William’s Review – 4.04 “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”
Lots of the comedy moments worked here. I think mainly just by having Cordelia back on the show there is just an energy in the performances and writing. It’s sad that we don’t have full Cordelia, but having her snark through the episode was great. I loved the moments with Cordelia freaking out about the gang. Angel and Fred being creepy in the office and waving had me laughing. Other moments like Cordelia looking through old hair styles thinking she’s a spy or her confronting the group, also made me smile. I also liked when the Wolfram and Hart thugs attacked and we saw how synergistic her and Angel’s fighting was.
The Wesley and Lilah relationship continues to be fascinating to watch. I love the scene where Wesley slips and calls it a relationship. It seems like such a real moment for the characters. I love how humanizing it is for Lilah and how genuine it feels. There was another moment, but I’ll save that for later (see favorite moment).
Small, but I liked the fact that Gunn pointed out that no matter how they addressed Cordelia it wasn’t going to work out. Even when they break the truth with Cordelia after she’s feed up, she still ends up freaking out.
Lorne hinting at something bad coming and likewise Cordelia hinting to Connor about something coming was a nice bit of intrigue as far as the overarching story is concerned.
So I was disturbed by parts of the Connor and Cordelia storyline. The attitude the show apparently wants us to have is that Cordelia was never that mother figure to Connor, despite all the evidence to the contrary. It’s also weird that there seems to be a competition for Cordelia’s affection between Connor and Angel. Fred has a line about how Angel is the “true champion” when Cordelia chooses Connor over him. It’s small, but seems to be what the writers want us to feel.
So this episode was VERY hard to watch on Rewatch. Knowing where it is going makes you read into every little thing. I’m trying really hard to be as blank slate as possible, but it is still very difficult. That being said the majority of this episode was setting up the season long arc. There are a lot of questions being asked. Why is Cordelia back? What did Lorne read from her? What’s this big bad that’s coming?
Cordelia’s amnesia storyline really hinges on where they go with it. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of these kinds of storylines, but it did add a level of intrigue. It also let us try and reconnect with Connor. Again it really depends on where it goes and can easily go poorly.
I was bothered by Angel being creepy. I know part of this was intentional, but Angel bringing up the ballet without context and describing it as a “great time” was kind of off.
Lilah dropping truth bombs on Wesley at the end of the episode was a great moment. They’ve continued to be an insanely interesting relationship to watch. Now that Wes considers it a relationship or at least acknowledges some real feelings there the betrayal hits a bit harder. At the same time Lilah points out that he’s really upset with himself. Maybe Wes isn’t as dark as he thought. I like Wes still being unsure of who he is and what he is doing.
I liked this more than last week’s episode. Again it was more set up and we didn’t really get Cordelia back, but I am happy to get her interacting with the group.
Score: 59 out of 100