"City Of"
Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Angel (David Boreanaz), fresh from his 3 years in Sunnydale (see “Graduation Day, Part 2”) gives us a voice-over: “Los Angeles. You see it at night and it shines. Like a beacon. People are drawn to it. People and other things. They come for all sorts of reasons. My reason? No surprise there. It started with a girl.” In a bar, a tipsy Angel tells a nearby guy that the girl in question (Buffy, obviously), was a “hottie girl.” Apparently, this guy’s hair reminds him of Buffy’s, despite the fact that said man has no hair. Angel follows some pool players out of the bar and stops two of the guys, who turn out to be vampires, from hurting the girls they’re with. After some fighting, he sends the girls home, then leaves by himself. Somewhere else in the city, Angel enters a building and heads to his apartment, where he’s greeted by a guy named Allen Doyle (Glenn Quinn). Doyle claims to be human, but when he sneezes, blue spikes pop out of his face and he has to admit that’s he’s half demon. He tells Angel that “the Powers that Be” have sent him (get used to hearing that) and then proceeds to recap some of the highlights of Angel’s life. (Among these highlights are scenes from “Becoming, Part 1,” “Amends,” and “Graduation Day, Part 2.”) Doyle says that Angel is cutting himself off from everyone so that he won’t do anything harmful. He asks when Angel last drank blood, and Angel remembers drinking Buffy’s (see “Graduation Day, Part 2”). Doyle predicts that this sparked a craving, and that one day Angel will give in to temptation and hurt an innocent person because he thinks he’s saved enough people to balance things out.

After Doyle grabs a quick drink, he tells Angel that he should be reaching out to the hopeless to show them that “there’s love and hope still left in the world.” He’s supposed to save souls, if not lives. Angel asks who sent him, but Doyle confesses that he’s not entirely certain - he’s contacted through painful visions which alert him to people’s life-threatening situations. (Get used to this, too.) Angel asks why he’s supposed to take on this responsibility; Doyle replies that he has “potential.” Angel wants to know why Doyle is involved, but Doyle will only say that he has atonements to make. He gives Angel a note he made after a vision; it directs Angel to the “Coffee Spot” to help a woman named Tina. However, Doyle isn’t sure why she needs help. He tells Angel to go talk to her and see what happens. Angel heads over to the Coffee Spot, where he learns that Tina is a waitress trying to get an extra shift out of her boss. He tries to make small talk and she notes that he must not chat with girls very often. He waits around for her to get off work and she pulls a can of mace on him, instructing him to tell Russell to leave her alone. Of course, Angel has no idea who Russell is and tells her that he was watching her because he thinks they might have something in common. She admits that she wants a “ticket home” to Montana, then mentions that she’s on her way to a Hollywood party. He offers to give her a ride.

At the party, a woman named Margo walks around videotaping various guests. Tina pulls her aside for a talk and, left alone, Angel is approached by a man named Oliver, who wants to make him a star. Angel hears Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), his fellow Sunnydale ex-patriate, talking about a callback nearby and reunites with the one familiar person he’s seen in L.A. She tells him that she lives in a condo on a beach in Malibu and is doing well as an actress. She confirms that he’s not evil again, then heads off to “get mingly” with people who are more famous than him. “It’s nice that she’s grown as a person,” he says to himself. Angel spots Tina talking to a guy named Stacy, who tells her that Russell wants to see her. Angel and Tina leave, but on their way out of the hotel, Angel is tackled and Tina is grabbed while Stacy looks on. Tina pretends to go along with her abductors, then makes a break for it. She’s caught again and hustled into a Mercedes. Angel catches up and jumps in his convertible, all heroic, but soon notices that he’s in the wrong car. Once in his own vehicle, he causes an accident with the Mercedes, grabs the driver’s gun, and gets Tina away from her captors. Cordelia goes home to her run-down non-condo and listens to a message from her agent, who tells her that he hasn’t been able to get her any auditions. Disappointed, she pulls out some sandwiches she nabbed from the party.

At Angel’s apartment, he promises Tina that he can keep her safe and that he won’t try to take advantage of her. He asks for more information on Russell, who may or may not have murdered someone and apparently likes pain. She’s afraid that he’ll find her, but Angel tells her that he won’t. While Tina sleeps, he investigates an actress named Denise, whom Russell might have murdered. He wakes Tina from a nightmare and tells her that he thinks Russell murdered Denise, and that he picks people who no one will miss. Tina spots Doyle’s note and realizes that Angel knew who she was before they started talking at the Coffee Spot. She accuses him of working with Russell, then tells him to stay away from her. Angel tries to stop her from leaving, but he’s hindered by some sunlight and winds up scaring her away with his vamp face. Tina heads home and is in the midst of packing when she’s interrupted by Russell. She holds a gun on him and demands to know what he did Denise. He claims that he bought her a ticket home and called him the day before. Tina starts to cry and tells Russell that she wants to go home, too. He tells her that he’ll help her and asks her who told her that Denise was dead. She replies that he was “the most horrible thing [she’s] ever seen,” but he might have some competition from Russell, who’s also a vampire. Angel races over to Tina’s apartment, but he’s too late - she’s already dead. He spots the bite marks on her neck and starts to put things together.

