Blind Date (Angel)
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2011)|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Thomas J. Wright|
|Written by||Jeannine Renshaw|
|Original air date||May 16, 2000|
"Blind Date" is episode 21 of season 1 in the television show Angel. Written by Jeannine Renshaw and directed by Thomas J. Wright, it was originally broadcast on May 16, 2000 on the WB network. In Blind Date, Angel reluctantly agrees to help lawyer Lindsey McDonald save a group of three blind children from a blind woman assassin hired by the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart. However, Lindsey struggles with his decision to save the children and betray the firm when Holland Manners, Lindsey's supervisor, offers him the promotion of a lifetime.
Angel encounters a blind woman, who throws him against a wall and easily fights off his punches before slipping off. When he returns to Angel Investigations, Cordelia looks up "blind woman murder" on the Internet and discovers a blind woman named Vanessa Brewer has been arrested for fleeing the scene of a homicide and assault, and is currently on trial for her suspected role in a homicide. Cordelia also discovers Wolfram & Hart is representing Vanessa pro bono, so she's probably working for them in some capacity.
In court, Lindsey argues that Vanessa's disability absolves her from suspicion. Angel enters and tosses Vanessa's glasses at her, and when she immediately catches them, the courtroom reacts. Still, Vanessa is acquitted. Later, after Holland Manners congratulates Lindsey for doing well in court, he discusses the hardships Lindsey has faced over the past year, namely the poor decision to send Faith after Angel. Holland says Lindsey won't be happy until he figures out his place in the world. The conversation turns back to Vanessa, whom Holland hints has been hired to assassinate several children.
At the office, Wesley explains Vanessa can see outside of the spectrum of normal human sight. Angel is upset that Vanessa was acquitted and he can't do anything about it. He's angry that Wolfram & Hart has made up their own rules. He tells Wesley he remembers living in a world like Wolfram & Hart's, where there's only power and no consequences. He misses the clarity involved and laments that nothing ever changes. Lindsey suddenly arrives and tells Angel that he needs his help: "I want out." Lindsey explains he grew up in abject poverty, and decided he would become powerful to keep things being taken away from him - which was why he joined Wolfram & Hart. Angel is uninterested in Lindsey's life story until Lindsey tells him that Vanessa has been hired to assassinate children. Angel tells him that he'll need information that Lindsey will have to take from Wolfram & Hart. Lindsey doesn't want to go back, since people there are under constant surveillance, but goes to prove to Angel that he really wants to change. Later, the group plans Angel and Lindsey's break-in at Wolfram & Hart. Lindsey decides to use his own pass to get into the building, then leave the pass for Angel to use to get into a demon-guarded vault. Lindsey suddenly remembers the firm's vampire alarms, which will go off as soon as Angel arrives at the building. That night, Angel meets with Gunn, who agrees to help him.
The next day at Wolfram & Hart, Lindsey runs into Lilah Morgan, who is surprised to see him heading towards a records room. Once she's gone, he leaves his security pass under a fire extinguisher then heads back upstairs as Angel waits for the right time to move. Gunn steps into the lobby carrying a large bundle, and elsewhere Angel enters the building. As the vampire alarms go off, Gunn cuts the cord holding the bundle, revealing a vampire inside. Security guards chase the vampire and stake him, as Angel grabs Lindsey's security pass and uses it to enter the vault. He takes zip disks labeled "restricted access" and, on a whim, grabs a tube covered with symbols. This activates another alarm and drops a grate over the door to the vault. Angel is able to make it under the grate before he's trapped inside. On his way back to the sewer, he calls Lindsey and tells him that he's done and that Lindsey should get out. Lindsey tries to avert some security guards but soon realizes that they're everywhere. Lilah tells him that there's a sweep, and Lindsey sees Holland leading two mind-readers into an office.
A handful of lawyers are lined up for the mind-readers to read. Lindsey fears that he's been caught, but Holland announces that Lee has been in secret meetings with clients and is shot in the head for his troubles. Holland dismisses the others, asking Lindsey to stay behind. Holland asks Lindsey if he's scared; Lindsey admits that he is. Holland says that's understandable, since he went to Angel for help, stole from the vault, tried to sabotage a case, and lied about everything. Lindsey says that he didn't want to lie or betray the firm, he just wanted to leave. Holland says that few men make their own destinies, but those who do "have the courage of their convictions, and they know how to behave in a crisis." He thinks that Lindsey has what it takes to be one of those men, but he still doesn't know where he belongs. Holland decides not to have Lindsey killed, instead giving him a few days to figure out what he wants to do.
