Previously: Angel was one hell of an over protective papa bear, but also everyone/thung was trying to get at his baby.
Lorraine: We start with a tight shot of Cordelia’s face. She’s giving a heart-felt, “thank you for being there for me” speech that makes her a little teary. She ends with, “to all my fans- this is for you!” as the shot widens and we see she’s holding up a scrub brush and wearing rubber gloves. Fred gives her an equally gloved round of applause, saying the speech gave her “chill bumps.” I’ve never heard them called chill bumps. Is that a thing?
Kirsti: Only in Fred-land.
Lor: Just checking.
Cordelia says she’ll probably never get to use that amazing acceptance speech, unless they start awarding it for cleaning up around the Brooding Hotel. She complains that next time Angel blows something up, he’s cleaning the scorch marks himself. Gunn comes in and complains about his job of cleaning up Wolfram and Hart guts, though neither girl offers to trade with him. Gunn does a terrible job of whisper-asking Fred if Wesley is still out. Cordelia hears him and answers that he’s still at the store, buying more industrial strength cleaner.
Angel enters with part-time plastic doll, Connor. Cordelia jumps up for some snuggles but Angel shoos her away because she’s dirty. She runs off to wash her hands, but not before pointing out that he drinks pig’s blood and touches Connor all the time. Once she’s gone, Angel asks Fred if she knows, which is Wesley’s cue to burst through the door with a bunch of bags. We cut to Cordy in the bathroom, popping pain pills.
K: Cordy, honey. USE YOUR WORDS.
Lor: We next see her leaving the bathroom, and the Fang Gang have a huge, hundred person cake for her. These people are going to be eating cake for weeks. It’s got an adorable Wonder Woman-esque vampire hunter on it and everything.
Sweeney: I didn’t even notice that! CUTE.
Lor: They sing happy birthday and Gunn instructs the birthday girl to blow out the candles. She does and jokes that her wish, Jude Law, must’ve been too busy to show. She’s comforted by the Gang all going to fetch presents and a cuddly little part-time plastic doll, who Angel finally hands over.
Angel gives Cordelia a little gift box and she tells him he didn’t have to, since he already has important stuff to take care of. Angel then says, “Well, I’m a champion. We do important stuff. Hey, and who’s more important than...” which is really weird, clunky, and didn’t actually flow with the conversation they were having.
Sweeney: Clunky is either the show reiterating a known thing or the show’s way of saying, “THING BE IMPORTANT LATER. SUBTLE INTRODUCTION OF THING HAPPEN NOW,” because sometimes the show turns into The Hulk. It probably just needs a Snickers bar.
Lor: I’d fetch one for the show, but I’d eat it on the way.
The rest of the Gang brings out their gifts and Cordelia jokes about having to choose between a hard, synthetic baby and a ton of gifts. “Take the baby,” she says, and Angel thinks she’s joking about choosing the gifts, but she gets more insistent that he take the baby. As soon as he does, Cordelia has a seizure vision. She sees a teenaged girl, and then she is thrown against the weapons cabinet. She falls to the floor and the others gather around her motionless body.
Fred asks if she’s all right as we zoom in on Cordelia. She gasps, sits up and says she’s okay. We pull out of the shot and see she’s woken up some ways away from her still motionless body. Cue Electric Cellos.
We pick up right where we left off after the credits. Angel hands Connor to Wesley so he can properly shake and yell at Cordelia. Sweet Valley High first taught me all I needed to know about yelling at people in comas. Beautiful life lessons. Angel does confirm that she is in fact in some sort of trance or coma, and not dead. While all this is happening out of body Cordelia, or Ghost-delia if you’ll allow me (K: OBVS), is yelling at them that she’s right there! They of course can’t hear her.
Angel and Gunn carry Cordy’s body to a nearby couch. Fred spots Cordelia’s bottle of prescription pills. Angel asks if it was a vision that took her out. Ghost-delia says the vision featured a girl on Oak street.
Lorne comes down stairs and Ghost-delia is hopeful that he’ll be able to see her, but he walks right through her. Then, a shadow passes above her, and only she notices. Lorne asks the others what’s going on, and Fred says there is a lot they don’t know. She shows the Gang the pill bottle. Wes tells everyone that Seltrex is a powerful migraine medication. Gunn suggests a hospital and LOL. GUNN. A HOSPITAL. Everyone basically says that but with less LOLs.
