Mutant Existential Scoobies presents
Angel: the Series Season 6
(October 29, 2004)
Written by CJL and Masquerade
We come in on a BLACK SCREEN. Hold for a moment as the music kicks in (a recording from pre-digital days, with a touch of background static) - the gentle, rhythmic strumming of a guitar, the shuffle of brushes on drumskin, and the signature trumpet of Miles Davis. Slowly, the screen brightens, until we fade into our -
ESTABLISHING SHOT - A BRIGHT RED ALIEN SUN
The Divine One (Sarah Vaughan, not Jasmine) sings the lyrics -
East of the sun and west of the moon
We'll build a dream house of love...
EXT. A DESERT - MID-DAY
PAN DOWN to ILLYRIA and ANGEL trudging across the GOLDEN SAND OF A BROAD, ROLLING DESERT. Both are holding SWORDS. They have obviously been in a downpour, but they're dry now. Illyria's hair is matted against her head and face. They both look exhausted. As Angel and Illyria trudge across the wastes, Sarah Vaughan continues singing -
Near to the sun in a day, near to the moon at night,
We'll live in a lovely way dear
Living our love in memory
Just you and I, forever and a day...
Music fades out as Angel stops suddenly, studying the ground.
The trail ends here.
He looks up into the air, takes a few steps, his eyes scanning a cloudless sky.
It must have gone.... I don't know where it went.
(looking at him, her face emotionless)
You lost it?
Angel turns to look at Illyria.
We lost it.
His face grows pensive.
We should go back to Spike and Gunn.
They turn around. Sergio Leone-type WIDE ANGLE SHOT, with Angel and Illyria at the center - A broad expanse of featureless desert is behind them.
(chuckling a little)
We'll just follow the trail back to where we left them.
Angel starts walking around in circles, staring at the ground, taking in air through his nose. Illyria watches, growing more irritable by the second.
What are you doing?
Angel looks up at her, his expression a bit sheepish.
I... I'm trying to find the trail.
You had it a moment ago, vampire.
I'll find it.
Finally Angel sighs, hands on his hips. He kicks the sand and swears softly to himself.
CRANE SHOT - A view of both of them, from above. As we zoom out, the view widens to show two lone figures in a sea of sand.
CUT TO - The same desert, but an area with low rising hills and more vegetation. SPIKE is kneeling on the ground over something, which we PULL BACK to reveal is GUNN, clutching the wound in his side. BLOOD has soaked through his clothes. Gunn is gasping. Then he trembles. His eyes close.
CLOSE-UP on Spike's face, full of concern and helplessness.
EXT. THE ALLEY NORTH OF THE HYPERION - NIGHT
ESTABLISHING - RAIN IS FALLING, HARD.
A horde of DEMONS of all sorts, with sharp and alien-looking weapons in hand, stream into the alley. Above them, a DRAGON swoops down, shrieking.
REVERSE ANGLE ON - The other side of the alley.
ANGEL, GUNN, SPIKE, and ILLYRIA charge forward to take on the minions from hell.
Gunn takes aim at a demon with his ax. Spike vamps out and goes after another with his fists. Illyria sends several demons flying like bowling pins with a well-aimed kick.
Angel, still fueled by Hamilton's blood, knocks his way through the crowd with elbows and a SWORD. His eyes are on the sky, on the Dragon hovering above the melee, wings flapping.
We watch the battle for a moment. Spike is swinging, kicking, meeting his certain death with a grin. Illyria's face is grim, determined.
Suddenly, the Dragon swoops down into the battle, its claws bared. Angel waits strategically, his sword at the ready. As he waits, we see a demon come up behind him, poised to take advantage of his inattention.
CLOSE-UP - An ax comes down on the demon's head, nearly splitting it in two.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL - It's GUNN. But the effort makes him falter; stumble. He's not doing well.
Angel swings his sword just as the Dragon swoops down on him. The sword clips the Dragon's foot, nearly severing it. The Dragon shrieks and rises.
In the rain and confusion, we see the glint of Angel's sword. It is stained with blood.
The Dragon circles the alley at a low altitude, shrieking. As it opens its mouth, plumes of flame roar out.
