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  4x03 - The House Always Wins
 Posted: 10/23/02 04:24
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Previously on Angel:

1 INT. HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Lorne has come to say goodbye to Angel in his room.

LORNE

Hey, I thought I would stop by and say arrivederci, angel hair. I'm leaving for Vegas tomorrow night.

ANGEL

You're really going?

LORNE

I'm really going.

2 INT. CORDELIA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Cordelia phones Angel, who is at the hotel. He is talking in front of his gang, including Connor, who overhears the conversation.

CORDELIA

I sort of need to talk to you in person.

Cut to:

3 EXT. CORDELIA'S CAR ON HIGHWAY - NIGHT

Cordelia is driving down the highway, running late for her meeting with Angel.

CORDELIA

I'm late. I'm late.

Cut to:

4 EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT

The world has stopped around Cordelia. She has stepped out of her car, and is talking to Skip, her communicator liaison with the Powers That Be.

SKIP

What you're being called to do transcends love. You'll become a higher being.

CORDELIA

Me?

Cordelia is being raised into the air, surrounded by heavenly light.

CORDELIA (V.O.)

I know somehow it's all going to be all right.

Cut to:

5 INT. HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Angel is collapsed on the floor of his office after being recently retrieved from the ocean depths. Fred and Gunn are there with him.

ANGEL

I need Cordy. Now.

Cut to:

6 INT. LAS VEGAS SHOWROOM - NIGHT

Lorne is talking on his cell phone. He's wearing a gaudy getup (blue fuzzy jacket) and drinking a martini.

LORNE

If I miracle-ear anything, I'll send up a smoke signal. Take care of yourself, and, um, make sure Fluffy's getting enough love.

Cut to:

7 INT. DINZA'S LAIR - NIGHT

Angel climbs down a ladder into a sewer-like tunnel looking for someone that Wesley told him could help find Cordelia.

WESLEY (V.O.)

There is someone who may know where Cordy is.

DINZA

She is far from you, champion, and needs you no longer.

ANGEL

I need her.

DINZA

What you seek can only be found inside the Axis of Pythia.

Cut to:

8 INT. HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred is standing in front of a presentation easel giving Angel and Gunn a briefing. Gunn is sitting down, watching her. Angel is in the back of the room, concentrating on an artist's sketch pad, using his knees as a support while he draws. Fred is standing in front of a flip chart with a simplistic drawing. Labeled "Mystical Qualities", the chart has a little simple drawing of a ghost, saying "Boo."

FRED

It's an ancient relic said to be able to find souls or entities across dimensions.

Angel holds up another sketch from his pad. It's a detailed drawing of a smiling Cordelia.

ANGEL

Entities, like...

GUNN

Cordelia.

Cut to:

9 INT. HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred and Gunn are standing outside a room that Angel's using. There's a bright orange light coming from the room. The light disappears.

FRED

Do you think he found her?

Angel comes out of the room, frowning, and doesn't say anything to them. He walks away.

Cut to:

10 INT. HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

In the lobby, Angel talks with Fred and Gunn.

ANGEL

There was all this light around her, and the light seemed to be made up of ... pure joy... Finally I find her, and I realize she already is home.

Cut to:

11 EXT. HIGHER DIMENSION - NIGHT

Zoom in on Cordelia's face, bathed in soft blue-white light.

CORDELIA

What are you? Deficient? Get me out of here!

Fade to black.

END RECAP.

The Start Of Episode

PROLOGUE:

12 EXT. RANDOM ALLEY SOMEWHERE IN LOS ANGELES - NIGHT

A man exits a building through the back door, entering the allley. He's looking around like he's running from something. Suddenly, Connor shows up, causing the other guy to flinch.

GUY

Nothing human can move that fast. What are you?

Connor punches the guy, knocking him onto a nearby car.

CONNOR

Don't know yet. But I know what you are (the guy vamps out) and what to do with you. That'll do for now.

Connor is still fighting with the vampire.

ANGEL (O.S.)

You're talking too much. Gives him time to—watch it! Don't let him box you in.

Zoom up to show that Angel is watching over Connor's fight from a nearby rooftop. He's talking at a volume that would be too low for Connor to hear down at street level.

ANGEL

That's it, Connor. No, don't go toe-to-toe. He's too big and faster than he looks. Wait for an opening. Stay sharp. You can do it. That's it.

CORDELIA (V.O.)

Of course he can do it. He's his father's son. Same dark good looks, same lost-boy sweetness...

13 EXT. HIGHER DIMENSION - NIGHT

Zoom up through clouds to show Cordelia's face, bathed in soft blue-white light.

CORDELIA

And the broodiness—boy, he's got that down stone-cold. You really don't have to worry about him, Angel. But maybe there is something you could be worrying a little more about. Like, for instance, me. Remember me? The one stuck in misty magic land for like eternity. You've got to get me out of here, Angel. Please! Help me!

Cut to:

14 EXT. RANDOM ALLEY SOMEWHERE IN LOS ANGELES - NIGHT

Connor and the vampire are still fighting. The vampire is getting away, just when Connor reaches for his stake. Something falls from the sky and crashes to the ground right in front of the vampire, making him pause and look up to see Angel. Just then, Connor stakes the vampire and looks up to see what's there, but Angel's gone before Connor can see him. Connor runs off, and Angel starts talking.

ANGEL

I know you're there, watching me.

CORDELIA

Oh my God! Angel, you can hear me? I so love you. You don't know what it's been like—

FRED

We weren't spying...

CORDELIA

Oh, for crap's sake!

GUNN

Well, actually we were.

FRED

OK, we were. It's just we've been a little concerned about you. Wondering where you've been skulking off to these last few nights—

ANGEL

I'm not skulking.

