: Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel The Series News
Buffy and Angel Reviews
« Welcome To The Hellmouth | Main | Different Kinds of Power »

Wolfram Apart (On With the Body Count!!)

Angel Episode 4.8 'Habeas Corpses'
Air Date: 15Jan03

When last we left our hero, he was breathing through a newly-carved second mouth on the side of his neck as he watched the object of his affection and the fruit of his centuries-old loins making The Monster With Two Backs. 'Habeas Corpses' (From Habeas Corpus -- a legal term, Latin for "You have the body") picked up right where 'Rain of Fire' left off. Cordy & Connor were still a-copulatin', so Angel watched a little more before smashing in a door and falling down a flight of stairs (I know that's not what really happened, but watch the scene again with that in mind for a good laugh).

Cut to morning (I LOVE the high-speed transitional sequences between scenes on this show!), as Cordy realizes, much to her dismay, that the world didn't end and bedding Connor probably wasn't the right thing to do. Ahhh, hindsight. So Mrs. Robinson sends our little graduate packing. I almost have nothing to say about any of this, because the whole subplot stinks and I haven't heard from a single fan of the show who thinks it was a good idea for M.E. to work it in. It's boring, illogical, and slightly nauseating. And HELLO – we're all aware that Charisma's pregnant and will soon be showing (more), so they needed to get Cordy bred or write her out of the show. Who else was she going to sleep with? Gunn & Wesley were in relationships (sort of), and if it was Angel, she had to hope that he didn't enjoy it too much (which is entirely possible in light of how bland and fluffy Cordy's become over the last couple of seasons). So who does that leave us with – LORNE?!?

The task fell to you, Connor, now be a good little hellspawn. Get up, get dressed, and let's NEVER speak of this again (right?!?).

If I had to rank my favourite characters in the Buffyverse from among everyone who's alive and currently appearing on one of the two shows, Lilah Morgan would definitely crack the top five. She's a rich, complex character (she's wickedly evil and likes it, but she's also in love with one of the good guys), and Stephanie Romanov kicks a staggering amount of ass in her portrayal of this heartsick barracuda. Lilah gets more evil all the time, while simultaneously showing us precious little glimpses of her vulnerable and compassionate side. There's no denying she's been playing Wesley for the benefit of Wolfram & Hart, but it's also become obvious that she's fallen in love with him. And from a fan's standpoint, that makes for satisfying TV-time.

Their breakup certainly contained a heap of snappy dialogue, didn't it? When she made one last attempt to seduce him, his "don't embarrass yourself" rang out like a shot, prompting shouts of "Oooh, thass cold!" in living rooms all over the place. The first time I watched this episode, I had all kinds of issues with the unrealistic (who talks like that?!?) noir-ish tone of their "good & evil, black & white" exchange. But now that it's had some time to sink in, I'm a lot more comfortable with it. And Lilah's parting jab about Fred preferring black was some vintage catty Morgan indeed.

Cut to Cordy's (post cradle-robbing) return to the Hyperion. Did everyone catch Fred's line when Cordy asked where Angel was? "He's hibernating in his cave." Funny, coming from Cavegirl herself. So blah blah blah, insert Three's Company-style case of miscommunication ("I don't know – what are YOU talking about?"), and let's get back to Wolfram & Hart.

Poor Gavin. We hardly knew ye. It was a good last scene for Gavin & Lilah, and I loved him coaching her on the phone. He's been a great sideman and foil, and I'm sorry to see him go – Along with EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE of Wolfram & Hart.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Enter the offspring, looking for answers about what he is and how he's connected to the Beast. Once again, let's hear it for Lilah. Just when I thought she was actually offering to help Connor in his hour of need, she turned on a dime and showed what a badass she is. "And then we'll slice you open and start poking around!" Didn't she just look delighted at the idea? She also seemed to channel Jack Nicholson from The Shining, and I'm talking about true spirit – not just in that annoying way that Christian "Remember that guy?" Slater does it (Ooh, I'm bitchy today).

Gotta love the way Connor took out two W & H thugs with one snappy roundhouse punch. For the record, I think Vincent Kartheiser is the worst lead actor on either Buffy or Angel, but I like watching him fight and jump onto moving busses (I guess I can forget about ever interviewing HIM, eh?).

