Angel
Birthday

Episode Report Card
Strega: D+ | Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Wes: Mostly Armless

Cordy arrives at the fully operational Hyperion Hotel. Which isn't an abandoned dump in this reality because...Listen, it's past ten o'clock, I can't spend an hour trying to make sense of things that the people who wrote this episode couldn't be bothered with, so you figure it out. Cordy talks to the starstruck manager, who offers to take her up to her room. Only with more Freudian slips than that.

The manager opens her room, but Cordy goes to another room down the hall and asks him to open it instead. He reluctantly does so, and of course it's Angel's room. Blipverts attack. Cordy looks at the wallpaper and, after a moment, begins peeling it away with her fingernails, much to the manager's confusion. That's either cruddy glue, or she's got some kind of super-nails. The manger obsequiously insists, "I hate that wallpaper. That's bad, bad wallpaper." Cordelia stares at the wall, where "171 Oak" is clearly inscribed. Yeah, okay, fine. She asks the manager where that is, and I guess he knows because how many streets named "Oak" could there be in a city the size of Los Angeles?

Cordy rings the doorbell at 171 Oak, and the door is answered by a teenage girl who, of course, is boggled by the appearance of the big TV star. Both Cordelia and the girl are wearing chokers. I guess that's to make sure I remember to mention the choker-wearing gal from "In the Dark." The stunned fangirl invites Cordy inside, and introduces herself as Cynthia York. She babbles, "I wanna be just like you, and have my own design firm -- wait a minute. What are you doing in Reseda?" Cordy awkwardly asks if there's anything bad happening. Cynthia says that her dad left a few months ago, and expositions that her mom is off visiting friends in Ojai. Cordy, confused, prepares to leave, but then Cynthia offers to show her "something cool." And what's cooler than a pentagram inscribed on the living-room floor? Nothing! Cynthia explains that she's doing a "retrieval spell" to make her dad come back. She adds that she spilled some Diet Coke on her book, so she had to improvise part of it. Curse you, Diet Coke! How many otherwise innocent magic spells have you corrupted? Cordy suggests that maybe it's time to leave, and that's when the light flashes and the demon appears in quick cuts so that we can't complain about the bad effects. Not that we would. Because we aren't bitter, are we?

They've gone back to shooting the action in crazy stop-motion style, and if I wanted to watch Clash of the Titans, I would. It's extremely irritating, and we all know it's just to hide the crappy effects. I'm fine with crappy effects. Honest. I grew up watching Doctor Who, for chrissakes. I did not grow up having epileptic seizures, though, which I guess is why this camera work makes me tired. Best as I can tell, Cordy hits the demon with a lamp; the demon throws her to the floor and starts pulling on her leg. Then Gunn and Wesley arrive. Gunn helps Cynthia escape while Wesley stabs the demon with a sword. Cordy tries to chat with Wesley, but he shoves her toward the door and jumps back into the fast-motion, headache-inducing, barely-comprehensible fighting. That's another thing: when the camera is twitchier than Marty Feldman, I can't even see the senseless violence! What's the point of that? I guess that Gunn and Wesley battle the demon, and if I squint, I think I can see when the demon gets killed. Cordy asks Wesley, "So you, like, kill things now? 'Cause last time I saw you, you mostly fainted in front of them." Wesley wonders what Cordy's doing there, and she tries to explain that there's something "Sunnydale weird" going on with her. Cynthia returns from outside and wonders what she'll tell her mother.

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Angel

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