Angel 5×12: You’re Welcome

[Review by Alexandra Jones]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: David Fury | Aired: 02/04/2004]

Cordy’s back!

I must confess to having had a total Harmony moment when I found out that this episode was in need of a reviewer. I was jumping around, squealing with excitement just as Harmony does when she’s reunited with her old friend here. And that’s because this episode just fills me with joy every time I watch it – well, right up until I start bawling my eyes out, anyway – and I couldn’t wait to start writing about it.

When I really started to think about the episode in more detail, though, it occurred to me that this is a bit of an unusual one. I think it’s great, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way. But what actually makes it great? It has a decent plot, and some decent character development, but neither of those things are, by themselves, quite enough to earn the episode the high score I’ve given it. No, what’s special about this episode is the way that it gets us to stop and reflect on way this series has unfolded over the years. The 100th episode is an important landmark in any TV show. On a lesser series, I think that we would probably have seen a ‘clip show’ in place of this episode, as an easy way to remind us of the last five seasons. But instead of resorting to such cheap tricks, Whedon and his team give us this excellent piece of television, which provides us with the perfect excuse to indulge in some serious nostalgia.

The return of Lindsey is also a great way to get us thinking about the show’s beginnings. It’s great fun to watch this and reminisce about the show’s earliest episodes. There’s no real reason why Angel and Lindsey should start discussing the Russell Winters encounter from “City of” [1×01] during their big showdown, but this conversation serves as a neat reminder of how these two first met. “Good times,” indeed. And, of course, it also invites us to think about how much has changed since then. I see Lindsey sneaking around Wolfram and Hart, on a mission to bring down its CEO, and I can’t help but remember just how different things were back in the earlier seasons. Once upon a time, Lindsey was the ‘corporate puppet’ and Angel was the one determined to bring down the organisation he represented. Now, the tables have completely turned. Of course, Lindsey’s actions seem to be motivated mostly by jealousy and a long-standing grudge, rather than by any desire for the ‘greater good.’ But we still can’t get away from the fact that Angel’s now somewhere that no one would ever have expected him to be. Even in the earlier seasons things were never really black and white when Lindsey was involved, but now they’ve become even more complicated. Is Lindsey still the bad guy? Or has he now become the underdog? If the circumstances were just a little different, perhaps we’d even be rooting for Lindsey instead of Angel now.

But while Lindsey’s presence adds some great nostalgia to this episode, it’s clear that the real star here is Cordelia herself. However, I recently found out that Cordelia’s return wasn’t the first idea for how to celebrate this landmark: the Angel team had originally wanted to bring Buffy in for a guest appearance. Now, much as I love Buffy, I am so glad that Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t available for this. Firstly, while crossovers are fun, Buffy was never a big part of this show and her return just wouldn’t have had the same impact for me. And, of course, there’s also the simple fact that Cordelia seriously needed – and deserved – an episode like this, after her character was ripped to shreds by the messy twists and turns of the last season. Seeing her again in this episode just reminds me how much she wasn’t there in Season Four. This isn’t just the return of Cordelia: it’s the return of the old Cordelia, who was missing long before she slipped into a coma. A testament to this is the fact that while putting together the ‘quotes’ section of this review, I’ve really had to restrain myself. It would have been very easy for me to put almost every one of her lines in there, because there are just so many classic ‘Cordelia’ lines which make me smile every time. I really struggle to think of any similar moments in Season 4.

I do think it’s a shame that, because Cordelia’s return is so brief, we inevitably don’t have time for as many reunion scenes as we might have liked: she barely says two words to Fred, Gunn or Lorne. However, I also think it’s a fair trade-off, because her scenes with Angel and Wesley more than make up for that. And I’m quite pleased that we do get to see a quick reunion with Harmony. After my review of “Harm’s Way” [5×09] it’s no secret that I have a bit of a girl-crush on Harmony, but it’s also true these two go way back, beyond the start of Angel or even Buffy. There aren’t many relationships in this series that we can say that about, so I think this moment between them is well deserved. Plus, it’s hilarious! I can’t help but giggle at Cordelia’s panicked expression as Harmony jumps on her for a big hug, clearly having forgotten the way their last encounter ended.

The interaction between Cordelia and Wesley is also great fun to watch, and really has me pining for the good old days. Wesley, who hasn’t provided much comedy for the past couple of seasons, just seems to light up when he’s reunited with his old friend. There’s a slight return of the old, goofy Wesley we knew in Season 1, who needed Cordelia to keep him in check. On a show where male/female friendships often turn into love, or at least sex, it’s wonderful to see a genuine non-romantic friendship between these two. I love that Wesley tells Cordy that she looks “really hot” (doesn’t she, though?) and I love her reaction to it. It would be awkward if Angel said it, but Wesley can get away with it. It’s also Wesley who immediately suggests that they take Cordelia shopping, an idea which clearly delights her.

Here we have two people who know each other well, and who have obviously really missed each other. I firmly believe that only Cordy could ever get Wesley using a phrase like “kickin’ it old school,” and the sheepish look on his face after he does so is absolutely priceless. It’s also quite touching that she makes a special effort to say goodbye to him, in her own way, telling him that he “still works the best mojo in town.” In fact, something about the look on Wesley’s face here has me wondering whether he perhaps suspects that Cordelia’s return isn’t quite what it seems to be. It’s almost as if he knows that he’ll never see her again after this. Perhaps I’m reading too much into that, though. Apart from his very brief romance with Fred, I think that this is the happiest we’ll ever see Wesley in this season, and it’s certainly the happiest we’ve seen him for a long time before this. I really like this small reminder of who Wesley used to be, before the events of Season 3 turned him into a much darker character.

