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Thread: Positives And Negatives Season 3

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    Lullaby

    Positive: I enjoyed Sahjhan and Holtz, an finally seeing what Holtz had to do and is carrying with him. Darla was also great, and seeing her fears and feelings (and Angel's) about her child worked well compared to Holtz's fears and feelings for his child.

    Negatives: Once again, how do Fred and Wesley know so much about pregnancy and birth? Also thought it was really mean to destroy Caritas again.

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    Lullaby

    Positive - There's so much to love about this episode. Darla's sacrifice is incredible and a real tearjerker. I love the interaction between her and Angel leading up to it too, a fantastic scene. But just to give something less obvious, I love the link of the lullaby with Holtz to his daughter as Angel's child is arriving and it giving Lorne the warning of what Holtz is about to do. These moments when Lorne gets insights from an incidental moment tend to be great injections of drama and the lullaby links to him reading Wes later in the season as he hums to settle Connor too which is ace.

    Negative - I couldn't think of anything negative off the top of my head so I looked back at my original comments from when I first watched it and according to me then, Holtz's daughter had an horrific English accent, so I'll take that.

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    Dad

    Positive: Really like Cordy being supportive of Angel. You can see how much she admires him and wants to help him. 'Files & Records' is fun and I really like the Justine/Holtz relationship and his manipulation of her.

    Negative: I thought Vampires were meant to have excellent hearing, yet it's Lorne who realises the hotel is under surveillance.

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    Dad

    Positive - Angel is adorable with Connor and his adoration and protectiveness is such a contrast to the cold, calculated attitudes of the W&H employees targeting them and wanting to use Connor. We get flashes of the 'sold their souls' attitudes at varying points but it stands out so starkly when children are involved and Linwood's throwaway remark about the senior partners taking his children really underlines that for some people there is nothing that is taking it 'too far'.

    Negative - I really, really don't like the casting for Justine, I don't buy in to the character at all and I think that's the biggest part of the problem. Also, the thirty five cabinets on Angel feels a teeny bit over the top.

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    Birthday

    Positive: Great episode. Everything Cordy does is a positive. I love how she's more concerned with the victims in her visions then in herself. I love how what she overhears Angel saying plays into how she's felt from the moment she got the visions. She's never felt part of the team, she's never felt like she was doing enough or that she was enough and Angel's words feed right into that. Also lots of feels for Angel's line 'I'm more afraid of her dying than she is. What is that?'

    Negative: Fred not knowing how to introduce herself to a dead person . . . err . . . Angel is dead yer fool (sorry had to get my dig at Fred in somewhere ) OK, why does everything happen to Cordy. In two and a half seasons she's suffered so much, as Kelly says on the Still Dead podcast, she suffers far more than Angel, and he's the one who's meant to be repenting!

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    Birthday

    Positive - I find Skip a really entertaining character and enjoy his scripting whenever he appears. I like that Cordy chooses the visions for herself even if I find the alternate of Angel being sent insane over the top (although the idea that his past crimes would mix into it all is definitely interesting). For me this works for Cordelia like IWRY functions for Angel. Both were in part put onto the mission and roles they had from something being done to them by others, something that they didn't choose (the visions, the soul). Seeing them opt to return to fighting the good fight when there was an 'out' addresses that aspect somewhat and makes their paths more of their own making and I like that.

    Negative - The floating above the floor ending is silly and I don't remember it ever happening again.

    --
    I'm not saying this justifies what you're feeling Pricey, but I think part of Cordelia's story is how she moves beyond being superficial and pulling others down to being heroic and putting them first. I suppose that counts as a kind of redemption from the mean things she did as Queen C.

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    Provider

    Positive: Angel is so great in this episode. I love how making money makes him so happy because he can provide for his child. I love this Angel, he's so happy and seeing him like that makes me happy. He's even quipping when he's dusting vamps.

    Negative: Gunn and Wesley competing for Fred. I couldn't be more disinterested.

