Written by Tracey Stern
Directed by Regis Kimble
Angel and Wesley seem to be trapped somewhere, but they also seem to be…sitting? Oh. They’re in the audience of a play in which Cordelia is an actress. And apparently it’s terrible. Wow, okay. It really is terrible. Cordelia is so over-the-top. How are Wes and Angel not enjoying it in a so bad it’s good way? Because it’s easily that. Look at this!
After the play, Cordelia is asking for their feedback. They struggle to find diplomatic ways to be truthful. Thankfully, before their feet can get so far in their mouths that they choke on them, Cordelia is distracted by the sight of some famous people: (fictional) TV actress Rebecca Lowell and her manager Oliver, who is same guy from “City Of” who wouldn’t believe Angel wasn’t an actor! Nice continuity. Angel and Wes don’t recognize Rebecca, and while Cordelia is expressing her disbelief over how out-of-touch an ex-Watcher Englishman and a 273-year-old Irishman are with American pop culture, Angel notices a suspicious car down the road from Rebecca. His suspicions prove well-founded when the car tries to run Rebecca down. He saves her, getting hit instead. He shakes it off. Wesley is worried he might be hurt, but Cordelia is more interested in the fact that he made physical contact with her TV idol.
Rebecca comes over to thank him, and Cordelia keeps getting in the way of their conversation. Oliver tries to write Angel a check for his assistance, but Angel doesn’t want it. Cameramen come out of nowhere, to Rebecca’s chagrin. She calls them E.T., which Wesley assumes, with enthusiasm, means Emma Thompson. He’s incorrect, of course. Cordelia manages to give Rebecca Angel’s card, but he has pulled a Batman already.
The next day, Cordelia’s all excited about the newspaper article about Rebecca Lowell nearly getting hit by that car, because Cordelia’s elbow is in the photo. Wow. I think the newspaper may have accidentally run an old article, though. I don’t see how President Clinton’s drug test, something about bus passengers ignoring a man doubled over in pain, and a delivery boy becoming a delivery man connect to the near-fatal accident of a fictional TV star, but maybe I’m just not reading between the lines.
Angel doesn’t want to waste more time on the whole Rebecca Lowell thing, but when Wesley says the article doesn’t mention him, he gets all indignant while pretending not to be. Cordelia wants to capitalize on Angel saving a famous actress.
Right on cue, Rebecca walks in with a couple of large bodyguards. Cordelia fawns (and calls Wesley an intern), but Rebecca only has eyes for Angel. They go into his office. She tells her guards to stay, and Angel, amused, repeats the command to Cordy and Wes. Rebecca’s conversation skills seem to be remarkably lacking. She’s an actress who very much wants to continue being one, but she also likes the night because it’s easier to hide when it’s dark. She’s still surprised that he never watched her show, and while she doesn’t seem offended, she invites him over to watch it with her some time. I can’t tell if it’s the most arrogant date idea ever or just a really awkward joke. Angel is so very uninterested that he even makes a “wow that just happened” face while she’s still looking at him. Despite her awkwardness, she says it’s nice meeting someone who doesn’t care how famous she is.
He’d like her to get to the point. She tells him about her troubles with a stalker. She doesn’t want to go to the police because she thinks it’ll just turn into a tabloid thing. She likes her chances better with Angel, a guy who saved her life without knowing who she was. She feels safe with him around. She particularly wants the stalker dealt with because she might have landed a new TV series that would revitalize her career. Angel reveals what he’s already discovered about the car that tried to hit her, but then he tells her he can’t take the case and that she should give the information to her people. At this point, we find out that Cordelia has been eavesdropping the whole time, because she pops into view and yells “ARE YOU INSANE?!” Bahaha.
