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The Ring
The Ring
-- Quotes --

Written by Kristina

Cordy is at her desk, checking out a new demon database. She's not impressed with its name (Demons, Demons, Demons) or the fact that it doesn't include Wolfram and Hart. When Wesley finds out it doesn't include the Vigories of Oden Tal (the demons from "She") he is confident in his role as a traditional researcher. Cordy teases Wesley about his social life when Angel comes in. Cordy and Wesley continue to bicker, and Angel stops them when a client walks in. Darin Macnamara's brother has been kidnapped, and needs help. This morning, he received a severed finger (presumably from his brother) in the mail. Angel asks Darin if he knows the people that did this to his brother, and Darin tells them that it wasn't people. He gives Angel a picture of Jack. He gambles, and got in over his head with one of his bookies. Darin has bailed him out before, but he refused to this time. When he went over to his brother's, there were creatures dragging him away. He writes the description on a piece of paper, and Angel says he is going to visit the bookie.

A bunch of guys, including Jack's bookie, Ernie, are playing poker. Angel walks in, and asks to be invited to play. When Ernie doesn't, Angel throws a picture of Jack down on the table. Ernie walks out of the room, and Angel follows him into an alley. Angel learns that Jack is being made an example of, to scare people. Ernie refuses to tell Angel anything, until Angel artfully offers him a $100 bribe. There's a place under Beechwood Canyon.

Cordy has logged into the demon database, and enters the description Darin gave them (bald, white, slimy demon with claw-like hands and howls). Wesley says that by the time she enters all this information, he could have found the demon in his books. Cordy immediately says that she has it. It's a Howler demon.

Angel climbs down a ladder into a sewer. He sees some human body parts floating in some goo, and then two Howler demons attack him. After a scuffle, Angel knocks one demon out, and restrains one against the wall. He wants to know where Jack is, and when the demon tells him that they sold him, he wants to know whom he was sold to.

Angel is in a rundown neighborhood, watching couples in fancy dress line up outside one of the buildings. Angel breaks in through a barred basement window, and heads into the club. He walks up to a lady with brown hair, and catches her ticket as it falls off the bar. He walks into another room where people are cheering around a pit. Two demons are fighting each other, and one demon knocks down the other. It doesn't get up. The crowd starts chanting "killing blow" and a man tosses the standing demon a knife, which he uses to slit the other's throat. The announcer states the winner as Tom Cribb. This is his seventh win. The next match features one of their most popular fighters, Val Trepkos, from the barren wastelands of Treshok. Angel sees a blonde man that looks like Jack being led through a corridor, and Angel follows them.

A blinding light causes Angel to stop and shield his eyes. Jack never was kidnapped - Darin and Jack set up Angel. Jack tries to grab Angel's face, but Angel grabs him and throws him to the ground. A group of men begin to stick Angel with cattle prods until he falls down, unconscious.

Angel wakes up in a metal cage. He is surrounded by other demons, caged as well. He is wearing a thick silver bracelet with 'XXI' engraved into it. Angel tries to talk to the demon in the cage with him, but he doesn't speak English. Jack walks in, and reminds the demons of one simple rule as he opens the cage doors -- stay inside the red line. They can only get out after twenty-one kills, when their bracelet is removed. Angel says he isn't killing anyone, and Jack tells him that he will be killed then.

Wesley calls Kate, but she doesn't know, or care, where Angel is. Cordy wants to put out a missing person's report, but he's only been gone one night. Darin is nowhere to be found either. Wesley decides to find the bookie Angel talked to, and arms himself with some weapons.

Angel and the other demons are eating food a guard has dished out to them. Angel sits down, without a bowl, and strikes up a conversation with a lizard demon. The lizard demon, Cribb, snags someone's piece of bread, and bowl. Angel tries to get Cribb to give it back, but Cribb goes to drink from it. The guards start coming towards them with the cattle prods, sensing a fight. Angel looks at Cribb, and pushes the bowl over to its original owner, Malish. Later, Malish comes up to Angel, and tells him to mind his own business -- he can fight his own battles. Jack comes in, and announces the upcoming fights for the evening; Malish vs. Cribb, and Vlasovik vs. Baker. Cribb announces that it is no match; it's an execution. Malish tells Trepkos that he is walking out (meaning he is going to win). One of the other demons (Vlasovik) launches himself over the red line, and disintegrates. Jack suggests using Angel as his replacement for the evening's fight.

