"Unleashed," Wednesday, October 15, 2003
The gang meets away from Wolfram & Hart to discuss why the Senior Partners put them in charge. Angel suddenly asks to borrow Wesley's silver pen; in the woods nearby, a werewolf is attacking a young woman. Angel saves her, but as he kills the werewolf, the girl escapes. Angel knows that she was bitten, and he and the others hurry to track her down before she changes. Meanwhile, Nina, the young woman, is babysitting when she begins to feel strange. She goes upstairs to lie down, but she transforms into a werewolf. Angel arrives; he gets the wolf out of the house where Wesley shoots it with a tranquilizer. The next morning, Nina wakes in human form in a cell. Angel enters the room; as an explanation, he shows a video of the werewolf transforming into her. Nina, shocked, calls herself a monster. Angel encourages her that he's a monster too, and she can learn to control herself, like he did. Nina agrees to stay in the holding cell for the night, and Dr. Royce, a crypto-zoologist, suggests that perhaps some personal effects from home might help soothe her while she's in the werewolf state. Fred and Nina go to get some of Nina's things, but they are ambushed by a team of masked men that knocks Fred out and abducts Nina. Back at W&H, Lorne reads the security team and Dr. Royce trying to find out who contributed to Nina's abduction, but he finds nothing. As the gang discusses what to do, Fred sees a somewhat transparent Spike walking in the hall. Since Spike told her that his intermittent disappearances are lasting longer, Fred runs after him, concerned. He keeps walking; Fred loses him in Dr. Royce's office, but she finds evidence that Dr. Royce is behind Nina's disappearance. Searching his office, the gang finds a menu: Nina is going to be served in werewolf form as a rare delicacy. Angel, Wes, and Gunn go to save her. With the last full moon over, Angel takes Nina home where she sees her family in the yard. She asks if he ever thinks about disappearing, but he replies that if you separate yourself from the ones you love, the monster wins. She says, "See you next month." Later, as if recalling his own advice, Angel has the gang over to his penthouse apartment and he treats them to Chinese food.
It seems the main purpose of this episode was to get Angel to see how important it is not to let the monster – that is, W&H – win. The gang has been concerned that they're in over their heads, but if they lose each other, the monster really has won. Okay, that's a bit corny, but we've repeatedly seen that Angel's friends help keep him connected to his humanity. Maintaining that connection is vital for him.
Spike is also trying to maintain his connection to the realm of the living, so why is he being so secretive about his "problem"? Is it just pride, or is he hiding something? I don't understand why he wouldn't want Wesley's help, since Wesley is the supernatural expert of the group. Although, Spike's attempt to lie about bad blood between him and Wesley did provide some comedy after Fred's "you're so full of crap" line.
Other than that, this episode was pretty standard, and at times, maybe even a bit flat. I know this is the Buffy-verse, and surely the depiction of the spoiled rich dining on something rare and dangerous bears some symbolism, but the whole idea of the elite eating a live werewolf still seems laughable . . . and, at the same time, disturbing.
* In this episode, it was mentioned for the third time that leprechauns do not exist. Are they going somewhere with this?