OVER THE RAINBOW
Written by: Mere Smith
Directed by: Fred Keller
A Set-up Continued
As I indicated in my review of “Belonging”, that episode was almost entirely concerned with the place (or rather lack of it) that our heroes had found for themselves. Angel was trying to form a connection with humanity and was failing. Wesley was trying to be a leader and was failing. Cordelia was trying to become someone other than vision-girl and was failing. Gunn was trying to maintain a balance between his involvement in Angel Investigations and his roots and was failing. “Over the Rainbow” was in some respects a continuation of this set-up. Certainly we are still building up towards a discovery of the real issues the writers intend to deal with in the closing episodes of the season. The danger of course here is that, by prolonging the build up, the writers will simply be treading over old ground, thus losing any interest at all. But they have I think very skilfully avoided this danger. And they have done so in two ways. First of all there are some very significant character progress for both Wesley and Gunn. And in the case of Cordelia and especially Angel we are allowed a rather different look at who they are and what they want. As a result there is clear thematic development in "Over the Rainbow" when compared to "Belonging" . Whereas the latter dealt essentially with our heroes trying to be what they were not, “Over the Rainbow” shows us what they are. For the future, the intention especially for Angel, seems to be to pose the question: is that really what he wants to be?
I have already mentioned a very significant theme in “Belonging” was that
Angel did not fit in with this world. At
the start of that episode the idea
was conveyed mainly in a humorous vein, concentrating on his lack of experience
in interacting with people and his great age.
But towards the end the focus began to shift towards the fact that his
was an essentially simply and straightforward view: see evil and kill evil.
First there was the similarity in outlook between himself and Lorne’s
cousin, Landok. They were both
impatient of planning but reveled in the fight.
And this similarity was put in a wider perspective by stressing that
Landok was a typical even admired product of his home world precisely because he
embodies its black and white value system:
“A world of
only good and evil, black and white, no gray. No music, no art, just
champions roaming the countryside, fighting for justice. Bo-ring. You got a
problem, solve it with a sword. No one ever admits to having actual feelings and
emotions, let alone talks about them.”
on the other hand, hated his world and was more at home on this one.
Here we begin to get a very strong feel for the real cause of Angel’s
difficulty in making a connection. Without
going back over the whole “Angel goes beige” period, implicit in it was
Angel’s very black and white outlook. In
“Blind Date” he described Wolfram and Hart’s world in the following terms:
for power, not truth. It's their system, and it's one that
works. It works because there
is no guilt there is no torment, no
consequences. It's pure. I remember what that was like.
Sometimes I miss that clarity.”
When you are part of the world, your
actions have consequences – sometimes very messy ones - for you and for
others. They are part of its
complexity, its interlocking relationships where everything is connected to
everything else. You have to deal
with these consequences. Because of
this thing are never pure or simple or clear.
But that is the way Angel instinctively thinks they are – or at least
should be. When he fired the Fang
gang or went after Lindsey and Lilah in “Blood Money” he didn’t think
about how his actions would have undesirable consequences.
All he cared about was the simplicity of revenge.
More to the point in the aftermath of his elevator ride with Holland his
view of LA and his understanding of what was going on around him was conditioned
not by an appreciation of evil being one aspect of a series of complex
interlocking relationships. Rather
all he saw was human beings really are motivated by their own selfish ends and
as such are really no different from vampires in their capacity for evil.
Although now seized of a need to connect
with humans, Angel is still in no better a position to understand them or their
world than he was then. And this
sense of a man for whom things continue to be very black and white lie at the
heart of this episode. Right at the
beginning when Wesley and Angel realize what happened to Cordelia the difference
in their reaction is instructive:
“You know what? Screw logic. We're getting Cordy back.
We're opening another portal, and we're goin' in after her.”
“Angel, I don't think that's a good idea.”
“Wesley, I don't think I care.”
“I'm just gonna, you know...”
“But we're completely unprepared! We should go back to the hotel, do some
Angel: “I don't wanna
research, all right? I wanna
the big swirly hole thingy and save Cordelia.”
when Wesley points out that they might not ever get back, Angel is undeterred.
It’s not that Wesley doesn’t care about Cordelia or even that he puts
his own safety first. It’s just
the difference in temperament. He
is concerned with those consequences; he naturally thinks things through.
Angel, on the other hand, is principally concerned with doing what he
thinks is the right thing and the devil take the consequences.
