But since you deserve more, I, cribbing heavily from my intrepid co-watcher Jenn's excellent notes, will flesh that out a bit.
"Untouched" (Angel 2.4): Jenn boils this Whedon-directed episode down to one word. And it's not Darla. It's trust! Lilah and Darla, Wesley and Cordelia, Bethany and Lilah--all the conflicted dyads in this episode center on negotiating bonds of trust in order to define what a good family (and, by definition, a bad family) looks like.
|A good family.|
|Not so much.|
Jenn also rightly notes that fathers seem to be where families fail, not only in Angel (his Bad Dad, Wesley's Bad Dad, the girl with the lethal touch in this episode who has a really epic Bad Dad), but also Buffy. Which will make Angel's character arc all the more interesting as we move through this season.
"Dear Boy" (Angel 2.5): We get Drusilla's backstory in this one, in the service of pointing out how monumentally fucked up Angelus is/was. He turned her to torment her for eternity. That's sweet.
|He's also got a thing for convents. No judgment.|
Jenn also shares my increasing annoyance with Boring Kate. She's on some religiously-tinged vendetta that she feels gives her a free pass re: law-breaking. I honestly can't remember if she dies, but I'm totally ready for her to.
|Kate Whoever: Taking the law into her own hands since episode 2.|
"Guise Will Be Guise" (Angel 2.6): Thank you Jane Espenson for some Wesley-impersonating-Angel hijinks. Totally gets him laid.
|Must be the coat.|
Additionally, we get Angel undergoing some typically circumspect psychotherapy. The Whedonverse don't cotton to shrinks.
|But he looks so trustworthy!|
Jenn geniusly unpacks the problem:
My Favorite Part of the Episode:
- Fake Shaman/Swamee/Shrink Guy: "So, here's the deal: You go out and you find yourself some small, blonde thing. You bed her. You love her. You treat her like crap. You break her heart. You and your inner demon will thank me. I promise you."
- Angel: "Um...."
- I know it was a fairly obvious Buffyverse reference; however, the point blank advice is so Typical Guy Thinking with the Wrong Head. It reminded me of the scene in Say Anything when Lloyd hangs out with the guys behind the convenience store in an attempt to get comfort after Diane Court dumps him. Joe--Cory's Joe that she wrote a shit-ton of songs about--tells Lloyd that the key to forgetting Diane is simply hooking up with some other girl. Indeed, Joe offers to get Lloyd any girl he wants. Except Diane Court, of course. Anyway, my point is: it seems like such a stereotypical guy move to suggest that simply replacing/using one female to block out the influence of another would actually succeed. As we see with both Angel and Lloyd, it doesn't work that way.
|This Say Anything reference comes at no extra cost to you, the reader.|
"Darla" (Angel 2.7): Yeah, so, more Darla. In this one, we get her backstory, with a special appearance from The Master himself!
|Looking good! Long time, no see!|
Turns out she was not so much a slut but a whore who was all about serving the Master until Angel came along with his bad boy ways and temporarily (as we know) took her away from all that.
|Must be . . . the coat?|
This is also a super metatastic crossover episode with "Fool for Love," as we get the dueling accounts of Spike's inclusion in the anti-Scoobies, including echoes of actual camera shots. Very nice little bit of cross-programming, show(s).
|A shot so nice, they used it twice.|
We also find out that Darla isn't so much into the being human thing (which is an excellent program), and wants Angel to turn her. Angel is bummed, which sends him right back into a brooding cycle