"That Old Gang of Mine"
Written by Tim Minear; directed by Fred Keller

Angel is at Caritas, apologizing to Merl for the way he’s treated him in the past. Merl accuses him of reading the apology off of a piece of paper; Angel says that he just made some notes. Merl wants back the three months he spent in therapy after Angel tortured him in “Redefinition.” Angel goads Merl into hitting him; Merl finally gets fed up and tries to hit him with a bottle, but the sanctuary spell on Caritas prevents him from behind violent. Merl yells that Angel did that on purpose (of course he did) and starts to leave, then realizes that he needs a ride home. Gunn takes him back to his lair, quickly leaving, and inside, Merl is killed. Later that night, Gunn has a dream about Alonna (see “War Zone”). He, Angel, and Wesley gather at Merl’s lair, finding it covered in goo. Gunn wonders why they’re bothering to investigate what happened, since Merl was a demon, and their job is to kill demons. Wesley points out that Merl was harmless and he and Angel tell Gunn that if he has something to do that he thinks is more important, he can leave. Wesley tells Gunn that since he can’t “get behind” finding out what happened to Merl, he should go home; Gunn does. Actually, he winds up meeting up with his crew and sparring with a new guy named Gio. Gio wonders why Gunn would go from behind a vamp killer to working for one; Rondell tries to break up the argument. At the Hyperion, Cordelia tells Angel to give Fred some time to adjust to life in L.A.; he thinks that she should go out into the world. Angel asks Cordelia to talk to Fred; Cordelia agrees. She gives him a list of Merl’s enemies and Angel is displeased to see that his name is at the top of the list. Wesley and Cordelia point out that Angel found Merl’s body and that half of the people on the list were people that Angel made Merl snitch on. Angel sarcastically comments that he “went dark” and killed Merl; Wesley and Cordelia try not to let it show that they obviously think that’s a possibility.

Gunn and Rondell are out somewhere, and Rondell is reminding Gunn that he hasn’t been around for awhile. Gunn tries to excuse his behavior by saying that he was shaken by what happened to George (see “Over the Rainbow”), but Rondell says that his behavior has been different since Alonna died. Gunn says that since he couldn’t protect his sister, he didn’t feel like he could protect the rest of the crew. Rondell reminds him that a lot of people’s lives have been saved because Gunn started the crew. Angel and Wesley go to meet with one of Merl’s possible enemies, but find him dead, too. They decide that they’ll need Gunn to provide more muscle. In the sewers, a group of guys, led by Gio, attack a not-very-dangerous-looking demon drinking a Slurpee. Gunn joins Angel and Wesley at Merl’s enemy’s apartment; Gunn wonders why they’re bothering with this if the Powers That Be didn’t send them there. Wesley reminds him that there are shades of gray in the world. He reveals that whatever’s killing demons around L.A. isn’t making distinctions between the evil ones and the okay ones. Angel returns with news about the Slurpee-drinking demon, which was non-violent, and Gunn decides to “hit the streets” for information, pocketing an arrowhead that Wesley found in the wall. Gunn meets up with Rondell, telling him that the arrowhead is from a weapon he used to have that Gio is now using. He urges Rondell to talk to Gio about killing demons that don’t need killing; Rondell tells him that the whole crew was there when the demon was killed. He tells Gunn that Gio found a nest and wants to hit it that night, but Gunn declines his invitation to tag along. At the Hyperion, Wesley discovers that the arrowhead is missing. Cordelia heads out to the courtyard to talk to Fred and invites her to go out that night.

