Angel/Recap/S02/E21 Through the Looking Glass

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Princess Cordelia orders her friends' release, but trouble soon looms again for our heroes.

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Tropes used in Angel/Recap/S02/E21 Through the Looking Glass include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Averted for once -- the sewer Wesley and Gunn invite Cordy to escape through is small and almost full to the top with, well, shit. Cordy dithers so long about jumping in that the priests recapture her.
  • Bait and Switch: Cordelia is reluctant to leave her good life as a princess until the priests inform her she's expected to com-shuck with the Groosalugg, recently summoned from the scum pits of Ur. After an abortive escape attempt she resigns herself to mating with the hideous horned beast who sloughs into her throne room with a sack over his shoulder, only for the real Groosalugg -- a handsome blue-eyed hero -- to stride inside and tell the demon to just leave his stuff anywhere.
  • Beautiful All Along: The Groosalugg is a Half-Human Hybrid who's so convinced he's hideous (as he looks more human than demon) he became a Death Seeker, but was too good at fighting to get killed.
  • Beauty and The Beast: Cordelia is expected to mate with the hideous Groosalugg. Fred lures Angel back to her cave even though he's in demon form.
  • Becoming the Mask: Subverted. Angel enjoys playing the hero, but what do you do when your demon face emerges? Cordelia knows she's not a real princess, but when the Groosalugg convinces her to act like one she gets an education in power politics. The trope itself is lampshaded by Lorne.

Lorne: "They see you a certain way. You start to see yourself that way. You become that image. I get it. I do. Because I know how they see me!"

  • Big Damn Heroes: Angel is given the honor of executing Fred, who's been stealing from the demons food stores. He rides off with her on a horse instead. "Just like in a fairy tale," as Fred will say in a later episode.
  • Call Back: Angel entertains the demon children with tales of the sorcerer who could remove his limbs and reassemble at will, and how he chopped off the evil lawyer-beast's hand. Cordelia gripes over how she always ends up impregnated by demon spawn.
  • Casual Kink: On catching a look at the hunky Groo, Lorne asks Cordelia if she wants to call his guards back so she can borrow their chains.
  • Cliff Hanger: Cordelia pardons Lorne for helping Angel and Fred escape, then starts drawing up proclamations to ban slavery, polyester and other evils. The Covenant priests show her where the real power lies by presenting Cordelia with Lorne's head on a dish.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Cordy balks at jumping in the sewer, Gunn says that Cordy won't get her booty out the front door. Cordelia is indignant over the suggestion that her ass is too big until Gunn explains he's referring to the pile of treasure she's holding.
    • Everyone in the throne room starts filing out the door when Cordy exclaims, "Get out!" (because she's impressed with the Groosalugg's tales of heroic deeds)
    • And once more with Getting Crap Past the Radar

Cordy: "Where I come from, who I really am - is so far from being a princess, you have no idea. (Sighs) I'm an actress."
Groosalugg: "I do not know this word."
Cordy: "Actress? It means - when I'm finally lucky enough to get the gig, other people tell me what to do, where to stand, how to move, what to say..."
Groosalugg: "You are the concubine of your village."

Mom: [re Lorne] Father always said we ate the wrong child.

Groosalugg: "For my people to be part cow is to be less than whole. I was incapable even of performing husbandly duties with any of the females of my tribe."
Cordy: "You mean you are..."
Groosalugg: "Anatomically equipped to mate only with a human."
Cordy: "Good to know."

  • Fluffy the Terrible: Inverted; the 'devil' Angel has to execute is a terrified Fred. The hideous Groo is a handsome champion.
  • Funny Background Event / Creator Cameo: Joss Whedon as 'Numfar', doing the Dance of Joy and the Dance of Pain.
  • Game Face: Angel vamps out to fight a mounted knight because he doesn't have weapons, only to turn into a red-eyed, green-skinned, spiky-faced demon.
  • Gilded Cage: Cordelia discovers she's a prisoner in her own palace, and the real power is held by the Covenant of Trombli.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Lorne's mom has a beard and speaks with a deep voice (played of course by a male actor).
  • Group Hug: Averted; after being freed from their bonds, Cordelia's friends rush past her outstretched arms and tuck into the food.
  • Happy Dance: "Numfar! Do the Dance of Joy!"
  • Humans Are Ugly: The demon residents of Pylea consider humans repulsive. The Groosalugg is respected for his warrior prowess but shunned for his human-like looks (he's Estrogen Brigade Bait by our standards, Lorne describes him as the lovechild of Fabio and Keanu Reeves).

The Groosalugg: (confused that Cordelia finds him attractive) Don't you see this strange bulge in my arms? (points to his biceps) This strange curve in my mouth? (points to his mouth) My heart... beating in the wrong place? (puts Cordelia's hand over his heart)

  • La Résistance: There are (naturally) rebels in the forest. Equally inevitably, Wesley and Gunn are Mistaken for Spies.
  • Literal Split Personality: Angel becomes more human in Pylea -- he can walk in the sun and see his reflection -- but when Angel vamps out he becomes a savage demon who's barely in control of his urges. Wesley speculates that this is his pure vampire form.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Angel happily looks in a pool of reflected water in Fred's cave, but flees from the reflection when he's in his demon form.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Inverted; Lorne's demon relatives grab their ears in pain when he starts singing (music being unknown on their world) giving Angel a chance to escape.

Lorne: [as the demons rush at Angel] STOP! in the naaaame of loooove...

Landok: What sorcery is this?

Mom: [clasping her ears] It burns! It burns!

  • Oh Crap: Wesley casually notes that a 'hart' (a male deer) is on the cover of one of three spellbooks. Suddenly his face gets serious and he rearranges the covers so they display, in turn -- a wolf, a ram, and a hart e.g, Wolfram & Hart.
  • Off with His Head: Our heroes expect Cordelia to free them, only for her to proclaim, "Off with their heads!" When the guards pull out their swords she quickly says, "Just kidding!" When Wesley tells the rebels they're friends of the princess who can deliver their demands personally to her, the leader of the rebels orders his men to draw up a list of demands, place them in Wes and Gunn's mouths and leave their heads outside her window. Not Played for Laughs when the priests get annoyed with Cordelia's independent attitude and show her Lorne's severed head on a tray.
  • Religion of Evil: The Covenant of Trombli
  • Rescue Romance: Angel saves Fred, then Fred stops Angel from killing Wesley and Gunn. This is the beginning of a beautiful Love Triangle.

Fred: "Handsome man saved me from the monsters."

  • Room Full of Crazy: Fred writes her physics equations on the cave walls, trying to figure out how to get home. The problem is she not longer remembers Earth, so it's uncertain whether the words have any meaning to her.
  • Spiky Hair: Spoofed when Angel, who can now see his reflection, is shocked by his hair and keeps trying to brush it down.

"Why didn't someone tell me about this?"

Cordy: "Last job I had you should have seen the horrible thing they made me wear! It was this tiny, skimpy, exploitative... (Looks down at her present, skimpy outfit) Uh, nothing like this!"

Angel: "So, ah... So, you don't wanna talk to me?"
Fred: "I can't, huh?"
Angel: "Why won't you?"
Fred: "Because...you're not real. Or I'm not real. Somebody here isn't real and I suspect it's you. So if you're not real, that means that my head came off back there and that I'm dead now. Dead. And with me being dead and you not being real I can hardly be expected to have some big conversation with you at the moment, because it's just a little too much pressure, alright?!"

Silas: "I think it's time to send our princess a message."
[cut to forest rebels] Rebel: "I know how we send a message to the princess. We storm the palace."


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