Previously: Jeremy Renner came to town and we’re sure other things happened too.
Lorraine: Cordelia starts us off by using a window as a mirror to apply some lip gloss. Angel startles her when he walks in, and she gives herself a little bit of a Joker mouth. As she cleans herself up, she jokes about being too young and carefree for a heart attack. Angel turns the joke around on her as he sorts through some files, and remarks that she should be less young and carefree with those, as she’s placed a Mrs. Benson’s file under F. Cordy remembers that she did so because Mrs. Benson is from France, a fact that she relates with her being a pain in the ass. Also, Cordelia is wearing a large bandanna as a top.
Sweeney: Cordelia makes some questionable fashion choices, but now that we’re on our fourth season of trying to understand what goes on in Willow’s mind when she’s getting dressed in the morning, this bandanna top seems, by comparison, perfectly reasonable.
K: It mostly makes me think that she’s stumbled out of an episode of Survivor…
Lor: Wesley comes in and dorks all over the place and I spend the entire scene chanting, “he gets better. He gets better.” For now, he just is desperate and sporting an axe.
Cordy’s two dolled up friends enter and Wesley dorks some more, especially when one of the Clubbing Friends compliments his axe.
The Clubbing Friends exposit that Cordy’s been seeing some fashion photographer dude. Angel wants to know why he hasn’t met this new guy, and Cordy bluntly says she’s ashamed of him, and also, he’d embarrass her. Speaking of embarrassing, I’ve seen The Fast and the Furious too many times not to use this gif:
I’m going to snark that movie one day.
Sweeney: This came up as a thing that should happen when I watched the MTV Movie Awards with my sister. THEY’RE MAKING A SIXTH MOVIE. I still can’t believe they made a second, third, fourth, or fifth, so six was shocking news to me. Also, a sad commentary on all of their careers. Sorry, this was an awkward tangent way of agreeing that we must now add this to the Spreadsheet of Dreams. Consider it implied, Traumateers, that Lor is reinserting that gif here, directed at me.
Lor: In addition to wine, Sweeney is also fluent in Snark Lady-ese.
K: I saw the trailer for the sixth movie when I went to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend (sidenote: the early opening date on IM3 in Australia was a nice unexpected birthday present for me from Marvel). I’m gonna go ahead and picture Vin Diesel staring at that gif for hours and pretending that it’s his past self yelling at his present self for accepting a role in the very first movie.
Lor: Sure! It could happen.
Back in the actual episode, Cordelia is overtaken by a Migraine Vision and falls to the ground. Angel and Wesley do a terrible job of trying to cover it, and it’s all played for cheap laughs. (S: This bit bothered me a lot. I mean, I get why they had to try to be discreet but homegirl’s on the floor in pain and we’re cracking jokes? For real?) After it’s over, Cordy describes her vision: a big baby hatching out of a big egg. She writes down an address for him and takes off with her friends. Angel heads in search of the Big Baby Big Egg and tells Wesley he can
dork tag along.
We cut to the next scene where they make a point of showing us the note Cordy scribbled down. It could be 23 Cabrillo, which is where Angel and Wesley go and break into the apartment of an elderly couple watching TV. Angel can’t go in (he’s not invited) and Wesley takes this time to not-at-all threateningly demand to know where the eggs are laid. Angel sees that next door at 25 Cabrillo, there is a Big Baby hatching out of a Big Egg. Angel covers with, “termite eggs are the worst and they are next door, ahem.” We stay with the couple just staring at each other like, “WTF WAS THAT?” I don’t know either, elderly couple.
Electric cello credits.
Sweeney: NGL, at this point in the show, the electric cello credits have been among the show’s highlights. I feel guilty knowing that people started watching this show because of us. 2/3 OF US DIDN’T KNOW, AND 1/3 TRIED TO TALK THE OTHER 2/3 OUT OF IT.
K: I really did try. But then one of you mentioned that Jeremy Renner was in an episode, and suddenly I jumped on board the crazy train. Whoops?
Lor: I’ve been reminding myself that when I started season 1 of Buffy, I thought you were all on crack for considering it such a great show. Then it got so much better! Now, it’s kind of is worse again, but um, here’s to alcohol with TV and the future.
Demon egg yolk is splattered on a window and he hear metal clanking, demon screams and general fighting sounds coming from inside. Wesley is thrown through the door, and to his credit, he gets right back up and rejoins the fighting. A few seconds later, Angel and Wesley leave the room victorious. Wesley gripes about Cordelia sending them to the wrong place, but Angel defends her, seeing as how she recently lost Doyle and gained the visions. Also, I keep forgetting she also recently graduated from high school, probably because Charisma Carpenter looks 35.
