Angel/Recap/S03/E11 Birthday

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Cordelia is dying from her visions, but the demon Skip gives her a chance to relive her life without having met Angel and Doyle.

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Tropes used in Angel/Recap/S03/E11 Birthday include:
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Skip delivers his exposition to Cordelia in a 'reality construct' that looks like a shopping mall, where he assumes she's be comfortable.
  • Alternate Reality Episode
  • Bait and Switch Comment: Angel gives Cordelia his baby to coo over when the rest of the gang arrive with her presents. Cordy ponders which is more important, then tells Angel to take the baby. It looks like another Vain!Cordy joke when she repeats her words more urgently -- Angel grabs Conner as Cordelia has a vision that causes her to thrash about violently.
  • Body Surf: Cordelia waits till Angel falls asleep, then jumps into his body so she can use it to write the information about her vision on the wall. Skip's arrival throws her out of his body before she can complete the message.
  • Brick Joke: In Season One's "To Shanshu In L.A." Wesley read a prophecy that a demon is due to arise in Reseda in 2003. Cordelia drives to Reseda and discovers the cause of the demon's summoning -- a teenage girl accidentally pouring diet soda on a black magic tome while trying to cast a spell to make her Disappeared Dad return home.
  • Closeup on Head: Cordelia appears to be making a Love Confession (to Angel or her friends) when she's actually showing Fred the award speech she rehearsed for her non-existent acting career.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Superstar!Cordelia has the nagging feeling she's forgotten something important. Her hyper-efficient assistant Nev is on the case.

Cordy: "I want something. Hypo-something. Hypothermia?"
Nev: (to phone) "Josh, lets get a large tub of ice water to Miss Chase's dressing room, pronto."
Cordy: (to herself) "No, that's not it."
Nev: "Canceling ice water."
Cordy: "Hyper... hyperbaric?"
Nev: "Josh, make it an oxygen tent."
Cordy: "No, that's not it either."
Nev: "Canceling tent."
Cordy: "Hyperion! That's it!"

  • Continuity Nod
    • Skip was the affable demon guarding Billy in "That Vision Thing". He was brought back by popular fan demand.
    • Wesley mentions losing his arm to a Kungai demon, presumably the one he was pursuing in "Parting Gifts".
    • Cordelia kids Wesley about their awful kiss in BTVS "Graduation Day".
    • Clips are shown from "Hero" (Doyle passes on the visions to Cordelia) and "City Of" (Cordelia meets Angel in LA).
    • The same actor who played the bellhop at the 1950's Hyperion in "Are You Know Or Have You Ever Been" is reused.
    • Cordelia asks Skip if the Powers intend to turn back time for her. He says they don't go in for that "much" -- referring to "I Will Remember You", when the Powers agreed to turn back time 24 hours for Angel.
  • Convenient Coma
  • Converse with the Unconscious / Bait and Switch Comment: Angel appears to be going to make an Anguished Declaration of Love to the unconscious Cordy, only to start railing at her for not telling him the visions were slowly killing her.
  • Covered in Gunge: For once we see the aftermath -- lots of cleaning.
  • Cuteness Proximity
  • A Day in the Limelight: Cordy is literally in the limelight!
  • Deja Vu: Superstar!Cordelia still has a residual memory of the vision, causing her to follow it up.
  • Dom Com: Cordy, a Friends-style sitcom starring Cordelia Chase. We get to see the Title Sequence, but a clip of the show had to be cut for time, and because the producers felt it wasn't funny enough. It can be watched as a Deleted Scene on the DVD. Tropes seen is Cordy include:
  • Dramatic Shattering: While having her vision Cordelia stumbles into the glass-fronted weapons cabinet and breaks it.
  • Dynamic Entry: Subverted when Skip enters with the usual flashing lights and Dramatic Wind, only to say casually, "Hey, how's it going?"
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Cordelia is reluctant to leave her old life because she thinks Angel needs him. Skip takes her to where Angry!Angel is shouting at the Conduit, just in time to hear him denounce her as a rich girl playing at superhero who's too weak for the job. Cordelia asks to leave and takes the alternate reality, missing out on the rest of the conversation.

Angel: "You're killing her. She's unconscious, and she's alone. Who knows if she's in pain?"
Voices: "It is angry. It is afraid."
Angel: (beat) "I'm more afraid of her dying than she is. What is that?"


Fred: "Lorne! What happened?"
Lorne: "I can't really talk about it."
Gunn: "Then how the hell are we supposed to find them so we can kick their asses?"
Lorne: "Ah, no. I mean I can't talk about it. They cast a spell."

