Previously: Massive amounts of brain bleach were required in regards to Connor and Cordy. Also, Fred discovered that her physics professor was the one who sent her to Pylea. Gunn snapped the dude’s neck and threw him into a portal.
Spin the Bottle
Kirsti: We start with Lorne sitting in a club singing “The Way We Were.” He starts monologuing to the audience about how everyone wants to get their youth back but they all forget how fucked up it is. He starts to tell a story, and says that it starts with a kid. That sends us into a seizure cut sequence of Connor angrily walking down the street while flashbacking to kissing Cordy. Hey Lor? Was there any brain bleach left from last time?
Lorraine: I’ve got an industrial order in. We’ll make sure to always have a bottle or 5 at the Table of Ugh.
K: EXCELLENT. Anyway, Lorne changes his mind and says that the story really starts with Cordy’s question to Angel at the end of the last episode – “Were we in love?” We cut over to them. Angel dithers a response, and Cordy gets about as pissed as I imagine Lor and Sweeney were during this moment.
Lor: I started to get a little prickly, but I think he at least gave an honest-like answer. Since she starts yelling at him soon, I can’t fault him for not being all, “I LOVE YOU GIRL.” In short, I will not be using any two wheeled transportation to miraculously travel to Africa. Phew.
Sweeney: At least not over this particular scene, anyway.
K: Good to know. Eventually, Angel says that he doesn’t know – he had feelings for her, and he thought she had feelings for him too, but she never actually said anything to him. She says that maybe she was going to give him a restraining order for sexually harassing her in the workplace, and he tells her that he doesn’t want to try and answer questions he doesn’t know the answers to.
Cordy stops pacing and starts to cry about how she knows all the real world things – shoe store locations, the alphabet, who the president is – but doesn’t recognise her name or know who she is. Lorne walks in carrying a small vial and informs them that he’s gotten hold of a memory spell that can’t possibly fail in bringing Cordy’s memories back. Cut back to Club!Lorne telling the audience that obviously he was wrong. Cue electric cellos.
After the credits, Lorne tells the audience that the spell did work, just not as they thought. Back in the past, Angel says that he doesn’t trust spells, but Cordy’s in. Lorne says that they need to gather “the six.” Angel’s all “Six what?” With that, we cut to Wes’ Trapped in the Closet Apartment. The guy who was there while Wes was having phone sex with Lilah has delivered the package – a complex wrist weapon with an extending sword and projectiles. Wes is pleased with it. The phone rings, and he informs Lorne – the caller – that he’ll be there immediately. He asks if everything’s okay with Fred, and we cut to Fred and Gunn in bed. They’re lying in the dark, both staring at the ceiling silently. There’s a knock on the door. Fred answers it, and bluntly asks Angel what he wants.
Cut to the lobby, where Lorne is drawing mystical symbols on the floor. Gunn, walking down the stairs, rightly points out that painting symbols on the floor usually doesn’t end well. Fred apologises for Gunn’s snark, but Lorne’s bubble can’t be burst because he’s so convinced the spell will get Cordy’s memories back. He and Fred have a little exchange in Pylean just as Wes walks in. Fred’s surprised to see him. He asks if she’s okay, and she nervously says, “It’s done.” Gunn watches silently from the office.
Club!Lorne. He informs the audience that he wasn’t in possession of all the facts, like the Fred tried to kill her professor, that Wes helped her, that Gunn didn’t know Wes helped her and that he killed the professor so Fred didn’t have to, that Wes didn’t know Gunn had done that, and that Gunn was joining all the dots about Wes’ role. Lorne says that he was too busy focusing on Cordy to worry about Awkward Love Triangle #1.
Sweeney: I dig all the weird zoomy freeze-frame business they’re doing here. It was surprisingly fun, given how much I dislike everything about Awkward Love Triangle #1.
K: Yeah, that was a nice added touch. Cut to Cordy’s room at the Hyperion. She walks out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and is surprised to find Angel in her room. There’s some awkward conversation, which includes mention of Connor. Angel asks how he is, and Cordy replies “He’s 18. He’s a mess. There’s a lot of pain in him. I think it helps, having me there.” I mention this mostly because of a debate in the comments recently about how old Connor’s meant to be now. Anyway, Angel tells Cordy that they’re nearly ready to start the spell.
Lor: NICE TRY, WRITERS. STILL GROSS. Especially this goes to a very momma-bear place when Cordy’s all, “having me around helps his pain.” Ew.
K: YUP. Downstairs, Fred and Lorne finish setting up while Wes heads into the office to examine the spell bottle. Gunn’s sitting there in the dark, trying to work out his role in the Fang Gang. Angel’s the leader, Cordy’s the heart, Wes and Fred are the brains, so he’s clearly the muscle. He tells Wes that he knows Fred went to him for help, and gets all up in Wes’ face about staying away from his girl. Gunn grabs Wes’ wrist, and a silver blade flicks out of his new wrist weapon. Gunn jolts back and asks what happened to Wes in recent months. “I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me,” he replies before leaving the room.
