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"Players" is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eighty-second episode in the series. Written by Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft, and Jeffrey Bell and directed by Michael Grossman, it was originally broadcast on March 26, 2003, on The WB network.

Synopsis[]

Angel and the gang set out to find out as much as they can about Cordelia's pregnancy and the identity of The Beast's master while Gwen Raiden enlists Gunn's help to crash a black-tie affair and rescue a kidnapped girl.[1]

Summary[]

Gwen Raiden meets with a contact who gives her some papers. He starts to flirt but is interrupted when a bolt of lightning strikes Gwen, causing her to fly backwards. As the man flees, she mutters that he didn't bother to check if she was alright before taking off.

The Angel team reacts to Cordelia's revelation of her pregnancy. Lorne is shocked that a mystical pregnancy occurred right under his nose, and he didn't sense it. They decide to do research and determine how she is so far along in only two weeks. Cordelia talks to Connor, who questions why she asked him to kill Angelus.

Angel refuses to feel guilty over what he did as Angelus, reminding everyone that they knew what they were getting into when they removed his soul. He then apologizes to Wesley for drinking from Lilah's corpse, revealing that she was already dead when he found her.

Gwen returns to the Hyperion Hotel to ask Gunn to assist her in rescuing a little girl from Takeshi Morimoto, a wealthy and powerful tycoon, during a posh party at his high-tech security mansion.

During their research, Wesley and Fred discuss Connor and Cordelia's secret relationship, and Wesley admits that he had feelings for Lilah.

Upon their arrival at the party, Gunn surprises everyone with his command of the Japanese language and etiquette. He impresses the host by presenting a gift, which he lifted from Gwen's apartment. Gwen asks Gunn to cause a distraction while she goes off on her own mission.

Meanwhile, Angel and the rest of the team are hindered by an overprotective Connor while they research Cordelia's sudden pregnancy.

After beating up a guard, Gunn realizes he has been tricked by Gwen; her target is actually a high-tech military device titled L.I.S.A. Although Gunn is initially angry with Gwen for lying to him, she notes that he is having more fun than he's had in a long time. After she promises he can keep the suit she lent him, he eventually relents and helps her finish the mission.

Angel has managed to reconstruct a passage from a destroyed book through his photographic memory. Unfortunately, he is unable to get all of the details correct. Lorne has managed to contact a demon called Wanda, who has provided a spell that should restore Lorne's empathic abilities. It will require him to do the ritual in privacy, but he reassures the gang that the completion will allow him to tell what is inside Cordelia.

After retrieving the device from the safe, Gunn and Gwen are cornered by Morimoto and his guards. In a fit of rage, Gwen reveals that she is stealing the device for herself. She electrocutes the guards, and she and Gunn escape from the house.

Lorne begins his ritual while Cordelia watches him from above, unseen.

Back in her apartment, Gwen admits to Gunn that she has never been able to have human contact, not even holding someone's hand. She tells Gunn that he's more than just muscle for Angel Investigations. She explains that the device will allow her to control her electrical powers and touch other people. As he places it on her bare back, they are unsure of what the device will do. Gunn touches her skin to test whether the device has worked. When they both realize he is able to touch her without being shocked, the moment turns intimate. Although she is initially concerned that the device won't hold, Gunn reassures her that she can restart his heart like before, and the two have sex.

Lorne continues with the ritual, chanting while he holds a hidden object. Cordelia sneaks silently down the stairs, holding a knife in her hand. Just as she's about to stab him, someone turns on the lights. Cordelia looks up and sees Angel standing in front of her. She turns to run, but Fred and Wesley are armed and block her exit. Lorne, revealing the ritual to be fake, uncovers the hidden object he is holding: a Magic-8 Ball. He shakes the ball and asks it if Cordelia has been a bad girl. When Lorne turns it over, the triangle inside it reads, "Definitely."

Continuity[]

  • This episode implies that roughly two weeks have passed since at least "Awakening," with Cordelia explaining her awareness of her pregnancy since Angelus has come back. Gunn makes a later reference that could put "Apocalypse, Nowish" within the same time frame, referencing to the battle on the rooftop between the Beast, Angel, Gunn, Wesley and Lorne.
  • Angel Investigations discovers Cordelia is the Beast's master, who has been acting since the episode "Apocalypse, Nowish" and was first revealed in "Salvage."
  • Gwen tells Gunn he shouldn't buy into the notion that his only value to Angel's group is as "the muscle." He'll decide to allow Wolfram & Hart implant him with legal knowledge and become a lawyer ("Conviction").
  • Wesley refers to the events of the episode "Expecting," in which Cordelia was impregnated by a Haxil beast and came to full term overnight.

Appearances[]

Individuals[]

Organizations and titles[]

Species[]

Events[]

Locations[]

Objects[]

Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • None.

Behind the scenes[]

Broadcast[]

  • "Players" had an audience of 2.2 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

Goofs[]

  • The music Lorne sings for the fake spell is nothing like the music score in front of him.

Music[]

International titles[]

  • Czech: "Hráči" (Players)
  • Finnish: "Pelaajat" (Players)
  • French: "Opération Lisa" (Operation Lisa)
  • German: "Gefährliches Spiel" (Dangerous Game)
  • Hungarian: "Játékosok" (Players)
  • Italian: "Giocatori" (Players)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Jogadores" (Players)
  • Russian: "Игроки" (Players)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Jugadores" (Players)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Jugadores" (Players)
  • Turkish: "Oyuncular" (Players)

Gallery[]

Promotional stills[]

References[]

  1. "angel: Players." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on August 31, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
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