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Discussion of 3.11 "Birthday" - Aired 1/14/2002 (WB-US)

Flannen

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On her birthday, Cordelia's visions become so painful that they propel her into an astral state and a life-threatening coma. Visited by a demon guide, astral Cordy is mystically granted the opportunity to live her dream of a rich and famous actress if she is willing to give up her history with Angel and her visions.

Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

nightshade

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Cordelia's 21st Birthday, I love this episode. It shows how much she has changed and how much she means to Angel.

"I'm more afraid of her dying than she is. - What is that?"

I love this line, to me it shows how much he cares about her and how much a part of his life she is
 
Wesley Pryce
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PassionBecoming

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Love that beginning scene! "My, Gunn..don't you look...sterile." "A couple more hours of smelling that industrial-strength cleanser and I might be." Hahahaha
-I'm just like Angel with my kids - no dirty people touching the babies!!
-Cordy as Wonder Woman with a cross bow. Very nice.
-I've been wondering why Cordy's visions propel her backwards all the time. I understand falling from the pain and such, but she gets violently tossed all the time. Hmm.
-I LOVE PHANTOM DENNIS!!!!!
-Awww, Gunn likes Fred. :)
-Angel really goes off his nut when Cordelia is in trouble.
-Skip!!
-Aw, Doyle. I miss him. :(
-Love Skip's football play talk. Heehee. But what is his deal??
-"I'm more afraid of her dying then she is. What is that?" That's love, friendship, and loyalty, my friend.
-Ooo, love Cordy's dress in her new life. And her TV show opening is hilarious!!
-The hotel is all done up now? I thought she would be in the current reality, just in a different role?
-"Like, Sunnydale weird." Nope, can't escape fate!
-Why would Cordelia be so insistent on seeing Angel? They weren't ever friends, and really never had all that much interaction in Sunnydale. Unless it's just her weird feelings.
-Ok, so she kisses him, gets the visions back...so, I'm thinking Skip wasn't being a good guy here, he was trying to separate Cordy/Angel from the visions and debilitate Angel.

**UGH! Megavideo just froze and I can't finish the ep! GACK!***
 

PassionBecoming

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Ok, I can finish now...

-How could Skip not love "Gladiator"?!
-"So, demonize me already."
-Funny that when Cordy and Buffy get confronted with possibly being part demon, they both worry about horns and tail. :)
-Love the group staring at her while she has a vision!!!

I was enthralled by this episode, though I'm not sure why! Loved it!!
 

Jules

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I did not enjoy the Cangel moments in this episode. If there was a claddagh ring in that box that Angel gave Cordy there is going to be some serious trouble :)

I'm a little confused on the vision storyline. Doyle had visions, he was part demon and they still hurt him like hell. Angel in the alternate time line is part demon and not only did the visions hurt him but they also sent him a little crazy. So now Cordy is part demon and she feels no pain at all. Shouldnt one of the gang picked up on that, that something was different and not entirely ''by the book''.
 

Cordy_Chase

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This episode had me on edge the whole time with the intense revealing of how severe the brain damage the visions were causing had been progressing for some time and possibility of losing Cordy. It baffles me how she was she able to retain consciousness let alone be fully functional in the time around the scans that basically showed her to be brain dead.

That she had a vision from an alternate universe was very intriguing and I love how the alternate universe showed just how much she affected Angel Investigations. With Angel being the one who had inherited the visions (and I certainly hope Doyle didn't kiss HIM LOL XD) he was probably too mentally damaged by the time Darla was resurrected to have slept with her thus never having conceived Conner and they probably never even travelled to Pylea to rescue Fred. To answer the above concern about Angel becoming mentally damaged from the visions which I briefly shared (@Jules) remember what Wesley said. He'd never come back from his greif over losing Doyle, once again something Cordy had been a big part of. In fact he would have been all alone after that until Wesley showed up. So he would have already been emotionally unstable while going through the visions. Thus I think it was more about him having an psychological breakdown than his brain being damaged by the visions.
The scene between Cordy and Alternate Angel was very well acted by David and a great deal of her innermost feelings for him are revealed here to pair with the moment in actuality when Angel is pleading with the Powers That Be.
"I'm more afraid of her dying than she is."
I'm confused now dang it, watching BTVS I loved Bangle, in fact Angel's seasons are my favorites but here at this point of 'Angel' I am kind of getting into Cordangel.

There were some inconsistencies with the vision lore here. I figured that Cordy would have to become part demon to be able to continue having the visions safely however didn't Doyle who was part demon by birth experience pain when having the visions? Then there was alternate Angel who isn't part demon but also not human. As I already have though that can be explained.

All this time I never really had a favorite episode of 'Angel' but I think now this is for sure among a newly begun list of them.
 
Wesley Pryce
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Cordy_Chase

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After re-watching this episode there are a few hints to the deception in Skip's "guidance" which was meant to lead to the Jasmine arc in the forth season that are now much clearer to me.
He begins by arguing that the fact that Doyle even transferred the visions to Cordelia in the first place was a "Cosmic Whoops", that was never intended. With re-consideration of Doyle's character, his feelings for Cordelia and the circumstances of his death I've become convinced that Skip was bullshitting that.

