| Welcome to L.A.|
(August 29, 2004)
Written by: Masquerade
EXT. AN ARID, ROCKY LANDSCAPE SET AGAINST A BLOOD-RED SKY - DAY
A teenaged BOY in tanned animal hides is running. He's moving deftly, but he's panicked and out of breath, snatching looks behind himself.
He passes ROCKS and GNARLED, ALIEN TREES. Something is following him, but we don't see what. It's looming larger. OUR BOY trips over a thick root embedded in the dirt. The GROUND comes up fast, knocking the wind out of him. He's struggling to get up as A SHADOW falls over him. We hear the rasps of inhuman breathing, then an indistinct HULK appears, blacking out the camera.
CUT TO OUR BOY UNDERNEATH it, trying to aim fists, and then elbows, at a set of VERY LARGE, SHARP TEETH. He knocks one loose; he's obviously strong. But it's too little, too late. The remaining teeth close, piercing his arm.
BACK to the blackened-out camera angle again, as we hear a very young, very male, very human scream.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
A BED, ordinary-looking but indistinct under a streetlamp's glow through bedroom curtains.
A FIGURE rises up from the bed suddenly, and it's OUR BOY--shirtless, sweat beading his forehead, breathing hard, his eyes bulging slightly. He swallows, then breaths deeply, eyes drooping. He's had these nightmares before. He gets out of the bed and wanders, boxer-shorted, into a tiny bathroom where the wallpaper is peeling. He splashes his face with water and stares at himself hard in the dim-lit mirror.
The theme song plays as we see images of
CONNOR REILLY walking to classes, killing a vampire
then images of FAITH THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, fighting in a TRAINING ROOM with Connor
then a YOUNG REPORTER, AIDEN WALSH1, pulling his CAMERA away from his face.
and Jon Abrahams
The first few beats of "Clean" by Depeche Mode start up, and the song plays over the scene:
ESTABLISHING - EXT. AN AERIAL VIEW OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, SWEEPING WEST OVER DOWNTOWN FOLLOWING SUNSET BOULEVARD, THEN PASSING INTO HOLLYWOOD, LATE AFTERNOON.
Cars travel back and forth along surface streets and on the arterials of freeways.
The camera slowly zooms in on SUNSET BOULEVARD and a rather ordinary-looking silver SUV heading west. As we close in on the car, we see a family of four inside. The back of the car is stuffed with boxes and furniture.
INT. SUV - DAY
Looking back from the front of the car - the FATHER is driving, the MOTHER is in the front passenger seat. In the back seat are two kids - a young TEENAGED GIRL looking extremely bored, and an older TEENAGED BOY - the same BOY from the teaser. The boy has put on a few healthy pounds. His light blond-brown hair is neatly combed and he's wearing a button-down shirt and jeans. He's sitting behind his mother, staring out the car window at the passing view.
CUT to what he sees - A BUSY STREET ON A WEEKDAY AFTERNOON - Passing stores, scattered pedestrians, alley entranceways, parking lots, cars.
The song "Clean" FADES as we cut to a front view of COLLEEN and LAWRENCE REILLY.
(to her husband)
This is definitely the last of it.
(she turns her head towards the back seat)
Anything else you want,
you're going to have to come get it yourself.
The boy, still staring out the car window, gives no indication he's heard his mother speak.
His POV - THE VIEW OUTSIDE again. Strip malls, a movie theater, a gas station with its marquee glaring in the afternoon light.
CLOSE-UP on the boy's face, brooding and pensive.
Suddenly, we FLASH-CUT to a series of images. They're all at night, and pass by quick and hazy:
The glare of neon and car headlights on a CITY STREET. The boy, his hair much longer, is stalking down the sidewalk, scowling and bumping into pedestrians walking the other way.As the flash of images fades away, we hear the boy's grunt continue to echo.
AN EMPTY LOT. The boy stretches himself out on grimy ground. There are people nearby him, dirty and homeless. A fire burns in a trash can. The boy pulls a thin, filthy blanket over himself.
AN ALLEY lined with doorways and dumpsters. The boy is fighting desperately against a much larger man, whose forehead is grotesquely wrinkled. The man grins at him, baring fangs. We see the boy throw a punch at him, grunting high-pitched with effort.