Ernie is busy beating up a guy, when Wesley enters. He wants to know where Angel is. Ernie says Angel paid him $200 to answer his questions, and Wesley tells him that he is not paying him anything. He takes out a crossbow, and when Ernie pulls out a gun, Wesley shoots a metal dart, pinning Ernie's hand to the wall. The gun slides to Wesley, and he picks it up, and aims it at Ernie's goons. He tells the guy getting beat up to leave, and then goes over to Ernie. He begins twisting the dart in Ernie's hand, and asks Ernie once more where Angel is.

The announcer begins to announce the evening's fights, when the dark-haired lady from the bar approaches Darin about the vampire with a soul he has fighting. She wants to know if he'll give her odds on him to win, and he says he'll give her even money. She takes the bet.

Angel is brooding as other demons warm up for their fights. Malish tells Angel he should warm up, and gives him some pointers on how to face Baker. Angel refuses to kill him, and Malish tells him that he doesn't have a choice. Jack walks in, and tells them that it is show time.

The announcer introduces Angel as Baker's opponent. The bell rings, and Baker attacks Angel. Angel only blocks or dodges Baker's blows. He's not even fighting.

Cordy and Wesley have dressed themselves up, and they are outside the club. Cordy spots a couple, and they go up to them. They pretend to be detective Andrews (Cordy) and detective Yelsew (Wesley). Wesley waves his wallet around, and Cordy tells him to write down their license plate. They learn the couples' names (Mr. Mathew Winslow and his lady), and confiscate their tickets, saying something illegal is going down. Winslow asks if it is a raid, but Cordy says they can't say. Winslow and his lady head home, silently thanking Wesley and Cordy. Cordy elbows Wesley as the couple leaves, saying he almost blew it.

Baker is still pummeling Angel. Cribb thinks Angel is being an idiot, trying to pull a Ghandi. Cordy and Wesley walk in, and Cordy spots Darin carrying a spare cuff. They begin to get closer to the pit, when they notice the fighting. Wesley says they are Octavian matches, and that he had heard rumors of their revival.

Darin puts the cuff down to motion to a guard. The guard drops a knife into the pit. Baker picks it up, and uses it to slice Angel on the shoulder. Angel morphs into his vamp face, and the crowd starts chanting "killing blow". Angel finally grabs a hold of Baker's knife hand, and buries the knife in Baker's chest. Wesley and Cordy watch as Angel turns and walks out of the pit.

Malish watches as Angel walks back into the cage room. Angel tries to keep Trepkos from fighting, but Cribb doesn't listen. One lucky kill doesn't make him an expert. Angel tells Trepkos that isn't the first, or twenty-first kill he has made (in fact, Angel's probably killed enough people in his unlife to free all the demons there). Jack ushers Trepkos and Malish into the ring. The fight begins, and Trepkos stands in the ring as Malish hits him over the head. In one swift movement, he grabs Malish's arm with one hand, his neck with the other and breaks it.

Wesley and Cordy are walking around outside the club, trying to figure out what they should do. They can't call the police because the Macnamaras would destroy the evidence, including the fighters. Wesley says the only way to get Angel out is to get the cuff off of him. He could make a key if he had one of the cuffs. Cordy produces a cuff (the one Darin was carrying around).

The demons are eating dinner, while Jack talks to Angel. He recounts his favorite moment of the match (Angel knifing Baker). He tells Angel that the demons know their place, and Angel tells Jack that someone needs to put him in his. At this point, Angel is just across from Jack, on the other side of the red line. Angel's left hand shoots out and he grabs Jack by the throat. He doesn't disintegrate, because the cuff is only on top of the red line, but not over it. He pulls Jack over, and uses him as a shield. He wants Jack to tell him how to open the cuffs. He calls to Cribb and Trepkos, asking them to search Jack for the key. He wants Jack to tell the demons how it feels to be a slave. Darin walks up, flanked by two guards with cattle prods. Angel will give them Jack back, in exchange for their freedom. Darin pulls out a gun, and kills Jack. One of the bullets hits Angel in the right shoulder. The guards knock Angel out with the cattle prods.