Rebecca and her guards gone, Cordelia berates Angel for throwing away such a fabulous networking opportunity, both for A.I. and for her own acting career. Wesley thinks the reason Angel doesn’t want to take the case is that he likes Rebecca, so he doesn’t want to get too close. Angel doesn’t disabuse him of this notion, but their interactions seemed a little too stilted for that. I was under the impression that he didn’t take the job because the threat isn’t a supernatural one. And also that a vampire working with someone as high profile as a famous actress could create an exposure risk. Cordelia fakes a vision of Rebecca in danger. It’s about as convincing as her stage acting and fails to persuade Angel to budge.
Meanwhile, Rebecca is getting pampered and obviously hating it, while the girl doing the waxing blathers on about procedures to fight the aging process. Then we get a depressing party montage in Rebecca’s house. Once all the guests are gone, we see that someone is lurking outside! Then Angel comes bursting through a giant window to intercept the masked hoodlum inside the living room. He successfully scares the guy away, and then Rebecca notices that he casts no reflection in her mirror. He pulls a Batman before she can demand an explanation.
Now Oliver and the police are at the house. Oliver hugs her, then heads out to deal with the press. Only when everyone’s gone (and Rebecca calls him out) does Angel reappear. Her current theory, based on the constant Batman-ing, being able to tell red ink from blood at a glance (or a sniff), not having a scratch from getting hit by a car, and casting no reflection, is that he’s a vampire. She’s taking it rather well, it seems. She asks him some fairly typical questions and is particularly amazed by how good he looks for being 273. Then she touches his face to find out the temperature of his skin. (Forward! Go for the hand, lady. Not the face.) He can’t believe she’s not terrified. She wants him to stay there that night.
The next day, Wes tells Cordy that they’re taking the case after all. I guess the fact that Angel was checking up on Rebecca even though he said he wasn’t taking the case is fairly strong evidence to support Wesley’s theory that he likes her. Cordelia jumps to horrible conclusions about the fact that Angel was at Rebecca’s all night, but Wesley doubts Angel would have a moment of perfect happiness with Rebecca even if they did sleep together. It happened with Buffy because they’re soulmates (and because Angel had no idea it was something he should be avoiding). Flings are not the stuff of true joy. Cordelia decides she needs to check and make sure Rebecca’s still alive and Angel’s still not evil, no matter what Wes says.
Cordelia shows up at Rebecca’s place with coffee and a giant cross. She is reassured to find Angel not wearing leather pants (a sure symptom of Angelus). Rebecca is out at lunch somewhere. He stops Cordelia from snooping, then admits he told Rebecca he’s a vampire. Cordelia doesn’t care. She just wants to know when she can get an appointment with Rebecca’s manager.
With whom Rebecca is currently having lunch. There has been a hiccup with her new TV role. They want her to read for the part first. She goes back to her place and, while running on her treadmill, tells Angel how insulted she feels that they want her to read for the part. She still wants it, though. A maid brings in a suit, which is for Angel, so he can attend a premiere with her.
Cut to them stepping out of a limo amid a swarm of adoring fans.
A shady guy follows them through the crowd, toting a piece. They make it to the back alley, because apparently Rebecca only puts on a show of going to premieres, to give her fans a chance to flock around her. She doesn’t actually stay for the movies. And the piece-toting creeper apparently knows this, because he’s waiting on a stairwell above them to shoot Rebecca! Angel shields Rebecca, then uses his vamp strength to leap up onto the stairwell and tackle the guy. He knocks him out. Rebecca is very freaked out, but it seems like she might recognize the attacker, as someone other than an insane fan.
Angel is giving the police his statement, and Rebecca is standing nearby, wrapped in a blanket. Oliver comes dashing up, full of concern. She doesn’t buy it. The “hit man” was one of the stunt guys Oliver used to represent. She’s figured it out. He set up all that stuff. He admits it. He was trying to stir up some publicity so she’d be relevant enough again to land that series. She realizes that this means she didn’t get the part. She’s too “mature” for the role. Her old series is now in syndication, so everyone will always be seeing the younger version of her. Then she looks over at Angel and realizes that some people do stay young forever. No Rebecca, you unscrew that mental light bulb right now! This is a terrible idea!
