Belly of the Beast Review: The House Always Wins

beast916 Ė October 21, 2002


Raimivision past a car, as we see a guy stumble towards us, holding his arm. I hope he didnít injure it playing dodgeball, because nobody every lets it go if you injured yourself that way. He comes upon Connor. "What are you?" he asks Connor. Connor says he doesnít know yet. Great, now heís reading philosophy books. Injured guy vamps out and attacks Connor. Suddenly we see a view from above, as Connor and Vampire Extra fight. Angel is there, giving Connor fight advice, which, strangely, seems necessary for a kid who pretty much kicked AIís asses previously. But, you know, continuity? Open the window, cuz itís going out. Fair warning. Suddenly, we hear Cordyís voice commentating on Angelís commentary. She begins to talk about how Connor and Angel are so much alike, in a way that makes me scrub my hands and throw hot oil into my eyes. Apparently, higher beings like Ďem young. Jerry Lee Lewis was a higher being? Cordy says Angel doesnít need to worry about Connor, and should begin worrying about her. Hey, I know that Cordy! Now weíre in the clouds, and Cordy looks a little like Mr. Burns in the <I>Simpsons</I> episode where Homer thought he was an alien. That Homer, heís a hoot. Back to Connor and his new buddy, theyíre still fighting. I bet they didnít even try to talk it out first. Dead Boy Whoís Not His Daddy is able to stop Connor from staking him with just his arms, so maybe living on the street without easy access to food and being around people who are more than willing to sacrifice his girlish figure to modern manís depravity wasnít an appropriate parental decision. Maybe. Dead Guy moves away, but something falls in front of him. He looks up to see Angel, then turns around to get staked. Who was the fight coordinator? Curly? Moe? Larry has a more artistic flair, so I know it wasnít him. Connor looks up and doesnít see anything. Angel says, I know youíre there. Cordy starts to freak out, thinking itís about her, but, ha haÖno. Itís just Fred and Gunn, who are worried about their friend. Worrying about their friend is something they seem to turn on and off. Fred asks what exactly Angel wants. I know I would like to know, because the guy confuses me. Helping the helpless? Not so much anymore. Being a good father? Nah. Friend? Ha. Finding the woman you love (once youíve decided exactly which one of the women you have tongue-waggled over is that woman)? Nuh uh. Fred wonders if heís not quite ready to move on without Connor and Cordy. Fred doesnít understand how much brooding is going to be involved. Sheíll learn. Gunn admits he doesnít know Angelís agenda. Hate to bust Gunnís bubble, but we all kinda figured that. Angel says theyíre going on a retreat. Gunn asks if itís like the time he went to the monastery. He agrees, as the ironic fairy pops us one with the frying pan, since we can now see Las Vegas. And "Viva Las Vegas"? I hate that song.

Vegas montage. Yay. Angel admits he hasnít had a vacation in a while. When youíre going bankrupt? Best time to do so. Fred tries to get Angel back on track, so Angel blows her off. By the way, Gunn may have recovered from being dead, but his fashion sense didnít. Looking at that shirt, I hate to tell him, but he can no longer say "bro" or "dawg" now. But he can golf. Angel admits heís been to Vegas before in part 14 of "Rewriting my Past". Thereís a pretty lame joke about dunes (Gunn thinks he means Dunes) I will spare you from. But having been in Vegas twice, I believe Angel about their having been sand dunes there. Angel name-drops Bugsy Siegel. Get used to it. It gets worse. Fred says they should go to the Tropicana, because thatís where Lorne is working. Gunn doesnít think thatís correct. Guess we can see how much attention Gunn paid when Lorne was on the phone. Angel says that isnít right, since Lorneís look would force him to be somewhere discreet. In the only good use of irony in this episode, David Furyís name as writer appears on the screen as he says this. Fred points out a big billboard with Lorneís face on it. He is being called "The Green Velvet Fog". I wonder if Judge Stone is a fan.

