Angel's Secrets

Episode Reviews   

"Time Bomb," April 28, 2004

by Anne

Episode Summary

Illyria bursts into the Wolfram & Hart holding dimension and frees Gunn by putting the mystical necklace on the torture monster. At W&H, Angel tells Wesley that Illyria stays there because the place reeks of influence: she had it all and wants it back. Suddenly Illyria appears from a portal with Gunn, and, understanding Illyria's logic, Wes tells her that they owe her. Gunn returns to work, wearing his street clothes. Feeling a bit disoriented, he goes to see Wesley who acts strangely as he pours over books on the Old Ones. Angel finds Spike sparring with Illyria in the training room; Angel tells Spike that he must stop those sessions because they're not testing her, she's testing them. Angel calls the gang to his office, where Wes realizes that Angel wants him to find a way to kill Illyria. As Wesley does some research, Marcus joins him and reveals that the Senior Partners go "way back" with Illyria - and they want her gone. He suggests that Wes check a certain reading, and Wesley discovers that Illyria's power is leaking because her current form can't hold it all. Unbeknownst to the gang, Illyria's unstable condition is causing her to sporadically jump through time, including to the moment in the future when she sees the gang try to kill her. However, during one of the loops, Angel is swept into the wake and finds himself leaping through time with her; he sees the future, where she has killed them all after they tried to contain her. She then explodes, and the blast sends Angel back to the point where Wesley and Spike are on the way to confront her. Angel changes things to avoid their deaths, and Wesley explains to Illyria that the device he has won't kill her. It will draw away the excess power so that she can live. She doesn't want to go on without her power, but when she starts to come undone, Wes zaps her. The device works and Illyria collapses on the floor. Meanwhile, Gunn argues to try to save a woman's unborn child from a group of demons who claim it. However, recalling something that Illyria said during their time trip, Angel declares that the child belongs to the demons. Gunn asks what Angel is doing; as he ushers the demons into his office, he replies that he's doing what they're supposed to do: serve the clients.

Episode Review

For once an episode was in some small way what I expected. I suspected that an episode with a time travel theme would be disorienting; that was probably the desired effect, so that we could see what Illyria was going through. Perhaps the most perplexing aspect was trying to discern which time was the right one. (Well, that, and trying to figure out what the heck Illyria was talking about during her little tirades.)

Although the tone of the ep was no surprise, the writing only dipped into blatant predictability twice. First, when Lorne was sent to watch Illyria, we already knew that she would know he was there. That task was probably written in so that Lorne would be around for the second predictable instance, when Illyria killed him, Angel, Spike, and Wesley. I admit that I was briefly taken aback because watching all of the gang be defeated like that is - happily - not something we see every day; the foreseeable part was that we knew the gang would fine. If they all died, what would happen for the rest of the season?

True to form, the rest of the ep followed a less traditional path. For example, even though I had heard that Gunn would return, I had no idea that Illyria would be the one to rescue him. I had thought that he somehow found a way out on his own, but it makes more sense that Illryia's near invincibility was required to infiltrate a W&H prison. Her clever solution to the a-void-is-impossible rule has me wondering why Angel and Spike didn't think to put the necklace on the torturer.

Wesley's behavior in his office was also unexpected. Maybe Lorne's line about Wesley seeming like two different people was a subtle clue that two sets of memories are starting to get to him. Then again, his professed need for Illyria could indicate that the pain is tearing him apart more than the memories. Angel's remark about not liking where this is going could be foreshadowing that Wesley is also a time bomb.

The final scene was also quite cryptic, with Gunn watching Angel follow the demons into his office. It reminded me of the season four scene where Connor chose the evil Cordy and walked away from Darla. In that case, Connor made a wrong choice, but somehow I don't think that's what happened here. Angel has recently become determined to work against the SP, and I see no reason to believe he's suddenly decided to join them. I'm sure there's a method to his seeming madness, and it will become clear - in time.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

* Illyria's predicament was similar to Gunn's: reliving the same moments over and over.

* Maybe the massive power of the future explosion kept sending Illyria back and somehow causing the loop.

* The SP might want Illyria gone because she knows something that can be used against them.

* I loved Lorne's remark about liking Marcus better than Eve. So do I, even with Marcus's thinly-veiled contempt.

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