Despite many story strands somewhat stretching belief, this half of "Angel"'s third season furthers a trend begun almost at its conception; consistently producing episodes stronger than that of its parent show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Whether this is indicative of its strength or the latter's weakness is perhaps debatable, however, with unsurpassed moments of comedy ("Carpe Noctem"), drama ("Billy") and character development ("That Old Gang Of Mine," "Fredless," "Birthday"), it is clear that "Angel" has not suffered from its loss of crossovers with "Buffy;" on the contrary, it has been able to showcase its strengths and establish itself as an excellent show in its own right. The pregnancy of Darla does, in my opinion, begin to show a slight spiral out of control, however, as the world built up by Joss Whedon & Co relies so heavily on its rules that when these rules begin to, for seemingly no clear reason, be broken, some element of trust between viewer and show is broken as well. If we have been led to believe that vampires cannot give birth, when they suddenly and irrationally do so it reeks of ratings winners and makes the whole show appear a little more ridiculous - of course its premise is exactly that, but the usually almost flawlessly constructed universe built up allows you to forget you are watching a show about a vampire with a soul and a penchant for hair gel and simply enjoy the forty-five minutes of quality entertainment. Also, the baby noises and faces do start to kill the Angel coolness we know and love. Having said that, it's interesting to speculate where (in the words of Buffy) we go from here. Surely a demon fighting team can't have a newborn baby needing his nappy changed every time they need to stake something? And why hasn't Wesley done anything at all for weeks (incidentally, am I the only one who thinks his usually impeccable accent is starting to slip? Must be lack of practice.)? And WHAT is going on with Angel and Cordelia? It's a good thing they have abolished crossovers - if Buffy could see him now... Overall, this half of the season, although flawed, has shown "Angel" is capable of something almost never achieved by spin-off shows - rivalling and often beating its original. Almost every episode of "Buffy" this season has been bettered by the equivalent "Angel." And whilst some factors are difficult to swallow, in general these eleven episodes have been entertaining and compelling, and although answering many questions, have opened up a whole lot more.