Given that many fans of the show really objected to Cordelia’s possession in Season 4, I think it was a smart move by the writers to keep the references to it to a minimum here. It’s not ignored – I think it’s mentioned three times – but we aren’t forced to dwell on it, and Cordelia sleeping with Connor isn’t mentioned at all. This is perfectly fine with me. In fact, I find it rather funny that Jasmine is never even mentioned by name. Instead, she’s referred to as “that higher whatever” and “the thing that possessed Cordelia.” But having said that, I do really like the scene where Cordy and Wesley briefly discuss Lilah’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. Knowing Cordy as well as we do, we might have imagined her to have some fairly strong opinions on Wesley’s involvement with Lilah. But here she doesn’t judge – she now has enough insight to recognise that Wesley really did care for Lilah, however confusing their relationship might have been. When she says “I’m sorry,” it’s not clear whether she’s actually apologising for her own (very debatable) part in the murder, or whether she’s simply conveying her condolences. I like to think it’s both, and I think it’s interesting that Cordelia ends up being one of the very few people whom we ever see showing any sympathy to Wesley after Lilah’s death. It’s a great moment, and it demonstrates how much Cordy has developed over the seasons. And when watching with the benefit of hindsight, we can also see that the knowledge of her impending death has clearly made her keen to tie up the loose ends of her earthly friendships.

Of course, we can’t reflect on the beginnings of the show without also remembering our absent friend Doyle, and I can’t think of a more perfect way to honour him than to have Angel and Cordy re-watch the home video from “Hero” [1×09]. This scene is wonderful, and Glenn Quinn’s own untimely death gives it a particularly exceptional emotional resonance. You can see the genuine emotion on Carpenter and Boreanaz’s faces as they talk about Doyle, and it’s very moving to watch. While Doyle’s time on the show was fairly brief, his death was a major turning point which cemented one of the central themes: we keep ‘fighting the good fight’ no matter how difficult things get. After Doyle’s death, both Angel and Cordelia were more determined than ever to continue their mission of ‘helping the helpless.’ As they watch this video, we have to ask ourselves how much those priorities have shifted. Can Angel still fight the good fight while working for Wolfram and Hart? Have the lessons he learnt from Doyle been forgotten in the years of pain and loss? This conversation about Doyle’s sacrifice takes on an even greater meaning when viewing “You’re Welcome” for the second time. When you know what’s coming, it’s truly heart breaking to hear Cordelia say “He knew what he had to do. Didn’t compromise. Used his last breath to make sure you’d keep fighting. I get that now.” Because that is, of course, exactly what Cordelia’s doing even as she speaks.

I think it’s obvious that I really like this episode. That being said, though, I can’t quite give it a ‘perfect’ score. My biggest problem with it is that with all the excitement of getting Cordelia back on the show, certain plot and character developments don’t seem to have been thought out quite as well as they should have been. The first of these is Angel’s ‘crisis’ at the start of the episode, and the way in which Cordelia apparently helps him resolve it. The second is Lindsey’s plan to use the ‘failsafe’ against Angel. While these things don’t cost the episode very many points, in my opinion, they’re too noticeable for me to be able to ignore completely.

Let’s actually think about why Cordelia’s back. She’s apparently been sent to put Angel ‘back on track’ after he becomes disillusioned with his life as CEO of Wolfram and Hart. So she helps him “beat up a tiny Texan,” and then suddenly, Angel’s fine again. He doesn’t want to quit any more. What exactly has changed here? I can understand that fighting with Cordy by his side would remind Angel of ‘the good fight,’ but how does that make him feel better about staying at Wolfram and Hart? If anything, wouldn’t that make him feel more determined to get back to his old ways? I’ll admit that this does seem to make slightly more sense after the season finale, when we find out that Cordelia’s kiss passed a vision to Angel which sent him after the Circle of the Black Thorn. This at least goes some way towards explaining why Cordelia’s here, and why at the end of this episode she’s apparently okay with Angel staying at Wolfram and Hart. But Angel’s behaviour still doesn’t ring true for me. We know he’s been uncomfortable with his position for some time now. If anything, I would have thought that his encounter with Lindsey would have made him question his choices even more. Shouldn’t all of Lindsey’s jibes about selling his soul and becoming a ‘pathetic corporate puppet’ have stung a little? Why does beating Lindsey, whose status as one of the ‘bad guys’ has always been a bit fuzzy anyway, make him so happy? And, on that note, I must also say that I really don’t like the way he and Cordelia are so smug about letting the Senior Partners whisk Lindsey off to goodness-knows-where. Lindsey’s still human, after all, and I don’t think the thought of him suffering from unspeakable tortures should really put such a smile on their faces.

On a much more minor level, the whole idea of the “failsafe” also bothers me. It’s introduced out of nowhere, resolved far too easily, and then never mentioned again. Lindsey’s plan is quite ridiculous, when you actually think about it. Why would he go to all this trouble to use the Senior Partners’ own weapon against Angel? And, come to think of it, shouldn’t Angel be more bothered in subsequent episodes that there’s apparently a CEO-devouring monster in the basement of his building? I actually find myself wondering whether there really was any failsafe at all. It would be rather cool, and perhaps make a bit more sense, if the whole thing was simply a way for Lindsey to lure Angel into the basement with no one around to help him, so that he could show off his fancy new swordsmanship in one final showdown. This would also help explain away the fact that the promised monster never actually materialises, and the fact that after so much sneaking around, Lindsey doesn’t seem surprised to see Angel and appears to have come prepared for a big fight. However, if this is where the writers were going with all this, then it’s never made clear, and sadly I do think we really are supposed to believe that the failsafe is a real thing. And, with that being the case, having Cordy simply twiddle some dials until she manages to shut the thing down through pure luck is very silly indeed. It’s a suitably lame conclusion to a rather lame plot point.

