Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Skip Schoolnik
Angel, having just witnessed Connor and Cordelia having sex, kicks his way back into the building on whose roof he was standing, and we hear lots of angry smashing noises. And then we immediately go to the intro theme! That was fast.
Fred is listening to the radio coverage of the aftermath of the rain of fire. The phone rings. She reassures a woman on the other end that her husband is probably fine if he’s only an hour late. Lorne, Gunn, and Wes arrive, and Fred runs into Gunn’s arms. Maybe they can put aside their differences after all. They haven’t seen Angel yet. Gunn is pretty snippy with Wes. Lorne fills Fred in on the encounter with the Beast. Fred votes to wait for Angel. But he’s here! He wants to sleep. Fred wants to know about Connor and Cordy. Angel says they’re fine and keeps going upstairs.
The next day, Cordy wakes up first. She rolls over, a horrified look on her face. Then Connor wakes up and spoons her. She’s not entirely happy the world didn’t end, because now she has to tell him they’re never sleeping together again. Before she can finish explaining, he gets all huffy and starts leaving. He thinks everything she said was just empty promises to get him in bed or something. Which...yeah.
Wes is back at his apartment. Lilah comes to see him. She’s deeply relieved to find him alive, and she hugs him. She left him tons of messages. Aww. But just when she’s feeling particularly warm and fuzzy feelings for him, he’s decided their thing needs to end. It goes down very similarly to when Buffy broke things off with Spike. Wes has decided he’s going to be on Team Angel. Lilah starts lashing out because she’s hurt, and she even gets desperate enough to offer to dress up like Fred again.
Fred and Gunn are looking for info on the Beast and have nothing whatsoever, which Fred finds baffling. Cordelia shows up. She wants to see Angel. (Yeah, that’s a bad idea.) He’s in the office. It seems she wants to just keep her and Connor’s one-night stand a secret forever; she’s actually here to talk about how the Beast rose from the ground right where Connor was born. Angel is surlier than he’s ever been with her, but he is still interested in that information. She doesn’t believe Connor is evil, but she wants Angel to deal with Connor believing Connor’s evil.
Lilah is at W&H again, making threats to people about finding the Beast immediately. Gavin seems to be her personal assistant now. Hahahaha. Lilah doesn’t think the Beast has a specific plan, which is going to make it hard for her to cut a deal with it, which is what the Senior Partners want. Gavin goes to leave, then backs right back into her office. Here’s Connor! He wants answers about what he is. Lilah sneakily hits a panic button while talking to him very pleasantly. In come some guards to subdue him, but he knocks them out easily. She’ll do what he wants now. Only problem is, the Beast is at W&H.
Gavin tries communicating with the front desk via the unconscious guard’s walkie talkie. Everyone down there is screaming and dying, which means Connor’s right about the Beast. Downstairs, the Beast is tossing lawyers around like ninepins. It kills everyone, and the camera pans around it holding the severed head of the last victim.
People on the other floors are scrambling to flee the building. Except Connor, who’s heading straight for it. Lilah leaves him to it, because that’s insane. The beast intercepts the people fleeing through the stairwell, and was that the Wilhelm Scream? That was totally the Wilhelm Scream! Yesss.
The Beast finds Gavin scrambling around in a supply closet and grabs him by the neck. It breaks his neck and tosses him down. Bye, Gavin. Elsewhere, Connor is on the prowl. He hears gunshots, which are coming from Lilah shooting the Beast. It pokes a finger into her stomach when she offers to give it resources. Then Connor attacks it. His sword shatters on impact with the Beast’s skin. It throws him aside, through a pillar. Ow. The rest of it collapses on him. Bigger ow. Lilah, in the meantime, is trying to escape. The Beast is following her. She gets back to her office and Wes is there. He helps her. She’s kinda delirious, but she tells him the building is on lockdown. The beast breaks the door down. Wes picks her up and carries her out another way. He throws a grenade at the Beast. They keep moving. There’s one way out, through that supply closet where Gavin was fumbling around. She finds it, and they get through the door before the Beast gets closer.
They tumble down into the sewer beneath the building. Lilah is not doing well. Wes votes that she goes into hiding outside of L.A. He thinks the Beast is probably going to try eradicating everyone from W&H, so she can’t stay here. She has a crisis of conscience and tells Wes Connor is still in the building. Aww, Lilah! She’s just a tiny bit a good person now.
At the hotel, Gunn is tapping his pencil on a book, which is driving Fred nuts. None of them have found anything about the Beast still. Angel makes a subtle jab about why Cordy is tired. Gunn points out that maybe Connor’s and the Beast’s origins really are connected, but not in a bad way. That alley is behind Caritas, which is a confirmed dimensional hotspot. The Beast probably just emerged there because it was the easiest place to punch through to Earth. Wes arrives. Fred wishes Gunn would try getting along with him, but he’s not interested.