K: Also because comments have been made in the last few episodes about Cordy being in her 20s. Whut.
Lor: Over with Cordelia, her Clubbing Friends are ordering drinks and kissing men. Cordy is talking up her new boy and I immediately go, “YOU. WHO ARE YOU?” Lo and behold he is Ken Marino or Vinnie Van Lowe from Veronica Mars.
I am highly entertained by this.
Sweeney: ME TOO. Also: Absolute best Vinnie gif choice. 1430.
K: I know him as Joey Potter’s lecher English professor from the godawful fifth season of Dawson’s Creek. Also, the bartender was in that show Ed about the lawyer who owned a bowling alley. Which I, for some unknown reason, watched EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK without fail.
Lor: Vinnie Van Lowe and Cordy (S: /KENDALL CASABLANCAS.) (AHH! SO TRUE. A+) have a chat about LA and how no one fits in there. The point of LA is to make you as insecure as possible. For me, in the little bit of time I recently spent there, LA was all about making me feel awed by hills and mountains. Sorry, I’m a Florida girl and land formations always excite me.
Sweeney: She’s not even remotely exaggerating with her use of “always.”
Lor: ANYWAYS, Vinnie sees Cordy to her door later that night. She awkwardly invites him in after a kiss, then admits that she’s never had anyone over and asks for suggestions. “Music,” Vinnie offers. Cordy turns on some Sexy Times Song but Phantom Dennis switches it to a polka. (S: I was hoping that at the end of this episode we’d get some indication that Phantom Dennis sensed what was up. We don’t but in my headcanon, he was trying to warn her.) (K: Head canon accepted!) Cordy quickly turns it off and runs to the kitchen to make tea. While in there, she yells at Phantom Dennis and threatens him with both death (“empty threat”) and playing Madonna’s Evita around the clock, which I would also call empty, seeing as he has no problem operating electronics. Vinnie sneaks up on Cordy and is all, “ugh? WTF?” She tells him the truth about having a jealous ghost for a roommate but when Vinnie gives her a look, she LOL. JAYKAYs. She offers another lame excuse but Vinnie stops her with a kiss. The Sexy Time Song powers up again as we get a short montage of those two kissing, entering the bedroom, and lowering themselves onto the bed in the dark.
We enter back into Cordy’s room over the sunrise so that we know it’s the next morning. Cordelia calls out to Vinnie but he’s of course gone. Cordelia checks the time and notes she’s late for work. (K: It’s 10.47am, so she’s definitely not winning any employee of the month awards.) She tries to get out of bed, but she’s struggling. One might even say she’s clambering. (YOU’RE WELCOME SWEENEY.) (S: WORST.) But alas, no. The problem is that she has a huge pregnant belly. The episode description told me this would happen, but still: DAFUQ?
Sweeney: Also warned. Still, DAFUQ?
Lor: After a seizure cut, we’re back with Cordy who is practically catatonic in bed. Angel, with Wesley in tow, is freaking out outside her apartment because it’s noon now, he’s left her messages and she hasn’t answered. We’re shown the outside of Cordy’s apartment which appears to have some pretty legit shade, probably so we’ll STFU about Angel and sunlight. Not likely, though. Angel busts down the door as Wesley pokes at Cordy’s responsibility shucking tendencies again.
Sweeney: Wesley also comments on the ridiculousness of responding to her not showing up for work one morning by BREAKING INTO HER APARTMENT. I’m only commenting on it because even I could see the inappropriateness of my TV boyfriend’s actions and this was my first, “All right, Wesley, I see your potential,” moment.
Lor: Inside, Angel finds Cordy in her room, pregnant, panicking and asking for this to be a dream. Angel asks what happened and she gives the Cliff Notes version of lounge/inviting Vinnie in/safe sex/WTF IS HAPPENING. She freaks and cries and awwww shit. This is terrible. Angel asks if she’s called Vinnie and she hasn’t. What would she say? “You left something at my place?” Still, Angel gets her to dial the number with a promise that he will talk to Vinnie for her. The line is disconnected. The boys, even Wesley who is much more understanding now, promise to get to the bottom of whatever this is. Cordy asks for time alone, and they head out. Phantom Dennis hands her a tissue and tucks her into bed. This whole scene was A+.