FADE TO THE INT. OF THE SUV - DAYTIME - and the boy, staring out the window of the car.
The boy blinks, then turns his head away from the window.
I just hate this town.
CLOSE-UP on Colleen Reilly as seen from the back seat. She frowns a little, but when she speaks, her voice is more teasing than reprimanding:
You haven't been in L.A. long enough to hate it.
CLOSE-UP on Lawrence, driving, eyes on the road.
I think he's referring to
the last time we were all here.
Lawrence gets an uncomfortable frown on his face.
That law firm. Wolfram and Hart.
Lawrence tilts his head towards the back seat.
You know, it's just as well that place
went under, Connor. I wasn't comfortable there.
We'll find somewhere else.
Connor stares in his father's direction, his expression bland and noncommittal.
EXT. LONG SHOT OF SUNSET BOULEVARD. THE SUV heads up the street.
EXT. A TREE-LINED STREET IN A SOMEWHAT OLDER RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
THE SUV pulls into the parking lot beside an OFF-WHITE SINGLE-WING APARTMENT COMPLEX. We follow the car to a parking space behind the building.
EXT. CLOSE-UP on the PARKED CAR as the REILLY FAMILY unstraps their seat belts, open the doors, and one by one, get out of the car. Lawrence walks to the back of the car and opens it.
INT. APARTMENT COMPLEX - DAY
An upstairs HALLWAY near the top of a staircase. The carpet is a bit faded and there are a few impact smudges on the wall, but it's clean. Connor appears at the top of the stairs, clutching a set of keys in one hand. Tucked under his other arm is a small television set. He starts down the hallway. His SISTER follows, carrying a box. She has a red plastic purse strapped over her shoulder.
There is a DOOR at the end of the hall numbered 26. Connor approaches the door, unlocks it, and walks inside. Through the door, we can see that the apartment is already filled with FURNITURE and OPEN BOXES.
INT. CONNOR'S APARTMENT - DAY
PAN the room. At one (EAST) end is a living room area under a large window. There is a couch along the NORTH wall, and a small table and an armchair under the window. On the other side of the armchair there are several piles of books on the floor. Against the SOUTH wall is a desk with a computer on it. At the other end of the room (WEST) is a kitchenette. Connor dumps his keys and the television set on the kitchen table.
CLOSE-UP on an OPEN TEXTBOOK sitting on the table with a yellow highlighting marker nestled in its crease.
PULL BACK to show the entire kitchenette. On the counter are few food-stained plates and bowls - Connor's been living here a few weeks.
Oh my god.
I don't believe this place!
Connor turns around.
PAN to the LIVING ROOM AREA. Connor's sister sets down her box on the couch, then slowly backs up into the middle of the room, taking it in. She stops when she sees her brother looking at her.
So why do you need all this room?
Connor grins. He walks over to his sister, tugs her towards himself playfully and rubs his knuckles into her scalp.
So I can sit around and think of
ways to torture you, brat.
(loudly, towards the door)
Mom, do I get to have my own apartment
when I'm in college, too?
CUT TO the DOORWAY of the apartment. Colleen appears in the front door, carrying a box.
We'll think about it.
She immediately walks her box over to the kitchen counter.
CUT BACK TO Connor and his sister. His sister wriggles out his grasp and skips towards a door that leads into another room. Connor follows her.
Meanwhile, Colleen opens her box, pulls out an electric can opener and sets it on the counter.
INT. THE BEDROOM WE SAW AT THE END OF THE TEASER - DAY
Now we see it in daylight. A full-size bed sits under a curtained (EAST) window. Next to it is a night stand with a lamp and an open book lying face-down. The title, barely visible, is Crime and Punishment, by Dostoevsky. On the NORTH wall is a poster of the painting Starry Night, and under it, the words VAN GOGH. On the opposite (WEST) wall is a dresser with a drawer open and a box on top of it. Connor's sister is nowhere to be seen.
PAN TO the SOUTH wall, where we see the doorway to the BATHROOM. Connor's sister exits. She crosses her arms, looking around the room.
And this is where you and Tracy can have sex.
(then he chuckles)
You got a dirty mind for a twelve year old.
(with a reprimanding tone)
Oh, yeah, I forgot. You're all "grown up" now.
Doreen eyes her brother with a sulky frown.