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    Waiting In The Wings

    Positive: All the great Cangel I love these two together. I wish we could have seen them in a real romantic relationship, they were so good for each other.

    Negative: There were a few things that annoyed me, but I'll go for the Wes/Fred/Gunn triangle again. I just don't feel sorry for Wes. I

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    Couplet

    Positive: Poor Angel and Wesley, both lusting after what they cannot have I love how Cordy turns Groo into Angel and I adore Angel, he's so funny, his unrequited love warms my heart, while . . . (see below)

    Negative: I despise Wesley. His glances at Fred just make me want to slap him. Yeah, director/cameraman/writer, we know how he feels, and he's creeping me out. And the fact that he thinks he can talk to Gunn like that, well, it just makes me want to slap him some more

    - - - Updated - - -

    Loyalty

    Positive: I love happy Angel and the joy he finds in his child.

    Negative: Wesley/Fred/Gunn triangle again. The way Wes talks to Fred, gives Gunn dirty looks, doesn't admit how he feels - it's all so turgid. I hate repressed Wesley, he's giving out such mixed signals and getting in the middle of the Fred/Gunn relationship.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sleep Tight

    Positive: Wesley is having a psychotic break, I'm sure of it. His obsession with Fred and her relationship with Gunn has freed his brain from its moorings and he's floating in a sea of violence and delusion. I hate it, but it does make good tv. It mirrors Angel being affected by Connor's blood, which brings Angelus to the surface and that Wesley has been 'poisoned' both by his own mind (his own inner demons) and the traps set up for him by W&H/Holtz.

    Negative: This is a great episode, full of shocks. Of course things would be different if Wes had been there to hear about Connor's blood being in Angel's food, but I can skate over that because the episode works so well.

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    Ugh I've got loads to catch up with but I'm deep in reading the rewatch at the moment. I've recently watched up to Forgiving so I'll be able to throw some thoughts together soon, but they're going to come in blocks.

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    Forgiving

    Positive: Pretty dull episode apart from the little girl in the White Room, Sahjhan and Angel trying to smother Wesley with a pillow

    Negative: If Cordy were here it would all be different. What terrible timing sending her and Groo away And how long can you survive with a slit throat? All this searching for Wes got a little bit tedious, as we knew where he is and why he did what he did.

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    Provider

    Positive - I do like the general point of Angel's switch in outlook as he views his responsibility to provide for Connor and showing how it affects his perspective on what they do (he and Cordy having swapped roles from the first season in wanting to focus on cash vs helping the helpless). Taking on the responsibility of a child is a life changer and seeing Angel respond to that works I think. It also is interesting against his own background and how he then responds to Connor when he returns from Quor'toth.

    Negative - I think the episode fails as much as it succeeds. Some of the humour is all right but a great deal misses the mark as the characterisation is pushed to extremes for it. Angel's uber mercenary attitude as he presses on the guy's fear for losing his life to see if he can get him to sell anything to realise the cash for example. I get that it shows how passion for your cause can lead to extreme behaviour, but rather like the ridiculous test of determination and endurance Justine undergoes with Holtz, but it's way over the top to try to make a point.


    Waiting in the Wings

    Positive - I love Angel's enthusiasm for the tickets and Gunn's response, it's a really great scene. It also shows one of the main points of continuity in Angel's character, souled or unsouled, in his interest in the wider world through arts that is sometimes missed. Obviously it plays later into revealing the secret of the ballet corps, but it's even directly referenced around him having seen and responded to the performance unsouled too.

    Negative - The constant champion referencing from Cordelia is incredibly irritating as they steer towards the two of them considering being a couple. I dislike this 'better than the rest' aspect to it and I don't think it's a positive thing for either character to fall to considering themselves above others. Although the character continuities in the hubris and it leading to downfalls works well I think, I still find it aggravating to put up with.

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    Double Or Nothing

    Positive: Cordy and Angel broke my heart, the way she sits with him while he mourns, and how he takes the cot apart I liked Fred going to Wesley to tell him what was really going on, and that he should have trusted them and then tell Gunn to be honest with her. This is the best Fred has been.