GUNN

You should go after him—talk to him—if that's what you want.

FRED

What exactly do you want, Angel. I'm only asking because, well, you've been seeming kind of... distracted. Like maybe you're not as ready as you think to move on without Connor—and Cordy.

GUNN

And, frankly, man, when you're head's someplace else, we are into some serious floundering. I mean, you act like a guy with a clear agenda, always on the move, but—we don't know where we're going.

ANGEL

(stares a second, then walks away) C'mon.

GUNN

For instance.

FRED

Um, Angel, where are we going?

ANGEL

On a little retreat. The three of us.

FRED

Oh, like a spiritual journey?

GUNN

Whoa, you mean like that monastery you went to in Tibet?

ANGEL

Exactly.

Cut to:

15 EXT. THE STRIP IN LAS VEGAS - NIGHT

Shot of the bright lights of Las Vegas from the city limit sign. Music's playing: Elivs sings "Viva Las Vegas".

Fade to black.

End Prologue.

Opening credits and title sequence.

ACT I:

16 EXT. THE STRIP IN LAS VEGAS - NIGHT

Angel is driving a black convertible into the city, with Fred and Gunn in the front seat beside him. They drive past the Riviera, the Stardust, the Wayne Newton theater, and lots of bright lights.

GUNN

Now this is my kind of spiritual retreat.

ANGEL

I just thought we could all use a little getaway to decompress. I know I haven't had a vacation in a while. Not counting my recent ocean cruise.

FRED

Yeah, but the reason we're here is to see Lorne, right?

ANGEL

Absolutely. Maybe afterwards we can check out that Danny Gans guy we keep seeing billboards for.

(shot of the Mirage hotel, featuring a Danny Gans show)

FRED

You mean after Lorne reads you to help you get back on your path.

ANGEL

Yeah, whatever. (beat) Wow. This place sure has changed.

GUNN

Get out! You never told me you've been to Vegas before.

ANGEL

Yeah, a few times. Been a while, though. (points off to the right) Used to be dunes over there.

GUNN

Oh, man, it has been a while. They tore down the Dunes ten years ago.

ANGEL

(chuckles) Not the casino, I mean actual dunes. Bugsy used to call them bug piles.

GUNN

Bugsy? Bugsy Segal?

ANGEL

Yeah. Not one with words, I know, but the man—he had a mean backhand on the tennis court. (beat) So what do you guys wanna do first.

FRED

Um, well, the place Lorne is singing is called the Tropicana.

GUNN

The Tropicana? (incredulous) THE Tropicana? That can't be right?

FRED

Why not?

ANGEL

Uh, the Tropicana is a pretty high-profile casino, not some low-key out-of-the-way dive. Looking the way Lorne does, he'd have to go some place a little bit more, you know, discreet.

FRED

How discreet, exactly?

Fred looks out at a multi-story back lit sign in front of the Tropicana. They stop the car to look. Here's what it says, on a bright yellow background:

Exclusive Engagement - 17th Straight Week

The Incomparable Song Stylings of—

Lorne

(picture of recumbent Lorne singing)

Underneath the picture of Lorne is a scrolling text box, that says

LORNE

The Green Velvet Fog

The three of them just stare at the billboard in shock.

Cut to:

17 INT. LORNE'S SHOWROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Showgirls are on stage, carrying large feathered fans, wearing a pair of red horns in their hair, sporting green skin makeup and wearing black lace teddies. They're performing a show as the audience claps. They stand in a circle and put their feathered fans in the center, forming a screen. Lorne emerges from the feathers with a microphone, wearing a sequined blazer. He smiles and the spotlight is put right on him. The girls leave, and he's sitting on a stool on a smoky stage, with "LORNE" spelled out behind him with laser lights.

LORNE

(singing smoothly) It's not that easy being green. Having to spend each day the color of the leaves. When think it could be nice enough...

GUNN

No one seems to be bothered by the fact that he's a demon.

FRED

They must think it's all make-up, like the Blue Man Group. (pauses, to Angel) You don't think the Blue Man Group...

ANGEL

Only two of them.

LORNE

...Oh, but green's the color of Spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. Oh, and green can be big like an ocean or important like a mountain or tall like a tree. Oh, when green is all there is to green, it could make you wonder why but why wonder why wonder... I am green and it'll do fine. It's beautiful and I think it's what I want to be. Mmm-hmm.

Lorne stands. Red curtain closes behind him as he addresses the audience.

LORNE

Thank you! Thank you so much. You know, I gotta tell you folks... I gotta tell you, you are by far the kickingest crowd that I've had the privilege of performing for here at the Tropicana. Yes! Yes, that's right. That's right. Give it up for your sweet selves. Whoo! All right. Now, you know what, just for you guys, I think it's time we crank things up a notch, what do you say? Huh? (takes off his bow tie, hands it to girl in the front row) Here you go, honey. Yeah. Maestro, give me some drums, s'il vous plait. Aw, that's it, that's it. Paco, gimme a little bass. Aw, merci, merci. Now all I need is a little help from my Lornettes. (gestures to the girls dancing behind him as the curtain opens) Hey! Strut it girls! Hey! Come on, baby!

LORNETTES

(singing) Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, flow sister

Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister

The Lornettes are singing backup. Lorne jumps down off the stage into the aisle. Fred screams and claps like an excited fan.

FRED

Whoo! (claps) He's very good.

LORNE

(singing) He met Marmelade down in old New Orleans

Strutting her stuff on the street

She said "Hello, hey, Joe, wanna give it a go?"

Giuchie giuchie ya ya dada

Say giuchie giuchie ya ya here

Mm-hmm mocha chocolata ya ya

Let me hear you say—

Lorne puts the microphone up to a businessman in the audience.