The wallpaper in the bathroom is totally peeling.
Connor walks past his sister and over to the dresser. He shuts the open drawer.
Besides, Tracy and I broke up.
Okay, this is where you and some new girl
can have sex.
Connor turns around and gives Doreen an affectionate annoyed-older-brother expression.
Doreen walks over to brother, arms still crossed. Her expression is suddenly cool. She glances towards the bedroom door, then leans in towards him.
(with a hint of spite)
You know they're only doing this because
you got so messed up this summer.
You think if I started yelling all the time
and punched a hole in the wall,
they'd give me whatever I wanted?
I don't think so.
Connor stares at her, dumbfounded.
(with sudden irritability)
You think this is what I want?
Connor turns and leaves the room.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Connor's father is centering a small bookshelf on the EAST wall by the armchair. The books that were in that spot before have been shoved to the middle of the room.
Connor stands just outside the BEDROOM DOOR, watching his father. Then he turns his gaze towards the KITCHEN.
His mother is no longer there.
CUT BACK to Lawrence Reilly.
I'll let you put the books away, Connor,
so you can have them where you want them.
After that can we go to dinner?
I have class at six-thirty.
Yeah, all right.
Connor walks to the center of the living room.
CUT TO his TOES, hitting the BOOKS on the floor. He stops. HOLD on his shoes for a moment, unmoving.
Then PAN UP to Connor's face. He's staring out the window.
LAWRENCE takes in the sight of his pensive son. He steps over and puts a hand on Connor's shoulder.
This is the best thing, Connor.
I believe that.
Connor doesn't look at him. Lawrence glances down nervously.
He opens his jacket, pulls out a folded piece of paper, and opens it. It has names and numbers scribbled on it.
I've already started calling around.
Wolfram...Wolfram and Hart...
had a lot of connections in this town.
It shouldn't be too hard to find
someone who can help you learn to...
help you with this thing.
Connor breaks out of his contemplation. He looks at his father.
Who? "Superpowers Anonymous"?
(with a hint of frustration)
Connor, I'm trying.
And your mother is trying.
But you don't talk to us about this, you don't....
Connor frowns at his father, then lets out an impatient breath. Without a word, he bends over and reaches for his books. CLOSE-UP on Connor's face. There is a far-away expression there.
Suddenly, we FLASH-CUT to another series of quick images. But these are more vivid -
A DEMON with long hair, a scarred face and flowing black robes, standing in a elegant room beside a long mahogany table covered in weapons.CUT to a SMALL PILE OF BOOKS on Connor's living room carpet. Connor's hand scoops up a book. He lays it in the crook of his arm, then picks up another, then another. When he has an armful, he stands up, still frowning.
Connor, on the other side of the table, bent over and standing up slowly. His mouth is bloody. His face is twisted in feral anger. He lunges forward and rolls over the table, grabbing an AX.
Connor and the demon at the far end of the table. Connor swings the ax, slicing off the demon's head.
Connor staring wide-eyed down at his handiwork, clutching the ax now smeared with blood.
Because there's nothing to talk about.
(with a wrinkled brow of concern)
I wish I could believe that.
But I'm your father. I know you.
Connor gives him a long enigmatic look, then steps around him and walks over to the bookshelf. He shoves the books onto the top shelf without bothering to put them into any sort of order.
ESTABLISHING - UCLA AERIAL SHOT - followed by FRONTAL SHOT OF BUNCHE HALL - EARLY EVENING
INT. A LARGE AUDITORIUM-STYLE UNIVERSITY LECTURE HALL - EARLY EVENING
A PROFESSOR, male and middle-aged, strolls across the front of the room.
During the Civil War,
the federal government withdrew
many of its troops from western garrisons
in order to bring them into the battle
for the Union. That withdrawal encouraged
many of western Indian tribes to seek revenge
for their grievances against whites.
CUT TO his AUDIENCE. PAN over a ROOMFUL OF STUDENTS, some listening, some taking notes, some reading the newspaper or doodling.
By 1865, white-Indian skirmishes had spread
throughout the Great Plains and
throughout the Southwest.
The PAN stops at the back of the auditorium near the window, where we see Connor seated, hands clasped together on his desk, staring outside.
