Written by David Fury and Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by James A. Contner
Scared people around town are looking at the blacked-out sun while a newscaster reports on it. At the hotel, the A.I. team is being anxious about it. Gunn is sure vampires will be flocking to L.A. in droves once the word gets out about the sun. (If I were a vampire, I’d stay put so that I’d have a better share of my local prey once everyone else ran off to L.A.) Fred wishes she had Wesley’s help wrestling with the research, but he left. Hopefully temporarily. Gunn’s in full anti-Wes mode, unfortunately. And Gwen is gone too. Dang.
Much of Connor’s improved rapport with Angel seems to have gone out the window now that it appears Angel is the one connected to the beast. Dangit, Connor! You were so scared it was you; how about a little sympathy for the guy who’s now in your position? He didn’t want this! Connor thinks there’s no difference between Angel and Angelus. Thanks, Holtz. I’m sure that was your doing. Cordelia tells Connor he’s wrong. Angel’s in the office, singing for Lorne. Mercifully, we don’t have to hear it.
As anti-Wes as Gunn has been lately, he votes yea on Angelus if it gives them info they need to kill the Beast. Cordelia isn’t so sure, but the way she explains it seems like a massive Captain Obvious moment. “[Angelus won’t willingly turn over info on the Beast.] The Gypsies cursed him with his soul so he could feel remorse, to make him suffer for all the people he slaughtered. Removing that soul is the only way to change Angel back into Angelus.” Does anyone understand why that line of dialogue was included? It’s incredibly unnecessary information, and it isn’t relevant to Gunn’s theory that they might be able to get info out of Angelus. If Cordelia wanted to explain why she doubts Angelus would be forthcoming, then she should tell some stories about Buffy S2 or about “Eternity.” Heck, she now remembers all of Angelus’s actions thanks to her flashback tour as a higher being, so she should have plenty of examples of how Angelus doesn’t tell you things, he just learns your weaknesses and uses them against you before you can see it coming.
Anyway, Cordelia continues with the unnecessary exposition by explaining about the happiness clause. In the office, Lorne isn’t getting anything from Angel’s song, and Angel doesn’t understand how Angelus could have knowledge he doesn’t, because he remembers everything Angelus ever did. That’s sort of the point. Even if there is some way Angelus might have extra memories, he oesn’t think it’s worth bringing him back to get them.
Cut to some kind of cavern where a ninja/monk guy is doing some ritual. Wesley beats up his guard and asks about getting a soul extracted.
When Angel and Lorne come out of the office, they have no info for the others, and the others have no info for them. Angel doesn’t want anyone giving up. Connor mouths off, and Angel demands info. Connor’s being pretty hostile. He thinks Angel is the source of all his problems. DANGIT CONNOR. Stop being a stereotypical angsty teenager! Angel tells Connor to get over it. It’s much less annoying than when Cordy said it.
Wes arrives with the monk guy, and he has Fred make him some tea. Angel and Wes go into the office to discuss whether or not this is a terrible idea. Wes believes they can take enough precautions to make sure this goes well. Angel thinks he’s naïve. He has no intention of doing this. Cordy follows him when he stalks off to the courtyard. She observes that all the plants will die if they can’t bring back the sun. (Really? That makes this a pretty sucky game plan, then. Whatever demon wanted to use that strategy to take over the world would only have a few months max before the mass death of plant life worked its way up the food chain and killed off everything else. But if all the Beast’s ritual on the sun did was some kind of mystical visible light blockage that still allows plants to get what they need, then that would be a setup for a much more long-term reign of evil.)
Cordy tells Angel she agrees with him about Angelus. She thinks Connor’s out of line for the way he’s talking, but that he might still have a point about the Beast having power over Angel. Angel worries that if that’s the case, he’s already a danger, but she doesn’t think that makes Angelus worth it. Because Angelus is super cunning scary evil. It’s actually kind of weird how complimentary she is of Angelus. And what’s this nonsense about Angelus and the Beast thinking alike? The Beast is a blunt instrument of destruction. Angelus is a master manipulator.
Something Cordy says convinces Angel that the Angelus plan is worth it, even though that wasn’t her intention. He strides back inside, spouting parameters for a cage to contain Angelus. They get to work on it. Two-inch steel bars, a perimeter line drawn around it. Once it’s all set, it’s shaman time. Lorne wants to sit this one out, and Angel thinks Cordy and Fred should to. Angel tries to talk to Connor about Angelus. Connor seems pretty dismissive, but Angel keeps going. Connor shouldn’t listen to Angelus; Angel loves him, no matter what. This seems to sink in a bit, but Connor is still way too cool with the possibility he might have to stake Angelus.
