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’Angel’s’ 100th episode shines - Wotta Bizarro world !

Saturday 7 February 2004, by Webmaster

Wotta Bizarro world!

’Angel’s’ 100th episode shines

Charisma Carpenter (as Cordelia) in tonight’s episode of ’Angel’

"Angel." Tonight at 9, WB. To really enjoy tonight’s 100th episode of "Angel," it helps to know the history of the series and its characters.

Actually, it helps to know the history of two series, because the legacy of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," from which "Angel" was spun off successfully, continues to loom large.

"Angel" co-creators Joss Whedon (who also created "Buffy") and David Greenwalt have fought hard to give this series its own identity, but they’ve always kept the ties with "Buffy" alive.

Amazingly, even with "Buffy" gone from television for more than a season, the connection continues; on last week’s show, Andrew, a reformed villain from "Buffy" played by Tom Lenk, returned to fill everyone in on what the Sunnydale friends of "Buffy" have been doing since. It’s a parallel story development the producers plan to continue, according to The WB.

Meanwhile, tonight’s 100th episode (airing at 9 and written and directed by David Fury) playfully provides so many twists, the plot is like a Rubik’s Cube of cross-references and unexpected developments.

It’s built around two related stories. One has Angel (David Boreanaz), the show’s heroic vampire with a soul, questioning his decision to run the demonic Wolfram & Hart law firm; the other has Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), the heroine-turned-villainess, awakening from her season-long coma and reclaiming her old, nonevil persona.

A lot has happened since Cordelia went comatose. Angel joined the law firm in exchange for giving his son an alternate, happier life. Spike, the villain-turned-hero from "Buffy," has returned as another vampire with a soul.

And that’s just for starters.

"Spike’s a hero and you’re CEO of Hell Incorporated?" Cordelia asks Angel incredulously. "What frickin’ Bizarro world did I wake up in?"

That line is a joke referring to an old "Buffy" episode in which Cordelia, on that series, wished Buffy had never come to Sunnydale - and awoke in a "Bizarro" world where most of her friends were either vampires or victims.

Even the waking-from-a-coma twist is a nod to the elaborate shared histories of these characters.

If Cordelia’s reappearance sounds like a cheap stunt, it’s not. Fury’s new story line holds up nicely. It also gives a nod to Glenn Quinn’s Doyle, a first-season "Angel" cast member, as well as to the twisted paths of such "Buffy"-to-"Angel" immigrants as Carpenter’s Cordelia, Alexis Denisof’s Wesley and Mercedes McNab’s Harmony.

If you’ve never fallen under the spell of "Angel" or "Buffy," it might be because the histories of these shows are so complex, the jokes so subtle, the characters so chameleonic that viewers couldn’t be expected to get it all?

Frankly, you can’t.

And frankly, I’m not sold yet on whether this first post-"Buffy" season is heading in a satisfying direction.

At this point, though, the 100th episode is the season highlight, and a hopeful indication for things to come.

Originally published on February 4, 2004