That Old Gang Of Mine

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Previously on Angel, Merl bugged the hell out of me, Cary read minds, Gunn looked fine, George got killed, Angel got busy, and Darla left town. Why did we have to see Angel and Darla making the sign of the triple-toed marmoset in there? She's not in this episode at all. Just to hurt me, I guess. And that won't be the only pain I feel during this episode. Not by a long shot.

The screen is black as we hear Angel say, "That night still haunts me." I swear to you, I immediately began moaning in fear, because I thought we were going to see another experiment in Angel-narration à la "Redefinition." We fade up on Angel's giant head -- eek! He's talking to us: "I'm ashamed [of] how I treated you. The way I used you." He goes on like that, and then we get the punchline, which is that he's at Caritas, talking to a skeptical Merl. Merl looks around at the MoG and complains, "He's reading!" Angel admits that he "made some notes," and we see that he's holding a fistful of three-by-five cards. Merl says that "real friends don't need notes," and an exasperated Angel snaps, "We're not friends!" Heh. I'm totally on Angel's side, here. Merl starts to storm off, but Cordy tries to convince him to give Angel a chance. Meanwhile, Wesley is giving Angel the disappointed-father look and saying, "You promised you'd make an attempt." I hate to interrupt and all, but, uh, why is this happening? Based on their interaction in "Heartthrob," even Wesley isn't exactly pals with Merl. Also, Merl is a snitch. If he gets paid for his information, who cares if he gets invited to the company picnic? Who suggested this apology, and why? Phew. Sorry. I've gotta pace myself or I won't have any bile left for the rest of the episode. Merl asks Cordy, "Did you get a load of that insincere tripe he was reading?" Cordy sniffs, "I hardly think it's fair to blame it on the writing." I guess she's been reading too many interviews with Whedon. Angel asks what Merl wants, and Merl answers, "I want back the three months I spent in therapy after being upside down in a sewer! " God, he's annoying. Hey Merl, if you'd just answered his question about where Dru and Darla were gathering a crew for a demon army to attack L.A., he wouldn't have dunked you in the sewer. Just sayin'. Angel admits that whenever he asked Merl for information, Merl had it, and offers to atone by letting Merl punch him. Cordy and Wesley groan. Merl whines, "You see this, he's goading me!" Angel is being a big old jerk, spoiling for a fight, but since it's Merl, I'm kind of entertained by it. So is Gunn, who chuckles to himself by the bar. Angel and Merl keep shouting, and at some point Angel says "Merl-la-la-la-la" to taunt him, which is just silly. Hee! Merl finally snaps, picks a bottle up off the bar, and smashes it on Angel's head. Or tries to. The bottle explodes in a blaze of white light, and Merl is tossed back. He whines, "You did that on purpose." Angel smirks and turns his back so that we can't see him giggle to himself, but you know that's what he's doing. Cary tells Merl, "I'm sure that Angel just forgot for the moment that any demon violence is impossible in Caritas." Any what, now?

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