"Conviction"
Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Angel saves a woman from a vampire in an alley and tries to make a dramatic exit, but winds up being stopped by Wolfram & Hart employees who want to make sure that he’s okay. A lawyer gives forms to the woman and tells Angel that he shouldn’t leave the scene of a rescue until the scene is controlled. Angel wonders how the lawyers and Hauser, the head of his operations team, found him; the lawyer says that they put a tracking monitor on his coat. A notary tries to get the woman to sign a contract stating that she was rescued by the President and CEO of Wolfram & Hart (see “Home”). Someone else tries to take photos of the rescuer and rescuee. A lawyer informs Angel that the vampire he killed actually worked for some of the firm’s clients, but since it’s Angel’s first week, they’ll let that slide. The girl is shocked that Angel runs a law firm and Angel isn’t sure what to tell her. He’s also a little overwhelmed by the number of people now at the scene of the rescue. The next day, a boy named Matthew meets up with a friend at his elementary school and they discuss comic books. At Wolfram & Hart, Fred tries to take an elevator to her office, but she’s confused by the vastness of the building and is facing the wrong direction when the doors open. Wesley finds her and she tells him that her lab is “giganamous.” In addition, she doesn’t understand what most of the machines in it do. Wesley is still unsure of why the MoG are actually working there. Knox (see “Home”) catches up to Fred and Wesley tries to make conversation by asking him how long he’s been evil. Knox claims that he isn’t (see “Shells”) and takes Fred to her office; she calls him “Knoxy,” which doesn’t seem to please Wesley. After they leave, Gunn meets up with Wesley, who complains about Fred’s nickname for Knox. Gunn has chosen which office he wants - he likes the view of the mountains, which he’s never noticed, even though he’s lived in L.A. his whole life. He notes that Wesley is having second thoughts and admits that though he doesn’t belong there, they can turn things around and make them better.

Lorne passes by, proving that he’s extremely comfortable in this new setting. Angel arrives, looking lost, and tells Wesley and Gunn about his rescue the night before. Wesley assures him that the next time he tries to help the helpless, a bunch of people from the firm won’t show up. Angel announces that he wants to turn Wolfram & Hart “inside out” and get rid of everything bad - including the attractive woman waiting for him in his office. She introduces herself as Eve (Sarah Thompson), Angel’s liaison to the firm; she tosses him an apple to drive home the irony of her name. Eve answers to the Senior Partners, but tells Angel that he can’t use her to get to them. She reminds him that he’s working for a corporation in which a lot of the clients are demons and almost all of them are evil. If he shuts the firm down, the “connections dry up” and he goes out of business. In order to keep the business running, he has to keep the clients happy. Gunn recognizes that this means letting them get away with what they want. Eve says that they can “find some new solutions to some old problems” and tries to get the MoG excited as Angel starts to eat the apple she gave him. The MoG meet up in a conference room that night; Fred is so overwhelmed that, for the first time, she’s lost her appetite. They look over files and wonder how they’re supposed to make things right with so many evil clients. Gunn brings up a human client, Corbin Fries, who’s on trial for smuggling in girls for prostitution and cheap labor. Angel says that he’ll have his secretary go through things, though he’s not sure he actually has a secretary. Fred notes that they’ll have to go through all of their employees to make sure no one is plotting against them. The other MoG head home for some sleep while Angel decides to get some more work done. In his office, Gunn encounters Eve, who says that things were a lot simpler for him back 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’s not backing out of the deal. She hands him a business card and says, “You’ll feel like a new man.” Wesley overhears and wonders what she meant; Gunn tells him that she gave him a card for a tailor.

The next day, Angel ignores an envelope he’s been mailed and tries to call his secretary to get a cup of coffee. After being greeted by a strange phone menu, he finally reaches his secretary, who is confused about who she’s talking to but agrees to get him some blood. Wesley calls, wanting to stop by, and as Angel is distracted by the phone, he doesn’t notice that his new secretary is none other than Harmony (last seen on Angel in “Disharmony” and on Buffy in “Crush”). Angel isn’t happy that Harmony is there, but 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 and Harmony announces that he was the one who picked her out of the pool. Wesley tells Angel that he thought he 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 MoG and is especially excited to see Cordelia again. Angel has to break the news to her that Cordelia is in a coma. After taking a few moments to get upset over Cordelia, Harmony tells Angel that he shouldn’t fire her. Wesley tells her to bring in the men in his office; he tells Angel that Corbin Fries is there and has threatened the MoG to make sure they help him. Fries enters with his lawyer, Desmond Keel (who works for Wolfram & Hart), and tells Angel that he’s guilty, but he brings in a lot of money for the firm, so they should help him. Angel doesn’t have any incentive to help. Fries threatens him again and Keel says that there’s nothing they can do - they can’t have anyone killed, and the jury is mystically tamper-proof. “Either you get me off, or I drop the bomb,” Fries tells Angel. If he gets convicted, he’s going to kill a bunch of people in L.A.

