Written by David Fury
Directed by Marita Grabiak
It’s time to repair the earthquake and fire damage to Angel’s room. Groo tries to give Angel advice on his color scheme choice, but I must disagree. Sunburst Splendor is not a hue more worthy of a champion. Who paints a bedroom orange?
Let the man paint the room how he wants. Angel can’t believe Groo can pronounce “pomegranate” and not “purple,” but apparently Groo’s mom’s name was Pomegranate. Ahahahaha I love this show so much. Angel is kinda grumpy about everyone wanting to make his room different than it was. He sees a snow globe he bought for Connor and gets sad. He’d really like a case to take his mind off things, because remodeling isn’t doing the trick. He goes downstairs to intercept any walk-ins (and to get away from the rest of the team).
Sure enough, there’s a civilian downstairs and he wants some help. A creepy translucent slug creature slithers up to him and jumps down his throat. That’s horrifying. Angel arrives downstairs too late to see that, and the guy leaves, now speaking ominously in the first person plural. Also, the pentagram on the lobby floor is still super noticeable even though Lorne tried to scrub it off. Why’d they have to paint it directly on the lobby floor in the first place? Couldn’t Angel have bought a tarp and painted that?
Cordy comes downstairs and Angel tells her about the weird client. She would like to talk to him about the stuff he did trying to get Connor back. She thinks there will be repercussions. Really? Aside from the fact that Sahjhan became corporeal? That seems like a bad enough repercussion on its own. Does it also need to have side-effects? Eventually, she manages to annoy him so much that he goes on a rant about all of it, which he does not appreciate. She’s upset he didn’t pull her off her vacation so she could help. He really wants something else to focus on.
That guy who left with the translucent slug in him is now at some smoothie shop. He’s been there all day, continuously drinking smoothies. If he’s (sorry, if they’re) so thirsty, why not just turn on a hose and drink straight out of it nonstop?
At W&H, Gavin is in Lilah’s office to congratulate her for the progress she’s made with Angel. She considers Angel nearly murdering Wesley to be super old news, though, so he can get lost. Still, Lilah is pretty proud of herself for how things are going with Angel.
Fred and Gunn are watching Angel working behind the desk that has been Wesley’s for a year now. Fred’s wistful, and she wants Angel to start working towards forgiving Wes. Gunn is very certain that’s never going to happen. Later, they’re all making another attempt at getting the pentagram off the lobby floor, with little success. Likely because none of the methods Cordy listed include using a product that’s actually designed to remove paint.
Groo leaves for a minute to dump out a mop bucket, and Fred takes the opportunity to speak to Cordy, but Cordy is too distracted thinking about how perfect Groo is. Fred wants Cordy to talk to Angel about Wes, but Cordy refuses. She feels like she has to only care about Angel, and not about Wes even a little bit. Groo of course walks back in at precisely the worst moment in that exchange, and now he thinks Cordy loves Angel instead of him. Uggggggh I hate these kinds of romcom shenanigans.
Cordy has a vision of Angel flying across the lobby, and then Lorne comes in to tell them about the crazy guy at the smoothie place. They all go to there and find him still guzzling smoothies. (Seriously dude, this is not the most efficient method of ingesting fluids.) Angel knocks him out, delighted to have a case to work on, and they all go back to the hotel. The guy’s skin is cracking from how severely dehydrated he somehow still is. Cordy wants to talk about her vision about Angel right now. Angel does not. Mr. Dehydrated stands up and points accusingly at Angel, claiming that this is all his fault. Then he collapses and turns to powder.
The freaky slug slithers out of the guy’s clothes and out of sight. They all notice that the guy’s powdery body is lying right on that pentagram, which apparently supports the theory that this is Angel’s fault. Next scene, everyone’s gearing up and dividing up floors of the hotel to search for the slug thing. Angel orders Fred to start researching. She protests that she’s not the one for that job (because Wesley is), but Angel tells her to start under “thaumogenesis,” which, as we all remember, is the word for byproducts of powerful magic.
