“Over the Rainbow”
Written by Mere Smith
Directed by Fred Keller
We pick up on Cordelia still alone in the forest of Lorne’s home dimension. She yells for her friends until it occurs to her she might be attracting monsters with her screaming. She tries clicking her heels together. But this isn’t Oz and she’s not dreaming, so that doesn’t work. On the bright side, it’s sort of a pretty forest. However, there’s a monster that resembles the hellhounds from “The Prom.” It snarls at her and then starts chasing her.
Lorne is totally panicking about Cordy being in his home world. Unfortunately for him, his species can’t get drunk. Angel grabs the portal-creating book and tries reading the portal spell again. Wesley thinks they need to do research first so that they can be sure they’ll be able to come back, but Angel doesn’t want to delay the rescue attempt. However, the spell doesn’t work. Also it’s really hilarious listening to people read these spells. Angel sits down in defeat. But wait a second, didn’t Landok appear through a portal at the library? Why not try again there? Lorne reveals that it’s a bad thing to be a human in his home world. Uh oh.
Cordelia is still running from the hellhound thing. It finally tackles her, but all it does is lick her face. It’s basically a dog. A demon with droopy pinkish skin calls it and praises it for bringing him a cow. Cordy doesn’t appreciate that, but the demon doesn’t much care what Cordy appreciates. He lassos her and gags her, and now he plans on selling her at the market.
The guys are at the hotel now, and Lorne very much does not want to talk about Pylea, his home dimension. He’s just very grateful that a portal randomly showed up and brought him to Earth, which he likes much better. He didn’t bother asking questions. The portal dumped him in the building where he would start Caritas. One thing Lorne hated about Pylea was that they don’t have music at all. He could hear it, but nobody else could. He’s sure Cordelia’s not enjoying herself.
Wesley figures out that Angel failed to open a portal because that particular hotspot has been drained of its interdimensional energy by the number of portals already opened there. They just need another hotspot, and then they can create a portal. Ooh, good, they do address the library portal. Wes assumes it’s been drained too. (Don’t assume! Go try it!) The other problem is that people going through a portal together don’t necessarily end up in the same place on the other end of the portal, which is why Landok and Cordy didn’t arrive in Pylea together. They have to find a way not to get separated by the portal.
Gunn shows up. He doesn’t want to go with them to Pylea because he can’t risk a one-way trip. He needs to take care of his crew. He wishes them good luck and leaves. Nobody tries to stop him; they’re not happy about it, but they understand. Lorne also doesn’t want to go with them, but he has an idea for how to find a hotspot.
Cordelia gets carried into a medieval-looking market square. She’s hanging from a pole by her wrists and ankles. The demon who caught her barters with a female of his species. She buys Cordy, and the other demon puts a metal collar on her before untying her from the pole. She pulls her gag off once she’s free and very angrily explains that she’s an American with rights. The demon woman’s response is to shock her into obedience with the collar, and they leave to continue the demon woman’s errands. Fred, the missing librarian from Cordy’s vision in the previous episode, is watching from nearby. She’s still alive!
Gunn is sitting in his idling truck. He seems to be struggling with a decision. Which crew does he choose? Cut to a call center for...psychics? Lorne comes in and receives a warm greeting from one of the workers, a girl named Aggie who seems really awesome. I already like her after like ten seconds. Can she be a recurring character? Apparently she’s an actual psychic (not sure about the rest of the psychic hotline employees). She advises Lorne that he can’t just send his friends to Pylea without him. The mission to rescue Cordelia will fail without him, and she’s only going to help find a hotspot if he agrees to go.
There are discarded books scattered all over the hotel lobby. Wesley is still trying to find a way to solve the portal-separation problem—in a way that won’t mutate them into a set of freakish conjoined twins. Just when Angel’s getting particularly frustrated over how long this is taking, some W&H lawyers show up. One is Gavin Park, played by Daniel Dae Kim. His strategy against Angel is to create problems with his ownership of the hotel. They start strolling around to investigate the hotel, but Angel vamps out and they leave. It isn’t over, though. Angel is super annoyed.
Cordelia is not having fun. She’s shoveling demon horse crap in a barn. Fred is lurking on the other side of the wall, and she warns Cordy not to try taking her collar off. It’ll make her head explode. Fred seems to be slightly crazy. And Texan! Cordy asks how she can get out of there; Fred has no ideas about that. Cordy is sure her friends will be rescuing her soon. When Cordy says she came in through a portal, Fred suddenly gets very interested. Unfortunately, a bunch of demons, both of the saggy-skinned kind and Lorne’s species, grab Fred. She’s a fugitive, and she figured out how to disable her shock collar.
Angel is leaving someone a message on the phone, in case the trip does end up being one-way. Lorne joins him after he finishes, and that’s just about when Wesley finally figures out the solution. It’s portal time!
Cordy is with her owner at the market again. She’s struggling to carry all of the purchases. Then she gets slammed with a vision of a Drokken attacking a villager in the forest. When she comes out of it, everyone is standing around her acting like she’s a freak. Also, they think she’s cursed! They start pointing pitchforks at her. Uh oh.
The hotspot is on a street next to a film studio. The way they don’t separate on the other side of the portal is by being surrounded by metal on four sides. So they basically just need to go through in a car. Wesley’s 96% certain. Angel and Lorne are a bit uneasy about that. Gunn joins them! The message was for him, and it helped him make up his mind. Lorne very much doesn’t want to go, but they don’t let him bail out.
Wesley reads the spell. Everyone takes a deep breath, and then there’s a fun shot of all four of them buckling their seatbelts. They drive through the portal, which closes behind them. The book lands, steaming on the asphalt. So much for being able to create a return portal.