Sweeney: They have their serious faces on because Cordelia is right in front of them. If they were retelling this story, after everything turned out all right, they’d all have this reaction too. “LOL, remember the part where Gunn suggested a hospital! LOLOLOLOL.”
Lor: It would be funny every single time they remembered.
Lorne says he’s picking up on “woo-woo vibes,” in the room and that this is a mystical problem, not a medical one. Fred points out that if Cordy is taking these pills in secret, her visions must’ve really been taking a toll. Angel starts dispatching the troops. He sends Gunn and Fred to Cordelia’s place (which Ghost-delia thinks is a terrible idea), he sends Wesley off to hit the books, he picks up Cordy’s body and Lorne grabs the Baby Alive.
Ghost-delia figures she’ll leave a message for them, but she can’t grab a pen to do it.
Gunn and Fred arrive at Cordy’s place, and Phantom Dennis has decorated the place for her birthday. On a side note, invisible people seems to be my Buffy-verse theme for the day.
K: At least this one knows what consent is? Also, Phantom Dennis is the greatest roommate of ALL TIME EVER.
Sweeney: Phantom Dennis is the best forever. Fred’s face in that gif is perfect.
Lor: Fred adorably introduces herself to Phantom Dennis, and even cuter is how much Gunn swoons over what a cool girl she is. But, they are here on serious business, and they have to break the news to Dennis about Cordy.
Wesley is at his desk, while Ghost-delia yells at him and waves her arms around wildly. Wesley muses that if Cordy is stuck in the astral plane, she’d be unable to communicate. Cordy’s all, “YEAH. THAT.”
Back at Cordy’s apartment, Fred is surprised that everything in the medicine cabinet looks so normal. Gunn asks if there is something wrong with normal, but Fred is more concerned with how wrong it is that Gunn is rifling through Cordy’s underwear drawer and currently holding one of her bras. Gunn defends himself by saying that everyone hides stuff in their underwear drawer (K: Wait, seriously? Everyone?? Because literally all that’s in mine is underwear…), and Fred starts to say that for five years she didn’t even have any underwear, but stops herself. She’s a bit flustered as she says she doesn’t want to talk about her underwear and she asks Gunn to drop the bra. Anyway, her theory is that Phantom Dennis is protecting Cordelia. (S: Because best roommate ever.)
Gunn calls out to Dennis and tells him they don’t want him to betray Cordy, but this is a matter of life and ghost. Dennis responds by pulling out a plastic bin from under the bed and seriously? No one checked under the bed? Fred notes that one of the prescriptions in this bin is from a year ago.
K: Clearly, I was tired when I was watching this episode, because my reaction was less “OH NO, CORDY’S BEEN SICK FOR A WHOLE YEAR?” and more “Time for a clean out because out of date medication is dangerous, yo…”
Lor: I truly thought, “she’s taking old medicine? She stole it from someone else?” The realization was slow.
Back at Brooding Hotel, Angel is at Cordy’s beside, doing some more of that coma-yelling. I mean, he’s not really yelling, but he does say he’s furious at her for hiding all this business about the migraines. Ghost-delia is in the room, saying she’s the one who’s furious, considering she’s having this whole out of body on her birthday. Lorne enters the room and says he’s as ready as he’ll ever be. He tries to hack into her mind, but quickly determines that Cordelia isn’t in her body. Ghost-delia is all, “‘CAUSE I’M RIGHT HERE DAMMIT,” but no one can hear her. Creepy whispers start up around her, and Cordy cries that she’s scared.
Angel isn’t prepared to accept what is happening, so he tells Lorne to do whatever it takes to get him in contact with The Powers That Be (Contriving). Lorne says that’s too much to ask of him, but Angel growls that he isn’t asking. I appreciate the concern for Cordelia, but I can’t help but have Lorne feels. Poor guy. Being volun-told is never easy.
K: Especially when Angel’s acting less like a concerned friend and more like a douche-tator.
Sweeney: I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition. Scared and angry because saving people is his whole entire purpose. He’s mad that he’s helpless and so he’s being a dick about it. Concerned friend and douche-tator.