But perhaps the most interesting
illustration of the difficulty Angel has in coping with the ways of the world is
to be found in the visit of two more of Wolfram and Hart’s seemingly never
ending army of well dressed young lawyers:
“I'm Gavin Park, and this is my associate, Mr. Hayes. We represent Wolfram
“We've come to appraise the hotel.”
Park: ”Correct me if I'm wrong, but your lease expires in six months, and Wolfram and Hart is interested in purchasing this building."
like to take a walk around the place, if you don't mind.
(in vamp face): You think I mind?
Park: “Very well. We'll contact your
real estate company and inform them of your non-compliance. They should send you
a notice of obligation and, after that, if you still refuse to cooperate, I'm
sure that somewhere in your lease agreement, there must be one or two loopholes
to be exploited.
“How quick can we get outta this world?”
Here we see the limitations on this
world of Angel’s way of looking at things and of the direct methods he favors.
With the complexity of life comes its
bureaucracy and that is the element in which Wolfram and Hart and those
like them can swim and in which Angel is at a marked disadvantage.
The implication of Angel’s last words in particular are that it would
be a positive relief for him to get
away from not only them but the whole world that they are at home in.
The first thing I like about this is
the way that is has been structured. “Belonging” and “Over the Rainbow”
are not simply two separate episodes linked
to one another by the event of Cordelia’s disappearance.
There is a clear continuity between them in terms of character analysis.
As I have already pointed out “Belonging” started out by looking at
Angel’s isolation from the world from one perspective and move to a different
one near the end and “Over the Rainbow” picks this theme up and builds on
it. And in doing so the writers get
back to where this season’s real strengths lie – its dissection of Angel’s
psyche. And the really impressive
thing about their analysis is that it is both new and implicit in everything we
have seen before. As I have tried
to explain, the idea that Angel does have this very black and white view of the
world has been implicit in the whole development of the Darla arc and in his
dealings with Wolfram and Hart generally. But
it has been implicit rather than having been dealt with in such a thematically
comprehensive way before. And we
have certainly never seen it portrayed as an aspect of his inability to fit in
with human society in the way we see it here.
Nor indeed have we seen it before quite so explicitly as an aspect of
Angel’s tendency to think with his heart and not with his head.
The contrast between Wesley’s attitude to Cordelia’s disappearance
and Angel’s is very reminiscent of a similar difference between them in
“Prodigal” when Angel lost his temper and went after the demons who killed
Angel: “That was plan A. We’ve since moved on to plan B.”
Wesley: “And plan B is?”
Angel: “Do I really have to explain it to you, Wesley?”
Again Angel simply doesn’t care about
consequences; all he wants to do is strike back at evil.
This is yet another way in which the characterization of Angel is both three dimensional and internally coherent. It is three dimensional because it is multi-faceted. Angel has many different aspects to his character and the writers can explore these in different ways. But in doing so great care does seem to have been taken in ensuring that the different aspects of Angel’s personality fit together seamlessly. Angel can and does develop and grow, especially as he learns more about himself, but there is little or no jarring discontinuity in the form of attempts to ignore previously established characterization in favor of some new idea. In a word the characterization does seem to have an organic quality about it rather than having bits just bolted on even if they don’t belong.
Of course, with Angel, we are still very
much involved in character set-up. The
writers have by now fully described their starting point so the real question is
where are they going with him. At
this stage that is still anyone’s guess but it is safe to assume that the
intention is to use parallels between Angel’s
way of thinking and the comparable values of Pylea (as we must now call the
Host’s Home World) for the purpose.
So, in “Belonging” we opened with a
scene that symbolized Angel’s separateness from the world – the fact that he
cast no reflection. Here too there
is a moment of great symbolic importance. When Angel and the others arrive in Pylea it is daylight and
Angel’s first reaction is to panic:
“The sun! Daylight! Quick, somebody hand me a blanket. Hand me a blanket or I'll catch on fire!”
Then he realizes what is happening and
I not on fire?”
fact that he can as he says go “walking in the sun” suggests that this is a
world that he can be a part of; except for one small matter.
In the course of this episode we find out about the way that Pyleans
treat humans and those who look like them.
Cordelia’s experiences at their hands are quite brutal.
Humans in general are referred to as cows.
As the Constable tells Lorne:
“Cows are not
friends. They are creatures of labor, beasts of burden, no more. I do not know
where you have been, Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, but it is clear you
have abandoned the teachings of your people.”
cow’s only value is as a beast of burden; and that value is very low as was
witnessed by the derisory price obtained for Cordelia.