The gang continues to struggle below. It looks bad. Illyria is fighting five demons at once. Gunn has fallen to his knees, his ax more weight than weapon. Spike takes a kamikaze dive into the fray.
CUT TO - The Dragon above, circling. It comes down for another run, flames shooting out. The heat singes the demons near Angel. Angel backs up instinctively. The wounded foot has disoriented the Dragon, though, and it dips too low. With a determined look, Angel charges forward and plunges his sword into the creature.
It slices the Dragon's side. The Dragon shrieks again. Its great wings beat madly as it tries to rise above the battle. As its claws clear the fray, we see the creature toss its head. A SPHERICAL GLOW appears in the middle of its forehead, then grows brighter.
Suddenly, a BEAM OF LIGHT cuts out from the Dragon's forehead. It hits the night air, setting it on fire. The air shimmers, pools, then BEGINS TO FOLD.
A RIFT appears in the air in front of the Dragon. The rift widens, slowly and gradually, circling. It is sucking in the air around it like a whirlpool. Trash from the ground flies up into the rift. Then a demon's weapon.
Before the rift is even big enough for the Dragon's passage, the beast moves forward, listing towards its wounded side, struggling.
CUT TO - ANGEL. Heedless of the foes around him, he pushes through, his sword in the air. He swings it almost randomly, and clips the Dragon's wing. The Dragon howls and twists around reflexively. The beam coming from its forehead rends the air, widening the rift to encompass THE GROUND.
The whirlpool grows larger. Suddenly, one of the demons on the ground is sucked into it and disappears. The Dragon starts to move forward, slowed down by its wounded wing. Angel pushes through the crowd, his sword raised. But in a flash, he is head over heels, flying towards the rift. The Dragon bats at him as he flies by. Angel disappears.
The rift widens again. Another demon is sucked through it, then another. Gunn, unable to stop himself, is next. Spike sees this and runs towards his friend. Spike is next.
The Dragon flaps its wings madly, disoriented, batting at the creatures sailing past it.
CUT TO - Illyria, her eyes and head moving as she tracks Spike's disappearance. She pushes her foes aside and cuts through the crowd. A demon is starting to drift towards the rift. Illyria grabs onto it. The demon and Illyria disappear into the rift.
Finally the rift is large enough for the Dragon. With a shriek, the Dragon moves forward. Its tail disappears into the rift, which closes up quickly behind it.
EXT. DESERT - MID-DAY
ESTABLISHING - AN AREA WITH RISING AND FALLING ROCKY GROUND AND VEGETATION.
We see THE WHIRLPOOL again, but this time it's a few feet above THE DESERT FLOOR. On the ground is a demon from the alleyway, struggling to its feet.
Suddenly, Angel flies out of the rift and falls onto the sand.
He gets up on all fours, disoriented. A GLINT OF LIGHT above him catches his eye, and he looks up just in time to see a SWORD coming down at his head. Angel pushes his weight off his hands and raises his own sword to block it. Then he rolls away from his attacker, and with a one-handed swipe of his own sword, beheads the demon.
PULL BACK to see Spike getting up to his feet. He squints at the sunlight, instinctively raising a leather-clad forearm to shield himself against it.
POV SHOT - A red sun blazing through Spike's fingers. Spike lowers his hand and examines it, pale in the sunlight, like he did at the start of Destiny, appreciating the warm sensation on his skin -
Then he whirls around and takes a punch at a demon behind him.
Illyria flies out next, letting her momentum take her into a roll. PULL BACK to show the entire battle as she joins Angel and Spike in fighting the demons.
All three are all too busy to notice Gunn lying on the ground nearby, staring disoriented at what is going on around him, clutching his wound.
Finally, the Dragon emerges. It beats its wings madly and rises into the sky. Blood is dripping down its side and its leg and onto the sand. Flapping its wings, it tries to put some distance between itself and the gang.
TIME CUT TO - The last alleyway demon falls to the ground, dead. Angel looks at it for a second, then hears a distant, high-pitched roar. He looks up to see the Dragon in the distance.
Angel looks at Illyria, who has appeared at his side.
It was the dragon. Whatever we came through,
the dragon opened it.
Without another word, Angel takes off after the Dragon. Illyria stops to take a sword from the hand of one of the dead demons, then leaps up after him.
