Written by Mere Smith
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Angelus is still drinking Faith’s blood, but then he shoves her away, horrified. Faith is smirking even as she covers her wound with her hand. Flashback to earlier in the fight, when Angelus was shooting at Wes. Faith injected herself with some of that drug the junkies used. Angelus collapses, unconscious. Faith faces Wes, who possibly doesn’t know what she did. Then she collapses too.
At the hotel, Fred is doing research when Gunn drags Angelus inside. Lorne comes out of the office to see him tied up on the floor. Gunn calls Connor down to help him get Angelus back into the cage, and then Wesley arrives, carrying Faith bridal style. Lorne and Fred help Wes with Faith while Gunn and Connor take care of Angelus. They get him back into the cage and chain him up without him waking.
After they put Faith on a bed in one of the rooms, Lorne spots the track mark from the needle. Fred peels away the bandage on her neck and sees where Angelus bit her. Down in the cell, Connor can tell Angelus fed off Faith because he can smell it. Angelus starts talking in his sleep, and so does Faith. Lorne would like a word with Wes. He’s angry, because he thinks Wes shot Faith up with that drug and fed her to Angelus on purpose. Wes says it was Faith’s choice. So I guess he was in on it, then.
Upstairs, Cordelia is skeptical of Faith’s alleged coma, since that worked out so well last time. She completely explodes when Connor keeps talking about Faith, shoving Connor into the wall and screaming at him in a jealous rage. Holy crap. Even Connor isn’t oblivious enough not to think that was out of character. He insists that he doesn’t have feelings for Faith, but he doesn’t understand how Cordelia could shove him with the sanctuary spell still up, since she’s part-demon. She waves that aside. She insinuates that maybe he’ll be an even worse father than Angel, an extremely effective reverse psychology move. Then she acts like her little outburst was the result of crazy pregnancy hormones before sending Connor to do recon on Faith.
Lorne explains about the drug Faith injected to Fred and Connor. The drug is called Orpheus. It’s a mystical opiate, and Faith being a Slayer won’t necessarily make her chances of surviving an overdose better.
Flashback to New York in 1902. Angel, looking very unkempt and apparently smelling completely rank, shuffles down a busy street, parting the crowd with his stench. He walks right through Angelus (who is dressed in the same clothes as in the present), making Angelus angry. Then Angelus spots Faith and tries to attack her, but goes through her. That amuses her. She’s enjoying the results of her trick on him, if not the way it smells. They watch Angel walk past, and Angelus is furious about it and about Faith being along for the ride. She’s pretty sure she’s about to die, but she’s okay with that if she saved Angel first.
The flashback moves on to Chicago in the ‘20s. Whatever this memory is, Angelus doesn’t want to see it. Angel dives in front of a car to rescue a puppy, and Angelus is completely horrified (and Faith amused). Dangit, why isn’t Angel wearing a fedora? That would’ve been awesome. A flapper sees Angel rescue the puppy and she tries to flirt with him. He’s tempted by her blood, so he tells her to scram and she walks off, offended.
In reality, since there’s nothing they can do for Faith except wait and see if she survives, their priority needs to be reensouling Angel. Connor throws a hissy fit about this, because he thinks it’s impossible and pointless to even try. But Willow is here, and she begs to differ. Yes. Also, fun side-note, Alexis Denisof and Alyson Hannigan were engaged when they filmed this one (they have two daughters now), and you can totally tell if you look at Alexis’s face whenever Wes and Willow are in the same scene.
The way Willow automatically assumes Connor is Angel’s son indicates that there have been some offscreen conversations about him in the Scooby gang, or at least between Buffy and Willow. Did Angel call Buffy to tell her about Connor at some point? Did she know about him getting kidnapped? Argh, there’s so much we don’t know. I may have to solve this with fanfiction. Willow makes a comment about how Connor’s sneer is genetic, which makes no sense because Angel pretty much never sneers. Did she mean scowl? Because Angel definitely scowls. Willow is surprised to see how much Wes has changed, and she may have a crush on Fred. Wes is impressed with Fred’s cleverness in thinking of getting Willow’s help. Willow wants to see Cordy, and Connor goes into guard dog mode, but Wes makes a good argument.