In order to pacify the West,
in 1867 Congress established a Peace Commission
to convince the various tribes to give up their lands
and relocate on what would come to be called 'reservations'.
The Peace Commission of 1867 suggested
two major reservation land areas....
FADE TO - the end of the lecture. The students around Connor are packing up their things. Connor slips his notebook inside his book bag. In the window beyond him, the sky is past dusk. The STUDENT next to Connor, DAVE, hands a few sheets of paper to Connor.
Here's the notes from Wednesday.
I really appreciate it.
I don't know why they have to schedule
so many history classes in the evening.
It seriously cuts into my gym time.
Connor chuckles and takes the notes back.
Do you think I can borrow your notes
Yeah, where were you?
Connor and Dave both rise from their seats. Together they walk over to the stairway and start down to the lecture hall floor, Connor first.
Say, it's kind of a History Department
tradition to go to the Alehouse after
evening classes. They've got live music,
even on weeknights.
A bunch of us are headed there tonight.
I gotta go back to the dorm first.
I told my girlfriend I'd come get her--
CUT TO the PROFESSOR, standing behind the LECTURE HALL PODIUM.
Connor gives Dave an "uh-oh" look, then turns a smile on the professor. Dave grins and steps around Connor down to the floor.
Got a minute?
Hang on a second, I'll need the address.
Dave heads over to the door of the classroom. Connor steps down to talk to the professor. As Connor and the professor speak, other students pass behind Connor on their way to the door.
So you're a history major.
I'm the advisor for freshmen who are
considering majoring in history
or who have already declared.
I know you're a sophomore,
but since you're new, we should talk
sometime about what classes you ought to take.
Why don't you come by my office sometime
next week? The office hours are on the door.
5209, right down the hall.
Connor leaves the classroom and finds Dave standing out in
INT. HISTORY DEPARTMENT CORRIDOR
They start down the hallway together. There are bulletin boards on the wall advertising History Symposia and other department announcements and events.
So where's this club?
It's right off Santa Monica Boulevard.
Kinda divey, but cool.
So what did Nichols want to
talk to you about?
My class schedule for next semester.
Dave slows down and gives Connor a serious expression.
You know, I have to ask you.
What do your parents think about
you being a history major?
My dad's a high school lit teacher.
What was he going to say?
I haven't told mine yet.
My dad wants me to go into business.
He's an investment banker.
(with a sympathetic frown)
Fathers always think you should
be into whatever they're into.
I picked my major in high school.
I did, too.
(with sudden passion)
You know, history was the only thing
in school that kept my attention.
Yeah, it's pretty cool, I guess.
(with a tiny uncertain smile)
You don't sound so sure.
(glancing at his watch)
Listen. I gotta go pick up Amy.
He shoves a scrap of paper into Connor's hands.
Here's my number. The address
of the club is 3553 Winston,
at Santa Monica.
We'll see you there at nine o'clock, okay?
(glancing down at the paper, then back at Dave)
All right. Cool.
EXT. CITY STREET IN HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT
The street is a glare of overhead lamps, neon signs, and car headlights. An older-model TOYOTA CAMRY pulls up into an empty spot along the curb. CLOSE-UP on Connor, inside, setting his parking brake. He gets out of the car and shuts the door, then looks down at the scrap of paper in his hand and scans the street. The neighborhood is a little SEEDY. Some of the businesses are boarded up, and a homeless man is sleeping in a recessed doorway. Connor starts down the sidewalk.
TIME CUT TO - Connor slows as he reaches number 3553. There's no sign to mark the establishment, but it's a DIVE, all right. On the blacked-out window, a neon Budweiser sign twitches nervously in fluorescent purple. The door is metal and covered in dents. Despite the "21 and over" sign, Connor takes a deep breath and pushes open the door.
Inside is small FOYER lit by a single bare bulb. It's there to light the top of a STAIRCASE. Connor stuffs his piece of paper in his pants pocket, walks to the edge of the stairs and looks down. We can hear the faint, thump, thump, thump of music below. Connor starts down the dark, carpeted staircase. At the bottom is a pair of floor-length green CURTAINS. He parts them.
CLOSE-UP of Connor's face, first expectant, then uncertain.