Inside now, a large feather moves aside so we can see a showgirl wearing huge fake horns and green make-up. Now more showgirls, all shaking their feathers. I had a dream about this. Lorne appears through the feathers. The lighting is not doing anything good for Andy Hallettís makeup here. Lorne starts to sing "Itís Not Easy Being Green." Somewhere Kermit is rolling off Miss Piggy and getting ready to lay down a major ass-whooping. Gunn wonders why people arenít freaking out, and Fred figures out they must think itís make-up, like the Blue Man Group (for somebody whoís been in this world only a little over a year after her five-year sojourn, she sure picks up on pop culture quickly). What isnít explained is why a person in demon make-up would be entertaining, but okay. Angel admits two of the Blue Man Group are demons. Does that mean my Pentium is demonic? I knew I should have gotten a Mac. Fredís into the music. Angel is getting jealous of somebody else who can sing. Maybe heís having Lindsey flashbacks. The song ends and everybody applauds, with Angel putting very little effort in. He really misses Lindsey. Lorne kicks it with the Vegas patter. I hate Lorne now. Curtain opens and the Lornettes come out, singing "Lady Marmalade". But no one wears make-up as garish as Christina Aguilera. Damn. Lorne jumps off the stage and starts singing. Fred goes a little overboard in her screaming. Gunn and Angel give her a look, disgusted that somebody might be enjoying themselves. Stomp that down! Donít let it happen. Lorne holds the microphone out for somebody to sing. The singer does it badly. He also looks like Dylan Baker, who played a pedophile in "Happiness", which is neither here nor there, but explains to me how Lorne could pinpoint him as a future senator later. Lorne holds the mike to a woman, who treats it like. . .well, never mind, this is a family review here. Letís just say, you shouldnít hold the microphone that close. Lorne heads toward Gunn, Fred, and Angel, and Gunn worries about Lorne trying to make him sing. Gunn has some sexual issues. Gunn, just because you like ballet and lounge-singing doesnít say anything about you. That shirt does, though. Lorne goes past them without acknowledging them. A very cute girl who is going to be my future wife (once I explain it to my girlfriend) gets up and sings, and shakes her little thing. Lorne asks about her. She is going to Paris to a culinary school. Eww. Have you seen what the French eat? And donít give me no guff about French-bashing. Iím part French myself. I know what Iím like, so I can bash. Angel is really pissed now, because nobody is worrying about HIS feelings. He has to change this, somehow.

Outside the stage area, Fred is gushing about the show. Gunn is upset about being dissed (shirt, Gunn). Angel makes it all about him again, as he brings up the Rat Pack. Hmmm. . .seems to me he was hanging around with rats, but none of them were named Sammy, Frank, or Dean. Angel is nervous about singing. Too nervous, actually. Lorne comes out, and Fred goes back to Lolitaville calling for him. Lorne signs autographs, then walks away. Angel tries to grab him, but guards stop him. He tells them Lorne is a friend. Yeah, right.

Going into a room, Lorne is asked about his friends. He claims they are just old fans of his. I understand, Lorne. It doesnít pay to call them friends. A Lornette brings him a drink as he brushes his hair. Knock on the door, and a guy named Lee praises Lorne so much I thought he was his agent. Lorne says he is tired. Lee irritates me, even before I find out heís evil. The muscle pulls out a showroom chart. Lorne tries to refuse again, so the muscle pops him in the gut. After Lee threatens to remove another girl from the show, Lorne decides heís not that tired, and points out people on the map, telling their future destinies. Hmmm. . .if Lorne can tell destinies by singing, how did he not know he was going to end up in this predicament? My future wife is going to have three 5-star restaurants. Iím so proud. Lee goes back into agent role. Lee hopes he has a terrific second show as he triggers bars that block the entrance way. Oooooh. Sinister music.

Commercial: Iím no fan of smoking, but these Truth kids irritate the hell out of me.

