Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S03E19 – The Price

In the nineteenth episode of the third season of Angel, JESUS LORD IN HEAVEN, THIS WAS A REALLY GOOD EPISODE OF TELEVISION. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

Let me get my one, teensy, tiny complaint about this episode out of the way before I start gushing about how much I enjoyed “The Price.” Despite that I love both scenes with Gavin and Lilah, I don’t get why they’re here. They hint towards something huge, but then we’re never shown what the hell is actually going on at Wolfram & Hart. I kept expecting some huge intervention on the hotel, but it never happened! We’re just told certain things, and we’re left wondering whether Gavin was ever telling the truth about Linwood. And that’s okay in and of itself! Plus, it’s entirely possible that the next episode will just pick up this story line, and I’ll look like a fool. It’s happened plenty of times before. But I felt disappointed that their story just went nowhere in this episode. I don’t like scenes that just exist to give information like theirs did. Well, I don’t universally hate expository scenes, but I didn’t get what the point was.

OTHERWISE, THIS IS MY ONLY GRIPE, and it’s a small one at that. My god, “The Price” is both a horror movie and a tale of morality all wrapped up in one thrilling story, and then BOTH THOSE HUGE TWISTS IN THE END HAVE DESTROYED ME. I’m also glad that I’m doing Angel and Buffy concurrently because it’s so fascinating to see two different shows deal with the misuse of power/magic in entirely dissimilar ways. There’s a reference from Cordelia early in this episode to Willow, and it got me worried that Angel was treading into repetitive territory. Hadn’t we already seen what happens when a person delves into dark magic? Why is Angel going to address this, too? But the writers of “The Price” very rapidly differentiated their story from what’s being told on Buffy by making this about Angel’s rage. Connor’s presence in Angel’s life calmed him in some respects, and we’d not seen the angry, brooding Angel in quite a few episodes. With his son gone and presumably dead (AHAHAHAHA HELP ME HELP ME), it doesn’t take Angel very long to slip back into his previous rut. He snaps at other people, he buries himself in work, and he refuses to open up to nearly everyone.

Cordelia, of course, is the one who’s able to get Angel to be honest. Again, I don’t think everything would have gone down as it did if she had been around. And that’s not because Cordelia is a better persion, per se, and it’s not because she can deal with trauma better. Her absence left a void within Angel Investigations. We’ve seen her act like a filter for the entire team, and she’s the one Wesley, Fred, and Angel often turn to as a confidante. So it was no surprise to me that she broke down in front of Angel, sad and furious that she was left out. I mean, I seriously get why Angel sent her on vacation. But it’s just so easy to think of the, “What if… ?” What if Cordelia had been around? What if Wesley had had someone to talk to?

But Wesley didn’t. And these characters can only cope with the traumatic events they’ve been dealt, and then move on. What we end up seeing in this episode, then, is what price these characters have paid for their actions, or what price they’re willing to pay. The most obvious story here is Angel’s. After using dark magic to try and avenge Connor’s kidnapping, Angel brought forth those horrifying slug things. Well, technically, they’re just a side affect, aren’t they? Technically, Angel’s actions opened some sort of portal and –

Okay, wait, I’ll get there in a bit. I WILL PROVIDE THE APPROPRIATE REACTION. Angel is pretty flippant and dismissive with all of Cordelia’s concerns about what he did after Connor was taken from him. And I don’t feel like Cordelia is trying to make Angel feel bad about wanting to get his son back. No, she’s just trying to get him to think about what he’s done. Unfortunately for everyone, Angel has to think about what he did once that man stumbles into his office and SHATTERS INTO DUST because a glassy slug thing just drank all of his body liquids. AWESOME.