Lor: So glad you went there because I am really, really disliking this side of Wesley. He’s playing a hardcore victim and has yet to own up to any of his own actions. He’s cocky which diminishes any nice sorts of feelings I have toward him for being helpful and sorry, I tend to view everything he says/does to Fred as creepy. I don’t even like Fred and Gunn as a couple, but Wesley is being a dick.
Sweeney: Chiming in with a giant +1. I hated everything about this scene. Gunn’s whole possessive stay-away-from-my-woman thing was bullshit and annoying. Wesley, meanwhile, is not being a badass – he’s being an asshole. Totes different kind of asses. Important distinction.
K: Glad I’m not alone in this. Out in the lobby, the gang sit on the floor, holding hands, to cast the spell. Lorne recites the spell, which causes the bottle in the centre of their circle to spin wildly. Magical yellow-y light pours out of it, and a strand shoots towards each of them. Sitar music strikes up, and they all end up a little buzzed. Lorne crawls behind the front desk and passes out. Angel heads outside to look at the stars. Fred pukes into a plant. Wes giggles while Gunn practices martial arts moves. Cordy gets paranoid, and smashes the bottle, causing white light to shoot out. Everyone’s buzz disappears.
Cordy demands to know what’s going on. Wes asks what her name is, and she instantly replies, “I’m Cordelia Chase, dumbass.”
Sweeney: I HAVE MISSED YOU, SASSY.
K: ME TOO. But she continues, saying that if this is a sophomore hazing ritual, her parents will sue all of Sunnydale for kidnapping. Ruh roh. Gunn asks what the hell she’s talking about, and she rants at him a little before stopping mid-sentence as she sees Angel walk through the door. “Hello, salty goodness!” she says, which makes me squee because that’s the same thing she said the very first time she saw Angel way back in Never Kill a Boy on a First Date. Fade to black.
Lor: You know, that reminds me of a handful of episodes later, when I was all, “SERIOUSLY, ARE THEY MAKING ANGEL/CORDY A THING?” Now I’m all, “GOSH MAKE THEM A THING ALREADY.”
K: Yeah, but look how good you were at TV all the way back then! After the Not Commercial Break, the gang – minus Lorne who’s still unconscious – establish that we have a Tabula Rasa situation on our hands, except that they’re all convinced they’re in high school. Cordy, Fred, Wes and Gunn trade essential information, then Cordy turns to Angel and asks what his story is. He says that they’re all mad and asks where the hell he is. Wes calls him ‘friend’ and asks where he’s from, and Angel replies “I’m not your friend, you English prig!” which made me snort laugh so hard I’m surprised y’all didn’t hear it in the US. He says that he’s Irish, and they’re all confused because the Terrible Accent of Terribleness hasn’t appeared along with Teenage!Liam.
Liam starts muttering to himself, trying to work out what’s happened to his accent. (L: What happened was that the TV gods were merciful to us today. Praise be.) (S: I giggled a fair bit at this amazing accent-drop solution. Good job, Whedon.) (K: Contrivance that we’re thrilled about is a welcome change.) Cordy wants to leave, but Wes – acting in his guise as head boy of the Watchers’ Academy – says that they should gather information first. Cordy suggests calling the cops, and Gunn NOPEs. Fair call, Teenage!Gunn. The Traumaland Police are spectacularly inept. Fred backs up his not-calling-the-cops plan, because she thinks they’re involved. Apparently Teenage!Fred is a conspiracy theorist. Wes starts to join dots then rubs his chin thoughtfully and stops. “Judging from the amount of facial hair I’ve grown, we’ve all been unconscious for a month.” LOL. With the mention of hair, Cordy realises that hers is short and starts crying that the government “gave me bad hair.” Sadly, no, honey. You did that to yourself.
Lor: Over and over again.
K: Liam, meanwhile, starts yelling that the devil must be responsible and that his father was right – he’s ended up in hell. Wes starts to give orders, and Gunn says that he doesn’t take orders because he runs his own crew. He gets all up in Wes’ face, and Wes does a completely terrible impersonation of karate to try and get Gunn to back off. A stake pops out of his wrist weapon and he jumps in terror.
He and Gunn start to look around for more weapons. Fred and Gunn head behind the front counter and Fred screams as they discover Lorne. Liam spouts his “it’s the devil” theory again as a result.
Cut to Connor fighting a couple of vampires in an alleyway. He stakes one and the other runs. The woman he rescued is clearly a hooker, and offers him a reward for saving her life. He agrees, and she asks for $50. When he “LOL WHUT”s, she walks away.