Spike stands up after breaking the neck of the demon he's been fighting. He looks up to see ILLYRIA AND ANGEL RUNNING AFTER THE DRAGON.
Spike grins, and takes a step backwards. A puzzled look crosses his face. He turns and looks down behind himself. His heel is on the handle of Gunn's ax.
The camera PANS to GUNN, LYING IN SPIKE'S SHADOW, gazing up unseeing, gasping, clutching his side. A bright stain of blood has soaked into his shirt. Spike stares down at him, momentarily paralyzed, then he turns back around quickly.
REVERSE ANGLE - Angel and Illyria, in the distance. Then RETURN ANGLE on -
Angel and Illyria disappear over a dune.
WIDE SHOT - Spike, standing on the rocky ground, surrounded by dead demons, and Gunn. Spike turns back around to him.
GUNN'S POV - Spike, standing over him.
Gunn's eyes flutter and open, but are unfocused.
Where are we?
Spike rips off his coat and tosses it onto the sand. His shirt and T-shirt come off next. He rolls the T-shirt up into a ball and presses it into Gunn's bleeding side.
EXT. DESERT - MID-DAY
ESTABLISHING - We see the hot red sun again, and -
DISSOLVE TO - Angel and Illyria, trudging through the thick sand. Angel is trying to shake the sand out of his hair and clothes. Illyria, as usual, is imperturbable.
The wind is picking up. That'll make it easier
to catch a scent. Maybe Gunn--
Gunn is dead.
ANGLE ON Angel's face as realization dawns. He continues stalking forward, his face grim.
Then we need to get Spike and concentrate on
finding the dragon. The dragon opened the portal.
It makes sense that the dragon's the way we get back.
Are you really so eager to return to that alley?
I don't like skipping out in the middle
of a fight.
We would have all been dead shortly.
Illyria pauses. CLOSE-UP on Illyria as she looks into the distance, hints of grief on her carefully controlled face.
CUT TO - Angel's receding back as he continues walking.
But you knew that.
EXT. DESERT - MID-DAY
ESTABLISHING - DESERT DUNES, VEGETATION.
Gunn is lying on the ground, a make-shift bandage made from Spike's shirt tied around his torso and waist. His face and clothes are stained with blood and dust.
Spike hovers over him, kneeling, applying pressure to the wound.
C'mon, Charley. Stay with me now.
Spike's expression becomes a struggle against helplessness. He looks around, using his eyes and nose, for anything that might help them. His eyes narrow as he senses something.
PULL BACK to see Spike rise. He walks over to a desert shrub. He plucks a leaf, turns it over, holds it up to his nose, then tosses it to the ground.
He continues walking, following a scent.
ANGLE BEHIND Spike as he steps up to the top of a rise and comes down the other side. The ground is rocky and hard. In the distance, we see a shimmering. It could be a mirage, or it could be....
Spike leaps forward, down the hill, walking fast. He comes to another rise. A sudden crack! on the other side catches his attention. It is followed by a slow, irregular rumbling. Spike starts up the rise awkwardly.
CLOSE-UP on Spike's face as he comes down the other side. He gets a wary look on his face.
Spike's POV - In the distance - A RAG-TAG CAMP OF TENTS AND WAGONS. Strange, camel-like beasts of burden and HUMAN-LIKE DEMONS dressed in flowing robes are scattered around, setting up camp.
Spike steps forward, then raises his arm and waves.
CLOSE-UP on one DEMONIC FACE, male, mouth and nose covered by a cloth to block out the sand.
REVERSE ANGLE - Spike in the distance, looking vaguely ridiculous standing there waving, dressed in only pants and shoes.
CLOSE-UP on the Male Demon, who appears puzzled. We PULL BACK to see that he is holding a long spear. He leans over to a nearby companion. We hear them mumble together in an UNKNOWN DEMON TONGUE.
This particular species of demon has skin of polished turquoise, like a living jewel. The features are human enough - mouth, nose, a pair of piercing gray eyes--but those features are barely visible on the surface of the Demon's face, as if they were tiny flaws on the surface of the gem.
CUT BACK TO - Spike, standing at the top of a ridge. He turns and disappears back over the rise.
The Two Demons start forward in the direction Spike went.