In a conference room, Lorne meets with a bunch of employees and has each of them 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. The MoG (minus Gunn) meet up in Angel’s office and wonder what Fries is going to do. Angel remembers that Fries said, “I say the magic word,” and Wesley wonders if the bomb is someone mystical. Lorne and Fred are given assignments and Harmony says that she still hasn’t been able to reach Gunn. She does have the address for a guy named Spanky, a “freelance mystic” whose name has shown up in Fries’ file. Angel heads to the garage, which is full of nice cars; Hauser greets him there and says that he can bring in Angel’s “floater,” though Angel would prefer to do it himself. Angel pays Spanky a visit, but Spanky claims “mystic-client privilege” and won’t give Angel any information. Angel demands that he tell him about Fries “now…or very soon from now.” Spanky says that he built a mystical container which can hold anything, though he doesn’t know what Fries put in it. Saying a magic word dissolves the vessel and releases what’s inside it. Angel asks where Spanky put the vessel, but Spanky attacks him and tries to strangle him. Of course, Angel doesn’t breathe, so he’s able to fight back. Gunn meets with a doctor, after waiting for hours, and prepares for…something. Back in the science lab, Fred and Knox look through Fries’ file and learn that a lab tech who worked with him was set on fire. Fries is also linked to a cult called the Black Tomorrow which specializes in “quick-fire disease scenarios.” Angel calls and Fred tells him that Fries may be messing with a virus. At Spanky’s, where Angel has won the fight, Angel says that he knows where the bomb is. Back at the elementary school, we see inside Matthew’s heart and learn that he’s Fries’ son.

At the doctor’s office, Gunn goes through a stressful procedure, eager to get it over with. 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; he adds, “You’re not cute when I’m angry!” Eve says that if he takes every case this personally, he won’t last long. Angel tells her that he wants her to leave and not come back unless she’s going to be useful. “How do you know I’m not?” she asks. 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 sits in on it (in disguise) as Keel takes a hit from the judge. Lorne calls Angel and says that he thinks they should isolate Matthew, just in case. Hauser and some agents listen in on the conversation as Lorne tells Angel that Fries doesn’t stand a chance of getting off. Angel heads for the school to get Matthew and Hauser tells his agents to go after the kid and anyone within 50 yards of him. Angel sends Wesley to the courthouse, but Harmony tells him that the special ops team is already on their way to the school. Wesley warns Angel that he’ll never beat them there, but he wants to try. As the special ops team nears the school, Wesley arrives at the courtroom and sits with Lorne. Lorne asks if they have a plan; Wesley reveals that he has a gun. “Oh, and here I thought we were desperate,” Lorne replies. The special ops team arrives and gases Matthew’s classroom, then realizes that it’s empty except for Angel. “So it turns out,” he says, “with this new deal and all, I own a helicopter.”

The agents try to fight Angel, but, of course, he does pretty well at fighting back. As Fries’ trial heads into final summations, Gunn arrives dressed as a lawyer and gets Keel to cede to him. Gunn moves for a mistrial and announces that the judge should remove himself from the case since he’s a colleague of Fries’. He reveals that he has the judge’s tax records, which show that he holds stock in a company owned by a company owned by Fries’. The judge claims to now know about the connection, but Gunn discovered it in six hours. He sites a previous case and the judge calls the lawyers into his chambers. Angel continues to fight the special ops agents and Hauser gets mad, saying that Angel shouldn’t have thought that he could come into Wolfram & Hart and solve everyone’s problems. He calls him a “pathetic little fairy” who can’t go up against Hauser and the others because he 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. The MoG re-gather in Angel’s office with Eve, who explains that Gunn agreed to let the firm “enhance” him with legal knowledge. Wesley isn’t happy that Gunn agreed to this without talking to the MoG first; Gunn says that he knew they would freak out. He notes that he just got legal information and, for some reason, a lot of Gilbert and Sullivan. (Eve explains that it’s good 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 MoG that they need a lawyer with them in order to get by. Gunn had “the most unused potential,” and though his degrees aren’t real, his knowledge is. Eve adds that he 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, and Angel thinks that they are. They do, however, need to find out why Wolfram & Hart wants them there. He opens the envelope he received earlier and the amulet he took to Buffy in “Chosen” drops out. The amulet activates and Spike materializes in the office. “Spike?” Wesley says. “Spike?” Angel echoes. “Blondie Bear?” Harmony chimes in from outside the office.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s going to be a bumpy season.

GRADE: B It’s like a completely different show now.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Eve

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Girl: “You run a law firm?”
Angel: “No. I mean…well, sort of. Well, just lately.”
Notary: (to the girl) “I need you to initial here concerning your immortal soul.”
Girl: (to Angel) “You did this for publicity?”
Angel: No! I help…the helpless.”

Wesley: “I’m still stuck back at, ‘Why on earth are we here?’”
Fred: “What, because we’re crusaders against evil and now the law firm that represents most of the evil in the world has given us its L.A. branch to run however we want, probably in an attempt to corrupt, divide, or destroy us, and we all said ‘yes’ in, like, three minutes?”
Wesley: “Your run-on sentences have got a lot less pointless.”

Wesley: “Don’t you think it’s a bit unseemly, adding Ys to the ends of people’s names?”
Gunn: “Does that mean I have to call you ‘Westle’?”

“You have reached ritual sacrifice. For goats, press one, or say ‘goats.’… To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound--.” - phone menu

Angel: “You’re my secretary?”
Harmony: “Hello! Assistant.”
Angel: “Explain why I shouldn’t kill you.”
Harmony: “Secretary’s fine.”

Angel: “What? I’m not allowed to hit people?”
Wesley: “Not people capable of genocide.”
Angel: “Those are exactly the types of people I should be allowed to hit!”


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