Watched Happy Anniversary and The Thin Dead Line. Wherein Lorne enlists Angel to save the world from a physics grad student unlucky at love and Anne enlists Gunn to save street kids from dead cops.
HA carried the standard Angel mythic theme of the Evil Messiah (The Master couldn’t have more consciously aped messianic language if he’d been quoting). With a twist; here we have the clueless messiah. The demons that are helping Grad Student Gene to his destiny of freezing time let us know that “from nothingness the human pestulance came. Into nothingness it goes” as he fixes the magic spell/equation.
Only change to the math I understood was the change of 9 to the 11th to 9 to the 17th. 9 is the end of the cycle; 11 is sacred order, but 17 . . . 17 is hope and warning. The Star. The omen of birth and death of gods.
Gene proves his concept by suspending four drops of mercury in the field. Four is balance, completion, stable structure. Mercury is messenger of the gods and the soul's guide to and from the land of death.
The demons bean Angel with a Hunga Munga, an African throwing knife that looks like a scythe. Buffy fought demons with a hunga munga when she dove into a hell dimension after Anne. The Scythe is the weapon of Chronus; he used it to castrate his father. It is the weapon of Death and Time, making it utterly appropriate to this context. It also ties this episode to Buffy’s dark time after killing Angel; she fled to LA numb and could only return after she went to hell and back. And it harkens to Buffy’s ultimate triumph using another long handled scythe, but that’s for another thread.
Poor Angel; he knows he is frozen in darkness. He doesn’t deny it when Lorne, playing Guide, puts it to him that he wouldn’t care if the world ended. Darla had a shot at redemption, and W&H took it from her. Now he has to hunt her down and kill her, and he will do it, but he’s taking no joy in it. He is a legendary dark warrior who does not believe he can ever be redeemed from a 100 years of brutal evil. He’s frozen in horror at his own acts; he’s frozen in horror at Darla’s death and resurrection; he’s frozen, the way Gene wants to be.
And Lorne pushes both of them out of the dead spot, like Mercury moving -- not everything is going to be this way. The song changes. Though we keep coming back to this theme; can Angel be redeemed? Or is the best thing to do -- do good because there is nothing else right to do?
In the end, Angel destroys the time freezing machine with the hunga munga; using the weapon of time, death, and Buffy to save the world. We need all three; he needs all three, and maybe holding it in his hand gave him some spark of hope.
As for TTDL . . . great episode on a sociological/plot advancing/story telling level. Not so much on the mythic, and I’m on a mythic kick these days. Maybe if I knew more about zombies. The police, the forces of order, imposing order. Bad order. But it kept the rapes and the murders down at the price of some outcasts. Like it so often happens, if they’d stuck to killing street kids, maybe no one would have noticed, but they hassled someone with powerful friends.
Nice bit of meta, having Angel, a dead body animated by a committee, take down the zombies, dead bodies animated by a zombie master/police captain. It was fun seeing Wesley take on a leadership role even if it was self mocking. And it was fun seeing ordinary courage; the paramedics; the kids in the shelter, Wesley -- all stood up when it mattered.
Wonder what Anne would think about W&H these days. She was a good character. Nice how well she morphed, represented by the name changes. From a mushroom (that feeds on the dead) to a flower (that adorns the dead) to the mother of the mother of god. Quite a character arc.
Edited by Lutanite, Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:57 PM.