Lights out, everybody! The Big Bad's here. From this point onward, I was completely engaged in this episode. I've seen all of George Romero's zombie flicks numerous times and I've played through Resident Evil parts 1, 2, and 3. So if you want to plunge a fortified office tower into darkness and fill it with hundreds of zombies and an unstoppable super-demon, I am SO there!
Hold on, though. All kidding aside for a second, and I mean that. Am I the only one that got extra creeped out by the footage of all the Wolfram & Hart staffers pushing into the stairwells in a panic, desperately trying to call out on their cellphones? It immediately gave me a 9/11 stomach ache. Maybe it's just because Kit B and I had a brief email exchange about it recently, but that's what immediately came to mind. Yikes.

Okay, where were we?

I have to hand it to Connor for his suicidal bravery. He's already been thoroughly trounced by the Beast, but there he was again – going after it with a crappy little decorative short sword. Dumb as paint, but the kid knows no fear.

And he found his target just as Lilah finished emptying a clip into it. Too bad Wes didn't get a chance to tell her just how effective bullets are against this thing (see: Not At All). Following her desperate attempt to strike the deal with the beast that the senior partners demanded, it stretched her out on a desk and performed a little surgery. I'm baffled as to what it did. Did it put something in her? Did it take something out? Was it siphoning off the essence of her evil as it did later on to the keeper of the White Room?

We didn't get a chance to find out, as Connor snuck up and gave the Beast a little love tap, which of course shattered his sword and did absolutely nothing. When the "800 lb Gorilla" turned around and uttered Connor's name, it seemed fairly affectionate – which is extra creepy in combination with the way it launched him across the room and THROUGH a concrete column. Run, Lilah, Run!

Then suddenly, Gadget Guy (the guy with the gadgets) was on the scene. How incredibly cool was it to learn that Wes has had a spy at airtight Wolfram & Hart? That little coup deserves a wave around the stadium and some fireworks. One minute it's blades popping out of his sleeves, and the next it's this. He never fails to surprise me.

I also love the way the Beast could probably run to catch people, but he prefers to take his time (okay, maybe there's no way Vladimir Kulich could run in those awkward goat feet). We used to have a show about comics and sci-fi here in Canada called Prisoners of Gravity, and on one episode, Harlan Ellison was saying that his idea of true terror was something that moved slowly and constantly toward you and could not be stopped. Run all you like, but you'll have to stop some time, and it will still be coming. Boom… Boom… Boom… Steadily closing in. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our Big Bad. Scary as all get-out. Quick! Into the toilet paper room!

Oh, speaking of which, I need to make reference to Gavin's death scene. How funny was he when he realized that the Beast had cornered him? Did he panic? Did he try and escape? Did he start flinging rolls of toilet paper at it? Nope – he assumed the classic doe-in-the-headlights pose, took a beat, and peeped "Hi!" before getting his neck snapped. Hi Gav. Bye Gav.

Following Wes & Lilah's escape, their scene in the tunnels was really touching. Just like Buffy rescuing Spike at the end of 'Showtime', the true power of the moment was all in the eyes. They're a complex pair, these two. Lilah is in love with Wesley and would like to stay with him despite her job and her evil obligations. Wes, on the other hand, has feelings for Lilah (maybe not as strong, but face it – the brother has some deep intimacy issues), and he's forcing himself to put them aside in the face of his own obligations. You almost get the sense that Lilah would leave Wolfram & Hart if Wesley asked her to, but it doesn't sound like he will because he still doesn't trust her. Lilah's news about Connor, however futile, and the faint nods they exchanged before parting, spoke volumes. I can't wait to see where she goes now, and I'm dying to know what the Beast did when he poked that single finger into her tummy and moved on. With Lilah in exile and staggering through the sewers, don't be surprised if we next see her as mayor of a small town in France (I'll be satisfied if half of you get that).

And damn – that seamless transition between water dripping in the tunnel and Gunn tapping his pen back at the hotel was SWEET!

Lorne was pretty much useless and 'fraidy in this episode, but he was still funny. Big high five to Andy Hallett for fantastic delivery of the few lines he had. The news came 'round last week that Joss has confirmed Lorne's continuing presence as a main character for the rest of the season, complete with upcoming inclusion in the opening titles, and I couldn't be happier.

