"The Shroud of Rahmon"
Written by Jim Kouf; directed by David Grossman

Two cops at the police station are discussing a witness, pointing out that someone is already dead and a woman might soon be. The cops return to an interrogation room and ask their witness to tell them what he knows. One of the cops says that the witness must have gotten into something over his head and panicked. He says that a cop is dead and there was a body at the scene without a head. The witness, Wesley, replies, “She shouldn’t have been there. She didn’t know! I had to warn him. He didn’t know what he was getting into.” He asks if the cops brought “it” to the station and is pleased to realize that they didn’t. The cop asks him again what happened and Wesley says, “It all went horribly wrong.” We see a vamped out Angel dropping a blond woman to the floor, blood on his lips. Back in the interrogation room, Wesley tells the cops, “None of us knew the effect it would have until it was too late. I tried to stop him, but I got hit…and I fell…and when I looked up, he had her. He was holding her, then she was on the floor. If we’d found out sooner, I would have stopped him.” He says that “he” shouldn’t have been there, but Wesley couldn’t stop him, since “he” was the boss. The cops are confused and Wesley explains that they help people, though this time Angel was the one in trouble. He says that he and Cordelia tried to help, then asks where Cordelia is. Suddenly, we’re in the Hyperion, where Cordelia is showing off her new haircut to Wesley. (Actually, it’s ten days old and he just didn’t notice.) She compliments his suit and notes that he must be on his way to meet Virginia (see “Guise Will be Guise”). Wesley announces that he’s going to go upstairs and try to get Angel to stop brooding about Darla (see “Darla”), but he can’t bring himself to do it. Cordelia tells him that Angel’s out helping Gunn’s cousin with something anyway. Wesley invites Cordelia to the party he and Virginia are going to and they head off.

Gunn and Angel meet with Gunn’s cousin Lester, who explains that he accepted a job driving for a “crew” but isn’t sure the deal is legal. It somehow involves a “psycho vampire from Vegas” and a museum heist of something supernatural. Angel recognizes the name of the Vegas vamp, Jay-don, who is arriving in town that night by bus. Gunn tells Lester to meet with him and the others, assuring him that he’ll make sure he doesn’t get in trouble. After Lester leaves, Angel tells Gunn that the situation is too dangerous and he wants to handle it on his own. Back at the Hyperion, a blond woman walks into Angel’s suite and he thinks it’s Darla. It turns out to be Kate, who wants more information on the murder Darla committed in “Dear Boy.” Kate tries to intimidate Angel with a cross, telling him that she’s going to make sure Darla spends the rest of her life in prison. Angel warns that she’s getting in over her head and tells her to stay away from him and Darla. Cordelia and Wesley return from the party, where Cordelia was disgraced when Wesley spilled cocktail sauce on her. Angel fills them in on the heist and Wesley and Cordelia are happy that Angel Investigations is working the way it used to. Angel and Wesley discuss Jay-don, who was a Rat Packer, and Angel decides to meet him and take his place. Wesley and Cordelia are happy that he’s getting involved but uncertain that he can pull off a Jay-don impression, since it’ll require him to be extroverted and colorful. Later that night, Jay-don arrives by bus and a hyper Angel pretends to be the person who was supposed to meet him. He asks for the password and Jay-don tells him that there isn’t one. Angel grabs Jay-don’s beloved sunglasses, then stakes him.

Angel, now dressed as Jay-don and sporting a New York accent, meets up with a demon who takes him to their meeting. (The demon doesn’t have a name, but the transcript calls him Ugly, so I’ll just go with that.) They arrive at a garage and meet up with another demon (“Spiny”) and a human security guard, Bob. The crew does some bickering and Ugly wonders where Lester is. Gunn arrives posing as his cousin and spots Angel, realizing that he’s posing as Jay-don. The five heisters gather and Ugly reveals that they’re stealing the Shroud of Rahmon. They go over maps and times and Angel realizes that a vampire is required to open the vault, since the thermal sensor won’t pick up on his presence. Angel and Gunn start fighting and Angel says that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of the week with Gunn. Ugly tells him that he won’t have to - they’re doing the heist that night. At the Hyperion, Cordelia and Wesley are looking for museums’ new acquisitions, finally deciding that the heist is at the Natural History Museum. Wesley realizes that the crew must be after the Shroud of Rahmon, but isn’t sure what its significance is. The crew (sans Bob, who’s already there) arrives at the museum in a van and Gunn pulls Angel aside, telling him not to hit him again. Angel explains that he was trying to protect him. Gunn hits him back and tells him not to try to protect him again. The crew meets up with Bob, who tells them that they only have a minute before another guard starts making rounds.

