Episode # 45
Original Air Date: September 24, 2001
Review by: Anne
Angel has been gone for three months. Fred has been hiding in her room since he left. The gang is still fighting demons. Angel returns. He hugs the others and gives them the gifts he's brought. He goes to see Fred who has been writing her thoughts -- on the walls of her room. After a heart-to-heart talk, Angel encourages her to come join the others downstairs, but she doesn't. Cordy has a very painful vision of vampires attacking college students in a dorm room; the others go to track them down. When they find the vampires' car, Angel stakes a vampire who says "Angelus?" before she dusts.
Through flashbacks we learn that she was Elizabeth who was in love with a vampire named James. Elizabeth and James hung out with Angelus and Darla around the year 1767. The four of them were being chased by a vampire hunter named Holtz. When surrounded by Holtz and his men, Angelus was going to betray Darla, Elizabeth and James to save himself. In the present, James learns what has happened and goes to see a demon doctor.
Wes and Gunn talk to Merle at Caritas to learn about James. At the hotel, James attacks Cordy and Angel. During the fight, Angel manages to stake James, but he doesn't dust. Then Angel throws James into the sunlight, but again James is unharmed. Angel and Cordy escape into an underground tunnel system; on the phone with Wesley, they learn that the doctor cut out James' heart, so James is invincible albeit temporarily. They get onto a subway train, but so does James. Cocky, James says that he will snap the neck of the woman Angel loves (referring to Cordy). Angel says that the woman he loves is dead. James states that if Angel had really loved her, when she died everything inside of Angel would have died as well. James snatches a seat from the train and tries to smash Angel with it. Angel retaliates and wins. As James sinks to the floor, he says, "I lived. You merely existed." James crumbles to dust due to the effects of his "surgery."
Back at the hotel, Angel admits to Cordy that he wonders how he can be okay when the one that he loved is dead. Cordy assures him that by going on with his life, he honors Buffy.
In the final scene, Darla is in a seedy bar in Nicaragua; as she leaves, we see that she is very, very pregnant.
Tonight on a Very Special Episode of ... Angel.
I thought this was an average episode. I had a few problems with it; I'll get those out of the way first. The main plot with the two vampire lovebirds - James and Elizabeth - was my main problem. I found their over-the-top affection annoying. I think some background on how they joined Angelus and Darla might have helped because I just didn't really care about them. After James' subway speech I began wondering if the whole vampires-in-love idea was only included to bring to light Angel's questioning how he could go on with his life and be okay when his one true love is dead.
My second big problem: who was that guy in the flashbacks with Darla and where was Angelus? That was the most subdued Angeles that I've ever seen. I find his cocky arrogance very attractive, but this time he actually seemed to be the voice of reason in the group.
On the plus side, there were several things that were consistent with last season. Angel pushed Fred's glasses back up on her nose. Cordy tells Angel that they have sent up tacos for Fred; in Pylea Fred told Angel that she really missed tacos. In the flashback scene, Angelus tells Darla that he gives James and Elizabeth "a century"- that is the same thing that the Master said about Angelus and Darla. Holtz is also mentioned in the 1765 flashback in the episode where Darla took the horse, leaving Angelus to fight the mob by himself.
On Angel's "being okay with Buffy's death" - he was unknowingly living out the advice that Buffy gave Dawn before she jumped: the hardest thing in the world is to live in it, but she tells Dawn to live for her.
The ending was definitely not average; I literally gasped when I saw Darla's very pregnant belly. I remained agape for several moments after the show ended as I thought of the various paths this could lead us down.