“Long Day’s Journey”
Written by Mere Smith
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Angel is sketching the Beast when Lorne brings him a glass of blood. Angel’s being barely responsive to Lorne’s attempts at conversation. Lorne forces the issue. He wants Angel to come downstairs and work with everyone else. Angel says he works better alone. Well that’s too bad because he’s the leader of the charge against the Beast, so he doesn’t get alone time right now. Lorne knows this is about Connor/Cordy. Which Angel super doesn’t want to talk about. Angel tries to kick Lorne out, but Lorne says an incredibly stupid line about how Cordelia might not be perfect happiness. This is the first time “perfect happiness” has been mentioned in at least an entire season, but for some reason it’s not in the context of a thing that’s forbidden to Angel. HAS EVERYONE GONE INSANE?! Ugh!
Oh hey electrokinesis Gwen! She’s walking around some heavy machinery, and seems nervous. Her client shows up. He’s an African man who’s wearing sunglasses at night. She has bad news for him. She can’t do a theft for him because she’s planning to flee California in light of the scary crap going on. The guy’s irises are white. Before he can finish talking to Gwen, the Beast appears and punches through his chest and tosses Gwen several yards away. He pulls some kind of metal box out of the African guy, and before Gwen can charge up her mojo, he vanishes.
Connor is sitting on the windowsill of the museum loft. Cordelia wakes up at the sound of sirens. There have been more and more of them. Things are going to crap. Cordy wants to make sure Connor isn’t blaming himself. He wants to go to the hotel to touch base on the Beast and everything else, but Cordy thinks that’s a bad idea. Cordy has been sleeping in a sleeping bag all night because she wants to take turns using the bed. He only wants to use it if she’s sleeping in it too. Great.
For some reason, Connor starts pointing out all the superhuman abilities and senses he has. It seems like he’s doing it half to show off and half because he’s still worried he’s some kind of demon. He thinks she’s keeping him at arm’s length and away from the hotel because they all think he’s connected to the beast. She explains it’s actually because Angel knows about them sleeping together. Connor doesn’t get it. He doesn’t think they did anything wrong. The point is that they hurt him. She has a vision of the Beast and suddenly she needs to see Angel.
Fred and Gunn are debating whether Connor is a threat. Gunn thinks yes, Fred thinks no. Gunn thinks the creepy girl in the White Room meant Connor when she said “the answer is among you.” Wes weighs in on Fred’s side. What with that girl being dead, it means the L.A. branch of W&H is cut off from the Senior Partners and won’t be a problem for at least a while. However, that’s not all Wes found out about the girl. She was also one of the five members of the Ra-Tet. Fred and Wes are clearly having a moment because of the momentum of the research, but Gunn’s still grumpy and wants to focus on the whole “the answer is among you” bit. In comes Lorne with news of the Beast’s latest kill. Some powerful white magic shaman lady. The Beast ripped her heart out. Fred realizes that this lady was Ma-at, another Ra-Tet. Fred and Wes continue their moment, which Wes is clearly enjoying and Gunn is super not.
In comes Cordelia. She awkwardly says hi to the gang then heads up to see Angel. Gunn thinks her odd behavior is another strike against Connor. Cordy knocks on Angel’s door. He tells her to go away, but she comes in anyway and has a seat. He doesn’t look at her, but he’s not reading his research book anymore. She tells him Connor’s scared he’s connected to the Beast, and that he needs to stop being angry. Angel interrupts. She really thinks she can tell him how to feel about this? She takes issue with that, and tells him to get over it. Wow. He’s angrily sarcastic. She tries to touch his face, but he catches her hand and won’t let it get any closer. She finally apologizes, but still tells him to get over it because there’s bigger stuff to worry about. He’s listening, about as grudgingly as he’s ever listened. She tells him about the vision. It’s even vaguer than most of her old visions were. Someone either in the past or present was chatting with the Beast, but she didn’t get audio or a visual of the Beast’s conversation partner. Angel isn’t impressed, but Cordy points out this means they’re still getting info from the Powers, which is something.
Angel gives a less than rousing call to arms speech. He wants to go on the offensive and fight smart. So, what’s the Beast’s weakness? Yeah, they don’t know yet. But here’s Gwen! Fred moves to stand in between her and Gunn, and Cordy irritably notices the sexy vibe between her and Angel. Gwen is intrigued by Cordy, who’s clearly the girl Angel was looking for when they last crossed paths. She starts talking about her client. Cordy doesn’t think that’s relevant, but Gwen gets to the part about her client getting killed by the Beast. She deliberately doesn’t mention that the Beast took a metal box out of the guy’s chest, but she does mention the light that came out of him. That means the Beast is definitely targeting the Ra-Tet. The plan is to find one of the two remaining members and protect them. Angel volunteers Gwen to be his travel buddy for this four-hour trip, which annoys Cordy, which was probably the point.
