Saturday, August 09, 2008

Buff-gel Wednesday (30 July)

So, next up on "Angel," tyranist and I watched the episode "Apocalypse, Nowish," written by Steven S. DeKnight.

Cordelia has another vision of this big black demon, and all around her, the fan has been turned on, and something brown and foul is starting to hit it. In town, paranormal activity is off the chart, and Angel Investigations has too much work to possibly solve it all.

Wesley has his hands full with his business too (though we don't see its goings-on) and with Lilah Morgan, who puts on a Fred Burkle costume for some kinky sex. Understandably, it has the opposite effect on Wesley and he proclaims their affair over.*

Angel meets with Cordelia (who now has her memory back) and she tells him that although she loves him, when she was floating around with the white-robed saints or whatever, she saw all that he had done, both good and bad, throughout his life. That's too much for her, I guess, and she just needs time. I only hope it's not more than a season and a half, 'cause that's all we got.

Then she has yet another vision of this big bad demon that's on its way. Angel remembers that Wolfram & Hart stole Lorne's impression of Cordelia's mind, so he goes to threaten Lilah in her office.

Fred and Gunn are growing distant, due to their vengeance experience two episodes ago, and she goes off alone to the diner they often hang out in.

Cordelia and Connor, still the best o' friends despite the longing looks the boy gives her 24/7 (and the peepholes in random locations around her room), go for a walk and end up in the alley where Connor was born. He had been told the story (though you gotta wonder what alterations Holtz made to it) and they share a moment before the ground starts rumbling and that huge black-skinned demon bursts through the ground in that very spot.

Well, Connor leaps into action to defend his lady fair, but this thing wipes up the walls with him, leaving Connor-shaped dents in concrete and dumpsters. Then it stalks off into the night.

Fred mopes at the diner, her waitress trying to cheer her up, and then the ground starts to shake. An earthquake hits--a fairly major one--shattering windows, and making everyone at Angel Investigations quite nervous.

Gunn decides to go looking for Fred, but Wesley arrives to share what he knows about these end-of-the-world portents. Gunn tries to throw down with him despite his claiming to be there to help, and Angel steps between them, wanting to discuss what he found out from Lilah Morgan.

So, the incidents around town are all centralising on a dance club in downtown and the four of them (including Lorne) decide to go there and check it out. All the young pretty people at the club are dead, murdered by the huge demon (which I believe the show refers to as The Beast, but I called Glory from "Buffy" Season Five "The Blond Beast," and I don't want to cause confusion. Maybe it would be okay to call this one The Black Beast. What do you think?), which is still there, waiting for them.

Angel attacks it, but fares only a little better than Connor did, owing, probably, to the assistance of Wesley and Gunn, who shoot it with guns and crossbows, hit with axes, and shout out mathematical problems in an attempt to find its weakness.

Angel starts to gain the upper hand, but The Black Beast stabs him in the throat (Wesley has to feel sympathy pains there) and tosses him off the roof of the building. The others go down to help him (though the guy has gotta be about ninety times tougher than any vampire we've ever seen to survive that), leaving the Beast to arrange the dead bodies in some kind of formation, then sending a huge blaze up into the sky, which starts to rain down all over L.A..**

Connor is pretty badly hurt and Cordelia somehow gets him home to tend to him. Because the Beast rose from his birthplace, Connor thinks he is somehow responsible for what's happening. Either because the world is ending around them, or to make him feel better, Cordelia starts to kiss him and . . . well, one thing leads to another, and another beast is created. A beast with two backs.

Gunn and Wesley find Angel injured but alive, and concerned for his lady love, he gets over to Cordelia's as fast as he can. So fast, in fact, that he happens upon his son and his would-be woman in flagrante delicto. Of course, he's not exactly thrilled with the sight. The end.

