Written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
Directed by Bill L. Norton
Fred is screaming in the hotel! With excitement. She got published in a scientific journal. Gunn is trying valiantly to be excited for her, but mostly the complexity of her article just makes him feel stupid. Fred makes up for that by enthusiastically making out with him until he can no longer keep reading.
Angel is tending to Lorne, who’s still recovering from what W&H did to him. Lorne correctly guesses that Angel is only being so solicitous because he is working up to asking Lorne to read Cordy again. Which Lorne super doesn’t want to do. Angel can hear something else in the hotel, so he goes to check. He finds Connor grabbing some of Cordy’s stuff in her room. Connor is pretty snappish and unpleasant, and...possessive about Cordy. From what Connor says, Angel now knows that he and Cordy are sharing a bed. *bangs head against wall* Can we not have a father/son love triangle? Ewwwwwwww.
The next day, Angel comes downstairs to find Gunn sitting in the lobby, exhausted and irritable after a long night of dealing with Fred’s physics geekiness. Fred comes out of the office to announce gleefully that she gets to present her article at the Physics Institute. She wants to practice her speech on them. Making an important discovery in the field of physics has been her dream since she was a kid. When Angel is acting particularly surly, Lorne fills Fred and Gunn in on the whole Connor/Cordy situation.
Wesley is reading Fred’s article in his apartment when Lilah shows up with a pretty gift for him. He suspects more skullduggery from her, but she insists it’s just a gift. He opens it. It’s a helmet of the medieval knight variety, so he can be protected the next time they “butt heads.” That’s...way more adorable than I would have thought Lilah capable of being. Okay, I think there are definitely mutual feelings going on here. She’d like to spend the afternoon with him, but he wants to go see Fred’s presentation. She finds the article he was just reading, and she is definitely jealous.
Cordy is taping up pictures of everyone on the wall in Connor’s place. She notices the conspicuous lack of pictures of Angel in the stack Connor brought. Connor notices her cleavage. Ugggggggh. Even though Cordy has her stuff now, she still feels like something’s missing. Connor thinks what’s missing is battle. He offers to train her in demon fighting.
Fred, Gunn, and Angel arrive at the physics conference. Fred is startled to learn that she’s going to be speaking in between two big names in physics. She’s feeling panicky. Until she spots one of her old professors! He’ll be introducing her. She introduces Gunn and Angel. This professor is apparently the one who convinced her to switch her major from history to physics. Gunn has a foot in mouth moment, which, combined with Fred’s super complex conversation with her professor, leaves him feeling like a moron. Fred and the professor arrange to meet the next day to discuss her theories.
Angel spots Wesley taking a seat in the auditorium. Gunn joins Angel, who reveals he has no more clue what Fred’s physics stuff means than he does, which helps a little. Gunn and Wes are both very proud of Fred. Angel notices Lilah walking into the auditorium. Fred starts her presentation. She’s nervous, but she pulls it off. Lilah watches Wes watching Fred, and she’s definitely jealous. She makes a call and walks out, which Angel notices.
As Fred continues to talk, a portal opens above her. Crab-clawed tentacles emerge from it and grab Fred while the auditorium erupts into chaos. Angel and Gunn attack the monster. A kid with no survival instincts takes tons of pictures of it. Wes runs up to help, but Angel and Gunn manage to wound it badly enough that it retreats back into its dimension, and the portal closes. Fred is extremely shaken.
Lilah is driving out of the parking garage when the roof of her convertible gets ripped off. Angel would like a word. She doesn’t know anything about the portal, but she’s not sad about anything unpleasant happening to Fred. Angel warns her she’s still going to pay for what she did to Lorne. She drives off.
That night, Gunn rolls over in bed and finds that Fred isn’t next to him. She’s writing on the walls. Like when she was fresh out of Pylea. The portal incident triggered a whole bunch of PTSD issues for her. Gunn tries to calm her down. She’s really anxious about meeting her professor now that she’s freaking out. They go back to sleep.
The next morning, Gunn comes downstairs to find Angel setting up a ton of chairs in the lobby. He’s recreating the auditorium scene by setting up all these chairs. It seems Angel has photographic memory, at least, when he focuses. Which actually makes much more sense than just automatically remembering every detail all the time. As soon as he saw Lilah, he started paying careful attention to everything happening, just in case. Nice! He thinks the kid with the camera was the most suspicious one in the room, since Lilah was only there to stalk Wesley.
Gunn and Angel go confront camera guy in a comics shop. After an awesome Daredevil reference, the kid reveals he was only at the conference because he wanted to know if one of the missing students really came back. So Fred wasn’t the only one who disappeared, then. Dang, it’s too bad the A.I. team’s initial investigation of Fred’s disappearance got interrupted by the arrival of Landok, because they probably would’ve learned about these other disappearances a year and a half earlier than this.
