Episode # 37
Original Air Date: February 20, 2001
Review by: Anne
The major theme of this episode seemed to be about everything unraveling. In every scene something bad is happening. Even in the less intense scenes, there is an ominous underlying tone. For example, when Lindsey comes home to Darla, she is lying to him about still being weak and she goes through his papers looking for something that she can use to her advantage.
Things start to fall apart for the A-team when the Sharps refuse to pay and Gunn takes off saying the others can call if they need him. Then Angel barged in to take a book and expose his former friends to his newest dark side; if the A-Team had any hope of reconciling with Angel, surely it was completely dissolved at that moment. Later, when Wesley calls Cordy to say that he won't be in tomorrow, he omits the painful truth that Virginia broke up with him, and Cordy reveals matter-of-factly that she has no friends. Although on a slightly smaller scale than Angel, Gunn, Wesley and Cordy are experiencing the very real "rock-bottom" feelings of frustration, loneliness, and broken relationships.
The most obvious example of everything unraveling is the progress of Angel's quest to find the way to destroy Wolfram & Hart's. He starts by going to Kate for help; she has problems of her own with an upcoming review where she'll be questioned about several unsolved mysteries including the Angel-related deaths of thirteen lawyers and why the killers had to break out of the locked basement. Kate harshly tells Angel that she is through helping him.
We can see Angel starting to fall apart as he is frantically searching for information. To say "he's in a bad place" would be an understatement. He's feeling alone and overwhelmed in his mission. In a previous episode, he confessed that he feels he can never make up for all the things he's done. He wants to complete his mission and be done with everything. He was even willing to use force against his former friends (to get the book) to try to achieve that; that is no small thing and it shows us his extreme desperation.
Although Angel has been acting like he doesn't care, as Holland points out, he does care. Angel is trying to prevent the apocalypse to save people; Holland asks who will save those people from the next apocalypse after Angel is gone. The big revelation to Angel from Holland is that there is no big final victory -- the cycle just keeps going. This is too much for Angel. Having failed in his suicide mission, he sees no end to his feelings of despair.
I didn't really see "evil" in the people as Angel was wandering around the city streets -- everything seemed very ordinary. But the problem is not so much what's happening in the world as it is how Angel is perceiving the world. Knowing what Angel has been going through, it's easy to see what drove him to wanting some way -- any way -- to escape from how bad he's been feeling.
When Darla appears at the hotel, Angel sees a new opportunity: he can't win the war against evil, but he can stop caring about it. It is ironic/poetic that he gives in to Darla to try to return to the dark side, since not being able to save her is one of the main reasons he feels so guilty.
I wasn't looking forward to this episode. We all know there is a lot of "yuck" in the world, and Angel has seen more than his share. I think they called this episode "Reprise" because past deeds have been weighing heavily on his mind since before Darla started invading his dreams. I'd say this episode alone is not enough to show us his "descent into darkness", but when we combine it with what we've seen in previous episodes (of Angel and Buffy) we really see what drove him to this - his lowest point.