Spike is back at Gunn's side. Gunn's bandage shows the tint of fresh blood.
Spike reaches down and checks for a pulse on Gunn's neck. A look of grim relief comes to his face. With effort, he pulls Gunn up to sitting, then lifts him into his arms.
He starts up the first rise, carrying Gunn.
TIME CUT TO - Spike runs into the Demons at the top of the second rise. They see what he is carrying and start to talk to each other incomprehensibly.
You've got to help him.
The Demons continue to babble rapidly at each other.
Suddenly, Gunn grunts, and winces. Spike looks down at him with surprise.
They... don't know what you are.
What you're doing here.
You can understand them?
Yeah. I... understand them.
Are they going to help you?
Gunn passes out. Spike looks at the Demons with an expression of desperation.
EXT. DESERT - MID-AFTERNOON
TWO-SHOT - Illyria in the foreground, Angel in the background; Angel stops dead in his tracks. Angel turns. He looks pissed off.
It was suicide.
Just because it wasn't likely we'd come out
of it alive didn't make it 'suicide'. It was
going to be a tough fight. We all knew that.
Really? Then tell me--what would you have done
after we were victorious?
What were your plans to assault the Wolf,
Ram and Hart in their stronghold?
Beat. Angel chews that over for a minute.
To be honest, I wasn't thinking that far ahead.
And the whole "assault Wolfram and Hart in their
stronghold?" Tried that-- didn't work.
And to think... I debased myself by fighting
at your side.
I believed you had the mettle of a true king.
Obviously, I was mistaken.
Give me a break.
If you'd trusted me as your right arm in
the larger battle...if you'd enlisted me as
an ally from the start, you might have destroyed
the Wolf, Ram and Hart at the source.
Angel walks back towards Illyria for some "in your face" time.
You killed Fred. Doesn't exactly help to build trust.
The previous occupant of this shell is irrelevant.
You had a battle to win.
You should have used all resources necessary to ensure victory.
Wait, I know this one - "Because it's not about
right or wrong, it's about power," blah blah blah.
You mock me. But you know as well as I that
the principle holds.
Maybe "the principle" worked in your time,
but that's not how it works here. You don't
take power just so you can have power. I'm fighting
for the people I love, and that backs up everything
I do. Not much point in fighting otherwise.
Your sense of ethics has never impressed me.
I'm not surprised. You never had any.
You claim you are fighting for the welfare
and freedom of your loved ones, but you have
always been the greatest danger to them.
You have no idea what you're talking about.
How many allies have sacrificed themselves
for your principles? Wesley? Charles?
(waits for emphasis)
They made their own choices.
You are pathetic. After all we have been through
these last few days, you still do not understand.
They made their own choices, yes, but those choices
were limited by forces beyond their control. They
sacrificed themselves because you did not have the
courage to do what must be done to secure their safety.
They died for what they believed.
They died for nothing.
EXT. DESERT - MID-AFTERNOON
The Two Demons glance at each other, then one of them jabs his finger in the direction of their camp and says something in the demon tongue. The other one nods and leaves.
After a moment, the Second Demon returns and gestures them forward. Spike follows the Second Demon into the camp with Gunn in his arms. The Demon leads him through some wagons and MILLING DEMON INHABITANTS, male and female, some children, to a spot where other demons are setting up a tent.
The tent flap opens, and THE HEALER sticks her head out. This is an older female, with slight ripples in her turquoise skin indicating her advanced age. She gets a look of angry concern on her face and jabbers in the demonic tongue.
The First Demon arrives and answers her. With a reluctant expression, she holds open the flap of her tent and gestures Spike forward. He carries Gunn into the tent and sets him on a blanket on the ground.
PAN AROUND the tent, which has drying herbs and desiccated animal carcasses hanging from wooden support beams. There are ornate metal canisters and stone jars set on a long stone table. In one corner is a wooden rack covered in hides and cloth rags.
The other end of the tent is open to the outside air. A CAMPFIRE is crackling there. A metal pot is suspended over the blaze.
The Healer kneels down and examines Gunn.
Can you do anything for him?