Angel wakes up in an office, across from the lady from the bar. She introduces herself as Lilah Morgan. Angel figures out she is a lawyer at Wolfram and Hart. She tells Angel that she convinced the Macnamara's to turn over his contract to the partners. He gets his freedom, if he turns a blind eye to the fights and Wolfram and Hart's activities. He sips from the champagne Lilah offers him. Angel asks for the guards to take him back.

Wesley is working over the bracelet, trying to create a key. He needs something that will conduct electricity, but not too much of it. He touches a wire to the cuff, but it conducts too much, and there are sparks. Wesley is thrown backwards onto the floor.

Angel walks back into the cage room. Cribb thinks he's even crazier than before. Darin re-cuffs Angel, and tells Angel that he will be facing Trepkos. The only way out of here is to fight, and smart money is on Trepkos - Angel will be his twenty-first kill.

The cuff is in a vise on Angel's table. Wesley tries touching a stick to the bracelet, but nothing happens. Cordy suggests horsehair. She takes a strand out of her bracelet (she took the hair from her palomino, Keanu, before the IRS took him). Wesley touches the horsehair to the cuff, and it opens.

The arena. Lilah bets $10 000 on Trepkos beating Angel. Angel and Trepkos enter the ring, and begin fighting. Angel only fights defensively. He is definitely taking a beating.

Cordy walks up to a guard in a dirty hallway, and asks him where the ladies' room is. Wesley sneaks around the corner while the guard is distracted.

Wesley calls over to Cribb. He tells Cribb he needs to see Angel, and Cribb tells him Angel will be dead in about twenty seconds. Wesley shows him the key he made, and Cribb uses his tongue to get it away from him.

Angel and Trepkos continue to fight. Darin tells a guard to make the fight more interesting, and the guard drops two wooden staffs into the pit. Fancy moves and more fighting ensue. The crowd is getting excited.

Wesley walks into the area above the pit, looking for Cordy. He tells her that one of the demons took his key. Cordy updates Wesley on the progress of the fight, and says that Angel can't last much longer. He has lost his staff, and Trepkos has him pinned. Angel manages to throw him off, but Trepkos stabs Angel in the torso with his staff. It breaks into two. Trepkos tries to finish Angel off, but Angel pulls the piece of staff out of his torso, and knocks Trepkos down. He holds the pointy end of the staff to Trepkos' throat.

Cribb unlocks his cuff, and goes to watch Angel and Trepkos' match. The crowd is chanting "killing blow", when Angel gets off of Trepkos and walks away. Trepkos gets up and goes after Angel. Angel doesn't try to block any of the blows; he lets them rain down on him.

Wesley pulls Cordy over to Darin. Trepkos continues to rain down blows on Angel, but stops. The crowd stops chanting, and he stares at them. Angel collapses to the ground. Darin motions to the guards to go to Angel and Trepkos. Wesley cocks a gun at Darin. Some of the spectators begin to leave. The doors to the pit open, and Cribb and the other demons come storming out. In the confusion, Darin grabs Wesley's gun. The demons begin killing the guards, and Cribb goes up to Angel. He frees him, after calling him a loser. Lilah is the last spectator to leave. Darin is about to shoot Wesley, when Cordy pushes him into the pit. Cribb is supporting Angel, when Darin goes to shoot Trepkos. Angel pulls Darin's gun hand down, and Cribb locks a cuff onto his wrist. Cribb then picks up Darin, and throws him to Trepkos. Trepkos throws him into the stands, and Darin disintegrates when he crosses over the red line. Cribb unlocks Trepkos, and he catches Angel as his knees give out. The three of them walk out of the ring, and Angel tells Trepkos he could have taken him.

Wesley, Cordy and Angel walk out of the club. They both support Angel - he doesn't look so good. Cordy says they weren't going to let anything happen to Angel, beyond the slavery and beatings. Wesley came up with the key, but Cordy came up with the key to the key. Angel tells them they both did a good job, and they all did something good that night - they let the captives go. Captives that were demons.

The Usual
The Usual

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All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.
-Angel (Epiphany)


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