    Negative: The whole story about Gunn, felt like filler. We've had so many Wesley-centric eps, it feels like the writers were trying to show that Gunn isn't the great hero either, he's also got secrets and plenty to atone for. It was just a bit dull after all the high drama of the last few eps

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    Couplet

    Positive - I find Angel's misunderstandings who others are talking about because he's so focused on Groo's sudden arrival and his jealousy the best aspects of this ep. DB's great and makes it really amusing.

    Negative - Groo/Cordelia and Fred/Gunn, I just don't like either couple to be honest. Fred and Gunn seem too old to behave as cutesy and irresponsibly as they do, I find it irritating, and Groo is such a tedious character. I don't find the way he talks generally and about/to Cordelia romantic or endearing.

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    The Price

    Positive: Spike and Buffy had the back steps, well Angel and Cordy have the hotel steps They have such meaningful chats on and around those steps. This was actually a creepy little episode, but Connor's appearance at the end was great.

    Negative: Angel's emotions turn on a dime, from mourning Connor to being all chirpy with the new client. The change of tone felt jarring. 'I'll help cos it's Fred' - Wesley's obsession still in place. If it had been Cordy, would he have really let her die?

    - - - Updated - - -

    A New World

    Positive: Angel's desperation and rationalisation of Connor's behaviour. This episode is so good at introducing Connor, we learn everything we need to know about him straight away and we can see how he's been brainwashed. Wes/Lilah verbal sparring was great.

    Negative: The CGI seems dated. It was directed by Tim Minear who on the whole does a great job, but the shootout scene was over long and felt like Minear was just practising his skills, not adding anything to the episode.

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    Benediction

    Positive: Angel trying to bond with his son, and bragging to Cordy about him, was so sweet. I really like psycho-Connor, giving Lorne the evils and attacking Cordy.

    Negative: Really enjoyable episode, but Holtz's death to frame Angel was a bit extreme

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    Loyalty

    Positive - Wes gets a lot of things wrong in his choices about the prophecy but like many characters I love how complex and flawed he is. Despite how badly things go and all that muddles in to why Wes makes decisions he shouldn't, I don't doubt that he wants to get it right and protect Angel and Connor, that he genuinely cares. Oh, and Angel is just adorable with Connor, especially at the Drs.

    Negative - So I don't just complain about Fred and Gunn behaving like teens again I'm going to complain about the blood plan. That's a tiny phial of blood. I don't remember if they say, but I'll have to assume that they magically reproduce it somehow because that's not a quantity that can keep getting added in any quantity to blood deliveries that you'd consider it spiked and likely to have an effect.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sleep Tight

    Positive - I *love* this episode. I find the build up of tension really effective as the action unfolds. And it includes another occasion where Lorne gets that sudden insight into what's about to happen that injects additional drama. Excellent ep.

    Negative - Just that very last shot on Angel after Connor has gone doesn't work perfectly for me. I think he is devastated, hollowed by the suddenness of his loss, shocked, but despite thinking all that it just doesn't quite connect for me. After I've really felt/seen Angel's emotions for his son in the episodes just before and especially since his birth, it's a little disappointing at such a key moment. Oh, and Angel saying Connor was smelling like food from the teeny bit of his blood that must be in the mix seems daft.
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    Tomorrow

    Positives:Absolutely love Connor's plan to sink Angel at sea for eternity. It's so brilliant and horrible and cruel. Still love Angel's joy over his son. Love Cangel, Cordy brings something out in Angel that no one else can and Angel has helped Cordy become the hero she is. Like the image of her rising and him sinking.

    Special mention for poor unloved Justine, who never made it into the bedtime story Holtz told Connor about the ranch in Utah.

    Negative: Wesley's dive into depression, his poor me attitude, his staring into the middle distance, just make me want to slap him. He reminds me of Angel season 2 and that just version of Angel annoyed me too. Wesley lived through that, so you'd think he'd know better.

