"Judgment"
Written by David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon; directed by Michael Lange

A green, horned demon (Andy Hallett) sings “I Will Survive” on a stage, telling his audience about the various dynamics of L.A. (We won’t find out for awhile, but he’s Lorne, aka the Host.) Elsewhere in L.A., Cordelia attends an acting class, doing a scene with a guy named Johnny. Her beeper goes off with the message “911” and she rushes off. Wesley is in a bar, playing darts; he gets a page as well and leaves. Angel, Wesley, and Cordelia enter a gym, where a demon sacrifice is supposed to take place. Angel shatters a mirror, revealing a demon and a robed human about to kill two humans. “Stop that,” Angel tells them before the fighting begins. After they free the humans, a gym attendant notes that one of the demons has horns. Angel warns him against using steroids as he, Cordelia, and Wesley leave. They convene at Cordelia’s apartment, where they have a whiteboard set up to record their cases. Wesley and Cordelia discuss business as Angel mentions that he liked the gym and might join; he wants to be somewhere with other people around. Cordelia reminds him that he’s immortal and doesn’t have to work out, but he points out that he might not always be immortal (see “To Shanshu in L.A.”). Cordelia makes a strange face and Angel suspects that she’s about to have a vision. However, she’s just about to sneeze. A minute later, she does have a vision. She describes the demon and Wesley decides to call it an “NDUO - nasty demon, unknown origin.” At Wolfram & Hart, Lilah meets up with Lindsey (who now has a plastic prosthetic hand, thanks to the events of “To Shanshu in L.A.”) and mocks him. Darla (again, see “To Shanshu in L.A.”) enjoys some Chopin and somehow senses that Angel is in L.A. She remembers that he killed her (see “Angel”) and says that she’d like to see him again.

Cordelia describes the demon from her vision so that Angel can sketch it. Phantom Dennis tries to be helpful by getting a book for Wesley; he mostly just serves in making Wesley want to get a real office. Cordelia recognizes her vision demon as a Prio Motu and Wesley wonders if one of his connections, a demon named Merl, can help them find it. He knows that Merl hangs out in a “safe haven for demons,” but notes that it’s not the sort of place Angel is used to going to. On the same stage where Lorne was singing earlier, a demon sings “I’m So Excited” to an audience of humans and demons. As people enter, they walk through metal detectors and have to surrender all of their weapons. Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley enter and Wesley explains that the karaoke bar doubles as a sanctuary. When the demon onstage is done, Lorne speaks to the audience, then tells the demon what he read in his aura during the song. Wesley finds Merl (Matthew James), who’s unsettled around Angel, even though Angel can’t hurt him there. Merl demands more money than he was already offered, then tells Angel that the Prio Motu will most likely be underground. On his way out, Angel runs into Lorne, who compliments his coat and welcomes him to Caritas. While Lorne tries to convince Angel to sing something, Wesley explains to Cordelia that Lorne sees into people’s souls when they sing. Angel announces that he doesn’t sing and Cordelia and Wesley urge him to do so anyway. (That’s the last time they’ll do that.) Angel refuses and leaves, heading for some tunnels, where he encounters a pregnant woman (her name is never mentioned, but other sources call her Jo, so I’m going with that). The Prio Motu suddenly appears and Angel pushes the woman aside, then kills the Prio Motu. He assures Jo that she’s safe, but she asks, “What have you done?”

Jo tearfully explains that the Prio Motu was her protector. Angel asks what he was protecting her from; she tells him, “The Tribunal.” She’s upset that her only friend has been killed; she tells Angel to stay away from her. Angel meets back with Wesley and Cordelia, who points out that she never said the demon in her vision was a killer. Angel notes that he killed an innocent demon, like himself, and now has to take on the Prio Motu’s responsibility. He assigns Cordelia and Wesley to find out what the Tribunal is. Wesley reminds him that he didn’t know that the Prio Motu wasn’t dangerous, but Angel thinks that “somebody did.” He tracks down Merl, who admits that there’s “a price on the woman.” Her baby is supposed to be some sort of powerful, benevolent being (foreshadowing! Foreshadowing!) who the “dark ones” don’t want around. Angel tells Merl to spread the word that no one is to harm Jo. Merl says that it could be too late, now that she isn’t protected by the Prio Motu anymore. Angel finds out where the Prio Motu lived and heads off. Elsewhere, a man is about to get into his car when he’s approached by some guys wearing hooded sweatshirts. He thinks that they’re about to steal his car, but they’re actually trying to save him from a vampire - it’s Gunn and part of his crew. Once the vamp has been dusted, the guy runs off without thanking Gunn. Angel appears and Gunn sends his crew off so that they can talk privately. Angel asks if Gunn ever saw the Prio Motu around; he hadn’t, but he agrees to help find out where it was living. They find a vent in a tunnel and go through to find the Prio Motu’s home. Inside a hidden drawer, Angel finds a round metal disk. He gives Gunn a business card and the disk, asking him to get it to Cordelia and Wesley and tell them that it might have something to do with the Tribunal.

