Written by David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
Groo returns to the hotel with two glasses of...something that looks very unappetizing. He brings them over to Cordelia. This is mock-na, a supposedly soothing brew that is essentially muddy plant water. She tries it and it is of course revolting. Then he offers to give her a massage, but since he’s Groo and there’s a huge cultural barrier still, she thinks he’s offering sex. Also Angel’s back now, and Groo continues to misunderstand Cordelia’s focus on him. Angel tells him a bit about what happened with Holtz, and she hugs him, delighted that Connor will be coming home.
Connor is cradling Holtz’s dead body, and Justine is cementing the lie that Angel killed him. She offers to help Connor kill Angel, but Connor has something else planned.
Angel is looking for a good room in the hotel that can be Connor’s room. Angel and Cordy are both struggling to refer to Connor as Steven. Angel is thinking about all the dad stuff he’ll be doing for Connor. He’s excited, but somewhat clueless and anxious. Cordy is confident he has nothing to worry about, because he has a good heart. Connor will see that. Lorne pops by to announce that he’s leaving for a potentially permanent gig in Vegas. Connor’s attitude is part of that.
Justine drives Connor out to a patch of woods I swear they’ve already used in the show before. Connor says that Holtz would always tell him about the ranch in Utah as a bedtime story, and this story noticeably excludes Justine. Connor doesn’t want to bury Holtz. Since he believes Angel killed him, he thinks there’s a chance he’ll become a vampire, so he’s going to cut his head off and burn him. Justine is clearly uncomfortable with this because of her guilt. Then they have a funeral pyre.
Wes is at a bar, several beers and shots into his evening. Lilah joins him. She claims to care about him—or, at least, that his considerable abilities are going to waste. She wants to know what Connor (and his strength) means. What’s Wes going to do if Connor turns out to be a villain? When she goads Wes about getting his throat slit, he grabs her by hers.
Gunn and Fred get back to the hotel, where Groo is lying on a lobby sofa. He explains what Angel and Cordy are doing. Awkwardly. Angel and Cordy come downstairs, talking about which one of them is going to explain to Connor where babies come from and give him dating advice. Angel votes Cordy, because his track record sucks. Also, they say something about Connor being 16, but how exactly would they know that? Angel reveals he overheard Cordy and Groo’s conversation earlier, so she threatens to do...something? From an outside perspective (or a jealous boyfriend perspective), it looks like a very flirty conversation.
Fred and Gunn update Angel on the Connor situation. And now Connor’s here! Connor pretends he couldn’t find Holtz, and Angel, not knowing Holtz is dead, inadvertently comes across as a cold-blooded, lying murderer when he says Holtz planned on leaving. He gives Connor Holtz’s letter. Everyone stands there silently while he reads it. Angel invites Connor to give living at the hotel a try, and Connor agrees—but with a sinister edge.
The next day, Connor sits in a sunbeam in his new room, rereading the letter. Angel brings in a bookcase full of books he liked growing up. Wait, really? How many of those would still be in print? Also, SHOW THE BOOKS. I want to see the titles! Angel offers to take Connor to an action movie that evening. Connor wants to learn more about how Angel fights. The way he phrases it gets Angel on board immediately.
Down in the lobby, Angel, with the help of Fred and Gunn posing as vampires and civilians, shows Connor some stuff. The main lesson is the importance of keeping his balance and maintaining a good stance. Angel invites Cordy to come with him and Connor to the movie, but she can’t because she’ll be spending the evening with Groo. She does not seem thrilled. Angel and the others resume sparring.
Cordy gets home with groceries. Groo is standing there, expression somber. He’s come to the conclusion that Cordy loves Angel so he needs to get out of the way. Meanwhile at the hotel, Lorne pops into Angel’s room while he’s getting ready for the movies. He came to say goodbye and to tell Angel that Cordelia loves him. The two conversations are cut together. Lorne and Groo try to convince Angel and Cordy that they’re in love with each other. They react with confusion and uncertainty, particularly Cordy. Groo and Lorne both leave.
