Angel
The Trial

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Strega: C- | 1 USERS: B+
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The Trial

Darla sits on a stool onstage at Caritas. She goes all Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys with a torch song about ill winds blowing her no good. Judy Henske, she ain't. But she can carry a tune, even if her voice makes me expect her to break into "Don't Speak" at any moment. Cary, a.k.a. the Host, is wearing a leopard-print shirt under his blue suit. He knows better than to wear plaid, though. He listens to Darla sing for her succor, and says, "Oo." (Okay, I used that pun before. But I'm proud of it, so I'm using it again.) When Angel demands clarification, he says, "Ground control to Major Tom: we may not be able to save this bird." Y'know, I could see Angel saying, "Planet earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do..." Brief synopsis of how the last time Angel got advice from Cary, a swami-impersonator tried to kill him. But Cary suffered from that adventure, too: "People try to kill you every day. I'm talkin' about Ramon, who overheard us, betrayed me. Man was a world-class bartender. He made a Sea Breeze that took you to Tahiti!" Angel asks if they could get back to the latest albatross around his neck. Cary listens to Darla, who somehow manages to simper while she sings. After a minute, Cary tells Angel that "things fall apart, not everything can be put back together, no matter how much you want it." Cary points out that Darla had a heckuva lot more time to enjoy the world than most people do, but Angel says that was "as a vampire. Before that she was...she never had a chance." Darla finally finishes her song, and as everyone applauds, Cary comments, "Someone get my heart! That girl's ripped it right out." Reluctantly, Cary admits there is one way Angel can help, although "[he's] probably going to regret this. In fact, being prescient, [he's] sure of it." Cary says that it's "a bit of a quest," and Angel will probably die in the attempt. Angel is, naturally, all over that idea. Cary scribbles down an address and hands it to Angel, saying that this is "where we find out if you're really ready to take the plunge."

Angel and Darla arrive at an empty swimming pool. "He said I'd have to take the plunge," Angel notes. Darla asks if the plunge has to be into an empty pool. Angel says, "Sure, 'cause if you had water, you'd get all wet, and miss out on all that skull-crushing." More bantering, and Angel assures her that it's "this whole leap of faith thing." Angel steps onto the diving board as Darla asks why he's doing this. Angel looks at Darla. Darla's low-cut gown answers the question. Angel nervously says, "I'm either coming back with a cure, or you're about to see something kinda funny." Heh. Angel dives...through the bottom of the pool, tumbling onto the floor of the remodeled Oracles' foyer. A man impersonating John Hurt says, "Well, you've certainly proved your faith. Now we'll test your valor. I shall be assisting you with the trials, sir." Angel turns to see that Darla has also been transported to this little dungeon nook. Hurt explains that if Angel survives all three trials, Darla will "be made whole." If not, Darla dies instantly. He adds, "In the meantime, Darla, you can relax with an iced beverage in our antechamber." Darla fades away. Angel doesn't like this whole "betting on Darla's life" deal, but he is essentially told to stuff it. Growling noises are heard, and Hurt tells Angel to get ready.

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