WELL DRESSED MAN

(singing poorly) Creole Lady Marmalade

LORNE

(singing) wow wow wow

voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir

Lorne puts the microphone up to a society woman in the audience.

BEJEWELED WOMAN

(singing poorly) voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir

LORNE

(singing) He sat in her boudoir while she freshened up

The girl drinking all that magnolia wine

On her black satin sheets that's where she started to freak

And I said

Giuchie giuchie ya ya dada

Say giuchie giuchie ya ya here

Mocha chocolata ya ya

Just say Creole Lady Marmalade

FRED

Oh, here he comes. He's gonna plotz when he sees us.

GUNN

Oh, uh-uh. He better not stick that damn mic in my face

FRED

Oh, come on, Charles, it's all in fun. Besides, you have a nice voice

GUNN

Yeah, do it if you want, but I'm not in the mood to—

ANGEL

He's gone.

GUNN

What?

FRED

He just went right by.

GUNN

(looks disappointed) Oh... well, good

LORNE

(singing) Just say Creole Lady Marmalade Whoa-aah

Lorne puts the microphone up to a cute young woman in the audience.

AUDIENCE GIRL

(singing) ya ya da (giggles) giuchie giuchie ya ya hey (both laugh)

LORNE

All right. Well, you're just a tickle-me-cutie. What's your name, peach pie?

VIVIAN/AUDIENCE GIRL

Vivian.

VIVIAN'S FRIENDS

Yeah, Vivian!

LORNE

Aw, Viv, well it looks like you've got a little celebration going on here.

VIVIAN

Yeah, well, a going away party, actually.

LORNE

Going away? Honey, we just met. Where're you going?

VIVIAN

Paris. I was just accepted to a culinary school there.

LORNE

Aw, well isn't that great? (to audience) How about sending a little good will to our chef of the future. (to Vivian) Aw, that's marvelous. Thank you, honey. (kisses her cheek) And, Vivian, I've only got one thing to say to you:

(singing) Hey Giuchie giuchie ya ya dada

Giuchie giuchie ya ya here

Mocha chocolata ya ya

(belting it now) Creole lady marmalade!

Cut to:

18 INT. BACKSTAGE AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

A security guard is watching the stage exit door, keeping a large crowd of Lorne's fans under control. Fred, Gunn, and Angel are in the crowd, waiting to greet Lorne.

FRED

It was just—wow! Wasn't it? I-I mean the laser lights, those Lornette girls, and, hello, 30-piece orchestra!

GUNN

Yeah, but I still don't know why he dissed us during the sing-along. It's just nice to be asked is all.

ANGEL

I don't know. I thought it was a little over-produced for my taste. It's like I told Sammy Davis at the Sands. When you, Frank, and Dean are the meal, you don't need the trimmings.

GUNN

Hold up. You knew the Rat Pack?

ANGEL

Know 'em? No. I met 'em once. Twice. For drinks. Maybe it was three times. Hey, you know, I did have a life before you guys came along.

FRED

So, do you know what you're gonna sing?

ANGEL

Sing?

FRED

For Lorne? So he can read you.

ANGEL

Hey, you know, we don't have to do that right away. We just got here. Hey, who's up for some blackjack?

Angel starts to walk away, but Lorne comes out of the stage door, and the crowd goes wild.

LORNE

(to crowd) Hi! Hey, how are you?

FRED

Lorne. It's us!

LORNE

(still generic) Hey, love ya!

FRED

We love you t— Wait. That was him being superficial, wasn't it?

ANGEL

W-wait! Hey, Lorne, wait!

GUARD

Hold it, pal.

The security guards block Angel as Lorne walks away down the hall without acknowledging any of his friends. Angel tries to go after Lorne, thinking maybe he didn't realize they were there.

ANGEL

Oh. Easy, OK. I know him. I just want to say hello.

GUARD

You and everybody else, pal.

Cut to:

19 INT. HALLWAY NEAR LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

A bodyguard is escorting Lorne back to his dressing room.

BODYGUARD

Who were your friends?

LORNE

What friends? Oh, there just some old fans of mine.

Lorne's dressing room has a double door made of oak, and each door has a sparkling green star on it that says "Lorne". The dressing room is being guarded by two additional men, who open the door so Lorne and the bodyguard can enter.

Cut to:

20 INT. LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Lorne is brushing his hair at his vanity table and lighted mirror. A Lornette girl brings him a shot glass filled with vodka.

LORNE

Aw, thanks, kitten. Thank you.

The girl leaves, and Lorne swigs the shot. He gets up and is taking off his blazer, when a man comes into his room. Lorne pours himself a martini and turns to face him.

MAN

Excuse me, Lorne, I don't wanna disturb you, but I have to tell you that that was—(delicious gesture) mwa! Brilliant! You are—well, there just aren't words to— Yes, genius! That's what you are, a consummate—

LORNE

I'm kinda tired right now, Lee.

LEE/MAN

Oh, right, of course. Who wouldn't be? The show you put on. When you're out there giving a hundred, a hundred-fifty percent. Ah, two hundred, easy. And that is why you are the king, baby. And I am just so lucky to have a talent like yours headlining at my casino. Look, I don't want to take up any more of your valuable time—

While Lee was talking, the bodyguard took out a piece of paper from a folder, and holds it out for him.

LORNE

Yeah, but, can't we just do this later? (sips his martini)

LEE

Ah, gee, I'd love to, Lorne. But you got another show to prepare for, and I've got things to do.

LORNE

Yeah, but later would be just so much better.

The bodyguard punches Lorne hard in the stomach, and he doubles over in pain. Lee gets in his face threateningly.

LEE

I think now is a good time. Or should we pink slip another girl from your act?

Lorne's upset, and acquiesces. He sits on the couch in his dressing room and points to the paper, which turns out to be a seating chart for his showroom.