Lor: She says he should run back to his mommy and I gag a lot.
Sweeney: I did a really great job of not paying attention to this scene, so thanks for making sure we got that covered!
K: I hereby approve of this gif usage, even though you’ve already used it today. Club!Lorne monologues that we’ve seen enough of Connor (agreed) and that we should get back to him. Cut to the Hyperion, where a still unconscious Lorne is being tied to a chair by Wes as Gunn suggests some decapitation. Cordy demands an explanation, leading Wes and Gunn to inform the gang that vampires are real. And that Lorne is a demon. Meanwhile, Fred asks Liam if he has any weed.
After he stares at her in confusion, she heads over and starts examining Lorne curiously as Wes and Gunn get into a fight in the background. Cordy tells Liam to step in, but he replies “It’s about time the English got what’s coming to them. I’m rooting for the slave.” Which is all kinds of awkward because outside North America, rooting = sex related. So Liam basically just said that he’s got a hard on for Gunn…
ANYWAY. Cordy breaks up the fight and Wes decides that this is a test from the Watchers’ Council, just like the one Buffy had to go through on her 18th birthday. Gunn refuses to take orders from white folks some more, then Cordy asks why they don’t just leave. Liam says that a mysterious “they” has done something to them. Fred agrees, pointing out that none of them look like teenagers. Which is awkward, because Angel is still supposed to look the age he was when he was turned…
Lor: I was looking for “hello salty goodness,” gifs, to have the two different ones up on here (fail.) and it was amazing to me to see baby looking David Boreanaz. I don’t remember him looking quite that young, but I may have been distracted by his sweet crushed velvet jackets. Probably that.
K: A legit reason to be distracted. Those things were HILARIOUS. Anyway, Wes inspects his biceps while Cordy grabs her boobs.
Because of reasons, they decide that Lorne put the spell on them, but that they have to kill the hypothetical vampire that the Council has hypothetically put in there to test Wes with in order to break the spell, and that once it’s done they can go their own ways and never see each other again. They split up into groups to search for the vampire – Cordy with Liam, and Awkward Love Triangle #1 together. As they head out to search, weapons in hand, Fred repeats her request for weed.
Cordy and Liam are searching the hotel rooms. They come to Cordy’s room, where Liam gets confused by the stereo. She suggests that they just stay there and let the others do the searching. She gropes his bicep a little, and assures him that he’s not womanish. She starts talking about danger, and how it makes your blood run cold. He stares at her neck as she’s talking, and vamps out when she says the word “blood.” He returns to normal before she sees him and runs to the bathroom. He stares into the mirror but sees no reflection. He rushes back out to Cordy and announces that he’s invisible. She informs him that he’s not.
He runs back into the bathroom and vamps out, which makes a gross stretching-a-balloon noise. He touches his fangs and bumpy forehead, then flicks back and forth between vamp and human repeatedly and really quickly. The rubbery noises intensify. Cordy hears him grunting and asks what’s going on. “I’m nearly finished!” he calls and she looks disgusted. In the bathroom, he comes to the realisation that he’s a vampire and that the others will kill him. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Club!Lorne monologues about how awful it is to be all alone and to realise that everyone else would shove a stake in your heart if they knew as we see Cordy and Angel head out of her room. Then we cut to Awkward Love Triangle #1, who are in the kitchen. Gunn goes on ahead with his axe while Fred tells Wes that they shouldn’t rule out aliens. She rambles about how maybe aliens probed and explored her naked body, and the stake pops out of his wrist guard again. He awkwardly pats her shoulder and tells her that it’s definitely demonic and not to be afraid. Gunn says there’s nothing there and they head out.
The gang reassemble back in the lobby and report in on their lack of findings. Liam agrees with Gunn’s declaration that it’s a waste of time and runs out the door. He gets as far as the street before becoming terrified by cars and rushing back into the hotel. Much like 18th century Buffy, he declares them to be demons when the gang ask why he looks so terrified. Gunn suggests reluctantly that they search the rest of the rooms, but Wes has come up with a new idea – the vampire may be one of them. Before he can fully inform them of this, Liam interrupts to agree with Gunn – they should search the rooms. Wes won’t be put off though. He grabs a crucifix out of his pocket and waves it at Gunn, who stares at him for a second then punches him in the face.
Liam giggles because LOL ENGLISH GUY GOT HURT. Wes says they should all have a turn holding the crucifix, and passes it around. Liam holds the cross in such a way that the others can’t see that his hand is smoking. Fred smells the burning and starts to point it out, but Liam points out that Lorne is awake. The others rush towards Lorne, and Liam tosses the crucifix away with a grimace. Lorne, we rapidly learn, hasn’t lost his memory. Wes demands to know where the vampire is, and Lorne’s all “The only vampire here is Angel”. Liam insists that he’s lying and punches Lorne in the face.