Angel and Gwen reach the cave of Ra-Tet #4, but they arrive too late. Its insides are strewn all over the floor of the cave. A dude in a Hawaiian shirt pops out. He knows why the Beast is targeting the Ra-Tet. He’s going to blot out the sun. Hawaiian shirt guy, who goes by Manny, is the last living member of the Ra-Tet, who left Belize once he heard the little girl was killed. Once the sun goes out, Los Angeles will be a free-for-all for nocturnal monsters. And before long, it’ll spread to the whole world. Manny would like to spend his last few hours in a strip club. Angel persuades him to let them protect him.
Angel, Gwen, and Manny arrive at the hotel. Manny immediately starts flirting ineptly with Fred. Everyone’s a bit baffled that this is a being of serious power. They discuss where to keep Manny safe. Gunn and Wes snap at each other a bit, until Gwen volunteers a good spot. Gunn and Cordy accompany Angel, Gwen, and Manny this time. Cordy is not pleased with the location, since it appears to be in a condemned building. But that’s just the deceptive exterior. Inside, it’s very swanky and well protected. Manny talks about how he’s the “neutral” totem of the Ra-Tet, so he’s basically like a regular human, except immortal. Angel suspects this place is what Gwen bought with the $33 million that Axis of Pythia thing was worth. Gwen has a vault/panic room behind a sliding bookcase. Nice. Manny goes in and the others figure out guard shifts.
Gwen has been telling Gunn her origin story while it’s their shift. She notices he’s not super attentive, so she wonders if that’s about Wes and Fred. She wonders when things changed between him and Gunn. Angel and Cordy come in to relieve them. This is going to be an awkward four hours. Cordy wants to talk. Angel doesn’t. He puts his feet up and drinks his glass of blood, not looking at her.
Some time later, Gunn and Gwen are shaking Angel and Cordy awake. Uh oh. They check inside the vault, which is spattered with blood and body parts. Whoops. Angel realizes that the Beast has been pulling things out of each totem. In Manny’s case, an orb out of his head. Gwen admits the Beast took a metal box out of the African guy. She didn’t tell already because she’s a thief. Cordy thinks it’s insane that the Beast managed to spike their drinks and get past them without them noticing. Gunn thinks maybe it was an inside job, considering “the answer is among you.” Angel doesn’t think it could be Connor. Cordy keeps snapping at Gwen. Angel has Gunn go report to Wes, Fred, and Lorne while he, Gwen, and Cordy check the security cameras. Which are totally blank. Cordy wants Angel to talk to Connor. Gwen finds out that the cameras went dark ten minutes before Angel and Cordy’s watch, which mans the culprit knew whose drinks to spike and when.
Cordy and Gwen are still arguing when they get back to the hotel. Lorne has found stuff about the blotting out the sun ritual. The Beast is basically going to use the stuff he pulled out of each Totem to build a cosmic light switch. Gwen notices that two of the pieces are made of metal, so she can melt them if she gets close enough. Wes and Fred have found a way to possibly get rid of the beast. Dump him in a portal! Gunn gets all grumpy about this idea, and Fred gets that. He’ll go along with it since it’s their only option.
Cordy has more of that vision about the Beast, and she’s figured it out. It’s the past, and it’s of a massacre. This time she got sound. The person talking to the demon felt familiar to her. She and Angel both think this means Connor.
Connor is reading when someone knocks on the door of the loft. It’s the Beast! Connor winds up for a pretty impressive kick, but the Beast tosses him around like he’s nothing. It throws him through the window, which is like four floors up. He hits the ground right in front of where the Plymouth is pulling up with the A.I. team. He tells them about the beast, but he’s down for the count. Angel has Cordy stay with Connor while everyone else goes to fight the Beast. Connor calls Angel “dad” again. Aww.
The Beast is setting up the ritual. He breaths the darkness from the little girl into Manny’s orb, and there’s a circle on the ground. He squeezes heart from the shaman lady so it drips blood on the other pieces. Wes and Fred start the portal spell while Angel gets Gwen a shot at the metal pieces, but the Beast throws something at her and the orb rolls back over to the Beast.
