"I’ve Got You Under My Skin"
Written by Jeanine Renshaw and David Greenwalt; directed by R. D. Price

In his kitchen, Angel looks at a knife with the mark of Kekfadlorem, the only weapon which can kill a Kek demon. Wesley thinks that it could be useful, but Angel points out that Kek demons are extinct. A timer goes off and Cordelia rushes in to serve the guys brownies that they don’t think smell very appetizing. Wesley tries to hide his disappointment that Angel doesn’t have to eat any, then blasts Cordelia for starting to cut the brownies with his knife. The two of them start bickering until Angel tries to get them to stop, saying, “Cordelia, Doyle!” This kind of ruins the mood. In a nice, normal-looking house (which, of course, indicates that not-so-nice, not-so-normal things are going to happen), a boy named Ryan accuses his sister Stephanie of stealing a card from him. Their mother Paige breaks up the fight and their father Seth sends the kids to bed. Paige isn’t thrilled about this, since bedtime includes padlocking the kids into their rooms. Cordelia tracks Angel down in his office and accuses him of pretending to read. She mentions that Angel called Wesley “Doyle” and tells him that he doesn’t have to be “Joe Stoic” about Doyle’s death. They both admit that they miss him, and Angel adds that he blames himself. Cordelia suddenly has a vision of Seth, Stephanie, and Ryan and their house number, 1256. Later, Angel and Wesley arrive at their house, where they see Ryan walking down the street in his pajamas. Angel pushes Ryan out of the way before he can get hit by a car, and Paige and Seth thank him (though Seth is a little more reluctant than Paige). Paige notes that Angel has hurt his shoulder and ushers him inside to take care of the wound. She mentions that they’ve just moved in and offers Angel money or her husband’s investment advice in exchange for his help. Angel wonders why Ryan was outside the house. Wesley does some snooping in a trashcan outside, then spots some yellow slime on the house’s foundation.

Angel and Seth share some awkward small talk and Paige notes that Angel’s wound doesn’t look as bad as it did before. Angel asks where the family lived before and Paige says it was Akron. Angel gives his name as “Angel Jones,” causing Paige to share that she collects angels. She invites Angel to dinner the next night and, though Seth isn’t very welcoming, Angel agrees to attend. Back in the car with Wesley, Angel says that something strange is going on in the house and that he’s going to come back. Wesley shows him the slime he found, plakticine, which means that someone in the house is possessed by a demon. Stephanie watches from the house as Angel and Wesley drive off. At the office the next morning, Cordelia confirms Paige’s story about living in Akron and adds that they also lived in Miami and Baton Rouge. In every place that they’ve lived, people have reported animal deaths and disturbances; in addition, a family friend disappeared and still hasn’t been found. Wesley and Cordelia discuss the plakticine and he tells her that Lizzie Borden was possessed by a demon which caused her to kill her parents. Angel notes that with the amount they found, the demon possessing someone in the family is full-grown. They decide that they need to perform an exorcism, though they’re not sure which family member is possessed. Angel suspects Seth, since the kids seemed afraid of him, and since it’s a Joss Whedon show, you’d think he’d be right. First they have to get the demon to show itself, which they plan to do by making the host ingest eucalypsis powder. Angel’s question is, how? By that night, he’s answered his own questions - he’s baked the powder into brownies. After dinner, the brownies are served and, after a minute, Ryan face goes demon and he starts to growl.

Angel announces that Ryan is possessed and Stephanie says that he’s just a bad kid and always has been. Paige accuses Angel of poisoning Ryan, but Seth says that Ryan’s been like that for a long time. He agrees to let Angel help Ryan if he can. Angel calls Wesley, who’s trying to track down a priest to perform the exorcism. Until then, he’s assigned to do a binding spell to contain the demon. Seth tells Angel that he’s relieved that there’s an explanation for Ryan’s behavior and thanks him for his help. Angel replies that he should get someone to watch Stephanie because he wants him, Paige, and Ryan to come to his place. At Angel’s apartment, Cordelia does the binding and Wesley announces that he and Angel are going to get the priest. Angel tells Seth and Paige not to enter the circle drawn around Ryan; he warns that Ryan will try to get them to enter, but they can’t touch him, or he might kill them. Angel and Wesley go to a church, where a nun is shocked that a vampire would come inside. He promises that he’s trying to help a possessed child and they need the help of a priest named Father Fredericks. Unfortunately, the priest is dead - he tried to help a girl who was possessed by the same kind of demon possessing Ryan, and though he helped her, he died in the process. The nun warns Angel that the demon he’s dealing with is even more dangerous than he is. Back at the apartment, Ryan starts calling for Paige and Seth has to remind her that she needs to stay away from him. Paige wants their lives to go back to the way they were, claiming that things were going well. They mention to Cordelia that the family friend who disappeared actually died in a fire that Paige claims wasn’t started by Ryan. Seth tells her that Ryan isn’t really who’s calling her and Cordelia tries to distract them, assuring them that Angel and Wesley will take care of things.