LORNE

Guy in the striped tie down front on the end, (sighs) two term Nevada senatorship in twelve years. Uh, green sweater boy, table twelve, gonna write himself into a Pulitzer. The girl over here in the blue—Vivian, chef of the future. Gonna have three five-star restaurants in the next decade.

LEE

What else?

LORNE

(shakes head) That's it. That's it. That's all. (leans back)

LEE

OK, well, that's terrific. (pats Lorne's knee) You're a prince. (stands and walks toward the door) Now, if there's anything else that my staff can provide for your comfort, just say the word. (presses remote control) Have a terrific second show.

As Lee walks out, prison bars close in front of the double-doors, apparently triggered by the remote control. Lee walks away, leaving Lorne trapped inside his dressing room.

Fade to black.

ACT II:

21 INT. WESLEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

A man is looking over paperwork in Wesley's apartment. Wes is on the phone pacing.

WESLEY

No, I'm working late as well. It's fine. (laughs) Sorry to disappoint, Lilah, but I am not waiting at the door with a scowl and burnt pot roast. (laughs) Well, if your lot can have the world destroyed by midnight, we could still— (call waiting beeps) Dammit, hold on. (flashes phone) Price here. One minute. (to his guest) Can Emile put all that together for me?

DELIVERY GUY

It's a pretty funky package. Wouldn't be cheap.

WESLEY

I don't need it to be cheap. I need it to work.

DELIVERY GUY

Yeah, I suppose. Yeah.

WESLEY

(to phone) Go. (pauses) Yes, we'll bloody well take Angel's clients if he's out of town. Call me back with the details in twenty minutes. (flashes phone) Sorry, Lilah, midnight might not be— Uh-huh. Oh, you did? That is my favorite pair. Are you sitting at your desk? Take them off. (to guest) Why are you still here? (guest leaves, then to phone) No, not after your meeting. Now. Pretend you dropped your pencil. (sits down) Very good. Now...

Cut to:

22 INT. CASINO AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn and Fred are sitting at the blackjack table talking to Angel, who is standing behind them.

GUNN

Angel, come on, sit down. Relax. Play a few hands.

ANGEL

I don't get it. Lorne knows we're here. Why hasn't he contacted us by now?

FRED

Maybe he's just tired after his performance.

GUNN

Maybe it's hard to see us common folk from way up on high.

FRED

Huh?

GUNN

Success. Makes you forget the little people.

FRED

Oh, I don't believe that. Not Lorne.

A Lornette walks by and catches Angel's attention.

GUNN

You saw the way my man dissed us. It happens. (to dealer) Hit me.

Angel watches the Lornette go up to Vivian, the girl from Lorne's audience earlier.

LORNETTE

Congratulations.

She hands Vivian a green chip that reads "Spin To Win," and the chip glimmers for a moment when it's placed in her palm.

VIVIAN

I don't understand. I won something?

LORNETTE

The chance to play our million dollar Spin-To-Win. It's an exclusive game we have here at the casino as a promotion.

VIVIAN

Wow. So I could win a million dollars?

LORNETTE

(nods) Could change your life. Just show the man over there your chip, and he'll admit you into the game room.

The Lornette points to a guarded door with a life-size cardboard cutout of Lorne with a martini. A text bubble over his head says, "Have to play to win, pussycats," and there's a two-foot diameter chip over his chest that says "Million Dollar Spin To Win."

VIVIAN

Thank you.

Vivian heads off to the game room, and the Lornette starts to leave. Angel walks up to her.

ANGEL

Excuse me.

LORNETTE

I'm not a waitress, sir.

ANGEL

I know. Uh, you were in the show with Lorne

LORNETTE

Uh-huh.

ANGEL

I was just wondering if you can get this note to him for me.

LORNETTE

Oh, I'm sorry. I can't do that.

ANGEL

It's OK. See, I'm an old friend of his and he'd want to know I was here. If you could just get this note to him for me, I'm sure he would appreciate your help. (smiles flirtatiously) I know I would.

LORNETTE

(blushing) I'll see what I can do.

She walks away, and Angel eyes the guarded door. Then he walks around the casino, watching people. He notices that people are acting strangely numb, distant, like they're just going through the motions of gambling without enjoying it. People are dropping coins in the slot machines, pressing the button, pulling the lever, etc. very methodically, without so much as a change of expression or position.

The camera angle changes so that the view is looking down on Angel and the casino from above.

Cut to:

23 EXT. HIGHER DIMENSION - NIGHT

Zoom up through clouds to show Cordelia's face, bathed in soft blue-white light.

CORDELIA

You're picking up on it, too, aren't you, Angel? Somethings wrong with those people. They could probably use your help. So that's got me wondering... where's that keen sense of perception as far as I'm concerned? What am I, out of the range of your super-vampire senses? Angel!

Cut to:

24 INT. CASINO AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn and Fred are sitting at the blackjack table talking. Fred's got a substantial stack of chips in front of her, while Gunn has only one chip left.

DEALER (O.S.)

Blackjack. Congratulations.

FRED

I'm feeling really bad about this.

GUNN

Oh, don't feel guilty, babe. If I had your head for numbers, I'd be counting cards too.

FRED

No, I mean about Lorne acting weird with us.

GUNN

The guy's on some old star trip, man. Who needs him?

Angel walks up behind them and stands a few feet back.

FRED

Angel does. I'm worried about him, Charles. (looks back at Angel) OK, I know he was right to send Connor away, but with Cordelia gone, the loneliness must be unbearable for him.

GUNN

The man's had to bear a whole lot more than that over the years, so Lorne or no Lorne, I think this trip idea is gonna do Angel a world of good.

FRED

I hope so.