Wes tells them about the Beast slaughtering everyone at W&H, and about Connor being there. Angel wants to break in and get him out. At W&H, Connor walks down a hallway. Gavin is in the foreground. Once Connor walks past him, his eyes snap open. Uh oh.
Angel is gearing up to break into W&H while Wes shows Fred the info he’s gathered on W&H. She’s impressed that he managed to spy on them so effectively. Cordy tries to reassure Angel about Connor, but it only makes him angrier at her. He makes her stay at the hotel with Lorne, both because he’s pissed at her and because it’s dangerous. Fred can come, though. Cordy watches Angel go, not happy.
Wes leads the team back to where he and Lilah got out. Gunn keeps trying to pick a fight with him, which neither Angel nor Fred appreciate. Angel tells them to stow it until they finish the job. Gunn doesn’t understand how they’re getting back up a 30-yard chute, but Angel explains by jumping straight up there and Spider-manning his way to the top, then dropping a rope back down for them. Heh.
They step out into a corpse-filled hallway. Fred is particularly shaken by the grisly sight. They need to make it to the third floor to get Connor, and then they’ll leave. One of the bodies they walk past opens its eyes too. Gunn doesn’t get why the Beast killed a bunch of people who are also evil. Well, obviously, it’s because W&H is Lawful Evil, while the Beast is Chaotic Evil. They were cramping its style.
Wes notices that Gavin’s body is suspiciously not where he and Lilah saw it, but Angel has found the pile of rubble where Connor was trapped. He already got out and went somewhere else. Angel can smell that Connor was here, but I guess he can’t track him by scent, because they all split up to look for him. The camera continues to emphasize the bodies on the floor. Something moves behind Angel. He can’t see anything, so he keeps going. Then Connor jumps out. He’s surprised Angel knew where to find him, but he doesn’t want to leave until he kills the Beast. Angel thinks that’s a terrible idea. Also, Zombie Gavin attacks them. Angel tries to explain what a zombie is to Connor, but Connor keeps being sassy about it.
Wes, Fred, and Gunn run into more zombies on their floor. They barricade themselves inside an office. Gunn got bit, but Wes is pretty sure this kind of zombie infection isn’t transmitted by bite. Just in case, though, Gunn asks him to shoot him if he does turn into a zombie. Wes agrees gravely and asks for the same courtesy from Gunn, which Gunn is unpleasantly eager to provide. Knock it off, dude! You and Fred are doing better than you were, so why do you have to be all in Wesley’s face?
The zombies break in, but the three of them make it into a different room. Gunn stays behind and entrusts Fred’s safety to Wes. Angel tells Connor how to kill zombies. They both have super strength, so they’ll probably at least last longer than the others. Angel might even make it out, because I doubt the zombies want to eat dead flesh.
Fred wants to go back for Gunn, but not only does Wes disagree; zombies have broken into the room they’re in. He suspects the W&H zombies might be a security measure set up by the firm. Freaky. Gunn breaks through the door, and Angel and Connor come in the other way. Okay, everyone’s together, Connor’s fine; let’s flee. Both exits (the lobby and the secret tunnel) are a few hundred zombies away, but Angel thinks they could get out through the White Room. They’re cool with that.
They fight their way to the nearest elevator, which Angel pries open. Luckily, the car is on that floor. They all get inside, and Fred starts working on the circuitry to get it running. Why? That floor is magic. The elevator didn’t go up to get there, it just whited out. They all get in, and Angel punches the code in from S3 (photographic memory). It doesn’t work at first, and the zombies are closing in. Gunn cuts off Gavin’s head because he feels sorry for the guy. Then they all end up in the White room. Where the beast is sucking some kind of black energy out of the creepy little girl up there. She sees them and says “the answer is among you.” The beast finishes its job and stalks towards them. They raise their weapons and stand in wedge formation, but the girl does a spell, which beams them back to the hotel.
Lorne decides he’s had quite enough to drink when he sees them all standing there. Angel is briefly pleased with this development, until he sees Cordy. Then he puts down his sword and goes into the office. Cordy hugs Connor, which makes Angel’s mood even worse. Fred, Gunn, and Wes tell Lorne what happened. They’re not optimistic about the Beast.
Cordy goes to the office to talk to Angel. He doesn’t want to talk. She’s happy everyone’s safe and sound. He wants her and her new boyfriend to leave, and he walks out of the office to let her stew in the knowledge that he knows about her and Connor.
