Thursday, September 27, 2007

Buffy Wednesday (26 September 2007)

We probably won't have a Buffy Wednesday next week, so I am free to be as slow as possible on this post. And I'm already pretty slow.

Somehow, we now watch "Angel" and then "Buffy," instead of the traditional opposite. I imagine we'll have to watch a trio of episodes sometime soon to correct this.

So, first, we had the "Angel" episode "Eternity." It featured the return of one of my favourite "Buffy" characters, and was so solid I think I liked it better than the "Buffy" episode it preceded (in our rotation).

We made it a sort of interactive episode, pausing it and trying to determine the characters' motivations, whether people were telling the truth, or what was going to happen next. It made the episode more fun, and had we seen it in its original broadcast, we'd probably have done the same during the commercials.

In the show, Angel and Wesley attend Cordelia's truly horrendous performance in "A Doll's House," and leaving, they see a big TV star, Rebecca Lowell. She's young, attractive, super-thin, you know the type. She's there with her agent, Oliver, who was in the very first episode of "Angel," where he was much more impressed by Angel than Cordelia. Cordelia, however, is totally startstruck by Rebecca Lowell, who had a long-running hit called "On Her Own" until recently. Suddenly, a car comes screeching down the street, fresh from trying to run over the kid in "I've Got You Under My Skin," and inexplicably heads for Rebecca Lowell. Acting fast, Angel pushes her out of the way, earning her thanks, and then her shock when she realises he doesn't know who she is.

The next day, the story's in the paper, but somehow, Angel wasn't mentioned. Rebecca Lowell shows up at the office, and wants to hire Angel to investigate a stalker who's been sending her creepy letters written in blood. Angel tells her it's not blood and Cordelia fawns over her, but he isn't interested in the case.

Or is he? That night, in Rebecca Lowell's mansion, her stalker shows up again, and Angel bursts through the window to fight him off. The stalker escapes, but not before Rebecca Lowell realises Angel does not cast a reflection. Her response isn't typical: she thinks it's cool that he's a vampire. In fact, she's more drawn to him than before.

When Angel didn't return from Rebecca Lowell(let's see how long I can keep using her full name)'s house, Cordelia is afraid that he had sex with her and turned evil. Wesley tries to clarify a little: back in the first episode I blogged about, "Innocence," it was revealed that Angel's curse causes him to lose his soul after "a moment of perfect happiness" (at least that's how I remember it), not necessarily just by having sex. However, at some point after that episode, the consensus seems to have changed to the theory that Angel loses his soul if he has sex with anyone, including men in prison. Wesley points out that it's bliss, or perfect happiness--not necessarily sex--that triggers his evil change.

Cordelia listens to him like she listens to me and, armed with a cross, goes to Rebecca Lowell's house to check on her. She finds Angel there, still good, and he tells her what happened, and that she's asked him to be her date/bodyguard to a premiere that evening. Impressed, Cordelia starts going through Rebecca Lowell's stuff.*

So, Angel gets all spiffied up in a tuxedo and goes with Rebecca Lowell to the premiere of LOVE AT FIRST SHITE, and almost immediately, the stalker strikes again. Despite his having a gun, Angel manages to thrash him soundly, and he is arrested (the stalker, not Angel), but the stalkee is not happy. You see, Rebecca Lowell (is it getting annoying yet?) recognised her assailant as a stuntman also represented by Oliver the Agent, and it is revealed that the whole stalker scenario was a setup to put her back in the public eye. It seems that "Rebecca Lowell" doesn't mean the same as it used to, and at twenty-four, she's just getting too old for the Hollywood A-list. What's a girl to do?

Get a new best friend? It would seem so, 'cause Rebecca Lowell and Cordelia are now walking down Hollywood Boulevard together (I may have annoyed tyranist by pointing out that that's the last place a big celebrity would do her shopping, especially seven years ago, when it was crawling with trannies and junkies, and Lou Costello's star always stunk of urine), buying stuff, and chatting about Angel. Thrilled with her new link to fame and glamour, Cordelia probably says more than she should have.

That night in his apartment, Rebecca Lowell tells Angel the truth about her stalker, and pours him a glass of champagne. She does the whole accidentally-spilling-on-his-shirt-so-he-has-to-take-it-off trick that Father Patterson our parish priest used to always pull and then tells him she wants to be a sexy, mysterious, eternally-young vampire too. No more will she have to worry about age lines or her fading beauty or eating enough to gain weight, if Angel turns her, she can have it all. To help him along in her decision, she slips some kind of drug into Angel's drink. The drug, it turns out, is one that makes the user blissfully happy . . . and, well, Angelus the Evil Vampire makes a welcome return. First he forces her to drink some of his blood from the refrigerator, then he starts beating her up, enjoying the fact that vampires don't seem romantic anymore, but terrifying. Oh, to see him dance around, growling and starking, it was a thing of beauty.

Rebecca makes it upstairs, where Wesley and Cordelia realise what she's done. Then the lights go out, and Angelus arrives to torment them as well. First, he chides Wesley for being a big weak feminine hygiene product. Then he tells Cordelia that her acting was so bad, it would make Jesus dead again. She appears hurt by this, but grabs a bottle of water from her desk. She reveals that, anticipating his return to Bad Angel ways, she had a priest bless the water, and when she throws it on him, he's gonna look like Edward James Olmos after a lawn mowing accident. Well, Angelus flinches away from the water, and that gives Wesley the opening to drop kick him like Ike Turner on his anniversary. Angelus falls into his elevator shaft** and when he comes to, he's Angel again, and tied to his bed.

They explain that the drug Rebecca Nolastname gave him simulated a blissful state, and it temporarily brough Angelus back to the forefront, and Angel says, "Wait, what? That's just silly. I mean, really." He feels awful about the things that he said and did (which I guess he remembers this time), but his friends forgive him. And Cordelia can rest easy knowing her acting was good enough to convince Angelus that it really was Holy Water.

Okay, I recognise that I did an even worse job than usual recapping this episode, but it really was a good one. Just between you and me, I enjoyed it more than the "Buffy" episode that followed it. And that's saying something. I can't wait for that Season 2 episode when Rebecca Lowell and her Scientology buddies come back to Angel Investigations for revenge. Oh, it will be glorious.

To Be Continued...

*Tyranist found it annoying/odd/upsetting/irritating/infuriating that Cordelia had somehow turned back into the materialistic, self-centered, insensitive bee-otch she was on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," after fifteen or sixteen "Angel"s worth of character development. I, however, was glad to see her back. You see, life's bitterness has somehow turned me into the more misanthropic of the two of us.

**I initially wrote "lift shaft," but a lift shaft sounds really dirty, even for me.

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