"That Vision Thing," Monday, October 1, 2001
Cordelia receives three severely painful visions, each with a physical manifestation: claw marks, boils, and then burns. She wonders why The Powers That Be would do this. Lorne “traces the call” from one of the visions and learns that they are local and not sent from TPTB. Lilah of Wolfram & Hart has hired a powerful psychic to send Cordy the visions. Angel goes to confront Lilah who tells him she needs a champion of good to rescue a young man that has been unjustly imprisoned. To save Cordy, Angel completes the mission for Lilah. Wesley, Angel and Gunn meet Lilah; before they will deliver the young man to her, Angel tells her to help Cordelia. Lilah instructs the psychic; over the phone Fred tells Wesley that Cordelia is better. The mysterious young man gives Angel an evil, smug look as he gets into the car. As Lilah goes to get into her limousine, Angel sends a metal bar through the car window into the head of the psychic. Angel tells Lilah to never come at him through Cordelia again. Later at the hotel, Cordy is feeling much better, but she is concerned about the guy that they freed. Meanwhile in Honduras, the shaman is unable to tell Darla about the baby. Darla says that it’s time to go see Daddy.
I thought that this episode was a reviewer’s dream; it was consistent with previous story-lines and it used several repeated analogies to get the main ideas across. It was also enjoyable to watch.
The title of the episode has a double entendre: it is the way Fred refers to Cordy’s visions but it also applies to the physical act of seeing. Most of us generally believe that beauty equals goodness; in this episode, the characters were challenged to believe otherwise. The first example of this was Fred’s comparison of Cordelia to Lassie; Fred meant it in a good way but Cordelia took offense because "a dog" is typically what we call an ugly person. Later, as Cordy was suffering from the boils and burns she asks Angel if she’s a bad person; as evidence that she’s being punished by The Powers That Be she tells Angel, "Look at me." One of the demons in the visions was covered in boils, but it turns out that he was on the side of good. Angel, who is very handsome, did a bad thing to help Cordelia. Skip, the demon jail guard, was good ("on Angel’s side" even) but wasn’t terribly attractive. The really bad guy - the one Lilah wanted rescued - was very handsome. The point here was no surprise: you can’t tell a person’s inner goodness by his/her outward appearance.
Angel joked that the good guys need to wear lapel pins or something because "it’s hard to tell." He had this problem (of discerning who’s good) in the episode Judgment where he killed the demon that was protecting the pregnant lady.
Similar to the trouble of knowing who is good is that of knowing the right thing to do. I said that Angel did a bad thing to help Cordelia, but would leaving her to suffer have been the right thing? I don’t think so. For Angel to help others he needs for his "family" to be well.
Another analogy that I noticed involved the idea of playing games. In the spirit of the battle of good versus evil, the scene where Angel freed the bad guy had a surreal video-game quality. There were also several direct references to playing games. When Gavin saw Fred, he asked, "New player?" At W&H Gavin wanted Lilah "on his team." Angel tells Lilah that he’ll kill her if she "plays that card a second time" - that is if she tries to get to him through Cordelia again. Finally, Cordy tells Angel that W&H won this time.
It was an interesting take on the game analogy that the "players" both worked with members of the opposite side and fought with the members of their own team. I also found it interesting that when Angel went to see Lilah he found her playing computer golf, which isn’t much of a team sport. For some reason, it makes me wonder if she has her own agenda for wanting that man freed.
I liked the timing in this episode, particularly when Fred announces to Angel that she’s "been forking with Gunn." Before we can laugh or groan Cordy is hit with a violent vision.
I thought this was a well-written episode with a well-developed plot. We have been seeing Cordy’s worsening visions in other episodes and most of us were wondering what would ultimately happen. After this episode, I am a bit unsure of the time frame: exactly how long has the exposed-brain psychic guy been attacking Cordelia? Was he responsible for the pain she felt in the previous episode?
Even if the painful vision problem was solved, we were still left with several unanswered questions. The biggest question is "who was that guy that Lilah wanted rescued?" I think it’s safe to say we’ll see him again. Secondly, Wes said that the objects they collected were objects of good; does that mean that the objects do something besides open the door to another dimension? Another question: what was the story on the so-called exterminators at the hotel in the middle of the night? Does that new W&H guy have something else up his sleeve besides code violations? I doubt he would have been added to the Special Projects department if he wasn’t more diabolical than that.