"Release"
Written by Steven S. DeKnight, Elizabeth Craft, and Sarah Fain; directed by James A. Contner

Wesley takes Faith to his apartment to tend to her after her fight with Angelus (see “Salvage”). She tries to downplay her condition, but in the shower, she takes out her frustration on the walls. At a demon bar, Angelus brags about how he beat up a Slayer and killed the Beast (see “Salvage”). Another demon quietly blasts him for bringing the sun back, then changes his tune when Angelus goes after him. Angelus is interrupted by the Beastmaster, aka Cordelia (again, see “Salvage”), who talks to him so that only he can hear. Angelus asks where the Beastmaster is; “I’m where it’s warm and soft,” she replies. She’s not too happy that Angelus killed the Beast; Angelus says that he wanted to get her attention, but she says that he’s had her attention for awhile. Angelus continues his part of the conversation in the bar’s back room, where vampires are getting high by feeding on drugged humans. He wonders why the Beastmaster won’t show herself, and she says that it’s not the right time yet. She holds a glowing orange crystal and tells him that not everything revolves around him. Angelus realizes that the Beastmaster manipulated the MoG into thinking that it was their own idea to remove Angel’s soul to bring Angelus back (see “Awakening”); she was also the one who stole it (see “Soulless”). Angelus doesn’t want to follow the Beastmaster’s orders, but before Cordelia can make him, Connor arrives at her room in the Hyperion and she has to stop her conversation. At the bar, Angelus wonders where the Beastmaster went and a high vampire wonders what he’s on. Cordelia and Connor do some expositing about Faith, the Beast, and Angelus. Cordelia tells Connor that by killing the Beast, Angelus made things safer for them and the baby (again, see “Salvage”). She asks him not to tell anyone about the baby yet, because it’s growing quickly; she says that the MoG would get worried and want to kill it.

In the lobby, Gunn, Lorne, and Fred suit up with weapons (despite the sanctuary spell) in case Angelus comes back. Connor comes downstairs and Lorne notes that he’s acting strangely. They agree that Connor is better off taking care of Cordelia than going out and trying to kill Angelus again. Fred worries that Faith isn’t up to dealing with Angelus. At Wesley’s apartment, Wesley has the same worries. Faith assures him that she’s, as always, five by five. Fred does research in the office at the Hyperion and is soon interrupted by Angelus. (They should have listened to me about that uninvitation spell from “Passion.”) She tries to convince herself that she’s safe, thanks to the sanctuary spell, but Angelus pulls a charm out of his pocket and tells her that it interrupts the spell. She claims not to believe him, so he gets a little violent to prove it. He asks for information on the Beastmaster, but she doesn’t know anything and wouldn’t tell him if she did. Angelus grabs some papers and books as Fred tells him that the Beastmaster will take control of him like the Beast did. She looks at Angelus’ charm and notes that it was made in China. She grabs a pitcher, smashes it over his head, and tries to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart. He runs out to the lobby and she chases him, accidentally shooting Lorne with a dart as Angelus jumps up to the balcony. Connor tries to fight Angelus but is stopped by the sanctuary spell and falls off the balcony. Angelus notes that Connor being stopped by the anti-demon violence spell is interesting. He leaves, tossing back a threat to kill all of the MoG. Faith and Wesley arrive and Faith fights Angelus, who takes Wesley hostage. “It’s never just between you and me, Faith,” Angelus announces. “Wes’ll always be in the middle.” He wonders if Faith can stop him before he can snap Wesley’s neck. Wesley tells Faith to go ahead and let Angelus kill him. Before anyone can make a move, Gunn appears and throws Faith a gun. Despite the fact that it’s three against one, Angelus escapes.

