In the twentieth episode of the second season of Angel, I was not expecting this. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
I know that some of you never watched Angel at all during its initial run, so I’m curious to know if you’re having a similar experience to mine. I kind of thought I might dislike switching from one show to another, especially when there were so few crossovers. I thought it was going to be distracting, especially if there were a lot of cliffhangers being broken up by the other show. Instead, I’ve come to enjoy switching between the two shows, and “Over the Rainbow” is a good example why. Just like the last episode of Buffy, this particular episode of Angel is the first one to take place largely outside of the main setting. There are only brief scenes in Los Angeles, while the bulk of the story is set in Pylea, the dimension of Lorne. AND WHAT A WEIRD DIMENSION IT IS. The success of “Over The Rainbow” comes from the fact that things seem incredibly silly in Pylea until Cordelia’s predicament just gets worse and worse.
But before I discuss Cordelia or the other four guys who open a portal to save her, I need to talk about Fred. In just a few minutes, I suddenly care more about seeing Amy Acker’s character than anyone else on the show. There’s a specific moment that is so haunting to me that I instantly realized what fascinating possibilities the character of Fred has because of the way she’s written. When Cordelia, shocked to find another human on Pylea, asks Fred how to get out of Pylea, Fred immediately laughs and then says, “Oooh, I forgotâ€¦ laughing.”
Here is a character who has been trapped in a demon dimension for five years, who has lived with a society that devalues all human interaction and behavior, who has tried to survive with a dim, distant hope that she might someday get home, and who has simply forgotten something as human as laughter. It’s a moment that drives home just how fucked up Pylea is for humankind and just how serious of a predicament that Cordelia is in. This is not going to be an easy escape for her.
Well, that’s brings up something else we’ll have discuss, but I’ll save that for the end. It’s clear that this episode is setting the tone for the season finale, and I admit that I have been completely taken by surprise by all of this. Of course, I expected that the season two finale would end with Wolfram & Hart, but this is a pleasant change in tone and plot. All this time spent with Lorne and building his character is certainly welcome and appreciated, but there are so many smaller moments back in Los Angeles that help build the tension and character development of the main cast. Even in terms of Wolfram & Hart, we’ve got something else to worry about: the firm is planning on buying the hotel Angel is living in just to annoy him. Also, HOLY SHIT, IT’S JIN FROM LOST. Oh my god, I have such a huge crush on that hunk of a man. Okay, THAT’S NOT THE POINT. I’d honestly forgotten about the law firm because of all the shit that was going down with the team. I think if you watch the scene again, Wesley’s got an interesting look on his face the whole time. In a way, he’s concerned that Wolfram & Hart might bring back Angel’s dark side once again, but I think his facial expression also conveys a sense of sympathy for his friend. Angel has done a fantastic job moving on from that part of his life, and despite how hard he’s tried to do so, they just can’t leave him alone. DAMN YOU.
I thought that Gunn had moved on as well. It was heartbreaking to watch because I knew he was right. I knew he had to go back and help the people he was close to, and I knew it tore him up to have to let Wesley, Angel, and Lorne save Cordelia on his on. Even beyond that, I truly believed that Gunn wasn’t going to come back at all. Hell, I thought Angel was leaving a voicemail for Buffy, to tell her what was going on and that he might not come back. BUT HE DID COME BACK AND IT WAS AWESOME AND OMG THE WAY WESLEY LOOKED AT ANGEL WHEN ANGEL WAS TRYING TO JUSTIFY LEAVING A MESSAGE ON GUNN’S ANSWERING MACHINE WAS JUST SO ADORABLE AND I JUST LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH.
Also, hi, Aggie. You are amazing, and I need you to be in every episode ever from here on out. A psychic woman of color who can read auras and is Lorne’s close friend? Yes, this is wonderful, I’d love more of this, YES PLEASE.
So, let’s talk about Cordelia. I love her? She might be my absolute favorite character in the entirety of the Buffy / Angel universe, and that’s why watching “Over the Rainbow” was so difficult for me. I sometimes hate that the threat of death is so real on this show because it makes things so stressful and unbearable. Watching Cordelia cope with the society on Pylea was humorous, sure, but only to a point. That point was the exact moment when she had a vision. I seriously screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, POWERS THAT BE?” Why then? Was she always supposed to go to Pylea to save someone? Yet as I wondered if this was some grand manipulation on the part of the Powers That Be, I was shocked to realize that the Pyleans despise people with psychic powers, referring to Cordelia’s power as a curse. Are you serious, Powers That Be? You’re going to give Cordelia visions in a demon dimension where visions are tantamount to WITCHCRAFT? Hasn’t she suffered enough for y’all?
So every moment she is tortured and maimed and harmed by the tribunal was agonizing. Please, I thought, PLEASE do not kill off Cordelia Chase. I don’t know that I could have handled the tragedy of her friends coming to save her, only to be too late. Well, wait, I could have handled part of it because I would have still been able to see Angel in the sunlight. Can we talk about this? He turns into a six-year-old child, and it’s one of my absolute favorite moments with his character. It’s so rare to see him expressing any emotion, so his giddy demeanor is just downright infectious. MORE PLEASE, THANK YOU.
Well, I suppose now is the best time to talk about this. All four of Cordelia’s friends are freaked out by the prospect that she will be or has been executed for possessing the sight, and then they are about to be executed themselves by the Monarch. I knew that this episode would end on a cliffhanger because there was no way they’d all get out and save Cordelia in just a couple minutes. I began to think about what the Monarch could be, and I truly believed it was some evil, demonic being, that the group would discover just what they were up against, and that’s what would lead into the next episode.
Instead, the Monarch is a very-much-alive Cordelia Chase, decked out in an outfit that would make Return of the Jedi Princess Leia blush, and she happily greets her friends. She’s a goddamn queen, and it is everything I have ever wanted from life.
I love this show, y’all.
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This makes me want to give Fred a big hug. She acts like a little kid, but she’s seen so much horror.