“There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb”
Written by David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
Cordy is sobbing over Lorne’s severed head. She thinks this is all her fault. She officially wants to go home. Lorne would also like to go home. Yes, his severed head is talking. Cordelia freaks out and falls over.
When we come back from the intro credits, Cordelia is letting out one long, shrill, unbroken scream. Lorne patiently waits for her to get it out of her system, but her lung capacity outlasts that patience. Holy crap, girl can scream. He explains that demons from the Deathwok clan can survive beheading as long as their bodies remain intact. A couple of slaves come in, worried because the princess was screaming. She explains that she does that to unwind. They try to remove Lorne’s head from the room, but she says she wants it there so she can defile it more. They leave. The next step for Cordelia is to find the mutilation chamber so they can reunite Lorne’s head with his body.
The priest guys are pleased to hear that Cordelia is so upset about Lorne. They send some soldiers to kill Angel, and they have to explain that humans (and vampires) have their hearts in their chests, not their butts. Also the priest isn’t pleased with the slave for giving information to the rebels, so he blows up his head using his slave collar. There’s also a device that can do that to every single slave with a collar at once.
Wes and Gunn have their heads locked in a pair of stocks, and they’re about to be beheaded. Before the axe can fall, a bunch of imperial guards ride up to attack the camp. Wes and gun stand up, the stocks still on their necks. They seem to make effective blunt weapons.
In Fred’s cave, Angel wakes up, having slept off the trauma of turning into his Pylean monster form. Fred comes back. She found berries that will go great with her makeshift oatmeal. She dishes him up some. She’s sure he’ll get better soon, but he’s not convinced. Also she really loves tacos.
Cordelia calls in a maidservant. She has to do a bit of work to convince her not to be so uptight and subservient. The servant doesn’t want to take Cordelia to the mutilation chamber, so Cordelia’s next idea is to swap clothes with her so it won’t look like the princess is in such an unclean place.
Angel is standing in the sunlight in Fred’s cave. He doesn’t think the advantages of Pylea are enough to make him want to stay. He notices that the writing on her walls resembles the consonant-heavy words they used to open portals. Fred spouts some science-y babble. Just another moment of her brilliance shining through the crazy. Either way, Angel has no idea what she’s talking about. She tried over and over to make a portal, and she’s convinced that it’s impossible to make one starting in Pylea. Angel isn’t so sure, because the Drokken and Landok both showed up in L.A. (Uh, yeah, Landok arrived because Cordy said the portal spell. But you could be right about the Drokken!)
Suddenly, they’re attacked by those soldiers from the castle. Angel fights them and has to suppress the urge to vamp out. Fred bashes the soldier trying to stab him in the heart over the head. He’s in bad shape.
Gunn and Wes have helped the Merry Men fight off their attackers, and this has proven more than anything they could have said that they’re not working for the priests. They’re released from the stocks and allowed to leave. They head off, hoping to find Angel. But then Gunn realizes they could use the Merry Men’s help. Gunn sees them as rather similar to his own crew back in L.A. He doesn’t want to just abandon them to the mercy of the priests and their own reckless planning.
Angel wakes up. Fred’s been tending his wounds. She’s impressed at how he didn’t change, but the reason he fought so hard was that he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to turn back. One of the soldiers is still alive. Angel interrogates him about Cordelia. After she mates with the Groosalugg, they’ll execute her. He also tells him they killed Lorne. Fred doesn’t want Angel to go risk his life again. She wants him to stay with her, where she’s relatively safe. The soldier jumps up and attacks. He gets Fred on the shoulder, but she’s going to be fine. Angel kills him.
Cordelia is wearing the maid’s clothes and she’s in the mutilation chamber, waving Lorne’s head around to see if he recognizes any of the body parts in there. One of the mutilated bodies is wearing Lorne’s bright red suit, but it’s not his body. Groo comes in. He’s ashamed for betraying his vows—he swapped Lorne’s body with another one so that he’d be safe, because he’s Cordy’s friend. Aww. Cordy explains that that wasn’t a terrible thing to do—it was a wonderful thing! She hugs him (knocking Lorne against a pillar in the process). They need to go meet Landok to find the rest of Lorne.
Wes and Gunn rejoin the Merry Men. Wes explains that they can’t just storm the castle gates; they have to use guerilla tactics. They decide to make Wesley their leader. Wesley’s a bit bemused.
Angel has bandaged Fred up. He needs to go help the others now. He’s gone for about five seconds before he pops back in to ask for her help finding the castle. Hahaha.
