"First Impressions"
Written by Shawn Ryan; directed by James A. Contner

Angel is at Caritas (see “Judgment”), where he’s just finished singing “Send in the Clowns” and “Tears of a Clown.” Lorne (again, see “Judgment”) gets him to admit that he’s been practicing, though “probably not in front of the mirror.” He notes that Angel has come to a bend in the road, then starts singing “Get Here.” Angel sees Darla standing by the bar and heads over; she tells him that she’s been there the whole time. They start dancing and Angel mentions that he kind of killed her (see “Angel”). “I’m over that,” Darla replies. She asks if he’s told anyone about their “dates” and he confirms that he hasn’t, because he wants her all to himself. They kiss and Lorne remarks, “Someone get these two love-vamps a room!” Angel happily awakens from the dream in his bed at the Hyperion (see “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been”). Downstairs, Cordelia complains about the amount of dust she has to deal with. She shuts up when Wesley reminds her that their only other option for an office is her apartment. Gunn arrives for a 4:00 appointment with Angel about a demon called Deevak. Cordelia tells him that, since Angel is still asleep, she and Wesley can help him out instead. Gunn is reluctant, since he needs muscle. Nabbit (see “To Shanshu in L.A.”) enters, having been paged by Angel Investigations two days earlier (he was doing business stuff out of the country). Angel finally makes his way downstairs and Nabbit announces that he’s ready to help Angel do battle. Angel, however, just wants financial advice. Angel explains that they’re leasing the hotel for 6 months and have the option to buy it after that. Nabbit spouts of some financial jargon and Cordelia finds herself getting happy. Nabbit leaves, excited to be involved in demon-fighting.

Gunn urges Angel to hurry up and join him for the fighting, but Angel tells him to relax. Angel tells Cordelia that she can drive and tells Wesley to get some money for a bribe. Gunn isn’t happy about the two of them tagging along; he thinks Cordelia and Wesley will slow them down. Angel points out that they need as many fighters as they can get. On their way out, Wesley calls shotgun. (Which makes the shotgun joke in “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco” not quite as funny.) The group arrives at a parking garage and spot a guy named Jameel, who’s decided that he doesn’t want to be Gunn’s source anymore. Jameel thinks that he’s gotten involved in something too dangerous. Gunn gets a little violent, surprising the others, and Angel tells him that it’s his case now, not Gunn’s. Some vampires arrive and Jameel runs off, leaving the Angel Investigations crew to fend for themselves. (Okay, from now on, the Angel Investigations crew will be known as the Ministers of Grace, or the MoG, tm Television Without Pity’s Strega. It’s just easier.) The fighting begins and the MoG are victorious, celebrating by sitting, exhausted, by Angel’s car. Gunn laments that they still don’t know where Deevak is, but Wesley thinks that’s for the best, since they’re not exactly up to fighting him. Gunn doesn’t want to give up, so he says that he’ll track down Jameel again while the others take a break. Wesley notes that Angel had some trouble in the fight and Angel dismisses his concern, saying that he’s having an “off day.” Cordelia drops Angel back at the hotel (she’s keeping his car for the night) and is surprised that he plans to do some more sleeping. She heads home, where she has a vision of Gunn fighting something. Phantom Dennis quickly gets her the phone.

Angel’s phone rings, but he’s too busy moonbathing with Darla (complete with sunglasses and bathing suits). There’s some messing around with ice and Darla tells Angel that the two of them are “one.” Unable to reach the dreaming Angel, Cordelia tries unsuccessfully to contact Wesley. She leaves him a message, telling him to get Angel and meet her at Gunn’s. She then grabs an axe and heads out, telling herself, “I’m gonna die.” She arrives at Gunn’s hideout, where she finds him sparring with a member of his crew. Thinking that the crew member, Joey, is dangerous, she hits him on the head with her axe. “I didn’t just save your life?” she asks Gunn upon learning the truth. Angel is still dreaming and Darla is still talking about them. She tells him that she has to go away and he can’t go with her because she’s in danger. He promises to protect her, but Darla replies, “You’re too busy protecting everyone else.” They hear knocking, and Angel looks over to see Wesley hammering a nail into a coffin. When he looks back over, Darla is gone. He looks back at Wesley and, in reality, grabs him, throwing him aside. “You made her go away,” he complains. Wesley tells him that Gunn is in trouble and Angel agrees to head off for the rescue. Cordelia tends to Joey until Gunn decides that it’s time for her to leave. Cordelia tells him that she saw him fighting in a vision and warns that he’s in danger. He tries to convince her that he does need her help, but when they get outside, Angel’s car is gone. Angel and Wesley head outside the hotel and remember that Angel loaned his car to Cordelia.