When Cordelia is still set on sticking with Angel and the visions Skip shows her Angel yelling at the PTB to save her. It was pretty clear this time around that he'd carefully chosen that particular moment when Angel happens to be calling her weak and "A rich girl playing super hero". He then pulls her out right before the turning point in that rant, when he says:
"She's unconscious and she's alone, who knows if she's in pain--I'm more afraid of her dying than she is."
True, she asked to be pulled out but had Skip's intentions been pure he'd have told her to wait and keep watching for that line.

Now I do believe he was being honest that if she remained human she'd be a vegetable until the next vision hit and killed her and that Tammy had been real. That just happened to work in his favor.

He put on a good performance of being pissed off when she reclaimed the visions from a severely mentally damaged Angel by the way because clearly he'd set the whole thing up knowing she'd end up at the part demon last resort.

Unless he didn't realize he was being used which is possible considering Jasmine kept herself very well hidden in the background of a lot of the character's experiences with their having no inkling of it. Than all my above points get flushed down the toilet.

Honestly I kind of get the feeling Cordelia might have been trying to hustle him back when she'd went for the famous actress AR, like she thought she could use it to get both ways and give Skip the cosmic middle finger. That notion amuses me, it would be just like Cordy. Notice how the moment she got there she pursued the girl and tried to incorporate herself back into the team. Reclaiming the visions would not have been part of the plan but obviously when she saw Angel in that condition it pained her.

Jules said:
I'm a little confused on the vision storyline. Doyle had visions, he was part demon and they still hurt him like hell. Angel in the alternate time line is part demon and not only did the visions hurt him but they also sent him a little crazy. So now Cordy is part demon and she feels no pain at all. Shouldnt one of the gang picked up on that, that something was different and not entirely ''by the book''.

I addressed this in my previous post but I disagree with the explanation I gave then so I'm going to amend it.
First of all Angel is NOT part demon, he's a vampire, what difference this might make or if it even does is unknown and has me curious as well. We have to however look at another factor that is in play here which had been pointed out by Wesley; Without Cordelia to share the grief with him Angel never recovered from loosing Doyle. So I believe that contributed a lot to his condition when Cordelia found him.
What I want to know is how Angel inherited the visions; this could possibly support my suspicion that Skip lied about the transfer being an accident but again that would depend on how well a vampire is able to handle them. Something that's difficult to pick out with AR Angel's breakdown over Doyle. I'm assuming Doyle did NOT kiss Angel in that moment before making his sacrifice, that would be super weird haha so how had that transfer transpired and was it intended for Angel where it supposedly was not for Cordelia?
This now has me wondering if Skip had tampered with the AR to lead Cordelia to not embrace it, like I discussed before this whole thing was obviously a set up designed to lead her to volunteering to become part demon. So it makes sense that he'd stick something in the AR (Angel with the visions) that might contradict himself to tempt her. It would make sense of how a thin veil of the Team Angel version of her was mixed with the AR version, to make sure she pursued that girl. Too bad she didn't pick up on that.

Something else I would have liked to know but was never explained was how Wes lost his arm, I can make sense of why there was no Fred. It was Cordelia having a vision which led the team to her but Angel may have been in his unstable state by the time that vision was supposed to occur. Thus they would not have ventured to Pylea and saved her.

Still one of my favorite episodes.
 
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Cordy_Chase

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When Cordelia is still set on sticking with Angel and the visions Skip shows her Angel yelling at the PTB to save her.
Sorry, slight correction due to lack of proper attention paid. I'm aware now he was yelling at the Conduit, not the Powers who, by the way, are very demeaning referring to him as 'it'. :p
 

Wesley Pryce

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This episode had me on edge the whole time with the intense revealing of how severe the brain damage the visions were causing had been progressing for some time and possibility of losing Cordy. It baffles me how she was she able to retain consciousness let alone be fully functional in the time around the scans that basically showed her to be brain dead.

That she had a vision from an alternate universe was very intriguing and I love how the alternate universe showed just how much she affected Angel Investigations. With Angel being the one who had inherited the visions (and I certainly hope Doyle didn't kiss HIM LOL XD) he was probably too mentally damaged by the time Darla was resurrected to have slept with her thus never having conceived Conner and they probably never even travelled to Pylea to rescue Fred. To answer the above concern about Angel becoming mentally damaged from the visions which I briefly shared (@Jules) remember what Wesley said. He'd never come back from his greif over losing Doyle, once again something Cordy had been a big part of. In fact he would have been all alone after that until Wesley showed up. So he would have already been emotionally unstable while going through the visions. Thus I think it was more about him having an psychological breakdown than his brain being damaged by the visions.
The scene between Cordy and Alternate Angel was very well acted by David and a great deal of her innermost feelings for him are revealed here to pair with the moment in actuality when Angel is pleading with the Powers That Be.
"I'm more afraid of her dying than she is."
I'm confused now dang it, watching BTVS I loved Bangle, in fact Angel's seasons are my favorites but here at this point of 'Angel' I am kind of getting into Cordangel.