It’s daylight in Pylea. Angel panics because he assumes he’ll be catching on fire soon, but he doesn’t! He’s safe from sunlight here, which is extra cool because there are two suns. They revel in their successful trip to Pylea, and Angel frolics about in the sunlight for a bit while gathering branches to hide the car.
Cordelia gets dumped on the ground in some kind of dungeon. She’s surrounded by whispering demon villagers. The guy who arrested Fred arrives to announce that what Cordelia saw in her vision came true. There are some freaky red-skinned priests who want to test Cordelia to find out if she is “cursed with the sight.” These tests will essentially involve torture. Cordelia promises she’ll never mention the visions again, but that doesn’t stop the demons.
The guys finish hiding the car, and Angel is still enjoying himself not being on fire. They have a panic moment about the portal spell book. Nobody has it because it’s still on Earth. Wesley realizes that the book only opens portals from Earth to other dimensions, so it wouldn’t have been useful in Pylea anyway. (I don’t suppose one of those dimensions is Glory’s. Could’ve been a really handy book for the Scoobies to have. Buffy could’ve been like “Hey Glory, instead of killing my baby sister to get back to your world, you could just read this string of consonants and open a harmless temporary portal to it! Win-win!”) They stop arguing and start walking.
Cordelia is lying limp on the dungeon ground. The priests agree that Cordelia is indeed cursed. They haul her to her feet and carry her off.
Lorne leads the guys to the house of an old friend of his, advising them to keep their heads down. Unfortunately, Lorne’s old friend is not happy to see him. He chases him out of his house with an axe and gathers a bunch of other demons to chase Lorne and the guys. They end up in the town square, completely surrounded by armed villagers and warriors. Wesley gives a brief but rousing battle speech and they start fighting, despite the odds. Just when Wesley is confident they can win this, we cut to all four of them tied up. Hahahaha.
I like how Angel is tied up much more securely than the other three. The constable demon is curious about Lorne mysteriously returning, and associating with cow-scum. He orders Lorne taken away for interrogation. Angel tries to protest and gets kicked in the stomach for it. Angel, Gunn, and Wes will be thrown in the dungeon until their ruler passes sentence on them. Gunn gets snarky, so the constable punches him.
The priests are talking about what to do about Cordy because of her curse. The guys, meanwhile, are in the dungeon. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to escape, because it’s one of those stone dungeons and they have shackles on their wrists and ankles. Angel assumes the stone is only six or seven inches thick, but I think that’s a rather optimistic guess. A couple of feet thick was my estimate.
Angel, thanks to his vamp hearing, can hear some guards talking about Cordelia. Whatever they did with those tests, Cordelia was screaming. They’re about to be taken to a castle for their sentencing. A guard enters to lead them out. They rejoin Lorne at the door to the throne room. He’s fine, but also in shackles. The constable arrives. He’s very keen to watch them executed. The guys plan to fight their way free as soon as they’re in the throne room. The constable introduces the ruler in a rather drawn-out way. The guys start attacking their captors. But that’s when Cordelia clears her throat. She’s the ruler, and her royal garb seems to be a silver variant on Princess Leia’s slave bikini, only, made out of sequins.
I like “Over the Rainbow.” I like the whole arc, actually. At the end of a pretty dark season, it’s rather refreshing (and very fun) to conclude with what is probably the silliest arc in the whole series. It’s not that it’s entirely light-hearted, but the culture of Pylea is definitely amusing in its strangeness. And, tonally, it makes a very big difference in a show that is normally set at night to suddenly spend the better part of three episodes in the daylight. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because we’re still only on the first of those three episodes. In the “Act I” of this arc, we were shown all the ways that the characters feel out of place in their current situation. Now, in “Over the Rainbow,” which is the first part of Act II—or maybe this is Act I and “Belonging” was just the prologue—, the characters are all thrown into an incredibly strange world that make their problems back home seem pretty mild. The obvious end result will be that when they do get home, they’ll have come to terms with the issues they had because they’ve seen how the good outweighs the bad, compared to life on Pylea.
I never really thought about why Angel would be so particularly determined to rescue Cordelia from Pylea immediately, but today it occurred to me that it’s probably because the entire scope of his experience with other dimensions is his own time in hell. So of course he’d want to get her out; for all he knows, she’s going through exactly the kind of torment he did when he was there, and what if time moves faster there and she’s been there for years already? There’s not a second to waste. And, of course, part of it is just how much he cares about Cordelia. They only just reconciled; he doesn’t want to lose her now.
Cordelia has not had a fun day. Well, I guess the last couple of hours were fun, but not so much before that. All the crap she had to put up with from that director and maybe even the headaches from her visions pale in comparison to being treated like a beast of burden and then tortured.
Wesley doesn’t so much seem to be the boss in this episode as a balance to Angel. Angel wants to charge right in and rescue Cordelia, but Wesley wants to take the time to research so that they can be sure they’ll make it to her in one piece. Things would probably run the smoothest if there wasn’t a designated leader of the group. They’re not a big enough team to need a boss, really.
There’s not a whole lot of focus on Gunn in this one, which is kind of a shame. He’s the only one besides Lorne with a big, difficult decision to make, but we don’t actually get to see his decision-making process. Just one shot of him sitting broodily in his truck, and then the next time we see him, he’s hopping into the back of Angel’s car to go dimension-hopping with them. Couldn’t there have been a scene of him having a discussion with Rondell about how he can be on call when they need help, but Rondell is the leader of the crew now? A pass-the-torch kind of scene?
“I’d rather have a hydrochloric acid facial. I’d rather invite a hive of wasps to nest in my throat. I’d rather sit through a junior high school production of Cats!”
“And we didn’t merge into a freakish four-man Siamese twin!”
“That was a risk?! How come nobody told me that was a risk?”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.