"Hero"
Written by Howard Gordon; directed by Tucker Gates

It’s nighttime in L.A., and Cordelia is describing her ideas for an Angel Investigations promotional video as we see the events demonstrated. Then we’re back in Angel’s office, where he tosses around the idea of being “the Dark Avenger.” He’s not as thrilled about the video as Cordelia, who thinks that Buffy’s visit in “I Will Remember You” will leave Angel so broody that their business will suffer. Doyle points out that their video might not be as successful as she wants it to be, since Angel’s inability to go out in sunlight might seem suspicious, and they don’t even have a license. Cordelia decides that Doyle would be a better star for the ad, since he’s “ordinary.” She forces him to sit for a test run, despite the fact that he’s about as thrilled as Angel was. He awkwardly goes through a script she’s put together, accidentally announcing that their “rats,” not their rates, are low. She tells him that she’s seeing him as a “weasel” rather than a regular guy and doesn’t think that customers will go for that. Instead of trying again, Cordelia says that she’s worried about Angel, who shouldn’t be so heartbroken when he doesn’t have a beating heart to begin with. Doyle says that he’ll talk to Angel, and Cordelia non-sequiturs that getting Angel a costume might make the ad better. She seems to favor tights and a cape.

Doyle approaches Angel while he’s working out and Angel tells him that he needs some time to work through what happened with Buffy. Doyle thinks that Buffy was only there for a few minutes, but Angel tells him that she was there for longer. He asks about the Oracles, who, because of the time-swallowing, Doyle doesn’t remember taking him to. Angel explains the events of “I Will Remember You” and Doyle wonders why Angel would give back his mortality. Angel thinks he might have made the wrong decision, but Doyle says that his actions prove Cordelia’s theory that he’s a hero. Doyle thinks that, in Angel’s position, he would have chosen the sex over the honor. “You never know your strength until you’re tested,” Angel replies. He adds that the Oracles mentioned something about the end of days, and he thinks Angel Investigations might have to play a role in it. Doyle doesn’t think it’s fair that Angel not only helps out helpless people, but now has to help fight the apocalypse. Angel doesn’t see a distinction - it’s all about fighting “the good fight.” Doyle replies that Angel can fight and he’ll keep score. Out in the lobby, Doyle recaps “I Will Remember You” for Cordelia, who thinks that Angel should have taken advantage of the time-swallowing to buy some stocks and lottery tickets. She’s not so happy that he kept what happened a secret from them. They talk about Harry (see “The Bachelor Party”) and Doyle mentions that if he wants to have a successful relationship, he needs to bring up certain things. Before he can finally tell Cordelia that he’s part demon, he has a vision of people huddled together near a brick building. “Whatever you saw just now - did they look like they could afford to pay?” Cordelia asks.

A demon girl runs down a street at night, pursued by people wearing heavy boots. A demon boy grabs her and they hide together as the boot-wearers walk by. Angel and Doyle head to the brick building from Doyle’s vision and note how run-down it is. They find a table with food on it, realizing that the people there must have had to run off without warning. Angel finds a trapdoor under the carpet and find a bunch of demons hiding there. Later, the demons explain that they were promised help to escape but got ripped off. They were headed for an island near Ecuador, where other demons of their kind had been able to hide out. The two demon kids run in, announcing that they were almost caught and lost half of their supplies. One of the demons tells the boy, Rieff, that “the promised one” is there - there’s a prophecy that the promised one would appear at the end of the century to save the demons from “the Scourge.” Rieff is skeptical that Angel, the supposed promised one, can save them from all of the people who are after them. In fact, he thinks that Angel will get them all killed. Doyle is familiar with the Scourge and tells Angel that it’s “death.” He tells Angel a story as we see it in a flashback - Doyle met a guy named Lucas who was one of his kind, a Brachen demon. Some of the demons escaped the Scourge, which is now coming after them again. He explains that the Scourge is “an army of pureblooded demons” who hate mixed-blooded demons. In the present, Doyle tells Angel that the Scourge are willing to die for their beliefs.

Back in the past, Lucas asks Doyle to help the Brachens hide out until they can leave town. Doyle is reluctant to help, since it’s not something he’s used to doing. Lucas argues that Doyle is one of them, but Doyle says that he isn’t, since he was raised human. He says that he’d be taking a big risk by helping the Brachens out. Lucas notes that they have a common enemy, but Doyle is still unwilling to lend a hand. Later, there’s a knock at Doyle’s door, and when he opens it, he has a vision of Lucas and the other Brachens being killed. He tells Angel that he wasn’t sure if the vision was real or not, since it was his first, so he went to find out and discovered the bodies of the Brachens. He tells Angel that these demons need more than him and doesn’t think that he can fight the Scourge. Angel says that they won’t have to, since they’ll help the demons escape before it comes to that. Later, Cordelia drives a truck over to the building, runs into a demon, and tells him that the bottle of breath spray she’s holding is really demon repellant. She sprays it and the demon notes, “Wintergreen.” (Seriously, how did Cordelia survive 18 years in Sunnydale?) Doyle arrives and assures Cordelia that she’s safe there and confirms that she brought the truck. She pulls him aside and reminds him that Angel Investigations is about fighting evil, not helping demons. Doyle tells her that the demons are half human and that they need to get to a freighter called the Quintessa. He sends Cordelia ahead to get everything in order, but she wants to know who’s paying for this non-Carnival “cruise.” He tells her that something bad is coming and she heads off to do her job.

