"Provider"
Written by Scott Murphy; directed by Bill Norton

Angel counts loose change at the Hyperion and puts it in a piggy bank for “the Connor fund.” Fred is working on a new website for Angel Investigations; Angel wants more cases so that he can make more money. Cordelia reminds Angel of their mission and tries to point out that it’s more important than making money. Gunn returns, having gotten some help to distribute flyers all over town, and Fred announces that the website is up. Elsewhere in L.A., a man runs through the rain and spots a flyer for the MoG. As the MoG stand around the phone, waiting for a call, the man dials a payphone and waits impatiently for someone to answer. Unfortunately, he’s called a pizza place. At the Hyperion, Fred studies the flyers and asks, “Is this the right phone number?” The next day, Wesley finishes distributing new flyers, then watches Fred with Connor. (He thinks Connor is adorable and Gunn thinks the same about Fred.) Lorne comes downstairs and Angel asks him to use his contacts to find out what Holtz is doing. The website starts getting hits and the MoG begin receiving phone calls, much to Angel’s delight. In his lair, Holtz blasts Justine (see “Dad”) for disobeying orders and killing a couple of vampires after he told her to walk away. Holtz wants Justine to convince him that she’s committed to his mission; he’s stuck an ice pick in her hand to torture her until she’s ready to make a decision. Back at the Hyperion, the lobby is full of clients. Lorne translates for some Nahdrahs, who are offering the MoG a large amount of money and want to talk to Wesley. In the office, Gunn talks to a woman named Ally who’s being stalked by her ex-boyfriend Brian. Brian happens to be dead. The Nahdrahs ask Wesley to solve one of their traditional puzzles being given to their prince for his birthday. Fred notes that the Nahdrahs’ tunics are designed with geometric puzzles; the Nahdrahs run off to go consult with the prince. Angel hands Connor over to Cordelia and heads off on a case.

Angel arrives at an office and meets with a man named Harlan Elster, who wants him to take care of a nest of vampires. Harlan tells him that the vampires are out for money ($5,000 by midnight) rather than blood. He offers Angel $10,000 to take care of the problem ($5,000 upfront and the rest when he succeeds); Angel, of course, is more than willing to take on the case. After he leaves, the real Harlan enters his office and the imposter knocks him out. Justine is still ice picked to the table when Holtz returns to the lair and notes that she’s decided to make a commitment. He sends her off to find other people like herself who have the same rage inside themselves and want revenge. After she’s freed from the table, she hits Holtz. Angel returns to the Hyperion after all of the clients have left and tells Cordelia and Fred how happy he is about his new case. Cordelia thinks that they’re working too many cases and worries that someone will come in who really needs help. Lorne returns, having talked to a snitch, and reveals that Holtz is building an army of humans to go after Angel. The Nahdrahs return and ask Fred to do the puzzle instead of Wesley. Fred and Angel agree to the case, though Fred would have to go spend a couple of days on a barge at the marina. (Lorne will tag along to translate.) Angel asks Lorne to tell the Nahdrahs that they’ll have to pay a lot for Fred and Lorne; the Nahdrahs offer them a case containing $50,000. Gunn and Wesley are guarding Ally at her house; she comments that Fred was right about one or both of them inspiring confidence, and Gunn and Wesley start bickering over which one of them she meant. Ally asks how Brian can be stalking her when he’s dead. Wesley tries to explain about supernatural stuff and Gunn suggests that zombie Brian just wants to eat Ally’s intestines. Wesley criticizes that they don’t know he’s a zombie, but when Brian shows up and tries to grab him, Wesley notes that Gunn is probably right.