Having said all that, these flaws are completely forgotten once we get to the final scene between Angel and Cordelia. This is such beautiful work by everyone involved that I’m prepared to forgive pretty much everything else. Now, I don’t mean to be controversial here, but I have to say that I don’t think that Boreanaz or Carpenter will ever be topping my list of the world’s best actors. I think they’re both great, and perfect for their roles in this show, but I also think that the Buffyverse definitely has some much better actors amongst its cast. But, for me, this is what makes the scene at the end of “You’re Welcome” so jaw-droppingly stunning, because they both do such a brilliant job with it and showcase abilities that I never even knew they had. It never fails to have me in tears every single time. It’s even more emotional when watched with hindsight, when we know that Cordelia is now facing up to her own death. I start to well up around the time when she says “I just wish I could be there to see it,” and the tears properly start coming at “I’ll be seeing you.” It’s that bittersweet look on her face which just gets me every time – the fact that while she’s heading towards her own death, she’s still putting on a brave face and trying to make sure Angel doesn’t have to suffer with her.

And then, oh, that kiss, followed by that phone call! Even though I’ve never much cared for Angel and Cordelia as a couple, this is a wonderful moment which briefly turns me into the biggest Angel/Cordy shipper on the planet. It’s the first time they’ve really kissed, without being under a magical influence (Cordelia’s attempt to pass on Doyle’s visions of course doesn’t count) and the music and sweeping camera really do it justice. However, my one niggle with this is that the shadows on Cordelia’s face, plus her hands and hair, mean that a lot of the kiss is actually obscured from view. I briefly wondered whether this was intentional, but I don’t really think it was, and it’s a bit of a shame. But the emotion is still there, and I’m sure I’m not alone in being devastated every time the phone rings and brings it to an end.

And then, finally, we have the gut-wrenching moment where Angel answers the phone. For me, this is one of Boreanaz’s finest moments. We’ve seen Angel dark, angry, brooding, lonely, and any number of similar emotions, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like this before. This is pure sadness: the sadness of someone who has just experienced something wonderful only to realise he will never have it again. Angel’s expression as he realises the truth of what’s happened is just heart-breaking to watch, and I really love the fact that David Fury trusted Boreanaz’s acting enough that he didn’t feel the need to put any emotive music under this moment. The silence as Angel speaks is a poignant contrast with the great musical swells during his kiss with Cordelia, and serves to further highlight the fact that she is now gone, and that he is now all alone once again. Because, while he does still have the rest of Team Angel, I don’t think that any of them even come close to the friendship he had with Cordelia. For me, that’s another one of the reasons why this whole scene works so well. Even if you don’t buy Angel and Cordelia as a couple, the scene can be just as effective if Angel’s losing a best friend rather than a lover.

To conclude this review, I’ll say that I really do think that this episode is a fitting send-off for Cordelia. While a part of me wishes that she could have come back for longer, I also think it’s kind of perfect that she only returned for this one episode. She gets to go out in a blaze of glory, while at the same time paving the way for Angel’s development and decisions in future episodes. It’s a shame that the next few episodes don’t really follow through on everything that was set up in this one: at the beginning of “Why We Fight” [5×13] everything appears to be ‘business as usual,’ without a single mention of the fact that Cordelia’s just died. But as a standalone episode, this one is a complete joy to watch and contains one of the most emotionally poignant scenes I’ve ever seen on Angel. Goodbye, Cordy! It’s been a long time coming, but I’m so glad that we finally got the chance to give you the farewell that you deserved.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Lorne obviously realises that Cordelia’s awake before Angel actually says anything. Everyone else looks anxious and confused when Angel’s on the phone, but Lorne looks knowing and excited.
+ Angel awkwardly trying to join in – twice – when Cordy starts jumping up and down excitedly in her hospital room. It makes me giggle every time.
+ Harmony punching Eve in her annoying, pouty little face. I do try to be as objective as possible, but I’m really not a fan of Eve.
+ Fred not knowing who Lindsey is.
+ Fred looks unbelievably stunning when she gives Wesley ‘the look of love’ during the spell.
+ Lindsey’s reaction when he’s about to get beamed up by the Senior Partners. It would have been so easy for the writers to give him a cheesy ‘noooooo!’ here, but instead we get something that’s much more in keeping with his characters as we know it.

– Charisma Carpenter does have magnificent breasts, but do they really need to be squeezed into such tiny, ill-fitting blouses?
– Eve’s comment about her ‘comings and goings.’ Ah! A joke rife with single entendre.
– While Fred does look jaw-droppingly beautiful, the shot of her gazing at Wesley during the spell is very clumsily pasted in, in an effort to pave the way for their budding relationship in the next few episodes. Without any explanation or context for it, it just ends up looking a bit silly.
– Eve’s expression at the end of the episode is more ‘sulky teenager who just got grounded’ rather than ‘devastated woman whose boyfriend just got sent to hell.’ Did I mention that I don’t like Eve?


[Score]

92/100

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41 thoughts on “Angel 5×12: You’re Welcome”

  1. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on February 8, 2012.]

