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Situational Ethics
braided earlier and just undid it, but in her last scene it was straighter than...uh. It's hard to think of things that are straight while watching this show. Anyway. Cordy and Fred complain that they've been dumpster-diving and declawing roadkill to make the talismans. Fred leaves out her side trip to a salon. Gunn and Connor arrive with the Souleater's head, which, Wesley observes, "looks rather fresh." Gunn says, "We moved up its expiration date," which isn't that funny, but Connor chuckles appreciatively. Aw. I wonder if they compared girl troubles while they were out unearthing monsters. Cordy ponders things and says that in her vision, they just had the skull. Wesley orders Connor and Gunn to do some serious exfoliation on the head. Gunn and Connor leave without complaint, I guess because while they're boiling the flesh off of the head, they can gossip about what a tool Wesley is.

Lilah enters snippily. Are they letting her roam freely around the hotel? Sigh. Cary growls, "Wesley, can you please warn this walking infection that I haven't forgotten how she poked my head open like a Capri Sun?" He adds, looking directly at Lilah, that if he needs to, he will "smack her down!" Then he turns back to Wesley with a cheery smile and finishes, "Be a doll, thanks!" and marches off with his talisman. Hee. Wesley wonders why Lilah hasn't escaped yet, and I wonder what there is for her to escape from since there's no evidence that she's a prisoner. Lilah points out that she has nowhere else to go, and that she's just sticking around for the inevitable schadenfreude. She adds, "If [The Powers That Be] pull it through, well then, braid my hair and call me Pollyanna! The upside of being in it for yourself, Wes: you always end up on the winning team." Fred stumbles in, sees Wesley and Lilah talking, and stammers that Cordy needs to talk to Wesley. Then she quickly retreats into the office. Lilah grins and then turns her back so that Wesley can't see her giggling.

In the basement, the de-fleshed Souleater skull is put in a circle as everyone sets up various magical implements like candles and powder, sticks. From the cage, Angelus complains, "You're going to use black magic to restore my soul? People, this never goes well. Am I the only one paying attention?" Hee. Lilah places odds that they'll end up sucking the hotel into a hell dimension. Angelus insists that they're doomed, dooooomed, and Fred sniffs, "That's your opinion." Lilah nonsupportively says, "You tell him, honey." Fred snaps, "Shut your fat mouth!" I like that Fred is terrible at snarking. Hey, it's a third thing that she can't do! And it helps to make everyone else seem funnier. As they prepare to start the spell, Angelus says that Angel let them take his soul because he'd given up on them all. Cordy approaches the cage and cheerily says, "You're right. Buh bye!" She tosses something into the cage, and Angelus is thrown back into the wall and collapses. Wesley starts reading the magic words. Angelus keeps protesting as the candle flames shoot up. Some smokey CGI effects ooze out of the skull and up around the talismans everyone is holding. Angelus moans, "I promise you, this isn't the end!" The smoke surrounds Angelus and pulls him up toward the ceiling, and then drops him as the skull shatters. Gosh.

After a moment, Angel (or is it?) looks up at them from the floor and says, "I'm so sorry..." Cary says that the spell worked, but Connor is skeptical. In response, Angel (or is it?) apologizes to Fred for attacking her. Wesley tells Angel, "We need your help to fight [Satan's boss], but first you have to sing." Tee hee. Angel looks confused, I chuckle, and Wesley explains that Cary has to confirm that the resouling spell worked. After a minute, Angel (or is it?) bobs his head a little and sings, "Raindrops keep falling on my head, doo do doo doo..." Snicker. Cary smiles and chirps, "Sweet fancy B.J. Thomas -- it's him!" He adds that "the vibe's totally changed, and the aura screams 'soul'!" Connor sighs, "He's back," with no enthusiasm at all. Fred says that they can open the cage, but Angel says he'll stay where he is. He explains, "For all we know, this spell is only temporary, and God forbid..." The "God forbid" part makes me think that it was actually Angelus the whole time, but then again... Oh, I just can't decide. It's like he's Schrodinger's vampire. Whoever he is, he insists that he can boss people around from the cage, and immediately demonstrates: "No more back-biting, fist-fighting, fraternizing, or vengeance." Wow, that was a mouthful. He gives a heartwarming speech about how he'd never give up on them, and Lilah smirks, "I can't believe we didn't crush you people years ago." Angel tells Wesley to get back to the research, Lilah to make coffee, Cary to look for leads on Satan's boss, and Connor and Gunn to go patrol the area.

As everyone else heads out on their tasks, Angel turns to Cordy, but she stops him before he can give her any orders, and tells him that he's hiding in the cage so he won't have to face the others. They exposition about their matching hair shirts, and Angel once again worries about the foreshadowing. Oops, I meant to say, "worries that the spell will wear off." Cordy says, "The Powers need a champion, Angel. And obviously, they need one pretty bad, the way things are going." I was going to put a "[sic]" because she should have said "badly," but then I suddenly wondered if she meant exactly what she said. I'm probably overanalyzing, though, right? Hm. Cordy adds that Angel might be "their only hope, Obi-Wan." Angel wonders why she's calling him a pale kimono sash, but assumes it's some kind of fashion-related compliment and smiles. Cordy makes yet another speech about how Angel isn't Angelus and unlocks the cage. Angel steps out, and Cordy repeats, "You're not Angelus." We get a close-up of her putting the keys to the cage in her pocket, and I have no idea why that was such an important point to make. Maybe it'll matter later. She takes his hand and starts toward the stairs. Angel (or is it? No, in fact, it isn't) vamps out and snarls, "Guess again!"

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