Connor brings Willow up to see Cordy, and she sits on the end of the bed, keen to catch up. Willow is equally skeptical of Faith’s coma. Willow is very confident about being able to reensoul Angel. As she talks about it, Cordy grabs a knife under the covers and prepares to stab Willow. Even though Willow is confident about being able to do the Ritual of Restoration like she did in “Becoming,” there’s still the problem of the magical jar Angel’s soul is contained in. The spell won’t work if the soul is still stuck in a jar. Cordy pretends to be commiserating with her about how big of a problem this is, and then she accidentally gives Willow an epiphany. Just use magic to break the glass! She doesn’t even need to know where it is. Once the glass is broken, she can do the spell the same as last time. Cordy tries to get Willow to lean closer (by handing her a glass of water) so that she can stab her, but Willow is too excited about this discovery to pay attention, and she skips out of the room. Cordy chucks the knife into the door in anger.
Lorne is tending to Faith. He sings to her. We go back into her and Angelus’s shared trip, which has moved on to the ‘70s, in a café playing the same song Lorne is singing. Nice. Angelus is still very annoyed about all of this, but Faith is enjoying herself. Angel picks a new song on the jukebox. It’s Barry Manilow. Angelus hates everything. A buzzing noise starts up that only he seems able to hear, and he swats around his head. A couple walks past Angel, and he can hear their hearts beating. The bloodlust never goes away, and Angelus is the part of Angel that wants it but never gets it. Faith doesn’t feel particularly sympathetic to Angelus’s plight, so he decides to distract himself from his irritation by messing with her idealized image of Angel. He tells her he’s always in Angel.
Cue a robber entering the café and demanding that the cashier hand over everything in the register or he’ll shoot him. (Another fun side note: the actor playing the robber is Eliza Dushku’s brother Nate.) The robber is a mite trigger-happy, so he ends up shooting the cashier even though he was cooperating. Then he panics and runs away. Angel goes to help the cashier, but the guy dies in his arms. Angelus is having fun now, except for the weird buzzing noise.
The buzzing is evil Cordy trying to force Angelus to wake up and stop Willow from reensouling him. In the lobby, Willow is doing the spell to break the sacred jar while Wesley asks questions about how it works. Here’s the part where you can see Alexis’s feelings for Alyson shining through.
Eventually, the conversation turns to what Wes has gone through. Willow casually one-ups him with her own dark past. He tells her about having Justine chained up in his closet, and she gives him props for that. He thinks she seems the same as always, and she neglects to correct him, but does inquire about Fred.
In the flashback, Angel backs away from the dead cashier. Faith thinks Angel is blaming himself for the man’s death, but that’s not what’s going on. Angelus is smilng. Angel starts to leave, but he keeps looking back, and then he locks the door and goes back over to the dead guy and chomps down on his neck. Faith’s own bite wound starts bleeding again. Faith still doesn’t think this is Angel’s fault, but Angelus suggests that maybe Angel reacted more slowly than he could have, failing to save the guy’s life on purpose so that he could have his blood. Now that’s definitely the kind of nasty little voice I would imagine Angel to have in the back of his head, making him feel horrible about himself.
Lorne and Connor are in Faith’s room. Lorne doubts Faith has much time left. He tells Connor he can hold her hand, but then Wes comes in. Connor keeps talking like Faith is already dead just because her odds are super bad. It’s time for the spell.