Wes! Heís on the phone with Lilah, while one of his lackeys pretends he can read. Both he and Lilah are working late, and likely wonít be able to meet. Wes lets her know he wonít be waiting at the door with a scowl and a burned pot roast. Oh! One of those types of relationships. He says if she has to world destroyed by midnight (but I donít think Lilah works well with deadlines), they could still. . .but then he is interrupted by a phone call. Mood Change Wesley says, "Price here". Wow, he hacked off half his name. Well, I think he made the right choice. Answering the phone with "Wyndham" doesnít exactly strike fear. Wes asks Lackey if Emil can put the package together. Lackey says itís not gonna be cheap. Wes points out thatís not what he asked. Lackey says it can be done, and Wes tells whoever is on the phone to "go". Wes is so manly. Wes says they will take Angelís clients if he is out of town. Wes is the Bill Gates of demon hunting. He switches back to Lilah (Mood Change Wesley), and says midnight isnít going to work for him now. Wes says that is my favorite pair, but I donít know quite what heís talking about. Panties? Shoes? Gloves? Glasses? I donít know. But I will spend plenty of time thinking about it. Wes tells Lackey to leave. And begins phone sex with Lilah. Well, thatís, uh, special. So Wes is able to conduct a business, steal Angelís clients (not that thatís hard), and have phone sex with Lilah. I just know weíre gonna have a 90210 episode somewhere down the line, in which AI gets together and confronts Wes about his addiction to speed. Angel will try to convince him drugs are bad in his normal way (by throwing him into walls), while letting Connor know that "drugs are bad, mmmmkay".

Back in Vegas. Fred and Gunn are playing blackjack. Angel is pacing like an expectant father who has to use the restroom while heís hopped up on caffeine. They are still complaining about being ignored by Lorne. Gunn pulls out the "common folk" line. Sigh. Angel watches as one of the Lornettes gives my future wife a chip, which will allow her the chance to win a million dollars. Angel tries to give a note to the Lornette to give to Lorne. He tries to lay the charm on her, as if she hasnít heard these lines from a million other pale, spikey-haired guys in Las Vegas.

Another a Very Special Angel scene in which Angel looks around at all the gambling zombies, and realized gambling is also bad, mmmkay. Cordy pipes in, about how something is wrong with these people. Yeah, itís called being in Vegas. And so much for the all-seeing higher beings. But then she turns it around to being about her. Not that I can blame her. It didnít take Angelcakes long to move on. She shouts his name, and he looks about as if he heard her. Because they have, like, a connection, you know.

Fred cleans up at the blackjack table, because of all the math, and Gunn doesnít because, well, weíve all seen him in action before. This is the guy who gambled away his soul for a pick-up truck seven episodes ago. Fred complains about Lorne ignoring them. Gunn says he has a big ego now. Repeat this scene about twelve times and add Lorneís singing, and you too can have twenty minutes of an episode completed. Then they start worrying about Angel (who is now standing about ten feet behind them). Apparently his ability to pick up sound is off this episode. Gunn explains the trip is a good idea, but doesnít explain to Fred or me why. Meanwhile two guards take Angel out. Angel seems to have lost his strength, as well as his hearing. The fact that their friend was so easily carted away that close to them is in no way an indication about the treatment of friendship on this series. Nope, look away now. Gunn is out of chips now, so heís willing to check stuff out. Now they notice Angel is missing.

Angel is being beat up by two humans. Is there some type of kryptonite in Las Vegas, or something? "You just donít give up, do you?" one of the guys asks. What? Hell, I could beat up a vampire worse than that by myself. Why donít you really put some pain on him before you drop the cliché tough guy lines? All of a sudden, Angel remembers heís a vampire and kicks their asses. Angel wisecracks Vegas was so much friendlier when the mob ran it. Angel bumps into my future wife, then grabs her to prevent a car from hitting her. She says she needs more quarters. Not you, honey!

