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Discussion of 1.17 "Eternity" - Aired 4/4/2000 (WB-US)

Oromous

Socially Awkward
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Aug 16, 2020
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Sineya
"He's culturally-retarded that way."

Ohhhhh snap. Sigh, Cordy, Cordy. And just as I was having fun because of your "performance" at the start of the episode. Then you had to use the r-word in such a tactless way. Sigh. Oh well. The '90s, right? Though to be fair, Cordy does have other pretty good dialogue in this episode, including:

(Angel disappears in the midst of conversation)
Cordy: "Oh, he does that."


Way before Gordon said it in The Dark Knight. And also:

Cordy: "We have to use this now, before she's just another E! True Hollywood Story."

Classic. I like how distinct Cordy's personality is presented here in being the glamorous gal with an obsession of Hollywood's big stars (something I could be accused of being when I was 15 years younger). And that second line was more amusing because I grew up watching "E! True Hollywood Story" on cable. Cordy having big ideals about Hollywood glamour is a very cliched character trope, yes, but it fits Cordelia's personality SO well like a glove, and it's so much fun to watch, especially when she faked having a vision just for Angel to get involved. Her fangirling so hard on Rebecca was also super adorable and I LOVED it so much.

Angel dismissing the high-profile life of Hollywood then getting insecure about not being mentioned in the papers is also VERY darn cute. Adding on Wesley's pretty sleek save when accidentally dismissing the significance of actresses ("I meant TV actress"), I had a lot of fun watching the beginning of the episode... And then the main plot dragged on, and I could care little about some bored celebrity diva wanting to stay young for eternity.

The first two-thirds of the episode just felt so cheap and tacky in a dated '90s way, especially with its resemblance with "The Bodyguard". Even though Rebecca fits the femme fatale archetype of Angel's noir genre, she came off more as a self-entitled villainess than a potential love interest (even before she drugged Angel). Wesley and Angel summed up well enough how I felt about Rebecca and this episode:

Wes: "Actresses."
Angel: "Tell me about it."

That is until the final stretch of the episode, when Angelus reappeared. Sigh, what a waste of a potentially interesting development. Aside from the sharp wit at the beginning of the episode, this was probably the only other part that held my attention (as opposed to dozing off). It's an interesting exploration of circumstances that WOULD turn Angel back into his evil Angelus counterpart (and what wouldn't). While it makes sense that very little would actually break his curse as true happiness, as Wesley put it, is hard to attain, it's still a damn shame we couldn't have Angelus back as part of the series as it fits SO well with the redemption arc of the show. It's probably the most challenging, and therefore the most interesting obstacle Angel could have faced in his path to redemption. Hell, it gives an excuse to have yet another Buffy-crossover episode. Just saying.

Above anything else, "Eternity" just reminds me how much FUN I had with Angelus as a villain over Spike any day, especially with the "For the Evulz" Angelus treating the torture and killing of innocents as fun and games. Spike with Drusilla back in season 2, I gotta be brutally honest, felt like just another pair of generic murderers that Buffy had to defeat. There just wasn't the same thrill and adrenaline I had watching the more satanic Angelus in action, especially when I know Angelus would be sadistic enough to utilize the most horrifying methods imaginable (as opposed to Spike who's merely just having a good time). My blood gets pumping whenever he appears because I know just how horrifying his methods are. And Angelus' reappearance here, along with his threat to torture Rebecca before sticking her head on a pike, just reminds me why he's one of those villains I love to hate, especially with how he cruelly toys with both Wesley and Cordelia's inferiority complex. And thinking about it, if Cordelia hasn't already gotten past her self-esteem issues early in season 1, Angelus' psychological torture would've been more powerful than anything Spike had to dish out thus far. He's just so deliciously evil here, and the horror fan in me loves that this final part of the episode felt like a straight up slasher movie. Oh, and of course, I shouldn't forget about Cordelia's wonderful performance bluffing Angelus, proving that she does have acting chops when she has the proper motivation.

Finally, I think the ending is probably the strongest part of the episode in terms of emotional resonance. Angel's acknowledgement of Wesley's competence and Cordelia confirming that she's no longer the petty self-involved Queen Bee any more just makes these last few minutes of the episode so worth watching. Cordelia aside (we already know she's a brilliant woman full of self-confidence), I feel like this is a subtle but nonetheless important step-up for Wesley, with Angel's words reminding the audience that "Yeah, it's easy to make fun of his occasional incompetence, but Wesley can still kick ass."

And there's that hilarious deadpan outro again that I love, cutting to a music-less black screen. Never gets old.