Angel makes some calls but there is nothing on Vinnie; his numbers are all disconnected and he has no criminal record. Angel guesses that Vinnie is a “procreaparasitic demon.” Wesley layman terms that for us as “a demon who can only reproduce by implanting a human woman with its seed.” That’s not even the bad news: the women rarely survive. Additionally, this baby demon is like the Jack of demons, and is developing super fast. Birthing demons is apparently nasty business. That’s why I intend to never have baby demons. (S: A+) (K: Cosigned.) Wesley is tasked with a prenatal examination and Angel is off to find Vinnie.
Back at the lounge, Angel is questioning the bartender. When money doesn’t work, he tries for sympathy and says that he’s looking for a guy that hurt his friend. He wants to know where Vinnie’s friends hang out. The bartender offers Sarina, which is one of the Clubbing Friends’ name. He thinks she’s the one calling the shots. The bartender wonders if Angel is Cordelia’s boyfriend, but no, he’s “family.” Aw.
Seizure cut to a waiting room, where a random woman asks Cordelia if she’s having a girl or a boy. Cordy looks like she wants to bite the woman’s head off and shouts at her when she makes to touch her. Also, she’s wearing Overalls of Overall Sadness. Fair.
K: Truth. Also, I definitely don’t blame her on shouting at the random for trying to touch her. Keep your hands to yourself, bitch.
Lor: In the examination room, a Dr. Wasserman performs an ultrasound and first freaks out because there are at least 6 heartbeats. Something else freaks the doctor out and he wants to draw some amniotic fluid.
Angel finds Sarina’s apartment and asks if he can come in. She says “okay” which apparently a good enough invitation. He enters cautiously. There are lit candles all over the place. She has her back to Angel, and the audience, as she tells us that the light hurts her eyes lately. Also, she thought Angel was a delivery from the (Traumaland!) Liquor Store, as her supply has run dry. Mmmhmm. Some things will do that to you. For instance, waking up eight and a half months pregnant, which Sarina also did. She turns to reveal her prosthetic belly and sads about knowing alcohol might hurt the baby. She sort of hopes it does. Yikes.
Back at the doctor’s office, Dr. Wasserman is explaining that there is a small chance of miscarriage during the amniocentesis. Cordy jumps at the chance and gets judgey eyes all around. Dr. Wasserman draws the amniotic fluid and hands it off to the nurse who promptly freaks out as the fluid eats up the vial and then the floor, like an acid. Dr. Wasserman flips out and runs off. Wesley suggests they find Angel ASAP.
Speaking of, he’s still at Sarina’s apartment, assuring her the pregnancy is real and that it is also happening to Cordelia. Sarina says that her one-night-stand dude took off too, and that all the boys were really weird and their money smelled.
K: I was going to ask why anyone would notice that money smelled, but then I remembered that some people aren’t sheltered little private school snowflakes and that money gets used as a means of transferring party drugs to noses.
Lor: Hmm. I just assumed it was REALLY SMELLY money.
Angel is in the middle of asking Sarina a question when she screams out in a labor pain and we cut over to Cordelia screaming as well as she and Wesley arrive at the Brooding Basement.
Wesley is doing his best to be helpful and comforting but Cordelia can tell he’s freaking out. Also, she realizes that she’s carrying 7 babies, and they are all talking to her at the same time. We hear a bit of demon baby cooing in the background too, and this shit is disturbing. It gets worse as Cordelia tells Wesley, “you don’t know what it’s like to be a partner in creation.” She realizes her babies are not human, and wonders if they will still be okay. After a bit more freakout, Wesley gets Cordelia to rest.
Sweeney: I sent the other girls an email as soon as I finished watching this episode because the whole thing is so unsettling. I have no other words for it than that. It’s actually pretty well done, but I don’t see myself ever watching it again because I was so, you know, unsettled by it.
K: Pretty sure this is my third time watching this episode. I remembered nothing about it, so apparently it’s so unsettling that I’ve blocked it out every time.
Lor: In the basement, Angel has arrived and fills Wesley in on Sarina’s pregnancy. He pulls out a phone book (which is never not hilarious) and searches for gun clubs, as Sarina mentioned Vinnie and his buds like to hang at one. Wesley shares that Cordy is carrying lots of demon babies and Angel thinks someone is trying to raise an army. As Angel and Wesley walk back through the basement, they find Cordelia standing in front of the fridge, drinking blood.