Angel and Lorne check the ground floor. Angel doesn’t want a lecture about the spell he did. He would do it exactly the same way again if he thought it could bring Connor back, so everyone can just shut up and let him try to fix the problem now. They find the slug in a bathroom, drinking out of a toilet tank. It skitters away, Lorne smashes the only light in the room by accident, and Angel throws a dagger through it, pinning it to the floor. Except...not really. It slides right off and slithers out of sight. But hey, at least they know it glows in the dark now.
Fred is deeply not enjoying doing the research. This is not remotely her field of expertise. I actually kind of like that she’s not just an all-purpose genius like basically every other TV smart person. She may be playing it up a little bit because she wants Wesley to come back. While Gunn is trying to reassure her, he misses seeing two more slug things fall out of some rift in the air above the lobby. Whoops.
Lilah opens a safe deposit box in her office. It contains a tarantula. She lets it walk over the number pad of her keyboard, which gives her the password to some confidential file about thaumogenesis. She doesn’t appreciate having to do all this crap to access this information, but Gavin somehow still managed to find out about it. He tries to intrigue her on the weirdness going on in the Hyperion. Or maybe he just wants to watch her squirm. Because she helped Angel do the spell that theoretically brought these slugs to Earth, which means if the slugs kill Angel, the Senior Partners will blame her. Once she realizes that, Gavin smiles and leaves her to deal with it without his help.
Cordy and Groo are checking one of the floors in the hotel for the slug, and Groo mentions what he overheard (and misunderstood). She does a terrible job of explaining that he heard that wrong. Then there’s a slug behind her, and Groo does that really annoying movies/TV thing where instead of telling the other person there’s something behind them, he just gets all menacing. Ugh. Cordy spins around to try hitting it with her own weapon, and it gets away.
They all regroup in the lobby, having realized there are multiple slugs. Angel wants to take advantage of the glow-in-the-dark thing, which means they’ll be doing the next round of searching in the dark. Fun! Angel casually kills a rat on the way to the fusebox. Fred continues researching alone in the office with a single lantern. But there’s a slug in the office! She perhaps can sense it, but that doesn’t do her much good, because it jumps down her throat.
The rest of the team is in the south wing, which they apparently never use. Angel kicks down a chained-shut door so that they can investigate. Gunn goes back to check on Fred and finds her super thirsty and speaking in the first person plural. Before he notices she’s got a slug, he’s talking about how they should go on a Cordy/Groo style vacation. Fred breaks that snow globe to drink the water out of it, which is what tips Gunn off that she’s not okay.
The chained up room seems to be a ballroom. Which is awesome. Lorne should totally use it as his new Caritas. Gunn brings Fred in. Fred struggles to maintain her identity with it controlling her. She doesn’t want them to take her to the hospital because the slug wants to attack more people. Gunn doesn’t care. He gets in Angel’s face for doing that spell, and things are about to get violently unpleasant between them when Groo discovers the source of the eerie noises filling the ballroom. They chop up the floorboards and find thousands of the slugs underneath. They flee with the slugs in pursuit, and barricade themselves inside the enormous kitchen.
Fred is in bad shape. Angel has them turn all the stoves on to dry out the air so the slugs won’t want in. Gunn is missing!
Lilah is about to take drastic action (a shaman exterminator, a cleanup crew, and a SWAT team) to deal with the slug problem before it can get back to Linwood. However, Gavin has already told him. Gavin wonders if Linwood will still want Angel alive after that whole torture thing. In general, it seems like Lilah is in big trouble, and Gavin could not be any smugger about it.
Gunn is missing from the Hyperion’s kitchen because he’s at Wesley’s apartment to get his help to save Fred. Also, Wes is much scruffier now than we’ve ever seen him. I...kinda like it.