    Wonderful job, Alex! Your review just made me so happy and made me revisit the episode in my mind. And I agree with you, this is a wonderful send-off to Cordelia and for me, washes away all the badness in season four regarding her character. I also have to say that I cry my eyes out too.

    What a great way to start my day! And will you reviewing anything else?

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  2. [Note: Brachen Man posted this comment on February 8, 2012.]

    Great job, Alex. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to see it didn’t recieve a perfect score, but I understand your complaints. I just absolutely loved this episode so much, and it really was the perfect send-off for one of the best Buffyverse characters. Plus, that moment where Angel finally gets the upper hand in his fight with Lindsey and says ‘I’m Angel. I beat the bad guys’ is definitely one of the series best moments.

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  3. [Note: Alex posted this comment on February 8, 2012.]

    Brachen Man, I think I’m probably a bit harsh with my grades and this one probably is a candidate for a perfect score – I’m sure there are plenty of reviewers out there who would have given it one. I just found a couple of things too difficult to ignore, but the things that this episode gets right are truly perfect.

    But I have to say, I find the ‘I beat the bad guys’ speech a bit cheesy! Different strokes, I guess. I think my main problem is that he’s fighting Lindsey, who I always liked a lot, and who isn’t just a black-and-white villain. So I had a bit of a problem with the way that the victory over Lindsey is portrayed – it’s clearly supposed to have me cheering for Angel and feeling really happy for him, but it doesn’t. Just like I had a problem with Angel and Cordy being so smug about Lindsey getting whisked away by the Senior Partners. And, well, you can imagine how I feel about Lindsey getting shot in the season finale!

    Buffyholic, thanks for your comments – I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m currently down to review ‘Conviction’ next, which I plan to get started on this weekend. And then, we’ll see…

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  4. [Note: Brachen Man posted this comment on February 8, 2012.]

    No Alex, you’re right. It does have flaws. I was just saying that if I reviewed it I would have ignored any flaws because of all the great stuff. (I’m probably not the best at being objective.) Also, I only like the ‘I beat the bad guys’ speech in the context it’s presented in. I absolutely loved the character of Lindsey and his death really soured the series finale for me. My issues with Angel in season 5 are too great to go into here, but suffice it to say Lindsey made far too many good points and arguments in his tenure on this show for me to ever call him a real villain.

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  5. [Note: Alex posted this comment on February 9, 2012.]

    What I found saddest was that Angel’s fake plan to put Lindsey in charge of W&H actually seemed like a brilliant idea. I think Lindsey would have been kind of perfect for that role. I believe that if we’d had a season 6, we might have seen Lindsey finally mellow and join Angel’s side once and for all. I always felt like he was just generally pissed at the world and never quite fitted in anywhere. But perhaps we should leave this discussion until the review of Not Fade Away appears.

    And I know I’m always going on about how much I dislike Eve, so I’m sorry to sound like a broken record, but I find her relationship with Lindsey incredibly unconvincing. I think it’s the lack of back-story which does it. I need more information about how and when they got together, and how Lindsey persuaded her to turn against the Senior Partners. It just feels like another thing which probably got cut out of the season due to time pressures.

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  6. [Note: Brachen Man posted this comment on February 9, 2012.]

    It often feels like everything was cut out of season 5 for time pressures. That’s hardly the fault of the writing staff, but it keeps an otherwise excellent season from becoming truly great, like Angel Season 2, which is my favorite season.

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  7. [Note: Alex posted this comment on February 10, 2012.]

    Uh oh, you’ve opened the flood gates now. Apologies for the upcoming rant!

    Firstly, I’m sure that some people do like Eve. I, however, am most definitely not one of them – as you’ve probably gathered.

    The thing I have trouble deciding is whether they did a very good job with her, or a very bad one. I tend to lean towards the latter, but I can also appreciate that since she’s detested by the whole of Team Angel, maybe I’m supposed to detest her too. And if that’s the case, then it certainly works on me.

    I usually try not to be mean about individual actors, and having heard Sarah Thompson on the DVD commentary she seems really sweet, so I don’t want to slag her off too much. In any case, I think my problems with Eve stem more from bad writing and bad characterisation than from bad acting, but unfortunately I do find that a bit iffy at times too. The ending of this episode being a prime example – Eve’s sulking is just so unconvincing! As is the part when she says ‘ok, stop, I’ll tell you’ after getting a slap from Harmony. Although, as pointed out by Christian Kane in the DVD commentary, she does a great job of taking a stunt-slap from Mercedes McNab.

    I think that what I dislike most of all about the character is the way she flips back and forth between seductive femme-fatale and cutesy little girl. I guess that could have worked, but it just doesn’t. I also don’t like the way we’re supposed to believe there’s some kind of sexual tension between her and Angel. That really doesn’t come across until Lorne points it out in ‘Life of the Party’, which made me go ‘huh? No there isn’t’.

    She also has some truly TERRIBLE lines. Such as ‘were we having some gentleman’s time?’ (eww) and ‘we’ve got trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for prophecy’. How are we supposed to take her seriously when she talks like that?

    And her relationship with Lindsey is totally unconvincing. That’s not really her fault, though. We needed some back story for it to have any relevance, in my opinion. That would have made a really interesting flashback, I think. Was Eve already working at W&H while Lindsey was there? Was that where they met? How long has she been working against the Senior Partners?

    So… yeah. You get the idea. I really don’t like Eve.

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  8. [Note: Anonymous posted this comment on February 11, 2012.]