Angel talks with the harbormaster, arranging for documents about the freighter to say that it’s carrying medical waste. If anyone inspects the cargo or tries to hinder its trip, Angel will do some biting. Back at the building, Rieff disappears and the girl demon reports that he doesn’t believe there’s a promised one and ran off so he wouldn’t be killed along with everyone else. Doyle gives one of the demons his phone and tells him that when Cordelia calls to confirm that everything’s ready, they should head to the ship. Doyle goes after Rieff, finding him on the street. Rieff tells Doyle that he’s not going ton the ship because anywhere he goes, he’ll be hated. Doyle tells him that he belongs in his family, but Rieff still thinks that they won’t be alive much longer. Doyle tries to convince him that Angel will be able to help, but Rieff just sarcastically comments, “My hero.” Doyle tells him that his family has to put their faith in something because otherwise they’ll just give up. At the freighter, Cordelia figures out some last-minute details and prepares to make the confirmation call. On their way to meet up with the other demons, Doyle and Rieff hear the Scourge approaching and take off. They hide inside a building as the Scourge starts destroying things, heading towards Doyle and Rieff’s hiding place. Doyle puts on his demon face and head outside, leading the Scourge away from Rieff. Angel grabs him from behind a building and is pleased to hear that the Scourge is headed his way.

The Scourge arrives at the brick building, which the demons have already abandoned. Angel arrives, pretending to have taken Doyle hostage. Angel tells the Scourge that he hates his humanity. When Doyle pretends to plead for his life, Angel pretends to snap his neck. Angel asks the Scourge if he can join up with them and they take him along with them. Rieff finds Doyle’s “body,” impressed that while he was in demon form, he could have his neck broken and not die. The demons board the freighter and the captain tells Cordelia that they have to leave right away. He agrees to wait a little longer if Cordelia can get Angel to cut more off of a debt he owes him. One of the demons thanks Cordelia for her, Doyle, and Angel’s help, saying that Doyle understands the demons’ suffering, since he himself is half demon. This, of course, is news to Cordelia. Angel listens to a member of the Scourge complain about half-breed demons. A couple of Scourge members bring in a huge crystal-shaped light and turn it on. A commander explains that, when the light touches the half-breed demons, they’ll all die. After a little while, the light will be able to reach up to a quarter mile away. The commander sends the Scourge out to spread the word about the light. Angel intercepts one, knocks it out, and steals its motorcycle.

Doyle and Rieff arrive at the freighter and Cordelia notes that Doyle looks happy. She tells him that she was worried, then slaps him for not telling him that he was half demon, especially after they agreed that they shouldn’t keep secrets from each other. He admits that he was afraid that she would reject him, but she points out that she’d already rejected him. She adds that she works for a vampire and isn’t superficial about his lineage. “Would you ask me out to dinner already?” she says. Doyle is happy to hear this, but before he can officially ask her, Angel arrives and announces that the freighter needs to leave. Before the ship can leave, the Scourge shows up. The freighter heads off and the Scourge blasts Angel for lying. There’s some fighting and some falling in the cargo hold and some Scourge killing. Doyle asks Angel what the light is for and Angel explains that it’ll kill anything or anyone with human blood. Angel thinks that he can turn it off if he pulls the cable, but Doyle and Cordelia aren’t sure he can do it without touching the light. Angel says that he’ll do it anyway and Doyle says, “The good fight, yeah? You never know until you’ve been tested. I get that now.” Then he hauls back and hits Angel, knocking him into the cargo hold. Doyle grabs Cordelia and they kiss, a blue light passing between their lips. He morphs into his demon face and says, “Too bad we’ll never know if this is a face you could learn to love.” Angel starts to climb out of the cargo hold to stop Doyle, but Doyle grabs the frame of the light and smiles at Cordelia and Angel. He morphs back into his human face, grabs the cable, and pulls it apart just before the light kills him. The light goes out and Cordelia and Angel share a teary hug. Back at the office, the two of them watch Doyle’s video again. At the end he says, “‘Come on over to our offices and you’ll see that there’s still heroes in this world.’ Is that it? Am I done?”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Angel isn’t the only big hero.

R.I.P.: Doyle (first soldier down)

GRADE: B It’s sad and all, but before the sad part, it’s kind of boring.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Cordelia: “Well, the guy is a bona fide hero. Would it kill him to put on some tights and a cape and garner us some free publicity?”
Doyle: “I don’t see Angel putting on some tights…. Ah, now I do, and it’s really disturbing.”

“So you’re half demon. That’s so far down the list, way under short and poor!” - Cordelia to Doyle


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