Subtlety >> Birthday

C/A spice: Strong

Teasers, oh how they tease us.

Cordy: (eyes welling up with tears) I just want to say... thank you. You believed in me when no one else would. Even in my darkest hours, you were there for me, and that means more than you'll ever know. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I love you.

Okay, who here thought she was talking to Angel? *raises hand*

Cordy: (cont.) To all my fans, this is for you! (raises up a scrub brush like a trophy)

Fred: (applauding wildly) Wow -- that was -- wow. 'Cause... and with the tears? I got chillbumps all up my arms.

Cordy: Yep, that's the famous speech. Not that I'll ever use it, of course, unless they start handing out awards for Best Slime and Grime. (sighs) I swear, next time Angel decides to blow something up, he's cleaning his own scorchmarks.

Angel comes down from the stairs holding the baby.

Angel: Look who's up from his nap...

Cordy: Connor!

Angel: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Dirty people not touching the baby.

Cordy: But pig-drinking bloodsuckers are okay? (off his hurt look) I meant that in a nice way. And when I get back, I got first dibs on the baby snuggles.

Cor heads off to the bathroom. Angel calls out:

Angel: Make sure you get under your fingernails! (then, quietly) Does she know?

And of course later, Cordy comes out of the bathroom and they have a cake. The whole gang sings "Happy Birthday" and Angel sings while holding the baby. The cake has a picture of a superhero girl on it. I think it was Supergirl. While everyone's getting the presents, we have a nice C/A moment.

Angel: You wanna hold him now?

Cordy: Oh yes. (Takes Connor.) The baby, baby.

Angel: I... got you a little something, too.

Cordy: Angel. You didn't have to do that. You've got enought to take care of as it is.

Angel: I'm a champion. We do important stuff. (beat) And hey, who's more important than--

Aww, Angel's so sweet. The present looks like it's in a small box, possibly some jewelry or maybe tickets to something... :-)

Before Angel can give Cordy his gift, the gang re-enters with colorfully wrapped presents.

Wes: You'll have to forgive the wrapping -- (eyeing Gunn) -- some of us seem to have fostered a strange addiction to Scotch tape.

Cordy: Oh, of all the cruel dilemmas. Presents... or (she nuzzles Connor) sweet little baby face? (beat, she looks up) Take the baby.

Angel: You're choosing birthday gifts over my kid?

Cordy: (urgently) Take the baby. Take the baby!

Just as Angel does, Cordy is wracked by a vision and is thrown against the weapons cabinet, unconscious.

Cordy wakes up to find that she's on the astral plane. She's out of her body, which is still lying unconscious on the floor surrounded by the gang.

Angel (gives Connor to Wes): Take him.

Angel bends over Catatonic Cor, pulling her upright.

Cordy: Oh no.

Angel: Come on, Cordy. Wake up. It's all over.

Cordy: (approaches) Angel, I'm fine. Really.

Angel: Come back to us now.

Cordy: I haven't gone anywhere!

Angel: Please wake up.

Wes: Angel, is she --?

Angel and Cordelia: (simultaneously) No!

Angel then concludes that it was a vision. Fred finds the Seltrax and Wes tells Angel it's a highly powerful migraine medication. Gunn suggests...

Gunn: Maybe we should take her to a hospital.

Angel: So they can do what? Do what they did last time -- strap her to a bed and tell us there's no hope?

The Host senses woo-woo vibes, meaning Cordy's catatonia isn't medical, it's mystical. Fred concludes that the visions must be doing more damage that Cordy let on since she was taking Seltrex in secret.

Gunn: This last one musta overloaded her--

Angel: Don't say "last". She'll come out of this. She has to.

Cordy: And she will! For the last time, I'm fine. I may be having a little separation anxiety what with the leaving-my-body and all, but I'm not dying. (beat, desperate) I'm not!

Angel: All right. We know it's a mystical problem, so there's gotta be a mystical solution.

Cordy: There ya go! Great idea!

Angel stands up, Cor in his arms.

Angel: Gunn -- you and Fred head over to Cordy's place --

Cordy: No! Bad idea! Bad idea!

Angel: -- see if she's been... hiding anything else. Anything that might tell us how to help her. Wes --

Wes: I'll hit the books.

Angel's not freaking out as much this time around. He's more determined, taking charge. No way is this happening, not if I have anything to say about it.

Cordy is on Angel's bed and Angel is beside her, holding her hand.