    As for detesting Eve since Team Angel detests her, I’ve never believed that. I always thought they detested Eve since she worked for the Senior Partners and was one of the “bad guys”. Just like Spike in Season 2 of Buffy. No one likes the “bad guys” even though we can enjoy them.

    As for the lines that make people not want to take her seriously, I guess it depends on whether she is trying to be serious or not. If she’s not trying to be serious, lines like that work. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the episode with the “we’ve got trouble…” line, so I’m not sure if she’s trying to be serious or not.

    As for the relationship, I view it as similar to Angel/Cordelia or Connor/Cordelia; one bad relationship doesn’t make the character unlikeable, although maybe that’s because Angel was in 11 seasons total (6 on Buffy; 5 on Angel) and 8 seasons (3 on Buffy; 5 on Angel) and Eve was only in 1 season.

    Maybe it’s also because whenever there is something “wrong” with a character, I view it as “I can’t let one mistake cause me to hate a character”. Perhaps when a second (different) thing happens that is “wrong” with a character, I say the same thing rather than viewing it as an additional “wrong” thing. Assuming I agree with the 4 things you mentioned about why you hate Eve, I would often view it as each are separate things (and thus can be forgiven for being minor) rather than the 4 problems make it 1 big problem. I hope I made sense, and that I haven’t incorrectly stated your view.

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  9. [Note: Sue posted this comment on February 12, 2012.]

    Excellent review. And I think you hit the score just right. It’s easy to be giddy over Cordelia’s return but there was something lame about the fail safe.

    This is the only episode I truly bawl at (uncontrollably) every time. Other episodes have moments where I’ll cry or tear up but the ending gets me every single time for “You’re Welcome.” And you’re right about the acting be far superior than usual. I loved that last scene.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard the interview Carpenter did a few years ago but apparently she didn’t want to come back if she was going to die. Then she gets the script and she dies. After reading it though, she was satisfied with how her character went out. I was too.

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  10. [Note: daniel posted this comment on March 4, 2012.]

    Appartenly they were going to bring SMG for this episode and Charisma was a second choice ( since smg was doing the grudge) good job it worked out this way otherwise may not have got closuser for cordy:(

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  11. [Note: Alex posted this comment on March 12, 2012.]

    Hello alfridito017, I’m Alex and I’m the one who wrote this review. No, I haven’t written a foreshadowing section for this episode and I don’t plan to do so.

    I can’t speak for other reviewers, but the way I usually treat the foreshadowing section is that I only use it for minor foreshadowing that isn’t already covered in the main review. I use it in a similar way to the Pros/Cons section, which generally covers things that are either pretty awesome or pretty lame, but not really important enough to warrant any attention in the actual review.

    I’m perhaps a little more lax with the foreshadowing section than other reviewers – this isn’t the first of my reviews not to have one. But in this episode, with so much of the focus on looking back and reminiscing, I really didn’t spot anything which I felt particularly called for a separate foreshadowing section. However, if you think I’ve missed some foreshadowing that I should have talked about, I’d love to hear about it!

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  12. [Note: Antoinette posted this comment on March 27, 2012.]

    wasnt this episode written for buffy, not cordelia. I think it would have been better for buffy, but smg couldnt do it so they rewrote it for cordelia. and sorry if this was already said lol 🙂

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  13. [Note: Alex posted this comment on March 27, 2012.]

    It has already been said, but don’t worry, there’s a lot to read on one page and it’s easy to miss some of the details!

    I don’t know if they got as far as actually writing the episode for Buffy, but they did approach Gellar first to see if they could bring her back for it. Because she wasn’t available, they approached Carpenter instead.

    I don’t agree that Buffy would have been a better guest-star, though. As I said in my review, Cordelia was a MUCH bigger part of this show than Buffy was. Of course this show was a spin-off from Buffy’s, and Buffy was the star of that. But this is also a separate show, and Buffy had barely appeared in it, compared to Cordelia who’d been in almost every episode of the last four seasons. An appearance from Buffy would have delighted the fans, but (in my opinion) it wouldn’t have had anywhere near as much emotional impact or relevance as Cordelia’s. Cordelia really needed some proper closure and this episode provided the perfect conclusion to her story.

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  14. [Note: Antoinette posted this comment on March 27, 2012.]

    I just read the entire review, and yaa i competely agree. the first time i watched the episode i was very young, like 10, so i was very disapointed it wasnt sarah michelle gellar. but looking back on it im glad it was cordelia, and your right, it makes more sense for the show to bring back cordelia. i love this episode 🙂 and i love your reviews

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  15. [Note: peter posted this comment on March 27, 2012.]

    This sounds kinda silly but I quite like Eve as a character I think the accent is cool ( i come from the uk) and she is pretty ^^; I just like the way Sarah Tompson plays eve as a innocent but you know she is shifty. Shame she leaves after ” A hole in the world

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  16. [Note: Alex posted this comment on March 27, 2012.]

    Thank you, Antoinette! Both for taking the time to read my review, and for your kind words. I’m not sure if you realise this, but the Angel reviews aren’t all written by the same person. This particular one was written by me, and I also wrote a few others, but the rest were written by various other people. Everything up until early Season Four was written by Ryan, and the rest are being finished off by a group of volunteers from the forum here. I’ve had so much fun being a part of it!

    Peter, I’m from the UK too 🙂 and no it doesn’t sound silly at all. I don’t like Eve but I don’t think there’s nothing to like about her.