However, there's something else I feel that needs to be addressed. Angelus' reappearance is fun, yes, but the way the writers ended up justifying this is yet another example of their clumsy writing - it's the drugs, so it's okay. No, it's not. Drugs or inebriated or not, it doesn't excuse bad behavior... or worse, sexual harassment. Along with what I said about the shallow Rebecca storyline and the dumb changing of Angel lore (what constitutes "true happiness" for Angel), these are clear signs that I'm still at a low point of the series, yet to reach what made this series so popular in the first place. Let's hope that changes soon with the next episode, where Faith makes an appearance.
 
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Faded90

Scooby
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
503
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63
I loved ‘Angelus’ in this episode, he felt more like S2 Buffy Angelus than s4 Angelus did

I couldn’t wrap my head around why Angel apparently had feelings for Rebecca though. She was shockingly shallow and I just don’t see Angel being attracted to someone like that - plus she wasn’t a tiny blonde 😂
 
Joined
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I think it's one of the better s1 epsiodes (though I never watch any s1 after 'Hero' - but from what I remember, it was more OK than a lot of them, there was certainly a lot of interesting stuff to delve into for my rewrites as opposed to something like 'Warzone' which on paper should have a lot of depth to it but, beyond the introduction of Gunn is just really flat). I get mad Shannon Doherty vibes from Rebecca - in some scenes they look so much alike it's unreal, and 'Raven' in her show is such a parallel to Brenda in 90210. Although, of course, by the time 'Eternity' rolled around SD had got her second big role - making Charmed ... not that that ended well.
 
Angel6
Angel6
I absolutely love Season One. I think Season 2 is the only stronger season of Angel. I don’t get the general consensus that it’s a weaker season.
Joined
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Angel6 I absolutely love Season One. I think Season 2 is the only stronger season of Angel. I don’t get the general consensus that it’s a weaker season.


I like the beginning of season 1, I love the noirish elements and the idea is really fun. I think it has a very strong start, I remember when I did my first rewatch in over 10 years back in 2016 and being surprised at how much I was enjoying episodes like 'Lonely Hearts' and 'I Fall to Pieces' which are universally considered pretty terrible. Plus I was delighted that Doyle stood the test of time because ... Spike dd not not survive my growing out of the teenage crush phase, it was nice, if surprising, to see that Doyle still stood up as a character. But past the Doyle episodes I think of 'she' and 'expecting' and 'the prodigal', far too much leaning on Goofy Wesley for humour, the whole thing looks kind of cheap (usually I don't care about production values but for some reason they seem to really stand out in AtS s1 and not in a good way) and there is no overall plot to the season it's just ... a series of episodes in the life of a vampire detective. Some episodes are more compelling than others but the fallow ones are really fallow. Plus too much Goofy Wesley.

Having said that, I couldn't say which of the seasons of Angel was my favourite one, I don't think it ever has any particularly strong seasons. It has amazing episodes dotted around throughout, it has enjoyable episodes for the most part and then it has godawful episodes and dire story lines dotted around as well. I find it to be a very inconsistent show. Season 2 doesn't have enough plot to see through an entire season arc (and how much do I not care about that teen shelter?) season 3 is pretty good, up until the baby is stolen and then the unremitting misery does not make for enjoyable watching, and then Connor comes back and it's just ... boring. I appreciate what they are trying to do with season 4 - how epic the scale of the story is and the big moral question at the end... it's just the story itself is a trash fire. And season 5 is surprisingly like season 1, except it's unrelated episodes in the life of a vampire lawyer, rather than a vampire detective and Wesley isn't goofy any more so they are over relying on Spike for humour (which is better) and sometimes Andrew (which is worse).
 

RDHWesley

Odd Individual
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Jan 27, 2019
Messages
110
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UK
This is still one of my favourite episodes of Season One. Whilst it may be quite predictable, it's more about how it tells its story than what the story is. This is a really interesting way of showing us how Angel can connect with someone in a way he hasn't done for a long time. Having him mope over Buffy all the time is just a bit too depressing and weak character-wise, and I like that the writers allowed him to develop further here. I personally don't find Rebecca that bad a character, even if she is a tad bland (most of the clients in Season One are, to be honest).

Of course, the temporary return of Angelus is very cool, even if David plays it a bit too over the top, and the tension certainly gets ramped up for the last act. The more laid-back approach to the rest of the story is something that I genuinely appreciate. It's mainly remembered for the stuff with Angelus, but I personally find a lot to enjoy in the preceding 35 minutes.
 
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