Angel, “You’re Welcome”

You will be missed.

By Anthony Karcz
September 16, 2004

So we’ve finally made it. After 99 episodes of snarky comments, brooding anti-heroes, hell dimensions, and dust bunnies aplenty, ANGEL celebrates its 100th episode. So far be it from the crew to let this anniversary fall by the wayside. Not by a long shot. “You’re Welcome” features the return of our favorite coma victim, Cordelia Chase.

OK — forget about having a well thought out opinion of the ep. I’d just like to say the following: Why can’t they bring back Cordy permanently?!!! WHY?! My God — I’m actually regretting giving last week’s ep a perfect score, because, obviously I’ve forgotten what a perfect ANGEL episode can be. Last season definitely didn’t have it, and this season, while good, still hasn’t had it. Know why? Because our girl hasn’t been on the scene. While Fred might be standing in as the conscience of the group — it’s Cordy that really shines in that role. She knows how Angel ticks and how to show him all the good parts of him that he so often ignores. She knows exactly what to say to bring out the best in Wes and Gunn, too. Hell, the girl even wields a mean katana. The show just works better with her and it’s a damn shame that whatever wonky shit that happened behind the scenes to keep her of the show couldn’t be resolved.

Whew. Got that out of my system (for the moment).

So, yeah, the moment we’ve all been expecting since the beginning of the season finally arrives. No, not Cordy waking up; but Angel giving up. Standing over the drained bodies of five nuns, Angel hands in his papers, realizing that he can’t take the hypocrisy of fighting evil and representing it at the same time. Of course, it’s right about the time that the Powers-That-Be decide he needs a bit of a kick in the ass, Cordy style. One vision later and she’s baaaa-ack!

While the crew tries to convince Angel to stay (with Gunn getting the worst of Angel’s ire — knew that W&H brain dump didn’t sit well with him), they get the call to come collect their coma patient. So what’s to say — Cordy’s as snarky as ever (in the old-school Buffy tradition) and ready to do some shopping. To sweeten the pot, though, it turns out that Wolfram and Hart’s mojo doesn’t work on coma patients that used to be higher powers. The C word comes up not once, but twice, throwing the entire crew into a series of double-takes. Of course, Angel doesn’t get to explain anything since the Devil stops by to confirm a racquetball date and Eve shows up to play the casual “Oh yeah, Angel and I slept together” card to keep Cordy off balance.

If you’re like me, it’s at this point that you start wondering to yourself “What exactly does a vampire who’s had both hands cut off do for rehab?” Turns out the answer is “Play lots of Donkey Kong” (on the X-Box? Someone needs to have a talk w/ the prop department). Doylsey saunters in to try and pump Spike up, and, after a well-timed call from Eve, turn Rebel Yell into a guided missile to take out Ms. Chase.

We get a tip of the hat to old acquaintances, as Cordy takes a gander at that commercial that she and the real Doyle shot back in the day. And Angel finally gets to tell Cordy about Conner; but only after a serious tounge lashing (in which she’s frequently distracted by the “perks” that she accuses Angel of being enamored with). It’s here where I realize that I miss Cordelia the most. At her best, in Season 3, she was his ground, his tie to humanity. She could always turn the mirror on Angel and show him, not just what he was doing to himself, but how that affects others. This is no different (except that Angel is more into self-flagellation than redemption — even going so far as to call Spike a hero). Cordy cuts right to the heart of Angel’s doubts about his place in Wolfram and Hart, reminds him that he still is a champion.

As Lindsey puts his plan into motion to take that champion down, Cordy and Wes get to chat (and research, just like the old days). And we get to find out that at least some of last season was preserved in the minds of the Angel Inc. crew. Wes certainly remembers Cordy/Jasmine killing Lila. Even though he forgives her for it, says he understands it wasn’t her that did it, we’re cheated out of the real truth (and it’s there, right under the surface) by an all-too-convenient book slip that reveals Lindsey’s tats (or was that “tits”…seems being in a coma gives you an abundance of cleavage to show off). It’s right about this time that Lindsey is giving those tattoos a workout, slipping by surveillance and popping crystals out of demon’s necks; while good ol’ Spike comes home to roost…and feed a bit off Cordy.

It’s here that things really click. After beating down Spike (who was just getting a taste to find out if she had that astringent, oakey-evil taste) and finding out that Doylsey has been playing him, we get a classic interrogation scene with All-About-Eve, who happens to be skulking in the wings. Cordy lays the business down (while Angel tries to play the heavy), even going so far as to threaten the girl’s Minolo Blahniks. Harmony gets a great scene here too when she jumps in and offers to torture Eve (since she’s “evil, and all”) when Angel lets his silly morality get in the way. One spilt plan later, and Angel Inc. is a well-oiled machine again. Wes and Fred are off to work anti-mojo-mojo (with Gunn and Lorne in tow) and Cordy, Angel, and Spike are off to confront Lindsey head-on. And can I just say, I have been dying for someone to take that katana down from the wall since the first episode. I’d like to think that they put it there just for Cordy to rip it down and strike a pose, it works so damn well.

A few run-ins with zombies later and Angel shows up to put the big hurt on Lindsey (who’s busy releasing an Angel-eating demon…W&H’s “failsafe”). There’s a great dynamic here. You can see right from the beginning that it’s Spike and Angel’s holy grail bout all over again. The big man talks a good game, but Lindsey has fire and passion — he’s pissed as hell about Angel taking what he feels should be his and it shows. It also helps that Lindsey got a power upgrade while he was out there “finding himself.” It’s only after Angel is beaten, that Lindsey has taken him down and channeled all his aggression into him, that we get the rising music and the return of the old Angel. Realizing that the doubt he’s been feeling, that the majority of the obstacles in his path at W&H have been put there by Lindsey, gives Angel the edge he needs, gives him back the moral high ground to do the job that he set out to do in the first place — help those that need help the most. Of course, it’s Cordy, Wes, and the rest of the team that really take Lindsey down (shutting down the demon and letting the Sr. Partners know just who’s lurking in their basement).

Before you know it, we’re saying buh-bye to Eve and the crew is ready to go celebrate. But not before one more chat with Cordy and Angel. And it’s just like old times. Angel finally sees what Cordy was saying, having never realized that he could need as much help as any one of the people he tries to protect, distance himself from. Once he’s OK, Cordy tells him that she has to move on (but not before a world-class kiss that leaves Angel speechless). And just when I’m thinking about how cool it would be for Cordy to come back for the final episodes of ANGEL; and hating Fury at the same time for coming up with such a lame excuse for Cordy leaving (“My path is different”)…the phone rings. And it’s a punch to the gut — Cordelia Chase died without ever waking up. It’s the old “ghost”-comes-back-to-save-loved-ones routine (albeit a bit more complex), but it still stings like hell. The Powers gave her one last chance to help Angel and that’s it, she’s gone.

When Cordy first came on the scene back in Season 1, I was amazed at how much she had grown from her early BUFFY days. On ANGEL we got to watch her grow from a flighty, wannabe actress to a selfless, passionate person…who also had a pretty major hand in saving the world. She was the perfect compliment to the team, bringing life to those who had forgotten what it meant to really be living. Her presence on ANGEL will be sorely missed. Forget whatever else you see or read — this is the perfect Angel episode; and, without Cordy, it will be the last.