The crew heads down a hallway and Bob swipes a security card through a scanner. When the other guard approaches, Ugly pulls out a gun and pretends to hold Bob hostage. Spiny catches the guard by surprise and knocks him out, stopping short of killing him when Angel tells him that they have to keep a low profile. Ugly tells Bob to tie up the guard as the rest of them keep going. They arrive at the vault and do some criminal stuff to start to open it. At the police station, a cop talks about Bob and Ugly, who he suspects are planning a heist. He also has surveillance photos of Ugly meeting Angel at the bus station. It turns out that he’s talking to Kate about this. Back at the vault, Ugly is about to blow open the door with nitro when he accidentally drops the bottle. Angel catches it on his shoe, saving them all. They all head around the corner and Ugly blows open the vault door. At the Hyperion, Wesley finds information on the shroud, which contains the power of a madness-causing demon and most likely transfers it to whoever is near it. In the past, the shroud was removed from its case and an entire village went crazy. Cordelia notes that they attempted to get Angel’s mind off of Darla and instead sent him after a shroud that might drive him crazy. Wesley says that they’ll just warn him about the shroud when he gets back to his meeting. Cordelia points out that they could be pulling off the heist that night. They quickly leave the hotel. At the museum, Angel heads into the vault, where we hear whispering and see Angel’s eyes turn yellow, as if he’s about to vamp out. He manages to fight off the change. He looks back down at the box, where he can see inside to the shroud, and vamps out. Gunn calls in to ask him how it’s going and Angel changes back into his human face.

Angel turns off the security system in the vault and the rest of the crew enters. Gunn immediately thinks that something strange is going on. As they grab the heavy box, Gunn sees Angel’s eyes go yellow and asks him if he’s going to vamp out. Wesley and Cordelia arrive at the museum and quickly start acting loopy, thanks to the shroud. They agree to stick together for safety purposes but wind up unknowingly splitting up. Kate arrives at the museum, gun drawn, and calls for backup. Gunn starts complaining about vampires, specifically the ones who killed his sister (see “War Zone”), and attacks Angel. They drop the box, which cracks and releases a purple mist. The whispering starts again and Ugly announces that they need to get the box out of there. Gunn attacks Angel again, this time with a stake, but Angel fights him off. Spiny encourages Angel to kill Gunn, but Ugly stops the fight with his gun. He ties up Bob to make it look like he wasn’t involved in the heist, but Bob thinks that someone should hit him to make it look more realistic. Spiny takes the opportunity to knock Bob’s head off. Kate makes her way through the museum, coming across Wesley. She asks him where Angel is, and he remembers that he’s there to warn Angel, but he’s still loopy and isn’t sure what the warning was about. Suddenly he gets a moment of clarity and tells Kate that they need to tell Angel about the shroud, which will make people act differently. Elsewhere, Cordelia is studying her teeth in the glass of a display case. Wesley and Kate get separated as Cordelia nabs a necklace from a display.

The remaining crew members get the box out of the elevator and Ugly realizes that they left fingerprints on everything. He starts wiping everything in sight and Angel tells Spiny and Gunn that they’ll have to go on without him. Gunn announces that he needs to put the box down because it’s making his head cloudy. Angel mocks Gunn, his eyes going yellow again, and he wonders what’s happening. Wesley arrives and tells Angel that the shroud “makes people bad.” Angel tells him to leave, but before he can, Kate appears. Angel starts mocking her, mentioning her obsession over her father’s death (see “The Prodigal”), then knocks Wesley away. He grabs Kate, asks her what she’s afraid of, and vamps out. She tries to shoot him but he manages to get his teeth into her neck. A SWAT team arrives, finding Wesley crouching next to an unconscious Kate. Angel, Gunn, Ugly, and Spiny have made it out with the box; they go back to the garage and open it. Over the whispering and whooshing sounds, the four fight over the shroud and Gunn announces that if he gets it, he’ll kill Angel. Ugly shoots Angel and gets knocked out by Spiny. Spiny grabs the shroud, but Angel attacks him and gets the shroud back. He and Gunn fight over it and Ugly shoots Spiny, killing him. As Angel and Gunn are still fighting over the shroud, Angel has a clear moment and tells Gunn to trust him. “I know what to do with this,” he says. He leaves the garage with the shroud, pours whiskey on it, lights it on fire, and stops the whispering.

At the police station, Wesley tries to explain to the cops what the shroud does; of course, they think he’s crazy. They start to arrest him for Bob’s murder and Kate’s attempted murder, but they’re stopped when Kate enters the room. Later, Kate looks out the window of her office as we see a flashback to her museum encounter with Angel. While he’s biting her, he turns her so that she can see Ugly holding a gun on them. “Stay down or they’ll kill you,” he whispers. He drops her and she plays dead as Ugly puts his gun down. In the present, Wesley and Cordelia are back at the Hyperion; Cordelia has changed clothes but is still wearing the stolen necklace. They note that their plan to distract Angel from his Darla obsession didn’t work out too well; in addition, he drank human blood, which he hasn’t done for a long time. They leave as, upstairs, Angel flashes back to drinking Kate’s blood.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Beware shrouds.

GRADE: A- Angel’s scene at the bus station alone is worth half a letter grade.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Lester: “You know, not that I’m prejudiced. I just hate vampires.”
Angel: “You’re enlightened, I can tell.”

Ugly: “This is Jay-don. He talks too much.”
Angel: “I’m a people person. I like the shirt. Where’d you get that, at Ed’s Big and Spiny?”
Spiny: “He’s funny. You’re funny. You’ll be even funnier when I crush your head.”
Angel: “Funny ha, ha or funny peculiar?”
Ugly: “Shut up, all of you!”
Bob: “Hey, I wasn't talking.”

“Two words I don’t like right off the bat: tomb and unearthed. People, you’ve got to leave your tombs earthed!” - Cordelia

Angel: “Try holding up your corner, Les.”
Gunn: “Who died and made you corner monitor?”

“My teeth are so big! I…am…pleasant.” - Loopy!Cordelia


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