Shiny Shelf

Angel: Birthday

By Jim Smith on 15 May 2002

Angel logoEvery great American TV must do its take on Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ sooner or later. It’s the law. In fact, given the fidelity with which this particular rule is stuck to, it’s probably in the constitution.

Now, of course, it’s ‘Angel’s turn (after all why else would I be bringing such a thing up – except maybe for my own amusement). It’s Cordelia Chase’s birthday – hence the catchy title (although the producers wisely avoid telling us how old she actually is) and after a particularly blinding vision and an exceptionally violent aftershock Cordy finds herself having an out-of-body experience. Whilst her friends fret around her prostrate form, she meets up with Skip, that charming and funny make-up extravaganza from ‘That Vision Thing’, who shows her a world were she never received the ‘gift’ of her visions. In this reality Cordelia is the twice Emmy Award winning star of the sitcom ‘Cordy!’ (pastiche title sequence included) Wesley is a one armed man and Angel has been driven to madness by the pain of…the visions sent to him by the powers that be.

It’s all good stuff, skilfully mixing comedy and drama in a way that any viewer of this show should really be accustomed to by now. Boreanaz gets another opportunity to show his acting chops, and the wonderful Charisma Carpenter carries the show effortlessly. It’s the perfect Cordy episode, re-affirming how much she’s grown as a person since ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’, heck, since ‘City of…’ and as such it becomes a sort of hymn to the highest ideals of television heroism. Great stuff.

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