INT. A DIMLY-LIT NIGHTCLUB - HIS POV
As we PAN over the room, it's clear that there's no stage for live music, only a jukebox wailing Country-Western music. There are scattered PATRONS sitting at a long bar and at tables, having drinks and leaning in to hear each other's conversation. In one corner, TWO MEN are standing beside a pool table holding pool cues.
REVERSE ANGLE - the curtained ENTRANCE of the club. Connor is looking over the crowd, brow knit.
Another PAN across the club, pausing at some of the PATRONS. With each pause, it becomes obvious that most of them are NOT HUMAN. One has horns and drinks with a snake-like tongue. Another has green skin and facial spines. The bartender is a vampire not bothering to hide his game-face.
The TWO MEN at the pool table have noticed Connor at the entrance. They look at him, murmuring to each other.
CUT TO the entrance of the club. The curtains close.
INT. CLUB STAIRCASE - NIGHT
Connor walks slowly upstairs, snatching a single glance behind himself. When he reaches the top, he pushes open the doors and walks out onto the sidewalk.
EXT. SIDEWALK - NIGHT
Connor starts down the street, fishing in the pocket of his jeans.
CUT TO the STREET AHEAD OF CONNOR. At the entrance to an alley just ahead of him is a PUBLIC TELEPHONE. Connor stops.
EXT. DOWN THE ALLEY - HIS POV
In the weak overhead light, we can see that the pavement has been upturned about ten meters into the alley, leaving a GAPING SHALLOW HOLE about a meter and a half in diameter. There are small A-FRAME PLACARDS around the area with fluorescent-print signs that read "construction zone."
Connor picks up the receiver and plunks a few coins into the telephone. Holding up the slip of paper Dave gave him, he pecks out the number. Then he gazes down at the ground, the receiver at his ear. We can hear the tiny distant sound of phone ringing.
THEN - (O.S.) A slow clomp of boots against the sidewalk.
CLOSE-UP of Connor's EYES, growing suddenly alert. He looks up slowly.
HIS POV - the SIDEWALK at the entrance to the alley. There are the TWO MEN from the bar. One of them has a dark blond ponytail and is wearing a neatly-pressed brown trench coat and snake skin boots. He steps forward, smiling silkingly.
(in a cultured Spanish accent)
I think someone's lost.
Maybe we can help you
get where you're going.
(eying one man, then the other)
From the receiver, we hear Dave's tiny voice.
Connor says nothing.
CUT TO the TWO MEN. The SECOND MAN has short hair, and is dressed considerably less cool than the first. The first man glances back to the second and nods, as if encouraging him.
I think he does need help.
I really don't.
DAVE'S TINY VOICE
Connor, is that you?
Slowly, Connor hangs up the phone, his expression wary.
The two men step towards Connor. One after the other, their faces change. Their foreheads CREASE GROTESQUELY. FANGS appear.
Connor backs slowly away from them into the dimly-lit alley. The VAMPIRES leer and move in for the snacking. Suddenly, the second vampire steps ahead of the first and in a flash too quick to see, GRABS CONNOR BY THE THROAT. Behind him, we see the first vampire smiling. CLOSE-UP of Connor, looking up at the second vampire, eyes tinged with fear.
CLOSE-UP of the second vampire, smiling serenely.
CLOSE-UP of Connor. His expression melts into grim determination.
PULL BACK to show both vampire and victim, hand on throat. In a swift movement, Connor raises his arm and brings it down hard on the vampire's elbow. The vampire DOUBLES OVER with the force of the blow. Before it can stand, Connor GRABS the vampire by its head and armpit and then twists himself around, FLIPPING the vampire head over heels and onto its back.
Connor turns back around quickly to see where the other vampire is.
The first vampire walks towards him calmly, his boots clomping again.
Know a little self-defense, do we?
Connor starts to back up, stepping out of the reach of the vampire on the ground.
The first vampire glances down at his companion and chuckles.
Connor looks around himself and sees the construction zone signs behind him. Slowly, the second vampire rises to his feet. Connor inches back towards the construction zone. Then, in a flash, Connor turns and runs, shoving aside the A-frame signs and LEAPING over the hole in the ground. With a predatory snarl, the second vampire starts after him. He comes to a halt on the near side of the pit, stopped short by the sight of Connor on the other side, holding up an A-frame sign, legs out, like a shield. The second vampire snickers.
