Previously: Fred’s parents turned up and turned out to be totally awesome. Also, Fred decided to join the Fang Gang.
Kirsti: First of all, I’m not handing out gold stars in this episode because it would be like a freaking Oprah show – EVERYONE GETS A GOLD STAR!! Second of all, I hate this episode with the fire of a thousand suns. It’s not that it’s badly acted or shot or anything like that. It’s just 42 minutes of bullshit that makes me indescribably angry, and I kind of can’t believe the network signed off on producing this.
Sweeney: Woo! That’s…uh…promising. -_-
Lorraine: Hold on:
We open in what I assume is the basement of the Hyperion where Angel is teaching Cordy how to sword fight. It’s kind of reminiscent of That Time He Taught Buffy Tai Chi, except without the Flutes of Feels.
He walks her through a sequence of moves and then says they’ll take it at half speed until she picks it up. She replies that there’s no need, because she was a cheerleader and is a master at picking up moves. Angel scoffs, so she yells “Ready? Okay!” and runs through the exercise at full speed, pushing him back and finishing with the sword against his throat. “Go team?” he says weakly.
Sweeney: Cuuuute. I love this Cordelia.
K: It’s about the only thing I liked about this episode.
Cut to Wolfram & Hart. Lilah walks frantically down the hall, berating her secretary for not pulling her out of a meeting earlier. She heads into her office where Billy – the guy Angel rescued from the Big Box o’ Fire – is sitting, chatting to Daniel Dae Kim. Lilah demands to know where Billy’s been, and says that he’s not meant to go out alone on account of he might end up back in the Big Box o’ Fire. Billy has very few fucks to give. A middle aged white dude in a suit walks in and is all “No one wants Billy to end up back in the Big Box o’ Fire.” There are precisely zero surprises when Lilah addresses him as “Congressman”. Billy is his nephew apparently, and he’s super glad that W&H found him. Twice. “You’re welcome,” says DDK, and Lilah gets pissed because he had nothing to do with it.
The Congressman and his entourage leave with Billy. Lilah tells DDK to get out and to stop harassing her clients. He tells her that no one gave her permission to think and that she needs to shut her fat mouth. When she sasses at him, he grabs her by the hair, throws her into a set of glass shelves, then starts to choke her. Out in the hallway, Billy smiles. Roll electric cellos.
After the credits, we’re at Wesley’s apartment. Fred, Gunn and Angel are sitting on the sofa playing video games while Cordy and Wes make tea in the kitchen. Wes tells Cordy that he’s proud of her for taking the initiative and learning to fight, because they should all be ready for battle. He suggests that maybe Fred needs some training too, and Cordy’s all “Sure, just don’t invite the rest of us next time you want to be alone with her.” Wes awkwards because he didn’t think it was that obvious, and she reassures him that no one else noticed. He says that office romances are a bad idea, but she says that if he likes Fred he should…chop her into little pieces, because obviously she’d get a vision mid-wingman.
Sweeney: Poor, precious Wesley! His crush is super precious and adds to the 900 reasons I want to give him a hug.
Lor: In here somewhere, Wes arrived to the logic that they all belong with each other. Cordelias, “PFFT. ALONE FOREVER,” is funny for several reasons. You keep singing that tune, girl. I’ve seen gifs of the future.
K: Spoilers, sweetie.
Cordy falls to the ground, clutching her head. The gang rush in and pull her up. She fills them in on her vision – a guy attacking his wife in a convenience store. Angel asks how many convenience stores there are in that area, and Fred starts rattling off a bunch of factors to consider. Gunn cuts her off with “A lot.” Wes starts to give orders, but Cordy says it’s too late, because the murder happened a week ago and why would the Powers That Be (Contriving) send her a week old murder vision?
Cut to the Hyperion the next day. Wes slaps a file down on the front counter, and informs Cordy that it’s all the information she could possibly want on the crime, including the crime scene photos. Angel snatches them from her hand, saying that she shouldn’t be looking at those, and she gives him “bitch, please” face, because she already saw it happen in real time in her head. She asks Wes how he got the information, and he bought it from a source. Remember when Angel could just go visit Kate and steal the file when she wasn’t looking? Good times…
Lor: Except for the part where we had to see Kate.