Lor: Later, Ghost-delia notices that Angel has finally fallen asleep. She tries something she read in one of Wesley’s books (earlier in the episode) and sits down into Angel’s sleeping body. CordeliAngel (are you still with me?) stands up now, and she grabs a nearby pen to start writing a message on the wall. Shadowy things appear, however, and basically kick her out of Angel’s body.
Wesley enters as Angel picks himself off the floor and explains that he thinks he was having a dream in which Cordelia was trying to tell him something. Ghost-delia is frustrated and asks how he’s even a champion. Are they mentioning this champion business for a reason other than to give us a new item to our drinking game?
Sweeney: Not sure. Don’t care.
Lor: Wes explains that Fred has been studying Cordelia’s most recent CAT scans, and they reveal that her brain’s deteriorating. She’s dying. Wesley offers to give Angel a break and watch after Cordy and Connor.
Suddenly, a mystical indoor wind starts up, the shadows appear again and some gooey effects end with the materialization of SKIP! Ghost-delia is not as excited as I am to see him, but mostly because she thinks he’s Death, come to take her. He clarifies and introduces himself. He also points out that when most people have astral experiences, the spirit selves tend to be idealized versions of themselves. Ghost-delia looks exactly like Cordelia. Skip notes that she must be very confident.
K: Cordy is pretty shots??
Lor: Why not?
Ghost-delia is more concerned with who Skip is and what is happening. He says that she has to come with him if she doesn’t want to be dead in the near future. Ghost-delia says she’ll go, but on the condition that he convey the message about the vision she had to her friends. Skip cannot acquiesce, as he’s a guide, not a messenger. I guess he lost his jail keeper day job after his run in with Angel. Ghost-delia says she doesn’t want to die, so Skip tells her not to. She takes his extended hand and a flash of light takes us out of the scene.
Downstairs, Fred is sharing Cordy’s scans. She shows one of a normal functioning brain, and then one of Cordy’s brain, which is pretty dead. Angel wonders how they could’ve missed this. Lorne comes in looking very beat up. In fact, one of his horns is hanging by a thread. He says he can’t talk about what happened because whoever he had a run in with cast a spell to keep him from talking. But he was able to write down all the useful information, making that spell pretty damn useless. Angel, meanwhile, has no fucks to give about Lorne’s pain, and grabs the piece of paper from him. Lorne warns that dealing with the conduit is no joke and only a CHAMPION! can do it.
Skip brings Ghost-delia into an empty mall, as instructed by TPTB(c) so that she can make a choice, but first he has something to show her. OH SHIT. IT’S A VIDEO OF DOYLE. INSTANT DOYLE FEELS.
K: BRB, RUNNING FROM THE OTTOMAN TO THE SOFA.
Sweeney: I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE THIS. RUDE, SHOW. JUST RUDE.
Lor: It’s the video of Doyle kissing Cordelia and passing the visions to her. Skip explains that she was never meant to have them. TPTB(c) didn’t count on Doyle’s feelings for Cordelia, so apparently the visions were conducted through looooove. And yet, demons are the only ones who can withstand the visions. As exhibit A, a woman named Tammy appears. She had the visions in the year 1630 and they ultimately blew out her skull, which we kind of get to see and ew.
K: It reminds me a lot of that ghost kid in the Sixth Sense who played with his dad’s gun. Also, a girl from 1630 named TAMMY?? Are you fucking kidding me, show? And where the fuck is “Tammy” meant to be from? Because she sounds like an American trying to do an English accent and instead coming across as half Australian, half Welsh.
ALSO: completely unrelated point, but this raises serious questions (for me, at least) about Drusilla and what her fate would have been if Angel hadn’t turned her.
Lor: Huh. Good point. It makes me wonder if there are different sources for visions.
We cut to a large, sandy area with a fire lit in the middle. We hear Angel’s screams before he plops down on the sand. Mystical voices start up right away, saying the CHAMPION! has arrived looking for answers that are not to be had, as death is certain. Angel demands that the Mystical Voices tell The Powers That Be (Contriving) to take away Cordy’s visions, as she’s suffered enough. The Mystical Voices throw Angel around as they wonder if he knows what suffering is. They determine he does, but still say that the Powers owe Cordelia nothing.