Wesley brings Angel a forensics report, but Angel already knows that the gun was only firing blanks. And he’s also figured out that the whole stalker thing was a setup.
Elsewhere, Cordelia is hanging out with Rebecca. And she’s being quite a spaz about it. Rebecca is particularly keen to ask Cordelia about Angel.
That evening, Rebecca comes right down to Angel’s apartment to bring him the gift she picked out while shopping with Cordelia. The gift is some kind of fancy champagne. Oh cool, I never noticed that Angel has a curved bookcase.
While Angel’s getting the champagne flutes, Rebecca notices his bed in a rather notice-y way. Ugggggh. Angel tries to break it to her gently that her stalker isn’t really a stalker, but she tells him she already knows. Then they do this arm-linking thing to drink the champagne, and she bumps him and makes him spill on his shirt in the process. He laughs at the absurdity of it, and oh man does he have a gorgeous smile. He leaves to go change, and she takes the opportunity to dump a little packet of something into his drink. He comes back with a new shirt and then she gives a really odd toast about endings and beginnings.
Wesley gets to Cordelia’s apartment, and she’s really worried. She eventually noticed how focused Rebecca was on asking questions about how Angel became a vampire. Because she wants to become one so she can stop aging, just like her TV character. Uggggggh.
Angel and Rebecca are both pretty tipsy now. Angel’s trying to tell her how he used to be super evil, but she’s not really buying it. She can’t imagine him as anything other than a sexy hero. And she thinks he deserves happiness. Her interpretation of happiness seems pretty clear. She wants to do “science experiments” with him! It’s okay, though. Angel is more of a language and literature man.
He realizes that she wants to do “science experiments” and drunkenly tries to shut that down. She doesn’t just want to do “science experiments,” she wants him to turn her! He’s horrified. She tries to convince him she knows full well what that would mean, and suddenly this is seeming very soap opera-y. Even the music is kind of like that. She thinks that by refusing to turn her, he’s not living up to his mission of helping people. Ugh I don’t like her at all. He decides that if she’s not going to listen to reason, then maybe he can frighten this idea out of her by force-feeding her some blood from his fridge!
Well, she’s certainly horrified, so, points. But then he backs away, a little horrified at himself. He’s realized something’s wrong, and he looks at the champagne. She admits to drugging him. He grabs her hard and demands to know what it was. She calls it a “happy pill.” Crap. He leans his head on her shoulder, then his tone of voice abruptly changes. I know that voice. She cries out in pain. He bit her! Then he looks up in vamp face. Hey there, Angelus.
We return from commercial to find Rebecca still horrified and confused. Angelus polishes off the rest of the champagne. He plans on killing her. She is still refusing to believe it, even when he tells her he’ll put her head on a pike to prove he killed a famous person. He tosses her across the room, and she lands hard on the little flight of stairs to the trapdoor that leads to the sewer. She thinks he’s insane, but he explains that he’s a vampire. Her little dream of eternity has been effectively turned into a nightmare. She tries to get away, but he tosses her around a bit more. Then she whacks him a couple times with a heavy candlestick and bolts. She tricks him, and he runs upstairs looking for her. Wesley and Cordelia show up and help her out of the elevator. They make her explain what she did to Angel. Wesley doesn’t believe drug-induced bliss actually constitutes genuine perfect happiness, but it seems to be enough to screw with the curse and make Angel’s soul lose the upper hand for a while.
Just when they decide it might be wise to clear out until Angel is back to normal, the power goes out. Then he saunters back into view and starts messing with all of their heads. He prowls closer until the faint light from the window illuminates his vamp face. After picking at Wesley about his inferiority issues, he throws him aside, knocking him out. Then he starts in on Cordelia, about how much her acting sucked. Watching her act was worse than hell, it seems. She brandishes her water bottle at him, claiming that ever since she started working for Angel, she’s only been filling her work water bottle with holy water. She throws it on him. It’s not holy water, but she did have him going long enough for Wesley to sneak up behind him and shove him into the open elevator shaft. The way he hits it makes me feel seriously concerned for the well-being of the stunt double.