  • Foreshadowing
    • Cordelia's transformation into a demon hybrid and the reasons for it play an important role in Season 4.
    • Wesley as a perma-stubbed Knight in Sour Armor (albeit with two arms) matches his character in Seasons 4 & 5.
  • For Want of a Nail: Cordelia experiences an alternate reality in which she met a talent agent instead of Angel at the party in "City Of". She's now the famous star of a popular sit-com, whereas Angel has gone insane from the visions, Wesley has lost an arm, Gunn has an ugly scar across his face and Fred was never rescued from Pylea, while the Fang Gang are barely scraping by without Cordy's Money Fetish skills.
  • Freudian Slip: The bellhop at the Hyperion who offers to take the famous Ms Chase up to his room...her room.
  • Handicapped Badass / Perma-Stubble: In the alternate reality Wesley is a one-armed, unshaven sword-wielding Badass.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cordelia makes a deal with Skip to make her part-demon so she can survive the visions.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: The 'Cordy!' theme song was sung by Marti Noxon.
  • Hidden Depths: Superstar!Cordelia has kindness, patience, and acting ability -- implying that these traits are innate rather than from the empathy she's gained from experiencing the visions and helping the helpless over the past three years.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Cordelia's birthday is celebrated by her falling into a coma.
  • Ho Yay: If it requires love and kisses to pass on the visions, how exactly did Doyle pass them on to Angel?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Cordelia saying "You can't scare me!" then jumping in fright as Wesley suddenly enters the room.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Skip is impressed when Cordelia accepts the unpredictable and terrible consequences of becoming part demon.

"It was an honor being your guide, Cordelia Chase."


Skip: "Your entire life changed that night. In ways you couldn't imagine. Indescribably painful ways, I think you'll agree. Now, what if the play ran a little different? (The picture on the screen rewinds) You're on the sideline over here, (Skip points and a white x appears on the lower right corner of the screen) talking to a couple wanna-be moguls. Angel is down field here. (A circle appears around Angel's head in the back of the screen) Instead of cutting through the middle to meet Angel, (two white intersecting lines appear on the screen) what if you'd been forced to counter? What if *this* guy, (a circle appears around another man in the crowd) who happens to be a very powerful talent agent, flanks you (A white line connects the circled agent to the X denoting Cordy's position) and drew you off side? (A white line leads from the X in the right lower corner of the screen over to the left corner and another X) What would happen then?"
Cordy: "I'd, ah, score a touchdown?"


Wes: "Fred studied Cordy's latest CAT scans. The news isn't good. The tests show widespread neuro-electrical deterioration."
Ghost!Cordy: (scoffing) "That's just a fancy way of saying..."
Angel: "She's dying."
Ghost!Cordy: (beat) "I think I like the fancy way better."

  • Leave Your Quest Test
  • Loophole Abuse: While going to find out how to contact the Conduit, Lorne gets roughed up and has a spell placed on him so he can't reveal what he found out. He slips Angel a piece of paper. "They didn't say I couldn't write it."
  • The Movie Buff: Skip loves The Matrix. Gladiator, not so much.
  • Myself, My Avatar: Skip notices that the astral-projected Cordy isn't any different from the real Cordy lying unconscious on the bed, and that most people pretty themselves up a bit. When you're Cordelia of course, you don't need to.
  • No Sympathy: Lorne gets worked over while seeking information for Angel.

Angel: "Did you get the information?"
Lorne: "Oh, why yes, Angel. My horn should grow back in a couple of days. So kind of you to be concerned.


Skip: "The only way you get to keep the visions is by becoming...part demon. (Cordy looks down) The process isn't easy. It'll make your vision pain feel like a stroll through Candyland. And even after the pain subsides the effects of the transition will be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again."

  • Power Floats: Cordelia wakes up from her coma and is delighted to discover she doesn't have horns and a tail. She then has a vision, which she casually describes without any of the usual pain and passing out. The Fang Gang all gape in amazement...because Cordelia is floating in mid-air.
  • Rewatch Bonus
  • Saying Too Much: Fred is getting on Gunn for searching Cordy's underwear drawer. Gunn says that's where women hide things. Fred replies that she wouldn't know as she lived in a cave for the past five years and can we not talk about my underwear?
  • Shaggy Search Technique: While searching Cordy's apartment Fred snarks at Gunn for checking out her underwear drawer, but not looking under the bed where the pills turn out to be stashed.
  • Sleight of Tongue: Cordelia kisses Angel, causing the visions to pass over to her.
  • Sunnydale Syndrome: Lampshaded by Gunn.

Gunn: "Hey, what is it with you Sunnydale folks and repression? I mean, you three are the most denying-it folks I've ever met."


Cordy: "So, you - like - kill things now? 'Cause last time I saw you, you just kind of fainted in front of them."


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