Written by David Greenwalt and Marti Noxon
Directed by David Greenwalt
Cordelia is throwing a dance party in her apartment. Angel and Wesley are there, and Wesley’s dancing is amazing. Sometimes low self-awareness can be a blessing.
Wesley is having a blast at the party, but he’s a complete spaz when it comes to flirting. Angel is slightly better than Wesley at making conversation, but that only lasts until the lady wants to dance. Then we’re treated to this bit of gloriousness from his imagination:
He decides not to dance, then retreats into the kitchen, where ghost Dennis pulls out a chair for him and floats him a beer.
Elsewhere, another guy is enjoying an ice-cold beer. This guy works at some kind of shipping place, and there’s a large “Hazardous materials, do not open!” crate. He’s bored, though, so it takes him about a minute to get curious. Especially because the crate has started making noise. Whatever’s inside it is apparently incredible, but we don’t get to see what it is yet.
The next morning, Angel seems to be in a pretty good mood, and Cordelia is wearing yet another insane shirt. From the front, it looks like a weirdly poofy work blouse with three-quarter sleeves, but when she turns around, you see that it’s a backless halter. Essentially, it’s the mullet of shirts.
Cordelia bought coffee beans instead of the more convenient already ground up kind, and she thinks Angel can fix that by squeezing the bag with his vamp strength. Yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna work. He tells her he liked the party, and she tells him that he was a black hole of despair. He’s a bit bewildered. He thought he was being mysterious and the right amount of aloof for a guy who can’t experience perfect happiness without turning evil. Basically, he was Mr. Darcy at the party. Mr. Darcy might be noble, responsible, charitable, and a thousand other positive adjectives, but everyone who goes to a party with him thinks he hates them.
Wesley arrives, also happy about the party, and possibly so broke that he’s in the same position Cordelia was in “City Of,” keeping himself fed on the free food from his friends’ parties. Angel offers him a job, and even though two seconds ago he was being very reserved about his financial situation, he accepts the offer in a second. Cordelia is fine with that as long as her own wages aren’t garnished. Which they won’t be. Wesley is once again so touched that he gets choked up, which he tries to hide from Cordelia.
Vision time! Cordelia sees the guy from that shipping place, who gets fried by something until his eyes explode. Not okay. Why do shows like this always have to make with the eye horror? Angel and Wesley head out to go find the dude’s body and investigate.
There are lots of broken glass bottles on the scene, which seems odd. Wesley stays in the car while Angel goes in. The body still hasn’t been found by the authorities, so Angel checks the guy’s wallet. He finds the crate, which has a layer of ice in the bottom but is otherwise empty. There’s someone else in the ice factory (which is what the shipping place is, it turns out). It’s some kind of demon dude. Angel squares off against him. The burn on his arm suggests that he’s not the one who did the burning. He’s from another dimension and he’s trying to stop the “bringer of chaos,” which is a threat to both his world and this one.
Back at the office, Angel makes an excellent sketch of the demon dude, and Wesley is on it with the research. Cordelia verbally smacks him for being a bit too brownnose-y about it. Cordelia’s going to see if anyone else has died by incineration lately, while Angel heads to the victim’s office. The door is locked, so he goes around back and uses grappling hooks again. Dangit, I thought he was done with that! In the office, he finds some files and a promising locked desk drawer, which contains envelopes full of money. The music is really weird in this scene.
He gets attacked by a demon lady with some kind of firepower before he finishes his recon. He tries to fight her, but she kicks his butt easily. She gets a call and leaves. Angel follows, jumping down from the roof. That’s more like it.
Demon lady drives away, and Angel follows in his car. He tries to call the office, but his phone is dying, so he has to charge it. This must be a different phone than the one he had before (I stand by my theory that his original phone got shot when Cordelia’s git boyfriend shot him last episode), because he seems to have no idea how to use it. Cordelia has found a series of similar killings. The cell reception is terrible, so they have difficulty trading information and he finally gives up.
Demon chick leads Angel to some kind of museum. She sends a security guard after him, but he evades him by pretending to be a tour guide. With his detailed knowledge of famous French artists, he pulls this off with flair, getting a round of applause. By then, the guards have dispersed, so he can follow demon chick again.
Wesley’s found some good stuff about the demons. Their society is one in which the females are enslaved to the males, and they’re also voracious herbivores. For some reason, Wes and Cordy don’t linger on that first detail and just use the second one as a way to track down the demon dude.
Angel catches up to the demon chick in the back room of the museum. Her shirt is a halter with a boob window, so at least someone’s outfit is worse than Cordelia’s this week. She doesn’t understand how he recovered from her attack so easily, but she also seems reluctant to harm him further. Or give him information. He refuses to leave, and then a portal opens, expelling a naked ginger lady of her same species. Angel grabs a tapestry to wrap her in, and they’re about to leave when a bunch of the male demons show up, trying to take the ladies away. Main demon chick packs a serious punch with her fire power, but the dudes get away with the ginger.
They take her to a plant nursery or something, where they use a horrifying set of pliers to clip off this ridge thing on her back.
Angel and the demon lady are at his apartment. She’s confused that he’s a good guy if he’s a vampire, and she grudgingly accepts his help. He asks for an explanation from her, and she tells him that the back ridges are the center of her species’ power and individuality—and their sexual arousal. She shows him, and hello sexual tension. When women have that ridge removed, it makes them docile and powerless. Demon chick is the princess of that dimension, her name is Jhiera, and she’s been helping other women escape ever since she got out. There’s more and more of the sexual tension, and just make out already! This is ridiculous. The reason people have been getting incinerated is that girls fresh out of that dimension have very little control over their power, and it tends to attract males like moths to flame, rather literally. Jhiera doesn’t feel particularly guilty about the deaths, but Angel wants them to stop. She’s about to leave, he tries to stop her, and she’s about to lay down another heat smackdown, but instead it’s just another wave of sexual tension, leaving Angel a bit overwhelmed.
