Written by Drew Goddard
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Illyria is standing in the lab, and Wes is watching her. He looks a bit rumpled. Angel joins him. Angel’s not sure Wes should be babysitting Illyria on his own. Also, they’re working on a way to get Gunn free. Angel wants to test Illyria’s powers, but Wes worries that could be very dangerous for the tester. So they decide Spike should do it. Bahahaha. Angel wants Wes to take better care of himself, and he tells him so rather rudely.
A couple is at W&H for help about their son. He got hit by a van at 60 miles per hour…and was completely fine. A police officer referred them to W&H because it seemed supernatural. Their son just thinks they’re setting up a trust.
Angel is walking in the lobby when a very familiar voice calls “Hey, Dad!” He turns around. It’s Connor. But before Angel can fully react, Connor strolls right past him. He’s talking to the man who was just chatting with Wesley about his kid getting hit by a van. Wesley introduces Angel to the Reilly family. Connor shakes Angel’s hand, and Angel abruptly tells them W&H can’t help them.
Wesley tries to change Angel’s mind, but Angel tries to claim that this case is too small to worry about at the moment. Not the best approach to take, because it makes Wes think he’s losing sight of the mission.
Gunn is still in the holding dimension, getting his heart cut out every day. We see the big demon drop his heart in the pile, and then Gunn’s chest heal right back up. The demon hands him an oven light, he forgets what just happened to him, then goes back upstairs to give it to the fake wife.
Illyria punches Spike across some kind of training room. She’s having fun. Spike is getting frustrated. This is awesome. He tries to explain that he’s the guy with the clipboard, so she’s not supposed to hit him. Yeah, she’s not listening to his rules. She sends him flying across the room, just as Wes comes in. He asks how it’s going. Illyria is very pleased with herself. Wes points out that there are more refined systems in that room for testing Illyria’s strength than letting her beat him up. Heh. Illyria notices that Wesley is frustrated about something. That would be Angel’s behavior. Illyria wonders why Wes would be so loyal to Angel if he can’t agree with his motives and methods. Wes says he’s earned his loyalty and trust.
Hamilton steps into Angel’s office. Angel is furious that Connor showed up at W&H. Hamilton doesn’t react to Angel’s rage, and will not be pushed around. He reminds Hamilton that he and the SPs had a deal to save Connor. Hamilton assures him the SPs are still keeping their end. Him showing up isn’t an accident, but the SPs aren’t the ones behind it.
The Reillys are driving through town. Connor has picked up on the fact that they were trying to get help about him apparently having superpowers. He playfully jokes that the trust is broken. (Wow, well-adjusted Connor even has a sense of humor. And he’s making jokes about trust. His hair might be worse, but his personality more than makes up for it.) He wants them to just be happy that he’s okay. They park at a hotel, and then a demon rips his door off the car and yanks him out of it. It has a friend. One of them goes goes for Mrs. Reilly next, and Connor punches it so hard it flies through the air. He’s stunned. Then Angel shows up to protect Connor and his fake parents. He kills the demons. Connor is very impressed. Angel is adorably proud of himself, but then Mr. and Mrs. Reilly emerge from behind the car. Mr. Reilly is rather banged up, and Connor runs over to them. Angel offers to help them at W&H, and he and Connor will discuss what’s going on with him.
At W&H, Connor asks what those things were that came after him. Angel doesn’t know yet. It seems he’s filled Connor in on his being a vampire and some other stuff. He wonders if he’s a demon. Nope! Angel says he’s just a well-adjusted kid with super powers. He takes it all in stride. He doesn’t know how he’s going to explain to his parents, but he’s not exactly upset about having powers. He asks Angel what he does as a vampire. Does he have a girlfriend? Does he fight crime? Does everyone here fight crime? Haha, aww. Just as Angel’s telling Connor how W&H is actually pretty boring, they walk by the doors to the training room with Illyria and Spike, and Spike comes crashing through the doors in a heap. Then jumps back up and marches in, shouting threats. Angel offers to introduce Connor.
