Episode # 83
Original Air Date: April 2, 2003
Review by: Anne
Angel reveals that Cordelia saying "my sweet baby" is what gave her away: "my sweet" was the same phrase she repeated when she was talking to Angelus. He grabs her by the throat demanding to know where the real Cordy is. Connor bursts in, shooting Angel with Fred's tranquilizer gun and knocking the others out before leaving with Cordy. At the hotel, Gunn returns and the others inform him that Cordy is The Beast's master. They realize that she's been behind most of the recent events, including murdering Lilah. Wes theorizes that something happened to her after her ascension and he suggests asking The Powers That Be for help. Angel scoffs, saying that they knew what was happening and did nothing about it. Elsewhere, in an old warehouse, Connor asks why Angel attacked her. Cordy lies that Angel hates Connor and has turned everyone against them. She says that their baby will be there soon, but she knows that Angel will find them first. She says there may be a way to speed up the baby's arrival and asks Connor if he can get some "very special things" for her. Angel goes to find Skip, since Cordy told him that Skip was her guide when she became part-demon. Angel realizes that Skip must have been in on it from the start. They begin to fight; Skip is strong, but Angel wins. He renders Skip unconscious before taking him to the hotel. The gang traps him in a spell, and under duress he reveals that the "thing" is Cordelia, she just isn't driving. He says that everything that's happened to them for the past few years has all been to make this birth possible. The only way to stop it is to kill Cordelia. Using a locator spell, Lorne and Wesley find her. Angel tells the others that he's going alone because he can't let them bear the guilt of killing her. Meanwhile, Connor saves a virgin from a vampire, only to knock her out and take her to Cordelia. He clearly knows it's wrong; she tells him to mourn for the girl, but using her blood for their baby will give the girl's death meaning. As Cordy chants, Connor watches the unconscious girl, who wakes up. She cries and begs for him to let her go. Connor suddenly hears a voice in the room and Darla appears, saying that The Powers have sent her with a message. She reminds him that she gave her life for him, and she implores him to listen to the good that's still in his heart. As they talk, he seems to realize that she's right, and he goes to untie the girl. However, Cordy comes in. Realizing that someone's been talking to him, she says the others are trying to trick him. Suddenly Cordy can see Darla. They both talk to Connor trying to convince him of their point; he's visibly torn, until he suddenly exclaims to Darla that she is not his mother. He drags the girl to the other room, where Cordy swings the fatal blow. Connor places a bloody handprint on Cordy's stomach; she goes into labor, and the earth begins to shake. At that moment Angel appears. He and Connor fight briefly before he wins. He raises a sword over Cordy, apologizing, but before he can do more, a bright light bursts forth from her stomach, and a woman appears. Angel charges with the sword raised, but he suddenly stops in awe. Falling to his knees he exclaims that she's beautiful; she smiles and says, "Angel."
As Skip said, the plan had "scope." Basically everything that's ever happened to the characters has been so that this nameless Master thing can be born. My only problem with that is that it's almost too "neat" of a solution. Did the writers really have this entire story in mind for several seasons? I like to think they did, although I'm sure they changed the plan slightly to accommodate Charisma's pregnancy. From the characters' standpoint, they're probably all thinking like Fred: can we really do anything that matters? Gunn's reply that the final score cannot be rigged was well said - and probably not just a little foreshadowing.
Darla's appearance echoed what Gunn said as she urged Connor to do what his heart knows is right. On the other hand, the Cordy-master took away his choice by lying so he would do what she says. Angel said repeatedly that he didn't have a choice, but it is more accurately stated that he'd already made his choice. He could have chosen to let Cordy live and give birth to the whatever-it-is, but he knew that saving the world was the right thing to do. If he hadn't paused to apologize, he might have prevented the thing's "birth."
Darla's appearance also contradicted what Angel said about TPTB: he asserted that they didn't care, but Darla said they sent her with a message. It would appear that they sent her too late, but perhaps they chose that moment for a reason. Clearly Connor was struggling to accept that the girl's death was necessary, so that was probably the best time to try to convince him to do what's right.
There have been repeated comparisons of Connor's birth to the birth of his child - even the bloody handprint was reminiscent of when Darla visited the shaman for answers. Yet the effects of the two pregnancies were opposite: Connor brought out good in Darla, but this baby turned Cordy evil. Darla sacrificed herself for Connor, but Cordy wanted to kill for her child, which is really herself. Connor rejected his real mother for the mother of his child - and his own mother-figure.
The other big difference between this, um, spawn and Connor is that this one isn't a baby, but a full-grown woman. Clearly there's powerful magic at work here: the woman isn't *that* beautiful.
* Cordy knew that Connor couldn't beat Angel; that's why she wanted to speed up the birth.
* Perhaps Fred's question - "Can we do anything that matters?" - is best answered by Angel's epiphany from season two: if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.