Cordelia's returns, snark and shallowness intact. Also with hair darker and longer (always the best look for her) and a perm that doesn't look bad.
Wes needs to not say "hot," though. At least when he said "kickin' it old school" he acknowledged how bad it sounded when he said it. It's like Cordelia regressed him to back when he had a crush on her. What happened to dark sexy together Wes? Though i suppose part of it is that she does bring him back. As they both admit, they kinda miss the old way they used to do things, the camaraderie, doing things by the skin of their teeth, all that. It's sweet that she apologized for Lilah, and also that she worried that the gang didn't really forgive her for what she did when she wasn't really her. And wow but he looked angry when he said she didn't kill Lilah, even though i know he was telling the truth.
Loved Cordy laying the smack down on Eve. I thought "I'm not a sniveling whiny little Cry-Buffy. I'm the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no one." ("Room With a Vu" -Angel 1.05)
"We all got something out of this." And the pregnant pause.
Gunn was a contract expert in one of the early S5 episodes. We saw Lilah's unburnable contract. The zombies in the basement reminded some of us of our first introduction to W&H's "You work for us even after death." Surely they all know they can't just walk out. I agree with Gunn; i wouldn't want to leave either, would believe we were doing good; but surely he must know the terms of their contracts and could spit that out? Though i guess he started with that and for narrative/thematic sake it turned into a conversation about the morality of working for W&H.
I remember how infuriated so many fans were when Lindsey called himself "Doyle." Absolutely murderous that the writers would so insult his memory. When they the "our rats are low" video, i thought, "And the rabid fans begin to forgive the writers." I also, of course, got all sappy nostalgic and mournful. "First soldier down." I can so see Cordelia watching that video, searching Angel's rooms, trying to make sense of it all, trying to ground herself, seeing the video. And i can so see Angel taking it with him to W&H because he can't throw it away, doesn't want to throw it away, but it's far too painful to watch. (Note how he comes in and almost immediately positions himself so he's facing away from the screen.)
I was upset that Cordelia was so black-and-white, made-a-deal-with-the-devil. Early Buffy was very black-and-white, but Angel has always been grayer, and even Buffy got progressively grayer (starting most explicitly with "Lie to Me," 2.07 -- only the 19th episode of the series, predating even Angel the series). It reminded me of Buffy's refusal to take the dark power in "Get It Done" (something i thought was a bad decision). So i was glad that it ended up being about getting back the mission (when he said he quit i thought "Interesting inversion of when he went dark and fired everyone back in the middle of S2"), kind of like "Epiphany" (which was the end of the dark!Angel arc).
"There's nothing you can say that can convince me--" "Connor. [...] He was going to kill you, and himself, he was so torn up inside." I really dont't think Angel had much choice other than what he did. Granted, he could have had reality altered in some other way, and it was definitely a selfish move to memory-wipe, so that he wouldn't have to deal with everyone questioning his decision.
"You raped the minds of your friends who trust you." Theme, much?
"He's still the center of your universe, isn't he?" Yes, my show loves its gay
I loved Harmony's "I am evil after all. I'll torture her for the team."
"You sure it says arterial blood? Why can't it ever be the urine of a demon? I've got plenty of unclean urine. In fact i'm making some right now."
I'm glad we never saw the failsafe. I kept thinking of "Fear, Itself" ("Who's the little fear demon? Come on, who's the little fear demon?" "Don't taunt the fear demon." "Why, can he hurt me?" "No. It's just... tacky.") and nothing would have lived up to the hype and really it was about the Angel/Lindsey battle.
The "Be seeing you" was creepy, 'cause Joss has used it twice on Buffy -- Ethan in "Halloween" and Eghyon in "The Dark Age." But it makes one wonder if Cordelia became a Higher Power after all. She said she was sorry she wouldn't be there to see him do his thing (i'm certain she said "see," not just that she was sorry she wouldn't be there with him) but i dunno. The Higher Powers most definitely owed her one, and i can see them saying "You get this one wish and then you die," but who knows. Also, as i said above, i'm glad they remain at W&H. The crisis was not that they are in the belly of the beast but that Angel's heart was no longer in it.
Oh, and "That's the guy i fell--" I hated the contrived C/A, but in this episode i could absolutely buy her falling, having fallen, in love with him.
The end reminded me of the end of "I Will Remember You" (Angel 1.08).
Meredith said, very deliberately, of Cordelia's end, "That was selfless."
Next week doesn't look too promising (also it reminds me of what i think was the very first X-Files episode i ever saw), but we long ago learned never to trust promos. They do need something of a filler episode after the intensity of the most recent 2 episodes. It's called "Why We Fight," so it may be better than it appears. (This episode certainly far surpassed expectations.)
I loved that all the hints about Lindsey were finally revealed (though i kinda wish his motivation for returning had been elaborated on a bit -- he was just really really pissed at Angel?) but with that plot finished, what are we left with? The whole changing-the-system-from-within has been a driving theme/tension throughout the season, so they can't just keep going with that, though clearly it has to be continued. We still don't know exactly what Eve's deal is. Wes is still useless (though Cordelia's "you still work the best mojo in town" must have been validating). They are all part of something bigger, more than ever before, but it's never felt vaguer than it does this season. What will the next 10 episodes hold?