Even Angel is grossed out. Charisma does an excellent job of walking by them with tons of crazy in her eye as she simply announces that she was hungry.
Sweeney: This is the first episode she’s carried, and she totally rocked it. It needed to be as disturbing as it was, and could have easily just been campy ridiculousness if she hadn’t done such a great job with it.
K: Also, I’m gonna go ahead and give an A+ to David Boreanaz and Alexis Denisof for those facial expressions.
Lor: At an indoor gun range, Vinnie is shooting when Angel sneaks up behind him. Vinnie says Angel shouldn’t sneak up on people at a gun range, and Angel does not say, “sneaking up on people is what Angels do best!” (K: LAME) He does however say he’s Cordelia’s friend.
Vinnie: This is a private club. Featured word – private.
Angel: If you don’t talk to me, I’ll kick your ass. Featured word – ass.
Vinnie says that Cordy told him all about her boss Angel, and holds a gun up to his face. Angel quickly twists Vinnie’s arm and says he doubts Cordy shared everything. After a second, Angel pushes Vinnie away and notes that he’s human and thus not the father.
Sweeney: You are a champion of the internet.
K: Awwwww. FLORIDA FLASHBACKS!
Lor: Kirsti and I watched an episode or 2 of Maury while she was here. Please don’t take away my champion title for that confession.
Angel deduces that Vinnie was just some sort of link and wants to know how the impregnation works. Vinnie ain’t talking so Angel gets to beating until some of Vinnie’s bros walk in to deliver cheesy lines and threats.
Brooding Basement. Wesley has found the demon baby daddy in a book when Cordelia sneaks up behind him and sees a picture. Wesley is all, “this is horrible. We can stop this.” Cordelia turns on him and smacks him around with the thick book as she proclaims that no one is going to hurt her babies.
After a cut to black, we’re back with Angel who is putting all the pieces together. This group of wiggity wack guys proxy for a demon and knock up women in exchange for fame and success and, you know, all of the sex. This episode has been rough on LA and Vinnie takes about stab, saying there are worse people to work for in this town than a procreaparasitic demon. Angel demands to know where the demon baby daddy is, but Vinnie won’t spill. Instead he shoots Angel three times. Angel looks up, vamped out, and badasses that he hates to be shot. He then kicks some wiggity wack ass.
With Vinnie pinned on the floor under his boot, Angel asks one more time where the demon in charge is.
Cordelia walks into some factory and is met there by the Clubbing Friends and other women in similar states of pregnancy and hypnosis. Angel calls his basement and the ringing rouses Wesley. They exchange information, as Angel struggles a bit. His hand is bloody and I can’t imagine being shot is any fun at all. I like this detail here a lot. Anyways, the baby daddy is a Haxil demon who has a psychic umbilical cord connection to all his spawn. That’s how all the babies are living and that’s how Baby Daddy Haxil is controlling the baby mommas. If they slay the demon, the babies will die without harming the mothers. Trouble is, Haxil won’t be killed by fire or decapitation. Angel gets thinky and then asks Wesley if he can shoot straight.
Back at the factory, all the baby mommas are being outfitted in pretty, white virginal dresses (S: Your favorite!) while tinkly, lullaby music plays in the background. Angel and Wesley arrive at the factory as the women all enter a huge vat of something vile. Wesley tries to get the women to exit but they don’t and out comes Haxil and he is HUGE but really stupid looking.
K: It kind of looks like they reused the demon from Fear, Itself. Except that they made it giant instead of tiny.
Lor: Haxil asks who the heck the intruder is and Wesley announces himself: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Rogue demon hunter. He puts up his tiny little fists too, and okay fine! It’s adorable. Wesley says he’s come to do battle and the Haxil growls acceptance. Angel shows up with a big tank of something. He does a shot-put twirl and heaves the tank over to the Haxil who catches it. Wesley quickly pulls out a gun and shoots the tank of what we now see is liquid nitrogen. The gas leaks out as the Haxil groans in pain. At the same time, all the baby mommas groan until the Haxil is dead. The girls are all back to themselves, baby demons gone. Cordelia promptly exits the vat of nastiness, grabs a nearby pulley, aims it and pushes it toward the frozen Haxil, who shatters.