Also not thrilled with the sight was tyranist. He was rather freaked out by it, in fact. I guess in his mind, Cordelia was the closest thing Connor had to a mother, and tyranist can't imagine anyone making love to his mother.*** I guess I'm a little more forgiving, since Connor can't have any memory of Cordelia, and he certainly hasn't had much in the way of love interests. At least not in his first seventeen years.

Don't get me wrong, I ain't jumping up and down cheering at the overdue coupling of Connor and Cordy, I guess I have just taken a step back from pretty much all of these characters, so if things like this happen, it's not as jarring. It's kind of become my philosophy of life as well, since the cesspool doesn't appear to be freshening up any time soon.

We didn't watch "Buffy" next, but I'll switch over to it, just so I'm not as overwhelmed next post. "Conversations with Dead People" was up in the rotation, and it was written by Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard. We hadn't watched "Buffy" in a long, long time, and I had heard a lot about this particular show, so I had high expectations.

Oddly, it actually starts out with the title--something I don't remember ANY of the previous episodes doing. We get intercutting of experiences most of our characters have on this particular night (save Anya and Xander, who don't appear in the episode), each involving a dead person.

Buffy is in the cemetery (a big one this time) and the vampire who comes out of the ground turns out to be Holden, a guy she went to high school with. He's played by Jonathan Woodward, who was Tracey in "Firefly" episode "The Message." In college, he was a Psych Major, and during their fight, he starts to psychoanalyse Buffy. It's actually pretty entertaining.

Willow is at the school library, studying, when Cassie, the future-seeing girl from two or three episodes ago, shows up and starts talking to her. To me, it made little sense, since Willow didn't interact with Cassie in that episode, but Cassie explains that she's a ghost and has a message from Tara from the other side. Because Willow killed people, she's not allowed to see Tara, but Cassie can speak for her.

Dawn is home alone, and her house gets invaded by a sinister presence. The radio and television keep playing, and a voice calls out to her. Something black and evil is in the house, but there seems to be good there too, in the form of Dawn's mother. But damn, if even Joyce isn't horrifying to behold.

Spike's scenes are without dialogue, a woman coming onto him at the Bronze, him slinking around with her, and I assumed, since everybody else was interacting with a ghost, that she was someone he used to knew, maybe possibly even his mother (since my cousin often talks about an episode where Spike talks to his mother, and I've never seen that one). Spike seems pretty confident and sane in these scenes, much like the old Spike/William the Bloody.

Holden the Psychologist Vampire tells Buffy she cuts herself off from other people because she feels superior to them, then beats herself up for the pride. They talk about her lack of success in relationships and Holden laughs when she mentions Spike. I couldn't have predicted why, but the reason was that Spike sired him. As in within the last couple of days.

Jonathan and Andrew come back to Sunnydale, complaining about what Mexico was like, and on a mission to unearth some artifact of power underneath the new high school. Andrew is even more annoying than usual, but Jonathan seems quite repentant, thinking they are back in Sunnydale to do good.

He is at peace with himself, and even wants to talk to Buffy and Company and let them know what's happening. He doesn't have the whole picture though, as Andrew has been secretly communing with the death third member of their trifecta: Warren Mears. As before he died, the two of them are plotting against Jonathan, some kind of plan to both become gods or something. After they've dug up this underground seal, Andrew stabs Jonathan, killing him and shedding his blood to open the seal up.

Dawn should run away from her house, but for some reason, she stays and faces her fears. She calls out to her mother and is rewarded when Joyce appears, all in white, happy to see her little girl so grown up. But Joyce has a warning: Buffy is not to be trusted. Buffy is going to turn bad, and Dawn must keep away from her.

Back in the library, it's nice (for Willow and for us) to hear the message Tara presents, how she still sings like they did in "Once More With Feeling," even if Willow can't hear her, and Willow is comforted by the news. But Tara also has a warning: Willow absolutely cannot use magic anymore.

