|Season 2, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 26, 2000|
|Written by||David Greenwalt|
|Directed by||Michael Lange|
To Shanshu in L.A.
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
|J. August Richards|| Gunn |
|Andy Hallett||The Host|
|Eliza Dushku|| Faith |
|Rob Boltin||Johnny Fontaine|
|Iris Fields||Acting Teacher|
|Keith Campbell||Club Manager|
|Jason Frasca||White Guy|
|Andy Kreiss||Lizard Demon|
|Glenn David Calloway||Judge|
|Edward James Gage||Mordar the Bentback|
Judgment is the season premiere of the second season of Angel and the twenty-third episode overall. Written by David Greenwalt and directed by Michael Lange, it was originally broadcast on September 26, 2000 on the WB network.
A vision from Cordelia sends Angel on another mission where he erroneously kills the demonic protector of a pregnant woman named Jo, who is being hunted by evil bounty hunters, and also must face a mysterious Tribunal' in order to live through the night. Street gang member and amateur vampire slayer Charles Gunn helps Angel to retrieve a talisman needed for the trial while Angel himself faces his innermost fears: in order to get the information he needs, he must sing in a demon karaoke bar named Caritas, where the kindly demon Host has the ability to look into each singer's feelings. Meanwhile, the evil lawyers Lindsey and Lilah from Wolfram & Hart are revealed to have brought back from the Raising the long dead vampire Darla, whom they plan to use to seek revenge against Angel. At the end, Angel visits Faith, now serving a long prison term, where they talk about salvation for each other.
Lilah visits Lindsey's office, where Darla is enjoying classical music. She talks of how she can feel Angel, and slowly her memory is returning. Cordelia is at acting class until she gets a "911" message on her beeper and has to leave. Wesley is throwing darts to impress a young woman when he also gets a message on his beeper. The two meet Angel at a gym where they put an end to a demon performing a ritual sacrifice in a room behind one of the gym mirrors. Cordelia has a vision about a Prio Motu Demon, and for more information they go to Caritas, a demon karaoke bar and safe haven, to seek out Wesley's demon informant Merl who knows where to find the Prio Motu demon. Lorne is introduced as the Host of the bar, an Anagogic Demon who can see into the hearts and read the future of those who sing, but Angel refuses to sing in public, saying its one of three things he never does (the others being "get a suntan" and "date"). Angel finds the Prio Motu demon along with a pregnant woman. He kills the demon, but then the woman, Jo, tearfully informs him that the demon was protecting her and her unborn child. Feeling guilty about killing the demon, Angel tracks down Merl, who had deliberately deceived Angel into thinking the demon was bad. Merl informs Angel where the demon was living as as well telling him a bit about the importance of the child.
Angel finds Gunn hunting vampires in a bad part of town and asks for help in finding the Prio Motu demon's hideout, which has little except for a talisman that may be of use. Angel asks Gunn to deliver the talisman to Wesley and Cordelia while he waits for the pregnant woman to return. When she does, Angel offers his help, but she's not eager to accept it as he has done her nothing but harm and, she thinks, stolen the talisman. Demons attack, and Angel sends Jo to Cordelia's place while he fights them off. Gunn shows up at Cordelia's bearing the talisman, followed by Angel. Jo never shows up.
Wesley determines that the talisman identifies a champion for The Tribunal, a mystical organization that offers protection. To get more information, Angel is forced to sing karaoke in front of the Host - he mangles "Mandy" (this is, incidentally, one of the first indications that Angel is familiar with contemporary American pop culture, following a comment about Frank Langella's performance as Dracula in the episode Eternity; throughout his appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he is consistently depicted as a "cultured," Old World sort, reading centuries-old works from France, Great Britain, and elsewhere in direct contrast to the thoroughly modern Spike.). The Host tells Angel where the woman's trial will take place. Jo finds herself alone, with no champion and no talisman as the trial begins, and just as the tribunal announces that her life is to be taken, Angel arrives to fight for her, but he is quickly run through with a sword by his demonic opponent. Just as the Tribunal is declaring the demon the winner, Angel pulls out the sword and decapitates the demon, winning. Since Angel has won the trial by combat, the Tribunal grant protection to Jo and her unborn child until the child comes of age. Angel goes to visit Faith, now serving a long prison term, and they talk about redemption and Barry Manilow.
- Starting with this episode, Angel appears in widescreen (16:9) on the DVDs in the United States. The second season is still designed for standard definition televisions (4:3) and some syndicated airings show the 4:3 versions.
- The DVD lists the episode as "Judgement."
- Eliza Dushku is credited in the closing credits of this episode instead of the opening ones. Although closing credits cast listings are usually reserved only for background characters with unimportant parts, or those with minimal or no speaking role, Dushku was placed here to keep Angel's visit to prison a surprise for the viewers. This same trick is used several other times in the series for the same effect.
- J. August Richards joins the regular cast and is billed in the opening credits as of this episode. This is also Andy Hallett's first appearance as The Host, later known as Lorne. Hallett is a regular guest star from this episode on, and eventually joins the regular cast during the fourth season.
- EJ Gage, who plays Mordar the Bentback, also played one of the movers in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Buffy vs. Dracula", which aired immediately before this one on their original broadcast.
- The end credits feature outtakes from Angel's performance of Mandy, and the very end, after the "Grrr, Argh," features a voiceover from David Boreanaz saying "Thank you very much" while impersonating Elvis.
- This is one of the first episodes on Angel in which demons are shown of being capable of doing good. Angel experiences guilt after killing Jo's demon protector because he killed "an innocent being" and "a soldier like [him]self", and because it never occurred to him that a demon could be either of those things.
- The widescreen DVD release of this episode creates a couple of visible goofs that had not previously been apparent on the standard format TV broadcast and also on the VHS release. In the sequence in the gym in the episode's teaser, Angel is clearly visible in the gym's mirrors in a couple of instances, both times appearing in the extreme right of the frame, that would not be apparent on the original broadcast.
- This episode introduces the character of Lorne, known only as The Host until the last few episodes of the second season, at first a recurring friend and ally of Angel's team and then later a member of it. Lorne is the first truly good demon on the show and unlike the rest of the team, does very little fighting on the series. The only time Lorne takes an active role in the fight is during the Destruction of the Circle of the Black Thorn when he helps Lindsey destroy the Sahvrin Clan and then kills Lindsey himself on Angel's orders.
- One of the demons seen in Caritas is a species of the mouthless telepathic demons previously seen in Earshot.
- Billy Ray Cyrus - "Achy Breaky Heart"
- Garth Brooks - "Friends in Low Places" (original episode broadcast)
- Gloria Gaynor - "I Will Survive"
- Pointer Sisters - "I'm So Excited"
- Crown Jewels - "Last Confession" (DVD release)
- Barry Manilow - "Mandy"
- Chopin - "Prelude in C minor"
- Marvin Gaye - "Sexual Healing"