In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Angel, WOW, THIS IS INCREDIBLY FUCKED UP. WOW. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
Yeah, even for a Buffyverse show, I have to say that this episode is immensely fucked up.
I admit that for the first fifteen minutes or so, I wasn’t quite sure where this was going. I didn’t know if we would get a one-off story or if it would contribute to this seasons mythology. And then Wesley just went and fucked everything up forever and ever and HOW IS ANGEL EVER GOING TO FORGIVE HIM?
The worst part about this is that Wesley truly believed that Angel posed a threat to his own son, so much so that he was willing to knock out Lorne and kidnap Connor right in front of Angel. And I thought about why Wesley never told anyone about the prophecy. It seemed that Wes could have prevented this disaster from happening had he just told someone about what he believed might happen. But who was he going to tell? Cordelia was gone on vacation, and he couldn’t confide in her. I’m sure it would have been awkward as all hell to tell Angel, “Hey, by the way, you’re going to devour your own child.” RIGHT??? And how was he going to go to Gunn or Fred? He was incredibly close with the two of them, but after they started dating, he’s felt isolated from both of his friends.
And so he was left to deal with things on his own. That’s not a justification of his actions, and I’m so disappointed with how he went behind Angel’s back to betray him. But I really wanted to understand why Wesley, who was always the most loyal member of Angel Investigations, would be drawn to do such a thing.
Goddamn, this is such a heartbreaking episode of Angel.
Before I get to discussing the last ten minutes of “Sleep Tight,” I really want to focus most of this review on Lilah Morgan. It’s not that she’s the most pivotal character in this story, and admittedly, she’s not even in this episode all that much, but I was totally fascinated by what the writers did with her character in “Sleep Tight.” I am not exactly sure why Wolfram & Hart was feeding Angel blood spiked with Connor’s blood. I guess Lilah was helping out Sahjahn, and he was aware of the prophecy. So perhaps this was a way to get Angel to kill Connor? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. But if the law firm wanted to keep Connor alive, wouldn’t that be a perfect way not to do that? Additionally, were they aware of what the Nyazian prophecies said of Angel and his son independent of Sahjahn? If not, HOLY COINCIDENCE. I mean, I suppose Wolfram & Hart’s main goal at this point is just to make Angel suffer. There’s no other point to their behavior, and it does fit Lilah’s reaction during the final scene.
Even if I am a bit confused about the law firm’s motivations, I was so happy with Lilah’s monologue about why she is the way she is. For the first time, she drops her guard with Angel and very plainly states that she has had to make the decisions she’s made as a lawyer because she’s got it much harder than everyone else. Here’s a woman who has had to fight to get power in her workplace, and she is damn sure she’s not going to let anyone take it from her. In this moment, it re-contextualizes the way she’s treated others around her, especially Lindsay and Gavin. I don’t think the writers are going out of their way to paint her as some heroic figure, but I also don’t get the sense that she’s meant to be a pure villain, either. Ugh, I just love that she exists to be both an antagonist and a protagonist at the same time, that we can’t ever truly guess what she’s going to do, nor can we assume we know her perfectly. MORE LILAH MORGAN, PLEASE.
Anyway, the chaotic and confusing events of “Sleep Tight” were always leading towards a confrontation between all the parties interested in Connor with the exception of one: Wesley. I was completely shocked that Justine betrayed Wesley, leaving him with a slit throat near his house. I don’t think he’s going to die, and that just means the next episode is going to be horrific. How is Wesley going to earn Angel’s trust ever again? Well, not just Angel, but all of his friends. But once I thought about it, I realized that Wesley was always being played by Holtz. Holtz preyed on Wesley’s vulnerability and his sense of right and wrong. It makes sense now that Justine was always planning on kidnapping Connor from Wesley. He wasn’t ever supposed to be anything beyond a pawn.
So when the showdown happens, it’s only really between those parties who matter: Wolfram & Hart, Holtz, Angel, and Sahjahn. The law firm wants the child for some unknown reason, probably to torture Angel further. Holtz surprises me by revealing that he wants to take Connor and raise him as his own son with Justine. And man, that is a brutal punishment when you think about it. Rather than kill Angel, he’ll just take the one person Angel loves the most and forever tease him with the knowledge that he has Connor, not Angel. THAT’S SO FUCKED UP. I still don’t know who Sahjahn is at all, nor do I understand why he is so insistent that Connor must die. WHAT DID ANGEL DO TO SAHJAHN? I don’t get it, AND IT IS DESTROYING ME. Whatever the answer is, it doesn’t really matter. The showdown at the end of “Sleep Tight” is complex and horrifying. Any way Angel looks at things, he’s going to lose his son. He’ll either be killed or kidnapped. I initially didn’t understand why Angel would give up Connor until I thought about the sort of life Connor was destined to live with Angel. If the kid, who was still an infant at this point, had entire groups willing to murder over his very existence, how would things ever get better for him? So when Holtz genuinely promises to take care of Angel and to never let Connor know that Angel ever existed, it’s the only promise Angel has ever seen that Connor will have a normal life. Connor might have a normal life.
Of course, I never factored in Sahjahn’s ability to open a portal to Quor’toth, since WHEN WAS IT EVER FORESHADOWED THAT HE COULD DO THAT? Right, never. So even though I thought I’d figured this out, I’m proven wrong. Holtz runs through a portal to the “darkest of dark worlds” with Connor, and in an instant, Angel’s son is gone. Like that. POOF. No more Connor.
While I don’t believe that either Holtz or Connor is dead, I can’t deny the crushing heartbreak that this final scene inspires within me. Just watching Angel collapse onto the ground is heartbreaking enough. He just got his son, and now he’s gone? How can Angel ever get him back? I don’t even know how this show is going to deal with that. But I do know that Angel is going to be a wreck in the coming episodes, and that frightens me. How is he going to treat Wesley? Or his other employees?
Just what the fuck???? Ugh, this show is painful to watch sometimes.
IMPORTANT EDIT: Here’s the Mark Watches video attached to this episode! I was IN THE FOREST for four days and never got a chance to upload this. 🙂
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Didn’t someone buy a video for this episode…?