"The Bachelor Party"
Written by Tracey Stern; directed by David Straiton

Angel is reading a book in his office while Doyle paces around, anxious to go out and fight some evil. He encourages Angel to go to a sports bar or play trivia games on the Internet (“you can challenge against drunks around the world”). Cordelia is dressed up and ready for a date with a rich guy named Pierce. Doyle tells her that, though he’s rich, she’s not assured a happy ending. Pierce arrives and Cordelia tries to hustle him out of the office, but Angel tries to interrogate him about the source of his money and his plans with Cordelia. After Cordelia and Pierce leave, Doyle laments the fact that Cordelia will never look twice at him. He finds a picture of Buffy in one of Angel’s books and apologizes. Suddenly, Doyle has a vision of a man about to be eaten by vampires downtown. “Everybody’s got dinner plans but us,” Doyle complains as he and Angel head out. Cordelia finds herself incredibly bored on her date, as Pierce talks endlessly about trading. Angel and Doyle fight the vamps in their nest, then rescue their victim and start to take him home. Angel asks why Doyle doesn’t fight in his demon face, since he’s stronger that way. He says that he wants to fight his way. Angel tells him to go home while he takes care of the victim; none of them sees another vampire behind them.

The vampire watches Doyle as he returns to Angel Investigations. Pierce arrives with Cordelia, and the two are confronted by the vamp. Pierce drives off and Doyle returns with a crossbow, staking the vamp and rescuing Cordelia. She’s impressed by Doyle’s bravery and tells him that she’s grateful. The next day, Cordelia tells Angel about her date, stating that even though he’s rich, he was a wuss. Angel points out that it’s human nature for a person to run away from danger, but she says that her tastes have changed, and now she wants a guy who’s handsome, rich, and “all brave and interesting.” She mentions that Doyle came to her rescue, and instead of worrying about himself, wanted to make sure that she was okay. She says that, after her disastrous relationship with Xander, she promised she’d never date a “fixer-upper” again, but she may have changed her mind. She decides to buy Doyle some coffee to thank him for saving her. Elsewhere in the office, Doyle is reenacting the events of the previous night with a ruler. Cordelia catches him and tells him that he might not “have zero potential” after all. Before she can invite him for coffee, a woman enters the office and greets Doyle as “Francis.” He greets her as “Harry” and asks her where she’s been. She describes a few places in Africa and Europe and Cordelia asks who Francis is. Doyle confirms that his full name is Allen Francis Doyle, then introduces Cordelia to Harry - his wife.

Harry tells Doyle that she would have called before arriving, but she was afraid. They share a hug, catch up a little, and continue introductions when Angel enters. Doyle tells Harry that Angel Investigations is his company and that Angel and Cordelia are his “helpers.” Harry and Doyle tell them that they were once in love, but things changed and they decided that they were better off apart from each other. A guy named Richard Straley appears and mistakes Angel for Doyle, excusing himself by saying that “the wedding” is coming up. Angel drags Cordelia out to give them some privacy, much to her dismay. Richard ducks out as well and Harry confirms to Doyle that they’re getting married. She wants him to sign their divorce papers, but he wants to hold off for a little while to get his “people” to look them over. Later, Angel and Doyle go to Angel’s apartment, where Doyle declines a drink, agreeing with Harry that alcohol doesn’t do him any good. He reveals that he never told Harry that he was part demon because he didn’t know when they got married. He didn’t “present” until he was 21, and he had never known before that that his father was a demon. Doyle tries to find something wrong with Richard, thinking that even though they’re separated, he should still look out for Harry. He asks Angel to keep an eye on her; Angel agrees, telling him not to let Cordelia know, since she would want to charge for the service. Satisfied, Doyle finishes Angel’s drink.