    Special mention to Gunn 'you finished the jumbo tub . . . I love this woman'. I hate the way Fred and her relationship to food is written.

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    So, I really like these Positive/Negative threads. I took a sabbatical from the boards but I'm going through these threads. Since I'm actually presently rewatching S3:

    Heartthrob

    Positive: This is a really boring ep. I guess, I was entertained by Wesley withdrawing bills from Merle's bribe to force Merle to give up his information immediately.

    Negative: Ugh, a lot. The flashbacks are dull. I don't care about James/Elizabeth. I later come to like Fred but she's annoying as a crazy child in early S3. I think it's ridiculous that Angel broke up with Buffy two years ago but he needs a three month retreat. It leaves a worse taste in my mouth because Angel only recently spent months and months abandoning his team because of his Darla-angst. Then, he abandons his team again, not to Sunnydale to actually honor Buffy's legacy by helping Buffy's friends and Dawn, but to sit and feel sorry for himself for the entire summer. And then, this entire episode is pretty much all about Cordelia taking like two scenes to articulate such a Basic message- Angel's love for Buffy isn't lessened because Angel went back to his life. That is not a complex message by any means. Cordelia could have just said it instead of devoting loooooong scenes and an entire episode to the concept.

    That Vision Thing

    Positive: I really like Gavin Park- and I think his strategy to undermine AI by getting them evicted from the Hyperion was a good one. Yeah, it wouldn't be a defining blow but striking at AI's ability to do business because their (actual) leader is not legally recognized can be very effective and WELL WITHIN W&H's wheelhouse. AI only avoided having to deal with this mess because Lilah gave Angel documents to cure the Hyperion's status. To paraphrase Breaking Bad, getting AI into this mess was the purview of a CRIMINAL LAWYER and they needed a CRIMINAL LAWYER to get them out of this mess. Because there's a truth to it. Angel just isn't legally recognized by society, and he profits by that.

    Also, I really like the scene where Angel walks in on Lilah playing computer-golf. And then, how Lilah enlists Angel to rescue Billy by puffing up the whole mission as "why I chose you for this mission, I needed a warrior of good, a man of character, a champion!" with the full force of her prodigious sarcasm.

    Negative: Cordy's resistance to her friends tracking the source of her maiming visions was moronic. I mean, evidently moronic because W&H hacked into Cordelia's visions to torture her. Sound like a good thing to find out! However, I get a creepy suspicion that we're supposed to admire Cordelia for submitting to TPTB torturing her and never questioning them for choosing to torture her. It really strikes against the feminist themes in the 'verse. Cordelia's choice of words just make her sound even more ridiculous. The gang knows that Lorne is good and they've sent many a person to be read by Lorne. However Lorne tracking Cordy's vision is disparagingly referred to as ""It's not like I'm morally against letting a demon into my subconscious for a quick lookee-loo. Hey, might be fun." However in bizarro Cordy-world, the unseen, unknown TPTB are given carte blanche to torture Cordelia without asking questions. Ugh.

    That Old Gang of Mine

    Positive: This ep deals with a complex question and I really like the Gunn/Wesley deal with the complexities here in a realistic way. It's particularly understated but powerful with Wesley. Wesley directed the gang to investigate these murders of demons but then, Wesley upped and said that he didn't know whether to thank or stop these demon-killers because a number of the demons killed *were* evil. It feels very real that Wesley never answered that conundrum. However when Gunn's old gang's lust for violence came at the doorstep of AI by threatening Angel, Lorne, Caritas, and Merle and Gunn enabled those threats, Wesley found the clarity to harshly threaten Gunn from interfering with AI business, which very much involves protecting certain demons/demon structures.