K: Truth. Anyway, Wes says that the victim and her husband had been married for thirty years with no history of violence, and that the guy confessed. Gunn wonders why, if the crime is solved, the PTB(C) are giving Cordy visions. Angel says he knows why, and pulls out a CCTV photo. Billy’s in it. Wes and Gunn get all “Ohhhhh shit” while Cordy’s confused because who the hell is that guy?
Sweeney: Oof. This is rough. Cordelia and her many, many feels. I can’t imagine this is headed anywhere good.
Cut to sometime later after they’ve filled her in. Cordy says that she knows now why she got the vision – the woman died because of her. Angel says that he’s the one who broke Billy out of the Big Box o’ Fire, and she reminds him that he did it to save her. He says that neither of them are responsible, but he knows who is. Lilah’s apartment. She’s shakily pouring herself a drink in the dark when the door gets kicked open. It’s Angel. She refuses to let him in, and he’s all “You’re awfully jumpy.” She says that it was a rough day at work, and he says that if that’s the case, she must know that Billy’s on the loose. She walks towards the door and her face is covered in cuts and bruises. Angel’s taken aback, and says that he’ll take down the guy who did it. She says that Billy never touched her, and that he can’t either because Billy’s Congressman Blim’s nephew and that family are the fictional version of the Kennedys, and the law won’t touch them. “I’m not the law,” he says, and I laugh because that’s very Batman of you, Angel. (S: ANGEL-IS-BATMAN SHOTS!) She tells him to stay away from her client, even as her hands shake.
Angel, Wes and Gunn pull up outside the Blim estate, and really? The writers couldn’t come up with a better name for the family? Anyway, there are massive gates and a high wall around it. Wes and Gunn wonder out loud about how to get in. Angel does a gravity defying jump over the gate, and Wes and Gunn decide to just wait where they are. Angel runs up to the house and peers through a window. Billy stares back at him. Angel grabs a chair, throws it through the window, and strolls on in. He says that it doesn’t surprise him that he doesn’t need an invitation to enter, because Billy’s not quite human.
Lor: Interesting. If this is the Blim Estate, does that mean that Billy just being there means that Angel doesn’t need an invitation at all? Does the estate belong to him or his uncle? Will I ever learn to stop asking questions?
K: Sometimes it’s safer not to ask, Lor.
Billy says that Angel has a standing invitation as thanks for pulling him out of the Big Box o’ Fire. Angel says that he’s done hurting women and it’s time to go back to hell. Billy says he’s never hurt a woman in his life, he just likes to watch, and NOPE. NOT OKAY WITH THIS, EPISODE.
Sweeney: Well that’s fucking gross. Like Wednesday gross. ABORT MISSION. I QUIT.
K: Right there with you.
Anyway, Billy says that he’s not going back just as the police turn up. Angel raises his hands, but Billy’s all, “They’re here for me.” He asks if the body was where he said it was, and the female detective orders the patrolman to read Billy his rights. Billy touches the patrolman’s arm as he asks if handcuffs are entirely necessary, and his fingers leave a glowing red mark. The female detective nods that the cuffs can be left off, and they take Billy away leaving Angel standing awkwardly in the house he just broke into. Cut to Billy in the back of a squad car. The patrolman from earlier gripes at his female partner about the route she’s taking, and she sasses at him. Billy smiles in the back seat. The patrolman tells his partner to pull over, and she’s all “WTF?” The camera closes in on Billy’s face as we hear sounds of a struggle and the car swerving all over the road. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Wes announces that a woman’s body was found earlier, and that must have been the tip Billy phoned in. The gang wonder why Billy would have confessed to a crime he didn’t technically commit, and Angel says that it gets him out of his family’s estate. Gunn’s not sure that trading a palatial estate for a holding cell is a good idea, but Angel says that he’ll only be in the cell for as long as it takes Lilah to bail him out. He grabs his coat and keys, planning to get to the station before she does and break Billy out to take him back to the Big Box o’ Fire. Fred enter-nounces that she’s been listening to the police scanner and the patrol car never made it to the station.
Cut to the scene of the accident. Wes has been talking to the officers at the scene, and tells Gunn that the female officer had to shoot her partner to get him off her, and that she’s been taken to hospital. Gunn says that he’ll go to the hospital and do some sneaky interrogating to see if he can find out what Billy did to the patrolman. Dude. Just ask Angel – he was LITERALLY right there when it happened…
Anyway, Gunn heads off, and Wes wanders over to where Angel is standing across the road from the smashed up patrol car. He’s been using his super sniffing powers, and informs Wes that some of the blood in the car is Billy’s, that it’s not human, and that he can track it. Wes takes a blood sample and says that he’ll head back to the hotel to try and figure out what Billy is as Angel heads off to impersonate a bloodhound.