Skip next shows Ghost-delia a clip of the pilot, in which she runs into Angel at an industry party.
Her face! Sweet.
Skip explains that her life changed completely then, and that if she’d just gone in another direction, she’d have ended up a rich and famous actress. The Powers That Be are now offering that to her, as a history re-write, with no visions, no monsters and no dying, at least for a long while. Ghost-delia notes, though, that this also means no Angel. Skips says that if she goes back into her body, she won’t wake up. She’ll be in a coma until the next vision and then she will die. Cordelia asks how Angel will know to save the girl on Oak street then?
Skip pulls Ghost-delia into the sandy place where Angel is pleading with the Mystical Voices. She watches as Angel yells that the visions are too much for Cordelia because she isn’t a CHAMPION! She’s just a rich girl from Sunnydale who doesn’t have what it takes. It’s clear to us, the audience, what’s happening here, but apparently not so to Ghost-delia. She asks Skip to get her out of there, and he does. Angel goes on that Cordelia is dying and he’s more afraid of her dying than she is.
K: Man, it’s just like that time that Buffy gave Joyce that whole speech about how Dawn was a thing and EW WE DON’T LIKE THINGS, and so Dawn ran away, and then Buffy added “But that’s not how we feel at all” on the end.
Sweeney: Yup. As we said then, fuck these hearing-half-the-thing misunderstanding plot points.
Lor: Cut to Ghost-delia telling Skip that she’s made her choice. Skip says he’s going to make her a star and next we see her, she’s being introduced on stage as an Emmy-winning actress with a million dollar smile. She’s wearing a pretty dress and she beams at the studio audience.
After a cut to black, we see the credits for the Cordy! show. The Internet tells me the theme song was sung by Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt. Not as wonderful as The Parking Ticket song, but pretty adorable.
Cordelia arrives at the Hyperion later, and it’s an actual hotel! She’s shown to her luxury suite, but she wants another room, the one that corresponds to Angel’s room away from this alternate universe. She starts clawing at the wallpaper until she reveals the piece of wall where CordeliAngel wrote 171 Oak on the wall.
Cordelia goes over to that address and finds the teenaged girl from her vision, who is star struck and super excited to meet the Cordelia Chase. We’ll call this girl Fangirl, because that’s what she does until she pauses long enough to wonder why the Cordelia Chase is in Reseda. Cordy asks her if anything bad has happened lately and Fangirl is all, “nah, just some negligent parenting is all.” (K: Isn’t that just par for the course in Traumaland?) Cordelia is all, “well, okay, bye,” but Fangirl asks if Cordy wants to see something cool. “Something cool” turns out to be a pentagram and elaborate retrieval spell set-up Fangirl set up in order to get her negligent dad to come back. Cordelia doesn’t like the look of this, but it’s too late because the demon she originally saw in her vision appears. Cordy pushes Fangirl out of the way and starts to fight the demon, when Wesley and Gunn appear to take over. Wesley is missing an arm. Gunn and Wesley manage to kill the beastie.
K: THEY’RE STILL BROS IN ALTERNATE REALITY LAND!!! Sorry. This just makes me enormously happy.
Lor: I squeed a bit when I saw them together.
Cordelia is amazed that Wesley is now killing things and not just fainting in front of them, as the last time she saw him was presumably in Sunnydale. Wesley wants to know what she’s doing at Fangirl’s house and Cordy admits that something Sunnydale levels of weird is happening to her.
Outside, Gunn puts the dead demon body in his truck as Cordelia explains to Wes how she ended up in Reseda. Gunn fishes for an introduction and says he never believed Wesley about knowing her. Cordy awkwardly says she knew him when he had two arms, and he explains he lost one to a Kungai demon. Gunn also semi-asks about their kiss and she says she’s worked hard to repress it. Gunn jokes that Sunnydale people sure are good at repressing things and the three he knows are the most denying folk he’s ever met. Cordelia wants to know who else from Sunnydale is in LA.
Sweeney: The best part of this alternate universe is that it allows for Sunnydale references. Truly, I did the embarrassing talking-to-the-TV thing when Cordelia first saw the pentagram on the ground, “She should still be a graduate of Sunnydale HS.” (Addendum: one of the few surviving graduates of her class, no less.)
Lor: It’s a little taste of crossover magic.