Without taking his eyes off the vampire, Connor SNAPS the sign down over his knee, grabs one of the larger wooden pieces, and snaps it into shards. Then he lifts the largest sliver of wood, brandishing it at the second vampire.
(with impressed amusement)
You see, Trey? Never underestimate them.
(eyes on Connor)
No matter how fragile they seem.
The second vampire says nothing.
He's got a stake.
Because you let him get it.
He doesn't seem normal, Dee.
Maybe he has a black-belt.
(pinning his eyes on Connor)
...But he's only human.
The first vampire takes a run and LEAPS OVER THE PIT, his coat billowing. He lands behind Connor and yanks him up against himself, hand on his throat. His other hand clutches Connor's raised wrist firmly. The stake falls out of Connor's hand and clatters on the pavement. Slowly, the first vampire pulls Connor's head back, exposing his neck. Connor struggles against him, but the vampire is barely jostled by it.
You hear that, Trey?
Blood pumping, pulse racing....
The second vampire licks his lips and grins.
Connor jerks helplessly in the clutches of the first vampire.
Smell the life in his veins.
Suddenly, Connor stops struggling. His face calms. His eyes slide to one side as if to see the vampire behind him. With a curl of his lip, Connor elbows the vampire HARD in the ribs with his other arm, and twists his captive hand free. Then he turns around and KNEES the vampire in the groin. As the vampire doubles over, mouth gaping, Connor falls to a crouch and grabs for the stake. He brings it up fast and THRUSTS IT SQUARELY into the vampire's chest. Without waiting for the dust to clear, Connor stands up and spins back around. His lips tremble with determination.
The second vampire, still standing on the other side of the pit, is gaping at Connor in shock.
CUT TO ONE, then the OTHER - vampire and human gazing at each other in a stand-off of uncertainty.
Finally, the vampire's eyes narrow.
(low and menacing, with a quiver of bravado)
Think you're a tough little shit, don't you?
Walking into a demon bar, looking for a fight.
Connor tightens his grip on his stake.
I didn't start it. He did.
The second vampire crouches, preparing to spring.
And I'm going to finish it.
Without waiting for the attack, Connor leaps into the pit, then lunges forward to launch himself back out of it and onto the vampire. As his second (RIGHT) foot hits the ground, the earth crumbles beneath it, swallowing it up past the ankle. Connor flails as his momentum tosses him forward. His upper body hits the pavement.
CLOSE-UP on Connor's face, wincing in pain.
The second vampire backs off, laughing.
Now you really do need help.
Connor is half in the pit, half out of it, his foot trapped in the earth. He tugs his foot, but it doesn't budge. Quickly, he looks up. The second vampire is looming over him. He smiles. He reaches down and GRABS CONNOR UP BY THE COLLAR, twisting Connor's torso around. Connor screams as his foot is wrenched against the hole where it's trapped. The vampire laughs again. Connor stares up at him, gasping. And then the vampire's smile fades. He sees the STAKE in Connor's raised fist.
CLOSE-UP on Connor's face, dirt-smeared and petrified and defiant.
CUT to the HOLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIT. Dirt falls free as Connor's foot wriggles, working frantically to free itself.
Quickly, the vampire SHOVES Connor back to the ground. Connor tumbles against the pavement, grunting with pain. Then he rears up and swipes out his stake hand, stabbing at the vampire's foot. The vampire steps back.
CUT TO Connor's foot still wriggling, wrenching itself free.
The vampire backs off another step, then two. It's obvious he's about to bolt. There's something not normal about this kid; he's not going to risk it.
I know your scent, freak.
The vampire takes several more steps back.
Only vampires need an invitation.
He scrambles off into the night.
CLOSE-UP of Connor's face, wincing with effort. We can hear the thud of fading footsteps.
CUT TO Connor's foot, finally wrenching free. Connor's feet clamber against the dirt. He steps up onto the pavement, then staggers forward, limping to the mouth of the alley.
EXT. THE CITY STREET - HIS POV - NIGHT
Cars drive by. A few pedestrians are visible down the block. There is no sign of the vampire. Connor collapses against the side of the building. His pants are covered in dirt.
Part 2 (click here)
1. Of course, Aiden isn't *in* this episode. Scheduling conflicts.