Fred is describing her misadventures in Pylea to her professor. He’s a bit boggled to have the idea of other dimensions proven true so resoundingly, but he’s taking it fairly well. He re-introduces her to his TA, who’s been in that job for at least seven years now, because Fred remembers her. She clearly knows she’s in a dead-end position because she’s not brilliant enough to make it past that, and she seems a touch bitter about it. Okay, suspect #2.
Professor Seidel shows Fred the test booklet from the last test she took before she vanished. She got an A-. She’s indignant. He informs her that he graded her more rigorously than other students because she had so much more potential. He wants to be her teacher again. She doesn’t think she could really get back into academia, and she really cares about her work with the A.I. team. He’s prepared to convince her to change her mind.
Angel and Gunn are still at the comic shop. Camera guy informs Angel that there are whole forums about him online, so it’s pretty awesome that he’s actually real. Hahaha. There have been five science students who disappeared in the last decade. Fred was #4.
The TA pulls Seidel out of the office for a minute while Fred writes down her contact info. Before he comes back, she notices an odd book on his shelf. The contents do not match the bogus science dust jacket, however. It’s a book on interdimensional portals. Including a sketch of the exact portal that opened above Fred’s head the previous day. She hastily puts the book back on the shelf before the professor can catch her snooping.
Angel and Gunn are back at the hotel, researching the missing students. They were all Seidel’s students. Just when they learn that, Fred comes back with the same knowledge. She knows Seidel is the one who sent her to Pylea, and she is pissed. But like, in that scary calm way. This does not bode well. Angel and Gunn are all for putting this guy away, but Fred is more thinking she’ll kill him.
Fred’s ranting and picking out weapons. Angel and Gunn try to talk her down. She won’t be able to live with herself if she does this. She grudgingly hands over the axe, then says she just wants to get some rest. Yeah, she’s totally sneaking out. Angel and Gunn vote they deal with Seidel before Fred has a chance to.
They’d better hurry, because she’s at Wesley’s apartment, getting his help. She’s furious that Angel and Gunn are trying to shut her down and keep her in her good little girl box. She’s very flattered that Wes not only read but somewhat understood her article and came to her presentation. They have a definite moment. Wes agrees with Angel and Gunn, but he won’t stop her. Her argument is that Seidel is a serial killer. He’s okay with that. They continue to have moments. Fred gets a text full of weird symbols, and then a portal opens in the apartment! Wes saves her from getting sucked in, and they tumble over the couch.
Elsewhere, Cordy and Connor are tumbling in a similar fashion while fighting a vampire. She’s the one who stakes it. She hugs him, delighted with her success, and then...kisses him. He enthusiastically kisses her back, and then she breaks off, looking awkward. Uggggggh.
Angel and Gunn have finally realized that Fred did not merely go upstairs for a nap. They head out to find Fred.
Fred is in Wesley’s car, loading a crossbow. She appreciates his help. He’s surprised Gunn isn’t the one helping her. She isn’t. Gunn’s a good man. She wouldn’t have it any other way. He drops her off, knowing she won’t let him come along.
Angel reaches Seidel first. He tries to open a portal to deal with Angel. A spiky demon emerges from it, and Angel has to fight it. Seidel only makes it to the door of his office before being met with the butt of Fred’s crossbow.
Cordy is occupying herself with chores around the loft when Connor comes up behind her and wraps his arms around her. She’s not comfortable with this. She sits him down and explains that the kiss was a fluke brought on by the thrill of battle. She still doesn’t have her memories, and she has an eight-months-old picture of him as a baby. She needs time to think. He’s irrationally jealous, thinking this means she picks Angel. He punches the wall when she leaves.
Angel kills the demon...or not. It gets back up and keeps fighting. In the lab one room over, Fred still has a crossbow trained on Seidel. He’s trying to talk her down, but her expression is just as murderous as ever. Angel beheads the demon this time, but the body is still moving. Good grief. It gets up and sprouts a new head. Angel is super annoyed.
Fred knows why Seidel sent her and the other four students to hell, but not the TA. He got rid of everyone who was smarter than him so he wouldn’t be threatened. She opens a portal. She won’t kill him, technically. She’ll just send him somewhere he’ll definitely die. Gunn arrives right when Seidel is clinging to a lab table, trying not to get sucked in. She’s furious that Gunn is still trying to stop her. Seidel will never stop doing this to people. Gunn pulls Seidel out of the pull of the portal, then snaps his neck and dumps him in!