If she does, she will kill everyone around her, maybe even the whole world. Willow argues that Giles told her that the magic wasn't evil, but a part of her, and Cassie tells Willow that she'll lose control if she ever casts a spell again. In fact, the best thing she can do for her friends would be to kill herself.

Well, Willow's pretty sure Tara would never say that, and calls Cassie's bluff, realising that this ghost probably isn't who she says she is. In fact, what she's talking to is The First Evil. It makes a couple of chilling threats and then disappears.

Buffy and Holden fight, and she stakes him to dust.

Spike takes the girl from the bar out, leans in for some smooching, and murders her, drinking her blood. The end.

Wow, this was a scary one. There were a couple of moments featuring Joyce Summers that really freaked me out. One in particular was when Dawn was sitting on the floor, focused on something, and as the camera moves up, we see her mother sprawled dead on the couch behind her, like Buffy found her when she died. Dawn never even sees it, and in the next shot, the body is gone.

I wasn't entirely sure what was going on throughout this one, but I imagine that was by design. We were supposed to be amused, frightened, moved, concerned, suspicious, and surprised, so perhaps that's why it felt so uneven.

Tyranist and I talked about what would've happened had someone dead visited with Xander and Anya. We both agreed that it would have to be Halfrek that talked to Anya, but as far as Xander went, I couldn't think of anybody . . . except maybe that guy from the very first episode who was supposed to be his best pal. Jesse, wasn't it? I guess having him show up would be even less effective than a girl who only appeared once a few episodes back, but it might have been cool.

Come to think of it, that would've been a nice opportunity to reflect on how much Xander has changed since--

Oh wait, these aren't really the dead people, are they? They're some kind of evil representation of the person that has died, twisted puppets speaking for the First Evil.

Okay, never mind.

Oh, and in having lunch with tyranist today, he mentioned that Dawn used magic to cast out the evil spirit that was keeping "her mother" from talking to her. I had completely forgotten about that, and he figured that it was significant in that it showed that Dawn has magical ability.

Next up on "Angel" was the show "Habeas Corpses," which is a terrible title . . . but also kinda cute. Better than "Apocalypse, Nowish," anyway. It was written by Jeffrey Bell, who I always have to look up. Apparently, he's got a new CBS show next season called "Harper's Island" that he's running. Sad to think that it will probably outlast "Dollhouse."

It begins not long after the last episode. Fred comes back to the hotel to make sure Gunn is alright. He returns, and it would appear that a little end of the world is all that it takes to put their relationship back together again. I'll try to keep that in mind.

Angel also comes back, telling the others that Cordelia is fine. He goes to his room and mopes, which is the version of Angel I like to see most.

Over at Connor's, he wakes up happy, but finds Cordelia sort of overflowing with regret at what she did the night before,**** especially considering the world did not end. She explains that it was a spur-of-the-moment, fleeting thing and won't happen again, and Connor feels rejected. Sadness.

Wesley goes home and Lilah comes to make sure he made it through the fiery night okay, and you know, I guess it shows that she really does care about him, and more importantly, about someone besides herself. But Wesley tells her they're through (again) and that the night before showed him which side he belongs on.

Cordelia goes to talk to Angel and finds him cold, and doesn't know why. She explains where the Beast came from, but that doesn't seem to help. I sure as hell don't know what it means.

Connor goes to see Lilah at her office, wanting to know what the lawfirm knows about the Black Beast. While they are trading threats, guess who should show up downstairs, throwing security guards against pillars and stomping on the heads of pricey lawyers?

If you guessed Jesus H. Christ, doing that whole Second Coming thing, you'd be only a little bit wrong.

So, the Beast mindlessly kills pretty much everyone in its path, including irritating supporting character Gavin, who dies so ignominiously, I no longer have to guess what that word means. The Beast comes upstairs and is not bothered by Lilah shooting it or trying to make a deal with it (I wonder how it would've responded to her ever-useful seduction routine). Connor also attacks it, giving Lilah the chance to make a break for it, and is flung against the wall like so much monkey dung.