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  17. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on June 10, 2012.]

    very fine review Alex; can’t think of much that needs adding except to admire the writers of S5 for dealing with the low budget, this is another W&H set episode (much like Dollhouse ended up) but it still feels glossy and epic (compare it to Buffy S7).

    i think Cordelia’s goofy solution is a nice nod back to the character’s younger days and they don’t overdo it. Fury writes good Cordelia and here is the best performance from Charisma in an age. DB too.

    i wonder if Lindsey’s plan may have been to go upstairs all along and would have played out in S6 but that had to change come cancellation? Sure is good to see him again on the show… but, like her or not, i feel sorry for Eve since Lindsey = Lilah to 99% of viewers.

    and dear God but the end is a choker, i blub big wytchy tears every time i watch it!

    Like

  18. [Note: Odon posted this comment on July 27, 2012.]

    Fred falling for Wesley during a spellcasting session makes sense; we all know the effect that stuff had on Willow and Tara. 😉

    Like

  19. [Note: disaronnus posted this comment on August 17, 2012.]

    Impressive review. I’ve been lurking on Critically Touched for over a year, but for some reason I finally felt I had to write. The more I re-watch parts of Season 5, the less enamored I am with it. I do remember not entirely loving it the first time, though I couldn’t articulate why. These reviews have been extremely useful, so much great analysis.

    I just re-watched this episode again for the first time since I watched all of Angel (4 years ago). I love how Cordelia takes Angel to task for what he did to Connor, and for erasing (or “raping” as Cordelia says) his friends’ memories. Not just because it’s one of the only times this is brought up this season, and the only time any character outright confronts AND condemns Angel about it. It feels satisfactory to me in a way it doesn’t in Origin and after…perhaps because it’s Cordelia, his closest friend and confidant, the compass (and the heart) of the show.

    But then I have a lot of issues with Angel’s “Connor decision”, which Mike unpacks nicely in his review of Home. Maybe these comments belong more on that review or Origin. I see the lack of attention paid to this issue as a big flaw of Season 5, probably the biggest. It could have been a great source of conflict, character development and thematic power. If only it hadn’t been dropped after this episode. There was just so much potential here. If the writers had followed through with everyone’s confusion here, it would have tied in beautifully with the last few episodes of the season, when everyone starts to seriously distrust Angel. The groundwork for that could have been paved sooner..it would have also been an organic and compelling way to bring Wesley, Fred, Gunn and Lorne closer together (and Spike). And maybe helped make Fred and Wesley’s relationship less forced by giving them a common aim to bond over (imagine the fallout for everyone when they regain their memories). Maybe Spike would have continued trying to help the helpless, which I seem to recall gets dropped after this episode. After all, did Gunn’s, Wesley’s, Lorne’s and Cordelia’s memories of Angel’s actions in Season 2 get erased too? Presumably they remember that Angel had gone off the rails before…Reunion was no small thing. (Think if Lindsey had brought that up during their fight.)

    Hindsight is 20/20, and I know they got cancelled suddenly…still I think of the possibilities.

    Like

  20. [Note: Dave posted this comment on November 10, 2012.]

    Boreanaz pulled that final scene off with a numbing performance. A few tears fell, and that pulse of emotion left me utterly, completely, painfully numb. An absolute masterpiece of acting that allows me to easily ignore any flaws in this episode.But I’m no critic; I’m a viewer looking for entertainment and immersion, and this episode delivers in spades.

    Like

  21. [Note: Theresa posted this comment on July 8, 2013.]

    Just as a sidenote: I do believe the kiss between Angel and Cordelia is somewhat obscured to hide the tell-tale vision light. The light would of course be visible even when shadowed and the first angle would give the light enough time to transfer, but the obscurity does hint that everything “is not as it seems.”

    Ps. Read a beautiful piece on Cordy entitled “The Assassination of Cordelia Chase.” Recommended!

    Like

  22. [Note: Biogirl posted this comment on August 21, 2013.]

    I too found Angel’s ‘I’m Angel I beat the bad guys line’ a little cheesy. Not sure if it was in the delivery, the timing, or what exactly. Sometimes those kind of lines work, and send chills up my spine. This time it fell flat for me, and I actually kind of cringe when I watch it.

    I also don’t quite understand why Angel would throw away the sword after he pulls it from his belly. I mean I get that the tone of the fight needs to change, but it pulls me out of the scene for a moment while I mentally berate Angel.

    Like

  23. [Note: Smallprint84 posted this comment on January 7, 2014.]

    Very good episode.
    Also it was very emotional for David personally (Charisma also ofcourse) to see the video of Doyle back (S1-Hero), because David and Glenn Quinn were also good friends offscreen. For David and Christian was the whole “fake Doyle” storyline uncomfortable.

    Like

  24. [Note: Tamfun2003 posted this comment on January 30, 2014.]

    I will heartily second Theresa’s opinion that the article by Jenny Crusie “The assassination of Cordelia Chase” is a very excellent one. When Cordelia says at the end of this episode, “the powers that be owed me one and I didn’t waste it” I always thought that what they actually owed her was to give her her life back for the idiotic plot device that put her in a mystic coma to begin with. Or as Crusie says in her article, “evidently that’s the point that the writers lost their minds.” It’s a must read.

    Like

  25. [Note: Robert posted this comment on May 20, 2014.]