We cut to Wesley’s apartment where he’s explaining that Angel is not the same as he used to be. He encountered a lot of pain in LA, especially after his only friend Doyle died, and on top of that, he inherited Doyle’s visions. He lives in isolation.
Wesley lets them all into Angel’s room where he is babbling and shrinking away from them. Cordelia gets closer and tries to see if he remembers her, but he won’t focus on her, won’t answer, and peppers his babbles with “171.” Cordelia tries to assure him that everything will be okay, and leans in for a kiss. The blue flash of light we first saw way back when appears again and passes from Angel to Cordelia.
K: Several thoughts:
1. The visions were transferred from Doyle because of love. Does this mean that with Cordy not around Doyle fell in love with Angel and that they kissed????
2. This version of CrAngel is basically Bertha Rochester, locked in the attic. Made all the more appropriate by all the references in Jane Eyre to Bertha Rochester being a vampire #literaturenerd
3. Why the fuck does CrAngel’s room have so many curtainless windows?
Sweeney: Not to shit on what I assume is a popular head canon, but the love transference is directly stated to have been the consequence of a fluke, outside what TPTB(C) intended. If Doyle’s visions had been missions for Angel and they’re supposed to live in a demon, it seems like Angel would have been their logical next choice.
But obviously, ignore me, and head canon on.
Lor: Angel, Wesley and Gunn freeze as Cordelia says she remembers everything.
Skip is suddenly in the room and she tells him that the visions are hers. He thought they had a fair deal, what with the trading the visions and death for fame and money. Cordy says it was fair, but not true to herself. The visions belong to her and she wants Skip to find a way in which she gets to keep them. The only loop hole is to turn Cordelia into part demon, though Skip warns that she may never be able to lead a normal human life again. Cordelia tells Skip to demonize her then. Skip says it was an honor being her guide, and places a hand on her head.
With a yell and another flash of light, Cordelia lands back in her body. The Fang Gang all come running up to see what’s going on. Angel hugs her and says he thought he lost her. Cordelia gasps and checks her head for horns and butt for a tail, and is glad to find neither. She does a bad job of trying to explain to everyone what happened, but tells them that the 171 vision was taken care of. She calmly informs them that she is having another vision, with a five horned demon. Angel’s all, “uh, Cordy?” and when the camera pans back, we see that she is floating off the ground.
I mean, as far as demon characteristic go, floating is not a bad one!
This episode felt heavy fisted in places (DID I MENTION CHAMPION!) but I can’t deny that it had its fun moments, and mostly I’m excited to see if this leads anywhere or what the greater repercussions will be.
K: Question – didn’t Doyle get searing headaches from his visions too? And he – in all his half demon-ness – was born with them. So why does Cordy suddenly get painless visions?
Sweeney: I didn’t really question that (although, if demons are supposedly ~*able to handle it*~ it seems weird that it drove Angel batshit, but whatever). I’m a little annoyed, though, that the whole bit with Angel is what drove Cordelia to decide to give up the visions. This episode was pretty aggressive in its quest to sell us on Cordelia and Angel, which is upsetting in that respect because their arc has been great in large part because of its subtly. More than that, though, Cordelia suffered for it and I don’t like it. She was warned in Pylea and she has this big moment where we see that Cordelia believes this is her calling and we get it again in the final speech she gave to Skip. The AU felt like a weird detour for the sake of pushing their relationship and making it seem as though she’s doing it ~*for him*~ and it’s stupid and I hate it and I’m choosing to ignore that crap because Cordelia Chase knew all by her little damn self that this shit was her calling and that she could order Skip to have a chat with TPTP(C) about finding that loophole.
Lor: Yeah, I mentioned in the scene with Angel yelling at the Mystic Voices that I saw what was happening, but now I’m wondering if we were supposed to buy Angel as believing Cordelia as weak, or if we were supposed to assume he was hamming it up in order to save her life. I assumed he was overselling, begging, trying anything at all to get The Powers to release their hold on her. Granted, Angel may consistently underestimate Cordelia, but I think he consistently underestimates everyone. Or, overestimates himself. Have I mentioned CHAMPION?
I probably did a time or eighty.
Next time: A group of demons want to buy Fred’s brain. Legit. Find out what happens in Angel S03 E12 – Provider.