Back at the hotel, Cordy is loading up a bag of weapons. Fred tells her that she can’t go, but Cordy says she has to. She leaves and Fred stands there helplessly for a second.
Sweeney: And also because of all the alcohol this episode seems to call for.
K: You’re not wrong. Anyway, there’s some stupid bonding over shoes and Lilah eventually gives up the information on Billy – his touch turns men into primal misogynists, because apparently we didn’t get enough of that shit yesterday. Cordy wonders out loud why it didn’t work on Angel, and Lilah informs her that it works on some guys instantly while it takes hours for others. She sasses that she hopes Angel’s not starting to feel like an asshat because she’s seen his dark side. “You really haven’t,” Cordy replies. (L: That was CrAngel not Angelus. DUH.) She goes on to say that she needs to find Billy, and Lilah’s all “Pff, why should I help you?” Cordy puts on her BAMF pants for some brilliance:
Cordy: “You know that guy that you hired to hack into my visions? What he did to me? What it felt like? I was cut, my face disfigured, and burning with pain every second not knowing if it was gonna end or just get worse till I died.”
Lilah: “So you think I owe you…”
Cordy: “It’s not the pain. It’s the helplessness. The certainty that there is nothing you can do to stop it, that your life can be thrown away in an instant by someone else. He doesn’t care. He’ll beat you down until you stay down because he doesn’t even *think* of you as alive. No woman should ever have to go through that, and no woman strong enough to wear the mantel of ‘vicious bitch’ would ever put up with it. *Where* is Billy going?”
Sweeney: BAMF CORDY. This episode has been really, really hard to watch, but Cordelia’s had some stellar moments. I’d like to see the shortened only-Cordelia-scenes version.
K: Me too. Cut to Angel approaching two taxi drivers. They’re discussing a third taxi driver who beat the shit out of a female fare, and mention to Angel that the woman probably deserved it for nagging in the back seat. Excuse me. I have to go and Hulk smash the entire fucking planet for a minute.
Angel apparently agrees with me, because he grabs the driver who said the woman deserved it, slams him against a car, and demands to know where the third driver’s last stop was. Cut to a party in a classy looking apartment where Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz is playing. A guy walks up to a dude playing pool and informs him that his cousin Billy is there. Pool Dude is taken aback because Billy’s meant to be safely locked up, and turns in shock to see Billy standing there with a streak of blood on his forehead. Billy murder-stares at a couple making out the sofa, and tells his cousin that he should talk to them about appropriate public behaviour.
Back at the Hyperion, Wes is looking at Billy’s blood through a microscope. He asks Fred to take a look, and she says that it looks like some of his red blood cells are supercharged, and if his power is in his blood, it’s also in his spit and his sweat and his touch. Wes asks where Cordy is, and she replies that she thinks Cordy went out. He asks where, and when she answers, he’s all “AHA! You don’t think she went out, you KNOW she went out.” Fred’s taken aback. Wes looks through the microscope again and says, “Lie to me again, and we’re going to have a problem…” Fade to black.
Sweeney: DISLIKE. MAKE IT STOP. MAKE IT STOP.
Lor: Even though it should’ve been obvious, there was a moment of being all, “oh, he’s being boss man. Wait, he’s being a dick. OH. EW.”
K: After the Not Commercial Break, Fred moves hurriedly around Wes’ desk. He asks where she’s going, and she says that she’s going to phone Cordy and find out where she is. He says in a cold voice that it won’t be necessary, and demands that she sit down. He tells her that she needs to make some changes, starting with the provocative outfits she wears. He slides the strap of her dress off her shoulder as he says it, and NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. He continues, saying that she needs to stop waving it in his face, daring him to take it, taunting him and then humiliating him behind his back. She jumps up and he slaps her to the ground. She runs for the door, but he slams it shut just as she gets there and grabs her by the hair. “What do you tell a woman who has two black eyes? Nothing you haven’t already told her twice,” he says as he throws her against the stairs. Fred runs upstairs and he follows, grabbing a battle axe on his way past the weapons cabinet.
Sweeney: THAT IS NOT THE WAY I WANTED YOU TO MAKE IT STOP, EPISODE. NOT COOL.