Fred and Gunn get ready to bungle something else. They see the guards at Lorneís door. Gunn realizes something is afoul. Fred gives him a "duh" and corrects his grammar. They wonder what to do. Conveniently, one of the Lornettes comes out of the room and a light bulb clicks on over their heads. Or one of the fluorescents is on the blink. I am not going to describe the next scene. I have a problem with scenes which I call the Alex P. Keaton ballet scenes. When you know a character is about to be in a scene which is embarrassing, and you know itís coming, such as when Mr. Keaton tried out for ballet to be close to his girlfriend? Yeah, those scenes I canít watch. I get embarrassed myself. Same with the scenes between Amadala and Anakin in <I>Attack of the Clones</I>. Ugh. Hands in front of my eyes the whole time. Thank God for Yoda. Anyway, Fred dresses as a Lornette to get into the room, embarrassing herself in the meantime.

Lorne starts to attack her, and I wonder why he didnít think of doing this when he was in the room alone with Lee. By the way, Fred is pretty cute (get used to me saying this every week). Sheís not going to be my future wife, but she is still cute. Lorne talks about the hell heís been through. Fred looks around and says, ooookay. Lorne explains that when he asked about Fluffy it was the international code for "Iím being held prisoner". Sorry, Lorne, that used to be the code. Now the code is Mr. Snugglepuss. To get boring details out of the way, Lorne explains Lee used to be a lounge magician until he got hold of something mystical, which allowed him to be the man he is today. Onward. Lorne starts to explain about the destiny stealingÖ

But then weíre back on Angel, who is in the destiny-stealing room. A guard tries to do the job he is being paid to (he probably has two kids in college and a wife with a shopping addiction), and Angel breaks his arm. Helping the helpless. Lee says to let Angel play and tosses him a chip. Angel tosses the chip on the betting table and says heís not here to play games. Angel isnít the sharpest fang in the mouth. The chip moves on the table. The guy who plays Lee acts badly, while Angel opens up the Big Book of Tough Guy Cliches (Forward By Sylvester Stallone). Then the wheel stops, and the house wins. Angel blanks out like heís trying to remember who threw the last pitch in the 1993 World Series (it was "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams). Lee gives everybody quarters, which I find really generous. He didnít need to do that.

More Fred. Pretending she was attacked. Iím still embarrassed. They get the guards in the room and move on. Muscle lets Lee know Angel is a vampire with a soul. Yeah, like those arenít popping up all over the place. Lee tells muscle to get the word out and wonders if they should call the weird law firm. By the way, the destinies are going by on the wall around them. NBA MVP, and such. One of them says, "Disney Deal to Run New ABC Series", which is a pretty obvious shout-out or put-down to David Greenwalt. Unfortunately, it doesnít show the second part of the destiny: "having ABC cancel your series without even giving it a chance". Phone rings, and muscle picks it ups and shows us a look to let us know some bad shiatsu is going down.

Gunn, Fred, and Lorne are walking through the casino. Lorne wears a hat and coat to appear inconspicuous. Gunn walks with a big pimp roll so everybody will notice. They find Angel playing slots. Lorne makes dumb joke. Gunn asks if Angel can slow down people chasing them. He doesnít notice Angel answers in a more monotone voice than usual.

Gunn, Fred, and Lorne move on. A guard comes down the stairs, and Gunn slugs him. It doesnít even look like the guard was coming toward them, either. Gunnís mean. They end up on Fremont Street, which has been pointed out as being far away from the Tropicana, so anyway. More Viva Las Vegas. Now if thereís anybody whoís made a deal with the devil, itís Elvis. Lorne explains (complete with flashbacks) that Lee is using him to steal destinies. Apparently, one comatose guy in Philly didnít catch that the first time. And Gunn. The destinies are up for sale on e-bay. Unfortunately, Angelís is on Lorne explains the people whose destinies are stolen usually spend their time in the casino, shoveling quarters into slot machines (Gambling. Bad. Get it.) Gunn realizes they got Angel. Fred says "uh oh" to one thing, so we can all laugh uncontrollably as we realize itís something completely different than Gunnís moment of clarity. Gunn says they should do that fighting for their lives thing they do (like the one that got him killed last week), and Lorne decides to hit a high note and destroy some of the economic growth possibility of Las Vegas.