    Negative: I agree with TTB (on another thread round these parts) that the racial politics are offensive. Moreover, I think there was a missed opportunity to reflect on how AI can mistakenly kill the wrong demons. Just last episode, Angel/Gunn/Wes killed the Asian "demons" and boil covered demon who were actually agents of good to rescue Billy for W&H in order to save Cordelia. Angel/Gunn/Wes didn't know the Asian demons and boil covered demon were good until they were dead. Gio was certainly an *******. However, I remain unconvinced that the rest of Gunn's gang is any worse than AI or that they have better alternatives as a street gang, without visions or a reference library, to suss out which demons are good and which are bad.

    Carpe Noctem:

    Positive: As much as I liked Gavin's plan to legally strike against AI, I also enjoyed Lilah foiling Gavin by helping Angel with the Hyperion's legal status. It works with the read that Lilah sort of knew that Gavin was onto something- so she was sabotaging Gavin from succeeding and beating her at W&H. However, Lilah really is drawn to a more dramatic defeat of Angel- either killing or corrupting him. She wants the melodramatic defeat instead of the petty one. So, unlike other posters, I completely bought how Lilah Just. Went. With. "Angel" having sex with her on Wesley's (LOL foreshadowing!) desk.

    Negative: Marcus isn't interesting- he's just a garden variety evil shallow selfish hedonist. So, he just does stupid shenanigans in Angel's body. Angel-in-Marcus's-body is restrained by the nursing home from doing anything cool. And frankly, Angel is a dull character when he's just in good old-fashioned mystery solving mode. The interesting sides of Angel come out in other contexts- as opposed Buffy who is interesting and quirky and funny when she's good old-fashioned mystery solving mode. So, there was nothing interesting about seeing Angel trapped in Marcus's body.

    Fredless

    Positive: Wesley/Cordy acting out Bangel has already been mentioned. The best part is how AD squints at the ceiling, pushing out his brow, when he's saying "Buffy." On point! For greater positive, I like how the ep seemed meta-aware of how Fred was such a wooby/damsel so they introduced this plot that her parents were abusive but then, it was subverted as Fred's parents were actually good people. Fred's parents as solid, good, working class normal people was the start in really forming Fred's character as someone coming in with her own widely accepted human values which could ground and challenge the stranger members of the gang.

    Negative: I think Fred's dad was scripted to be meaner than he should have been to keep up the suspense. Like, his accusatory "Who's fault is that?" for Fred changing or the "Is it time?" "Not yet" creepy exchange between the Burkles which was never explained.

    Billy:

    Positive: Like past posters, I agree that the Wesley/Fred scenes and the Cordelia/Lilah scene are the best parts. Wesley is scripted very well to deform his personality as a misogynistic monster. It's entirely right that an infected!Wesley would dwell on how he felt embarrassed that he wants Fred so badly and become paranoid that Fred was trying to excite him but then laughs at him. Or that infected!Wesley would raise up the myth of Adam & Eve to articulate an elaborate speech about the fallen, evil nature of women from the beginning of humanity.

    Negative: Also like past posters said, it's complete bullshit that Angel/vampires "evolved" past anger or misogyny or whatever. To contribute my own negative point, I wish that Lilah got a chance to articulate why she brazenly went against W&H to shoot Billy, especially after she desperately wanted the credit for rescuing him/protecting him because Billy's family is so powerful. I did like the Cordelia/Lilah scene because of what it said about how Lilah was a road-not-taken for Cordelia who's also sharp and likes her pretty things and got into exclusive colleges.

    However, I don't quite believe that Lilah would risk getting herself into trouble with her superiors just because of a "rah rah vicious bitch girrrrl power" speech as Cordelia communicated it. It's unstated- but IMO, Lilah didn't want Billy continuing to infect the men that she worked with at W&H. Billy seemed to be welcome by any male attorney at W&H so men at W&H could always be infected with violent cosmogony- and well, climbing the sexist corporate ladder is hard enough for Lilah. However, it was still a big career risk for Lilah to blatantly shoot Billy. There should have been more story attention paid for her risks and motives. They could have removed the emotionally empty scenes of Angel talking to Billy's former buddy.

    Offspring:

    Positive: This ep kicks off the Connor-story- so it's very important to what I ended up loving the later seasons of the show. Gunn juggling the artifacts was hilarious.