Richard walks down a dark street as a figure follows, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Richard receives a small package from a car and makes sure that no one saw him as the car drives off. Angel watches him unlock the door to Straley’s Steakhouse, where he puts the package in a fridge. Harry enters the kitchen with a box of her own, telling Richard that she can’t wait for him to see what’s in it. Richard pours himself some wine in a pantry, briefly morphing into demon face and picking up a knife. He enters as Harry tries to undo the straps on her box. Angel sees Richard raise the knife and bursts into the kitchen, telling Harry that Richard is a demon. She’s not too surprised, since she already knew. Richard reveals that the knife was to cut the straps on the box, then says that the box he got from the car contains illegal food for the restaurant. Harry is upset that Doyle sent Angel to watch out for her, then tells him that Richard’s family is a clan of non-violent demons. She herself studies demons for a living. She says that it’s true that she panicked when she first found out that Doyle was a demon, but after she got used to the idea, she realized how interesting demons could be. In fact, she tried to get Doyle to go out and meet more demons, but he wasn’t comfortable yet with who he was.

Back at Angel Investigations, Angel fills Doyle in, but Doyle thinks that Richard has Harry under some spell. He gets himself to admit that Harry left him because of who he was, not because he was a demon. He signs the divorce papers and gives them to Richard and Harry, who goes to copy them. Harry tells Cordelia that Richard wants to invite Doyle to his bachelor party, since his family wants Doyle’s blessing before the wedding. Harry says that she doesn’t have a lot of friends and wants Cordelia to come to her shower; Cordelia accepts. Richard finishes his invitation to Doyle, telling him that it would mean a lot to Harry if he came. Later, Richard has dinner at his family’s house, where they discuss the bachelor party. He worries that they’ll make a bad impression on Doyle, who he thinks his family will like. Richard’s father goes over the schedule for the party - greetings, drinking, eating, drinking, fun with the stripper, darts, “the ritual eating of the first husband’s brains,” and charades. Richard’s brother Nick and their cousin object, but only to the part about the charades.

The night of the bachelor party, Doyle and Angel head for Straley’s Steakhouse, where they meet up with the male members of Richard’s family. Richard announces that the party is as much for Doyle as it is for him, since Doyle is the one who’s really a bachelor now. Angel passes Nick and the cousin, who are speaking to each other in a demon language. While Richard asks Doyle what Harry was like back when they were married, Harry tells Cordelia about Doyle at her shower. She says that Doyle used to take charge a lot, something which surprises Cordelia, but that he got a little overbearing. Harry reveals that Doyle used to teach third grade, and after that he worked at a food bank. Richard’s aunt Martha interrupts the conversation with the announcement of a game of pornographic Pictionary. “Their ways are not our ways,” Harry tells Cordelia. At the bachelor party, Angel keeps an eye on Nick and the cousin as the other partiers wait impatiently for the stripper. A little later, Richard tells Doyle that he was a little jealous of him and felt for awhile that he was living in his shadow. He says that Harry will always love Doyle, and he wants his blessing for the marriage. Richard is taken away for the ritual stripper teasing and Angel makes sure that Doyle is okay. Angel follows Nick and the cousin through the kitchen and up to the attic, where Richard’s father is saying something in another language and dripping blood from his hand into a pot.

Angel calls Cordelia and asks to talk to Harry; he asks Harry to translate the father’s words, but she’s not sure what he said. She offers to check the family library for the translation. After he hangs up, Angel bumps into Richard’s cousin, who accuses him of being disrespectful. The two of them start fighting and a bunch of Richard’s guests through Angel off the roof, rendering him unconscious. “Sad when a man can’t hold his liquor,” the cousin laments. Back inside, Richard asks Doyle about the blessing and Doyle gives it to him. Richard announces the news to his family and they all give a toast. They push Doyle into a box, where only his head sticks out, and Richard thanks him for his “sacrifice.” The men all morph into their demon faces, alerting Doyle to the fact that something strange is happening. Someone injects something numbing into Doyle’s head and someone else puts a lobster bib on Richard. “We wouldn’t want you to suffer when we cut into your skull,” Richard tells Doyle. At the shower, Cordelia and Harry look for the translation, finding something about “ingesting past love.” Harry asks Richard’s female relatives about the tradition of having the bride’s former husband present at the bachelor party. “Well, they’re certainly not going to eat your ex-husband’s brains!” Aunt Martha announces. “For instance,” she adds as Cordelia and Harry hurry out.