Back at his apartment, Angel tells Doyle about Stacy and gives him information on the Mercedes. Doyle tries to convince him that Tina’s death wasn’t his fault, but Angel just wants to concentrate on finding Russell. At his mansion, Russell watches Margo’s video of the party and claims that he’s sorry he had to kill Tina. His lawyer, Lindsey McDonald (Christian Kane), gives him a false alibi and assures him that his firm, Wolfram & Hart (something else to get used to hearing), does everything necessary to help make their clients’ lives easier. Russell spots Cordelia and decides that he’d like to make her a meal (and, no, he’s not going to cook her dinner). Angel heads to Stacy’s Gym Supplies, choosing to smash a window rather than use the front door. He attacks Stacy and demands to know where Russell lives. Stacy warns him not to get involved because Russell will kill him and everyone he cares about. Angel replies that there’s no one in his life he cares about. In her teeny apartment, Cordelia tries to meditate but is too hungry to concentrate. Margo calls her and tells her that Russell wants to meet with her. She informs Cordelia that a limo will be sent for her that night at 8. Angel grabs some weapons at his apartment as Doyle comments that he’s suiting up for a war. As the limo takes Cordelia to Russell’s mansion, Doyle wishes Angel luck, stating that he’s not going because he wants to catch a football game. Angel informs him that he’s driving.

Cordelia and Russell make small talk and she admits that her acting career isn’t exactly taking off. Angel and Doyle arrive at the mansion, knocking out a security guard before Angel heads into the house. Russell tries to get Cordelia to talk to him, but she soon realizes that his numerous curtains and lack of mirror may indicate that he’s a vampire. She also realizes that she’s alone with him and tries to backtrack. While Angel sets up a bomb, Russell vamps out and Cordelia takes off. Angel begins to scale the mansion as Cordelia runs upstairs. Russell grabs her, but the bomb goes off, blowing out the electricity. Angel appears and tells Russell that he has a message “from Tina.” Cordelia is glad to see Angel and warns Russell, “You are about to get your a%$ kicked!” Angel and Russell do some fighting, but Russell has an advantage of having bodyguards. Angel is able to grab Cordelia and get her out of the mansion, despite the fact that he’s taken a few bullets. Outside, Doyle hears the shots and starts to drive off. However, he’s no match for the gate, which he can’t quite drive through. Angel and Cordelia catch up to him and they all drive to Angel’s apartment. There, Doyle removes the bullets from Angel and Cordelia wonders if she’s safe from Russell.

Later, Russell meets with Lindsey and some others in his office and is joined by Angel. Russell informs Angel that attacking people is a no-no, though Russell can do whatever he wants. “Can you fly?” Angel asks before shoving him through a window. Unfortunately for Russell, it’s daytime, so he’s dead. Angel leaves, Lindsey’s business card in his pocket, and Lindsey calls someone from his firm to set up a meeting about Angel. He doesn’t, however, want to “disturb the senior partners” (yet another thing you should get used to). Back at home, Angel calls Buffy, who answers the phone over on “The Freshman.” Angel hangs up without saying anything. Doyle arrives and Angel tells him that, though he killed Russell, he didn’t actually help anyone. Doyle tells him that “there’s a girl upstairs that’s as happy as can be.” They hear a scream and rush upstairs to find Cordelia fighting cockroaches. She tells him that Doyle told her about his “mission” and thinks that they should start an agency where they basically save people and then get money from them. Angel agrees to let Cordelia work for him. As Cordelia gets to work, Doyle admits to Angel that he thinks Cordelia is hot and that the three of them could work well together. Angel seems to think this might be a good idea.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: L.A. is just as dangerous as Sunnydale.

GRADE: B+ A strong start. Angel is distinctly different from Buffy, but it’s almost as enjoyable.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, Lindsey

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “She was a really, really pretty girl. No, she, she was a hottie girl.” - Angel

“But has anybody seen my car? It’s big, and it’s shiny.” - Angel

Doyle: “Let me tell you a little bedtime story.”
Angel: “But I’m not sleepy.”

Angel: “Why would a woman I’ve never met even talk to me?”
Doyle: “Have you looked into a mirror lately? No, I guess you really haven’t, no.”

Cordelia: “So, are you still grrr?”
Angel: “Yeah, there’s not actually a cure for that.”

“Let me guess. Not big on the daylight and the mirrors? Drinks a lot of V-8?” - Angel

“I love your curtains. Not afraid to emphasize the curtains.” - Cordelia to Russell

“Hey, I’m from Sunnydale. We had our own Hellmouth! I think I know a vampire when I’m…alone with him…in his fortress-like home. And you know, I think I’m just feeling a little light headed from hunger. I’m just wacky. And kidding! Ha, ha.” - Cordelia

“You know, I’ve had a bit of an accident, but we’ll talk later….” - Doyle

“Finally! I thought I was going to faint while barfing.” - Cordelia

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