Angel, “Sleep Tight”

This episode rules. Also, down with Eddie Cahill’s Forehead!

By Sarah Kuhn
March 06, 2002

OK, after watching this episode, I have decided that my new hobby is going to be picketing The WB for 1) Making us wait weeks upon end before returning to Mr. Tall, Dark and Tormented and 2) Replacing it throughout said weeks with sucky Glory Days, starring Eddie Cahill and Eddie Cahill’s Forehead. Boo!

This episode is just that awesome, people. I love how they keep building to various dramatic climaxes this year – both “Lullaby” and “Sleep Tight” could totally have been the season finale. To back up a bit, poor, sad sack Wesley (who is having a pretty terrible season overall) has been mooning over the prophecy that Angel will basically have himself a tasty Connor-flavored treat. He goes to see Holtz again behind Angel’s back, and there is general staring and posturing all around from Wes, Holtz and toughie Justine, who is basically a boring Faith in a red wig. Wes ultimately decides that he must bear The Burden of it All, and should take Connor from Angel.

Meanwhile, Angel starts acting all wacky, and Fred and Gunn are kind of annoying in their cutesy-wootsy stage of couple-dom. We eventually figure out that Angel drank some blood spiked with Connor blood, which makes him more fun, but also more dangerous. Wes snatches Connor and actually beans Lorne while doing so, and it all comes down to a majestic stand-off between Angel, Wolfram and Hart, that Scuz-Faced Demon Guy who brought Holtz back, and Holtz himself. Oh, and Wesley gets his throat cut by that double-crossing diva Justine! At this point, I think I need a flow-chart to keep everyone’s motivations straight.

The Angel arc is really kickin’ this year, I must say. I mean, not only have we managed to involve Wolfram and Hart and a new, outside enemy, but there’s also the ever-present tension within Angel HQ, mostly emanating from the newly scruff-ified Wes. And what an amazing character evolution for Alexis Denisof in what essentially started out as a purely comic relief role, and a fairly unpopular one at that. Wes has gone from being nerdy walking joke to somber man of tragedy, and Alexis’ performance and the bang-up writing are the two big fat reasons the transition doesn’t feel at all false. And even though he’s hard enough to take hurt his dearest friends by taking Connor, he still retains his essential core of integrity and sympathy…which in the end, proves to be his undoing.

As to our various pockets of villainy…well, I know I wasn’t all that fond of Holtz in the beginning and I maintain that he sounds more like a narrator for Masterpiece Theater than a hardened revenge freak, but he really does come into his own here, suddenly all crazy and wanting to replace his dead child with Angel’s. Though I kinda dissed Justine earlier, she is actually quite magnetic in her ruthlessness. Lilah – who, to me, has always been a more interesting W&H figurehead than Lindsey of the Foam Hand – is wonderfully bitchy, and also displays curious motivation when she decides she wants the child alive. Is her maternal instinct suddenly kicking in? Not freakin’ likely. And finally, who isScuz-Faced Demon Guy?

It is always a good thing when the questions posed by a show are even more delicious than the answers. This ep gives us even more stuff to chew on, and does it in a fabulous, sweeping way, right up to the point wherein crazy-pants Holtz jumps through the City on the Edge of Forever-esque portal, leaving a pained Angel behind. Angel even could have pulled a “Noooooooooooooooo!” right here and I would have gone with it. Totally gone with it.

So what happens next? Is Wesley dead? And what the hell is poor Cordy gonna do when she comes back to this mess?

Argh. I’m making my picket sign right now, if anyone wants to join in. Down with Eddie Cahill’s Forehead!