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|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Michael Grossman|
|Written by||Jeffrey Bell|
|Original air date||March 26, 2003|
"Players" is episode 16 of season 4 in the television show Angel. Gwen Raiden returns to ask Gunn to help her rescue a little girl from a wealthy and powerful tycoon. Meanwhile, Angel and the rest of his team are researching Cordelia’s sudden pregnancy.
Gwen exchanges money for information with a man in downtown Los Angeles and is then soon struck by lightning. She is planning a heist, ostensibly to rescue a little girl, Lisa, from a tycoon who kidnapped her from the head of a company over a business deal gone bad. She enlists the help of Gunn, someone suave enough for the job. They arrive by limo at the tycoon's compound, dressed in formal wear for a dinner party. After some difficulty, Gunn gains entrance by speaking Japanese and charming the host, Takeshi Morimoto.
It soon becomes apparent to Gunn that Gwen has tricked him: Instead of a kidnapped girl, Gwen is after a high-tech military device titled L.I.S.A. which will enable Gwen to control her electrical powers and touch other people. Gunn is caught in the ruse taking the daughter of Morimoto, though he is able to fight his way free. He finds Gwen after the distraction he had created for her, but they are cornered by Morimoto and his men. Gwen sends a shock of electricity through them all, and Gunn and Gwen escape back to her place. They test the device, a prototype that regulates components of the body for the purpose of stealth, on Gwen. It enters her system through her bare back, and they both realize it works. With relief, the two kiss. Without much human contact in all her years and knowing that L.I.S.A. is only a prototype, Gwen is reluctant to let things continue, but Gunn convinces her otherwise, and they continue to kiss and it is implied that they have sex.
Meanwhile, at the hotel, the gang reels from the shock of Cordelia's very sudden pregnancy. Connor is still agitated by the situation, and Cordelia continues to manipulate his feelings about their family. She explains that she may ask him to do other things before the baby arrives, but there will be a good reason for them all. Fred and Wesley research and talk about the strange relationship between Cordelia and Connor. At the office, Angel tries to remember an ancient code from Lilah's book that may tell them something about the Master. Cordelia tries to disguise her displeasure that they could be getting crucial information about her and attempts to spill coffee on the paper, but Angel's not-so-accurate memory of the text saves her the trouble.
Lorne returns with news that he has information on a ritual that can be performed to restore his empathic powers and that he has to go off on his own to do it. In an empty building, Lorne prepares the ritual, while unknown to him, Cordelia watches from a hidden spot above. Lorne begins the ritual and starts to sing as Cordelia slowly descends some stairs and approaches with a raised knife. Before she can strike, the lights suddenly turn on, exposing Cordelia and Angel standing behind her. Cordy turns and finds Fred and Wesley are also there, both with guns pointed at her, and Lorne refers to a Magic 8-ball to find out if Cordy's been bad. Lorne then turns to read the Magic 8-ball, and it says "definitely."
- The Gwen arc ends.
- The gang (without Connor and Gunn) discovers that Cordelia has been evil and tricks her.
- Connor begins to question why Cordelia seemed to lie to him and tell him to kill Angelus.
- This episode is the first in the fourth season to explicitly reference the short time span during which the season takes place. When Cordelia says she has known of the pregnancy since Angelus' return, Gunn responds that has only been a "couple of weeks." Later Gunn makes a similar reference, mentioning the rooftop battle as seen in "Apocalypse, Nowish" (9 episodes prior) as having happened in the past "two weeks."
- Wesley refers to the events of the Season One episode "Expecting" in which Cordelia was impregnated by a Haxil beast and came to full term overnight. Fred and Gunn's surprised reactions would suggest that they were previously unaware of this incident.
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