And while “The Price” definitely turns into a creepy horror movie at this point, David Fury never ignores the moral battle running through this story. We get that incredible monologue from Angel as he furiously verifies to Lorne that everything he did was absolutely worth it, that he doesn’t not regret paying this price. We get Gunn’s swoon-worthy claim that Angel can’t expect him to sacrifice Fred for the greater good, that he’s willing to pay the price of one of those slug things getting out if it saves Fred’s life. And oh my god, Wesley. WESLEY. I am just fucking destroyed by what happens in this episode concerning his character. This show has definitively stated that Wesley is not coming back to Angel Investigations anytime soon. I do wonder how they’ll keep him on the show, but for now, this episode contains a devastating scene between Gunn and Wesley. Earlier, Fred had been trying to get someone to talk to Angel about welcoming Wesley back to the fold, at the very least because he truly does help out with cases. But things are twisted when Wesley tells Gunn that he wants nothing to do with his friends anymore. I admit that I never thought things would go this way. I know that this is a complicated situation, but I can’t bring myself to hate Wesley for what he did. Do I greatly dislike the choice? Absolutely. But I see his self-made exile as one of the most depressing things on the whole show. Wesley stayed alive so that he could tell his friends the reasons for why he stole Connor, and he is routinely rejected from doing so. So while I don’t condone what Wesley did, I also can’t blame him for his rage. Wesley was operating with limited information, and I do believe that relative to him, he did the best he could. Was he still wrong? Good lord, of course he was. But how can I then expect him to grovel to people who either tried to kill him, ignored him, or only came to him when they needed help?

I initially thought that Wesley’s information that saved Fred was kind of disappointing, but that was before CORDELIA REVEALED HER OTHER DEMON POWER. What the fuck??? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? Oh my god, I kind of hate the very end of this episode if only for the fact that it totally upstages Cordelia’s amazing moment of transformation. Right??? I just… WHAT IS HER POWER? Does she turn into the Great Bright Cordelia whenever she is threatened? HOW DID SHE KILL OFF ALL THOSE THINGS? Oh my god, I NEED TO KNOW SO MUCH MORE. Also, I really need to know if Groo understood that she has “work” priorities that are different from “other stuff” priorities. Also, I need to know if anyone else saw this moment as a chance for the writers to scoot Groo off the show so Angel and Cordelia could make out again. HEY, I’M NOT SHIPPING THEM YET, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS HAPPEN.

But really, this fine, nuanced, and thrilling story has one HELL of an ending. I certainly thought that the Destroyer was just some larger demon, the actual being that Angel created by using dark magic. And when that giant demon showed up, I thought that we’d see Angel kill it with one blow and it would be this hilarious, awesome, joyous ending to an otherwise stressful affair.

And then some kid is there? And he kills the demon? And then:

“Hi, Dad.”

WHAT.

WHAT

TWAASFS AD; A;AKDJSF ;ASKA

AKDSJF FUE;A.,Z ZV J ZCV ZPI45

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!!? 

Oh my god, HOW IS THAT CONNOR? HOW? HOW IS HE BACK AND HOW DID HE AGE AND DOES TIME MOVE IN QUOR’TOTH AT A DIFFERENT RATE THAN OUR DIMENSION OR HAVE I FINALLY GOTTEN A STORY ABOUT TIME TRAVEL IN THE GODDAMN BUFFYVERSE????

I have never, ever been more excited to watch more Angel. INCREDIBLE.

This episode has a lovely Mark Watches video, bought by Erica Peters, and it has one hilarious reaction to the Connor reveal. I’m pretty sure I fell out of my chair and punched myself in the face at the same time? WHATEVER. It also has a new format! All the Mark Watches videos from here on out will have two moments of audio from the actual show I am watching so that you can sync it with your copy of the episode. Otherwise, the videos will be nothing but my commentary so that it’s less distracting. AWESOME!

The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff for just $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S03E19 – The Price

  1. Dave says:

    Actually, there were 2 previous times in Buffy where it is shown that time can move faster in other dimentions. In “Anne”, episode 1, season 3, where the homelesss “kids” are put back in our dimention when they are too old to be useful, and when Angel was sent to Hell at the end of season 2 only to return as a savage beast at first because he was tortured there for hundreds of years (from his perspective). Pretty much the same situation here with Connor growing up.

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