It is a few days before Christmas. Emily and Darrek wake and go downstairs to discover that Henry is already up, unusually, and has made coffee and breakfast for them. There are small boxes at both of their places at the dining room table. Sitting down and opening them, they discover custom pendants he had made for them both, which Darrek can tell have a minor magical enchantment cast on them. “Happy anniversary, you guys,” he says sheepishly.
Emily and Darrek are both stunned speechless, but after the shock has worn off they both hug him and thank him for such a thoughtful and sweet gesture. After breakfast, as Darrek and Henry prepare to depart for the Hive, the doorbell rings. A delivery man stands on the doorstep with a large bouquet of long-stemmed roses for Emily. When Darrek kisses her goodbye, he tells her to expect a few more surprises before the day is over. She is delighted.
Anita then speaks with Matthew in private and informs him that Lorelei has returned to Pittsburgh and is staying in Sandra’s loft upstairs from him. She explains that Lorelei is struggling with adjusting to being back in the world as a very powerful young vampire and has the relative emotional maturity (and lability) of a 16 year girl. She says, “Don’t let Hilda stake her, okay? It would be bad.” Matthew nods, and passes the order on to the young Slayer, who doesn’t ask any questions.
Matthew, Mack, Danny, and Anita have several rounds of drinks in Anita’s office. Darrek comes upstairs from Anita’s library, looking deeply disturbed.
Joe calls Matthew, and asks the group to meet him at an abandoned movie theater near town, explaining that he needs their expertise. Entering the theater, they can immediately smell the stench of decay. There are multiple bodies, with green hair and rictus grins, their faces bleached. On the wall behind the stage, scrawled in black, it says, “They wouldn’t laugh…now everyone will.”
Lexie Carver is on the scene. After introductions to the members of the team she is not acquainted with, she shares her observation that there appears to be a gradual progression to the bleaching on the corpses. She and Joe discuss sending samples to Delia at Presby. Joe then takes his leave, and asks the group to meet him at the morgue after lunch to assist him with another matter.
After Joe and Lexie have gone and they are alone, Henry turns to everyone and says, “So…how about Delia still being alive? I thought we killed her…” Darrek reminds everyone that Anita told them that the Heralds can apparently resemble anyone, living or dead, and raises the possibility that the herald and Delia are not the same person, much like the Joker and Daniel.
Matthew goes to meet Rebecca for lunch. She is very excited to tell him that things with the play are progressing, and that they are supposed to be getting their scripts soon. She tells him that she may have to be sequestered during the rehearsal process, which is likely going to be very intense. Finally, she gives him a Christmas present…a black lapel pin inlaid with the Yellow Sign. She tells him she found it on the street, and attempted to find its owner, even taking out an ad with Craig’s List, to no avail. She found herself thinking of him every time she looked at it, and she hopes that he’ll think of her when he wears it.
Darrek treats the rest of the group to lunch at a restaurant in South Oakland that Henry recommends. After lunch, they all head to the morgue to meet Joe, who asks them for an explanation regarding two beheaded bodies which were found in the South Side and Lawrenceville…and who appear identical to Delia and Alistair Borgato, although the DNA does not match. The group attempts to explain to Joe what happened. He stops them from sharing too many details, remarking, “I don’t want to know, and I don’t need to know,” and cautions them against complicating matters further by doing anything that could potentially implicate them legally.
After their meeting with Joe, everyone heads back to the Hive Arcana. A beautiful, red haired woman is sitting with Anita in her office, and they come out of her office together. The woman greets Matthew with an embrace and says, “With everything that’s going on, I thought it was time to check in.” She smiles at and says hello to Darrek and asks after his wife. He tells her that Emily is doing much better and she responds, “Good. I’m so glad.”
The woman introduces herself as Michele, and explains that several months ago, right around the same time that everything that’s currently happening in Pittsburgh first started, one of her brethren, Raphael, showed up in her apartment apparently having been driven completely insane, ranting pieces of a horrifying story that she felt herself being drawn into, and carving symbols into his skin. She took him to Western Psych, and has been watching over him ever since, explaining that he is extremely powerful…and very dangerous given his current state. She asks the group if they’ve made any headway with their research.
Darrek tells her that earlier today he was finally able to track down a reference to the ritual that was performed to trap Cassilda the last time she surfaced. She says, “Well, that’s very encouraging.” He goes on to say that the ritual is very dark, explaining that it requires multiple blood sacrifices, including the death of an angel and someone beloved of the sorcerer performing the ritual. Michele says that she would rather see Raphael dead than suffering as he has been, and offers to do what she can to be of assistance to them, explaining that she needs to “keep off the radar” as much as she possibly can.
Henry asks Darrek if he can look at the reference that he found, positing that given his natural, intuitive understanding of magic he may be able to find a loophole that they can exploit. To his surprise, Darrek doesn’t argue with him and hands him a journal, saying that he’s working on tracking down the original ritual referenced in the text. As Henry reads over the journal, Darrek asks Michele if she can attempt to find Sam Chanler, his former ward. Henry’s face turns to stone upon hearing the name of his parents’ murderer spoken out loud. She says she will do what she can, and will let him know if she turns anything up. She embraces Matthew again and tells him to be careful. He later acknowledges to everyone that Michele is his mother.
Shortly after Michele takes her leave, a gentleman wearing a three piece suit and glasses walks in and Anita blinks, rubs her eyes, and says, “Oh my God…Wes? Is that you?” The man introduces himself as Wesley Wyndam Price, and explains that he is a liason between the Pittsburgh branch and the Senior Partners at Wolfram and Hart, due to a clause in his contract which extended beyond his death. He explains that he received a message from Faith and Angel at Angel Investigations in Los Angeles that they had inquired about the Mutari Generator.