K: This fucking episode, you guys. Cut to the cousin’s apartment. Angel knocks on the door and says that he’s looking for Billy, because he wants to kill him. The cousin – Dylan – invites him in. Angel’s surprised by the lack of bloodshed, and Dylan says that everyone in the family knows the rules where Billy’s concerned – don’t leave him alone with your girlfriend, don’t let him near your pets, and don’t let him touch you. Apparently Billy came there for money and left when Dylan gave it to him. Angel wants to know how come Dylan let him in when he said he wanted to kill Billy. Dylan says that Cordelia came by and said that a melodramatic guy named Angel would turn up looking for Billy. Obviously, Angel’s response is, “She thinks I’m melodramatic?” INSECURE ANGEL SHOTS!! He asks where she went, and Dylan says that he sent her to Santa Monica, because his family has a plane and Billy wanted to fly somewhere.
Back to the Hyperion. Wes is walking through the darkened upper floors of the hotel, pushing doors open with his axe as he goes on a misogynistic monologue. He finds a room with the safety chain on, and kicks the door in. He heads into the room, which is dark and full of junk. He continues his misogy-logue, saying that the deception of women goes all the way back to Eve and the serpent, plotting behind men’s backs, that women are dirty and weak and trying to bring men down into the muck with them. He smashes a stool, and there’s a little gasp from under the bed. We see Fred hiding under there as Wes’ shoes approach. The mattress gets ripped off the bed, and he grabs her by the neck, pulling her upright. He pins her against the wall and kisses her, but she stabs a nail into his shoulder, knees him in the groin and runs.
An airfield. Billy stands in a hangar as a private jet rolls towards him. Cordy walks towards him and calls out his name. She tells him that she’s the one Wolfram & Hart tortured to get him out of hell, and he wants to know if she’s there to whine about it. She whips out a taser and jabs it into his stomach. He falls to the ground, gasping. “No, asswipe. I’m here to send you back,” she says as she pulls a crossbow on him.
Hyperion. Fred hurries through the hall with Wes calling out behind her that he’s not a girl and he won’t give up until it’s done. She rushes up the stairs to the next floor, and he grins before turning to take a different route. On the floor above, Fred sprints down the corridor, then trips and falls. (L: THIS IS MY STRESS DREAM.) She scurries backwards on her hands and knees for a second before standing and running straight into someone. It’s Gunn. He puts a hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming, then pulls her gently around a corner.
Back at the airfield. Billy stands up, and informs Cordy that he doesn’t hate women, despite the fact that they’re all sluts and whores. Men are just as bad, because they’re willing to give up everything for what’s under women’s skirts. “I’m wearing pants.”
He says she doesn’t have the nerve to shoot him, and she takes a step closer, pressing the arrow to his neck. Angel appears and knocks the crossbow away. Billy is thrilled that Angel’s saved him again, but Angel tells Cordy that he can’t let her do it, and that he’s going to be the one to destroy Billy. Cordy points out that Billy can’t hurt her, but it’s too late. Billy grabs Angel’s face, leaving two red handprints. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Fred and Gunn are racing down a corridor at the hotel trying doors. One opens, and they rush in. Gunn barricades the door behind them and asks Fred what happened to Wes. She says that she thinks he got infected from touching the blood sample, and Gunn’s all “You mean that blood sample I picked up and studied?” He heads for the door, telling her to lock it behind him. But it’s too late – Wes is doing a Shining recreation on the door. Gunn says it’s time to go to Plan B. Fred asks what that is, and he turns out her, saying that Plan B is the one where she shuts up before he bashes her…he trails off and says “Oh God” as he realises what’s happening.
Sweeney: YOU DIDN’T MAKE IT STOP, YOU MADE IT EVEN WORSE. WHY, EPISODE, WHY? Also, the look on his face as he realizes? Feels. I mean, I hate everything that’s happening, but also. Fuck.
K: Yup. Airfield. Angel tells Cordy to leave, but she refuses, telling him to fight it. She says that it’s her fault it’s happening to him and that she can’t leave. Meanwhile, I’m distracted by the fact that Cordy’s meant to be 21 but she looks about 40. Angel asks if she knows what her real problem is. She backs up a little, looking scared. “Guys like THIS,” he says as he spins and punches Billy, who apparently has no power over vampires. Cordy smiles a little.