They escape. Gunn jumps to conclusions about Lorne (something he never doesÖha). Lorne explains Lee killed girls in front of him if he refused. Gunn finally realizes he stuck his leg in his mouth and apologizes, which is much more than I expected. They drive up and Gunn goes to find Angel, leaving Fred and Lorne behind to be captured.

Gunn comes up to Angel and ask if he knows who Gunn is. Angel does. Gunn says he is Angelís friend. Angel says, "but last year you said I could never be your friend because of what I am". . .sadly, no he doesnít. He just says I know. Gunn tries to get Angel to leave, but muscle comes up with Fred and Lorne. I didnít see that one coming. Guards take Fred, Gunn, and Lorne away, while Angel sits down to play again.

Lee plays smarmy again with Lorne. Lorne says Lee will get nothing if he hurts anyone. Lee says he will make sure Fred and Gunn die quickly. Lorne didnít quite mean it that way. Cordy whines about being a higher being and not using it to help her friends. You know, the way Angel and Cordelia are able to make it all about themselves, I am starting to believe they are made for each other. Note, no more monologues for Miss Carpenter. Cordy rigs the slot machine so Angel will win. Lee tells muscle to take them out in the desert and shoot them. Take them out in the desert and shoot them? Thatís the best you could do. Lame, man. Muscle explains there is a winner, and Lee looks up to see Angel on a monitor. He says itís impossible, and accompanies it with an overdramatic hand gesture the director should have bitch-slapped him for using. Angel won $300,000 and a car.

Angel is brought into the room. By the way, Fred did an excellent job of removing all her make-up. Lee wants answers. Angel says he knows the room. Lee makes a gesture to muscle, who waves his arm in front of Angelís face. Angel says he put the quarter in and pulled the lever. Lee says it was a fluke. Was it a clothes fluke? Because those donít tend to end well for anybody. Lee says to pay the winnings in quarters and send him on his way. What, he has no problem killing people, but he doesnít want to be accused of business ethics violations? Gunn is pushed and hit by one guard. Fred tells him to leave Gunn alone. I never thought of trying that. "Iím gonna kick your ass." "Please donít." "Oh, okay, since you asked. See you later." Instead a gun is pointed at Fred, which triggers Angelís James T. Kirk zone. MustÖbreakÖ.free. He vamps out and hits the gun guy. Other people hit other people. Itís very violent. Lee says to shoot them, and muscle is hit with a bullet. You need to be specific with the help, Lee. Lorne spots the magic orb, because we havenít seen too many of those. Lee forgot some acting classes, and tries to get in Lorneís way, offering him this and that, giving us a moment of dramatic pause before Lorne smashes the orb. All the destinies are released. My future wifeís is a lovely shade of green. Angelís is red. Thatís not good. Gunn and Angel do the male bonding thing. Itís not pretty. My future wife walks out of the casino, smiling. Sheís coming to see me. Angel says he remembers the room now. It was Elvis and Priscillaís wedding reception in 1967. Great. More Elvis. Angel is a big liar, since the wedding reception was held at the Aladdin. Nobody really cares to listen to Angel. Angel says they thought he was in the band, probably because he was drunk and surly. That I believe.

Hyperion. Gunn doesnít want road trips for six months. Fred wants a hot bath and needs me to help her (What? My future wife is out of town), and Lorne is playing concerned for Angel. Angel is wondering why he won, and Lorne suggest Lady Luck. Lady Luck. Get it? Get it? Donít make me pound it into your skull with a sledgehammer! Angel wants to know why he was able to fight without a destiny. Me, too. Lorne wants to give more advice, but he canít, since heís been stuck in a car for five-and-a-half hours. Did no one think to discuss this while they were driving? Five-and-a-half hours? What, were they driving forty miles an hour?