Their death is routine and unimportant. Cruelty to them is also
commonplace. Indeed Angel and the
others are condemned to death for little more than defending themselves from an
attack by an angry mob.
while Angel isn’t exactly welcome the attitudes of the Pyleans accord
exactly with how Lorne described them.
Everything is black and white. Humans
are literally not worth a bucket of warm spit.
Lorne went to his friend because he was:
to the friend he was “Traitor, deserter, betrayer”. There is nothing about this place that is middle of the road
or which recognizes any shade of gray. There
is no attempt to see anyone else’s point of view.
Any transgression is punished by death.
And in this context the warning given by Fred to Cordelia about her
collar seems particularly instructive:
you take the collar off bad things'll happen to your head, like it'll implode so
don't take the collar off, okay? I can't talk to you if you don't have a head,
this all or nothing, black and white set of values does seem to me to parallel
fairly strongly Angel’s own thinking there does appear every opportunity to
examine whether this is an appropriate set of values for one whose preoccupation
should be saving souls. And in this
context the warning given by Fred and the Pyleans treatment of Cordelia, which
doesn’t make an awful lot of sense, strongly suggest to me that we haven’t
been fully exposed to the peculiarities of this dimension and that there are
other things we have to understand. And perhaps the biggest clue here comes from Lorne himself.
The vehemence with which he talks about Pylea is striking.
For example when he talks about escaping from it and arriving on Earth:
“So where'd you end up? In this dimension?”
Host: “In an abandoned building –
unlike any building I'd ever seen... and that's when I realized: I'd been
delivered from hell. I created Caritas on that very spot.”
”You're saying Pylea is a hell dimension? That Cordy's stuck in hell?”
“Oh, not literally. But it runs a close second.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Do you? Well, try this: they have no music there. It doesn't exist - do you
know what that's like? No lullabies, no love songs – because there aren't any.
All my life I thought I was crazy, that I had ghosts in my head or something,
simply because I could hear music. Of course, I didn't know it was music - all I
knew was that it was beautiful, and painful, and right. And I was the only one
who could hear it. Then I wound up here, and heard Aretha for the first time...
Don't kid yourselves. Cordy's in a very bad place.
Even the screwed up value system and the
fact he was considered a coward or absence of music (or of alcohol) cannot quite
account for his loathing of the place or his insistent
refusal to countenance going back there. This is something he makes plain time and time again:
rather have a hydrochloric acid facial. I'd rather invite a hive of wasps to
nest in my throat. I would rather sit through a junior high school production of
"Cats". Do you see where
I'm going with this?”
Of course it could just be that this too
is an example of the Pyleans’ penchant for seeing everything in the most
extreme terms but I fear we will have to wait and see.
How successful a set up Pylea will be is, at this stage, anyone’s guess. I will defer comment on this until later. The fact that it is another dimension with a fairly standard “fantasy world” feel to it doesn’t bother me one bit. I mean if you don’t mind exploring metaphors about life through the medium of fantasy character like vampires or demons then I cannot see the objection to taking that to its logical conclusion and creating an entire demon world for the same purpose. Of course there are some conventions that you have to accept along the way – the mix of magic and technology, the faux mediaeval look which never seems to vary from fantasy world to fantasy world and the fact that everyone speaks English. This is a story not an ethnological treatise. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how well the whole thing looked. Some care and thought had gone into planning it and some money had been spent on it.. For me suspension of disbelief here was not a problem.
The first thing I noticed about Cordelia
in this episode was the way in which her treatment in the commercial in
“Belonging” foreshadowed her humiliation here. Being referred to as a cow,
sold for a pig, paraded through town with a collar, made to clear up horse dung
and then used as a beast of burden was a level of degradation and hardship
unimaginable for her on Earth. Truly
she had hit a bottom that she never knew existed.
Then she was suddenly and unexpectedly raised to a position of
pre-eminence that she could never have anticipated either.
Venerable Monarch of Pylea, General of the Ravenous Legion, Eater of Our Enemy's
Flesh, Prelate of the Sacrificial Blood Rites, Sovereign Proconsul of Death”.
In terms of symbolism this too is very
typical of Pylea. She moved from
the lowest of the low to the Highest of
the High. We are certainly not
talking about a dimension that believes in the middle way.
But perhaps more interesting is the means
by which she became literally Queen C.