They step inside, where Illyria is now pinning Spike to the floor by the head with her foot. Connor asks about Illyria. Spike has discovered so far that she can alter time, has super-strength well beyond vampires, and can talk to plants. Huh. So is she a carnivore, or does she enjoy hearing the screams of plants as she eats them? Also she wants Spike as a pet. Illyria stares creepily at Connor, who finds her kinda hot. She comments on it, and he gets embarrassed. He just has a thing for older women. Angel’s annoyed that the SPs didn’t fix that. Lorne joins them. Connor thinks he looks awesome. Lorne’s just there to grab Angel for Wes.
Connor mentions he’s in college, so Angel asks about that. He’s at Stanford. Seems to be going well. Wes has info about the guy who ordered Connor hit with a van. He’s a major warlock. He also used his most obvious minions to attack the Reillys’ car, so he’s not trying to keep a low profile about it. Angel heads out to go confront the warlock by himself. Wesley tries to argue about that, but Angel uses his angry boss voice and leaves.
Wes sits at his desk. Then he makes a call. He’s going to do his own research on the warlock. Cut to the warlock’s medieval throne room looking place. He’s really old, with blood-red skin, and he has an oxygen tank. Angel tosses the body of the last guard into the room before he walks in to talk to the warlock (whose name is Cyvus Vail). Vail wishes he’d just given his guards the day off. He claims he wasn’t trying to hurt Connor. He actually needs his help, and the only way for that to work is if he knows he has super strength. Also, the reason he knows about Connor is that he worked the magic to give him his new life.
Harmony brings Wesley a pile of stuff on Vail and returns Illyria to him, because she’s been wandering around unsupervised. Possibly she knocked Spike out. Lorne discovers from the stuff Harmony brought that Vale has done serious work for W&H, of the mind control, memory alteration, and reality shifting variety. Most notably (and expensively), on the day they signed their contracts to start working there.
Vail is needs help getting up, so Angel helps him, then rips out his oxygen tube and starts with the threats. Unintimidated, Vail describes one of the memories he gave Connor, about getting lost in a store when he was five, until his parents found him. Vail is very proud of the work he did on Connor. Angel relents a bit. What does Vail want? He wants Sahjhan dead. Angel tells Vail he trapped Sahjhan in an urn. Yeah, Vail has that right there. He wants Sahjhan properly dead. He waves his hand and makes something called an Orlon Window appear. It’s a spell that will give Connor all his old memories back if it breaks near him. Vail is holding Connor’s happy life hostage until Angel makes sure Connor kills Sahjhan. Oh, yeah, it has to be Connor who does it, not Angel (or Vail himself), because of that one prophecy.
Connor is very surprised to learn that he has to kill a demon. Wes thinks this is a terrible idea and isn’t interested in bowing to the threats of an evil sorcerer. Connor’s willing to do it, though, because he understands that the threats are against his family. Wes tries to talk to Angel about the big contract Vail did for W&H the day they signed on, but Angel and Connor keep talking about killing Sahjhan over him. Connor is a bit nervous, since Sahjhan nearly killed Angel the last time they fought. However, he gets that there’s no other way. He’s willing to do it. Angel and Connor leave Wes standing there, upset.
Gunn is begging the big demon not to stab him with a hot poker when Hamilton strolls in. The demon waits. Hamilton rips the necklace off Gunn and asks if the demon’s put him in the gibbet yet. He introduces himself and offers to get him out of there. He tells him his friends aren’t doing much to rescue him. Before he can elaborate on his offer, Gunn asks for the necklace back and lays down on the torture table. Hamilton leaves as Gunn screams.
Angel and Connor are in the training room. Angel wants to help Connor kill Sahjhan, but Connor doesn’t want it to be an unfair fight, because he’s a good kid. Almost to a fault. He does want to learn some moves first, though. He sends a few weapons cascading off the wall. Angel gives him some advice about fighting Sahjhan. Move fast and don’t get distracted by his taunts. Angel believes Connor can do this.
Wes is in the records room, looking for the file on what Vail did. Illyria follows him, wondering why it’s so important to him to know how reality was changed. She thinks humans are essentially the sum of their experiences, which are past and therefore fixed. Wes disagrees; if that’s the case, then it’s only really true when the past experiences are legitimate. Illyria comments that Fred changed when her memories did, which makes Wes even more determined to get to the bottom of this. Wes finds the file, with Angel’s signature at the bottom.