Angel, Connor, Fred, and Gunn are watching some action movie at a drive-in theater. Gunn goes to get Fred a popcorn refill. Connor is somewhat bewildered (but fascinated) by all the explosions and stuff in the movie. And then an actual helicopter flies up from behind the screen. It’s W&H. A bunch of ninja-like dudes drop out of it and start fighting Angel. From a van somewhere, an angry Linwood watches the fight on a screen, with Gavin. They want to get Connor so they can dissect him. They fight off everyone and the pilot of the chopper decides to cut his losses.
Angel finds the van where Linwood and Gavin are sitting, and he yanks Linwood out of it before they can drive away. To everyone’s surprise, Connor grabs Linwood once Angel lets him go, and he threatens him on Angel’s behalf, then informs him that his name is Connor, not Steven. Angel’s thrilled about this.
Cordelia, alone at her apartment now, is still super confused about the idea that she’s in love with Angel. But then she has a vision of herself, saying she’s in love with Angel and that everything’s going to be okay. She believes that a lot more than she believed Groo.
The others get back to the hotel. Angel’s so happy he’s whistling. The phone rings. It’s Cordy. She wants to meet up with him to talk. About how they feel. They make plans to meet at a nice secluded spot on the beach in an hour. Angel is actually smiling...and humming. Fred pokes him with a stake, reminding him that he can’t get too happy.
Wes and Lilah have been having sex. Now Wes wants Lilah to leave. He’s very blunt about it. She tries to sneer at him about how little this means to her, but he seems to have the greater share of cold apathy. She leaves a bit miffed.
Angel goes to the spot where he’s supposed to meet Cordy and looks out over the beach. There’s a bit of a cliff. He checks his breath. Cordy is stuck in traffic, and we see her car for the first time. It’s a yellow jeep. She checks her breath too. Angel checks his watch. And his hair. He starts calling someone, but drops his phone. It bounces down the cliff.
As Cordy is driving and fretting about how this will go, she starts glowing. She pulls over, and everything stops. All the cars on the highway are paused. The guy in the next car over just tossed a cigarette out his window, and it’s frozen in midair. It’s like time stopped for everyone but her.
Or not, because we cut back to Angel. Connor comes walking up. He’s here to share his feelings with Angel about the fact that Angel’s his dad. He tackles him over the cliff, and they roll all the way to the beach below. Connor is using what Angel taught him against him.
Cordy gets out of her Jeep and investigates all the paused people. And here’s Skip! He’s here to offer her an upgrade. She’s apparently outgrown this plane of existence, so she’s getting promoted to Higher Being status. She proved herself by using all the power she was given for good. The catch is that she’s going to have to actually go to a different plane of existence now. She’s indignant about the timing.
Angel and Connor are still fighting. Angel tries to get Connor to stop long enough to explain why he’s doing this. Connor tases him, and they fight in the surf. Angel still wants answers, but Connor just gives him a dagger in the side and more taser hits. Then he flashes a signal to Justine, who’s out on a boat. She starts bringing it in.
Cordy wants to go have her talk with Angel, but the final test is that she has to give this up. Also, this conversation she’s having with Skip is what she saw in her vision. Does that mean her feelings for Angel are like the pocketwatch in Somewhere in Time? The old lady gives Christopher Reeve a pocketwatch in the present. He travels to the past and gives her the pocket watch as a young woman. Then she grows old and gives him the pocket watch. Where the hell did it come from? It’s a re-gifting paradox, and it hurts my head. Cordelia didn’t believe she was in love with Angel until she saw the vision of her future self talking about being in love with Angel. Would she have come to that conclusion without the vision?
Connor and Justine are bolting Angel into a steel box, with steel ropes pinning him to the inside. Connor finally says he’s doing this because Angel killed Holtz. Angel tries to deny it, but Justine is there to counter anything he says. Connor worked so hard to protect Angel at the drive-in theater because he wanted to have the chance to bury him (alive) at sea.
Cordy is still pissed about being put in this position, but she’s going to accept. She gets beamed up slowly in a pillar of sparkly golden light.
Angel is telling Connor he doesn’t blame him for doing this, because Connor has clearly been tricked. He tells Connor he loves him right up until Connor puts the lid on the box. Then Justine welds it shut. Angel can see through a little window. Connor and Justine shove the box into the ocean, and it slowly sinks. I suppose Angel’s one piece of good fortune in this is that it sank with his feet pointed down. But boy does this suck.
