"War Zone"
Written by David Straiton; directed by Garry Campbell

A teenaged girl walks through an alley, being chased by three vampires. She comes to a dead end and is suddenly face-to-face with them. We hear a car and steps behind the vampires and one of them says, “You.” We get our first wonderful glimpse of Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), who replies, “You expecting somebody else?” A truck with a bunch of armed teenagers pulls up behind him. Cordelia, Angel, and Wesley arrive at a Hollywood party, where they’re meeting the host, David Nabbit (David Herman). Cordelia spots a celebrity and Nabbit admits that he doesn’t know most of the people at the party. Nabbit, a billionaire software developer, explains that he played Dungeons & Dragons a lot in high school, but some people in his group of friends got really into it, some of them going so far as to romance demons. Wesley notes that he must have gone to a place called Madam Dorion’s, a demon brothel. Apparently a guy named Lenny Edwards found out and is blackmailing Nabbit. He’s worried that if his stockholders find out about his adventures at Madam Dorion’s, he’ll lose a lot of money. Angel assures him that they’ll work things out. Back in the alley, the teens battle the vamps, doing some good damage. The girl who was chased by the vamps, Alonna, warns a kid named Bobby about an approaching vamp and the two of them fight. After the vamp runs off, Gunn and Alonna help Bobby into the truck and the teens drive off. They wind up in front of a deserted building, where Bobby dies. Gunn asks another kid if they have supplies for the night and learns that three other teens have joined them, hoping to share the supplies. Gunn announces that everyone will get to eat.

Angel arrives at Madam Dorion’s and asks the madam about Lenny Edwards. She refuses to talk, but he changes her mind when he tells her that one of her clients was photographed there. He promises to make sure that no one ruins her business if she’ll help him find Lenny. He talks to a girl named Lina, who is more interested in the sex part of her job than in helping him. The teenagers hang out together in their hideout and Alonna tells Gunn, her brother, that she wants to talk to him about Bobby. She tells him that they’re not doing well holding their own; he says that everyone dies eventually and he just wants to make sure that none of them is sired. She thinks that he’s getting reckless; it’s been three weeks since they killed any vamps and he was too eager to lure some to them. She says that he loves what he does: “And you won’t quit until you get as close to death as you possibly can.” Gunn tries to convince her that he’ll be okay. A couple of kids tell him that they found a vamp nest nearby and Gunn is excited to go over. Suddenly, they realize that someone followed the kids back, so they head upstairs to do some more fighting. Angel tracks down Lenny and asks him where the pictures of Nabbit are. As they’re talking, Gunn and his crew arrive and see Angel vamp out. Angel threatens Lenny, then disappears, making Gunn and his crew eager to find him. Cordelia and Wesley receive a check from Nabbit, who is glad that they came to his party, even though he technically paid them to come. Wesley and Cordelia are amazed by the amount he’s paying them and point out that they haven’t even finished their job yet. Nabbit doesn’t care about money, and he asks them to call him David.

Angel meets with Lenny, who’s brought the photos of Nabbit, as well as a demon buddy. Angel fights the demon, both killing him and getting the photos. Lenny runs off and suddenly a stake is shot through Angel’s shoulder. He looks over to see Gunn and his crew, who are eager to attack him. Angel runs off and hides in a warehouse, but it turns out to be a trap. He faces off with one of the kids and comes close to killing him, but runs off instead. On his way to safety, Angel sets off another trap and is attacked by the crew. Angel grabs Alonna and uses her as a shield, causing Gunn to warn everyone not to shoot. Angel warns that the kids are going to get themselves killed, but they’re more concerned with killing him. Angel throws Alonna aside and Gunn shoots his crossbow, but his quarrel is closer to Alonna than Angel. Angel lets the quarrel hit his hand rather than hurt Alonna. Gunn asks if Angel is going to pretend that he’s different from other vampires. Angel replies that he just saved Alonna’s life. He’s impressed by the crew’s operations but tells them that they’re working on the same side. He promises that he didn’t come to kill them, but Gunn replies that it doesn’t matter. At the office, Cordelia tends to Angel’s wounds (this will become a recurring situation) as Wesley looks at the photos. Cordelia offers to help Angel feel better by letting him look at their check from Nabbit again. Angel is worried about Gunn’s crew, who he thinks were “pushed” to do what they’re doing. He wants to find the nest they were after before they do; he heads off, taking another look at Nabbit’s check as motivation.

