Episode Report Card
Strega: B | 2 USERS: A+

A diligent editor answers that question right away. Inside a theater, dozens of vampires stand in robes of various colors, looking up at a speaker on the stage. Behind him are large screens featuring the snake and triangle. A vampire in a white robe intones, "Where are we going?" and the vampires chant, "Planet Ten!" Wait, that was me saying those things. Actually, the vampire in white...and let's just call him Doug from now on, since that's his name. Plus "the vampire in white" sounds like a Wilkie Collins novel. Where were we? Doug tells the crowd, "It's time to actualize your potential! It's time to maximize your personal input, and get the most out of your afterlife." The problem with funny episodes is that all the jokes have already been made. Although between Magnolia and Scientology, I can't help wondering if that's Tom Cruise under the moustache. Did I mention the moustache? It's bushy. A vampire with a bushy moustache. Heh. But doesn't he get hair in his blood? Doug goes on with empower-speak for a while, and then images begin appearing on the giant screen behind him. Triangles, in fact. The pyramidal kind. At the top level is a stick figure on a white background. Lower levels are lit up, as Doug explains, "One vampire turns two humans into vampires. They each turn two more humans into vampires..." And so on, and so on, and I feel a sudden urge to buy shampoo. Doug explains that in order to join his program, a vampire has to bring a person in to be deposited into the "food bank." The stage behind Doug is suddenly lit up, allowing us to see a cage holding maybe ten people. The vampires applaud. Doug's got another handy catch phrase to describe the scheme: "Turn two, the rest is food." In the crowd scenes, a lot of the vampires have their hoods pulled down so that they drape over their eyes. Which is a pretty clever way to avoid having to put vampire prosthetics on dozens of extras. Hooray for economy.

Wesley is pushing pins into a map, marking the vampire abductions Gunn reads off a list. While Cordy runs a search on vampire cults, Harmony sadly looks at her. Harmony says, "We always said we were gonna do something cool with our lives. Now look at us. You're an office manager, and I'm dead." Once again, this is just like the conversations Johanna and I have. I'm not saying which of us is which. Cordy is distracted from existential contemplation when she finds something online. She calls the others over, and they all look at an image of a triangle with a non-snakey number two inside. Cordy found it on the Department of Justice "bunco squad" homepage; it's the logo for a pyramid scheme. Gunn says, "Vamps running money scams now? That's low." Cordy says that a motivational speaker named Doug Sanders ran the scheme, adding that he disappeared before the authorities could arrest him. Cordy turns up a photo of Doug (in non-vamp form, obviously), and Harmony leans over to see the picture, spilling blood into the keyboard. Which causes the computer to spark, smoke, and go dead. In that way they do. In alternate universes. It's not until now that I notice that the computer in question is not the iBook. I guess Cordy squirreled it away at home, claimed that it was "lost in the move," and got Angel to spring for a brand new computer with a flat screen monitor. Because money is so tight and all. Speaking of con artists...Cordy leads Harmony away, calling her "Harm," which leads Wesley to grouse, "Such a fitting nickname."

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