Gunn and Cordelia take a ride in Gunn’s pickup truck; Cordelia complains that Angel will be upset with her for losing the car, but Gunn is sure that they can get it back. He knows people in town who like to steal old cars and he thinks they’ll give it back. Cordelia and Gunn bicker and Cordelia repeats that she doesn’t want to leave him until she’s sure that he’s safe. He insults her methods of protection and she points out that she practically cracked Joey’s skull with her axe. She adds that she also carries mace with her. He hopes that something attacks him soon so that Cordelia will have to leave him alone. Back at the Hyperion, Wesley hops on his motorcycle, handing Angel a lovely pink motorcycle helmet. Angel tries to get out of wearing it, but Wesley reminds him that it’s the law. Angel has problems with visibility, helmet-hair, and wearing a woman’s helmet. Wesley yells at him to put it on, then says, “Hop on board, gorgeous.” “You’ll pay for this,” Angel threatens. Gunn and Cordelia arrive at a car yard and Gunn asks a guy named Henry about the car. Henry says that he should be able to track it down within a few days. He tells Gunn that a guy named Desmond might know something, then sends him to a party Desmond is attending. Gunn criticizes Henry from stealing cars from around the neighborhood, but Henry doesn’t want to listen. After Cordelia and Gunn leave, Deevak appears and assures Henry that Gunn’s troublemaking around town will end that night.

Angel and Wesley are making their way through L.A. on Wesley’s motorcycle. Gunn and Cordelia arrive at the party, where Gunn blasts some of his crew members for hanging out instead of doing their jobs. He orders Cordelia to stick close to him, but she says that she knows how to blend. Inside, she finds that she’s wrong and relents. Gunn meets up with a girl named Veronica and Cordelia tries to make very awkward small talk with her. Gunn finds Desmond, but before he can confirm that Desmond has Angel’s car, vampires crash the party. Cordelia’s axe proves ineffective this time, as does a popcorn bowl that she improvises with. As Gunn fights the vamps, Veronica gets thrown into some glass shelves and winds up with a piece of glass in her neck. Cordelia tries to help her and tells her that she’ll be all right. The vamps run off and Cordelia tells Gunn that Veronica needs to see a doctor. They take her to the emergency room, where a doctor says that Cordelia probably saved Veronica’s life. They wait around in the waiting room, Gunn blaming himself for what happened, since he let his guard down. She tells him to take it easy, but he says that he can’t - if he does, “someone like Alonna pays the price” (see “War Zone”). He corrects himself, pretending that he meant Veronica, and says that he can never stop. Cordelia suddenly spots Desmond and demands to know where Angel’s car is. Wesley and Angel arrive at the house where the party was held and ask a couple of girls if they know Gunn. They learn what happened, and before the girls can leave, Angel confirms that one of them is a vampire and demands to know what really went on. Cordelia and Gunn go to a garage and find Angel’s car; unfortunately, the keys were in the car when Cordelia went to help Gunn, so she doesn’t have them anymore. Deevak arrives, dangling the keys, and when Gunn tells Cordelia to leave, she refuses. Deevak grabs Gunn by the throat, then morphs into Jameel.

Cordelia sprays Jameel with mace, but he just morphs back into Deevak. Angel and Wesley arrive via motorcycle and Angel happily uses his pink helmet as a weapon against a vampire. There’s fighting, and Angel finishes Deevak off with Cordelia’s axe. Wesley finds Angel’s keys, though they seem to be covered with demon goo and Angel would rather hotwire the car. Gunn thanks Cordelia for helping him, but she says that Deevak wasn’t what he was fighting in her vision - Gunn was fighting himself. She says that he creates danger and will self-destruct if he doesn’t get help. She’s happy to help him out, since that’s what the MoG do. Back at the hotel, Angel encounters Darla again and she asks if anyone thanked him for saving their lives. He says that he’s used to it and has a lot to make up for. “But who takes care of you?” she asks. He confirms that she does and they start to get a little friendly. In reality, Darla shows up in Angel’s bedroom, doing the same things she’s doing in his dream and saying, “I could just eat you up.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Sometimes Cordelia is helpful.

GRADE: B I like the four MoG together, but Darla is already annoying me.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Angel: “Well, I was sort of going for a, you know, medley kind of thing.”
Lorne: “Yeah, yeah. Well, more of a duo-dley, really, wasn't it?”

Gunn: “I find Deevak, I’m gonna need more than C3PO and Stick Figure Barbie backing me up. No offense.”
Wesley: “Very little taken.”

Gunn: “I’m gonna track down Jameel and make him talk.”
Cordelia: “When you do find him, you may wanna be a little more Guy Pierce in L.A. Confidential and less Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs.”
Gunn: “I haven’t bothered to see a movie since Denzel was robbed at the Oscars for Malcolm X. Later.”
Wesley: “That was quite a performance.”
Cordelia: “I know! Talk about being wound up too tight.”
Wesley: “No. I-I mean Denzel.”
Cordelia: “Oh. Well, he is always great.”
Wesley: “What about you?”
Angel: “Who doesn’t love Denzel?”

Cordelia: “There you go. Good as new.”
Joey: “I think you cracked my skull.”
Cordelia: “Well, that’s new, right?”


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