Two red-coated security guards come up to Angel and quietly escort him out of the casino without Fred or Gunn noticing.

GUNN

It's gonna be fine.

FRED

Well, maybe you're right. (beat) I just wish we knew what was going on with Lorne.

GUNN

Well, let's find out.

FRED

What? Now?

GUNN

If it'll make my honey feel better, put her mind at ease, my fun can wait.

FRED

It's because you're out of chips, isn't it?

GUNN

Yeah.

FRED

Where'd Angel go? He was standing right there a second ago.

GUNN

Wherever he is, I bet he's having a whole lot better luck than me.

Cut to:

25 EXT. CASINO AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Angel's been thrown against a wall. It looks like the security guards are beating him up after throwing him out of the casino. They are punching him repeatedly, throwing him against the wall, on the ground, and kicking him.

GUARD

Hey, you just don't give up, do you? We don't cotton to stalkers around here, freak. Don't even think about coming back to this casino, 'cause we're gonna remember your—

Angel stands up and goes into vampire face.

GUARD

—face.

ANGEL

Hey, lemme give you a few more things to remember me by.

Back to human face, he punches each guard in the face, and knocks them out.

ANGEL

This place was so much friendlier when the mob ran it.

He turns to walk back, when he bumps into a girl walking out of the casino.

ANGEL

Sorry—

He recognizes the girl. It's Vivian, walking in a trance. She doesn't stop after he bumped her, but keeps walking, out into oncoming traffic. A taxi almost hits her, but Angel pushes her out of the way in time.

TAXI DRIVER

Idiot!

ANGEL

You all right?

VIVIAN

(nods) Fine.

ANGEL

Where were you trying to go?

VIVIAN

(holds up a casino cup) I ran out of quarters. I need more quarters. Have to play to win.

Cut to:

26 INT. HALLWAY NEAR LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn and Fred are just around the corner from the doors to Lorne's dressing room. They are whispering to each other and peeking around the corner, assessing the situation. The guards are talking in the background.

GUNN

Man, heads of state don't get this much security. (beat) Something's starting to seem a lot not right about this.

FRED

That's what I've been saying, only with better grammar. Should we find Angel?

GUNN

(both peek around the corner) Well, we're never gonna get past bruisers one and two over there without a fight.

A Lornette walks out of a nearby dressing room, past Fred and Gunn. They look at each other.

Cut to:

27 INT. HALLWAY NEAR LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Shot of a door labeled "Dressing Room." A Lornette walks out of the door and up to the guards in front of Lorne's room. She's carrying a tray with a martini.

GUARD #1

Whoa. What's this? He already got his drink.

The Lornette has a deer-in-the-headlights look. It's Fred, dressed up as a Lornette, complete with striped stockings, black lacy teddy, red demon horns, and green skin. She smiles big and pretends to be a coy ditz.

FRED

Uh, yeah he— He did. Right. I-I know. They told me—I mean, they sent me to...

GUARD #1

Oh, I get it. A little pre-show diddle for the green guy, huh?

FRED

(nervous and confused) What? Diddle? I'm what? (laughs)

GUARD #1

Oh, don't be nervous. The demon, he doesn't bite. Yeah, not with his mouth anyway. (guards laugh)

Fred starts to go by them into the room, but a guard stops her.

GUARD #2

Wait a minute. (Fred stops, Gunn watches nervously from down the hall) You missed a couple of spots on your neck and behind your ear. You might want to fix that before you go out on stage.

FRED

Oh, right, 'cause—'cause that would have been really embarrassing.

Cut to:

28 INT. LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Fred walks into the room, looking around nervously. As she walks by him, Lorne swings down at her with an empty bottle, but catches himself just before hitting her in the head. She gasps.

LORNE

Oh, I'm sorry, peach pie. I thought you just might have been—

FRED

Your diddle buddy?

LORNE

My what-le what? (suddenly recognizing her) Oh, F-Fred? Winifred? Oh, hey, hallelujah. (hugs her) Oh, sweet cheeks, you don't know the hell I've been through.

FRED

(looks around his luxurious suite) Uh-huh. It looks like real torture.

LORNE

Yeah, well it took you heroes long enough to rescue me. (they go to the couch)

FRED

Frankly, Lorne, we weren't aware you needed—(he stops her from sitting on his fuzzy blue coat) rescuing.

LORNE

Weren't aware? I told you.

FRED

When?

LORNE

Well, every time you called me, I kept asking about Fluffy.

FRED

Oh, I thought you were just using some sort of show-business catch phrase I wasn't hip enough to get. Who's Fluffy?

LORNE

Fluffy. Fluffy the dog. The dog you don't have. The universally recognized code for "I'm being held prisoner. Send help!"

FRED

Oh. OK. I'm hip now. Who's holding you prisoner?

LORNE

Oh, the creep who owns this place. Lee DeMarco. Well, he used to be some second-rate lounge magician until he got his hands on something legitimately mystical. Yeah now he's a first-rate psychopath, and he's using me to destroy people's lives.

FRED

Using you how?

LORNE

There's this game—

Cut to:

29 INT. SPIN-TO-WIN GAME ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

There is a roulette-style wheel spinning. An operator is standing behind the wheel, overseeing its use. Guests are sitting at the table, with bets placed on the table before them.

GAME OPERATOR

I told you, sir, you can't come in here. This is a private game, by invitation only.

A security guard tries to escort Angel out of the room, but he grabs the man's forarm, twists and breaks it, and pushes him to the ground.

GAME OPERATOR

Sir, there is a game in progress. You will have to leave.

LEE

(emerging from the shadows) No. It's all right.

GAME OPERATOR

But, Mr. DeMarco, the wheel is already spinning.

LEE

I know. Let him play.

Lee tosses a chip to Angel, who catches it.

