"The House Always Wins"
Episode # 69
Original Air Date: October 20, 2002
Review by: Anne
Angel takes Fred and Gunn on a retreat to Vegas, where they find Lorne performing at a club called The Tropicana. When he doesn't acknowledge them, then guards won't let them near him backstage, it doesn't take them long to realize that something is up. As Fred and Gunn try to get to Lorne, Angel enters the club's exclusive high-stakes game room. When he inadvertently places a bet and loses, his destiny is taken and he can only play the slot machines in a zombie-like state. Lorne explains to the others that the club's owner was using him to find people with successful futures, which the bad guy would steal and sell on the black market. Watching from the higher plane, Cordelia helps Angel win; his success at the slots surprises the casino owner since those with no destiny do not ever succeed at anything again. He has Angel brought to his office, where he's also captured Lorne, Fred and Gunn. Seeing Fred in danger, Angel instinctively fights back. The others join in and the bad guy and his goons are defeated. The destinies return to their proper owners. The gang arrives back at the Hyperion and finds Cordelia standing in the lobby. Angel calls her name and she replies, "Who are you people?"
The house always wins. Except when it doesn't, as was the case here. Maybe that's the point this episode was trying to make: no one wins them all.
Or the point might have been that there's hope even when the chips are down (pun intended). Lorne seemed ready to give up, declaring that when you lose in Vegas you generally don't get it back. I'm sure that's true most of the time, but every once in a while "lady luck" smiles.
Given the way people were watching/watched, the moral of the story might be that even so-called big guns - like Angel - sometimes need help from their friends. That's not a new theme on this show, but it had a slight twist this time because the one being helped didn't always realize when someone had assisted them.
Likewise, Cordelia probably didn't know that helping Angel would solve the problem of getting her out of the higher plane. I'm assuming that she did affect the outcome of the slot machine, and that's why TPTB returned her to earth. One of my main questions about that plot is: didn't Skip tell her that there was work to do on the higher plane? (I may have mentioned that before.) From what we were shown, she had nothing to do except watch her friends. Then she's supposed to do nothing when they need her help? What's the purpose of a higher being if they don't actually do anything but observe?
For some reason, I had a tough time reviewing this episode. Maybe I just didn't get it, because it all seemed a bit murky to me. I might be giving the writers too much credit, but perhaps that was partly the point. There was concern over where the A-team was "going," but they returned from their trip to find that they still don't know.
* So, is Cordelia still part demon?
* I hope they show us what Wesley wanted that guy to do for him.