Fred and Gunn are alone at the hotel. Cordy and Angel aren’t answering their phones. Connor’s gone. Lorne’s gone. Groo’s gone. It’s just them, and they have no way of knowing what happened to Angel or Cordy.
Cordy finishes beaming up at the same time that Angel’s sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Chilling contrast.
“Tomorrow” is a very powerful season finale, even though it doesn’t have a big battle against a Big Bad and a lot of the romance drama annoys the crap out of me. In one episode, the entire group fractures into pieces. Groo leaves, Lorne leaves, Wesley is very much still alienated, Cordelia gets beamed up, Angel gets dropped down, and Connor is a horrible little turncoat, leaving only Fred and Gunn. What particularly makes this episode so good is Connor and Angel. Connor’s ability to pretend he’s happy to be Angel’s son and wants to be like him while he secretly plots a horrifying revenge is almost sociopathic. Angel wants him and Connor to be father and son so badly, and he’s so excited about all of this. It’s devastating to watch, but also fascinating. All the Cordy/Angel stuff continues to feel very forced and unconvincing, much more tell than show, but it plays right into my theories about Jasmine already yanking Cordy’s strings. The Powers that Be have always sent Cordelia visions of people in trouble, and those visions are meant for Angel most of the time. Why would they not give Cordelia a vision of what Connor is planning to do to Angel? That makes no sense. But if Jasmine is in control now, then she would want to orchestrate a scenario in which Cordelia believes she’s in love but has to abandon that love for the sake of a higher calling. Once she gets beamed up, she’s more fully in Jasmine’s clutches. It’s so very sinister. And then there’s the Wes/Lilah stuff, which is fascinating in a depressing way. Also, one thing that’s really funny is that The Vampire Diaries totally did the same ending in S5, with Stefan getting dropped to the bottom of a body of water in a steel box and spending the entire summer there. Angel definitely does it better. In TVD, it’s only a twist ending, done out of spite by the newly unmasked villain. In Angel, they spend the whole episode building up to it, so it has much greater emotional impact.
Angel has had a miserable roller coaster of a season. Grieving Buffy, finding out she’s alive, having a son, developing confusing feelings for his friend, watching her start a happy relationship with someone else, losing his son AND his other best friend in one stroke, inexplicably getting his son back and possibly getting a chance to be with Cordelia after all, then getting dropped to the bottom of the ocean by his son and never getting to have that conversation with Cordelia. Dang. Lots of highs and lows, but this episode definitely had one of the higher highs and lowest lows put directly back-to-back. It seems like something always stops Angel from being happy for more than a few minutes at a time.
I don’t even know how to deal with Cordelia’s characterization in this one, except by applying my Jasmine theory. She still feels completely different from the person she’s supposed to be. And the idea that she could transcend Earth life in a mere three years of working alongside Angel is completely ridiculous. But it’s actually canon that Cordelia becoming a higher power was part of Jasmine’s plan, so maybe it’s supposed to be ridiculous. Maybe if Wesley was still in the group and Cordy had had a chance to talk to someone besides Skip before she beamed up, she would’ve been reminded of the fact that she isn’t the only one who’s been given power and used it well, so isn’t it kind of strange that nobody else is getting beamed up to Higher Power land? Buffy, for instance? Who has been selflessly fighting evil in a much more active way than Cordelia for twice as long?
Wes is certainly hitting bottom. He actually seems a lot like Buffy for most of S6. Depressed, cynical, and isolated from the people he loves after a close brush with death, and now using an enemy for sex. Hopefully that will go better for him than it did for her.
Gunn is a lot of fun in this one. Being annoyed and exhausted after several hours of pretending to be a vampire for Angel and Connor’s sparring is hilarious, and then the way he loves Fred’s ability to put ludicrous amounts of food away is adorable. He and Fred really are the most stable part of this group, so it kind of works that they’re the only ones left at the end.
Fred poking Angel with the stake and reminding him about not getting too happy is actually one of the only times this season that anyone’s mentioned the loophole in Angel’s curse. It might even be the only time that’s been mentioned since the Angel/Cordy stuff first started. Which is ridiculous, but points to Fred. It’s also really fun to watch her in the sparring stuff with Angel and Connor, wanting to play a vampire and getting really into it. So cute.
“Don’t be thinking about me when I’m gone.”
“I wasn’t thinking about you when you were here.”
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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.