Doyle yells for Angel, who’s still unconscious on the street. Someone draws a dotted line on Doyle’s forehead and he asks how Richard is going to explain things to Harry. Richard replies that Harry respects his culture and will understand the tradition. After some arguing about the appropriate utensil to use for the brain-eating, Richard tells Doyle that his family hasn’t partaken in this tradition in a long time. Richard’s father explains that the ritual ensures a “happy second marriage”; Richard can incorporate all of the love Doyle and Harry shared into his own marriage to Harry. Doyle tries to take back his blessing, and in retaliation Richard refuses to eat his brains. However, Richard’s father talks him into apologizing, and Richard says that he’d be honored to perform the ritual. Outside, Angel regains consciousness. Just as Richard is about to start the ritual, Angel bursts into the restaurant in vamp face. “You brought a vampire to my brother’s bachelor party?” Nick exclaims. Angel starts fighting the demons, and finally the lock on Doyle’s box breaks and he is released. In his demon face, he helps Angel with the fight. Cordelia and Harry arrive and Harry yells for everyone to stop fighting. Cordelia sees Doyle’s demon face and starts hitting him with a tray. He turns back to his human face after she looks away, and he grows sympathetic to what the others did to him.

Richard admits to Harry that he was going to eat Doyle’s brains (“in a way”) and just wanted to participate in a tradition. Richard’s cousin accuses Harry of being racist, since she objects to his clan’s “barbaric” customs. She gives back the engagement ring and leaves with Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle close behind. At Angel Investigations, Cordelia and Angel discuss the fact that Harry is angry with Doyle and that Doyle may still be in love with Harry. Angel goes in to try to cheer Doyle up, but Cordelia thinks he would prefer someone with a heartbeat. She tells Doyle and Angel that they have to move on and that Doyle will get through what’s happened because he’s a nice guy. Suddenly Doyle has a vision of Buffy fighting two guys. “What did you see?” Angel asks him.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Stripteases aren’t the worst things that can happen at a bachelor party.

GRADE: B+ Leave it to this show to be wacky in a situation that you wouldn’t normally think of as wacky.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “All I could think about was, if this wimp ever saw a monster, he’d probably throw a shoe at it and run like a weasel. Turns out the shoe part was giving him too much credit.” - Cordelia re: Pierce

Cordelia: “Doyle taught third grade? The kind with children?”
Harry: “Yeah.”
Cordelia: “Are you sure he wasn't just held back and used that as his cover story?”

Richard’s father: “Nick, what’s this?”
Nick: “You said, get a utensil.”
Richard’s father: “This is a shrimp fork. He’s going to eat the guy’s brains with a shrimp fork?”
Nick: “Well, pardon me if our ancient ancestors didn’t leave behind any former-husband-brain-eating forks.”
Richard’s father: “Get a soup spoon, you moron.”

Doyle: “Look, Richard as much as I like your family, and they’re great, honest, I’d really prefer if they didn’t cannibalize me.”
Richard: “Oh, no! You misunderstand.”
Doyle: “I do?”
Richard: “Yeah. It’ll just be me.”
Doyle: “Why don’t I just give you that hug and we can call it even?”
Richard: “You’re not trying to back out, are you? Not after you gave your blessing.”
Doyle: “Yeah, yeah. I take it back!”
Richard: “Oh. Well. I see. Now I’m not so sure I even want to eat your brains!”
Richard’s father: “Don’t be petulant, Richard. You’ll eat his brains. He can’t take back a blessing. Now, apologize to your friend.”
Richard: “He’s right. That was rude. I’d be honored to eat your brains.”

Uncle John: “We don’t flaunt our beliefs, but they’re very dear to us.”
Harry: “Oh, please, Uncle John! When is the last time you pried yourself away from ESPN long enough to spill the blood of a she-goat?”

“Are you going to become loser-pining guy, like, full-time now? Because you know, we already have one of those around the office.” - Cordelia to Doyle


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