ANGEL

I'm not here to play games. (flips the chip onto the table dismissively) I wanna know what happened to a girl who came in here.

The chip landed on the "Dollar" slot, but moves on its own to a circle.

LEE

We get a lot of girls in here. Can you be more specific?

ANGEL

I don't think I need to be. It's not just her, is it?

LEE

I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

ANGEL

Maybe I can jog your memory with a little—

GAME OPERATOR

House wins! Thank you for playing. (hands out cups filled with quarters) Complements of the casino.

As soon as the Game Operator declared the house a winner, Angel's face goes expressionless. He's trying to figure out what he was doing there, or he seems a little lost.

LEE

I invite you to take advantage of our slot machines. (pats him on the shoulder) Good luck.

ANGEL

Thanks.

Angel and the others walk out of the room complacently with their cups of quarters.

Fade to black.

ACT III:

30 INT. HALLWAY NEAR LORNE'S DRESSING ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Fred screams and comes out of Lorne's dressing room frantic—and a little overly dramatic. She puts her hands over her face and leans against the wall. The guards just stare at her, not knowing what to do.

FRED

Ahh! Oh my God! It was horrible. He-he attacked me with these, um, laserbeams that—that shot out of his horns, and— and he escaped. He's gone!

GUARD #1

There's no other way out.

FRED

Right. No. 'Cause, 'cause he went through some sort of of demon metamorphosis thing, and, and he spit out his entire skeleton like, like— (mimics throwing up) Like that, and then he just— He slithered away. Down the drain. In the sink. In the bathroom. Hurry!

GUARD #1

Security One, we have a Code Green. Repeat: Code Green.

The guards go into Lorne's dressing room to investigate. Meanwhile, Gunn runs up to Fred and Lorne sneaks out of the dressing room, wearing a long tan raincoat and a black brimmed hat.

GUNN

Somebody wanna give me the lowdown?

Gunn grabs a tasseled tieback off a nearby curtain and starts to tie the doorknobs together.

LORNE

Later. Suffice it to say we're dead if we don't get our fannies out of dodge.

GUNN

Good enough.

They run off down the hall with muffled sound from the dressing room of the guards trying to escape. Fred throws her demon horns on the ground as she runs away.

LORNE

We need the big guns. Where's Angel?

Cut to:

31 INT. CONTROL ROOM AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

At first glance, this room looks like a security headquarters, with security monitor screens covering every wall. But there are also numerous business desks and a scrolling message board similar to a stock ticker. Several agents are working the phones at their desks while Lee supervises. The bodyguard guy from Lorne's dressing room earlier walks up to Lee, concerned.

BODYGUARD

You're gonna wanna see this. (hands Lee a report) This is what we got from our party crasher. The demon's friend.

LEE

(reading report) A vampire?

BODYGUARD

With a soul.

LEE

Well, now. (points to report) This is interesting.

BODYGUARD

Yes, sir. Among other things, he's positioned to be a major player in the Apocalypse.

LEE

Was, you mean? Have our brokers get the word out on this, and, uh, you might want to put a call in to that weirdo law firm in L.A.

BODYGUARD

Mr. DeMarco's. (looks concerned)

Cut to:

32 INT. CASINO AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn, Lorne, and Fred are walking purposefully through the casino. Fred is wiping off her green makeup and Lorne is watching out for security guards. Gunn finally finds Angel sitting at a slot machine, mindlessly putting in quarters.

GUNN

(urgently) Angel. Where ya been?

ANGEL

(calm and distant) Here. I was there before (points) and now I'm here.

LORNE

I think company's coming, kids, and I don't mean my Aunt Gert.

GUNN

Look, there's big bad going down. We gotta get Lorne outta here. Think you can slow 'em down?

ANGEL

(looks at Gunn) OK. (looks back at slot machine)

GUNN

Gimme your car keys. (Angel gets keys from his pocket without taking his eyes off the slot machine) Hold 'em off as long as you can. I'll swing the car around, pick you up at the end of the block in front of the Nugget. OK?

ANGEL

OK. (puts another quarter into the slot machine as they walks off) Good luck.

Angel stands and moves over to the next slot machine, where he sits down and continues playing.

Cut to:

33 INT. CASINO AT THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn, Fred, and Lorne are walking through the casino toward an exit. Gunn punches a guard in the face, and they continue walking.

Cut to:

34 EXT. GLITTER GULCH SHOPPING CENTER - NIGHT

Gunn, Fred, and Lorne exit the casino and end up in a shopping center full of people. Elvis music plays "Viva Las Vegas" over the loud speaker.

GUNN

Where the hell are we?

LORNE

Oh, wrong exit. This is Glitter Gulch.

GUNN

Which way's the car?

FRED

(looking around, confused) Oh, I-I think it's back this— (sees guards looking for them, and immediately she turns away) Nevermind.

Fred, Gunn and Lorne try to evade the guards. When it seems safe again, Lorne speaks up.

LORNE

Go.

They push their way on through the crowd.

GUNN

You said this DeMarco guy is destroying lives. How?

LORNE

By taking 'em.

GUNN

By killing people?

LORNE

No, worse, muchacho. (shot of Lorne singing with Vivian) He's been using me to read members of my audience. Find those with what he calls valuable destinies: power, wealth, fame, yadda yadda yadda. Then the ones I pick—they get chosen to play this "Spin To Win" game. (shot of Vivian with the chip in her hand) Only it's not a game. It's a big scamola. (shot of Vivian and others at the table while the wheel spins) Then their destinies are imprinted on the chips and that old black magic wheel's tricked out to never pay off.

GAME OPERATOR

House wins! (gathers chips from table into a collection bin)

LORNE

The house always wins, and everybody loses: their futures, their destinies... (shot of scrolling ticker board in control room) They get offered up to an extremely black global market and sold to anyone willing to pay big money to change his or her life.