She sees a vision in which a villager is
being ripped apart by a Drokken before it happens and tells everyone of that
fact. No-one is remotely interested
in the fate of this villager. His
only significance lies in the fact that his fate conformed what Cordelia had
seen. Equally for a society where
empathic abilities are common the fact that Cordelia has visions produces a very
strange reaction. All the villagers
are horrified and regard her as cursed. Such
is the importance of this curse that a demon priest has to test her saying:
“Now we shall see if you are truly cursed,
my child. I pray
These are very strange words.
Why is she suddenly “my child” and not “cow”? Why is there any concern for her? But above all why does he pray she is not cursed?
That strongly reinforces the idea that having the visions is bad. Yet the
implication at the end is that she was cursed and that it was because of this
that she was made the Venerable Monarch of Pylea” instead of a cow just like
all non-cursed humans.
On Earth the visions were
debilitating; and not only physically. They
were something she had come to accept because it was her way of helping others.
But they were nevertheless something which meant she was unable to fulfill
all her previous ambitions for wealth, privilege and power.
As she said at the beginning of “Belonging”:
leave you guys while I'm still the proud owner of the mind-shattering, ever more
Yet here the visions were the very
reason why she got all of those things
The mystery is why.
Nothing in the set-up of Pylea to date would explain this. As I have already indicated this is perhaps the strongest
reason why I think it likely that there is rather more to be learned about this
strange dimension and its very peculiar value systems.
It is also why I do not think I can at this stage comment about just how
successful this set up is going to be in exploring the ideas that the writers
seems to have in mind. All I can
say at this stage is that they have certainly piqued my interest in where they
are going with this one and the mere fact of holding my attention in
anticipation of next week must be accounted a success.
But they have done so largely through the mystery of the Pyleans’
attitude to Cordelia. Fantasy and
Science Fiction is replete with examples of misfits coming to positions of power
in strange societies through misunderstandings or through a cynical ploy to
exploit the credulous. If
this turns out to be a rerun of this rather tired theme I will be disappointed.
I look to ANGEL as a series to provide new twists to old devices and
especially to provide some depth in the treatment of themes or ideas.
I hope and expect that here we will see another example of this. Just as
with Angel finding a dimension whose values accord with his own, the fact that
Cordelia finally achieves her own ambitions – and the reason she does it –
is pregnant with possible implications. It
is difficult to imagine that anything good will come of her elevation.
The real question is what are its consequences.
It was said in rather different circumstances but it seems to me that the
most prophetic words uttered all evening were:
“But the catch is…”
“Gotta have one of those.”
Not the least of the successes of “Over
the Rainbow” is the way in which the writers have used the contrasts between
Wesley and Angel to illuminate those aspects of their character that they want
explored. In “Belonging” we saw
some of the problems that Wesley had as leader: his lack of self-confidence, his
refusal to do anything without a plan, his tendency to indecision and his poor
judgment in lighting the flare when going after the Droken. Angel by contrast seemed to know what he wanted to do and
went ahead and did it. I have
already referred to the way in which the different personalities possessed by
Angel and Wesley were portrayed when Cordelia disappeared and they had to go
after her. And this certainly
reinforces the idea that Wesley does not by nature take to the leadership role
naturally. Indeed it is noticeable
that it was Angel rather than Wesley who reached out to Gunn despite the fact
that it was with Wesley that Gunn had established the closer bond. But in other respects it was Wesley who was revealed as the
key player when it came to getting to Pylea.
He worked out the nature of the portal:
Wesley: “It's cold.”
”What? Put on a sweater.”
Angel: “Gotta have one of those.”
”…creating a portal depletes the hot spot of its natural psychic energy.
Angel: "And since we already
Wesley: The hot spot is cold. That's why you couldn't open the second portal.
He worked out the key difficulty:
“When separate entities enter a dimensional portal, they tend to... well,
separate. Assuming we find another hot spot and manage to open another portal,
if we simply jump in... we could wind up, literally, on opposite ends of the
he worked out the solution. And
here the noticeable thing is the way that even Angel turned to him automatically
Angel: “Should I... I don't know,
put the top up?
“ Shouldn't be necessary. If I'm right, then we only require a metal enclosure
on four sides to ensure that we travel through the portal together. The car, top
up or down, should do it. I'm almost positive.”
finally when they arrive in Pylea it is Wesley who works out an explanation as
to why the book disappeared. Of
course having done that he still loses perspective on why they had come to Pylea
in the first place and it is left to Angel to remind the others:
the other hand when Gunn locks horns with the Constable it is Wesley who warns
him to back down. Clearly he is
still the voice of calm reason within Angel Investigations”; the person who is
most likely to understand the realities of a situation and not to lose his head
or act simply out of a misplaced sense of pride.