In the lobby, Fred is helping Willow with it, and Willow adjusts her posture. She explains the spell to Gunn, and he heads down to keep an eye on Angelus. Wes arrives, and then Willow gets thrown across the room by an unseen force. Evil Cordy’s disguised voice yells in her head that she mustn’t interfere. She tries to banish the entity speaking, which annoys Cordy. Willow keeps doing her spell, and Cordy’s little crystal explodes. Willow does the spell to break the jar. Cordy keeps fighting her with her own power. Willow’s eyes go black and the hotel shakes as she fights back.
Faith sits up and gasps on her bed, but she’s still in the flashbacks. She gets up in a dirty alley. Angelus appears where she was and rises straight up into a standing position, Dracula style, taunting her about her impending death. He can sense that she’s on her way out. She can sense that someone’s trying to put his soul back. Nearby, Angel is feeding off rats. Angelus hates this part of the backstory more than anything else: the part where Angel punished himself for feeding off that dead cashier by living in sewers and feeding off rats for the next twenty years. Angelus complains about having to relive this, and Angel stands up and insults him.
Evil Cordy is still trying to stop Willow. She conjures a giant floaty monster head. Willow can tell it’s an illusion, though it does freak the others out. She sends the enchanted marble off to break the jar. Cordy tries to think of a new tactic, but the marble shows up to break the jar and she has to focus on stopping it. She wishes this were happening a bit farther into her pregnancy, because she’ll be more powerful then. Connor distracts her by bursting into the room to check on her, and she loses control of the marble. It shatters the glass and Angel’s soul vanishes out of it. Cordy is furious.
Faith is happy to talk to Angel. Angel knows Faith isn’t fighting very hard for her own life, and he’d like to do something about that. Angelus punches her; it seems that something changed, allowing them to physically interact. Angel draws his attention back to himself, and the two personas get into a very strange fistfight, each relishing the opportunity to beat the crap out of his hated alter-ego.
Connor breaks through the door and receives a lamp to the top of the head from Connor. Cordy pretends tearfully that Willow’s magic is threatening her and the baby’s lives. She convinces him that he can put a stop to all of this by killing Angelus.
Downstairs, Willow, Fred, and Wes are setting up for part two: the Ritual of Restoration. It cuts back and forth between them and Cordy talking Connor into killing Angelus, because it’s the only way to protect her and the baby. We see Gunn pacing in front of Angelus’s cage and Lorne cradling the unconscious Faith. In the trip, Angel is yelling at Faith to wake up. Cordy tells Connor to sneak past everyone and kill Angelus; she’ll take care of the sanctuary spell problem. Angel and Angelus are still fighting. Angel throws Angelus into a wall, then grabs Faith and makes her pay attention. She saw him at his lowest point, and he’s seen her at hers. She has to keep going.
The Orb of Thesulah is getting glowier and glowier as she continues the spell. Connor is in the basement, and he punches Gunn out. Angel keeps telling Faith that she needs to wake up—not just to stay alive, but because he needs her. Huh. So does that mean the Angel in this hallucination is actually input from the soul, which can sense what’s going on in the hotel and the danger his body is in? That would be interesting. Angelus closes in on Angel again, but Faith is on her feet. Angelus tries to attack her, but she disappears. In reality, she wakes up and bolts out of the room, to Lorne’s shock.
Willow finishes the spell, and Angel and Angelus fuse together with light pouring out of their eyes and mouths. Suddenly, instead of it being Angelus’s words that come out of his mouth in the real world, it’s Angel’s. He’s back. Still unconscious, though, which is unfortunate because Connor’s raising a stake over him. Faith grabs his hand and stops him. They fight. She keeps him away from the cage, and the others come down to the basement, shocked to see Faith not only on her feet but kicking butt. Angel gets up and convinces Connor it’s really him, so he stops fighting.