Wesley gets some water from the baptismal fountain, telling Angel that he’s going to perform the exorcism. Angel reminds him that Father Fredericks was an expert and even he couldn’t stand up to the demon. Wesley points out that Angel is the only other person who could do the exorcism, but he can’t touch a cross. Angel relents, telling Wesley that he’ll be there with him. Paige talks to Ryan in Angel’s bedroom, telling him that she’s there and that no one will hurt him. Cordelia and Seth try to get her to keep a safe distance, but Paige says that Ryan needs her. Angel and Wesley return and Wesley tells Angel that he figured out how Father Fredericks died - after the demon was cast out, it looked for another body to inhabit, but it entered the priest with such force that it killed him. Cordelia and Seth try to keep Paige away from Ryan, but they’re distracted when Wesley and Angel approach and Paige gets to her son. The door closes and Cordelia and Seth are unable to get into the room, where Ryan is choking Paige. Seth and Cordelia finally manage to get inside and try to get Paige away from Ryan. Angel and Wesley rush to help them; Wesley holds up a cross and starts speaking Latin. Wesley redraws the circle as Cordelia looks through a book to find information on an Ethros box, which can trap the demon. She discovers that the demon gets confused when it’s cast out, and if an Ethros box is around, it’ll enter it. Angel sends Cordelia to a magic shop (sadly, not the Magic Box) to get a box while Wesley continues his exorcism. Ryan insults his Latin and tries to undermine him, taunting that he failed as a Watcher and will never make his father proud. He asks why Angel and Cordelia would want him around and Angel appears, announcing that he invited Wesley. While Wesley and Ryan are fighting, Wesley accidentally breaks the circle and Ryan does a little violence.

Cordelia goes to the magic shop but is told that the owner doesn’t have any Ethros boxes. She winds up buying a box that’s a little inferior but close enough to what she needs. At the apartment, Angel decides that Wesley shouldn’t continue the exorcism. The kitchen table shakes and some marbles spell out “save me.” Wesley announces that they don’t have a choice. From the bedroom, Ryan says in Doyle’s voice, “The good fight, yeah?” (See “Hero.”) Ryan taunts that Doyle is there and wants to know why Angel couldn’t protect him. Cordelia returns and Angel heads to the bedroom with Seth behind him and Cordelia and Wesley holding the box. Angel and Wesley go back to the exorcism and a light leaves Ryan, hitting and smashing the box. Ryan is back to normal, but Cordelia, Wesley, and Angel quickly realize that a broken box is not a good thing. In the office, Wesley sees that plakticine has made its way up the elevator shaft, so the demon had to have come up there, though they can’t find it. They worry that they shouldn’t have sent the family home, since the demon might try to possess Ryan again. Angel thinks that the demon used up too much energy and will have to recharge itself before it possesses anyone else. He also thinks that the demon has taken on corporeal form, so if they find it, they can kill it. They think that it will go to a hostile, damp environment, which makes Wesley think of sea caves. The three of them find some slime in a cave and run into the demon Ethros. Wesley calls the demon a bully for possessing an innocent child and says that it didn’t get Ryan’s soul. “What soul?” Ethros asks.

At home, Ryan complains that Stephanie has more marshmallows in her hot chocolate. Paige doesn’t seem to think that this is important. Ethros tells Angel, Wesley, and Cordelia that the scariest thing in the world is nothing, which is what he found in Ryan. He has “no conscience, no fear, no humanity” and Ethros couldn’t control him. The demon inhabited Ryan but didn’t do anything - Ryan was the one who did the destroying. At home, Paige tells Seth that Ryan doesn’t seem to remember his possession. Angel realizes that Ethros manipulated the marbles. Ethros says that he tried to get Ryan to kill himself; he was the reason Ryan walked out into the street at night. Wesley and Ethros agree that Angel has to get back to the house and save Ryan’s family. While Paige and Seth are asleep, Ryan goes into their room and picks up a book of matches. As his parents wake up, he leaves their room and wedges the door closed. He then picks up a can of gasoline and heads for Stephanie’s bedroom, setting it on fire. As everyone except Ryan screams, Angel throws himself through the window and rescues Stephanie. Wesley gets Ryan and his parents out as Angel takes Stephanie back through the window. Outside, Kate turns Ryan over to social services and speaks with Seth. Seth tells Angel that he just wanted to protect his family and keep them together. “I think you did,” Angel replies. Seth heads back to Paige and Stephanie as Angel rejoins Cordelia and Wesley, his own family.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Kids are creepy.

GRADE: B Disturbing much?

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Ryan: “I had five of this one and now I only have four.”
Paige: “Well, there are children in India who only have three.”

“Pretend to read any good books lately?” - Cordelia to Angel

“Jeez, we got it! Circle, angry, kill, kill, kill. Go to church already.” - Cordelia to Angel


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