    I also loved this episode. There’s a youtube video of Charisma at a Sci-Fi convention talking about it (from a few years ago). At first she said she was hesitant to come back after what happened during S4 and how unceremoniously she was written out of S5. Then she said she’d come back but only if they didn’t “kill” Cordelia. Obviously they did intend to kill the character, and Charisma was devastated, until Jeffrey Bell told her the storyline and her reaction was simply, “oh…that’s GOOD…”. So, despite them going against her wishes I’m still so very glad she came back, and what a way for this wonderful character to go out.

    The only thing that bothers me about this ep though (other than what’s already mentioned by others above) is Lorne’s empathic cluelessness about the full circumstances of Cordy’s return. I know she didn’t sing for him, but still he has sensed things before without the subject singing for him, such as knowing in S4 about Connor and Cordy’s hookup just from “sensing a vibe”. Wouldn’t he be able to sense something as big as Cordy’s “I’m back but I’m about to die” vibe? It seems as though the writers only used his empath abilities whenever it was convenient to the plot, and I wish they been more consistent with it. It would have been nice also to see a brief moment of understanding between the two characters, or at least an unspoken acknowledgement by Lorne to Cordy about the true nature of her return, but I suppose the writers didn’t want to risk tipping their hand before the big surprise reveal in the last scene with Angel. Oh well – it’s a minor criticism, and regardless of it I still love this ep and consider it to be one of the best of the series.

    Like

  26. [Note: Seele posted this comment on May 20, 2014.]

    To be fair, his abilities do come from the people sending Cordelia back in the first place, and they’ve never been reliable to begin with 😉

    Like

  27. [Note: Ari posted this comment on May 30, 2014.]

    Really enjoyed your review. I can tell that you really loved this episode, like me! I agree with a lot of your criticisms, especially the one about it being silly that Cordy (through pure luck, lets face it) got the machine to stop and halted the failsafe monster, just by twiddling with the buttons. I think, here they could’ve given Fred and Gunn more to do, than just watch while Wesley does a spell (which is fine and true to character and Wes had actually been doing research on the tattoos earlier in the episode). I think it would’ve made sense if Angel had brought Fred or Gunn (or both!) down with him, including Spike and ninja Cordy (whenever she has that katana I call her that).

    First, its not like Fred and Gunn are helpless (to a degree). Second, Fred, being the top science and technical expert in Angels core team, would’ve probably been able to figure out how that machine works (assuming its similar technology she uses in her own W&H super lab. In fact, it would’ve been nice seeing the girls (Cordy & Fred) in an actual team fight scene together for once (After all, Buffy girl power is Whedon’s mantra).

    Or at least bring Gunn downstairs because, 1) he’s a fighter (he could’ve easily taken on those zombies if Cordy can take them on also) 2) he himself complains about not being there fighting 3) he is a supernatural lawyer now……you’re telling me that the one guy on team Angel that knows more about the senior partners (probably more than Angel) wouldn’t have at least SOME insight into how this failsafe thing works? Even if if he didn’t know about the failsafe, based on how Eve described it as being a plan B to stop Angel, we know (from a later episode) that Gunn is well-read on Angel’s contract (probably knows the fine print in everyones contracts), whether he studied those contracts or just knows it by rote thanks to the brain upgrade, and this is probably something he would’ve been able to figure out. Plus he knows some demon languages, that helps too…

    Sorry for the long comment. Would like to know what you guys think. =)

    Like

  28. [Note: Monica posted this comment on July 22, 2014.]

    I can easily consider this my favorite episode of television ever. I can’t think of another time when I was so engrossed in something for 45 minutes to where I refused to look away. Sure, the safelock wasn’t the strongest plot in the world, but that didn’t mean a thing to me. The wrongs that season four made can not fully be made up for, but “You’re Welcome” fixes as much as any single episode possibly could have.

    David Fury encapsulates everything that made Cordelia a worthwhile character, making us remember exactly why she was an essential member of Angel Investigations. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see her have any moments with Gunn, Fred, and Lorne, but it was a very smart move to write in a final scene alone with Wesley. Although I support season three more than most, the way that they completely abandoned Wesley and Cordelia’s very strong friendship at the end of the season was absolutely disgusting and a real low point for the series. I was thrilled that they got one more scene together, especially one reminiscent of the good old days at the office/hotel.

    The last scene is my favorite scene of television ever, and I was in tears the first time I watched it. Absolutely incredible! Joss Whedon really pieced together a beautiful scene that sent Cordelia off in a blaze of glory, and it helped that Charisma Carpenter and David Boreanaz were totally on their A-game. I never cried for a tv show like I did when I first watched that scene.

    As much as I would have loved to see Cordelia ride out the final episodes with the rest of the gang, it certainly made sense for her to meet her end in this episode. I take solace in her death by believing that this episode wouldn’t mean as much to me if she had lived.

    Overall, a great send-off to an even greater character. It put a VERY strong end to a near-perfect (yet still my favorite) character arc that was only brought down by one major screwup by writers who clearly…lost their minds. It still pains me to know that this episode was never even intended to happen, and was only made because Sarah Michelle Gellar made a wonderful decision to turn down a guest appearance. Because of decisions like that by showrunners who apparently forgot about the strength they had in a character like Cordelia for the final two seasons of Angel, I won’t ever completely forgive Jeffrey Bell or Joss Whedon. In my opinion, the absence of David Greenwalt really put the show in a bizarre direction that I didn’t care for, but at least I still got what I wanted most ~ a fitting and worthy sendoff for Cordelia.

    Let’s not get me started on the next episode. Let’s just say I loved how it did what a serialized, character-driven show should do and didn’t just hit the reset button. That was great.

    Like

  29. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 6, 2015.]

