Mark Watches ‘Angel': S05E18 – Origin

In the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of Angel, I AM DONE. I AM JUST SO DONE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

FOR REAL. THIS IS AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW.

There’s just no possible way that in the remaining four episodes of this show (!!!!! OH MY GOD WHY ARE THERE ONLY FOUR EPISODES LEFT !!!!!!) that I’m going to hate it so much that it will undo everything before it. This is, by far, my favorite season of Angel, with some of the more responsible, enthralling, and gut-wrenching storytelling the show has ever given us. “Origin” is no exception, and I CAN’T DO THIS. My heart cannot handle it.

  • It really is relevant that I am watching Dollhouse at the same time. “Origin” provides an unbelievable parallel to what I just wrote about “Instinct.” Hell, Illyria’s lines to Wesley about how experience makes up a person’s life are APPLICABLE TO BOTH SHOWS. Oh my god, unintended synchronicity is beautiful.
  • I DIDN’T EVEN RECOGNIZE CONNOR’S PARENTS H E L P M E 
  • Though to be fair to myself, I recognized from the get go that this was going to be a disaster, it would unravel chaotically, and everything would be awful. THERE WAS NO WAY THIS COULD HAVE A HAPPY ENDING.
  • The worst part about this for Wesley is that he really wants to do something good for the Reillys but Angel won’t let him. OH GOD, NO, STOP IT, EVERYTHING HURTS.
  • Watching this version of Connor is unreal, y’all. Gone is the ever-present angst, the bitter sarcasm, the constant rage. He’s clearly happy, he enjoys his life, and he enjoys his parents.
  • MARCUS HAMILTON, I STILL DON’T TRUST YOU, but at least he was honest with Angel. The Senior Partners weren’t behind the mess with Connor. For once!
  • I initially did not understand why Cyvus Vail didn’t just, like, email Angel. “Oh, hey there, broody pants, I’ve got Sahjhan. Want to kill him?” But Vail’s desperation called for more desperation, and he needed a guarantee that Connor himself could be there to kill Sahjhan. Why not emotionally blackmail Angel in the process? Plus, it’s this very prophecy that caused Sahjhan to hate Angel so much. Connor was prophesied to kill Sahjhan, so this is why Holtz was brought to present time.
  • Simultaneous to this, Wesley’s curiosity is getting the better of him, and it was agonizing watching this play out. The more Angel pushed Wes away, the more certain it was that Wes would rebel against him. It’s in his nature!
  • And it’s in this episode that I become totally fascinated by the dynamic between Wesley and Illyria. There’s the obvious: Wes refuses to accept Fred’s death, and his interest in Illyria is rooted in that. But Amy Acker’s brilliant performance deserves a more nuanced look at this unreal character. She acts as this fascinating foil to human existence, especially since she’s so unused to it. In a way, she’s like a humorless version of Anya, a demon stuck in a human body. (I don’t know if that body is mortal, though. Nothing seems to hurt Illyria.) She is clearly demonstrating signs of being protective of Wesley, confused by Angel, and utterly amused with Spike. (And really, that’s how we all feel anyway, AMIRITE.) Watching her navigate this world is so engaging because she acts as a form of commentary on what everyone is doing.
  • Oh god, Connor is like a BABY FIGHTER. He has that ridiculous power within him, but he has no idea how to use it.
  • I expected a dramatic montage training sequence. WHERE WAS MY MONTAGE.
  • Just kidding, that would have been awful.
  • HI, I’M GUNN’S SCENE IN THIS EPISODE, AND I’M HERE TO RIP YOUR HEART OUT. You know, I honestly believed that Gunn would just be gone for the rest of the season, that there’d be no way to get him out since his stay in that alternate reality was self-imposed. So I was excited when Angel mentioned that he wanted to rescue Gunn. However, a bigger question remained: What if Gunn didn’t want to be rescued? AND THEN MARCUS OFFERS HIM A WAY OUT AND GUNN REFUSES AND I’M SIMULTANEOUS SUPER PROUD OF HIM AND SUPER SAD AND I AM SO TORN UP OVER GUNN.
  • Okay, I nearly choked when Illyria said that some of Fred’s memories were altered. HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT??? HOW? Oh god, there is still some remnant of Fred left within that body, isn’t there? My heart.
  • You know, Connor is a disposable character at this point. He hasn’t been in season five at all, and the show already brought back one character to kill them off. (MY QUEEN.) So once his fight with Sahjhan got underway, it looked like it would end poorly. I’m glad that the show acknowledged the reality that this version of Connor wouldn’t know how to use his physical strength at all, and Sahjhan was far more prepared than he.
  • Which is one of the reasons this entire end sequence was so stressful and tense. Then Wesley shows up, Illyria freezes time, and Wes grabs the Orlon Window. Oh my god, HOW WAS THIS GOING TO BE RESOLVED? Wes could get his memories back, but at what cost? Would it be worth it? Would it save Connor’s life? Even worse, could Wes resist the fact that Angel had done something behind everyone’s back for Wolfram & Hart? This is especially important because it was the same sort of thing that led Gunn to unknowingly doom Fred. So it makes sense that Wesley, in a bout of anger, would choose to distrust Angel for making a deal with Wolfram & Hart.
  • EXCEPT THAT IT DIDN’T GIVE CONNOR BACK HIS MEMORIES, AND WESLEY FINDS OUT WHY ANGEL DID EVERYTHING, AND OH MY GOD, MY HEART CANNOT STAND THIS. Is he going to tell the others? Wait, isn’t Lorne the only one left? Oh god, Spike and Harmony never met Connor, and Gunn’s out of the picture. Ugh, I hate how split up the group is.
  • Look, I’m going to choose to read that final scene as an implicit acknowledgement that Connor did get his memories back, but he chose to remain as the new Connor out of respect for what his father did. He prefers the world of the Reillys, but still appreciates his real father.

I guess it’s possible for Connor to come back, but to be honest, I don’t think he will. His story seems very complete at this point, and my heart is sufficiently stomped on, and I don’t know how to make it through the remaining four episodes. I don’t. Done, y’all. I am so done.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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