Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been

Episode Report Card
Strega: D | 3 USERS: A+
Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been

As we discovered last week, this show is now engaged in a blatant effort to out-reference me. Me, can you believe it? Props to all the folks in the forums who identified the shameless lifts, er, tributes. We'll show 'em who's boss.

We open with a shot of a black and white photo of a decaying building. "The Hyperion Hotel," Wesley tells Angel. "It appears to be abandoned." He's a natural at this detective stuff. Built in the twenties, heart of Hollywood, blah blah blah expositioncakes. Cordelia enters from the kitchen and hands out coffee, tea, and blood. This is known as the "Wilma Deering Effect," when a female sidekick goes from team player to stewardess in a show's second season. Cordy is also wearing a shirt that looks like something Goldie Hawn might have worn on Laugh-In. Given Wesley's penchant for darts, I don't know that I'd wear a shirt with big bullseyes on it, but that's me. Angel hesitantly wonders if the blood in his glass has "gone bad -- it's starting to coagulate." Cordy explains that she put cinnamon in it. She seems remarkably calm considering that Angel's hedgehog-do could put out one of her eyes if he moved his head suddenly. Angel tells the MoG to find out who owns the hotel and why the owner is letting it fall to pieces. Wesley asks who the client is, and as he heads out, Angel explains that there isn't one. Into the bright sunlight we see streaming into the apartment through every window. Thought we'd forgotten that over the summer, didn't you, writers? Sorry.

Cut to the photograph, and we begin to zoom in past the chain-link fence in the foreground. I can't help intoning, "Legendary was Xanadu where Kubla Khan decreed his stately pleasure dome..." Then again, maybe a This Property is Condemned reference would be more appropriate. Natalie Wood was in that, y'know. But we'll get to her soon enough. As we move closer, the color returns, and we've traveled back to the fabulous '50's. You can tell, because they rented a couple of classic cars to drive along the road. A slow montage (an anti-blipvert, if you will) of bellhops and hotel guests in the lobby ensues. At the front desk, the manager talks to the bellhop as he tosses envelopes on the counter: "Returned mail from 315. Mr. Ferris really must stop writing to his mother postage-due." He hands over a flask and says, "Mrs. Miggins's breakfast from Val's Liquors. Make sure she makes this one last -- they've cut off her credit. And the weekly bill for 217." The bellhop is unhappy about delivering the bill, because the guest in that room scares him. I'm gonna nickname him Chet. Chet chews his gum and whines, but the manager insists that the bill must be delivered.

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