the back with an axe. In the lab, Gene announces that he’ll give Denise “the kind of love that lasts.” Angel fights the demon in the library; Lorne tries to help by throwing a book, but he accidentally hits Angel. The demon runs off and Lorne reports to Angel that it mentioned a “golden child.” He tells him that the demon is a Lubber, part of a clan that waits for a messiah that will end humans’ lives. Angel realizes that Gene is being worshipped by demons which will protect him when he causes the end of the world. In the basement of his apartment building, Gene sets up some lab equipment. Angel and Lorne head to the lab, where Mike tells them that Gene is working on a way to stop time. Mike explains how he could do it if it were possible as we see Gene setting things up in his bedroom. (I don’t want to get into the details. Just go with it.) Angel wonders where Gene would take his equipment. He and Lorne drive through L.A. as Lorne notes that Angel’s heart doesn’t seem to be in his work anymore. He wonders if Angel would be upset if the world did end that night. He notes that Angel has gone from helping people to getting revenge (see “Redefinition”), and he wants to help him get back to his real mission. Angel finally admits that he feels like he doesn’t have a chance - he’s been working for redemption for a hundred years but might not ever attain it. He wants to kill Darla and destroy Wolfram & Hart, but he doesn’t think that the other MoG could handle that. They’re human, and “they’re better off fired.” Lorne tells him that things won’t always be the way they are now (unless time freezes that way, of course). Suddenly, Angel’s car hits a Lubber and Angel and Lorne see a group of the demons heading their way. In the meantime, Denise arrives at Gene’s apartment.

Gunn kills the demon harassing Virginia’s friend’s family and the MoG do some sleuthing to figure out which family member was controlling the demon. It’s…not that important, but Wesley gets to use his brain again. Angel fights the Lubber demons, but it’s Lorne who gets the upper hand by singing a high note and driving the demons crazy. Gene and Denise make small talk on their date. Angel makes it back to his car as Denise and Gene head to the bedroom. Angel and Lorne arrive at the building, spotting another demon. Gene does his science thing and freezes time in the middle of having sex with Denise. As the field of frozenness spreads, Angel fights Lubber demons in the basement and manages to unplug Gene’s machine. Denise isn’t happy about what Gene did. Later, Angel and Lorne go up to Gene’s apartment, where Gene says that he didn’t realize he could have ended the world. Lorne makes an analogy to music; you don’t listen to the same note forever, you want to hear a change, which is what makes music. Angel realizes that he left the MoG in a tough position by firing them. Later that night, the reduced MoG hold a party in their new office. A guy enters, looking for help, and asks which one of the MoG is Angel. Wesley tells him that it’s just a name.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Ice should be frozen, but not time.

GRADE: C So boring. So, so boring.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “I’m so glad I met you guys. It’s entertaining. Really.” - Gunn to Cordelia and Wesley

“What’s today? Thursday? Tomorrow night, the world’s going to end. I thought you might want to know.” - Lorne

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