That night, Gunn returns to the Hyperion and asks Angel where Wesley is. He, Cordelia, and Fred are at Caritas, where Fred is singing “Crazy” (Cordelia swears she picked out the song on her own). Gunn arrives and tells Lorne not to read him; Lorne says that Wesley has questions and Gunn has the answers. Suddenly Gio’s crew arrives, shooting demons with machine guns as the humans dive for cover. Cordelia asks how the guys can shoot the demons when demon violence isn’t allowed in the club; Wesley tells her that the guys are human and can do whatever they want. Rondell tells the crew that it’s time to go, but Gio calls Gunn out and announces that he’s been coming there for months, even though it’s a demon club. Gunn tells the crew to leave, but Rondell wants to know why Gunn’s been hanging out with demons. The crew grabs Lorne and brings him into the open; Gunn tries to convince them that Lorne isn’t dangerous. Wesley realizes that the crew killed Merl and the other demons and that Gunn knew about it. Gunn steps in front of Lorne and tells Rondell that he’s “lost the mission.” Wesley speaks up that the crew isn’t protecting themselves by going after demons who aren’t hurting anyone. He reminds Rondell that he tried to help him in “The Thin Dead Line.” Gunn asks Gio to let everyone else go, giving Wesley the keys to his truck after Gio agrees. Rondell announces that they’ll let Cordelia go but everyone else has to stay. Cordelia refuses to leave without Fred, but the crew tries to kick her out. Rondell announces that everyone else can leave after Cordelia returns with Angel. Cordelia quickly goes to the Hyperion and fills Angel in, telling him that it’s a trap - the crew wants Angel in Caritas because he can’t fight there. Angel assures her that he’ll be fine, then gives her the address of the “transuding furies,” who cast the sanctuary spell at Caritas every month. They can lift the spell and allow Angel to fight the crew. Cordelia worries that they won’t lift the spell, but Angel assures her that they will. She’s also worried about Fred, since she promised that she would be okay.

Back at Caritas, Gio is singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” while Wesley quietly tells Gunn that if Angel arrives, the crew will kill him. Lorne reads Gio, telling him that he’s not surprised he had to leave Miami (there was something involving a girl that Gio obviously doesn’t want to talk about). The crew goes after one of the demons in the club and Gunn tries to protect him; Gio is disgusted that he would try to help a demon. The demon goads the crew into trying to kill him, calling them cowards. Gio wonders if Gunn has crossed over so much that now he wants to be a demon. As the demon keeps talking, Gio accuses Gunn of letting Alonna get sired, possibly wanting her to turn him as well. Gunn gets fed up with Gio but kills the demon instead. Angel arrives, asking, “Am I next?” Rondell hands Gunn a stake, telling him to prove that he’s still part of the crew by killing Angel. Wesley argues that Angel has a soul, which he says makes him better than Gio, since Gio killed for pleasure while he had a soul. Angel vamps out, telling Gunn, “Take a look. This is what I am. Deal with it or don’t. But make a da%$ choice.” Cordelia’s over at the Furies’ place, asking them to lift the sanctuary spell in order to help Angel. “Mmm, Angel,” they murmur. At Caritas, Gunn drops the stake, announcing that he’s not declining to kill Angel because he’s his friend - in fact, they can never truly be friends because Angel’s a vampire. Rondell asks if Gunn is going to choose Angel over him, and Gunn says that he is: “It’s about the mission, bro. He’s got it. You don’t.” Gio announces that anyone who wants to leave has to kill Angel. Fred slowly gets up, apologizing but saying that she doesn’t want to die. At the Furies’ place, Cordelia begs the Furies to lift the spell, but they tell her that only Angel can make good on the debt he owes.

Back at Caritas, Fred takes Gio’s crossbow and points it at Angel. He tells her that he understands what she has to do. She suddenly points the crossbow at Gio, deciding that she might want to kill him instead. Angel tells her to kill him instead, but she says that she can’t. Fred hesitates too much and Gio takes the weapon from her, shoving her aside. Suddenly, there’s a flash of light in the club and Angel realizes that the spell’s been lifted. The MoG start to fight the crew as Gio complains that no one’s helping him. Another demon in the club quickly eats his head. After the fight, Gunn and Rondell go their separate ways and Gunn assures the MoG that the crew won’t be bothering them anymore. Wesley tells Gunn that he must have had a hard time making his choice; no matter which side he chose, he would’ve felt like he was betraying someone. He adds that if Gunn ever keeps information from him again, he’ll fire him. Gunn asks Angel if he’s going to blast him for the things he said in Caritas, saying that he was just trying to stall. Angel says that he knows Gunn meant what he said, but it’s okay. Gunn says that he does want to work with Angel and even likes him, and someday his feelings about a friendship with him might change. Angel assures him that they have plenty of time. Gunn says that he proved that Angel can trust him, since he could’ve killed him but didn’t. Angel replies that Gunn will prove he can be trusted when the day comes that Angel needs to be killed and Gunn goes through with it.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Sometimes your friends are more evil than your co-workers.

R.I.P.: Merl

GRADE: C+ Shut up, Gio.

WELCOME TO L.A.: The Furies

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Sure, I like her. What’s not to like? She’s sweet and adorable and…seems to be laughing at something that shrub just said.” - Cordelia, re: Fred

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