    Negative: However, there's a LOT of crappy stuff in this ep. First, it's counter-intuitive to point of being all wrong that Darla craved purer blood because her baby had a soul. Second, it was the climax of last season that Angel tried losing his soul by having sex with Darla. Then, Angel lied to his team like, several times, about sleeping with Darla. So, Darla showing up knocked by Angel should have been a key dramatic point because it revealed that Angel betrayed his team/the mission more deeply than they knew. However, all of that is ignored primarily because Cordelia decided to be stupid and treat Darla like just an innocent woman that Angel got into trouble instead of powerful vampire. Stupid begets stupid because Cordelia forgetting Darla is a demon is cause for supposedly Evolved!Past!Sexism!Angel to ban Fred and Cordelia from interacting with Darla unless menfolk are around to protect them. The episode after Billy!

    It's weird how Cordelia decided to rub Wesley's face in not correctly translating the Shanshu prophecy. Like, this was a year and a half ago and Wesley corrected his own error in the same damn episode. It's petty and rude for Cordelia to bring it up now in front of everyone. It'd be cool if this was meant to serve some character note of conflict between Cordelia and Wesley but instead, it just seems like it's continuity-porn coming ahead of characterization. However typical for Season 3, this weirdly sour moment co-exists with the also weird saccharine-ness of the ENTIRE GANG telling Angel that they love him. Which was bizarre. And to be honest, that's a lot of how I see the group dynamics in S3. Weirdly cruel/sour and then, weirdly sugary-sweet.

    I wonder if I'm the only one to not like the "You're evitable!" speech. It's very meh speech that says little. It's also OTT for Lorne announce after the speech that he likes Fred So!Much!.

    Quickening:

    Positive: Darla is well played as an expectant mother but still a vicious vampire. When the cult wants to kill Angel's friends to feed her blood- "Guess I'm gettin' dinner!"

    Negative: Eh, it's a lot of running around and set-up. I think it was necessary but it was a filler episode to start doling out exposition on the humanity/sex of the baby, the recording devices at the Hyperion, the cults after Connor, getting Angel to meet Holtz. It adds up to a dull ep on rewatch. There should have been better dialogue and more emotionally impactful moments to make this exposition, transition episode worthy in its own right.

    Lullaby

    Positive: The alley scene was mentioned so.... I like putting Lilah into the confrontation between Angel and Holtz. It could easily be dull because nothing consequential to the plot actually happened. This first meeting between Angel and Holtz is just exposition of facts already known to the audience- Angel's soul and Darla in the neighborhood. It really livened the scene up for Lilah to come in and start cracking wise as she does. "I said I'm a lawyer. I don't care about the law." "Look if I'd known that you were torturing him, I wouldn't have interrupted. Please continue."

    It also lets Lilah tell Holtz about Angel's soul instead of Angel immediately blurting out that he has a soul as a Get out of Jail Free Card with Holtz. Which is a very nice understated moment for Angel. However, it's also natural that she'd be there to clean up the botched operation to seize Darla/Connor.

    Negative: I think it's silly that Wesley was bent on getting the scrolls at a time like this. Darla and the gang were on the run and they were being given chase 24/7 since they left the Hyperion. Darla was in labor. He didn't have the time or the reference books to sit and translate. This was stupid busy-work at a bad time.

    Dad

    Positive: Wesley and Gunn imagining themselves as movie action heroes. I also like Files and Records.

    Negative: Eh, it's just an episode of AI quickly destroying some villain cardboard-cut outs out to get Connor. None of these small time villains are built up as a real threat. There's no way W&H gets Connor this early. So, the ep is largely empty plot.

    This could be taken as a positive or a negative- but the emotional heart of the ep is how the audience is likely to believe that Angel would abandon and not care about the safety of his team because he has a new obsessive love in Connor. This ep ends with a pat end that OF COURSE Angel wouldn't abandon his friends for Connor. However by the end of the season, Angel tried to kill Wesley and he did black magic which vividly endangered Fred's life for Connor. By the end of the series, Angel mindwiped his friends for Connor while also making an executive decision that they'd sell themselves out to W&H. So, the emotional thrust of this episode rings hollow to me even if it works as bitter foreshadowing.