    I so loved your review! I think it’s the first time that I totally agree with someone about a Buffy/Angel topic… and that is saying a lot 😀

    Eve. To me it’s not only about not liking her, I find her uninteresting, especially compared to Lilah, and overall useless. Except that in this plot the writers needed someone to partner Lindsay with, or else how could they give us glimpses of what he was planning? so in my opinion she was convenient but nothing more.

    Lindsay. Now HE was interesting! I think later on the show he could have been redeemed and the treatment Angel gave him was very wrong. And can I say how much I dislike that Angel is shown playing God and deciding who deserves redemption (usually the pretty girls) and who doesn’t (all the others)? Of course that has more to do with Not fade away because in this episode Lindsay definitely needed a good kicking but, as you said, Angel and Cordelia didn’t need to be smug about it.

    The ‘I’m Angel’ line came out really conceited but it wasn’t the first time so it was very in character to me.

    Spike. I love how willing he is to back Angel and Cordelia, even after being constantly treated badly!

    The conversation between Angel and Cordelia. It was inconsistent and unbelievable and forced. From a writer and viewer’s point of view I agree with you: knowing about the vision kiss makes Angel and Cordelia’s behaviours understandable, because in the end Angel has good reasons to stay at W&H. except that Angel didn’t know yet of the vision (he had it later on that night) and from what we know of how the visions work neither did Cordelia. So shouldn’t they have acted differently? Angel said at the beginning of the episode that he wanted to quit and now Cordelia is berating him… so why does he makes excuses for his choices? why doesn’t he tell her that she is right and that he will quit? and why does she end her lecture with a pat on his back? it comes out as a “you have been seduced by the evil but that’s fine, go on, because you are Angel and you are ‘good'” and it makes me question Angel’s sincerity.

    Final scene. Perfection! I’m glad SMG couldn’t guest star because as much as I love Buffy, I cringe at the idea that this could have turned out like I will remember you. I definitely prefer the quiet pain you can see in Angel and Cordelia’s faces to the over dramatic flow of tears we have in IWRY. Also I love that Cordelia didn’t spill the truth as Angel did. That’s true love to me and this episode is a real masterpiece

    Like

  30. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on September 11, 2015.]

    It’s understandable that people love the Cordelia character. That doesn’t mean S4 was uninteresting or bad. They did a great job creating a complex arc that was far more interesting than S3’s. In that season you had Sahjhan and Holtz walking around explaining the plot to each other (and us) with frankly dull motivations. There were problems with CC and her involvement with the show as early as S3 and pregnancy usually throws spanners into the works, especially if you reveal it late, so they did a great job with very little warning. Everything in S4 adds up if you take the time and care to examine it properly and not relying (like so many fans do) on the opinions of others to inform your view. I find something new in S4 every time I watch it. It’s thought-provoking and very complex. Most importantly the villain has a GOAL, a plan that is in constant motion even though the fang gang can’t see it until it’s too late.

    I do think Team Angel loses its ‘heart’ and ‘compass’ in S4 and 5. It was usually Cordelia that kept them on track and grounded. You know that Cordelia wouldn’t have taken W&H’s offer in ‘Home’. But sadly she wasn’t there and everyone was drawn in by the benefits at the cost of not seeing or considering the cost. It’s brilliant to see Cordelia back in this episode, and its a fitting end to a great character that offscreen problems screwed up more than writing issues. Unfortunately Cory could never have joined W&H, so dead or not, I don’t think she would have been involved after this episode’s story. She had far too much integrity for that. The good thing is, after this point, Angel gets back on track and begins to see what working for W&H truly means.

    Like

  31. [Note: ethanj31 posted this comment on September 15, 2015.]

    Yay, i’m not the only ‘3years later’ post, ha. Just commenting on the fact of ‘not buying Angel and Cordy’s reaction to Lindsay being taken that way,’ remember that they were very angry with him for impersonating Doyle, so that probably pushed him well into the ‘deserves what he gets’ area of their thoughts.

    Like

  32. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on September 18, 2015.]

    That’s a great point. Lindsey impersonating Doyle was reportedly difficult even for the actors, because David Boreanaz and Christian Kane were both friends with Glenn Quinn.

    I completely buy Angel and Cordy’s reaction to Lindsey getting what he deserved. Angel offered Lindesy a way out back in S1 and he threw it back in his face, gave him his blessing to live a better life in S2 and none of it changed him as a person. Angel realises this when he impersonates Doyle and probably realises that he’ll always be part of the problem.

    Like

  33. [Note: Monica posted this comment on May 3, 2016.]

    I don’t disagree with you whatsoever. The season four plot IMO is a lot messier than season three’s, yet I may even agree that it is more interesting. I’d never take that away from season four, if it has one strength it’s that you can’t stop watching (except the Jasmine arc got old if I remember correctly).

    I still wouldn’t say they did a “great” job with the situation. As I mentioned, the season, in my opinion, is pretty messy and manages to fuck up a six-year character arc with no plans of redeeming it (this ep wasn’t the initial plan). For a show that’s meant to place so much importance on character I just can’t really accept or condone or justify such an action. It may be one flaw but, to me, it’s a flaw that puts a really dark cloud over a possibly very intriguing and successful season.

    Like

  34. [Note: josy posted this comment on September 25, 2016.]

    I really like this episode, i never see a real chemestry between Angel and Cordy (as a romantic couple) until the last scene, here is where i start wishing see more of them as a couple, and i feel sad when i remember this is Cordy´s goodbye.

    Like

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