Monday, May 21, 2012

Angel: Calvary (4.12)

Lilah Morgan doesn't have a whole lot of depth to her as a person, and that's what seems to make her such a dangerous badass. Cordelia tries to get to her here, claiming that Lilah's determination to kill the Beast is rooted in fear, and that Lilah's just too stubborn to acknowledge that side of herself. But, to be honest, Lilah isn't fearful. She's calculating, ruthless, and doesn't at all care for the weakness of humanity. Like she says to Wesley at the top of the show, she misses her 'shiny things', and it's irrelevant that she had to sacrifice any sense of morals to get them.

The big game-changer here, naturally, is the revelation that Cordelia is behind this whole thing. Thank God that I can finally talk about it! Cordelia has been reprehensibly awful all season -- emotionally manipulative, supplier of consistently hideous ideas, maker of dangerous decisions, creepy step-son molester. This wasn't Cordelia Chase as we knew her. It was an annoying, nonsensical mess of a character, far removed from the amusingly determined, whip-smart protector of yesteryear. Of course, as we know now, this person actually wasn't Cordelia Chase. As a first-time viewer, Cordelia's actions over the last couple of weeks are by turn alienating and ridiculous, but watching it over again shows a gorgeously intricate double-bluff, every one of her crazy actions over the last couple of months all leading to this big reveal that is wildly shocking and makes complete sense on a logical level. It's horrible to see Lilah go, but it couldn't have happened within a better cliffhanger.

Unfortunately, the rest of Calvary is bogged down in Wesley/Gunn/Fred angst, as well as a less interesting re-run of last episode's snarky Angelus banter. In regards to the romantic triangle, it's already hard to care about Fred and Gunn breaking up (both are so self-involved that they deserve their own misery), while I'm not exactly crying out for Wesley and Fred to get together either, especially since their whole attraction seems based on their mutual love of dusty books. There's not any real heat like he had with Lilah. Eh.

Angelus remains fine, but there isn't a whole lot of fun to be had when you're watching season four the second time around. Unlike the added levels a re-watch adds to the Cordelia character, it's not particularly engaging watching the Angelus story go from point A to point B. At least things get shaken up real fast next week. But right now the Angelus cage-in-the-basement thing got a little tiring. Great Lilah stuff, a wonderful coda - but the rest sags. B-

Guest stars Andy Hallett (Lorne); Stephanie Romanov (Lilah Morgan); Vladimir Kulich (The Beast); Roger Yuan (Wo-Pang)
Writers Jeffrey Bell, Steven S. DeKnight, Mere Smith Director Bill Norton


  1. "and makes complete sense on a logical level."
    I'm still unclear on why cordelia came back with no memory, if they hadn't done that spell then eons of big bad planning would be for nothing? Maybe I missed something.

  2. I think it was unforeseen side-effect of the spell, like the impact of smashing back into our universe blew her memory out of her or something. But, yeah, now that you mention it, that's one of the things you need to fanwank about on your own...