Angel wakes up back to normal and chained to his bed with a few hundred pounds of chains. Cordelia and Wesley are watching him, stony-faced. Rebecca left and will not be coming back. Wesley doesn’t need an apology because he feels the drugs were to blame. Cordelia, on the other hand, definitely wants apologies. Angel compliments Wesley on taking him down. Then Cordelia caves and says she doesn’t need an apology after all. She wants him to be honest in future, and their friendship is fine. But she doesn’t plan on unchaining him.
“Eternity” is so weird. Is it supposed to be about how the standards of Hollywood are completely screwed up, and we shouldn’t be afraid of aging? Because Rebecca’s desperate desire to hold onto her career by any means necessary, including becoming a vampire, sort of points that way. Is it a spoof of soap operas (or just the film industry in general)? Because there are moments when it’s unbelievably soapy. Is it about how we shouldn’t be “actors” around the people we care about? Because that’s kind of the lesson Angel and Wesley learn by the end, at least in regards to how they deal with Cordelia. As usual, it’s probably supposed to be a little bit of all of those things. I’m just not sure it works, and I think the weak link, ironically, is the actress who plays Rebecca. Although it might be the way she was written. She’s just so weird! I think they were trying to create a character who was both sick of Hollywood and so wrapped up in it that she sort of romanticizes everything in a Hollywood way, who both hates the shallowness of the spotlight but isn’t sure she could survive if it left her. A character like that could have been very sympathetic and compelling, but Rebecca just seems like a bag of contradictions wrapped in a really strange performance. She’s so terrified of her stalker that she can’t focus on her acting, but she’s not afraid of a vampire, not even for a second? She talks like she’s already fantasizing about spending eternity with Angel, but then she drugs him?
I don’t understand why Angel supposedly likes Rebecca. Buffy deserved his interest so much more. Is it just that he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress, even if her problems have nothing to do with his particular brand of private investigation? Is there a part of him that just really longs for someone to not be afraid of him for a change, particularly after how badly things have gone with Kate? Also I don’t get why he’d be okay with drinking champagne in his apartment with this lady he met two days before, when it’s obvious from all her smoky-eyed looks that she’s extremely interested in him. Whatever. I think it’s funny that Angel tries so hard to avoid provoking Cordelia, since she isn’t remotely shy about expressing displeasure. But people who are as blunt as Cordelia are typically happy for you to be equally blunt with them, as long as you aren’t a total jerk about it. And he continues to find really good ways to encourage Wesley without making it seem like he’s patronizing him. Angel making an effort to be a good friend is so freaking cute.
Cordelia is giving me more reasons to believe that she can be an amazing actress as long as she’s not doing it in front of a camera or on a stage. She’s very convincing at bluffing Angelus, and you can tell how terrified she is the whole time. But wow, it really doesn’t get much worse than her stage acting. If Angel wants a way to compliment Cordelia’s acting ability without flat out lying, then he should tell her that she ought to figure out how to bring what she did with Angelus to her other performances. He might even consider telling her to give improv a try, since she’s better at coming up with lines off the top of her head than memorizing a script.
I really love the little joke about Wesley thinking E.T. stands for Emma Thompson. I was never really sure what sort of TV Wesley would watch if he ever made time for TV, but that helps. Now I imagine his favorite films are Sense and Sensibility and the Kenneth Branagh Much Ado About Nothing. Anyway. He’s getting remarkably good at reading Angel, considering he’s the latecomer to the team. I think Cordelia could probably be just as perceptive, but she tends to prioritize her own concerns over everyone else’s. Wesley actually pays attention to what he observes, even if he’s not so good at assessing himself.
“What did you give him?”
“Does it matter?”
“Well, if he’s all homicidal, I’m thinking YEAH.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.