FRED

Futures trading.

LORNE

Can't get any more literal than that, crumb cake.

FRED

What happens to 'em? Those people?

LORNE

Uh, nothing. Nothing happens to 'em, or will. (shot of casino, zooming in towards the slot machines) They got no purpose, no direction. Unable to accomplish or succeed at anything ever again. Most never leave here. (shot of Angel, still sitting at the slot machines) Some never get out of the casino. They just sit there shoveling coins into slot machines that never pay off, like zombies or—

GUNN

(they stop walking) Angel! They got him.

FRED

Uh-oh.

GUNN

Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty big uh-oh.

FRED

No, that uh-oh. (points)

There are guards walking straight toward them from front and behind.

FRED

What now?

GUNN

Now we do that fighting for our lives thing we do.

LORNE

Yeah, or—Or I do this.

Lorne finds a nearby microphone and sings a very high pitched note into it, causing light bulbs everywhere to explode. Chaos ensues, and with people running every which way, the guards lose track of them.

Cut to:

34 EXT. OUTSIDE THE GLITTER GULCH SHOPPING CENTER - NIGHT

Having escaped to the Fremont Street Experience, Fred, Gunn, and Lorne stop to catch their breath in front of the Red Barn martini bar.

FRED

That was... brilliant, Lorne. I may never hear my upper registers again, but nice work.

GUNN

Yeah, great work. How you sold Angel out.

FRED

(softly) Charles...

GUNN

Boy, DeMarco must have wet his pants when you told him what a ripe destiny that was for the pickings. A champion to save the world or destroy it.

LORNE

You really believe I'd do that?

GUNN

I don't know, Lorne. I don't know why you did any of it. What, you were living so large, blaring Tony Bennett so loud in that sweet suite of yours, you couldn't hear your conscience screaming at you!

FRED

Charles, it doesn't matter.

GUNN

It does to me. I wanna know, Lorne. Why didn't you just say no to that piece of—

LORNE

I did! The first time he asked me to, of course I refused. (beat) So he blew a girl's brains out right in front of me. And he said that's what I could expect every time I said no.

GUNN

Sorry.

LORNE

No more than I am, slick. (sighs)

Cut to:

35 EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn's driving Angel's car, with Fred in shotgun and Lorne in the back seat. Gunn stops the car in front of the Tropicana and puts it in park.

GUNN

OK, as soon as I find Angel, I'm bringing him right out. (gets out of the car) Better leave the engine running in case there's a posse behind us.

FRED

(scooting over behind the wheel) But—

GUNN

I'll be careful. (runs into the casino)

FRED

(to Lorne) But what about his destiny. Angel's. We can't leave without getting it back.

LORNE

Yeah, well...this is Vegas, sunshine. Generally speaking, you lose here, you don't get it back.

Cut to:

36 INT. CASINO IN THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Gunn walks up behind Angel, who's still sitting in front of the slot machines.

GUNN

Angel.

After waiting a second to finish his turn on the machine, Angel turns toward him, his face still expressionless.

GUNN

You... you know who I am, right?

ANGEL

Gunn.

GUNN

That's right. And I'm your friend.

ANGEL

I know. I'm not stupid. (turns back to the slot machines to continue playing)

GUNN

Yeah. OK. Angel, something's happened to you. (walks around to face Angel)

ANGEL

Oh, I got two cherries.

GUNN

What?

ANGEL

I got two cherries. If I get another one, I get my quarter back.

GUNN

You can't, Angel. (grabs Angel by the upper arms and shakes him) Listen to me. There's been a casino heist, only you're the heistee. They jacked your destiny. Now we gotta find a way to fix it, but until then, we gotta get outta here.

ANGEL

(turns back to the slot machines) Have to play to win.

GUNN

(grabs Angel's arm and starts to walk away) Game's over. We're going now.

They turn and see the bodyguard followed by Fred and Lorne, who are being held by guards.

BODYGUARD

As a matter of fact, you're not.

The guards grab Gunn and escort him away somewhere with the others. Angel isn't taken, but sits back down to the slot machine.

GUNN

Angel...

Angel, still expressionless and unphased, starts putting quarters into the slot again.

Fade to black.

ACT IV:

37 INT. CONTROL ROOM THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Lorne, Fred, and Gunn are brought into the control room, where Lee is waiting for them, sitting at his desk in a leather chair with his feet on the desk.

LEE

Lorne! I am so relieved. I was afraid that something terrible might have happened to you. Missing your second show like that. All those poor, disappointed people. All I could do was refund their money and comp their rooms for the inconvenience. And, my, my, what an inconvenience it was for all of us.

LORNE

Yeah, yeah, OK, Lee. OK. White flag's up. You got me. Grind your organ, I'll be your monkey. (leans onto desk) But you'll get nothing from me if you hurt anyone else. I swear it.

LEE

Lorne, sweetie. You worry too much. I promise, you will be the only one hurting. Your friends will be dead so quick they won't feel a thing.

Cut to:

38 EXT. HIGHER DIMENSION - NIGHT

Show Cordelia's face, bathed in soft blue-white light.

CORDELIA

Oh. That's just great. I mean, what's the point of being an all-seeing powerful whachamawhoosit if I'm not allowed to intervene? My friends are gonna die. I mean, what am I supposed to—Angel. (shot of Angel playing slots) God, look what they've done to you. If I could just get you into that room, maybe— Think, bubblehead. How do I—

Cut to:

39 INT. CASINO IN THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Angel's still playing the slot machines, staring at the three wheels spinning in front of him. They land on "Double Diamond", "Double Diamond", and "7". He spins again, and it lands on "Double Diamond", "Double Diamond", and just one notch under a third "Double Diamond". Angel looks down and his cup of quarters is empty. There's a shot of Cordelia in the higher dimension, and suddenly the third wheel slips down a notch, landing on "Double Diamond", making him a winner, with three "Double Diamonds" in a row. The slot machine makes a siren noise and lights up, declaring him a winner to the entire casino. People gather around to check it out.