The implication is that Wesley as leader had also been out of his place.
It is as researcher and thinker and as a counterweight to the impetuosity
of the others that he makes his own important and distinctive contribution to
Angel Investigations. And perhaps it is an indication that, in fulfilling this
role, he can be so effective as to leave behind his
old self-doubt because in contrast to the hesitant Wesley of
“Belonging” and the early part of this episode, the Wesley who quietens Gunn
is a figure of some authority. And
just as notable is the way that he relates to Angel.
There is no longer a sense of deference.
Indeed in this episode Angel seemed to defer to him when it came to
matters within his sphere of expertise and the two of them even indulged in a
little horseplay over Angel not burning up. Also interesting was the fact that
Wesley did not just roll over and accept responsibility for losing the book in
the way that he once would have done.
therefore do see some very solid character development for Wesley here.
And it is entirely credible development as well.
Wesley’s book learning has always been his unique selling point.
It is one of the things that makes him distinctive as a character.
Of course Wesley had already established that role for himself in
episodes like “Blind Date” and “To Shanshu in LA”.
But for the reasons I have given I do not think that this can be seen as
the writers reverting to a tried and trusted formula.
As we have seen it was one of the consequences of Angel’s monomania
that his relationship with Wesley and the others was shattered.
Since “Epiphany” there has been considerable concentration on
rebuilding this relationship. The
events of this episode do seem to point in the direction of restoring the old
status quo in which Angel is pre-eminent and away from the establishment of a
group where he is simply one of the team. Given
the fact that ANGEL as a series is never going to be an ensemble production this
is probably inevitable. But the
relationship between himself and Wesley is not
a case of the writers hitting the reset button.
It is more adult and more based in a mutual respect than ever before and
that can only be a good thing.
As with Wesley we have also seen some real
development for Charles Gunn as well. I
have complained in the past that the writers never did properly express why Gunn
abandoned his loyalty to his old gang and threw his lot in with Angel
Investigations. Equally in
“Belonging” he was faced with a choice between helping his former comrades
and going to the rescue of a bunch of power walkers.
He chose the latter and again there was no real indication why.
Here for the first time the writers are clearly articulating the basis
for Gunn’s adherence to Angel Investigations.
When he arrives back from Rondell’s funeral pyre he is concerned about
Cordelia but is caught in a dilemma:
night... I lost one of my crew. I
shoulda been there, but... I'm sorry. Wes said the trip might be one way and...
I just can't. I know that makes me... I don't know what it makes me. I just
figured I owed it to you to tell you face to face. I wish you luck. I hope you
There is of course
no doubt that his crew does need him. But
this is the language of duty and obligation.
He is making a decision not because it is the one he wants to but because
he thinks it is the one he should. But
what makes him change his mind is the following phone call from Angel:
As Gunn later says:
like the captain of the Titanic gettin' ready to go down with the ship.”
he responded to was in effect a personal connection.
He saw the possibility that these were people he might never see again
and decided that friendship with them was in the end the first call on him
rather than any sense of duty to those he had evidently grown away from.
a proposition this is not without its problems.
In a case where you cannot help everyone where does responsibility lie? Does it lie with those you can help most?
That might favor his street gang where his skills might do more good than
with Angel. Does it lie with those
whose friend you are? Is that not self-indulgent.
On the whole I would have liked to have seen a greater exploration of the
moral and ethical implications of the decision Gunn took.
But I asked for a greater clarity on why he should adhere to Angel
Investigations and, for good or ill, that is what we now have.
I cannot really complain about that now, can I?
we have already seen, “Over the Rainbow” was essentially a continuation of
the process of setting our characters – and especially Angel – up for more significant developments in their lives in the
closing episodes of this season. However,
unlike “Becoming”, the set-up here unfolded through the medium of
a single plot which dominated the entire hour. This had a number of
important advantages. First and foremost it made the fact that this episode was
essentially set-up a lot less obvious than it was last week.
That actually made the set up far more natural and interesting.