Next, the shaman is getting set up while Wes shackles Angel down to a table in the cage. Cordy is down there even though Angel didn’t want her to be. The shaman’s most important prop is a special glass jar which will house Angel’s soul. The shaman gets started, but only after Wes securely locks the cage door with him inside. About a minute in, the shaman whispers into Angel’s ear, then draws a sword. Angel breaks out of the manacles in time to catch the shaman’s wrist. The others unlock the door and help. Eventually, they get him surrounded and he stops fighting. The shaman won’t answer any of their questions, and he stabs himself before Angel can torture him for information.
Fortunately, the dead shaman isn’t a total dead end. Nearly every inch of his skin is tattooed with Chinese characters. Apparently Wes understands it. The writing has to do with the Beast. There’s a weapon called the Tooth of Light that can kill it. Cordy has a vision of it. The Tooth of Light is a sword, and it can be accessed from under the city. Angel gets all sardonic on Wes for his brilliant plan to bring Angelus back when all they needed was a sword. Wes apologizes, and Angel immediately latches onto that. They have a pretty nice moment of friendship repair.
Time to find a sword. The team is in the sewers. Angel doesn’t get how a centuries-old sword would be in L.A. Cordy explains that it’s not, per se. It’s in some kind of dimensional hub, with access points all over the world. Connor rushes ahead, to Angel’s chagrin. Next, they find booby traps. Wooden spikes that stab into the hallway if you make any of the little bells hanging from leather strings ring. Everyone very carefully inches past the leather strings. Cordy almost gets caught on one, but Wes pulls it off her. Just when Wes thinks he’s in the clear, his lantern hits one. Angel pushes him through, and they make it out barely before the spikes close in.
Only to reach a dead end? Nope, our Indiana Jones adventure continues. They’re at the Hebrew writing part now. Wes thinks he has the pattern figured out, but a spike through the hand proves him wrong. Owwww. Turns out, the pattern isn’t mere numerical order, but the initials of Biblical patriarchs, in chronological order. Adam, Seth, Enos—no, Wes, Cainan isn’t next, it’s Enos—what the? That worked? Boooooooo. How could the writers mess that one up? The whole genealogy from Adam to Noah is spelled out very clearly in Genesis 5. Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. Bam. Which, by the way, means there were ten, not nine, antediluvian patriarchs.
Angel and Connor brace the wall before it can drop back down after the (incorrect) third stone, and Connor, surprisingly, wants them both to go through at the same time. They do so, and the whole team is now safely on the other side. There are two tunnels, so Angel thinks they should split up. That’s a terrible idea. Connor wants to go with Cordy, but Angel and Cordy both stomp on that idea. They’re going together whether he likes it or not. Once Angel and Cordy are out of earshot of the other two, Cordy starts talking about how much she regrets sleeping with Connor. She gets distracted by the sight of the room where the sword can be accessed before she can finish talking. Angel reaches his hand into the center and successfully pulls the sword out of a spinny ball of light that appears around his hand. Then it turns red, pillars crash down, and flames erupt. Time to flee! Angel jumps over the flames to save Cordy, and they get out of there.
Fortunately, the destruction only goes as far as the edge of the corridor. Cordy is so relieved they’re okay that she hugs him and cries. What if she hadn’t gotten the chance to tell him how sorry she is? She regrets everything. And she doesn’t care anymore about what she remembers from his past. All that matters is the good he’s done as Angel. She doesn’t think she deserves forgiveness. Angel gives it anyway. She kisses him. Ewwww no. Connor and Wes find them in the middle of that kiss, and Connor runs off. Angel goes after him. They find more booby traps. This one fires stakes if you step on the wrong part of the floor. Connor is being a whiny brat, and he actually wants to have this fight on the stake-shooting floor room. Angel gives him some schooling. It’s not all about him, and Cordelia doesn’t belong to him. (She tells him that part herself.)
The sun is still dark outside, but Angel, Cordy, and Wes get back with the sword. Angel tosses it to Gunn, who wants to play with it. Bahaha. Connor is out patrolling. Gunn accidentally cuts a table in half with the sword. Fred and Gunn have worked on translating the rest of the tattoos while the others were getting the sword, and they’ve confirmed that the sword can kill the Beast. Once he’s dead, the sun will come back. Nice. However, he’ll kind of blow up, and that might kill anyone in the same room with him, possibly including Angel. Angel thinks it’s worth the risk, and he gives a rousing speech about how important their fight is. (Yeah, I’m still sick of the word “champions,” but it’s still a decent speech.) Cordy doesn’t want Angel to go alone. Especially not when they’ve just boarded the Angel/Cordy ship. (GAG ME.) Angel promises he’ll make it back safely, and it’s a nauseating scene, but then the Beast shows up in the hotel. Well that solves the mystery of his whereabouts.