Happiness being a foreign concept to the staff of Angel Investigations lately. On an interpersonal level, is this crew a mess or what? Fred and Chuckie G are awkward around each other, Wes feels passed over by Fred (again), he and Gunn have a hate-on for each other, Angel's pissed at Cordelia, and Fred didn't seem too pleased when Angel decided the Wolfram & Hart mission was too dangerous for Cordy but she should "get a move on". Of course in the middle of this bad mood maelstrom, we had good old Lorne coming to Cordy's rescue with hugs and muffins. Our boy is a breed apart – both literally and figuratively.

Angel's thirty metre leap up into W & H from the sewers was cool. It's nice to see a reminder that he's a supernatural being instead of just some dumb guy in a sweater (see, Angel would NOT make my top 5 favourite characters).

I enjoyed the comedic relief when he finally found Connor. A few people have asked me if I didn't think Connor was a little too casual after just about being killed by the Beast and then being introduced to his first zombies. What, are you kidding? Before returning to LA, Connor spent 18 years in a flaming Hell dimension populated by giant creepy crawlies, and THEY were afraid of HIM. So no – I'm not surprised that he barely raised an eyebrow at the concept of newly reanimated dead people.

I did, however, think Fred was a little too calm about leaving Gunn outside with the zombies. And when Chuck first forced the door open and shoved his arm in, I was POSITIVE that they were going to help him inside only to discover that he'd already joined the ranks of the brain-eaters. See? That's why spoilers and wildfeed summaries suck. As someone who avoids them whenever possible, I have no idea what might occur in each episode and when a main character might die, and that's really fun.

Also fun? The White Room (with black curtains, at the station… never mind). I loved it last season, and I love it now. What an excellent concept! And it appears that the Beast thinks so too, as he headed straight up there after completing his Voodoo project with the W & H staff. I'm assuming he just saw the Guardian as a source of power to be absorbed, but at this point I'm open to the idea that a lot more could be transpiring than that. Who knows (note to the spoiler-laden: That wasn't an invitation to TELL ME)? I also think that when she said, "The answer is among you", she wasn't just answering Wesley's question about how they were going to get out of there. I think she was referring to the overall problem of the Beast and this end-of-the-world party he's throwing. Then, as a parting gift to the Fang Gang, she zapped them all back home to the Hyperion, where Lorne was enjoying a martini and the latest Enquirer (I LOVE him). A little welcome home chit-chat, and Angel finally played his ace. "Now take your new boyfriend, and get the hell out of here." Ka-BOOM!!!

I grumbled a bit about this episode when I first saw it, but after a couple more viewings it's definitely grown on me as a checkmark in the win column. It was fun and action-packed, and it contained a couple of big plot developments as well as a few cryptic clues to what's coming up.

Before I go, I'd like to raise a question that didn't occur to me until I started writing this. It's been stated a few times that Wolfram & Hart's senior partners have been planning the apocalypse since the dawn of time. With the recent news from Jordan Levin at the WB that a Buffy/Angel crossover might not be as impossible as we initially thought, what are the chances that the First Evil ("… since the dawn of time") is THE senior partner, and the lawyers at W & H are just Harbingers in expensive suits?

Take care, everybody.

About Ron : Email Ron
Back to the main review page»
Privacy Policy | Copyright © 1999-2004 All rights reserved.
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer" TM and © (or copyright) Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication or distribution of these materials in any form is expressly prohibited. This web site, its operators and any content on this site relating to "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" are not authorized by Fox.
Home | Reviews | Articles | Buffy Episode List | Angel Episode List | Trailers/Promos | Spoilers | Official Buffy Site | Videos, DVD's | Advertise on | Buffy Merchandise | Search | Join Slayage The Mailing List | Contact is free to use, but not free to run. All donations are appreciated.
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
Show your to or if you buy this stuff through the site it helps out with running costs:

anything from blackstar, including:
NEW DESIGNS! t-shirts, mugs, mousepads. Got a suggestion?
Syndicate articles (XML)
Syndicate reviews (XML)
anything from amazon, including:
NS, DS, KM, VL, CF, ES, SR, AF, SJ, CB, AA, JH, RG, LH, GF, DK, EC, LM, SH, CK, AE, EB, XW, DB, MC, MR in other languages
Italiano, Deutsch, Espanol, Francais, Português