Sweeney: Inappropriate time to fuck with her, Angel.
Lor: Seriously. Catching Billy off guard was not worth scaring the shit of Cordelia at that moment.
K: Nope. Hyperion. Gunn rips the leg off a chair and Fred backs away in fear. He offers it to her, telling her to knock him out with it. She refuses at first, and he yells at her to give it back so he can smash her head in. She whacks him, and he’s knocked to the ground, but starts to get to his feet telling her she’ll pay for it. She whacks him again, and this time he’s out cold. She leans back in relief just as Wes’ axe bursts through the door.
Airfield. Angel and Billy fight, and Billy’s starting to get the upper hand. Cordy goes for her crossbow, but can’t get a clean shot. Angel tosses Billy away, and Cordy aims at him just as two gunshots ring out. Billy drops to the ground and the camera pans across to reveal Lilah, standing rock solid with her gun outstretched. She walks away without a word. Angel and Cordy just look at each other in surprise and relief.
Sweeney: There’s a lot to hate in this episode, but I appreciated this. It wasn’t all that unexpected, but I’m glad it happened that way.
K: Hyperion. Wes pushes into the room and sees Gunn unconscious on the floor. He misogy-logues some more, saying that Fred likes to hide in dark places, trying to recreate the cave she spent five years in because she’s stupid. He pulls open a cupboard, and we see in the mirror that she’s behind him. She informs him that he may be right about her liking to hide in the dark, but he forgot that she also likes to build things. She pulls a cord which sends a fire extinguisher flying across the room. It hits him in the chest, and knocks him through some broken floorboards, falling into the room below. She stares down at his unconscious body.
In the basement the next day, Angel and Cordy are training some more. She wonders out loud why Billy’s power didn’t work on him, and he says that it’s because he doesn’t feel anger and hatred – Angelus killed for pleasure and to inflict pain. She decides that having a demon half makes him less petty than humans, and kind of noble in a really fucked up way. He’s unsure if that’s a compliment.
We’s apartment. He sits in the dark with balled up paper around his feet. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Fred. She goes to touch a cut on his face and he pulls away, ashamed and disgusted with himself. He apologises with tears in his eyes. She tells him that he needs to come back to work, and he says that he can’t, because he tried to kill her, that something inside him was forced out. She tells him that he’s a good man, and it was something that was done to him, not something that’s in him. She says that she’ll see him back at the office, and leaves. He closes the door behind her and breaks down. Out in the hall, Fred hears him crying and hesitates for a moment, then turns and walks away. Fade to black.
Lor: I think perhaps the message wasn’t clear enough here, for sure, but I don’t think this episode was a shitpile exactly. It took on a heck of a big subject and tried to convey the scope of it all in 45 minutes. It got things right and it got things wrong, and in the end, I don’t think it was clear enough.
First, I think it tried to subtlely show that while the big! abuse! moments! were courtesy of a demon (and “not the abusers fault”), women in the story face daily sexism which are simply NOT OKAY. We start with Angel showing Cordelia only defense moves, assuming that he’s always going to be there to save her. Even the comments made my the Cabby Extra about women always yapping were subtle little inserts about the way misogyny exists in the simple, everyday things women encounter.
Even with the last scene. I hated that Fred was the one to come over and try and talk Wesley out of his hole. At the same time, the scene showed us that it was NOT okay no matter what Fred said. Wesley cries, overwhelmed with the not-okay-ness of it all.
It tried. It was difficult to watch at points but engaging. I loved that in the end it was Cordelia and Fred who displayed the most courage, strength and ingenuity. I loved that Cordelia is taking it upon herself to be more than just the “heart.”
K: While I loved the moments of BAMF Cordy and Fred being brave and all that stuff, I still hated this episode with a fiery passion. If Angel hadn’t stepped in to “save” Cordy, I might have liked it more. If Lilah had shot Billy IN HIS FACE and not in the back, I might have liked it more. If they’d had Fred be hesitant to be around Wes – even though she knows it was something that was done to him – I might have liked it more. If Cordy, Fred and Liliah had banded together to take Billy down and get him back to his Big Box o’ Fire to suffer eternal torment, YES! FOUR FOR YOU, EPISODE. But it didn’t happen that way. So I’m stuck firmly in Hatred Town.
Next time: Darla’s back and has some rather unexpected news for Angel. Find out how he reacts in Angel S03 E07 – Offspring.