Everybody goes into the Hyperion. Cordy is in the lobby, wearing that ugly-ass robe. Angel says her name, and she asks who they are. Uh oh.


Because of the nature of this episode, I am going to have to review it in two separate ways: one, as a stand-alone episode; and two, as part of the series.

As a stand-alone episode I would say it was passable, having no real good moments (except for the Wesley scene) and having more than a few poor ones. I have to admit I went into this episode dreading it, but hoping I would be surprised. Gambling was handled as a theme only seven episodes previously, so I thought it might be a bit soon to dredge it up again, but was willing to give the benefit of the doubt if they could incorporate something new into it. Unfortunately, I donít think anything was very new, and some of the points were hammered in, rather than being subtle. Also, David Fury wrote this episode. I happen to like most of Mr. Furyís <I>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</I> episodes, but unfortunately that is not the same of the <I>Angel</I> episodes. This is his sixth script for <I>Angel</I>, and I have to admit I donít like a one of them. <I>Lonely Hearts</I> was decent, and the rest are pretty bad. This episode is at least better than "Disharmony" for me. Fury has never seemed able to pick up the intricacies of <I>Angel</I>, and it clearly showed this episode. But I will get more into that when I discuss the episode as part of the series.

The Las Vegas setting seemed wasted to me. If they were going to spend the money to use Las Vegas, I think they should have incorporated it better. And, give me a second while I crib this part of the review from Ozmandayus, who does Buffy reviews, I have been to Vegas. Twice. I am sure there are people who have been there many more times. But there is just an atmosphere to Vegas I donít think was captured in this episode. The one part they did have right was the zombie-like slot machine addicts. I remember the last time I was in Las Vegas, the hotel I stayed at had slot machines down in the lobby. I would go down there at three in the morning and see people playing slots. Unbelievable. I was there for three weeks and spent ten dollars on slots, won twenty, and did no more gambling the whole time. The allure of gambling is lost on me, so I might not be a very good judge on this point. Now if you want to talk about the allure of getting lap dances at the Crazy Horse Saloon I might be able to help you. Of course, there I am even a dork, as I just ended up playing pool with the dancers, while my friends got drunk and paid money at their backsides. Anyway, the atmosphere was pretty much wasted for me.

And the story was weak. I understand there need to be filler episodes, episodes where not much of the showís mythology is explored. The entire purpose of this episode was to get Cordelia back to the Hyperion. It served its purpose, although, unless she got kicked out for playing with the slot machine, Iím not quite sure how. Other than that, though. Blah. The villain of the piece wasnít scary. He was just creepy, the same way a lot of Las Vegas casino people are likely creepy. He wasnít funny, either. Of course, not much in this episode was funny. Many of the jokes were awful groaners, which is a bit surprising coming from Fury, who is able to produce good jokes writing for <I>Buffy</I>. The action scenes didnít seem very good, either. The guard Gunn hit looked like he was looking at somebody off in the distance, so for Gunn to hit him didnít make sense. And when Spencer hit Angel, the punch looked like it landed nowhere near his face. There was too much usage of Cordelia scenes, narrating for us. If I want monologues, I will go see <I>Hamlet</I>. There were too many scenes of Gunn and Fred playing pro and con. Fred: "Why didnít Lorne notice us". Gunn: "Too big for his britches". Blah blah blah. And then to incorporate two almost full-length songs. It was definitely stretching for time. And I have nothing against Andy Hallettís voice, but lounge singing is just usually pretty bad.

The acting in this episode didnít seem especially inspired. The writing didnít call for any Emmy-worthy performances, but many of the cast felt like they were going through the motions on this one. The actor who played Lee was simply horrible.

Now, to get with how this episode plays into the entire series arc. I am definitely not happy. Let me say a positive or two, first.