The Healer says nothing. She points to Gunn's wound and prompts Spike to press down on the bloody bandage on Gunn's side. Then she gets up and goes over to the stone table. She pulls down some bark from her hanging supplies, puts it in a clay mortar and starts crushing it with a stone pestle.
The Healer takes the crushed bark and carries it over to the fire. She dumps it in the metal pot.
Then she returns to the stone table and takes a pitcher. She pours water into a bowl, then reaches for a metal canister. She pulls out a pinch of white powder and sprinkles it into the water, then mixes it with a wooden stick.
She reaches for a rag and brings it over to the table, where she soaks it under the water. She pulls it out, wrings out the excess water, and finally turns back to Gunn.
Spike steps aside to allow her to remove the bandage. Gunn winces and grunts. The Healer carefully cleans the wound, examining it. Then she soaks and wrings out another rag, and lays it out on Gunn's wound.
She returns to where she has the campfire crackling. She stirs what's inside it, then dips a long-necked spoon inside. She carries it over to Gunn.
Gunn, eyes open, holds up a weak hand to keep it away. The Healer babbles to him in her demonic tongue. Gunn nods wearily, and lets the woman spoon-feed the mixture to him. He winces at the bitterness and heat.
What is that?
(deep, heaving breaths)
(pointing at the wet rag)
And that thing?
Antiseptic... I hope.
What about the wound?
She's got some sort of--
...treatment for that.
Gunn's eyelids flutter; he's about to pass out again.
EXT. DESERT - MID-AFTERNOON
Angel breaks away from Illyria, and tries to pick up the trail.
Lecture time is over. We've got work to do.
Illyria stands immobile, like a statue, refusing to even look at Angel.
I see no further point in maintaining
the charade that we are working together.
You have proven to be useless in
achieving our mutual goals.
We're stranded in an alien dimension,
wandering around in the middle of the desert,
and now you want to declare your independence?
Our situation is not critical. You and I can
survive indefinitely under these conditions.
And, as you said before, the dragon should
be able to return me to Earth.
We'd have a better shot finding it together.
I don't want this to come down to a fight
between us to see who gets to go home.
You would find another way back. Eventually.
I thought you said you do not trust me.
I don't. But nobody wins if we work against each other.
Besides--what if Gunn is still alive out there?
Angel lets that one sink in. Illyria finally turns to face him, and her face shows - what? Anger? Fear? Hope?
ANGLE ON - Angel. He tries to read her expression, but he just can't tell.
I know that means something to you. I--
Angel's speech is interrupted by an fast approaching wind. Illyria and Angel listen as it builds from a soft whisper to a piercing howl.
Sandstorm. Angel and Illyria, rooted to their respective spots, are barely visible as the whirlwind batters them--and then they both vanish completely. Seconds later, just as quickly as it started, the sandstorm vanishes as well.
ANGLE ON - Illyria as she blinks the sand out of her eyes. She looks out into the desert. Angel is gone.
ANGLE ON - Angel as he rubs the sand of out of his eyes. He looks out into the desert. Illyria is gone.
EXT. DESERT - MID-AFTERNOON
Illyria, alone, looks out over the desert.
WIDE SHOT - Nothing but sand dunes in all directions; no landmarks, not a single point of reference anywhere.
Suddenly, she hears what can only be described as HERALD TRUMPETS blaring in the distance. Almost hypnotized, she drifts toward the music, a serpent following the snake charmer's call. She's so intent on following the trail, that she kicks an object half-buried in the sand.
Illyria leans down to pick it up. She tilts her head in that bird-like way of hers, studying the object at all angles. It's a plush toy of some kind - a STUFFED RABBIT. A very familiar stuffed rabbit.
INT. HEALER'S TENT - MID-AFTERNOON
TIGHT TWO-SHOT - Spike leans over Gunn's sickbed. (We hear the Healer shuffling around in the background.)
C'mon. You made it this far. Don't give up on me now.
Tired. Let me sleep for a few minutes.
Nuh uh. Dr. Quinn over there can't apply
the homemade family mojo if you're dead.
Spike gently slaps Gunn on the face a few times.
Nappy time later.
Spike...tell Angel that the fight in the alley,
everything...it was worth it. Tell him that.
Tell him yourself.
And tell Illyria... tell her....
Gunn starts to drift out.
