Episode # 82
Original Air Date: March 26, 2003
Review by: Anne
The gang is shocked after Cordy arrives downstairs in a top that clearly reveals her pregnant stomach. She says that she found out around the time they brought back Angelus, but she didn't tell them because she didn't want to be a distraction. The gang muses that it's just been weeks but she looks eight months pregnant. She says that she senses the baby's goodness, adding that it will be there soon and they'll all see. Angel assigns researching tasks to Fred, Wesley, and Lorne, but Gunn is to "sit tight." At this point Gwen Raiden arrives, saying that she needs help - from Gunn. Upstairs, Cordy finds Connor in an unused room; he's bothered by the fact that she was wrong about Willow's magic and about killing Angelus. Cordy tells him that since he was willing to kill Angelus, she knows that she can completely trust him. She adds that she might ask him to do some things for her, and she wants him to remember that there's always a reason. At Gwen's posh apartment, she tells Gunn that she was hired to sabotage a company's new device, and that company retaliated by kidnapping Lisa, the daughter of the man who hired her. She needs Gunn to help her save the girl; it won't be easy, but he is glad to have the chance to actually do good. Dressed impeccably, they arrive for Mr. Morimoto's party, where Gunn gets them in despite a problem with their invitation. Cordy visits Angel in his room, where he reveals that moves such as stealing Angel's soul killing Lilah must have been done by The Beast's master. Angel also predicts that the master will eventually make a mistake and they'll get him. At the party, Gwen points out Lisa and orders Gunn to get Lisa out while she creates a distraction. However, when he snatches the girl, Gwen notifies a guard. Gunn defeats the others who try to stop him, then he realizes that the girl is not Lisa. He goes to find Gwen, cracking a safe. She finally admits that LISA is an acronym for a prototype device that regulates body chemistry, among other things. Mr. Morimoto appears with armed guards, but Gwen refuses to give LISA back; she becomes so angry that electricity shoots from her, disabling Mr. Morimoto's crew. Back at her place, she reveals her hope that LISA will let her be a little more normal. She bares her back so Gunn can place the device on her; he does and it works, because he isn't shocked when he touches her. The mood turns a bit sexy and they start to kiss. Meanwhile at the hotel, Lorne announces that he's learned of a ritual that will restore his ability to read people. Fred and Wes offer assistance, but Lorne insists that it must be done with him alone and secluded. Later, Lorne is in a large, dark room, but as he works he's watched by a dagger-toting Cordy. As she sneaks toward him the lights suddenly come on. Cordy turns to find Angel, looking very solemn. She turns to flee the other way, but Fred and Wes are there pointing guns at her.
Oh, cry me a river, Connor: "You make jokes because you don't like me." They make jokes all the time - where's he been? And might it be that people don't like him because he's often, well, downright unlikable? Still, after Wes's explanation of how he got together with Lilah, it's easy to see why Connor is so devoted to Cordy. Well, that and she is manipulating him, big time. Maybe it's a good sign that he actually challenged Cordy on something: he even told her that she was wrong about it.
Speaking of Cordy, it is great to see the gang finally recognize that something is up with her. The ending was really out-of-the-blue for the viewers, but the gang must have known before that since they set up a trap for her. What tipped them off? Since Cordy was about to spill something on the book that Angel was trying to reconstruct, there must have been something important in it. Did Angel actually reconstruct the book earlier and find out about her that way? Or was it something she said, or perhaps something he remembered from when he was Angelus? Whatever it was, I thought that scene was well done, but I'll be a little disappointed if it plays out in a predictable way, such as Connor saving her or her talking her way out of it.
There were plenty of other big things happening in this seemingly trivial episode. Gwen is "cured." Gunn is reminded that he's more than just muscle. Gunn and Gwen hook up, which is somewhat comparable to Lilah and Wesley's relationship. Considering Wesley's remark that "it's not always about holding hands" then Gwen expressing a desire to hold hands, the connection is even more noticeable. Another link is that Gunn and Wes were both interested in Fred, yet they are also attracted to women who are the opposite of her. If Gunn and Gwen don't begin seeing each other regularly, one might argue that they were both just caught up in the moment; however, if and when Fred finds out about their tryst, she'll probably be very hurt since she's already been jealous of and disliked Gwen.
The episode's title - "Players" - has been used to describe the characters before. It was used twice in this ep, but I didn't see anything that made this episode earn that title. Maybe that was the point, to remind us that the gang is still just trying to play their part.
* Angel mocking the "self-important" tone of the master's voice was funny; she certainly is full of herself, isn't she.
* Cordy's "I'm his master..." confession was bizarre. Even though her tone implied that Angel's suggestion was ridiculous, it might have been what made him suspect her.
* Mr. Morimoto's assertion that "something wonderful is coming" could be a sign that whatever is in Cordy has started to cast a spell over the general populous.
* As Cordy spoke to Connor about asking him to do things for her, wasn't she folding some sort of baby-wear? If so, that must have been Connor's, and its inclusion is a subtle reminder of their complicated - and somewhat icky - relationship.