Synopsis of Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
Written by TK
At Cordelia's apartment, Angel shows Wesley a picture of the Hyperion Hotel, which has been vacant, all 65 rooms, for a long time. Cordelia hands out English breakfast tea (for Wesley), coffee (for herself) and blood (for... oh, you know). Angel looks at the blood and says he thinks it's gone bad, it's coagulating. Cordelia says that's cinnamon. Angel tells his crew to investigate the history of the hotel, as well as who owns it now and why they would let it stand vacant.
We see the black and white picture of the hotel behind a fence. The camera goes through the fence and the picture becomes color and starts moving. Early century cars go by. The camera makes its way into the lobby and focuses on the manager and a bellhop. The manager gives the bellhop a number of errands to run, and from the sound of them it's obvious that this is more of a residential hotel than just a passing-through kind of place. The bellhop accepts each errand easily until the manager tells him to drop off a bill at room 217. The bellhop whines about doing it, saying that the guy there gives him the heebeejeebees. He says when you look into the guy's eyes, there's nothing there.
The bellhop is taking the bill to room 217. He almost can't get out of the elevator, but he does and slowly walks down the hall. He knocks very lightly on the door of 217, calling out very quietly that he's dropping something off. When he hears a noise from inside the room, he hurriedly puts the bill down on the floor in front of the door, calls out that he'll just leave it there, and jogs back towards the elevator, hitting the buttons because the machine won't close the doors fast enough. The door to room 217 opens, and a man reaches down and picks up the bill. It's Angel, with a more dated hairstyle and clothing.
Angel walks into the hotel lobby. It's that same room that he was in last week with the pregnant woman with all the furniture covered by sheets. He looks around and remembers himself....
Angel walks into the hotel carrying a paper bag. The bellhop sees him and stammers that there are no messages for room 217. Angel heads for the elevator while the manager calmly explains to a black family that although the sign said they had vacancies, they really don't. Angel takes the elevator up to his floor, and when he gets off there's a man just sorts standing there. As Angel walks to his room the man watches him and then wanders the other direction down the hall. As Angel enters his room, he sees a man, dressed in a robe, affectionately saying goodbye to another man. When the male couple sees Angel, they back away from each other and formally shake hands goodbye. Angel gets into his room and takes a bottle of human blood out of the bag and sets it down on the table. He looks in his ice bucket, sees that it's empty, and heads back out into the hallway to get ice, not locking his door behind him. As he's getting ice, he sees a man standing with a briefcase talking to what seems to be no one. He's saying, "yes, yes, I understand, yes," over and over again. There seems to be a strange whispering sound that he's talking to. Angel's attention is then drawn in the other direction when the man who was loitering suspiciously earlier starts pounding on one of the hall doors. When Angel looks back to the man with the briefcase, he's gone. Angel heads back towards his room, and the suspicious man is still pounding on the door. When he gets back in the room, he takes the bottle of blood and puts it in his now full ice bucket to chill. He hears a noise in his bathroom, and when he looks back a woman in a flowered white dress walks out and apologizes, saying she'll be done straightening up the room in a moment. Angel tells her she can't be the maid, because he knows the maids, plus there's no cart outside the door, plus she's the wrong color, plus she's straightening dirty sheets. He tells the woman to get out of his room, and she says her very jealous boyfriend is looking for her and she really needs to hide. Angel is about to throw her out when he hears a noise at his door. He hides the woman behind the door and opens it, busting the suspicious man trying to pick his lock. The suspicious man tells Angel that he knows he's got her, and to just send her on out, 'cause Angel doesn't want to get involved. When Angel doesn't comply, the man says that he'll just come in and take a look around, and shows Angel that he's carrying a gun. He starts to take a step into Angel's room, when Angel slams him in the head with the door, drags him down the hallway, and throws him into the conveniently open elevator where the bellhop is bringing up luggage. The woman, who has stepped out into the hallway to watch the action, thanks Angel profusely and introduces herself as Judy. Angel just walks into his room and slams the door.
Wesley and Cordelia are researching. The hotel closed in December of 1979 after the concierge woke everyone up with a shot gun. It's a protected historical landmark, and the property management company that owns it can't unload it for any price because of its reputation for murder and mayhem since it opened in 1928. One of the construction workers fells to his death just building the place. Cordelia wonders why they're doing all this research, and then they find a picture from 1952 in which they spot Angel.