Cordelia tries to convince Groo that he has every right to fight against the priests. He doesn’t have to just do what he’s told. But he feels that he doesn’t deserve to “lift her burden.” And what he means by that is that if they sleep together (like the priests want), he’ll absorb her foresight, like how Doyle passed them to her in the first place with a kiss. She’s super annoyed. She can’t give up her visions, as much as she likes Groo and doesn’t like the splitting headaches that come with the visions. And speaking of those, she has one now. It’s a vision of vamped-out Angel killing Groo. Too bad Cordelia doesn’t know what vamped-out Angel looks like here.
Wes feels that challenging the Groosalugg to a fight will be a good way to create a diversion so they can attack the castle. Gunn thinks Wesley’s plan involves spreading the men too thin. The key will be to get to the head priest before he uses the device to kill all the slaves. Angel and Fred show up. The Merry Men are annoyed someone got past their guards. Wesley tries to hand authority over to Angel, but Angel doesn’t think he can even help, let alone lead, because of the way his demon is here. Wes and Gunn aren’t angry at him. Fred starts with her science babble again. Wes and Gunn are a bit bemused.
Landok arrives with Lorne’s head in a basket. Angel, Fred, Gunn, and Wes all look inside and react (briefly) to Lorne’s apparent death. Lone then expresses his irritation with their failure to overflow with grief, and this happens:
It’s night now, and it’s almost time to storm the castles. Wesley is well aware that a lot of the men will die in this attack. Gunn doesn’t like it, but Wesley feels it’s necessary, and he doesn’t seem willing to argue about it. Wesley assigns Angel to be the one to challenge the Groosalugg. Angel doesn’t want to, because he still thinks he can’t come back from his demon form. Wesley pep-talks him into agreeing, but apparently he doesn’t really believe it. Dang, that’s cold, Wes. Gunn certainly thinks so. Fred goes with Angel.
Cordelia tries to make Groo promise not to fight a green demon. The priests come in and are super impatient for them to mate. But Angel’s down in the village, challenging Groo to mortal combat. Angel also adds that Groo is a coward, for flavor. Groo has no choice but to go. The priests won’t let him stay with Cordelia. Also, they tell Groo that his opponent will rape and murder Cordy if he doesn’t kill him. Wow, the priests suck.
It’s a good diversion. A lot of the guards run over to watch the fight. Wesley gets the Merry Men in position. They start their assault. Some of the men die, but others make it over the wall (including Gunn) and Wes and another dude work on battering open a side door.
Groo arrives at the village square to fight Angel. Fred wishes Angel luck. Hey Groo, Angel, maybe talk to each other about how you’re both fans of Cordelia? Groo opens with a pretty brutal attack. Angel definitely won’t be able to beat him in human form.
The priests know rebels are in the castle. Wes and Gunn fight their way through some guards inside. Cordy tries to get the priests to help her save Groo, but the head priest punches her and shows her his insta-genocide device, which he’s about to use.
Angel’s fight with Groo is going terribly. He vamps out. All the horses nearby rear and scream in terror. In the castle, the rebels arrive just when Silas is about to use the genocide device. He makes the mistake of taking a moment to sneer at Wesley, which gives Cordy time to come up behind him and behead him. Wes updates Cordy on the fact that the beast fighting Groo is actually Angel.
Angel has the upper hand in the fight now, and he’s about to shred Groo when he manages to change back. He doesn’t want to fight anymore. They’re not animals. Groo punches him. Cordelia arrives and yells for them to stop. Angel doesn’t appreciate Groo attacking again. Cordy gets in between them, saying that she loves him. By “him,” she means Groo. They hug. Angel’s a little miffed. Cordelia announces that the head priest is dead, so everyone has to answer to her. Angel is being a dork again.
It’s morning. Lorne is back together. Angel encourages him to have a meaningful farewell with his mother. She’s crying because she thought he was gone forever. Yes, but now he came back and made everything worse! Now all the slaves are free, because of his friends! Lorne and Angel leave. Lorne realizes that his psychic friend was right; he needed to come to Pylea one last time to understand exactly how much it isn’t his home. He belts out “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” causing nearby demons to drop, clutching their ears.
