Angel's Secrets

Episode Reviews   

"Ground State," Sunday, October 13, 2002

by Anne

Episode Summary

Fred, Gunn, and Angel move Cordelia’s stuff out of her apartment since they can no longer afford to keep it. Angel remains determined to find her. He goes to see Wesley who is fighting demons rather successfully with his own crew. Angel thanks Wesley for saving him and says things are okay between them where Angel’s concerned; Wesley doesn’t reply to that, but he gives Angel the information he has on Cordy’s disappearance. Following a lead from Wesley, Angel learns of the Axis of Pythia, which can help locate beings across dimensions. As the A-team hatches a plan to steal it from its current - and very secure - location, elsewhere a wealthy man is negotiating with a young woman named Gwen who will steal the axis for him. During the break-in, Gwen arrives first with the others not far behind, following Fred’s plan; despite Angel’s plea to let him use the axis, Gwen manages to escape with it. Not much later, Angel find Lilah watching Connor, who is wandering amid the homeless. Angel gives Lilah an hour to find out who hired Gwen; in return for the information, he’ll forget just this once that she was within 50 yards of his son. He also observes that he can smell Lilah and Wesley all over each other. At the hotel, Fred has a meltdown, announcing angrily that she’s tired of being the one who holds everything together; Gunn tries to comfort her as she cries. Angel finds Gwen, and they fight. She shocks him - literally - and his heart actually beats. Caught up in the moment (I guess) he and Gwen kiss. They break it off and he remembers Cordelia. After saving Gwen from a double-cross, he uses the axis and sees that Cordelia is in a place full of warm light. He, Fred, and Gunn agree that she’s where she belongs. Watch from the higher plane, Cordy shouts unheard for them to get her out of there.

Episode Review

They say you should wear red when you want to be noticed. Gwen seems to have taken that to heart. Even as a child isolated from the others, she seemed desperate for human contact. Sadly, when she made contact the results were disastrous. The red she wears could also serve as a warning that people can look but not touch.

Quite the opposite of that - at least the touching part - are Lilah and Wesley. They’re having contact, but they’re not really connecting. Wes’ confession that he brought Angel back to fight people like Lilah makes his continued ... um .. contact with her even more puzzling. Maybe Wes decided that caring too much, whether in business or personal life, only leads to heartbreak. Or maybe like Gwen, Wes feels lonely and isolated, so he reaches out for the nearest warm body.

While we’re on the subject of Gwen and "your guess is as good as mine," what was up with the kiss? We saw her restart Gunn’s heart and bring the dead to life, so it’s somewhat logical that she could make Angel’s heart beat again. But come on. One little heartbeat and Angel kisses the first girl in sight? I suppose Gwen’s excuse was that for once she had the contact she craved.

Loneliness was a recurring theme in this episode. Fred felt that she alone bore the responsibility of holding things together in Angel’s absence, but the thought of losing Gunn was the straw that broke her proverbial back. Conner wandered the streets alone, but others are keeping an eye on him. Cordy is also alone in a strange new place, but she probably feels more alone, watching the others when they can’t see her.

I liked this episode, mostly because I could relate to Gwen’s attraction to someone who wants another. (Sigh.) I’m sure most people can relate to feeling lonely and isolated; here we saw how our heroes were dealing with that. However, nothing was actually resolved. Even though the A-team thought Cordy was where she belonged, she wants to get back to them, so the story obviously doesn’t end there. That’s a good thing, because sitting around accepting the way things are just doesn’t look natural for them.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

* Were there other children at the school (in the flashback) with "special needs" like Gwen's?

* Was Wesley carrying the information he had on Cordelia's disappearance with him everywhere? Then again, he might have anticipated that Angel would be paying him a visit.

* Although Lilah criticized Linwood for his fear of Angel, she didn't hesitate when Angel demanded information from her.

* It's great to see the dad from My So-Called Life working again.

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