Still Dead #28. Bad Demon Photoshop. (S3.11-12)

edited January 8 in Still Dead
"That’s bad, bad wallpaper."

On today's Still Dead, we celebrate Cordelia's birthday-turned-demonized-day, stake bad demon photoshop and nonsensical zombies, and learn an important life lesson... family is more important than money. The more you know, y'all. (S3, 11-12, Birthday and Provider)


  • Birthday is one of my favourite episodes of season 3 - not because it is good but because it is one of the very very few post 'Hero' episodes that acknowledge that Doyle ever existed (and we even get footage of him! making it 20 000 times better than the last episode when he got mentioned which was evil hand Lindsey.)
    It is an interesting episode because it is one that makes sense only when you get much further down the road - and all (at least some) questions get answered. But I'm not sure whether this makes it better or worse from a story perspective. Is it poor storytelling because it should be able to stand on it's own even without the future episode explaining it or is it good storytelling because it is laying down breadcrumbs?
    What maybe makes it especially all over the place is the fact that the writers know they are laying breadcrumbs for later on ... but they haven't actually decided yet where those breadcrumbs will lead (especially as CC was not yet pregnant and that changed everything) so they are leaving everything relatively open ended.
    Certainly I think it is clear Cordelia is being led by the nose into accepting demonic powers. She is tricked into that - it isn't her choice. He chooses to show her Angel talking to the conduit - he appears to know what Angel will be saying in there, because taking her there is done in response to her claiming Angel needs her. If her old life never existed then she shouldn't be able to remember any of it - the fact that she still can is obviously a purposeful move by those manipulating her.
    Maybe Skip loving the matrix is a clue - the place he sends her isn't only not actual reality ... but it's all a simulation that she is inside - which explains why the writing is still on the wall, and why the Hyperion is now up and running despite the fact that there should still be a Thesulac demon living there in this time line.

    So to Doyle (yay I get to talk about Doyle!) or technically the visions. We have Skip (who is already suspect) telling Cordelia she was never meant to get the visions - this may or may not be true, it's actually neither here nor there. If the PTB didn't want her to have them I'm sure they could take them away even if they didn't mean for her to get them. They are obviously reasonably happy for her to bear them.
    BUT the idea that she only got them because Doyle loved her is patent nonsense - and I say that as a person who will sail on the Cordy/ Doyle ship until the DAY I DIE. Skip tells her she got them because of Doyle's feelings for her, to which a misty eyed Cordelia says 'you mean i got the visions ... because Doyle loved me?' (and we're all supposed to nod along) but to which Skip answers 'I can't answer that.'
    'I can't answer that' is not an unequivocal 'yes'. It might even be a 'no.' But it puts into Cordy's head that vision transfer is about love - which is also nonsense. Doyle was smote on high by his first vision. He was all alone - the only thing he was even close to kissing was the cigarettes he was chain smoking at the time.
    The fact is - one of the ideas the writers were playing around with was bring 'Doyle' (but not Doyle because they didn't want Glenn Quinn) back as a big bad (so so glad that never happened). In which case this conversation is actually an open ended one where we will later realise Doyle gave Cordy the visions because he was inexplicably evil. Because that never happened (thanks to the PTB that rule this universe for that! And CC's pregnancy) this is now left as a conversation about Doyle actually loving Cordelia with no sinister undertones. But I think it was written to have those undertones.
    Certainly, Doyle could not possibly have loved Cordelia. Love takes time and energy and effort - he'd known her three months. Yes he cared about her, yes he liked her, yes he fancied her ... but no he didn't love her. They may have been laying down a good foundation to build their love on, but they were not there yet. Ergo love did not pass on those visions. But making Cordelia believe that means she doesn't question it when she 'gets the visions back' (and I use sarcastic quotemarks - because none of this episode was real) from Angel.

    No Doyle did not kiss Angel (though how the writers could miss that everyone would bring that up I do not know). Even if Cordelia's absence made Doyle tap into his latent homosexual tendencies (which is unlikely) ... Angel is still grieving Buffy in 'Hero'. I just don't think they were in a kissing place. As Doyle was smote from on high by his first vision, so too (in this alternate timeline) was Angel.

    As to why they affect Angel as they do - my thinking is: the visions are first and foremost a punishment. They are sent to Doyle to make him pay for allowing his family to die. Angel receiving them would also be him receiving them as a punishment. The PTB gave him a messenger - but when he died they just decided to go straight to the source and tell the champion who he was meant to save direct. But Angel has so much to be punished for that he gets overloaded. His guilty conscience can't handle them because his guilt is so much more than Doyle's. Angel, in reality, isn't actually being punished by the PTB - he just works for them. But once he is being punished, he suffers - and goes crazy, which he also did when he first got his soul back.
    Cordelia obviously doesn't have the visions as a punishment - but in the real timeline it obviously just didn't seem worth the effort to take them off Cordy and give them to Angel. The PTB don't care about individuals - they are happy to let her do the job as long as she lasts and then tap someone else. The fact that she is not atoning for anything is why she doesn't suffer vision pain once she is a demon, but both Doyle and Angel did. But she is being tricked into becoming a demon - and not by the real PTB.

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