Angel joins them a few seconds later. Gunn and Fred are still frozen in the Seidel-free room. They all go back to the hotel, and apparently they did not tell Angel the truth about what just happened. He thinks Seidel got sucked into a portal he created. Fred and Gunn head upstairs, very quiet. Angel watches them go, sensing something’s wrong. But then Cordelia walks in, effectively distracting him. She wants to talk.
They go out to the courtyard. He’s kinda banged up from that demon, which he had to kill nine times. She’s mostly forgiven him for lying to her to protect her. She knows she’s still the girl she used to be—a girl who didn’t need protecting. She wants to know if they were more than friends. Hold that thought, ‘cause we won’t get the answer until next time.
I kind of love “Supersymmetry”—well, excluding all the vomit-inducing Connor/Cordy stuff. I mean, it’s all very tangly and soap opera-esque, but it’s like Fred got a miniature version of Angel’s S2 arc, and Gunn got swept up in it. Also, Wesley/Lilah continues to get more and more complicated thanks to Wesley’s continuing feelings for Fred. And I really love Angel’s memory trick. As long as the writers don’t forget that’s a thing he can do. Because it really is a valuable ability for a detective to have. As far as I can remember, Angel having photographic memory (when he concentrates) doesn’t retroactively ruin the logic of any of the earlier episodes. But yeah, the Connor/Cordy stuff is super gross, and it makes both characters less likeable (particularly unfortunate in Connor’s case, since I already didn’t like him very much). With all the emphasis on vengeance and vengeance demons on Buffy in S7, it makes me wonder what would’ve happened if D’Hoffryn had shown up to try recruiting Fred. After all, he does have two vacancies now that Halfrek is dead and Anya is out.
I love Angel in this one. He’s funny without being a dork, particularly when fighting the demon that just won’t die. He’s attractively menacing with Lilah, which sort of hearkens back to mid-S2. And he’s an awesome detective with the memory trick. I do feel like he should’ve insisted on checking to see if the other four physics grads were still alive, though. I mean, they’re all geniuses of a similar caliber to Fred, so maybe they managed to survive too. That would’ve been a much better avenue down which to direct Fred’s energies than preparing a cold platter of revenge.
*smacks Cordelia upside the head* What are you thinking, woman?! Amnesia or not, you know you’re 21 and this kid is only 17, possibly 18, uneducated and seriously screwed up by his childhood in hell. You know you were the closest thing he had to a mother as a baby. Even if you don’t remember being his pseudo-mom, that’s still super sketchy. But again, I can’t really complain about Cordelia’s behavior because I know any weirdness from her, particularly weirdness that leans in a Cordy/Connor direction, is part of Jasmine’s plan.
Gunn has found a horrifying new way of taking overprotectiveness too far. Killing a dude so that your girlfriend won’t have to live with herself for killing said dude? That makes no sense at all. Save the guy’s life, make sure he spends it in prison, check to see if his other victims survived, and let Fred be mad at you until she realizes murder wasn’t the best option after all. If you kill the guy yourself, that only makes her feel more guilty. Bah. And this is all getting loaded on top of Gunn’s growing feelings of intellectual inadequacy.
It’s actually not surprising that Fred would react so murderously to learning the truth about how she ended up in Pylea. She nearly put a crossbow bolt through a dude’s neck the first time she left the hotel in S3, and four episodes ago, she tased the crap out of Connor after pretending everything was still fine. Fred is scary. I mean, that cold fury is just chilling to watch from a character who is usually very sweet and empathetic. But it’s also kind of awesome. On a slightly unrelated note, she definitely has feelings for Wesley. That definitely won’t go well.
I’m liking Connor less and less every episode. Why does he have to have a crush on Cordy? Couldn’t he have found another homeless girl like Sunny in the time since Angel kicked him out? Why does he have to like the woman he knows perfectly well his own father is interested in? And I’m not sure there’s a way for Connor to have a crush on his pseudo-mom without it being creepy, but why does he have to be so creepy?
Wesley might be unwillingly developing feelings for Lilah, but whether he or Lilah’s feelings are stronger, Wesley definitely still loves Fred and is only with Lilah because Fred isn’t available. Wes and Fred are clearly compatible on an intellectual level, but it’s seriously not cool of him to enable her vengeance tripping. She could’ve just gone straight for Seidel. She didn’t need Wesley’s help, not really. Which means that if he’d tried to talk her out of it, he probably could’ve had more success than Angel and Gunn. But he decided to help her instead. This is going to make it much harder for him to rejoin the team. Gunn and Angel will not appreciate what he did, and Fred will probably just associate him with her own guilt.
“Think Daredevil #181. I’m Bullseye, you’re Elektra. One wins, one dies. Get what I’m saying?”
“Yeah, but we’re kinda crushing the Dark Horses.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.