Sunday, February 28, 2010

Angel - Cordelia M.I.A.

I’ve just finished re-watching Angel from the beginning (five seasons in six weeks). I’ve only seen Angel all the way through once so this is my second complete viewing. That said, I do remember most of what happened in the series and I realized something re-watching season four.

At the end of season three, Cordelia is made a ‘higher being’ and sent to a ‘higher plane’ to serve the powers that be. At the beginning of season four, we see Cordy, surrounded by light and bored out of her mind as she tries to communicate with her ex-peers and get off the ‘higher plane.’ But I realized that from the moment she regains her memories in episode 6 (ep 72, Spin the Bottle) until season five’s ‘You’re Welcome’ (ep 100), Cordelia isn’t Cordelia. I started the grieving, knowing that Jasmine was pulling the strings all through season 4 and I wouldn’t see the real Cordy until season 5.

Technically, with the memory loss, we only see Cordy for three episodes in season four and that’s lousy because there were a lot of great Angel/Cordy moments (minus the ‘icky’ (Fred’s word, not mine) stuff with Cordy and Conner).

When the team questions Skip about Cordelia’s whereabouts in ‘Inside Out,’ they discover that Cordy’s been a cocoon since the beginning of the season but that going from the higher plane to The Hyperion might’ve been too much even for Jasmine, thus the memory loss.

That means that when Angel and Cordelia finally sit down to decide what they mean (or meant) to each other in ‘Spin the Bottle,’ not-Cordy tells him that they were in love. It’s a great moment where Cordy tells him, “We were in love.” It may have been Cordelia’s sentiment (we know she felt that way at the end of season three) but it was delivered by a doppelganger.

I didn’t realize it wasn’t Cordy the first time around because no one knew she was possessed until she stabbed Lilah, but watching it through the second time, I could see a lot of subtle manipulation going on.

Despite how I feel about Cordy’s participation in season four, it was a good storyline for a pregnant Charisma Carpenter. Besides, we all get a ringside seat in ‘Awakening’ for how the perfect day with Cordelia leads Angel to lose his soul. That moment was great (even if it was manufactured by a Shaman) because it means that Angel loved Cordelia as much as he loved Buffy but the writers never got the opportunity to play with that relationship because Charisma left the series.

Of course for a while after Jasmine is born late-season, Charisma’s role is ‘woman in coma’ before having one more adventure in season 5 before dying from that coma (in ‘You’re Welcome’). I loved the part at the end where the real Cordy does confirm that she loved him. It was an amazing and unexpected death but so unnecessary (except for the final vision) since we lose Fred three episodes later in ‘A Hole in the World.’

If Cordy had lived through season five and she really ‘left’ as she told Angel she was doing in ‘You’re Welcome,’ she might’ve shown up in the amazing IDW series set during season six.

So, in conclusion…Cordy dying, after an entire season of fake-Cordelia running around, sucked.

Oh, and Conner being constantly confused, gullible, and angry throughout season three and four was super-annoying. But Conner had an outstanding season five (I forgot about Wesley breaking the memory cube thing) and he became a character instead of a plot device.

From Angel's 100th episode, 'You're Welcome'

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