Angel and Connor get to Vail’s place. Connor straightforwardly tells Vail how things are going to work. He kills Sahjhan and Vail leaves him and his family alone. If Vail doesn’t leave them alone, he’ll figure out how to kill him! Vail finds that acceptable, if amusing. Vail points Connor towards Sahjhan, and Angel tries to get in a wealth of last-second advice, but Connor waves him off. Then Angel straightens Connor’s collar. Bahaha.
As soon as Connor gets to the table with Sahjhan’s urn, he turns back and sees that the doorway has become a wall. Well, a one-way wall. From Angel and Vail’s perspective, it’s still open. Vail just doesn’t want Sahjhan to see him, because he tends to try to kill him when he does.
Connor opens the urn, and Sahjhan whooshes out of it. He congratulates Connor and offers three wishes. Connor is delighted, but that’s of course just a classic Sahjhan wisecrack. He is genuinely appreciative, though. That’s when Connor tells him he’s here to kill him. Sahjhan is a little bemused, until he realizes that he must be Angel’s son. Connor offers him a minute to pick a weapon or something. Through the wall, Angel is super antsy because Connor didn’t just immediately grab a weapon and chop Sahjhan’s head off or something. Sahjhan asks Connor how Quor’Toth worked out. Connor has no idea what he’s talking about and confusedly plays along. Sahjhan picks up his urn and throws it at Connor’s head. Angel tries to run in and help, but he can’t go through the barrier.
Connor gets up, surprised by how much that hurt. Sahjhan asks if he wants a time out. No, he’s cool. They keep fighting. Vail holds the Orlon Window, refusing to let Angel help Connor. But Connor is losing. Sahjhan’s rather underwhelmed by him. Angel turns to Vail to demand he open the barrier, but Vail is frozen. Wes and Illyria are there. Illyria used her time powers on Vail, and Wes is now holding the Orlon Window. He thinks Angel sold them out to W&H. Angel tries to get Wes to give it back, but Illyria punches him across the room.
In the other room, Sahjhan’s about to finish Connor off while talking about how rubbish prophecies are. Angel admits to Wes that Connor is his son. Wes thinks Angel traded Fred for Connor. Angel wants to explain, but not while Wes is holding the Orlon Window. Wes thinks breaking it might bring Fred back. Angel says it won’t, but Wes doesn’t trust Angel anymore, so he smashes it. Wes gets slammed with all his memories of Connor…and his betrayal of Angel. He looks horrified. Angel’s more worried about Connor. Who suddenly grabs Sahjhan by the throat and hurls him away, then gives him an unpleasantly classic Connor look, grabs an axe, and beheads him within thirty more seconds of fighting.
Angel finds him standing over Sahjhan, but he’s still talking like cool, well-adjusted Connor. He makes a crack about not liking people touching his neck, then asks if they can leave so he can see his parents. He doesn’t want any more of this supernatural fighting stuff.
Wesley is still adjusting to all the memories. Illyria asks him if those make him Wesley. He’s rather upset by them, but he’s glad he knows the truth. And now he understands why the fake memories were created. To make it possible to endure the truth.
Connor pops into Angel’s office and asks why he’s not burning in the sunlight. Angel tells him about the glass, and Connor suggests he make a Pope-mobile out of it. Then he tells Angel he told his dad about fighting Sahjhan, and now his dad wants to have an angry talk with Angel. But he’s kidding! Because Connor Reilly is hilarious. He really just told his dad they spent the night doing tests. He’s hoping their parents won’t worry so much now that they know he just has super powers. He makes a lot of cryptic comments that might mean he has his memories back, but Angel doesn’t want to prod, in case he doesn’t. They part on far better terms than they ever had. Angel’s reluctant to see him go, but Connor wants to go take his parents home. The last thing he says to Angel is that he learned the importance of protecting his family…from his father. He gives Angel a meaningful look, then goes. Angel is stunned, and he watches Connor get onto the elevator. He looks back before he does.
