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original air-date: 02-04-04

Can an episode be both wonderful and disappointing at the same time?

Perhaps it is the brilliance that makes a few minor flaws more evident.

That being said, this episode is for the most part a tight, well done offering that will likely leave most fans very satisfied. If nothing else, Cordelia’s return is cause for celebration.

Miss Carpenter, hair looking resplendent for the first time in a while, turns in a solid performance despite her hiatus (perhaps she was just happy to shoot some scenes without the dreadful Vincent Kartheiser). A nice mix of humor, Jiminy Cricket-ry (not to be confused with Jiminy Glick-ery), and nostalgia eventually gives way to a sad ending that may leave even the soulless teary eyed. After seeing this episode, many long time viewers will probably conclude that the show was better with Cordelia than without.

And whether inspired by this return or the 100th episode milestone, David Boreanaz also shines here. Angel is often most entertaining when he is put on the defensive. Cordy, plucked from her mystical coma into a world turned upside down, is the perfect agent to knock Angel off balance while simultaneously getting him back on track. Specifically, the Powers That Be (oh yeah, remember them? Guess they still do give a “shanshit” about Angel) send Cordy a vision about the threat posed by the tattooed man, a.k.a. Lindsey.

Speaking of the latter, Christian Kane does a much better job this week. But even his enjoyable portrayal of the one time W&H rising star can’t hide some fundamental problems with the story of late. For example, why did Lindsey and Eve even bother to send Spike to save Angel from the psycho-slugs? Why not just leave him trapped in a vegetative state? What was the whole point of convincing Spike to play hero anyway? Doing so had absolutely no effect on Lindsey’s plan to activate the so-called failsafe.

And why are Lindsey and Eve so worried about Cordelia waking up? They don’t know about her visions.

Of course, these questions all assume you buy into the basic premise of Lindsey’s vengeance. The fact is, he really didn’t seem that hellbent on revenge when he left LA. What happened to him that changed his mind? How did he hook-up with Eve?

And really, after all the set-up this season about that particular UC Santa Cruz alumna, that’s it? Not that Eve’s been a popular character, but what a letdown! And hey, the two of us who are actually fans (me and my birthday twin Alison) are really disappointed. Hopefully the writers still have a trick up their sl-Eve.

It just seems a little disappointing that the Lindsey-Eve arc has just been throwaway filler to keep the fans occupied until the writers introduce the main arc for the season. It would have been more satisfying if they could have tied that arc to whatever lies ahead. Perhaps they still will.

In any case, even slow witted viewers know now that whatever comes after next week’s throwaway flashback episode is the main course.

Still this episode makes a very satisfying appetizer. Congratulations to the cast and crew of Angel on their 100th episode.

And a special thanks to Charisma Carpenter. We’ll miss the wonderful job you did in developing Cordelia from Sunnyvale high school bitch to the beloved Heart of the Fang Gang.

Chris Crotty

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