On the Nahdrahs’ barge, Lorne experiences some seasickness but enjoys the demons’ décor. Fred starts to work on the puzzle as the Nahdrahs offer Lorne some unappetizing snacks. Angel heads to the vampire nest, where he’s ambushed and starts fighting. Afterward, he goes back to the office and finds the real Harlan, who tells him that the imposter’s name was Sam Ryan and was a former employee. Ever since Sam lost a friend of his, he’s been trying to get Harlan to help him pay someone to take care of the vamp nest. Apparently there’s also a treasure involved, so now Angel’s interested again. On the barge, Lorne heads upstairs and finds a few Nahdrahs tending to another one who appears to be sick. He watches the demons go over their plan to take Fred’s head and put it on the sick Nahdrah’s body. However, before Lorne can do anything about this, someone knocks him out. At the Hyperion, Cordelia is trying to demonstrate for Connor how she floated the last time she had a vision (see “Birthday”), but she’s unsuccessful. Sam heads to the vamp nest, where Angel catches up to him and confirms that the vampires killed Sam’s friend. Sam tells him that he didn’t kill all of the vamps there - there are four left. At the Hyperion, Cordelia has a vision of Fred solving the Nahdrahs’ puzzle, then being introduced to a knife. On the barge, Fred announces that she’s almost done with the puzzle. At Ally’s, Brian comes through a skylight and begs Ally to talk to him. Cordelia tries and fails to reach Wesley and Gunn, so she decides to take Connor and the money to the marina and try to talk the Nahdrahs out of their deal. Wesley and Gunn continue to protect Ally from Brian, who is now pouting over Ally. He reveals that Ally poisoned him, but he would forgive her if she’d agree to get back together with him. They wind up reuniting and Wesley makes sure to collect their fee.

Angel refuses to fight the vamps in the lair because Sam declined to pay him. All he’ll do is help Sam barricade the door. On the barge, Fred finishes the puzzle and the Nahdrahs pull her out of the room, where she finds a tied-up Lorne. She realizes that the demons are going to take her head and put it on a demon’s body. Before Fred can be beheaded, Cordelia arrives and Lorne triumphantly tells the Nahdrahs that they’re about to get killed. Cordelia tells them that there was a misunderstanding and they want to return the money. The Nahdrahs react unhappily and Lorne explains that he threatened them. Cordelia says that that wasn’t a good idea, but Lorne says it’s okay since Angel, Wesley, and Gunn are there. Except…they’re not. At the nest, Angel offers to help Sam escape, but he thinks that if he runs, he’ll always be running. The vamps make it inside and Angel changes his mind, fighting and killing them. On his way out, he checks his voicemail. At the barge, Cordelia attempts to fight the Nahdrahs but finds her plan to be a failure. Fortunately, Wesley and Gunn have arrived to fight the demons and save Fred. They’re soon joined by Angel, who tells Cordelia that she was right about them doing too much. Angel tries to give the MoG a little speech about money not being important, but he finds himself distracted by the $50,000 just sitting out in the open. Cordelia decides that since the Nahdrahs tried to kill Fred, the MoG deserve to take their money. The others quickly agree. That night, Cordelia and Angel lie on his bed with Connor and talk about the things they can buy with their share of the $50,000.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Sometimes money can buy happiness.

GRADE: B- Too much filler.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Angel: “Finding him is our number one priority.”
Gunn: “I thought you said--.”
Angel: “Finding Holtz and making money are our two number one priorities.”
(Cordelia clears her throat)
Angel: “Helping the helpless, finding Holtz, and making money are our three number one priorities.”

Wesley: “The Internet article I’m currently writing posits a formula for the genome mapping of creatures who don’t have genes. It’s an exciting arena.”
Lorne: “One I’m sure we can all download at I’ll-never-know-the-love-of-a-woman.com.”

Cordelia: “Okay. College fund, pay our bills, and rent a ski condo in Aspen.”
Angel: “Ski condo?”
Cordelia: “There’s got to be some fun in our lives.”
Angel: “Hmm, I like a ski condo.”
Cordelia: “Sure. Snow. Trees. Chipmunk robots on ice….”
Angel: “Chipmunk robots…on ice….”


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