I really like “Origin.” For one thing, does a much better job than “Underneath” at connecting the disparate plotlines. I love how the Wes/Illyria subplot connects with the Angel/Connor main plot. We also get good resolutions to a few dangling plot threads, like the prophecy about Sahjhan and Connor and Angel’s deal with W&H to give Connor a new life at the expense of everyone’s memories. Another great thing about it is that it’s the best episode with Connor in it of the entire show so far, because Connor has a freaking sense of humor. He’s no longer a concentrated ball of angst and frustration, and that makes him infinitely more palatable and more well-suited to a Joss Whedon show. Getting to see Connor like this and Wesley’s reaction after learning about the memory spell sort of validates Angel’s decision to make the deal. The spell is a massive reality-altering lie, but Connor and a whole bunch of other people would be dead otherwise, and Connor and Wes are both okay with it now that they understand it.
Angel seems to be feeling the strain of W&H again. He’s being harsh with Wes about his grief over Fred (and it can’t have been more than a couple of weeks since her death), and generally keeping people at arm’s length about matters closest to him. Why not come clean with Wes about who this kid is and why he’s not happy to see him at W&H? You and Wes have become super tight confidants again this season! He’d understand, you just have to trust him. Angel’s running very short on trusted allies now, with Cordy dead, Illyria taking Fred’s place, and Gunn in W&H’s holding dimension. Wes, Lorne, and Spike are the only ones left. I really love David Boreanaz’s performance in the scenes with Connor. You can really feel how much Angel loves and misses his son, how proud he is of him, and how anxious he is for his safety and well-being.
Spike seems surprisingly willing to do what Angel asks. Maybe he’s just genuinely curious about Illyria on his own, so he barely needed permission to do tests on her in the training room.
If it wasn’t clear before why Gunn and Angel are so compatible as friends, then this episode provides a pretty compelling argument. Neither of them is willing to take the easy way out when he believes he’s done wrong. No amount of pain and suffering can trump the remorse they already feel, so they won’t let that suffering and a second earlier than it should. Still, I do think Angel and Wes could make his rescue a bit more of a priority.
Now that Illyria is interacting more with the rest of the cast, she’s a treasure trove of hilarity. Another character she reminds me of (besides Castiel) is Princess Luna. Very regal, matter-of-fact, and out-of-touch. Why are characters like that so appealing and entertaining? Because I love all of them, especially when they’re making perplexed yet haughtily and/or bluntly phrased observations on perfectly ordinary things.
Lorne doesn’t usually do book research. He’s normally the contacts guy, but I guess with Fred and lawyer Gunn gone, someone had to be Wesley’s research buddy. I’m glad it wasn’t Harmony.
Harmony only has like two lines! Yay! I don’t feel like analyzing her.
Post-Fred Wesley has serious trust issues. To be fair, I think it’s pretty justified to expect the worst when you find out your closest friend colluded with a known enemy to tamper with you and your other friends’ memories behind your backs. And it wasn’t his first assumption to believe Angel sold them out. He spent the first two-thirds of the episode trying to get Angel’s attention on this problem, because he thought Angel was just as in the dark as the rest of them. It was only Angel continually brushing him off and being generally less approachable than usual that convinced him Angel was actually the villain of the situation. But then, as soon as he knew the truth, he became remarkably forgiving. I suppose it must be a blow to learn that he was actually the one who betrayed Angel, not the other way around. Poor Wes.
Oh, Connor, I like you so much more now. This Connor is the one who deserves to be shipped with Dawn. (What? I ship it, and I’m not sorry.) He’s got this great mild deadpan sense of humor, which would’ve really helped in S4. He has a very lighthearted approach to most things. The one major character trait that seems consistent with who he used to be is that he’s intensely concerned with doing what’s right. Fortunately, he’s better equipped now to know what that is. He seems to trust that people—and even demons—are generally honorable, so he should treat them all fairly. I like it.
“She’s either counting oxygen molecules or analyzing the petri dish she just put into her mouth. Or sleeping. I can never quite tell.”
“I’ve been hitting the half-breed. He makes noise.”
“I’d like to keep Spike as my pet.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.