Connor runs upstairs to make sure that Cordelia’s all right; he fills her in on the news that Angelus was there. Connor is still confused as to why the sanctuary spell worked on him. In the lobby, Fred laments the fact that Angelus took all of their research sources; Gunn points out that they weren’t very helpful anyway. Wesley announces that he’s not playing nice anymore and is going after Angelus. He asks Gunn to stay back in case Angelus returns to the Hyperion, then heads off with Faith. In the garden, Wesley criticizes Faith for letting Angelus escape; he says that she should have let him kill Wesley if it meant that she could get Angelus. He points out that now, Angelus has the chance to kill others. Angelus is in an occult bookstore, unsuccessfully doing research and beating up the shopkeeper. The Beastmaster blasts him with her voice, threatening to punish him for not listening to her. He tells her that he doesn’t take orders, especially not from a voice in his head. The Beastmaster taunts that Angelus is the voice in Angel’s head, always threatening to surface and make Angel give in to temptation. The Beastmaster makes Angelus’ soul appear and assures him that she actually has it with her. If Angelus does what she wants, she’ll make sure he never has to get his soul back. Angelus reluctantly agrees to play along. At the Hyperion, Gunn and Fred prepare themselves in case Angelus comes back. Fred criticizes herself for not being able to stop him. They discuss their failed relationship and they share a kiss, but whatever was between them before is gone for good. Faith and Wesley go to the demon bar Angelus was at before; Faith beats up the demon Angelus was beating up earlier for info. He tells them that he was talking to himself and then went into the back room. Faith and Wesley head into the back, where they kill a vampire. At the Hyperion, Connor checks in a mirror to see if he’s turning into a vampire. Cordelia notes that he was stopped by the sanctuary spell and he denies that he’s a demon. She reminds him that she is, but he points out that she chose that (see “Birthday”). Connor laments that he doesn’t know what he is. Cordelia tells him that he’s going to be a father, and all he has to worry about is keeping Cordelia and the baby safe.

Faith tries to help a drugged girl and Wesley informs her that the girl drugged herself. He explains that humans shoot up with a drug, then let the vampires feed off of them; both the humans and the vamps get high. Faith interrogates the girl about Angelus but doesn’t get any information. Wesley stabs the girl in the shoulder and she finally tells them that she saw Angelus but doesn’t know where he is. She tells them that he was talking to himself about the rain of fire and his soul and “pulling strings.” Wesley realizes that the Beastmaster has made contact with Angelus. Behind the bar, Faith criticizes Wesley for stabbing the girl; he says that he had to because she wouldn’t. She blasts him for crossing a line and he shoots back that she’s being a hypocrite. (He’s still bitter about being tortured in “Five by Five”). He believes that Faith can never change because her sickness runs down to her soul. He baits her into hitting him and she realizes that he did it to see if she could really hurt Angelus. She again refuses to kill Angelus after everything that Angel has done for her. At the Hyperion, Fred and Gunn fill Lorne in on everything he’s slept through thanks to the dart. Lorne tells them that Angelus probably got his fake charm from a guy named Maury who likes to sell them to tourists; Gunn decides to tell Wesley about this. Wesley and Fred head to Maury’s occult bookstore, where they find Maury dead, having been killed by Angelus. The fighting begins and Angelus notes that Faith isn’t as tough as she used to be. She tells him that she doesn’t want to die anymore (as she’d told him in “Five by Five”), and despite the fact that Angelus is winning the fight, she’s still winning in the anger department. Angelus and Faith start fighting with knives and he taunts that he knows what it’s like to be forced to be people they’re not. They wind up on some scaffolding and Angelus tells Faith that she’ll always be “a murderer, an animal”; in fact, she enjoys it, just like he does. She tries to tell him that he’s wrong, but this doesn’t stop him from overpowering her and biting her neck.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Cordelia’s smarter than everyone thinks.

GRADE: B Angelus is starting to get a little old.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Hey, man, you’re preaching to the guy who ate the choir.” - Angelus

“Odd bird. And getting birdier.” - Lorne, re: Connor

Beastmaster: “Angelus!”
Angelus: “Hello, volume!”
Beastmaster: “I am not well-pleased!”
Angelus: “I am not well deaf.”


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