At the nest, the head vamp tells the others that Gunn’s crew is getting stronger and doing a better job of taking them out. He announces that they need to go for the heart in order to destroy the group. Back at the crew’s hideout, Alonna is wondering if Angel might be useful to the group. Gunn wonders what Angel wants if he doesn’t want to kill people. Angel arrives at the nest, which is deserted except for one vamp, whom Angel interrogates. At the hideout, Gunn hears something and tells Alonna to get everyone out. They quickly realize that they’ve been tricked and, outside, a vamp grabs Alonna and pulls her into a van. Cordelia and Wesley drive around in Angel’s convertible, possibly stumbling across the crew’s hideout. Angel definitely stumbles across the hideout and asks one of the kids to invite him in. There, he warns Gunn that the vamps want the crew to come after them. Gunn is unwilling to listen to him, even when Angel warns that they could be killed. He says that he’ll help them, but Gunn declines his offer and shoves him into a meat locker instead. The crew arrives at the nest and Gunn says that he wants 10 minutes to check things out before the others come in. He finds Alonna and quickly realizes that she’s been sired. She seems to be happy to see him, but it’s probably mostly because now she can beat him up. Angel is still stuck in the locker, trying to punch a hole in a wall to make his escape. Alonna tries to get Gunn to cross over to the evil side, promising him that he’ll be happier and that they can be together forever. Cordelia and Wesley rescue Angel from the locker, chastising him for not calling them on his cell phone. He runs off to help the crew. Alonna tells Gunn that he’s always been looking out for her, and now she can look out for him. “Say goodbye to everything you ever knew,” she tells him. “Goodbye,” he replies, staking her.

Angel starts to get Gunn out of the nest as the rest of the crew comes in. Gunn stops them from hurting Angel and tells them that they’re leaving. The head vamp shows up and Angel tells him that if he leaves and stays out of Angel’s way, he’ll let the vamps from the nest live. The vamp isn’t happy about this arrangement, so Angel stakes him. Angel calls a truce between Gunn’s crew and the vamps, which Gunn gets his kids to agree to. Later, Cordelia and Wesley discuss the poor arrangements the crew has and Cordelia decides that she definitely prefers Nabbit’s lifestyle. She wonders if she could stand to be in a relationship with him purely for the money, then decides that she’s better off sticking with what she’s already doing. Angel tracks down Gunn, who says that he appreciates Angel’s help but doesn’t need him looking over his shoulder. He says that the vamps will keep coming and the crew will keep fighting. Gunn laments that he killed Alonna, but Angel tells him that he didn’t. “How come you do it?” Gunn asks. “How come you’re out here?” “What else are we gonna do?” Angel replies. He tells Gunn that he’ll be around. Gunn protests that he doesn’t need any help, but Angel says that he himself might.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Angel really is like a Care Bear with fangs.

GRADE: B Oh, Gunn. Don’t ever leave us.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Gunn, Gunn’s crew, David Nabbit

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Cordelia: “I like the smell of a little money once in a while.”
Angel: (to Wesley) “She’s not just saying that. Hide some in the office some time to watch her. It’s uncanny.”

Wesley: “You should’ve tried to call us on your cell phone. You probably forgot you had it.”
Angel: “These things hardly ever work. Besides, it was a lot easier and quicker to just.... Look, I’m the boss here, I say when we use the cell phones, and people are gonna die and...I have to go.”

Cordelia: “And I think, perspectively speaking, I might want to prostitute myself to billionaire David Nabbit.”
Wesley: “Cordelia.”
Cordelia: “What I mean is, he’s a nice guy who wants companionship. I could use some security. So when I say ‘prostitute,’ what I mean is….”
Wesley: "Prostitute.”
Cordelia: “For instance.”


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