Angel attacks with the sword. The others leave, Wes dragging Cordy out. Angel and the Beast keep fighting. The Beast wants Angel on his side, but Angel definitely isn’t going for that. The Beast breaks the sword with his hand. Crap. The Beast is about to finish Angel off when Connor comes out of nowhere to help! Connor gets knocked aside, and the Beast mocks him; he’s arrogant like Angelus. Connor corrects him; the name’s Angel. Nice. Then Angel stabs the Beast through the head with the broken blade of the sword. The Beast disintegrates and the sun comes back! Angel and Connor are fine. Angel and Connor have a pretty good moment. Well, kind of. Half of it is about how Connor can tell Cordy has always loved Angel. He admits she’s too old for him.
The rest of the team comes back, delighted at Angel and Connor’s success. Cordy hugs Angel. Gunn and Wes do their secret bro handshake. All around the city, people look at the sun like they’ve never seen it before. Cordy finds Angel in his room. It’s too bad Angel can’t enjoy the sunlight like everyone else. Angel doesn’t mind, because he’s with Cordy! UGH THIS IS SO SACCHARINE. They start kissing. Angel tries to stop her, but she quietly tells him not to logic out of this. I’m getting cavities from this episode. Make it stop. They resume kissing, and it soon becomes more, even though it looks awkward the whole time. Oh hey, Angel’s tattoo. I’m just going to focus on that. Been a while since it was visible. They have sex, and there’s intense piano music. EWWWWWWWWWW. Then Angel finally remembers why this is a bad idea, and, intriguingly, he says “Buffy” under his breath before writhing in pain. He loses his soul. It’s in the shaman’s little jar. Everything since the shaman began the ritual has been in Angel’s head. And now he’s Angelus. Who slowly starts laughing. Yessss.
“Awakening” is an incredibly strange episode. Once you know what’s actually been going on the whole time, it retroactively transforms from the cheesiest wish fulfillment type episode ever into, essentially, Angel’s version of “The Zeppo” or of Spike’s flashbacks in “Fool for Love.” (Because of that, I’m doing the Angel analysis here in the overall reaction section, and each character analysis section will be that character as perceived/idealized This is Angel’s subjective reality and how he wishes things could happen, given certain logical parameters. I’m pretty sure if all bets were off, Buffy herself would’ve shown up, but that kind of thing would’ve shattered the illusion because it’s way too blatantly too good to be true. The Indiana Jones-esque fairytale Angel’s mind produced is, I think, the most expeditious way he would’ve believed he’d really achieved perfect happiness. But oh boy, is Angel’s ideal reality a sugary mess. He wants his entire team reunited, and he specifically wants Connor and Wesley, both of whom have deeply wronged him and then never acted remorseful about it, to apologize for what they did so they can all put it behind them. The stuff with Connor and Wes would almost seem egotistical, except that Angel has already made efforts with both of them; they just haven’t really reciprocated. I think Angel would be content with Connor and Wes being part of the group and acting normal, even if they didn’t specifically apologize to him; this way, however, he can be sure the air is clear.
In some ways, Angel’s mental version of Cordelia seems much more like her old self than the actual Cordelia has in a long time. But that’s only when there isn’t any Angel/Cordy stuff going on, because that still feels very strange and devoid of romantic chemistry. Which is especially uncomfortable considering how over-the-top romanticized it all is. He gets to play hero to her damsel in distress, and then she’s desperate not to leave his side in a moment of danger because she’s worried for his safety. I think S2 Cordelia would approve of roughly half of her stuff in Angel’s fantasy, and roll her eyes super hard at the rest.
Gunn in Angel’s ideal reality is much less angry than the real Gunn has been lately. And he gets along with Wes! It’s really adorable that one piece of Angel’s perfect happiness is for his friends to be friends with each other again. He just wants everyone to get along and for his misfit pseudo-family to not be quite so dysfunctional.
Fred changes the least in Angel’s ideal reality, which is fascinating. Their friendship has been the most stable from the moment they met to the present out of all the members on the A.I. team, with the possible exception of Lorne. Angel isn’t even picking a side in the whole Wes/Fred/Gunn triangle; he just wants Fred to be happy and Wes and Gunn to not be angry at each other. Also, actual Fred seems to be leaning ever so slightly towards Wes lately, and I think Angel’s picking up on that.
It’s kind of hilarious how Connor becomes a slightly more exaggerated version of the angst bomb he actually is in Angel’s reality. It’s like how real parents tend to see their teenage children as completely irrational, even though the objective truth is probably a bit less dramatic. So I love imaginary Connor despite how infuriating he is at first. Then comes the idealized outcome, with Connor realizing he’s being silly and that Angel’s right about everything. If only.
Wesley has definitely reverted to leader mode in reality, but one of the subtler things about Angel’s fantasy is that Wes is part of the group again—as Angel’s subordinate/friend. Angel definitely prefers to be in charge, and he clearly thinks he’s fully made up for what he did in S2 to deserve relegation to the bottom of the corporate totem pole.
“If anything should go wrong with Angelus, you’re gonna have to kill me.”
“If anything goes wrong!”
“Who booby traps a dead end? That’s just not right!”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.