You can see the panic in Spike's eyes as he realizes he's about to lose Gunn. His mind spins furiously, and he hits on a desperate plan -
All right. I'll let 'em know. You were a good
man, Charley. Fought like you were on fire.
But I guess the cliché is true, after all.
Gunn's left eye pops open.
You know, like that movie we were watching the
other night. You got the black detective and
the white detective, and the black one is only
about three days away from retirement--which means
you know he's toast. But even after he's shot 57
times by the villain, he's going to live long enough
to tell his partner to carry on without him, and
the noble sacrifice of the black man will inspire
the white detective's search for vengeance and
eventual shagging of the pretty schoolteacher.
So rest easy...
(slaps Gunn's thigh)
Your sacrifice will not be in vain.
My life will be all the richer for having known you.
You're trying to piss me off.
Is it working?
EXT. DESERT - MID-AFTERNOON
Sword in one hand and Feigenbaum in the other, Illyria follows the sound of trumpets up the slope of a sand dune. She reaches the top, and looks down at the source of the music -
ESTABLISHING SHOT - THE MAD TEA PARTY.
Yes, as in "Alice in Wonderland." The table is similar to Sir John Tenniel's illustration - a LARGE DINING ROOM TABLE, with four plain wooden chairs lined up lengthwise (none on the opposite side), and an overstuffed chair with a seashell-shaped back at the end. The tablecloth has a CHECKERBOARD PATTERN, and there are a variety of red and black chess pieces and checkers positioned randomly in the squares. Teacups and saucers are in their proper place at each setting.
CLOSE-UP - THE MAD HATTER pours imaginary tea from a teapot, then places it back on the table, knocking over a red queen.
The Mad Hatter, seated in the second chair to the left, is basically James Marsters in Tenniel's Mad Hatter outfit - oversized hat ("in this style, 10/6"), absurdly large polka-dot bow tie, the whole works. He's a natural. THE DORMOUSE, in the third seat from the left, is a different animal altogether. It's J. August Richards in a gray rodent suit, but a rodent suit on a man JAR's size doesn't fit the image from the story - he looks more like an amalgamation of the Dormouse and the Walrus (only without the tusks).
The tea party is apparently in full swing. In the background, Illyria works her way down the slope and approaches the table.
CLOSE-UP - She does another patented head tilt, baffled by the sheer incongruity of the scene.
The herald trumpets ring out with a final flourish and cut off abruptly; the Dormouse turns and sees Illyria standing over the Mad Hatter's shoulder.
(affected British accent, like a stodgy old schoolmaster)
The Mad Hatter turns in his seat, gives Illyria the once-over and spots Feigenbaum clutched in her hand.
(Spike's normal accent, with maybe a touch of ADD hyperactivity)
There you are!
The Mad Hatter snatches the rabbit from Illyria, and brings it up to his face for a stern talking-to.
I was worried sick about you! Didn't think you
were going to make it to the party at all!
The Mad Hatter places Feigenbaum in the empty seat to his left.
Your majesty, I-- I sincerely apologize for
the disarray. If we had been given proper
notice of your arrival, everything would
have been prepared to your exact specifications.
Illyria's glance flits from the Dormouse to the Mad Hatter to the teacups. She knocks on the table to check if what she's seeing is really there. She seems impressed by its solidity.
You need but give the word, and the incompetents
in the Royal Guard responsible for this travesty
will pay with their heads!
Illyria takes her seat at the end of the table, looking every inch the queen.
(out loud, but to herself; almost wistfully)
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
You can tell whoever is responsible for this
fantasia that I am not the least bit interested
What's she rambling on about, guv'nor?
Hush, lad. One must not question the workings
of the royal mind.
Someone has obviously drawn memories from
the recesses of this shell in a pitiful attempt
to confuse my faculties and render me vulnerable
Majesty--I assure you that the assembled multitudes
have nothing but the highest reverence for your
Speak for yourself, Lord Lardbottom.
We would let nothing stand in the way of
Of course! We have been awaiting this day for eons!
The return of Illyria and the restoration
of your greatness!
I do not require your validation.
But Majesty--the temple has been rebuilt in
your honor. Your armies stand before the
city gates, ready for the call to battle!
