Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S04E07 – Apocalypse, Nowish

In the seventh episode of the fourth season of Angel, everything falls apart while the world ends. No, seriously, that’s the plot. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

Oh god, there’s another apocalypse and it has nothing to do with Wolfram & Hart’s apocalypse and the team actually failed to prevent it happening??? WHAT HAS THIS SHOWN DONE TO ME?

Well, it’s torn apart two relationships, started another one that is EXTREMELY AWKWARD, and brought about the end of the world. Again. Wow, the apocalypse has happened a lot in the Buffy world, hasn’t it? Okay, that’s neither here nor there. If we’re going to talk about any familiar ground that this show has covered before, it’s gonna be about Cordelia.

It’s nearly impossible for me not to see a parallel between Cordelia’s return to our dimension and Buffy’s journey in the beginning of season six. While I’m completely perplexed by the end of “Apocalypse, Nowish,” I do want to start this off by praising Charisma Carpenter’s portrayal of Cordy. What we see here is a woman confused by her place in the world, overwhelmed by a vicious sense of helplessness, and afraid that she has no point in the machinations of good and evil. Why is she here? Why can’t she remember how she got back? What’s her purpose if not to stop that evil beast thing from bringing about the apocalypse? Again, this reminds me a lot of what Buffy went through when her friends brought her back from heaven. Cordelia is distant and cold for most of this episode, and it’s something we just don’t see much from her. She’s not overjoyed to see anyone, let alone resume any sort of romance with Angel.

And can we talk about that? My god, why don’t you just rip my heart out of my chest over and over again? Cordelia doesn’t outright deny that she’ll ever be in a relationship with Angel, but her experience as a higher being probably ruined that. And you know, that’s her choice. She experienced the suffering that Angel caused and the joy he felt because of it. It really is a lot to deal with, especially given everything else that has happened to her. I think I might have entertained the idea that they could be together if it weren’t for the ending of this episode, though. Cordelia needed time and space to cope with what she’d been through, and I know Angel would have given her that.

But yeah, that’s not going to happen. I also can’t ignore the similarity between this episode and, “From beneath you, it devours.” Only Angel has their hell beast spawn and rise to earth in the span of a single episode, and it brings the apocalypse with it. Along with that, this episode has a whole lot of emotional destruction as well. Fred and Gunn finally discuss their distance after “Supersymmetry,” and that ends poorly. The issue here is that Gunn, in a misguided attempt to do right by Fred, took away a choice that was hers to make. He spends most of the episode refusing to acknowledge this (even though she spelled it out for him!) and sulking about to Lorne. Unless Gunn actually addresses this issue that Fred has, I don’t see a way that these two can actually work through their problem. Which I hate because I think they make an adorable couple, but what’s Fred supposed to do? It’s a complicated situation, sure, but Gunn can’t ignore her concerns if this is going to work.

Unfortunately, Fred takes off and hides in the diner she usually goes to with Gunn for most of the episode, so that’s where she’s stuck when the apocalypse hits. So it’s mostly the guys dealing with the increase in supernatural activity in Los Angeles. THAT MEANS WESLEY IS BACK!!! Well, okay, sort of. I get the sense that things might become awkward between him and Lilah. Clearly, she was riled up by Wesley’s interest in Fred during “Supersymmetry,” and Wesley’s argument with Gunn over Fred is all the evidence I need that he still wishes he was with her. While I don’t want to see Gunn and Wesley fight, my god, I miss him being a part of Angel Investigations so much. I don’t foster the hope that things could ever be what they once were, but can this be the point where Wesley starts interacting with his old employees again? PLEASE? I mean, WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN? Okay, that’s absurd, the show has already been finished, but let me entertain this notion, all right?

(PS: Did Lilah’s parody of Fred remind anyone of Harmony imitating Buffy for Spike?)

This leaves Connor for me to discuss. Seriously, what a fascinating character. One on level, I totally get Cordelia’s choice to have sex with him. I get that she feels safe with him, that she can trust him, and that she knows he’ll be honest and open with her. The writers have deliberately shown us this in season four, so in that sense, I get why she turns to him in this moment of fear. The world is ending around them, and Cordelia wants Connor to experience joy before they’re all annihilated. At the same time, what??? We also see a very subtle moment where Connor calls Angel “Dad,” a possible sign that Connor is beginning to trust our father. So, writers, I have but one question for you:

Seriously! You have Angel watch Connor have sex with the woman he loves? WHY ARE YOU TORMENTING ANGEL IN THIS WAY? What’s the point of this plot? Okay, granted, I’m the ignorant one here. I admit that. I don’t know where this is going. That’s the point of this site! But my god, what is happening here? I suppose I understand that Cordelia is an empathetic character, so it sort of makes sense? But making sex an act of charity just feels so weird, especially when it involves breaking Angel’s heart at the same time. ALSO OH MY GOD, CONNOR LITERALLY STOLE HIS FATHER’S GIRLFRIEND. My review of “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” must have caused all of you to die a little from the pure terror of my unknowing ignorance.

Anyway, I guess Angel and company are going to have bigger problems to deal with than this. Because the apocalypse actually starts. I admit that this took me completely by surprise, and I love it. It’s such a fascinating place to take this story. That beast thingy totally kicked everyone’s ass, and now it’s sending down a rain of fireballs to earth. Like, you can’t hide this. This isn’t happening in the shadows or dark alleys. That giant demon just brought about the end of the world, and now Lilah and Angel are going to be working together for once, and there’s a hooved beast somewhere in Los Angeles, and why did this beast laugh at Cordelia and then just fly away, and HOW ARE THEY GOING TO STOP AN APOCALYPSE?

I don’t know. And that is genuinely exciting to me. There’s an apocalypse happening on this show, and we’re not even a third of the way through this season. BRING IT ON.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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