Back in the past, Angel is smoking in his room. He hears music through the wall, and the camera pans through the wall, showing us that man that was holding the briefcase. He's still agreeing with his whispers, and there's a gun on his desk. Angel pours his blood into a glass and takes a sip. The man on the other side of the wall sits down on the floor next to the bed, and using a pillow to muffle the sound, shoots himself in the head. Angel hears the muffled sound.
The bellhop and manager are walking down the hall, and the bellhop is explaining how the maid found the suicide. They walk into the room and the manager is upset, exclaiming that this is the third suicide in as many months. As the bellhop starts to rattle on about how the guy seems depressed, the manager starts hearing the whispers. He can make out, "Three in three months. They'll shut you down." The manager agrees with the mysterious voice. The bellhop asks if he should call the carpet cleaner or the cops first. The manager says not to call either, since if anyone finds out about this the hotel could be shut down. He tells the bellhop to store the body in the meat locker. The bellhop is confused.
Downstairs, a blonde woman and two men (who identify themselves as a screenwriter and an actor, the actor being one half of the male couple Angel spotted earlier) are gossiping about the suicide of the candle salesman in room 215. An old man sitting nearby hears their conversation, and then hears the whispers. The whispers suggest, "Maybe this wasn't suicide. Are you sure you're safe here?"
Judy sees Angel outside at some sort of show about the world ending. She thanks him for his help earlier. He just tells her she should get back to the show.
Cordelia and Wesley are going through newspaper clippings. They find one about the bellhop being arrested for murder in 1952 and being executed for it in 1954. Apparently he murdered a salesman and then stored the body in a meat locker.
The old man who heard the whispers has joined the threesome who were gossiping about the suicide. He's got them thinking that it was murder.
As Angel is heading into his room, Judy calls him into hers. She's obviously nervous, having trouble lighting her cigarette. She says that it turns out the 215 suicide was actually murder, and now she just wants to warn Angel that cops might be sniffing around. Not that he would have anything to hide. Angel says that everyone at this hotel has something to hide. Judy comments that if she left now it would probably look bad. Angel asks if her nervousness has anything to do with the private investigator that was after her yesterday. She realizes that Angel knows it wasn't her boyfriend, and spills her story. She was a bank teller in Kansas, happily employed and about to get married. Then her employers found out she was only passing for white, and actually her mother was colored, and they fired her and her fiance dumped her. So she stole a whole bagload of money and took off. She's terrified, feeling trapped. Angel says he'll help her.
Cordelia and Wesley come across an article about a woman who was being tracked by the feds for bank robbery. She checked into the hotel in 1952 and then disappeared.
Angel, in the past, takes Judy down to the basement and hides the money near the ceiling above some pipes. She's rattling on about how she can't go to jail. Angel starts to hear the whispers, but can't make out any words. He tells Judy to just go back to her room. She still prattles on about how maybe she could just return the money, and when they see that she didn't spend any of it everything would be okay. She asks Angel if there's such a thing as forgiveness.
Angel, in the present, is back in the dusty basement, and finds the bag of money just where he left it. He also hears the whispers again.
Wesley is frustrated by the pattern of disaster at the hotel, and realizes there must be some kind of demon behind it. Cordelia walks up and tells him it's a Thesulac, a paranoia demon, that whispers suggestions to its victims and then feeds off their fear and hate. Wesley is mystified that Cordelia knew this. Cordelia then hands him the phone and tells him that Angel wants to talk to him. Angel, on the other end of the line, is in the hotel lobby, putting some wires together to get the lights back on. He tells Wesley about the Thesulac, and says that it's still in the hotel. They need to destroy it, but first they need to raise it, make it corporeal so they actually have something to kill. Wesley says he'll research the raising ritual, but Angel says he's already done it.
Angel in the past walks into a small book store and asks the proprietor for books about demons. The proprietor hands him a bible, and when it burns Angel's hands he grabs a cross and a stake, but Angel has disappeared. He runs outside the door, yelling the many vampires he assumes are lurking, and Angel comes up behind him and forces him to get him the right books in the back of his store.