Wesley and Cordy are at the plant nursery where the dudes took the ginger. They make their way to the back, where the demon dudes are leading the ginger back to their home dimension. She’s all zombie-like now.
Jhiera goes to a spa. The owner knows her, and this is where she’s been keeping the refugee women from her world. They’re lying in ice baths. Jhiera thinks it’s too dangerous for them to stay there. Spa owner guy might know another place they can be safe.
Wesley and Cordy, still in the back room of the nursery, try and fail to call Angel. They’re about to leave when they overhear the demon men getting information about where the ladies are hiding. They head back to the office, where they find Angel just getting out of the shower. They’re very indignant that a shower is the reason he didn't answer their call, but I’m not!
Angel has the address of where all the ice has been shipped, so they can hopefully get to the spa before the demon dudes. He heads inside to warn Jhiera, and the spa owner guy gets in his way. I really like that guy. He’s hilarious. And the demon guys have arrived! Jhiera reluctantly accepts help from the A.I. team. Spa owner guy tries to stall the demon men, and he gets punched in the face so hard that I’m pretty sure it snapped his neck. Noooo.
The demon guys head into the ice baths room, where they meet with violence from Angel and Jhiera. Cordy and Wes are leading the girls to more ice crates so they can be transported to their next safe location. Wesley is having a difficult time not succumbing to the effects of their powers of sexiness, but Cordy manages to keep anything unfortunate from happening to him. Once the girls are all boxed up, Angel and Cordy come to help the fight, only to promptly get themselves taken hostage. The demon men will kill them if Jhiera doesn’t surrender her girls. Jhiera considers that an acceptable cost, and she runs out of the room. Wes and Cordy fight themselves free. The demon dudes catch Jhiera and are about to clip her when Angel stops them. They try threatening him, but he vamps out. His threat trumps theirs. Ha. They leave.
The next day, Angel finally gives that whole squeezing the coffee beans thing a try. Predictably, the bag explodes and the beans go everywhere, just in time for Wes and Cordy to show up. Wes immediately slips and falls on them, and I have to say, Alexis Denisof deserves serious props for the pain he’s willing to go to in order to make Wesley as ridiculous as he needs to be.
Instead of being upset, Wesley promptly resumes his brownnosing. Cordelia marvels and Angel tries to stop him, but it only intensifies. Oh man I love Wesley so much. Jhiera shows up, having not changed her outfit. Cordelia rather resents Jhiera for being willing to trade her life for the lives of those girls. Jhiera tells Angel the girls are safe, but he’s not cool with her methods. She can’t just pick and choose which innocents to save. Also the sexual tension is back.
So “She” pretty much feels like a Star Trek episode that took a wrong turn on the way to its own show. (I’ve never watched Star Trek, but my Trekkie flatmate assures me this is a good comparison.) Plot A is basically female circumcision with demons. Yikes. With the way Angel reacts to Jhiera’s methods, it sort of feels like the big message is “feminism yay,” only with a slight hint of #notallmen thrown in. If you can overlook that awkwardness, there are still some things that make the episode worth watching. You can read the message as being that real heroes shouldn’t sacrifice innocent bystanders to save the people they care about. Wesley continues to be absolutely wonderful every time he appears onscreen, and now he’s officially on the payroll! And the demons from the Oden Tal dimension do expand the Buffyverse lore a bit. Not only can demons come in species ranging from good to evil and bestial to sentient, but some species have their own dimensions with complex civilizations. I suppose we already knew that from Kathy Newman in “Living Conditions,” but this solidifies it. I’m not sure how Cordelia’s party connects thematically to the rest of the episode. Was it just there to establish the current social dynamic of the A.I. team?
Angel is loyal enough to his friends that he’ll go to Cordelia’s parties even though he hates parties (and parties hate him). Maybe it’s just leftover overprotectiveness after what happened to her last time. I like that Dennis seems to approve of him. Dennis is a ghost with good instincts. It’s interesting that Angel doesn’t really do anything to stop Wesley’s brownnosing. Maybe after that one initial attempt to stop it, he’s just decided to ignore it until it goes away. His hero’s philosophy is getting pretty solid. A few years earlier, he was just rotting in back alleys, but now he’s got “with power comes responsibility” down, and he’s not crippled by protagonist-centered morality.
What does Cordelia do with her free time that enables her to throw a party with so many people? How do extroverts work? I’ve lived in the same place for four years, and I still haven’t met as many people as Cordelia had packed into her apartment after only being in L.A. for nine months max. Anyway. You can definitely tell that she’s nowhere near the snob she used to be in Sunnydale, because that girl probably would’ve treated Wesley like dirt after his spastic cable-knit sweater dancing. Now, she doesn’t mind, and she feels it ranks above glowery wall-flower behavior.
If Angel is like Mr. Darcy, then I think Wesley is Mr. Collins (if Mr. Collins was attractive and had the chance to benefit from one of the best character arcs on television). He’s a pompous spaz with no sense of when to shut up, and he’s so grateful to anyone who does him a good turn (or offers him a job) that he makes a complete idiot of himself. Hopefully once he gets used to the fact that he’s an accepted and welcome part of the business, he’ll calm down a little. (But it’s really okay if that takes a while. I’m deeply enjoying his antics.)
“You know, I wish you’d let me work on your mirth chakra.”
“Please don’t fire me! What happened yesterday was an anomaly. I very rarely get taken hostage.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.