The rest of the team is still holed up in the kitchen, with all the stoves still burning. Angel rips a water bottle away from Fred. He wants answers from the slug in her. Her skin is starting to crack. It’s not being super cooperative, but they can gather that the slugs are fleeing from something that brings pain and torment. Something called “the destroyer.” Which is coming after Angel. (Wait, so if they’re fleeing from it and it’s coming after Angel, why did they run to Angel’s headquarters?)
Gunn is explaining the problem to Wesley, who seems unsympathetic. Gunn wants to know how to get a slug out of someone infected. I’m not sure why he waits so long to tell Wes the reason he needs this help is because Fred is the victim. Wes pulls a bottle of vodka (or something) out of his cabinet, tosses it to Gunn, and tells him to never bother him again. He fought to survive getting his throat cut so he could see his friends again and explain, but they wouldn’t let him, so he’s done with them. Aww, no.
It looks like Fred has maybe a couple of minutes before she ends up like that guy she cleaned up with a dust-buster. Angel changes his mind about not letting Fred go to the hospital. He turns on all the sinks so the water will draw in the slugs while they get Fred out. Angel stays behind, and so does Cordelia (which Groo takes as further evidence that she cares more about Angel than him). Gunn intercepts Groo, Fred, and Lorne in the lobby and forces Fred to drink the vodka. She starts chugging, then shoves it away. Gunn forces her to keep drinking, and after a few more seconds, she coughs the slug up. It’s all green and sick now, and Groo stabs it.
(Fun, multi-fandom side-note: there’s an episode of Supernatural called “The Things They Carried,” where the monster-of-the-week is also a slug that drains moisture out of someone until they die. It’s actually frustrating to watch “The Things They Carried,” because it never occurs to any of the characters to try chasing the parasite out with vodka, like Gunn does with Fred, even though Dean Winchester is clearly a functional alcoholic.)
In the kitchen, Cordy gets a hold of one of the slugs. Then she starts glowing all over. The glow gets stronger and stronger. She’s very scared. The light gets so bright it shines out of the entire hotel, not just the one room. Then all the slugs are gone. She and Angel go back to the lobby. Fred is fine too. Gunn thinks Angel’s going to be pissed at him, so he does this half-apology, half-defensive rant. Also, they still have to deal with the Destroyer, which is arriving...now.
A huge, nasty demon comes out of the rift in the lobby. Destroyer, I presume? Wait no, next a teenage boy in clothes made out of some kind of skins pops out and kills it like it’s nothing. Then he points a wrist-mounted stake-launcher at Angel and says “Hi dad.” Ohhhh crap.
“The Price” is one of the episodes I remember most vividly from way back when I first discovered the show as a teenager, so I’ve always been very fond of it in a nostalgic sort of way. But some of that has worn off now. The main message of the episode is just so incredibly heavy-handed, without even making sense. Oh, anything bad happening in the hotel must be consequences from the spell Angel did. Seriously? So far, the only two cases of thaumogenesis we’ve seen were 1) the freaky monster Jonathan accidentally created as a byproduct of his spell to make himself the best of everything and 2) the freaky phantom thing the Scoobies accidentally created as a byproduct of their extremely scary spell to bring Buffy back to life. It makes sense for spells like that to result in thaumogenesis, because those spells were about using dark magic to get something good. It does not make sense for the spell Angel did to result in thaumogenesis, because all that spell did was recorporealize Sahjhan. Sure, that was dark magic, but the end result was already bad! Why would anyone think it needs an evil byproduct? If they really wanted to do an episode about why it’s bad to try to solve your problems with dark magic, and they really wanted to use the Sahjhan recorporealizing spell to hinge that plot on, then they shouldn’t have trapped Sahjhan in that urn thing in the same episode he came back. Maybe they could’ve temporarily imprisoned him (because he’s so hard to kill), and then in this episode, he could’ve escaped and wreaked serious havoc. Alternatively, Angel could’ve tried to open a super scary portal in “Double or Nothing” instead of moping around, and the slugs could’ve been the consequence of that. Like, he thought he failed at creating an interdimensional pathway to Quor’Toth, but he actually did just enough for Connor to be able to punch his way through. The whole “actions have consequences” message gets severely undermined when it turns out that the slugs aren’t thaumogenesis at all, and there weren’t any consequences to Angel’s spell except the one he intended in the first place, which was to recorporalize Sahjhan. Ugh. And the extremely clichéd wedge-driving with Cordy and Gunn is super annoying. All that being said, I do think the extremely thirsty slug parasites are excellent freaky antagonists, the W&H stuff is great as usual, and I like the stuff with Fred, Gunn, and Wes, even if Wesley’s situation is really depressing.