Seizure cut to Angel Investigations. Angel and Wesley are fretting about and cleaning up for Cordy’s return. (S: AND IT’S THE ACTUAL CUTEST THING.) It’s now two days later. She enters and they welcome her super enthusiastically. She chirps that she’s fine and even makes a joke about letting a producer take her out and impregnate her for a role! She assures the boys that she’s fine and she’s a lot stronger than the wiggity wack dudes expected. Angel smiles sweetly and says he’s learning just how strong she is. Cordelia says she’s learning stuff too. Men are evil (which she kind of already knew). LA is full of self serving phonies. (Nope, knew that one too.)
Cordelia: Sex is bad?
Angel: We all knew that.
Cordelia: OK, I learned that I have 2 people I trust absolutely with my life. And that part’s new.
The tinkling piano of emotions takes us out as Wesley tears up and blames it on allergies.
Sweeney: Angel gets an A+ too for the “We all knew that” line. “It’s basically how I got my own show!”
Lor: This episode. On the surface, it is a good episode and one that brings the characters into alignment. The theme here is clearly family, and the way that Wesley and Angel treat Cordelia like a beloved sister is excellent. They all three show moments of operating at their best. Angel’s tendency toward action and concern lead him to track Vinnie down. Wesley shows his courage, intelligence and caring throughout. Cordelia, at the very end, comes right out of a terrible situation to put the final nail into the Haxil’s coffin. Fantastic for all of them, truly.
The problem, I think, comes when you think about the device the episode uses to achieve all of these things: an unwanted pregnancy. And man, oh man, did the writers ever choose a loaded topic. One they were forced to deal with in less than 45 minutes. Again, on the surface, no big deal. If you stop to think about it, there are certainly issues.
I think for must the issue might be the Whedon Standard Message that sex is bad. He even says it in so many words in this episode. For a show, and characters, who are otherwise progressive, this reoccurring SEX WILL LITERALLY KILL YOU thing gets old, fast. I think there is a level of evil sexuality that comes inherent with vampires as characters. However, here we have Cordelia, an adult who has safe sex after seeing a man for 3 dates, and she is immediately faced with a demon spawn pregnancy.
Even so, I get it. If Buffy in its first seasons was all about High School as Hell, Angel takes it a step further and explores the early 20’s as hell. It’s been tackling very typical post-high school issues with a demon twist. Finding an apartment, getting over your high school love, and of course, the dating scene, which is tricky. Frightening, even. You never know a person. And for the second time this season, we get “you never know a person, you have sex with them and die” or “almost die” in this case. I can see why people might take issue with the message, but I also see what the episode may have been trying to accomplish.
Sweeney: YES. RIGHT. THIS. Thank you. My email was all, “GUYS, WATCH IT SO I CAN COMMENT/DISCUSS/EXPRESS FEELS.” Of all the many examples (and we’re not done with them on Buffy, sadly) of sex=bad in this universe, this was probably the second worst, AND YET the one that upset me the least. For now. I think Buffy’s Tragic Magic Vagina was horrifying in part because of how far-reaching those consequences were. That’s like, legit, the reason this entire show exists. I also have a problem with the repeated notion that Buffy having sex is extra-bad. The fact that Cordelia came back to herself and personally smashed the demon into a millionty pieces by the end of the episode makes it a lot more tolerable for me. Likewise, though, if Cordelia’s vag becomes Tragic Magic again, I’m probably going to have more issues with it.
All of that is to say that in spite of how disturbed I was by this episode, I actually felt my overall feelings towards this show shift a bit by the end of the episode. I never want to watch this again, but I think disturbed/unsettled is exactly how one should feel about this plot.
K: Clearly, I’m the non-deep thinker of the group, because my thoughts basically boil down to, “good thing Whedon got over that whole magic vagina of death idea by the time he got to Firefly, otherwise Inara would be leaving a trail of dead blokes all over the galaxy. Also, Iron Man would have died half way through The Avengers.”
Lor: As the usual deep-thinker here, I’m with Sweeney. I think this episode was supposed to leave you feeling unsettled. That said, I wish that the ending wasn’t so nice, neat and ho hum. I mean, the family theme was tied up nicely, but the unwanted pregnancy vehicle was not. It was a bit, “Got pregnant. Let’s laugh it up.” And I’m not even going to go into the abortion stuff that could be extrapolated here, and was most blatant with Sarina who knew something was wrong, but had no reason to think she was carrying anything other than human. Unwanted pregnancy is just a deep topic and we could get lost here is what I’m saying.
However. This is a good step in the direction of Angel finding it’s footing. Hooray!
Next time on Angel: A female demon wages war against males and Angel Investigations is caught in the middle in S01 E13 – She.