Fred seems to slowly building as a character, strengthening from what we have seen from her before. Since Wes is gone, she is definitely the brains of the operation, which, unfortunately, is not saying an awful lot. Amy Acker was able to play adoring fan and facilitator very easily, and the only scenes I had problem with were the ones when she talked to the guards outside Lorneís room. They were not her fault, though. They were just sloppy writing choices.

I am very interested in the Wes story right now. He is definitely planning something, although we havenít quite got a picture of it yet. And he is still able to have Lilah in his life while he does his other things. This guy should plan my time for me. This week, we see him act cold and business-like with his employees. Everything that has happened to him recently has led to the new Wes, who is all about the mission (whatever it is) without worrying about friendships. He was willing to take Angelís clients, but I canít really see this as cruel. After all, if Angel wanted the clients, he would have stuck around for them. Say what you will about Wesís throwing over of friendship, it seems to have made him a crack businessman, while AI is on the edge of bankruptcy, yet able to take vacations (and I hope they didnít take the $300,000, because that is deus ex machina beyond all belief). It will be interesting to see how long Wes can hold his heart and his head away from each other.

Connor. . .was in this episode. I donít quite understand how he was used. He appears much weaker than we have seen him previously. I hope this is for a deliberate reason; otherwise itís just sloppy writing again. I still donít agree with Angel putting him out on the street, and I donít see any benefit of it. Say what you will about his physical means of survival, the boy is not emotionally capable of dealing with the circumstance he is in. The way Angel watched him gave me eerie flashbacks of the way Angelus used to watch Buffy.

Gunn. I like J. August Richards, but this character has pretty much sunk to the bottom of the barrel. The writers seem to use him to get some point across. Last year, in "This Old Gang of Mine", Gunn told Angel he could never be his friend. Of course, last year he and Wes were best of buddies, and now Gunn only goes to Wes when he wants something and calls Angel his "friend". Gunn has lost all semblance of the Gunn we first saw in "War Zone". With Wes, even though we see this hardened person seemingly unlike the watcher we used to know, we can still see flashes in his eyes of the old Wesley. This Gunn is not a new Gunn. He is a writerís tool more than a character, and a sadly misused one at that. The only consistency I saw in this episode was his ability to expect the worst of people or demons.

I am glad to see Lorne. I am also very glad to see Lorne outside of Vegas. Mr. Hallettís acting seemed a little dryer than usual this episode, but perhaps we can blame that on having many of his scenes with Lee, who was apparently played by somebody they picked up off the street.

I have no idea what to think of Angel. Some of his revisionist history is frightening. If he truly was in Vegas in the 60s, then I have to worry about his personality. We know he was in Los Angeles in the 50s, because of the events of "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been". He goes from this, to hanging with Sammy and Frank in Las Vegas. . .to eating rats on the streets of New York. This hints at a personality disorder of a level I find very scary. I donít know if we have to worry about just Angel, Liam, and Angelus. There might be much more we have to worry about. Equally bothersome was his ability to leave those he claims to love behind. Connor has only been in Los Angeles for about five months after living in another dimension for 16 years, yet not only does Angel kick him out on the street, but he leaves town, knowing Lilah would love to get her hands on Connor and knowing Connor may be physically strong, but is not necessarily capable of dealing with the mental and emotional challenges he faces. Much as I disliked the Cordy recitals, I have to agree he overcomes heartbreak rather easily. His behavior in this episode alone seems strange. When Lorne is singing, Angel seems apart from the crowd in his reaction. Then he doesnít want to necessarily see Lorne, especially if he has to sing. Then he feels he has to find him. Bad writing or with a purpose? We will see.

So far, this is the worst episode of the season for me. If weíre lucky, this will be the worst episode of the entire season. Considering Mr. Furyís elevation in status on both shows, I was hoping he would have been able to contribute more than this. If we are unlucky enough to see the cancellation of <I>Firefly</I>, I can only hope Tim Minear comes back, and Mr. Fury can go back to writing full time for <I>Buffy</I>. But judging from the episodes of that series this season, they donít need him.

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