Wesley is asking Will Scarlet for information about the Groosalugg. Scarlet says that if Groosy is challenged to a fight, he cannot refuse. Wesley says that they'll issue a challenge to lure Groosy out of the way, and then points to a drawing of the castle to indicate where the rebels should attack. Gunn says, "I wouldn't split my crew up that much if I was leading this charge." Wesley tells Gunn, "I'm leading this charge," and turns back to the rebels, because, after all, Gunn only has practical experience leading large groups into focused attacks, while Wesley has...Wesley...um...Wesley's read a lot of books. I guess we're meant to be impressed that Wesley has had a sudden surge of confidence, but since it seems to be misplaced confidence, I'm not sure it's a good thing. Unless it gets him killed, but I suppose that's too much to hope for. Scarlet tells Wesley about the Trombli slave-exploding device. Wesley says that Enik will zap the slaves if he thinks that the Trombli will lose the fight, so they'll have to hurry straight for what I've decided to call "the boom box." Scarlet says, "The castle is well guarded," like that's a news flash, because if it wasn't would they be spending all this time coordinating an attack on it? No wonder these people are being kept as slaves. Oh, that was just setting up Angel's entrance, since he chimes in, "Unlike this place," as he and Fred stroll up. The rebels are concerned that people were able to get through their sentries, and Gunn explains, "He's Angel; he does that." Gunn asks how the girl got through, and Angel introduces her: "She's Fred; she does that, too." Scarlet sends out more sentries, and Wesley identifies Fred as the girl from Cordy's vision. Introductions are made, and Gunn tells Angel that the rebels "made Wes their general." Maybe he's saying this enthusiastically, but I like to think he mentions it to convey to Angel, subtly, that the rebels are a pack of morons. Wesley offers to step aside and put Angel in charge, but Angel says he can't because of his demonitude. He apologizes for attacking Gunn, and Gunn dismisses the incident by saying, "It's kind of a crazy place here." Remember how some interesting possibilities for angst seemed to be set up last week? Notice how they've all vanished? As bitter about that as I am? Just checking. Angel says that Fred might be able to help get them home, and Fred starts babbling about "the trionic speechcraft formulation modification" and so on. Angel starts to tell Gunn and Wesley that he has bad news about Cary, and that's when two rebels return with Landok, who they've cleverly captured by wrapping his hands around their necks. Heh. Landok greets Angel, and says that he won't battle Angel for rescuing Fred because "it is forbidden to fight while performing a sacred duty. I was transporting my kinsman home when these fools tried to stop me." Angel tells the others about Cary's decapitation, and Landok opens the basket he's carrying to show them the head. Everyone looks in and says insightful things like, "He was..." and "Mmm." Cary opens his eyes and sniffs, "That's it? Where's the praising and extolling of my virtues? Where's the love?" Everyone recoils in shock, except Fred, who continues to look curiously into the basket. Heh. A shot of Fred from inside the basket fades into a shot of the full moon, which makes Johanna and I say, "Oooh." Not that it was particularly amazing, but we were a bit bored, frankly.
So, it's nighttime. We cut from the moon to the mooncalf...sorry, mooncow? Oh, it's just Wesley sitting by a fire. Gunn steps up and declares, "I'm only gonna say this once. The guys you send to create those diversions are gonna die." Wesley quietly agrees, and tells Gunn, "You try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everybody killed." Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved, yeah, I know. Except isn't Wesley in this just to save Cordelia? So it's more like, some must be sacrificed if a supporting character is to be saved. Wesley tells the rebels that it's time to get going, and Angel asks Wesley for instructions. The dumb leading the dumber -- that's what we've got here. Wesley tells Angel to challenge the Groosalugg to a fight, and kill him. Angel looks nervous, and says that he won't be able to defeat Groosy without vamping out. Wesley knows. Angel stammers, "When I fired you guys, the reason I....The darkness was coming out in me, I didn't want you near it. The thing that comes out here is ten times worse. Wes, I do this, you know I won't come back from it." Must we invalidate everything that made the middle of this season so good? The darkness was "coming out" of Angel? It wasn't a choice, it wasn't a deliberate reaction, and it wasn't a decision that was, at least arguably, justified? Now it was just the demon side making him be icky, and he fired the MoG to put them out of danger, and not because they were going to interfere in what he felt was necessary. I'm going to do my level best to believe that Angel is telling them what he thinks they want to hear, but it's hard to do that since there's no reason for him to mention it unless he thinks that's what happened. This is the sort of thing that brings the darkness out of me, y'know. If the writers ever gather together in a wine cellar, there's gonna be trouble, is all I'm saying. Growl. Fine, whatever, Wesley tells Angel that he'll be fine, blah blah "you're a man with a demon inside, not the other way around," as if that's somehow encouraging, blah blah "do what needs to be done," blah blah revisionist-cakes. Fred offers to go along and show Angel how to prepare the "challenge torch," and off they go. Gunn turns back to Wesley and asks, "You really think he'll come back?" Wesley replies, "I need him to think it," and snots off. Gunn looks after Wesley as Johanna exclaims, "Wesley's a cold bastard!" and I scream, "Punch him in the face!" Although I tend to do that whenever Gunn and Wesley have a scene together.