Derek’s Review – 1.17 “Eternity”
I liked how this episode explored Cordelia’s anxiety and fear about Angelus. The Angel and Cordelia friendship has been one of the best things about the show. While Cordelia was largely written as the idiotic airhead who doesn’t understand anything, which is my most hated characterization of her, the other bits concerning Angelus were good. In fact all the confrontation between Angel Investigations and Angelus was the best part of the episode.
Unfortunately that’s about maybe five minutes at the end of the episode. The bulk of this is Angel getting another boring love interest who he is inexplicably attracted to despite their total lack of magnetism. Angel’s furrowed brow longing works when it’s juxtaposed against some as bubbly and perky as Buffy. When you pair him up with people are just as morose as he is, it is mind-numbingly boring. On the one hand the actress playing Rebecca did a good job because I totally believed she was a terrible actress. On the other hand she was a terrible actress.
Things get marginally more interesting when she decides she wants to be a vampire. It is a cool idea (that was done better in Buffy’s “Lie to Me”) but it is a still cool idea. But I have a huge problems for how casually they use Angelus in this episode. Angelus being drug induced makes no sense. However that’s not even my biggest issue. Angelus and Angel are basically what if the Joker and Batman existed in the same body but they are also Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There is a reason why there have been about three failed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde reimagining in recent years. Constantly switching between personalities mitigates your threat level to nonexistence. The smart thing about Angel and Angelus is that the threat of him turning is always there and they don’t do it.
There is a huge problem with Angel being turned into Angelus synthetically because Rebecca slipped made up “happy pill” drug into his drink. It is even worse that Wesley has to point this isn’t real and won’t last because then there is even less threat. Even though it is effecting to see Angelus brutalize Wesley and Cordelia it is a transient.
To wrap it up the way they do is probably the most unforgivable though. There is a hint that Wesley still might be hurting from Angelus words but the episode leaves us on a pretty happy ending with Cordelia telling Angel they don’t blame him at all. I have no problem with this because Angel really shouldn’t be at fault, but Angelus words and attempted murder of them should still be an issue. Cordelia, who functions as her and Wesley’s voice in that final scene, is far more upset about Angel lying to her than Angelus trying to kill her.
Wesley saying that Angel lost his soul not because he had sex but because he had sex with Buffy is an extremely interesting idea introduced in this episode. Unfortunately it is surrounded by 12 levels of bull-crap. I would like to know more about this and how exactly the curse is lifted. But I don’t know if Wesley’s theory holds water because apparently the curse can be lifted by recreational drugs so whatever.
It’s the only moment I really liked, Cordelia standing up to Angelus and lying about the holy water. I love the Cordelia and Angel friendship and while she is lying about the holy water, I think everything else Cordelia says is true to Angelus. There is something really heartbreaking about no matter how close she gets to Angel always being afraid he is going to turn evil.
The Bottom Line:
While the reason Angelus is there is nonsensical and the wrapping up is a joke, Angelus is still in this episode. He is fun and terrifying to watch and one of my favorite villains of all time. So that alone says this episode from being a total disaster. There are also some good Angel Investigations moments and Cordelia standing up to Angelus is very powerful. So while the majority of this is a failure it isn’t a total failure.
42 out of 100