by Billie Doux
Lilah: "This is the offer of a lifetime. Just not, you know, mine."
Since we still haven't gotten the definite word on renewal, this episode had to be two things -- a possible series finale, and a major change in direction for next season. It succeeded admirably on both counts.
The resolution of Connor's story was beautiful, unexpected, and very touching; it made me cry. Connor so clearly needed what Angel finally gave him; mom, dad, sisters, college, a girlfriend named Tracy, a family full of love, and no hell dimension childhood with Holtz. And interestingly enough, no Angel.
Angel was the only one who wasn't seduced into accepting the deal; he gave in, for Connor's sake. Angel was born to suffer, wasn't he? He is also the only one who remembers that day of being human with Buffy, and now he's the only one to remember that he ever had a son at all. Vincent Kartheiser was excellent. David Boreanaz did wonderfully, too, showing understated grief and pain in the store scene, and later as he was watching Connor through the window, a certain amount of acceptance. I'm not sure I understood what Angel did to Connor with the knife; was that a fake-out to make us think the father would kill the son?
On to the re-staffed and zombie-free Wolfram & Hart, a turn-key, state of the art, multi-tasking operation and now Angel's reward for "ending world peace." Was it the same building? We never did see the outside, did we?
Lorne got the entertainment division, although we didn't get to actually see it. Fred became head of science division, which was currently managed by Knox, who was also the vampire in "Conversations with Dead People."
Gunn got the most interesting tour. When his guide took him to Security, I thought hey, dull, but then there was the funky elevator (I love that elevator) and Gunn's odd communion with the black leopard. So what did the leopard do that made Gunn so certain and self-assured? Tune in next fall and find out?
Wesley got that magical book collection, and access to an amazing treasure trove of files. That scene with Wesley trying to burn Lilah's contract was so sweet. Lilah was also the nicest she's ever been; death can do that to you, I guess. She even complimented Wesley subtly on his skill as a lover ("but then, you always did like to take your time.") They did love each other, after all. Maybe it wasn't just dying; maybe the affair with Wesley changed her, too.
Stephanie Romanov was wonderful throughout, with Angel, with Wesley, with the gang. She had just about all the best lines, too, starting with asking for ice water (no ice water in Hell, you know), and fun stuff like "Goodbye, Mr. Sunshine. Hello, gloomy avenger." My favorite exchange was: "Money, clothes, women... did I mention we have a juice bar?" Angel: "This is what you came back from the dead for? To play 'Let's Make an Evil Deal?'"
Intriguing as it is, I'm only partially on board with the Wolfram & Hart takeover. It's odd; I'm not sure it will work. Plus, it's hard to believe that the Senior Partners were sincere about turning it over to Angel; can you say, too good to be true? Although it would be fun to see Angel in a three-piece grey pin-striped suit and power tie, riding around in a limo or any other of his twelve new cars, or lounging about in the office's necro-tempered sunlight. And I must admit that the story possibilities are wildly open-ended. It depends on what Joss Whedon does with it... and isn't that the situation with every show, when you come right down to it?
Can Spike have a corner office?
Bits and pieces:
-- Angel's deal, almost as an afterthought, gave the comatose Cordelia perpetual, top-flight care. A manicure and a blow-dry? It's only what the old Cordelia would expect. Cordelia and Connor were both been written out in a way that would allow them to be written back in. Very good writing there.
-- The guy from the Watcher's Council had a fascinating voice.
-- Angel took the Sunnydale folder and talisman with him when he left to see Connor for the last time. So I guess he's going to arrive in Sunnydale next Tuesday in a limo?
Gunn: "You want to give us your evil law firm? We ain't lawyers."
Fred: "Or evil. Currently."
Angel: "She was eating people."
Lilah: "They knew what they were getting into."
Lorne: "Her stomach?"
Gunn: "Couldn't have been easy for you seeing Lilah again like that."
Wesley: "Oh, yes. That was awkward, wasn't it? You decapitate a loved one, you don't expect them to come visiting."
Gunn: "Loved one?"
Wesley: "Figure of speech."
Lorne: "So it's an evil limo. I get that, but does that mean we don't restock the cherries?" Loved the limo at dawn scene.
Lilah: "If you prefer to be armed during your stay here, we'd have no objections. Just because we've tried to kill or corrupt each and every one of you at one time or another doesn't mean we can't be trusted."
Fred: "You're like the MacGyver of Wolfram & Hart."
Knox: "You're not wrong. I can make practically anything out of a... fully equipped, multi-million dollar lab."
Lilah: "Money, clothes, women. Did I mention we have a juice bar?"
Angel: "This is what you came back from the dead for? To play Let's Make an Evil Deal?"
Lorne: "You know, I mean, it's unbelievable. Secrets of the universe. Like Siegfried, evil; Roy, not so much."
Leave it to Joss Whedon and his merry band of talented writers. This was a fascinating episode, and an intriguing twist for the series. Angel has to be renewed; that's all there is to it.
Four out of four stakes, because any episode that makes me cry gets a four,