Angel isn’t very repentant of the dark magic he did, and I don’t think the writers wanted me to side with him about that, but that’s what I’m doing. Since the whole thaumogenesis theory is nonsense and actually turns out to be false. And since apparently everyone was wrong when they said there was no way to get from Earth to Quor’Toth (or vice versa). If “Double or Nothing” had been about Angel slowly losing hope that there’s anything he can do to get Connor back, then I think it would’ve made a lot of things about “The Price” work better, including Angel’s “please find me a distraction from missing Connor” attitude. At least he can interact with Cordelia without seeming like he’s suffering from extremely annoying unrequited love, though.
Cordelia now has deus ex machina powers, so that’s fun. (I’m still seeing nothing to disprove my theory that Jasmine’s already in her head, tweaking her personality here and there as it suits her purposes.) As much as I enjoy the adorkableness of Cordy/Groo, I’m starting to feel like Cordy doesn’t deserve him. She just spent the better part of a month on vacation with him, and she still hasn’t learned how to explain things to him so he doesn’t get the wrong idea? Xander has been in a very similar relationship with Anya, and he pulled it off remarkably well for two and a half years. How does Cordy manage to be so insensitive while dedicating her life to helping other people? And seriously, she doesn’t care about Wes at all? There has to be a nicer way for her to tell Fred she picks Angel’s side over Wesley’s on this.
Great, now Wesley doesn’t want anyone from the team coming to see him. This rift isn’t going to repair itself anytime soon, is it? *pouts* I do kind of like that he doesn’t try to use saving Fred’s life as leverage to regain some level of status in the team. He could’ve gone in person and dramatically poured the vodka down her throat while Gunn watched, unable to help. Instead, he allowed Gunn to be the means of saving Fred.
Gunn’s friendship with Wesley is officially dead, it seems. When Wesley told Gunn never to come see him again, Gunn didn’t say anything about how the team found him as soon as they could, and he and Fred had no idea Angel would attack him like that, and he wishes things hadn’t gone down like that. He doesn’t try to patch things up at all, he just gets what he needs to save Fred and leaves.
As much as I like that the show is differentiating between different types of genius (science vs. demonology and languages), didn’t Wesley handle all the science-y stuff before Fred showed up? They never failed to solve a case in the first two seasons because they didn’t have a physicist on the team yet. Is this show just shaving qualities off old characters and pasting them onto new characters so that everyone can have a clear role without infringing on anyone else’s territory? But as to Fred herself, it seems weird that she’s so fretful about the split between Angel and Wesley, when she’s the one who warned Wesley never to come back and apparently hasn’t visited him since. How about instead of trying to get other people to talk to Angel for you, you actually voice your concerns to him yourself? You’re close friends! You should be able to figure out a way to talk to him about this! (What? I just want everyone to get along, okay? Leave me alone.)
“Angel. You and I have fought side-by-side on more than one occasion. Fellow warriors, shoulder-to-shoulder. By now my counsel must assuredly hold weight, so I beseech you to heed my words. Pomegranate Mist is the wrong color for this room.”
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The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.