The manager asks the bellhop what's taking so long, and the bellhop says the body wouldn't fit, but he made it fit (he makes a sawing motion). The twosome are then distracted by the blonde, actor, screenwriter, and old man in the lobby. They've moved on from just suspecting murder to actually accusing eachother of murder, the screenwriter calling out the actor as gay and the actor calling out the screenwriter as communist. The manager and bellhop join in the melee.
Judy is sitting in her room reading. She hears the whispers: "You'll go to prison. How long do you think somebody like you will last in prison?"
Angel is reading and the proprietor of the store is asking him if he was a little over thirty years old when he was made. Angel says absolutely not. They talk about how to kill a Thesulac. First it has to be corporeal. It only does that after a huge feeding, or if you raise it. To raise it, you need the incantation in the book, an orb of ramjarin, some herbs, some other stuff, and then something heavy to hit it with after you get it to appear. The store has all these things, including a big battle axe. Angel takes it all. The proprietor mentions that he doesn't understand why a vampire would try to vanquish a demon to help a bunch of humans. Angel says he doesn't understand it either.
Now there is a whole crowd of people in the lobby, all yelling at one another and accusing eachother of murder. The private investigator, now with a big bandage on his nose, comes in holding a picture of Judy and yells out to everyone that he's looking for this girl.
In the past, Angel returns to the hotel with his paper bag of supplies and the big battle axe. In the present, Angel returns to the hotel with his paper bag of supplies and the big battle axe. Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn come striding through the front door.
Cordelia is spreading a powder while Wesley is reading an incantation. He tells Gunn to pass him the orb, and Gunn tells him to say please. Wesley says please, and then tells Gunn to be careful. Gunn throws the orb to Wesley. Wesley whines to Angel about Gunn. Angel just reminds everyone not to listen to the whispers. Wesley continues the incantation and the orb starts to the glow and the wall in front of them starts to waver.
In the past, Angel gets off the elevator at his hallway to see a crowd around Judy, all accusing her of lying and murdering. He starts towards her, thinking there might be some way he can help. She reaches out to him, as if desperate for his help, but instead points to him and screams, "It was him!" She tells everyone that he keeps blood in his room, and then someone sees the huge axe. The crowd falls onto Angel, hitting him over the head with his own axes. He falls to the ground and as his vision blurs, all he can see is Judy, still in her flowered white dress, standing at the end of the hall.
The crowd brings Angel down to the balcony over the lobby and as everyone cheers, particularly the bellhop, they hang him. Judy cries. The rest of them, sort of shocked over what they've done, are suddenly silent and quickly disperse. Only the bellhop is left smiling, and even his smile fades and he leaves. When Angel realizes he's alone, he releases himself from the rope and drops to the floor. The Thesulac materializes next to him, a talk robed form with a wrinkly face, no arms, and lots of tentacles instead of legs. The Thesulac says he's stuffed after that meal. He taunts Angel, reminding him that he thought Judy was a friend and then she turned on him. Angel tells the Thesulac he can have the humans and walks out the door.
The Thesulac materializes in the present. Angel warns his gang to watch out for the tentacles. The Thesulac starts taunting the demon fighters, saying that there is still lots of paranoia to feed off of here, especially with that one (he flicks a tentacle in the direction of Wesley). Angel yells to Gunn and Gunn raises his crossbow to shoot the Thesulac, but the Thesulac is too fast. A tentacle whips out, grabs Gunn's shooting arm, and flings him across the room. Meanwhile, Angel grabs another tentacle and plugs it into the electricity box that he was fooling with earlier. The Thesulac disappears in a cloud of electricity. Wesley wonders what the Thesulac meant by pointing him out as paranoid.
Angel goes upstairs to Judy's room and actually finds her there, very old, sitting in her room with the lamp on. She says she doesn't hear the voices anymore. She recognizes Angel, and apologizes for getting him killed. She asks if she's safe and she can go out now. Angel says she can. He helps her out of her chair, but she says she needs to rest before she goes out. She lies down on the bed, definitely not looking well, and apologizes again for killing Angel. She says she'll go outside just as soon as she rests. She closes her eyes and obviously won't be opening them again.
Downstairs in the lobby, Wesley is still wondering what the Thesulac meant by "especially that one." Angel comes downstairs, and Cordelia hopes they're done here because this place gives her the heebeejeebees. Wesley comments that it's a house of evil. Angel says it's not anymore. Wesley asks Angel if he's ever seemed particularly paranoid, and Angel says he never noticed that.
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