Angel: Cordy? (beat) I know you can't hear me, but... there's something I have to say. (beat) You really piss me off, you know that? I thought we trusted each other, but you've been lying -- MRI's, CAT scans; it's been going on for over a year. (beat) Why couldn't you let me in? I could've helped you. You make me so furious.

Cordy: *You're* furious?

Cordy: I get bodyjacked on my birthday and you're the one that's furious?

Host enters: Knock, knock. How is she?

Cordy: Ready to punch this jerk in the nose.

Who else thought Angel was going to proclaim his love to Cordelia when he said "... there's something I have to say." Mere Smith likes to tease us, just like the first bit in the teaser.

The Host tries to reach Cordy's subconscious, but tells Angel that she's just gone.

Angel: No. This isn't gonna happen.

Angel: (menacing) I don't care how many favors you have to call in. I don't care how many gods you have to cross. You have a connection to the Powers That Be, and you're gonna find me a way to talk to them -- understand?

Host: (slightly nervous, edges back) Angel, honey -- it's not that easy. Contacting the Powers is a muddy, not to mention dangerous, area. Now, I adore Cordy, you know that -- but this is a bit much to ask.

Angel: *I'm not asking.*

The Host adores Cordy, but Angel feels more than that for her.

After that, Angel goes back to the bedside and takes Cordy's hand again. In the shooting script, Cordy watches this and moves to him She reaches out to touch his shoulder, but realizes she can't and pulls her hand back. Cordy waits for Angel to fall asleep (he starts snoring) and she sits into Angel's body. Then, Angel (Cordy) wakes up and moves as if he's sleepwalking to write, "171 Oak" on the wall. Throughout this episode, although she's been bodyjacked, Cordy's still thinking of her vision first. Before she can write anymore, she's thrown out of Angel's body and Angel falls to the floor. Wesley comes in.

Wes: Angel, I just -- (stops) What are you doing on the floor?

Angel: I don't know, I... had this dream that Cordy was here. She was trying to tell me something. Something important.

Cordy: Yes? And?

Angel: (shrugs) Weird. (to Wes) Did you need something?

Cordy: How are you a champion? In what way are you a champion? --

Wes: Fred studied Cordy's latest CAT scans. The news is not good. The tests show widespread neuroelectrical deterioration.

Cordy: Aw, come on... that's just a fancy way of saying --

Angel: She's dying.

A beat, as that hangs in the air. Wes looks away, can't really bear to watch Angel take that in.

Cordy: I think I liked the fancy way better.

Poor Cordy. Poor Angel. He's quiet as Wesley continues to talk to him. Wes offers to watch over Cordy for awhile. Angel just walks away without a word, off in his own world.

Skip appears as Cordelia's guide and takes her to a construct of a mall, where he first shows her the moment Doyle passed the visions to her with a kiss in Hero.

Skip: Yep. That's where it happened: the big cosmic "whoops". Doyle was never meant to give you those visions.

Cordy: Then why did The Powers let him?

Skip: Well, usually they're pretty good at catching that sorta thing, but... what They didn't count on were his feelings for you.

Cordy: You mean, Doyle gave me the visions because... he loved me?

This moment comes into important play later as Mere Smith draws a parallel.

Angel arrives at the Conduits place aka the Whispery Voices place.

Angel: My friend Cordelia has visions given to her by the Powers. They're killing her, I want The Powers to take them back. To let her go. She's suffered enough!

With a TV, Skip shows Cordy the party scene from City Of.

Cordy: Hey, I remember that night.

Skip: You'd been in L.A. a few months, things were kinda lean, and who should you run into...

Angel crosses the frame on the monitor.

Cordy, with sighy kind of smile: --Angel.

Skip proceeds to tell her that her whole life changed that night. She was meant to lead a life as famous actress and tells her that the Power can make that happen. Cordy wonders if they can turn back time.

Skip: They don't go in for that. Much. Think of this as... writing over history. From this moment on, you could live the life you've always wanted. No monsters, no visions, no dying. Not for a long time, anyway.

Cordy: But no Angel.

She says Angel. In the original shooting script, she mentions the others afterwards, too. But I suppose to make Cordelia and Angel's relationship more poignant, in the actual episode, she only says Angel.

Skip: Cordelia -- I want you to listen very closely. You go back into your body, you won't wake up. You will lie there, unable to move, unable to speak, until the next vision hits, and then you will die. That is how that life is destined to end.