Down on the ground, Cordy has more of the vision. She was wrong about the person who was familiar. Connor notices that things are getting dimmer. That’s because the Beast’s ritual is working. Angel, Gunn, and Gwen all attack at once, forcing the Beast through the portal. Yay! But the sun is still going dark. Cordy’s vision is still going. The Beast reappears, and he’s talking to Angel. Angelus is the other person in Cordy’s vision. Oh. Angel seems very confused about this. The Beast picks up the blackened orb and swallows it. Then he tells Angel they’ll meet again and leaps out of the loft.
The team rejoins Cordy and Connor on the street. Cordy explains that the Beast knows Angelus. She wasn’t having a memory; she was remembering what she saw when she was a higher being. Angel doesn’t understand; he doesn’t remember this at all. Gwen and Cordy think this might mean Angel is the one who did the inside job killing Manny. Maybe the Beast has power over Angel. Wes thinks maybe Angelus knows the Beast’s plan if Angel doesn’t. They need Angelus back. CRAP.
“Long Day’s Journey” is pretty cool, Plot A wise. The Ra-Tet stuff is actually pretty interesting, and it makes the Beast a lot scarier when he has these kinds of big picture evil plans, which he’s plowing forward with faster than the A.I. team can keep up, much like with his rain of fire thing. It’s also awesome to have Gwen back, and Wes is continuing to work with the team! It’s actually pretty cool how big the team is. It’s the whole usual group, Wes included, and Lorne is basically a full-time member by now, and Gwen on top. Plus, Connor continues to be on unusually good terms with Angel despite the Connor/Cordy crap. Bit of a bummer that there’s no Lilah, though, because her stuff with Wes was easily the most interesting Plot B going on at the moment. I’m so psyched we’re almost to the Angelus stuff. It’s been so long since Buffy S2, and flashbacks never quite cut it.
I kind of love how Angel handles his angst over Cordy/Connor. It’s really funny, and I’m totally on his side when Cordy’s barging into his space and trying to school him on being a better parent. It’s also pretty funny how he subtly plays up his history with Gwen just to needle at Cordy. If Cordy wasn’t possessed but was still pulling all this crap, it would definitely be the end of not just Angel’s romantic feelings, but also their friendship. But he’s still not taking his issues out on Connor, which is nice.
I’ve heard that the original plan for S4 was to make Cordelia the main villain because she got possessed or something when she was a higher being. I wonder at what point in the season it was when the writers decided to change the plan to having Cordelia give birth to Jasmine instead. I guess either way, her behavior would be suspect and she’d be working towards an evil plan the whole season, so maybe it doesn’t really matter. There has definitely been a trend in her wearing darker clothes lately, but that’s just to hide the second trimester pregnant belly. Anyway, I’m surprised any of the characters can stand Cordelia right now. I suppose Angel’s the only one she’s interacting with to any substantial degree, and he’s already super pissed at her, but why hasn’t anyone realized how out-of-character she’s being?
Gunn is growing steadily more unpleasant this season. Angry at Wesley, moody with Fred, and completely unwilling to give Connor the benefit of the doubt even though the kid clearly hates that he might be connected to the Beast. I miss lighthearted Gunn from S2.
Fred’s reaction to Gwen is entertaining. I think the reminder of how she nearly lost Gunn recently might have helped her get over her issues with him a little more, but that’s not going to do much good when she’s also finding plenty of opportunities to see how intellectually compatible she is with Wes.
I really didn’t expect to feel so much sympathy for Connor as S4 went on, but it keeps happening. Every time he calls Angel “dad,” I turn to mush, because all Angel wants is to be Connor’s dad and for Connor to turn to him when he needs help. And he desperately doesn’t want to be evil, but he’s scared he might not have a choice. Poor kid. He reacts in a predictable teenage way, goading Cordelia about whether or not she trusts him, but it doesn’t really diminish how sympathetic he is.
Wesley, quit making eyes at Fred! But please stick around; the A.I. team is so much better with you in it. Judging by the way he steps up at the end when they realize Angelus knows the Beast (but Angel doesn’t), it looks like Wes is going to be back in the role of leader once Angel is out of the picture (and they realize Cordy isn’t Cordy anymore). It’ll be interesting to see how that goes, considering all the bad blood between him and...well, mostly just Gunn by this point.
“Where were you when they taught stealth in super-power school?”
“Why did the small, yucky man say that?”
“As far as evil plans go, it doesn’t suck.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.