Lilah calls Wesley for help, and he does come, quick as he can. You know, it may be possible for that relationship to be salvaged too, though I'm not sure if there's any point in it. Lilah hides while the Beast continues to kill lawyers (I hope it's not to late to issue this guy a medal), and when Wesley arrives, he tosses a hand grenade at it, which only makes it grunt, but enables them to slip out a hidden escape hatch in one of the supply closets.

It drops them down into the underground tunnels below the building and Wesley tells her to get out of town and go somewhere where even the Beast cannot find her. I'm thinking Idaho. She also mentions, a tiny bit late, that Angel's son is still in the building.

Wesley lets Angel know, and the entire gang goes there and uses Lilah's escape hatch to get inside the building.

Meanwhile, Connor comes to, and finds the Black Beast gone. Not gone, however, are all the dead W&H employees throughout the building. Oh, and not dead, but undead. For reasons I still don't understand, all the corpses in the building (Gavin's in particular) are reanimated as zombies.

So, everyone is attacked. Angel finds Connor, but there are just a shload of zombies gorping around, and they have to find an alternate means of escape (I mean, besides the alternate means of escape they used the first time). Angel remembers last season, when he went up into "the white room," and they load into the elevator and go there.

That turns out to be where the Beast has gone, though, and has attacked the little girl that's up there. It is sucking out her lifeforce, but before she dies, she uses her magic to send Angel and Co. back to Angel Investigations.

To be honest, I had no memory of a little girl and I only vaguely remembered the white room, but ah well.

Oh, and when I asked just why in the hell the dead lawyers became zombies, tyranist reminded me that Holland Manners had explained that even after a Wolfram & Hart employee dies, they still have to serve the senior partners. I don't like it, but I'll accept that explanation.

So, everyone is safe in the hotel, and for once, Gunn isn't a total nozzle toward Wesley. Angel, however, tells Cordelia to take her boyfriend and get the hell out of his home. With that, she sorta realises why he was so cold to her before. The end.

I believe that was the last "Angel" episode we watched, back in the olden days, before women could vote and the world was black and white. I didn't particularly like this episode, but the stuff with the Beast is interesting. I was thinking that, had the shows still been on the same network, now would be a good time to give Buffy a call and ask for her help in taking this bastage down.

But then I remembered that there is a Slayer on "Angel," and it's not the Death Metal band. We'll see if I'm right about this.

Tyranist and I did burn through a few more "Buffy"s during our get-together. I may save them for another blog post, though.

Rish "By The Time This Is Blogged, We'll Be In Flying Cars" Outfield

*Tyranist speculated that it was that dollar bill, with whatever she wrote on it, when he used the word "relationship." I don't know if he's right or not, but I came close to feeling sorry for Lilah, evillawyerwoman or not. But hey, I probably have a mancrush on Wesley, so there's that.

**As a side note, I do remember the night in 2002 when this happened. I was acutally out of town that night in November. My grandmother in Las Vegas was still alive and invited me and my uncles to Thanksgiving dinner, so I drove down the night before and stayed at her house. My Uncle Ali asked me, "Aren't you glad you got out of California?" as we sat down to eat, and I told him, "Hell no, L.A.'s about a thousand times better than Vegas. Only a third of the girls there are whores, as opposed to half of the ones here. And the whores in L.A. are higher quality." He said, "No, no, didn't you hear? Los Angeles is on fire. It's raining from the sky or something." Then my grandmother started to rant in broken English about the lesbians drawing God's wrath, and it became just another family get-together. I spent another day in Vegas, and like on "Angel," when I got back, everyone was fine and there was almost no evidence of that it had ever happened.

***Come to think of it, my mind doesn't immediately go there either.

****You know, I sure wouldn't have minded seeing more of that look throughout my life, but ah well.

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