Previously on Angel, Cordy forgot herself, Fred tried to teach her professor a lesson, Wesley wouldn't shut up, Gunn killed a guy, and I was quoted in the Washington Post. That last thing wasn't on the show, but I think it's cool, so I'm mentioning it. And the previouslys were full of lies! Lies! Because there's a "clip" of Cordy asking, "Were we in love?" just the way she did last week. Except that Angel is missing the bruises and cut cheek he had in that scene. I know he heals fast -- well, sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't, but that's a separate issue. The point is that even at their best, his healing powers don't extend backward in time. Continuity error! Scandal! Okay, it's not that big a deal. Although I am amused they inserted a shot from this week (as we shall see) into the previouslys.
Music swells as Cary starts singing "The Way We Were." He's on a dramatically lit stage, and we hear scattered applause from the unseen audience. Cary starts chatting about how magical youth is, and I'm already distracted by the smoldering ashtray on a table next to him. Cary's smoking! Does this mean he's evil? My first question is, why is this framing device happening? I was going to call it a frame-story, but there's no actual story taking place during these interludes, so that can't be the right term. Granted, there's not much story taking place during the other parts of the episode, either. Cary says he's gonna tell the audience a story: "It starts with a kid."
Testosterone-laden guitar cue as we watch Connor walking down a street, angrily shoving people out his way. Blipvert of Connor's encounters with Cordy. Freeze frame, as Cary changes his mind: "No, actually, it really starts here." Second question: Why on earth would Cary even think about starting the story with Connor? Wait, I know this one: because telling the story is less important than getting to show us some directoral fanciness. That may be the answer to my previous question, too. I might as well get it all out now: I think Whedon is talented, and he often writes some great, quotable dialogue. He sometimes writes great, memorable scenes. Great enthralling stories, not so much. Which, I suspect, is is why he likes doing high-concept episodes that are almost entirely plot-free. So there.