Doyle's death is still weighing in drastically on the Angel regulars. The character most affected is Cordelia. It's unsurprising, since both she and Doyle admitted their love for each other around five seconds before he bought the farm. Shame.
In Parting Gifts, Cordelia discovers that Doyle's kiss at the end of last episode ensured his visions would be passed over to her, meaning she is now Angel's direct link to the Powers That Be. She discovers this at the same time that a mysterious rogue demon hunter stalks through LA, hunting down a shady empath demon who seeks shelter with Angel Investigations.
Cordelia's inclusion in the series prior to this episode didn't really have a point. Yeah she was hilarious but was that all that was to it? Cordelia as comic relief? Thankfully, due to Doyle's death, Cordelia now serves a purpose on Angel, being her vampire boss's link to the Powers That Be. Charisma Carpenter is the heart and soul of this episode. From her comedic commercial audition at the start to her running gag of kissing every man (or demon) she sees in a desperate attempt to pass over her new gift, Charisma gets the audience's attention throughout, even when she isn't saying anything, and that's one huge feat for somebody who was previously just seen as the comic relief on this show.
Parting Gifts introduces former Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce to Angel and, no offense to Doyle and the excellent Glenn Quinn, but his inclusion in the show seems much more natural than Angel's Brachen demon buddy. It seems bad to say so but it's undoubtedly true. Wesley's lame efforts to prove himself tough and, in his words, "rogue" make for some moments of hilarity and his painful excuses to stay in the final scene prove him to be a sweet, kind soul. As well as a competent (if slightly slow) warrior against evil.
A story all about sadness, friendship and trying to prove your worth, Parting Gifts is a well executed introduction to the next chapter of Angel. Alexis Denisof's addition to the cast is inspired and he gels with both David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter almost immediately. A solid episode.
Director: James A Contner
Writer: David Fury, Jeannine Renshaw