Later, Angel is standing at the railing at the edge of the courtyard. Faith joins him. She’ll be heading back to Sunnydale with Willow. Angel is proud of her, and he wishes they had more time to hang out. Hugs? No. Boo. They go back inside, and Faith says her goodbyes. Willow and Fred are talking. Fred has had a lot of fun geeking out with another smart girl. Willow mistakes her enthusiasm for flirting and tells her she’s already taken. Willow does hug Angel. Good. She’s going to tell Buffy hi for him. She and Faith leave. Before Angel can get into his “okay guys, it’s good to be back, I’m sorry for what I did, now let’s go kill us a Beastmaster” speech, Cordy comes downstairs and ominously reveals her pregnant belly. In just the worst maternity outfit, unless she’s trying to out herself as the Big Bad, I guess.
I’ve always really liked “Orpheus.” I know not everyone is a fan of flashbacks, but I love getting more pieces of Angel’s backstory, and the way Angelus and Faith get to be spectators puts a fun twist on the usual flashback thing. Faith and Angelus bantering over Angel’s memories is a lot of fun, and Willow fits in just great with the Angel Investigations team. Connor’s arc continues to be kind of a Greek (or possibly Shakespearean) tragedy as he sinks deeper into evil Cordy’s clutches. As long as you aren’t a fan of Cordelia (in which case I suspect you’d be furious at the way things have been going for her all season), it’s really intriguing to watch it unfold. Will the rest of the season be as fun as the Angelus arc? Pfft, no. On top of Angelus and Faith, we even had Willow guest star. There’s no way this gross Cordy/Connor evil miracle baby arc can top that. One minor thing I really love about this episode is the way Lorne takes care of Faith. He’s barely interacted with this woman, and he’s pretty sure she’s about to die, but he stays by her side the whole time. Lorne is just wonderful. I’m looking forward to him being in the opening credits in S5 so I can do character analysis on him all the time.
The flashbacks really highlight how similar Faith and Angel are. They both have major dark sides that they constantly have to struggle against, but Angel knows that if he could defeat his demons and get to where he is now, then Faith can do it to. She has to understand, like he does, that the struggle never really ends.
Cordelia is just full-on evil now and getting less and less subtle about it. If it takes the team longer than an episode to figure it out now that she’s not pretending to be too injured to interact with them anymore, then they need to officially hang up their detective hats.
Gunn, again, does basically nothing, but I do like his brief interaction with Willow and his goodbye to Faith. He’s still fun Gunn. I hope that continues.
I love how Fred geeks out over stuff with Willow. She seems much happier in this episode than she has been ever since the problems started with her and Gunn. Maybe they both can move on from their relationship and be happier for it, instead of miserable and awkward because they still work together.
It’s really unfortunate that Connor doesn’t have any close ties to anyone on the team besides Cordy. He majorly burned that bridge with Fred for what he did to Angel, he’s always been kind of a speciesist jerk to Lorne, he and Gunn have a good time fighting demons together but don’t really have an emotional connection, and I think Wes has been actively avoiding bonding with Connor because of the whole kidnapping thing. That leaves Connor wide open to Cordelia’s influence, which is what makes his interest in Faith (and Cordelia’s loathing of said interest) so fascinating. Maybe if Faith had been able to stick around longer, she and Angel could have pulled him away from Cordelia in time to prevent what’s coming.
I guess we’ll find out next time if Wesley is still going to be part of the group now that Angel is back and resume the role of leader. It seems like his conversation with Willow really helped him put his own hardships into perspective. He’s been all broody, thinking he’s gone through something no one else would understand, but she proved easily that it’s not so uncommon. So maybe he’ll stop being quite so prickly with everyone.
Willow kicks major butt in this episode. Will she be more confident in her power when she goes back to Sunnydale, or will this just be a frustrating anomaly? Maybe she’s just confident because she’s farther away from the First. And I guess it would be easier to revisit her first spell ever than trying to fight intangible evil.
“Break me off a switch, son. There’s about to be a whoopin’.”
“How you feeling?”
“Like I did mushrooms and got eaten by a bear.”
“That about sums it up.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.