Unfortunately, he goes on to say, the generator is currently in Hell, and his ability to directly intervene is limited by the Senior Partners, who see what is currently happening in Pittsburgh as Blake Investigations’ problem, not theirs. Still, he promises to try and do what he can to help. He reveals that Cassilda’s heralds appears to be building up a massive amount of energy for her that will allow her to drop the equivalent of a nuclear bomb on top of Pittsburgh, resulting in Carcosa manifesting in its place in this reality.
After Wesley leaves, Darrek and Henry speak briefly about the journal referencing the ritual. Darrek assures Henry that he is safe and has nothing to fear, as the author of the journal reveals that he had to sacrifice his own son in order to power the ritual to entrap Cassilda. Henry asks Darrek if he’s going to kill Sam. Darrek appears anxious, sad, and uncertain, and tells him that he’s hopeful they can find another way to complete the ritual.
Agent Barnes calls Danny again and asks the entire group to meet her at her office. Once there, she proceeds to show the group a video of the Joker. He tells them that he has four Aces-the mayor, the county executive, the chief of police, and the bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese-and that unless they play his game, he’s going to kill each of them, publicly. He informs them that he’s going to give them clues, which will be delivered by his girls. “Harl? Harl? You ready?” he asks. The camera pans back to reveal Carrie and Kay, wearing skin tight harlequin outfits, and giggling. The Joker says they’ll receive their first clue at 7pm, and will have until 8pm to figure it out and get to the location…or the mayor will be publicly executed. The video cuts out.
Darrek realizes the first clue is coming at the exact same time of his dinner reservation at Le Mont for he and Emily’s anniversary. He calls her and explains that he needs to reschedule and why. She is very understanding about the situation, particularly when Darrek mentions that Kay and Carrie are involved.
At 7pm, as promised, the group receives their first clue and is able to deduce the location of the mayor as being the Babcock room at the Cathedral of Learning. They rush there, and Darrek remembers that they’ll need a key to access the room, which is kept in the Chancellor’s office. Matthew is able to bypass security and obtain the key. Entering the room, they immediately engage in combat with the Joker’s goons.
Highlights of the fight:
Mack acts recklessly and accidently shoots the mayor.
Hilda, Yun-Xun, Danny, and Matthew kick ass and take names.
Darrek, with Danny’s assistance, is able to move over to the mayor and heals him.
Henry throws a massive spell at the goons which manifests as enormous glitter bombs, and finishes them off.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Memorable Quotes and Great Moments
To Henry, during breakfast “So, ehm…how would you feel about having a sleepover at Matthew’s tonight?”-Darrek
“I think it’s a great idea. I was actually planning on talking to him about it when we got to the Hive.”-Henry
“It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s just…”-Darrek
“You just want to take a one way trip to Bang Town. I get it.”-Henry
To Darrek “I’m so glad you brought him home with you!”-Emily
Re: Discussion about getting Henry a sword
“What about a whip? Whips are cool. I could be like Indiana Jones.”-Henry making a gesture like a dominatrix
“…let me think on that…”-Darrek
Re: Her booze stash
“Make another crack about, ‘Is that all for me?’ and you’re getting the Wild Turkey.”-Anita
“All that and Wild Turkey, too?”-Mack
Re: Upon finding the information he was looking for in Anita’s library
“SON OF A BITCH!”-Darrek
Re: Matthew, Danny, and Mack drinking with Anita in her office
Re: The police
“They call us in when things look ooky spooky.”-Henry
Re: The police
“So the boys in blue can’t handle their business?”-Mack
“If they’re calling us, no.”-Danny
Re: Decapitated “Alistair”
“He tried to cut off my head, so she killed him.”-Matthew gestures to Hilda
“Can you please explain what’s going on?”-Joe
“Oh, so now you want to listen.”-Darrek
“Mr. Tinsley, if I wasn’t listening from the time this mess first started, Daniel would be in custody right now.”-Joe
Re: Creepy Alistair
“Draw me like one of your French girls.”-Henry
Re: The ritual
“In case you were wondering, I’m not planning on sacrificing you, so no worries about that.”-Darrek
“Are you going to kill Sam?”-Henry
“No. Yes. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t want to kill anyone. That’s definitely Plan B.”-Darrek
Re: Upon finding out the Joker is holding the Mayor hostage
“Fuck it, then!”-Matthew
Re: Darrek telling Emily he needs to cancel their anniversary plans because of work
“This seems like a phone call rather than a text message sort of situation.”-Henry
Re: The phone call
“Darrek! It’s our anniversary.”-Emily
“I know, love. I’m really sorry…but duty calls. Urgently.”-Darrek
Exasperated sigh “You kill that fucker, you hear me?”-Emily
“I’ll do my best.”-Darrek
“And you be careful, and come home to me. And bring Henry home safely, too.”-Emily
“Unless he’s, you know, still going to spend the night at Matthew’s…on second thought, drop him off there, and then come home to me, okay?”-Emily
Re: The Mayor
Leans in and whispers to Darrek “I have an air elemental with one service left that it owes me. They can throw him out the window if they want to.”-Henry
Putting his hand over his heart and glancing at Henry “So bloody proud.”-Darrek
Re: The Mayor
“That son of a bitch won’t make any more bike lanes in this city!”-Mack
Re: The Mayor
“That’s what we call ‘collateral damage’!”-Mack
“You underestimated my magic-ness.”-Darrek