Jo shows up shortly after and blasts Angel for being in the Prio Motu’s home. He tells her that he wants to take over where the Prio Motu left off, but Jo isn’t interested. She tells him that her daughter is seen as powerful to others, but to Jo, she’s just her child. Angel explains that helping people is his job and asks her to let him help her and her daughter. She tells him that they need to find “the coat of arms,” which turns out to be the disk Angel already found. He offers to take her to Cordelia’s apartment to get it, but she’s no longer happy with him. She’s on her way out when a demon arrives. Angel asks if he can kill this one; she says he can, but he’s not completely successful, so they run. Gunn arrives at Cordelia’s apartment, but when he tells her and Wesley his name, they think he’s telling them that he has a gun. (That won’t be the last time they use that joke.) Cordelia finally remembers that Angel has mentioned Gunn and invites him in. Wesley introduces himself and Cordelia and Gunn mentions that he saw Cordelia and Wesley before, “in bed” (once again, see “To Shanshu in L.A.”). This leads to more “hilarity” until Gunn explains that Angel asked him to look after them in the hospital. He gives them the disk and tells them that their whiteboard seems to be a good organizational tool. Meanwhile, Angel and Jo head through the sewers. They arrive in the basement of a building and go upstairs, finding themselves in what looks like the former lobby of a hotel. As Angel looks around, Jo notes that he’s been there before. (It’ll become clear in “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been.”) He asks her about the Tribunal, which she describes as an “otherworldly court” that is supposed to save her and her baby. She’s not sure how it works, but the Prio Motu was supposed to be her “champion,” and now that he’s dead, she doesn’t want to participate anymore. Angel tells her that she’ll be found wherever she goes and promises that he can protect her. He hears a noise and sends her to Cordelia’s apartment; on her way out, two demons arrive and attack Angel.

Later, Angel returns to Cordelia’s apartment and learns that Jo never arrived. He says that he was sure he was going to become human, and he was sure that he was almost there. Cordelia tells him that he might have to work to get there, but he’ll succeed. Wesley finds information about a “chair of judgment,” which involves a primitive fight to the death. He’s not sure where the Tribunal will take place; it can appear whenever the powers behind it desire. Angel decides that they need to find Jo right away, and he can only think of one way to do so. (Warning: the following scene is kind of scary.) Angel returns to Caritas, where he sings Barry Manilow’s “Mandy.” Very badly. (You can see outtakes during the ending credits.) Cordelia is impressed by the lengths he’ll go to in order to save someone. After the “performance,” Lorne tells Angel that he made an “honest mistake” and that anyone would have mistaken the Prio Motu for a threat. He announces that the Tribunal will go wherever Jo is. Angel asks where that is, but first Lorne wants to know why Angel chose to sing “Mandy.” (It’s pretty, and he knows the words.) Lorne tells him that the Tribunal will raise at Fourth and Spring and the trial will take place there. Angel asks how the trial works, but Lorne can’t tell him. “Can I save her?” Angel asks. “Try, and find out,” Lorne replies. Jo walking downtown when three robed figures on thrones suddenly rise up from the ground and a knight on a horse rides up. The knight throws down a disk and a judge asks Jo where her “champion” is. She tells him that he’s dead and asks for asylum. The judge replies that he can’t grant that; the only way to decide the outcome of her situation is to have two champions fight each other - “one can save your life. One can take it. This is the ancient law. Your life is forfeit. You have no champion.” The knight is drawing his sword when a disk lands on top of the one he threw down. “Yes, she does,” Angel announces.

The judge announces that the “trial by combat will begin.” Jo tells Angel that she appreciates the gesture but doesn’t think he can actually succeed. “I grew up around horses,” he replies. He mounts his and suits up. A red cloth is thrown and the joust begins. Angel winds up on the street but knocks the knight off of his horse, fighting him on the ground. The knight stabs Angel, bringing him to his knees, and the judge announces that Jo’s champion has been defeated. The knight starts to slit Jo’s throat but Angel stands up and pulls out the knight’s sword, beheading him. The judge announces that Angel has won after all; Jo and her daughter will be protected by the Tribunal until the daughter turns 18. The Tribunal vanishes and Angel drags himself away. Back at Cordelia’s apartment, Angel decides that it’s time to get rid of the whiteboard. Wesley agrees that they shouldn’t be keeping score; it’s not a race, it’s a job. Angel heads off again, this time going to the jail where Faith (last seen in “Sanctuary”) is serving time. She tells him about her day and he counters by saying that he had to sing Barry Manilow. “The road to redemption is a rocky path,” Faith muses. She wonders if they’ll make it and he says they just might.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: You can joust in the middle of the street in L.A. and no one will notice.

GRADE: B Yay, Lorne! But…jousting? No.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Lorne, Merl

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Angel: “You got your steam. You got your sauna. You got fresh towels. I mean, how bad could it be?”
Cordelia: “You shower with a lot of men.”
Angel: “I’ll always be a loner.”

“There are three things I don’t do: tan, date, and sing in public!” - Angel

“Thanks for the obscure visions! We’re doing great with that.” - Cordelia to the Powers That Be

“Hey, how ‘bout that? A performer. Why don’t we just call him Angel, the vampire with soul?” - Lorne

“My landlady keeps saying, ‘You better not be running a business up there; I hear a lot of noise,’ and I keep telling her, ‘No business, just wild orgies.’” - Cordelia (from the original script)

Wesley: “I think I can help us with that. I’ve been working the street--.”
Cordelia: “You’re a prostitute? It’s always the quiet British ones....” (from the original script)


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