"The Trial"
Written by David Greenwalt, Tim Minear, and Doug Petrie; directed by Bruce Seth Green

Angel is in the basement of the Hyperion while Cordelia and Wesley discuss him in the lobby. Angel comes upstairs with his clean laundry and apologizes for acting strangely about the whole Darla thing (see “Dear Boy”). Gunn arrives, announcing that he found out where Darla is, and Cordelia and Wesley realize that Angel lied to them about not looking for Darla. Angel and Gunn head out to find her before Wolfram & Hart can. However, they’re already too late, as Lindsey has just arrived at Darla’s hotel. Darla and Lindsey head over to Wolfram & Hart, where Darla complains that she never asked to be raised (see “To Shanshu in L.A.”). Holland tells her that she’s Wolfram & Hart’s moral responsibility, then gives her some files that are being kept on her. Angel and Gunn arrive at Darla’s hotel room and Angel wonders why she wanted to stay there. Oh, yay! More flashbacks! It’s 1765 and Angelus and Darla are in France, hiding out from a vampire hunter named Holtz (see “Heartthrob”). They’re about to get friendly in a barn when someone shoots in a flaming stake. In the present, Darla is in a bar, being hit on by a vamp who was only sired about a decade earlier. Darla asks him if he’s ever considered finding himself a mate, but the vamp thinks it’s strange. She finally convinces him to go into the alley with her and sire her. Outside, the process is about to begin when Angel arrives and stakes the vamp. Darla is upset that Angel got involved, especially since he thinks that he has to save her from herself. He encourages her to take some time to get used to being human again, but she tells him that she’s dying and doesn’t have the time.

Back in France, Darla knocks Angelus out and decides to run from Holtz and his men on her own. In the present, Angel brings Darla to the Hyperion. Darla tells Cordelia and Wesley that she’s dying, but Angel thinks that Wolfram & Hart is lying about that. He heads out and Cordelia and Wesley warn Darla that they won’t tolerate any funny stuff from her. Angel goes to Lindsey’s apartment and is surprised to get an invitation inside. Lindsey confirms that Darla is dying from syphilis, the same thing she was dying from when she was human the first time (see “Darla”), because she really was a hooker. Angel asks Lindsey if he loves Darla, thinking that he’s not capable of it. Lindsey tells Angel that he can sire Darla and ensure that she won’t die. Angel says that there has to be another way to help her and promises to find it. At the Hyperion, Cordelia tells Wesley that Angel is putting their lives in danger by having Darla there. Angel returns and tells Darla that they’ll find a way to help her. He takes her to Caritas, where she sings “Ill Wind (You’re Blowing Me No Good)” and Lorne tells Angel that they might not be able to save her. Lorne is also still upset that his favorite bartender betrayed him (see “Guise Will be Guise”). He notes that Angel wants to help Darla, but says, “Not everything can be put back together, no matter how much you want it.” Lorne informs Angel that he can go on a “quest” that, though dangerous, might help Darla. Angel is game to try it and Lorne gives him the address.

Angel and Darla arrive at an empty pool and Angel wonders if he’s supposed to dive into it. He does so, diving into some sort of portal and winding up in a dungeon. He encounters “Jeeves,” his guide for the trial, and sees that Darla is there as well. Jeeves explains that Darla is Angel’s collateral and tells him that if Angel completes three tasks, Darla will “be made whole.” If Angel fails, Darla dies. Jeeves collects some of Angel’s clothes (no, I don’t know why) and tells him that his first task is to walk through a gate. Angel asks about the other two tasks and learns that Jeeves doesn’t know what they are because no one has ever passed the first one. Jeeves disappears and the gate opens, revealing a big yellow demon with swords and chains. The fighting starts. In an antechamber, Jeeves tells Darla that Angel has already lasted twice as long as anyone else. Darla asks him to call the trial off, then says that she wants to see what’s happening. Jeeves lets her see the fight and she watches Angel defeat the demon. Angel heads to the gate and tries to open it, but finds that he can’t. Apparently cutting the demon in half didn’t kill it, so Angel has to fight it again. He finally chains the demon up and gets through the gate. He winds up in a corridor with crosses on all of the walls and the floor. There’s a basin in the middle of the corridor and a door at the other end. In the antechamber, Darla asks why Jeeves doesn’t just kill Angel. He replies that the journey is what’s important.

Angel runs down the corridor and makes it to the door, which is locked. He heads to the basin, which is filled with holy water, and has to get the key out. Once he’s through the door, he finds himself in another chamber, where he’s suddenly chained up. Jeeves appears and points out a wall full of stakes. He explains that in order to restore Darla’s life, they must take another, namely Angel’s. Jeeves tells Angel that he has the chance to quit, but since Darla would die, Angel doesn’t want to accept. Jeeves tells Angel that he can save a lot of people if he stays alive, but if he dies, Darla probably will, too. Angel decides that he wants to take the chance. Jeeves releases the stakes from the wall and they all fly at Angel. Suddenly, the stakes are gone and Angel is fine. Jeeves explains that the third task was to accept death, not to die. He congratulates Angel on his victory and starts to restore Darla’s life, then stops. He notes that Darla has already been given a second chance through something supernatural, so she can’t have another. Angel is unhappy with this news and throws a tantrum. Later, he and Darla head back to her hotel room and he wonders if he should sire her. She tells him that all she needed from him was to see that he cared, and she saw that. Angel promises to stay with Darla no matter how much time she has left. Suddenly, a guy enters the room and zaps Angel with a taser. Another guy ties him up as two others grab Darla. Lindsey arrives and asks Angel, “How did you think this would end?” Drusilla enters, vamps out, and bites Darla. She then cuts her chest and gets Darla to drink her blood.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: You can sire your sire’s sire.

GRADE: B+ The first half is kind of boring, but the second half makes up for it.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Cordelia: “You’re planning on sleeping over?”
Darla: “I’m dying.”
Cordelia: “So, just for the one night, then.”

Cordelia: (to Darla) “So, first up, you’re a prisoner.”
Wesley: “I’d have to concur with that, yes.”
Cordelia: “See, you’ve got our friend all in knots.”
Wesley: “Can’t say we like you much.”
Cordelia: “So, sorry about the dying, but if you try to escape, we will hit you.”
Wesley: “On the head.”
Cordelia: “With very large and heavy objects. Okay?”

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