In the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Angel, Cordelia enlists Connor’s help with something terrible while Angel pays a visit to Skip. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
As I said on Twitter when I finished watching “Inside Out,” this is the S.S. Nope sailing to Confusion Island and shipwrecking me. I’m done. Just done.
- I fully support Gina Torres starring in every show I have ever seen.
- I fully support long cons. I love them dearly, and it’s one of the reasons I love shows like LOST, The Prisoner, and Rubicon. A nicely executed long con is SO SATISFYING. Actually, what am I saying? I’m clearly missing one of the best ones: the Harry Potter series. It is so satisfying to me to have the past re-contextualized. It breathes a new life into it, and even if I ultimately don’t like where this plot is headed, I know it’s going to be a treat to relive this show with this episode in mind.
- I fucking love Skip. Even when he’s evil. David Denman is perfect as him.
- Look, I’ll address the absolute hot mess that is this episode’s plot and implications for the past, but I have hope that Gunn’s monologue on the steps to Fred is a very important point for the entirety of this show. Even if we are manipulated, and even if these people are pawns, when it comes down to the end, it’s always going to be about choice. What do we choose to do, and who do we choose to align ourselves with? That’s a powerful message, and I was happy that Gunn in particular was the one to deliver it.
- It is a sign of growth (and of his understanding of the severity of the situation) that Angel truly was going to kill Cordelia to save the world. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, but Angel was willing to sacrifice someone who meant more to him than anyone else to save billions of people.
- I fully support Julie Benz starring in every show I have ever seen. She is one of my favorite actresses ever, and my god, YES. YES. DARLA IS BACK, if only for a brief appearance, but what a grand appearance that was.
- I am not always the biggest fan of the use of light and dark to emphasize good and evil, and I addressed how it can have racist implications last week. At the same, when done well, it’s one beautiful trope. Watching Darla and Cordelia argue with Connor over his moral path, while one is bathed in light in a white outfit and the other is shrouded in darkness in the shadows, was goddamn fantastic. Subtle? Nope. But I loved it.
- The same goes for Connor’s hand being literally covered in blood. A very nice touch to emphasize that even if he didn’t swing the axe, he is guilty for the murder of that poor girl.
- Guns never work in the Buffyverse, so it was a beautiful (if unlikely) thing to watch Wesley kill Skip with a gunshot through the… horn hole? Well, who knew I’d ever have to type that out?
- The reference to Buffy’s return from a heaven dimension was GREAT.
NOPE AND NOPE
- Okay, so this show is trying to be clever. I get that. I appreciate being tricked in a general sense. I do not appreciate being fooled into watching both Cordelia and Connor be raped and not have that addressed at all. Cordelia’s body was used without her consent, and Connor was tricked into consenting by believing he was having sex with Cordelia. I have about had it with shows (and the Buffyverse in particular!!!) adding plots that casually drop in rape like this as if it isn’t a big deal. It’s seriously gross, and what the fuck were you thinking?
- I am going to give this show the benefit of the doubt because I am ignorant. Straight up! I do not know what’s going to happen in the rest of season four or in season five. So it is entirely possible that this point I’m going to make will be deflated. The thing with writing a story about forced destiny is that it does a funny thing in hindsight: it kind of ruins character development. Not entirely, mind you, but as soon as Skip revealed that nearly every large event in these characters’ lives was manipulated to get them to this point, it makes all those moments of growth seem like… well, moves on a chess board. Suddenly, Cordelia’s growth as a person and her acceptance of being selfless is actually an attempt to get a being from another dimension to possess her. So how does the past of these people matter anymore? If it’s all just part of a game, does any of it hold any meaning? I don’t know. There’s probably going to be more of this, and I hope that Gunn’s monologue is brought back to focus on the idea of free will.
- I guess that I can’t fully believe that Connor would unconditionally give himself over to Cordelia, even over people like Fred. Really? This is less about the plot itself and more about the execution over season four. If anything, I feel like Connor’s characterization is one of constantly-shifting loyalties. For a kid who is so confused all of the time, he really stuck to this one thing with all of his heart. So why was this the exception? Why would Cordelia “carrying” his child be the one thing that gets him to stick to a side? I suppose that I just don’t understand why he would ultimately choose to believe that killing an innocent girl was a good thing. Protecting Cordelia? Sure, I can see that. But killing that woman was too far for me to suspend my disbelief.
Here’s the thing: I am going to exercise my right as an American on the Internet to reserve my full, definitive opinion on this until this season is over. I do these silly lists often, but this truly did have a point. I both love and hate what I just saw. And I don’t truly know how I feel about this. I admit that I’m intrigued. Obviously, I need to know who the hell that woman is, if Cordelia is alive, if these characters’ choices matter, and if the S.S. Nope will ever return me to civilization. It’s possible all of my opinions will change in the next five episodes. I just wanted to vocalize my immediate thoughts for the sake of this. Otherwise, I have no fucking clue what is going on.
Well, Gina Torres is on Angel, and that is fucking spectacular. I can celebrate that.
Mark Links Stuff
– You can follow me on Twitter for any updates and live commentary on upcoming reviews I’m writing.
– You should read this very important post about supporting Mark Does Stuff!
– I’ve started reading The Shoebox Project for Mark Reads, the first fanfic “series” I’ve ever covered! Join me!