“Habeas Corpses,” besides having an amusing pun of a title and continuing with the Connor/Cordelia and the Cordelia character assassination, is a pretty good episode. The best thing about it is probably Wes and Lilah, closely followed by the threat posed by the Beast. (Not the Beast itself; though. As a character, it’s incredibly dull. It might as well be a bomb, for all the personality it has.) W&H has been the main threat for the entire show, but it wiped them all out in a single day, apparently just because they stood between it and whatever it wanted from the creepy White Room girl. If you didn’t know what was coming at the end of the season and in S5, then that seems like a completely insane move by the writers. You’re dumping the series-long Big Bad Organization for a lava monster? But knowing what I know, it just succeeds in making both the Beast and W&H more sinister. The Beast because it can wipe them all out, and W&H because it’s powerful enough to rebuild and rehire so well it’s like the massacre never happened.
I enjoy surly Angel, especially when it’s for reasons that jeopardize a ship I hate. This was great. He’s clearly trying to sit on his anger and hurt feelings long enough to give Cordelia a chance to tell him what happened herself. She steadily fails to do so, pretending she has the moral high ground and acting completely normal, which makes him angrier each time he sees her, because she’s gradually breaking his trust as well as his heart by not fessing up. But as angry as he gets at Cordelia and (to a lesser extent) Connor, he still does everything he can to keep Cordelia safe and to get Connor away from danger.
Cordelia’s attitude continues to be infuriating if you don’t know Jasmine’s running the show. She acts like she can still be Angel’s chief advisor, particularly when it comes to parenting, even though she just slept with Connor. And the way she acts with Connor when she wakes up really does seem like none of what she said to him before they slept together actually matters to her. Maybe if Cordelia as a character still felt like the 21-year-old she actually is, Connor/Cordy wouldn’t be quite as gross, but she continues to act more like she’s in her 30s. Also, I can’t believe it didn’t occur to her that Angel would’ve found out what she did. Even if he hadn’t witnessed it personally, unless Cordelia took a few very thorough showers between waking up and going to the hotel, she still would’ve smelled like Connor. Did she forget the time Angel dryly proved how good of a sense of smell he has by taking a whiff and announcing that Wes had slept with a bleach blonde the previous night?
Quit being a jerk to Wesley, Gunn! Wes hasn’t been making any plays for Fred at all, and you and Fred are actually doing slightly better than last time, so exactly what rage is this that you feel like you have to take out on him? Even though I could already tell that friendship was over several episodes ago, it still hurt to hear Gunn actually say it. He’s going to push Fred away with his unforgiving attitude towards someone she cares about if he doesn’t knock it off, even if they can get past the murder of Professor Seidel.
Fred seems like she was ready to bury the hatchet with Gunn, except that he’s not ready to bury the hatchet with Wes. This apocalyptic stuff is bringing out the best in her and Wes, but it isn’t really doing the same for Gunn. I’m really tired of how the Wes/Fred/Gunn trio rarely interacts with the Angel/Cordy/Connor trio. They just have their own separate bubbles of drama. I want more friend moments between Angel and Fred, Angel and Wes, Angel and Gunn, Fred and Cordy, and Wes and Cordy.
I’ve decided not to pin any of the Connor/Cordy stuff on Connor himself. Unlike her, he wasn’t raised to understand what’s creepy and what’s not, so how was he supposed to know it’s generally frowned upon to have feelings for one’s mother figure? Without any context at all, they’re just a 21-year-old and an 18-year-old who aren’t biologically related. Technically that’s not particularly unusual, and that’s how it is in Connor’s head. Cordy’s the one who should know better. But what interests me about Connor is his determination to discover the truth about himself, even if he won’t like what he hears, and his unwillingness to let the Beast rampage around, particularly if he’s somehow connected to it. And him ribbing Angel about being undead was pretty funny, but you know he’s doing it out of spite, not ‘cause he’s a lovable prankster.
I definitely stand by what I said before: Wesley/Lilah is incredibly similar to Buffy/Spike. In fact, I think it might be what Buffy/Spike shippers think Buffy/Spike is. Spike, when he was soulless, was incapable of moral development, so anything he did that made him seem less evil wasn’t genuine. Lilah, on the other hand, is human, and Wes, whether or not he was trying to, has succeeded in rekindling a spark of goodness inside her. The old Lilah wouldn’t have told the guy who just dumped her that his former friend’s son is trapped in the building, but post-character development Lilah does. I’d actually be interested in finding out how much more Wesley’s influence could impact Lilah. Also, I like that Wes doesn’t rise to any of Gunn’s many insults and taunts. He knows the rift between them is largely his own fault, but he’s no longer interested in making it worse, particularly not when Plot A is so pressing.
“The sky should not be made of fire.”
“What’s a zombie?”
“It’s an undead thing.”
“No! Zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.”
“No! It’s different, trust me.”
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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.