Episode # 71
Original Air Date: November 3, 2002
Review by: Anne
Angel finds Connor, who broke into the Hyperion to get some things for Cordelia. At Connor's place, Cordelia asks why it still feels like something is missing, and Connor offers to train her, suggesting that perhaps she misses the thrill of the kill. Meanwhile, Fred is asked to give a speech about a physics article that she wrote; prior to the speech, she meets her old instructor, Professor Seidel. Seidel gushes about how Fred is "a natural" and he asks her to stop by his office the next day to discuss her article. Waiting for the lecture to begin, Lilah shows up and sees Wesley, who turned down spending naughty time with her to attend Fred's speech. Shortly after Fred begins, a portal opens up over her, and monstrous tentacles with claws appear. Gunn and Angel save her and send the monster back where it came from. Fred is pretty freaked out by the ordeal, but at Gunn's urging she keeps her appointment to see the professor. Seidel leaves the office for a moment, and Fred observes that one of his books doesn't belong with the others. She opens the book and sees magical symbols, including a picture of the monster that attacked her on the stage. Following a lead from the lecture, Angel and Gunn learn that Seidel is the common link between several other students who disappeared, as Fred did. Fred realizes that Seidel is the one who sent her to Pylea, and she vows that he's going to die for that. Angel and Gunn try to talk her out of it; she appears to give up but sneaks out to seek help from Wesley. Elsewhere, Cordy stakes a vamp while "training" with Connor; caught up in a rush, they kiss. Later, she tells him that she doesn't even know who she is, and she shouldn't have kissed him. He realizes that she is going back to Angel. Fred visits the professor and chants, opening a portal near him. Gunn shows up and saves Seidel from the portal; he says that if Fred kills him Gunn will lose her. Gunn then snaps Seidel's neck and throws his body into the portal. Returning to the hotel, they tell Angel that Seidel was sucked into his own portal, and they dejectedly go upstairs. Angel finds Cordy downstairs, who says that she's realized that she's the same person she was before, and she still doesn't need to be protected. Angel assures her that he won't lie to her any more. She then tells him that she needs to know: were they in love?
What just happened here? (And I'm not referring to the physics jargon, because I thought that was sort of cool.) Fred had just stated that if she hadn't been stuck in Pylea, she wouldn't have had the breakthrough that led to her theory. She was trying to prove to the others how things work out for the best. Then, the second she learned that Seidel was the one who sent her to Pylea, she became a dark, dark figure vowing that he was going to die.
At first, Fred attempted to justify wanting to kill the professor by arguing that he is a serial killer. Later she told Wesley that "it's not about what's right." It appears that the writers were trying to support the statement that living in a hellish dimension changes a person. Previously, we haven't seen that much of a change in Fred. Perhaps being reminded of her time in Pylea then finding out someone she idolized betrayed her are what caused the changes to surface.
If Seidel hadn't tried so boldly to send Fred back to another dimension, he probably would not have been discovered as the common link between the missing students. That was a rather ignorant move on his part. Why did he want Fred gone so badly? Was he that jealous of her? Or did he fear that she was smart enough to find out something that he didn't want known? He left her alone in his office; didn't he realize that she would observe that the book didn't belong with the others?
Declining Lilah's offer to attend Fred's speech may have been a turning point for Wesley. He's lost the coldness that he's had for most of this season. If I remember correctly, he was even wearing his glasses again; maybe that's another sign that he's returning to his old self.
Given his apparent change of heart, I was a little surprised that Wes helped Fred seek revenge on Seidel. Perhaps his willingness to help her is an indication of his feelings for her. His attending her speech could show that they are compatible on an intellectual level. By contrast, Lilah and Gunn being out of place at the lecture could be interpreted that their relationships with Wesley and Fred - respectively - are just physical.
Another common trait between Wes and Fred is that they apparently have what it takes to exact revenge. Fred told Wesley that Gunn "doesn't have it in him." She cited that as one of the things she loves about him. However, in the end we see that he does have it in him, since he killed Seidel. That doesn't bode well for their relationship.
* So, did Seidel send Fred to the library and tell her to read aloud the words that opened the portal? If so, how did she not know before that he was the cause of her time in Pylea?
* About Connor and Cordy, to quote Fred: "that's just ... wrong."