Cordelia is dictating proclamations to a surviving priest, who is keen to do anything that will allow him to keep his head. She outlaws slavery and religious intolerance. Fred and Wes have found out how to make a portal to get home. The priest objects to them using the sacred books to make their portal, then remembers he’s trying to keep his head, and tells them to just keep the books. Cordy puts Groo in charge of Pylea. She warns him that the reconstruction phase of his rule will be kind of sucky, but he can do it. She has Gunn explain that a little more. Nice. Groo and Cordy are going to miss each other, but she has to go home. They kiss. Well, I’m glad the visions don’t pass as easily as they did from Doyle to Cordy, because they would’ve been in a right fix there. Cordelia leaves, receiving a royal farewell from all her subjects. Aww.
Back at Caritas, the Plymouth, with Angel, Cordy, Wes, Gunn, Fred, and Lorne all squeezed in, comes bursting through the stage and crashes into the bar. How the crap are they going to get it outside?
Everyone but Lorne goes back to the hotel. Cordy assures Fred that tacos are still a thing, so they can totally go get some soon. Angel wants to be the one to say “There’s no place like home!” Except that Willow is waiting in the lobby. She has some bad news about Buffy. As soon as Angel sees her, he seems to realize what she’s there to say.
And so, with “There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb,” the wacky Pylea arc concludes! Also, in case we forgot that its purpose was to help everyone on the team figure out where they belong, Lorne gives us a reminder two minutes from the end. Did it succeed? I’ll go into detail about the four credits characters in their character analysis sections, but it also applies to Fred, Lorne, and Groo. Fred has been trapped in a world that treats her like a worthless slave for five years, and we can see in her the long-term effects of being thrown into a hostile environment. She survived, but she didn’t achieve much else, and her environment, the inescapability of it, drove her mad. Lorne learns from an unwanted trip home that home isn’t actually home. His deal was the opposite of Fred’s. He was born into a world that despised him and managed by pure chance to escape it. Now, he can be confident that L.A. is where he truly belongs. His being there isn’t an accident anymore, it’s a choice. Groo is a fairly minor character compared to the others, but I think he fits into the belonging theme too. He grew up in a similar fix as Lorne, but accidentally managed to get to the top of the pecking order through sheer valor. Cordelia is the first person he meets who appreciates his good qualities rather than being disgusted that a part-human could be such a great warrior. He’s finally given a chance to shine. As I’ve said before, I love the Pylea arc. Before, though, I always saw it as being rather separate from the rest of season two. However, I think I get how it fits now. It’s an extreme exaggeration of the main arc of the season, and then it brings everything to a close.
Angel has been struggling with how to fit in with humans while being a vampire. His solution for a while was to just not associate with humans at all, and his attempts to reintegrate into the team have been painfully awkward ever since. In Pylea, the differences between him and humans are exaggerated much more, but he still finds acceptance from Fred and his team, and it’s their acceptance that gives him the strength to master his demon. It just drove the lesson home that he needs people in order to retain his humanity.
Cordy has been suffering more and more under the weight of her visions, but in Pylea, she’s given a whole kingdom to rule. If she can handle that and leave a democracy behind her, then whatever she has to deal with for the visions is worth it. Although I do wonder if the Powers gave her the vision of Fred so that she would meet Groo and have an opportunity to get rid of them before they could get so bad that they would actually endanger her life.
Wesley was thrust into the leadership role of A.I. with pretty much no warning or preparation, and in Pylea, he has to do that again with the human rebels. We haven’t seen him do a whole lot as the leader of A.I., but if his leadership on Pylea is foreshadowing, then it’s kind of ominous. Wesley leads with brutal pragmatism. Again, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the man who argued against saving Willow in “Choices” because it would ensure a lower final body count than if they did save her. He’s willing to let quite a few men die in order to achieve the final objective, but it’s not just random rebel strangers he’ll sacrifice; he’s also willing to do the same to Angel.
Gunn has been torn between A.I. and his crew all season, and in Pylea, he realizes that it doesn’t have to be a choice. The A.I. team wouldn’t have succeeded without the help of the rebels. Maybe he can do that with his crew in L.A. too. Also, I think this episode is the beginning of the end of Gunn and Wesley’s friendship, which makes me sad. Gunn definitely isn’t okay with Wesley’s leadership style. His own crew in L.A. is like family to him, and the way Wesley treats Angel and the rebels (who Gunn sees as a parallel to his crew) like cannon fodder definitely strikes a bad note with him. It’ll be interesting to see if Gunn goes back to being more friendly with Angel than Wesley next season.
“I’ve been trying to make an enchilada out of tree bark.”
“Bark enchiladas? How’s that going.”
“There’s work to be done.”
“No! No cutting! What is it with you people and mutilation?”
“We don’t have a lot of entertainment, ma’am.”
“You try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everybody killed."
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.