    Birthday

    Positive: There are these good little moments in what's a weak episode. The Cordy! credits mocking Friends. Crazy!Angel sending Wes and Gunn to save people that Angelus killed hundreds of years ago. I also think that the concept is incredibly ambitious to show an alternate universe and alternate Cordelia where Cordelia never joined up with Angel. So, points for ambition. However, it failed in the execution.

    Negative: Ugh. CC sucks at performing her disembodied spirit as she monologues around the hotel. It's impossible that Cordelia's CAT scan from a month before is the CAT scan of a cucumber but she's been high functioning this entire time.

    More fundamentally, the alternate universe fails in its main ostensible goals. It doesn't really convincingly show a Cordelia who never joined AI. She's too quickly drawn into the supernatural. Birthdayverse!Cordelia just doesn't have a distinctive personality. Compare it to Wishverse Buffy who never went to Sunnydale and found her friends- and as a result, developed completely differently as a hero. Wishverse Buffy doesn't appear until late in the ep and only really has two big scenes where she talks but she's a vivid, unforgettable character. Meanwhile, the whole ep is supposed to be about comparing Birthdayverse Cordelia and Regular Cordelia but frankly, both are just the same bland kyrumption Champion.

    In addition, it doesn't convincingly show a world that needs Cordelia as a Champion. As opposed to the Wishverse, the Birthdayverse seemed fine for your average Joe on the street. Cordelia's only real expressed reasons to take back the visions are to save Angel from being crazy and so Cordelia can have the positive experience of being a hero. That's fine but I get the impression that the ep is also selling that the world requires Cordelia but not selling it well at all.

    Provider

    Positive: This ep is garbage. One of my least favorite in the 'verse. All I can come up with Holtz torturing Justine with the knife through her hand and Justine willingly submitting to it sets a tone for their relationship.

    Negative: Like Heartthrob, the theme is so, so basic. "Money isn't everything." Did we really need a whole ep for that morality play? I don't get why Angel having an infant should dramatically change how AI does business. The A and B plots are really disgusting- Angel trying to extort an innocent, recently laid off guy for his car or house or credit just to kill a few vamps and Angel/Cordelia/ to a lesser extent, Lorne being so dumb that they just accept demons paying $50,000 for Fred to do a puzzle.

    The C-plot of Wesley/Gunn helping the murderess deal with her zombie victim boyfriend is not gross and more characteristic of AI. They were hired by a seemingly innocent woman who claimed she was being haunted. I believe a non-money-grubbing AI would take it on faith that she's an innocent victim and then, be surprised that she was the murderer. However, that begs the question on why the plot is part and parcel of the "AI lost sight of the mission because Angel wants to get hockey sticks for his infant son who can't even roll over yet" episode. Plus, this C-plot is dull and cringe-worthy, especially with Wes/Gunn mooning over Fred the whole time. The Cangel scene at the end is poorly scripted and acted, even by romance!Cangel standards.

    Waiting in the Wings

    Positive: A lot of good. My favorite scene is between Angel and the ballet dancer but that's been covered. Wesley is being bashed A LOT 'round these parts now, especially for Fred/Wesley. I don't ship Fred/Wesley but Wesley is my favorite character on the show. On first watch and this latest rewatch, I felt very badly for him in this episode. I think the whole thing ended up feeling worse than a simple case of romantic rejection. Although, the romantic rejection alone is incredibly difficult when a crush is incredibly strong and powerful as it was for Wesley. "That's why they call them crushes" and all. However while I do think Wesley's feelings for Fred on their own are intense and even obsessive, those feelings and his feelings of pain at rejection are consistently exacerbated by other stuff going on in his life. This ep is no exception.