Illyria cocks an ear. We hear what might be the echo of THOUSANDS OF TROOPS marching in unison somewhere over the dunes. The sound gives her a deep feeling of satisfaction and pride. She's been drawn into the fantasy....
You intrigue me. Continue.
The Dormouse rises from his seat, and unfurls a gilded scroll with a royal seal affixed to the bottom. The herald trumpets blare again.
(clears throat; reads)
"It is the proclamation of the Royal Court
that this day marks the second reign of the
greatest of the Ancient Powers--Illyria,
Beloved and Feared, Monarch of the Tides,
Ruler of the Four Winds, Prime Mover of the Seasons..."
Please tell me you're not going to say all of it.
(rolls up the scroll)
Perhaps we can skip some of the formalities.
Majesty? If you please?
Illyria looks down at the table; as if by magic, a JEWEL-ENCRUSTED CROWN has materialized right in front of the teapot. She hesitates for a moment. Then, with one fluid, graceful motion, she takes the crown in both hands and places it on her head. We hear the sound of crowds cheering.
And now--a toast to the new era.
I do not drink. Tea.
That's all right, there isn't any.
Please, Majesty--it's been part of the ceremony
for thousands of years.
Wouldn't be a proper coronation without it.
(thinks for a moment)
Very well. Proceed.
The Dormouse pours "tea" for himself, Illyria, and the Mad Hatter. They raise their cups in unison, then hold their positions, as if waiting for photographers to snap the moment for posterity. We hear the sound of crowds cheering...
CUT TO - ANGEL. He's wandered into the exact same "Alice In Wonderland" fantasia as Illyria, only he's approaching the table from the other end. Angel is slightly dazed, as if trapped halfway between buying into the reality of his surroundings and knowing it's unreal. He pulls up the overstuffed chair at the head of the table (identical to the one at the opposite end) and, never taking his eyes off the party, almost absent-mindedly sinks into his seat.
Angel's POV - The same characters in the same places as before, only from the reverse angle. To his immediate right, the lone empty chair at the table; then THE DORMOUSE and THE MAD HATTER, both chattering away, with FEIGENBAUM silently occupying the last chair in the row. And directly opposite Angel, at the other end of the table -
CLOSE-UP - ALICE.
In this case, Amy Acker, dressed in the blue and white pinafore, white stockings and black slippers from Tenniel's illustrations. Alice spots Angel at the other end of the table, and her face brightens. She claps with joy. Angel sees her smile and can't help but smile a little himself.
(prim British accent, hiding just a trace of Abilene)
Oh! Oh, how wonderful! You came, you came!
(staring at her)
Fred--is that you?
This will be ever so much fun! Would you like
to play some chess, or cribbage, or-- ooh!
Would you like to guess a riddle? You used
to so enjoy solving riddles, the knottier the better!
I don't think he's into riddles anymore, m'dear.
Lad's got other interests.
Oh, please try! Just one? For me?
You loved this book.
The Mad Hatter shoots up out of his chair, tugs on the ends of his waistcoat, and throws his shoulders back like a proud rooster.
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
You read it once a month. You read it out loud,
played all the parts.
(ignores him; to Mad Hatter)
I give up. Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Hell if I know.
(shakes his head, trying to clear it; to himself)
This isn't real.
Angel snaps out of his fog just long enough to lift himself out of his seat and stagger away from the table. Alice tries to call him back, but he manages to shut her out and put some distance between himself and the tea party.
DISSOLVE TO - Angel, wandering in the desert, alone. The music starts up again, but this time, it's not herald trumpets -
No. Can't be.
It's "Copacabana," by Barry Manilow. Mesmerized, Angel follows his beloved Barry, until--even though he thought he left it miles behind--he's right back at the tea party. The Lewis Carroll characters are grooving to the beat, as Barry takes the song home -
....she lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind
At the Copa (Copa!)
The hottest spot north of Havana
At the Copa, Copacabana
Music and passion
Were always the fashion at the Copa
As one, Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse extend an arm (palms up) towards Angel, like Hollywood chorus girls giving their lead singer his cue. Angel has that dazed, half-aware expression again, as if, deep down, he knows none of this is real, but can't help participating. He takes the cue and stammers out -
"Don't fall in love."
The music stops. The Carroll characters applaud wildly.