Secondly it gives the piece a sense of movement that was missing from
“Belonging”. Set up is a very
necessary part of any story arc. It
is what gives it depth. But
ultimately interest is created and sustained by a sense of change and
development. In an episode that is pure set up there can by definition be
little such sense in theme or character; so it becomes all the more important
that we have a storyline to follow. Of
course in its broad outline the plot in “Over
the Rainbow” was essentially formulaic. Cordelia gets into trouble in the demon dimension; Angel and
the others find a way through to try to rescue her but themselves land in
trouble. There was little new
or surprising either in the general set up or in the specific developments of
the plot. Change the names and the
place and we have seen it all dozens of times before. But there were enough plot points to hold the interest well
is one of the great advantages of a properly written rescue story that you have
parallel lines of action. You can
measure the efforts of the rescuers against the trouble that the rescuee gets
into. It is this which can be so effective in creating a
sense of tension. And I think that
the writers handle this aspect of the story very adroitly.
The first attack of the hellbeast turned out to be a piece of
misdirection and we wondered whether this would be such a bad place after all.
But the strange attitude of the old demon who owned it was enough to show
us that all was not well. He calls
her a cow and talks about the price she will fetch.
But it is the Host who, as we have already seen, actually reveals to us
the nature of life for humans on Pylea. And
when Cordelia’s fate actually follows the path predicted for it by the Host it
provides a tangible link between victim and rescuers.
This can only lend urgency to the latter’s efforts.
Of course when you have a rescue effort
that doesn’t start until two thirds of the way through an episode that can
cause some problems with pacing. And
indeed one or two scenes (such as the Host’s consultation with Aggie) while
entertaining in themselves did serve to slow the episode down a little when the
whole imperative seemed to be speed.
But the writers did quite cleverly build in some substantial obstacles
that needed to be overcome first, so I don’t think in the end that pacing was
much of a problem. The obstacles
required Angel and the others to find a workable hot spot and then avoid the
“scattering effect”. The
creation of both obstacles showed some considerable thought had gone into this
aspect of the plot. To have had
Angel jump to Pylea immediately after Cordelia would have changed the whole
nature of the story. But at the
same time the way had to be left open for Angel and the others to get there
eventually. The explanation for the
failure of the original portal to open (the batteries were dead) was neat and
entirely credible and it did leave the way open to the latter rescue attempt.
But of the two it was the “scattering effect” that was the more
effective plot device because the solution to the problem had to
be more inventive and was therefore more interesting than the location of
the other portal. That is why it
was such a pity that the WB promo spoiled it so completely by revealing the team
arriving in Pylea in Angel’s car. When
I first saw it I wondered why they did so.
As soon as Wesley mentioned the scattering effect the reason became
Another thing I liked was the creation of
the further complication over how our heroes are to return home. I appreciate the fact that part of the story set up is to
create a doubt over whether they might want to but from the viewer’s point of
view the name of the game is to return them all to Earth. And how that is to be accomplished is at this stage an open
question; although Fred seemed to suggest it might just be a matter of the
However in all of this the key plot point
is the reversal of fortune whereby the would be rescuers are captured and are
put at the mercy of the Venerable Monarch who, it turns out, is the person they
had come to rescue. This was not
for me that much of a surprise. In
fact as soon as the Constable started to talk about a “royal highness” I
guessed what was about to happen. That
was I think largely inevitable given the nature of the formula the writers were
following here. But I think we were supposed to worry about what happened to
Cordelia between the time she was tested for the sight and she reappeared as the
“Venerable Monarch”. As most of
the tension in this episode was invested in the need to save Cordelia from some
horrible fate and as nothing that happened to her beforehand was too horrible
this dopes appear to be a considerable problem in the episode.
I am however, as I have already said, intrigued as to the reason for the transformation in Cordelia’s prospects, not least because there has been nothing so far that would adequately explain it. So here too the quality of this episode will depend substantially on where we go from here.
B (8/10): This was a very difficult episode to grade. Much of it was set up for the final episodes of the season. And perhaps more importantly it left me with the distinct impression that not all the writers cards were on the table even now. Accordingly I have no real sense at this stage of the importance or interest of the resolution of the themes that this series of programs has been developing. It is only when we see the pay-off that we will ultimately know whether the set up was worthwhile. For what it is worth, however, this episode had a number of strengths. First of all we can see much more clearly than we did in “Belonging” the nature of the writers’ analysis of Angel’s inability to connect with this world. And as I have made clear I really do appreciate the care and skill that has gone into this analysis. Secondly we have some substantial development for both Wesley and Gunn. And I welcome in particular the signs that the former’s relationship with Angel has now matured. Finally the character and theme-related set up was developed though the medium of an interesting storyline which as I have already mentioned had enough plot points to keep our interest. And the whole thing was enlivened by a number of set pieces such as Angel’s joy at being able to walk in the sun and the Host being given a taste of his own medcine.