    Wesley actually did have issues with office romances. It wasn't just hypocritical disapproval created for Gunn. At the start of Billy, Wesley confided in Cordelia that even though he REALLY likes Fred, he had an issue asking her out because an office romance is a bad idea even under "normal circumstances". Cordelia came back with a humdinger of an argument that I think really gets to Wesley especially after his break-up with Virginia- it's near impossible to find someone who gets their supernatural, adventure life unless they're on the same team. Wesley was considering that but then, his supernaturally aided outburst in Billy made him gun-shy about even interacting with Fred, let alone asking her out. The adventures surrounding Connor's birth forced everyone into working together so Wesley got used to dealing with Fred in close quarters but without the time to get over his Billy-issues.

    By Waiting in the Wings, Wesley was trying to get over his reservations. He had been confiding in Cordelia about this. I think Cordelia did him a huge disservice. She strongly advocated that Wes ask Fred out. Then, Cordelia was so busy REALLY LISTENING [/Reptile Boy] that she didn't listen to a damn thing that Fred was really saying at the dress store and then, led Wesley to believe that Fred shared his feelings. As a result, Wesley was proceeding in Waiting in the Wings with the putting on Fred's wrap and the putting his hand on Fred's knee like a romance was imminent because that's what Cordelia led him to believe.

    Wesley falls to his knees when he sees Gunn and Fred kissing because the heartbreak but it's also getting all of this false hope knocked out of him and feeling humiliated that he was making passes at a Fred who wasn't interested in him. When Wesley falls to his knees, it leads him straight into feeling all of the anger and possessiveness and evil of the Count because he hit that hot-spot. Right when Wesley is most suggestible to taking those emotions in because he JUST saw Fred kissing Gunn. However, Wesley was making a visible effort to not let Count Kurskov emotions dominate him. Yes, he instinctively glares at Gunn after the "man with the plan" remark but in his actions, he tells Fred/Gunn to stay together for safety and bandages up Gunn at the end of the ep.

    Moreover, in Provider (just the ep before), Wesley and Gunn are both unusually open and zen about telling the other that they have a crush on Fred. I think because it's just a crush at that point but they both believed that their friendship would withstand this competition over the same girl.* But IMO Wesley believed that Gunn was an open book to him and they were in the same place in their efforts to win over Fred. You know, *no place. But then, right after Cordelia said Fred was into him just before the ballet, Wesley thought Fred would be his girlfriend. Wesley felt wrong-footed in how he knew Gunn to see Fred making out with Gunn in Waiting in the Wings. Then this is more a Couplet thing, but Wesley's feelings of being wrong-footed by Gunn's success with Fred metastasized into hurt feelings that Gunn didn't tell Wesley about his relationship with Fred even though Gunn knew that Wesley also had a crush on her.

    Negative: Cordelia/Angel is very annoying. Their friendship grew organically. However, there was no faith to allow their romance to grow organically. Instead, Cordelia and Angel never date but some great, grand passion is imputed on them by other characters like Fred or Lorne. The appeal of Cordelia/Angel's S1-2 friendship was that she grounded him and connected him to humanity. However the romance undoes the value of friendship by positioning the value of romance as kyrumption, two great champions meeting on the battlefield.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 17-10-18 at 05:21 PM.

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    Hey Dipstick, great to see you on the board again! I've got a lot of love for some Wes appreciation and I forgot how much you deepened my appreciation of Lilah. Hope you stick around.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Forgiving

    Positive - So many things about this episode are great and I'm caught in the emotions and responses of the characters throughout it. The end of the episode is just so powerful and I feel for both Wes and Angel. After Lorne says to Angel earlier that the way to start forgiving yourself is to start to forgive Wes, it really adds in a layer to how violently Angel rejects that idea.

    Negative - I watched this only a couple of weeks ago and I'm struggling to recall something about it that I disliked. It's even a noticeably better performance from Justine too... Okay, I've read through the transcript and I might be not remembering something that explains this, but Holtz having a Resikhian urn handy seemed far-fetched.

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