Cut to:

40 INT. CONTROL ROOM THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Resume conversation between Lee, Lorne, Fred and Gunn. Lee stands and walks around his desk.

LEE

Take them out in the desert and shoot them. Bring the demon, I'd like him to watch.

Guards start walking Fred, Gunn, and Lorne out of the room. Lee goes over to the desk of one of his brokers to check up on things. The bodyguard walks up to Lee with a concerned face.

BODYGUARD

Mr. DeMarco.

LEE

Not now, Spencer.

SPENCER / BODYGUARD

(gravely) Sir, we have a winner.

Lee looks up at the monitor and sees Angel sitting at the winning slot machine. He's angry and pushes people out of the way to get a closer look.

LEE

(gesturing toward the monitor) That's impossible.

SPENCER

He's won a little over 300,000 dollars. And a car.

LORNE

Pretty good haul for somebody with no destiny, huh?

LEE

(to nearby gawking brokers) What are you doing? You, you, back on the phones. (to guards) And bring me that vampire. Now!

Cut to:

41 INT. CONTROL ROOM THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Guards bring Angel into the control room. Lee's fuming and pacing. Lorne, Gunn, and Fred are lined up between guards. Angel's still laid back and expressionless.

ANGEL

(casually to his friends) Hi.

LEE

I want answers. (beat) And they better be the right ones, or you're dead.

ANGEL

Uh, I know this room...

Spencer punches Angel in the face.

LEE

I'll-I'll start again. How did you win on the slot machine?

ANGEL

I put a quarter in the slot, and I pulled that little lever. (mimes pulling the lever)

LEE

(steps forward, getting in his face) Are you playing games with me, vampire?

ANGEL

Have to play to win.

LEE

(rolls his eyes, sighs) It was a fluke. A glitch in the machine. There's nothing there. Pay him his winnings—in quarters—and take the others on their desert tour.

A guard pushes Charles and then punches him.

FRED

Leave him alone!

The guard pulls out a gun and sticks it in her face. Angel observes this and goes into vampire face, attacking him.

FRED

Angel!

Angel starts a fight with the guards, and Gunn joins in. Fred even throws a punch or two. The brokers get up and leave their desks to get out of the fray.

LEE

What am I paying you for? Shoot them!

A guard shoots his gun, but hits Spencer instead, knocking him down. Lorne grabs a Billy club from one of the guards and knocks him down with it. Then he sees the "mystical item" that Lee's using, and heads straight for it. It looks like a glowing crystal ball on a pedestal. Lee cuts him off, pleading.

LEE

Ooh! W-wait! No, no, no, no, no! Hey, maybe I went about this wrong. We can still come to terms, right, kid? I mean, it wasn't all bad here, I mean not, not all the time. What's it gonna take? A bigger suite, fewer shows? You got it! What—whaddaya say?

LORNE

Duck. (swings the club at the mystical glowing ball, smashing it)

LEE

No!

Colorful swirls of light rise from the shattered pieces of the crystal ball, and head out toward the casino, making a slight burst of breeze as they go by. Shot of each streak of light heads for a person in the casino, making them glow when it strikes. Vivian, who's sitting at the slot machine, gets hit by a light, causing her hair to blow back. She breathes in deeply, as if startled from sleep. Back in the control room, Angel's light comes back to him. He turns around, smiling and nodding.

ANGEL

This room—there's something familiar.

GUNN

Angel?

ANGEL

You're my friend. I know. I'm not stupid.

Cut to:

42 INT. CASINO IN THE TROPICANA - NIGHT

Shot of Vivian walking by, vivacious again. Angel and gang are leaving the control room, walking back out to the casino on their way out of the hotel.

ANGEL

Oh, now I remember that room! Elvis and Priscilla's wedding reception, 1967. (chuckles) Yes. (claps hands once) All right. It's not that I was you know really invited. They just put me near the dais. I think somebody thought I was in the band. Probably because I was all drunk and surly. (chuckles) They had these little fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Cut to:

43 EXT. HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred, Gunn, Angel and Lorne are walking, exhausted and single file, into the hotel back in L.A.

GUNN

OK, no more road trips for at least six months.

FRED

I can't wait for a nice, hot bath.

LORNE

Hey, you OK?

ANGEL

Just thinking. Doesn't make any sense winning on that machine.

GUNN

Maybe DeMarco was right: glitch in the machine.

LORNE

(chuckles) Or maybe Lady Luck was smiling down on you.

ANGEL

Hmm. Lady Luck. I don't know. Just, I don't get why or how I was able to fight when I had no reason to, no destiny.

They stop walking right outside the front door.

LORNE

Well, even without a flight plan, bucko, you're still a stealth bomber. You were fighting for your friends' futures. The people you love are part of your destiny. Nobody can take that away, not even you. Well, listen, I got a lot more insightful bon mots like that, but, um, I've been stuck in a car for five and a half hours, and I gotta pee. Excuse me. (walks away, Angel follows)

GUNN

(to Fred) Hey, so that bath idea? Maybe I can help you with one or two of those hard-to-reach spots.

FRED

Or three. (they giggle)

Cut to:

44 INT. HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred and Gunn come inside to see Angel standing there staring.

GUNN

(walks inside with Fred) OK, but three is where I draw the—

Standing just inside the front door, they are shocked at what they see in the lobby. It's Cordelia, wearing a white robe. She turns


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