The seat flies across the room, and the gang realise instantly that Liam’s lying. Wes says that all vampires are the same while Gunn tells Liam that he’s “dust waiting to happen“. Wes tries to make the stake appear from his wrist guard and eventually succeeds. He tells Fred that everything’s under control. She grabs his arm and his wrist guard fires the stake, which hits Liam in the stomach. Gunn attacks, slashing Liam across the back with his axe. Liam vamps out and throws Gunn over the front counter and says that as he’s clearly a vampire, he should probably feed on them. He tries to decide between Fred and Cordy, and Cordy gets pissed that he has to take time to decide. She changes her mind when he turns to stare at her, and informs him that Fred is half neck, and therefore the tasty one. Wes flicks the sword out of his wrist guard and tells the girls to run. They do so as Liam knocks Wes out with a single punch.
Cordy runs into a storage room. She hides but Liam quickly finds her. She informs him that she has her own superpower, and screams loudly and for approximately a million years. (L: AW! Remember when she was contractually obligated to scream once an episode?) (S: YES, THAT WAS TOTALLY TEENAGE CORDELIA’S SUPERPOWER! #nostalgia) (K: GOOD TIMES.) He puts his hands up defensively and says that screaming won’t do any good just as Connor tackles him from behind. Wes trips down the stairs after Connor, asking him to please kill the vampire. Connor throws Liam out a window and he lands in the kitchen, which is apparently one floor down. Cordy thanks Connor, who’s confused about why Liam attacked her. She tells him that if he kills Liam, she’ll reward him. His eyes light up (UGH) and he suddenly has no fucks to give about why Liam attacked. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Connor jumps down into the kitchen. Liam attacks and they fight. Upstairs, Fred sneaks out from behind the curtain in the office where she was hiding. She scurries over to a still-unconscious Gunn behind the desk. Lorne calls out to her and says that he can fix the problem. He asks if the bottle is still around, and she tells him that it’s smashed up. He says that he can still fix it but she needs to untie him. She’s hesitant, and he tells her to look with her heart and decide if he’s evil.
Cut to the kitchen where Connor and Liam are still fighting. Liam says that Connor’s stronger than the rest, and calls the Fang Gang hypocrites – attacking him for being different. He says they’re just like his father, and Connor’s all “FATHERS ARE THE WORST” They bond a little over that, which WEIRD, before Connor attacks again. Liam dodges and says he’d rather be screwing Cordy than fighting. Connor tells him to stay away from Cordy. Liam says that Cordy never mentioned him, and Connor hits him with a frying pan. They start fighting again.
Back in the lobby, Lorne rubs some kind of paste-y potion on Fred’s tongue. She makes an “ew, medicine, gross” face, and Lorne asks if it worked. Behind him, Gunn raises his axe. Fred yells at him to stop. Kitchen. Liam gets the upper hand and tosses Connor to the ground. Connor asks if he’s happy now, and Liam walks away. Connor jumps up behind him because apparently he was faking. Fred sticks her head through the window and demands that no one kill anyone else.
Cut back to the lobby. Club!Lorne voiceovers as the Fang Gang pack up the weapons in the lobby. He says that all’s not well, and we see Hotel!Lorne giving Cordy the potion. She stares at Angel and Connor for a second, then runs out. Club!Lorne says that the sequence of events was a little different than they realised, and we see the same event again, only with the added information that Cordy had a vision of a big scaly demon opening its goat-like eyes just as the potion took effect.
Club!Lorne says that’s the end of the story and tells the audience to stay away from magic. Cut to a hallway at the Hyperion. Angel calls after Cordy as she walks away. She stops and tells him that she can’t – she remembers everything, and she has to be alone. There’s a horrified expression on her face as she says “everything.” She turns to go, and he calls her name, then repeats her question from last episode – “Were we in love?“. “We were,” she replies, and walks away. Cut to Lorne walking out of an empty club as we fade to black.
Sweeney: I loved most of this episode, in large part because it was thankfully light on shit pertaining to our two awkward love triangles. It didn’t feel light, though, because there are two of them and because the things that did pertain to them were awful and I hated them. So. There’s that. I loved that Lorne told the story and the little interjections that went along with that were fun too. There seemed like some accidental meta-commentary in how flat teenage Fred and Gunn (especially Fred) were. Cordelia and Wesley both gave me major nostalgia feels.
If I could just cut this episode down to about 30 minutes by scrapping all the stuff I hated, this would be a total A+ for me.
K: Agreed. But as it is, I’m placing it firmly in the “not great, but entertaining” camp, which seems to be where the Whedonverse is firmly situated today.
Next time: The apocalypse descends in more ways than one. Find out how much brain bleach we use in Angel S04 E07 – Apocalypse, Nowish.