Angel returns to his office and is surprised that Lindsey isn't already there. Cordelia asks if Angel is going to go back for him, but he says that there's no reason to, since he already did his job. Wesley finds the tube in Angel's briefcase and finds a roll of parchment inside. He asks why Angel took it and Angel admits that he's not sure. Wesley says that he'll translate the ancient Aramaic on the parchment, but Cordelia discovers that first they'll have to translate the encrypted disks. Cordelia calls Willow for help decrypting the disks (Willow has also been decrypting all day). The decrypted information reveals Vanessa blinded herself when she was 21, then trained with a group of monks who believed that "enlightenment is seeing with the heart, not the mind." Vanessa is supposed to kill three children - blind seers considered a powerful triumvirate. Angel instructs Cordelia and Wesley to intercept the mentor who's supposed to meet with the children. Vanessa arrives at a safe house, killing the man guarding the children with her cane. Angel tells Lindsey to get the kids out. Vanessa fights them both, but Angel eventually grabs her cane and drops her with it. During the fight, it is revealed that Vanessa is only able to see objects in motion, a weakness which Angel exploits in order to defeat her. Later, back at the office, Wesley tells Angel the parchment he stole from Wolfram & Hart contains the Prophecies of Aberjian (referred to later as the Shanshu Prophecy), which mentions a vampire with a soul. Wesley tells Angel that he may not know what his place is in the chaos, but he belongs somewhere in there.
Lindsey returns to Wolfram & Hart with the disks Angel stole and apologizes to Holland, saying he did what he needed to. Holland proclaims his rescue of the children was "noble" and notes that Lindsey probably made copies of what was on the disks. Lindsey says that he wants his own life, but Holland tells him that "we're all part of something larger." He tells Lindsey that he handpicked him to join the firm because he saw potential in him. "It's not about good or evil - it's about who wields the most power," Holland announces. Lindsey stood up to the firm and won, and Holland wants him to stay with them. In fact, he's giving Lindsey his own job, since Holland is getting a promotion. He tells Lindsey that it's his choice, then leaves. Lindsey stays put, looking out the window at the city lights as Angel does the same thing elsewhere.
Jennifer Badger, who guest stars as Vanessa, has previously been Charisma Carpenter and Eliza Dushku's stunt double in both Buffy and Angel. She was also one of the victims in Somnambulist, the eleventh episode of Angel season 1.
Special Effects Supervisor Loni Peristere says they couldn't afford to shoot Vanessa's perspective using greenscreen, so instead they came up with the "crazy idea" of painting the actors with glow-in-the-dark paint and shooting the scenes in the dark. The effect was intensified by offsetting the footage to create tracers, and then reversing the image - "it was supposed to tell the story that she sees the action before it actually happens," explains Peristere. "It was such a wacky idea and it really worked out well."
Producer Tim Minear explains that this episode provides a "detailed exploration of Wolfram & Hart, establishing the power base there and laying the groundwork for Season Two." It also provides backstory for the character of Lindsey, including his motivations for working at Wolfram & Hart.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Holland Manners. He is the one who orchestrates Angel's pinpointed obsession toward Wolfram and Hart through Darla in Season 2.
- Lindsey makes the full transition of his loyalties to Wolfram and Hart after having doubts about the ethical quandaries he has been tasked with.
- Lee Mercer, a colleague of Lilah and Lindsey at Wolfram and Hart who appeared in three previous episodes, is killed after mind readers discover his intentions of leaving the firm.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Primeval" occurs during the events of this episode. Cordelia, while decrypting files with the help of Willow on the phone, mentions to Wesley that the Scoobies have been decrypting files all day as well. This event falls right after the crossover events of "Sanctuary" and "The Yoko Factor".
In an essay entitled "Why We Love Lindsey", M.S. West says the scene at the end of the episode "fulfills Joss Whedon's earlier promise of a more adult show with less clear fault-lines of right and wrong." Lindsey makes a difficult choice between redemption and power, ultimately choosing to accept the promotion. "In that moment," West writes, "Lindsey is what Angel the show struggled through its first season to be."
- Hughes, Mike (2005-11-19), A Buffy Stunt Team : A real couple of daredevils, OrlandoSentinel.com
- Bratton, Kristy, Special FX: CoA Interviews Loni Peristere, Special FX Supervisor
- Gross, Edward (September 26, 2000), ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear, Part 4, retrieved 2007-11-01
- West, Michelle Sagara (2004), "Why We Love Lindsey", in Glenn Yeffeth, Five Seasons of Angel, BenBella, pp. 94–96, ISBN 1-932100-33-4
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