I knew this would be fun!
INT. HEALER'S TENT - MID-AFTERNOON
At her table, the Healer opens a small clay jar. She pulls out a BROWN HAIRY SPIDER. Spike watches with cautious distaste as she walks it over to Gunn. She gestures at Spike to remove the rags. Spike does so.
The Healer places the spider on top of the wound. The spider stands up, stretching out its hairy legs. IT BEGINS TO SPIN A WEB INSIDE THE WOUND. The Healer looks at Spike and begins to babble. She gestures impatiently at him, shooing him out of the tent.
Yeah, O.K., whatever.
Spike backs up towards the tent flap.
But I'm not going far. That there's my friend.
Spike steps out into the dusty camp. DEMONS - young, old, male, female, stare at him over the cloths covering their faces. Spike stares back.
None of you happen to have any beer on you, do you?
EXT. THE MAD TEA PARTY - MID-AFTERNOON
Illyria, metaphorically speaking, has sipped deep of the electric Kool-aid, and completely succumbed to the fantasy. Her overstuffed chair is now a throne; behind it, the ruined temple from Shells has been restored to its former glory. [Production note - insert blue screen effect here].
Illyria and the Dormouse are playing checkers on the tablecloth.
CLOSE-UP on the tablecloth - Illyria has only one "red king" stranded at the edge of the playing area, while the Dormouse has six black checkers. The Dormouse, deliberately committing Checker Suicide, moves one of his black pieces right in front of Illyria's king. Illyria jumps all six of his pieces in one shot, winning the game. The cheering crowds roar their approbation.
Heavens! Brilliant strategy, your highness!
The Mad Hatter rolls his eyes.
Speaking of strategy, Most Noble One--have you
planned your first campaign?
Indeed. Once I have regained my full power,
I will eliminate the human pestilence, then
consolidate the remaining demonic forces on
the planet under my control.
A wise and sensible course....
I must, of course, obliterate the Deeper Well.
Any possibility of opposition must be eliminated.
From there, it will be a simple matter to mount
an assault on the Wolf, Ram and Hart and destroy
And then what?
And then what? After you've conquered the moon,
sun, stars and all the myriad dimensions?
What do you do then?
Then, impertinent boy, the Most Beloved and
Feared shall rule with a stern but fair hand,
and the world shall be as it was before the
time of darkness!
Oh. That. Well, why should you be ruling the
known universe? What makes you so special?
How dare you speak to the Grand and
Illustrious One that way! Have you gone
(waves arms crazily; to Dormouse)
Helloooo? "Mad Hatter," remember?
Relax, Sgt. Major. Just pulling your chain.
Having a larf. That so wrong?
We used to have a lot of fun together before
the nobility here came 'round.
Well, yes, but those were younger days, and--
The Mad Hatter reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a metal flask. He shakes it invitingly in front of the Dormouse.
Come on, Sgt. Major.
You know you want to....
(grabs the flask, unscrews the cap)
I suppose there's no law against taking a little refreshment.
Now, as I was saying, Your Worship--I'd really
like to hear what qualifications you bring to
the job of Cosmic Emperor.
Illyria stares at him as if he were a bug.
I am an Old One, maggot--born from the Earth's
primal oceans, attuned to the world's rhythms
and cycles, an integral part of the great cosmic dance.
Those are my qualifications.
That's it? That's all you've got?!
"Born from the Earth's primal oceans"?
I'm sorry, but that's nowhere near good enough.
The Mad Hatter leans over to his left and positions his ear next to Feigenbaum's head, nodding and "uh huh"-ing in agreement.
As Bunny here so aptly puts it, supreme executive
power derives from a mandate from the masses,
not from some antiquated aquatic birthright.
The Dormouse falls asleep, flask in hand, snoring like a buzzsaw.
Your objections are inane. You will cease your
prattling, or I will eviscerate both you and
your stuffed rabbit.
Really, now? Well, Bunny and I have talked it over....
CLOSE-UP on Feigenbaum - He's morphed from a five-inch, adorable stuffed bunny rabbit into a six-foot-tall rabbit-shaped demonic nightmare. (Think Frank from "Donnie Darko.")
...and we think it's time to overthrow the monarchy.