Cordy: But that's not fair. How's Angel gonna save that girl if I don't tell him where she is? He needs me.

She's still thinking about the helpless and Angel first, rather than herself.

Skip, then resolute, takes Cordelia to the Conduit's scene where Angel is.

Angel: The visions are too much -- she's not strong enough to handle them.

We see Cordelia, her disbelief.

Voices: Obstinate. It speaks and does not listen.

Angel: No, you're not listening! Cordelia's not a champion! She's a rich girl from Sunnydale playing superhero. Don't The Powers get that? She's weak!

Cordy: Get me out. Skip, get me out, now.

They disappear, though we stay in the scene for a moment.

Angel: You're killing her. She's unconscious and alone and who knows if she's in pain...

Voices: It is angry. It is afraid.

Angel stops, suddenly realizing the truth of that.

Angel: I'm more afraid of her dying than she is? What is that?

Voices: (beat, then simply) Love.

In the final production, the voices don't say anything. The closed captions say "It is hurt.". All in all - "Love." got cut out, but that's okay. Frankly. I don't think Angel needs anyone or anything to tell him what's obvious.

Cordy's very hurt by Angel's word (which of course he didn't mean) and Skip has finally got to her. Everything else Skip's done to convince her didn't work, but this did. Says something, doesn't it? Cordelia agrees to let the PTB give her her dream life - and what a life it is. She's an Emmy winning actress with a ton of starstruck fans, a charmingly dorky assistant, fame, limos, money, and her own sitcom very cute theme song. After all, she's... Cordy! But while she's happy, there's just something that's bothering her.

Cordy: Nev, you ever get a nagging feeling you're supposed to be somewhere doing something but you can't remember what?

This nagging feeling is powerful enough to bring her to the Hyperion and to Angel's room, where she peels off the wallpaper to reveal the words she had scrawled "171 Oak" in the last reality. This takes Cordy to the address to find Wes and Gunn, come to kill the monster. Cordelia hasn't seen Wesley since Sunnydale. After the demon is slayed, Cordy, Wes, and Gunn are outside with Gunn's truck.

Gunn: (innuendo) So is it true you and Wes were... you know? That you had a little...?

Cordy: ...humiliating kiss where he drooled all over my chin? Yeah. Thought I've worked really hard to repress it.

Wes: Right. As much as I'm enjoying this forced death march down Memory Lan --

Gunn: Yo, what is it with you Sunnydale folks and repression? You three are just about the denyin'-est people I have ever met.

Cordy: Three? Who else is here in L.A.?

And this takes her to Angel. Earlier in the mall, Skip tells Cordelia: Have you ever had that vague sensation maybe you left the oven on? Or you were supposed to call someone, just forgot who it was? More to the point, you ever felt that way about your acting career? Then he tells her that this is because she was meant to be an actress, that "Inside every living thing, there's a connection to the Powers That Be. Call it intuition, instinct -- deep down, we all know our purpose in this world." He had meant this as a way to convince Cordelia that her destiny was to be a rich and famous star, but it looks like it backfired. It is true that the "vague sensation", otherwise known as a "nagging feeling", was Cordelia's intuition or instinct to her true purpose in the world - but the purpose was wrong. Even with her wishes come true in a fantasy life, deep down Cordelia knew that her true purpose in the world - was with Angel, and the gang, and the visions. That truth was so strong that it brought her to them.

Wesley and Gunn take Cordelia to see Angel.

Wes: Cordelia, I want you to think about this. Angel's not the same person you once knew. He came to Los Angeles in pain, vulnerable -- and when Doyle, his only friend, died -- he just... retreated into himself.

Gunn: Him gettin' the visions didn't help, either.

Cordy: So let me get this straight: Angel has visions about people who're gonna die. He tells you, you go out and slay, and this is how you make a living? That's gotta be the suckiest job in the world.

When Doyle died in Hero, Angel and Cordelia was all each other had. In Parting Gifts Cordelia told Angel that she knew he was trying to close himself off and opted to make him [paraphrase] "share his grief like normal people deal with loss." But in this world, Cordelia wasn't there to do that.

Wes: I just don't want you to be shocked by his... condition. The visions have taken a toll -- and the isolation... (almost ashamed) Sometimes he sends us out to save people he killed two hundred years ago. (then) Why don't we just tell him you stopped by and said hi?

Cordy: Wesley? (she can't explain it) I have to see him.

Angel: One-seven-one Oak One-seven-one -- do you hear me? I feel better now. One-seven-one. I could be alone here. I won't run away.

Cordy: Oh my God.

Wes: This is one of his good days.

Angel: But first you have to get the -- no I don't mean that. But only if it's dead. It was me. My fault. I'm okay now.

Cor moves to enter, Wes holds her back --

Wes: You don't want to get too close.

Cordy shakes him off, enters.

Cordy: Angel, do you remember me? It's Cordelia.

Angel sees her, darts into a corner, crouches down.

Angel: I'm afraid I'm afraid I'm afraid.

Cordy: Shhh. Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you.

Slowly she moves to him, crouches down. He flinches. Cor looks confused, like too many thoughts are going through her head. Like she's trying to remember if she left the oven on. Tentatively, she reaches out, touches his face, her heart breaking --

Angel: I'm fine. One-seven-one. You'll see. My head doesn't hurt. I think I'm better now.

Cordy: You don't remember me, do you?

Angel: ...and I tried, and it was there and I wanted to die. And I was afraid to die and... One-seven-one there was nothing... My fault. I couldn't do anything.

Cordy: Angel, shhh. It's okay. (slowly) Everything's gonna be okay. Everything's gonna be okay--

And without thinking, Cor leans in and kisses him on the mouth. It's a nice, long kiss, with dramatic background music. It's a very powerful scene onscreen.

Remember the scene where Skip shows Cordy "the big cosmic whoops" where Doyle passed Cordy the visions. It wasn't supposed to happen, but it did because of love, the one thing the Powers That Be couldn't control. Humans are never supposed to have the sight, but Doyle was able to give Cordelia the visions because he loved her. In a parallel, Cordelia was able to receive the visions from Angel because on some plane - she loved him.

Cordy: I remember everything. The visions, they're mine.

Skip: We made a deal. You gave up the visions -- not to mention the certain death that goes with 'em -- and you get to live out your dreams. Call me crazy, I thought it was a pretty fair trade.

Cordy: Sure, it was fair, but it wasn't me. Think about it. I had everything I ever dreamed about, and all it did was lead me back here. Back to Angel and the guys. -- How do you explain that?

Cordy: (cont'd) This is the life I'm supposed to live.

She gets it. Maybe the PTB will finally clue in.

Skip: The fact remains that humans are not strong enough to harbor the visions. Period. Even the Powers That Be can't change that.

Cordy: Then find a loophole, Skip. Because I know my purpose in this world and it includes the visions. And if The Powers aren't complete dumbasses, they know it, too.

She stares at Skip, defiant.

Skip: There may be a tiny loophole.

Cordy: (immediately) I'll take it.

Skip: (intensely) You might wanna think about that. The only way you can keep the visions... is by becoming part-demon.

Cor takes that in.

Skip: The process isn't easy -- it'll make your vision-pain feel like a stroll through CandyLand. And even after the agony subsides, the effects of the transformation would be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again.

Cor takes a long moment. Then she looks at Angel.

Cordy: So demonize me already.

I almost cried during this whole scene. Cordy's just so noble. Forget the dream life, by this point, she's ready to sacrifice any semblance of a normal life for the mission, and the gang, and Angel.

Skip: I was an honor being your guide, Cordelia Chase.

She gives him a smile and raises his arm. Cordelia is engulfed in a bright light. She throws back her head in a scream of agony and takes us back to Angel's room, as Cordelia's in her body again.

Angel: (tentative) Cordy?

He sits on the edge of the bed, and abruptly pulls her into a hug.

Angel: I thought I'd lost you.

Cordy: Oh, Angel...

She smiles, then abruptly pulls out of the hug, feels her head.

Cordy: No horns. (checks the back of her pants) No tail. Whew. Just checking.

As she gets up from the bed, Angel, confused, checks under the covers.

Extra Quotage

Cordy: I know my purpose in this world and it includes the visions. And if The Powers aren't *complete dumbasses*, they know it, too...
Skip: ...The only way you can keep the visions... is by becoming part demon.
Cordy: So demonize me already.
Skip: I was an honor being your guide, Cordelia Chase.
Cordy: Wait! I'm not... I won't have horns or scales or anything, will I?
Skip: Probably shouldn'ta called 'em dumbasses.

<< Back