There were some inconsistencies with the vision lore here. I figured that Cordy would have to become part demon to be able to continue having the visions safely however didn't Doyle who was part demon by birth experience pain when having the visions? Then there was alternate Angel who isn't part demon but also not human. As I already have though that can be explained.

All this time I never really had a favorite episode of 'Angel' but I think now this is for sure among a newly begun list of them.
Angel is part demon, vampires are basically demons inhabiting flesh. 
After re-watching this episode there are a few hints to the deception in Skip's "guidance" which was meant to lead to the Jasmine arc in the forth season that are now much clearer to me.
He begins by arguing that the fact that Doyle even transferred the visions to Cordelia in the first place was a "Cosmic Whoops", that was never intended. With re-consideration of Doyle's character, his feelings for Cordelia and the circumstances of his death I've become convinced that Skip was bullshitting that.

When Cordelia is still set on sticking with Angel and the visions Skip shows her Angel yelling at the PTB to save her. It was pretty clear this time around that he'd carefully chosen that particular moment when Angel happens to be calling her weak and "A rich girl playing super hero". He then pulls her out right before the turning point in that rant, when he says:
"She's unconscious and she's alone, who knows if she's in pain--I'm more afraid of her dying than she is."
True, she asked to be pulled out but had Skip's intentions been pure he'd have told her to wait and keep watching for that line.

Now I do believe he was being honest that if she remained human she'd be a vegetable until the next vision hit and killed her and that Tammy had been real. That just happened to work in his favor.

He put on a good performance of being pissed off when she reclaimed the visions from a severely mentally damaged Angel by the way because clearly he'd set the whole thing up knowing she'd end up at the part demon last resort.

Unless he didn't realize he was being used which is possible considering Jasmine kept herself very well hidden in the background of a lot of the character's experiences with their having no inkling of it. Than all my above points get flushed down the toilet.

Honestly I kind of get the feeling Cordelia might have been trying to hustle him back when she'd went for the famous actress AR, like she thought she could use it to get both ways and give Skip the cosmic middle finger. That notion amuses me, it would be just like Cordy. Notice how the moment she got there she pursued the girl and tried to incorporate herself back into the team. Reclaiming the visions would not have been part of the plan but obviously when she saw Angel in that condition it pained her.



I addressed this in my previous post but I disagree with the explanation I gave then so I'm going to amend it.
First of all Angel is NOT part demon, he's a vampire, what difference this might make or if it even does is unknown and has me curious as well. We have to however look at another factor that is in play here which had been pointed out by Wesley; Without Cordelia to share the grief with him Angel never recovered from loosing Doyle. So I believe that contributed a lot to his condition when Cordelia found him.
What I want to know is how Angel inherited the visions; this could possibly support my suspicion that Skip lied about the transfer being an accident but again that would depend on how well a vampire is able to handle them. Something that's difficult to pick out with AR Angel's breakdown over Doyle. I'm assuming Doyle did NOT kiss Angel in that moment before making his sacrifice, that would be super weird haha so how had that transfer transpired and was it intended for Angel where it supposedly was not for Cordelia?
This now has me wondering if Skip had tampered with the AR to lead Cordelia to not embrace it, like I discussed before this whole thing was obviously a set up designed to lead her to volunteering to become part demon. So it makes sense that he'd stick something in the AR (Angel with the visions) that might contradict himself to tempt her. It would make sense of how a thin veil of the Team Angel version of her was mixed with the AR version, to make sure she pursued that girl. Too bad she didn't pick up on that.

Something else I would have liked to know but was never explained was how Wes lost his arm, I can make sense of why there was no Fred. It was Cordelia having a vision which led the team to her but Angel may have been in his unstable state by the time that vision was supposed to occur. Thus they would not have ventured to Pylea and saved her.

Still one of my favorite episodes.
There was no Fred because they never went to Pylea since they never met Lorne. and Wes lost his arm to the Kongui demon from parting gifts A 1:10.
 

Cordy_Chase

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Angel is part demon, vampires are basically demons inhabiting flesh. 

There was no Fred because they never went to Pylea since they never met Lorne. and Wes lost his arm to the Kongui demon from parting gifts A 1:10.

In that case, Angel should be considered full demon, especially based on his full body form in Pylea. Doyle was a true part - demon and was only able to transform his face. Technically a vampire is not at all human, but merely the shell of one.

I'm aware of why Fred was not in the 'What-If' - verse and had pointed it out in my revised review, the explanation of Wesley's lost arm was a detail I had missed initially, but it has come to my attention since writing my last review. Thanks for pointing out the specific episode in which the Kongai demon was, that much I still hadn't figured out. I've been pondering re-watching 'Parting Gifts' ironically and I'd like to refresh my memory as to that incident to see how the absence of Cordelia might have resulted in Wesley losing his arm.
 
Wesley Pryce
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Charmander

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Haha! I really liked this one. Probably because it gave us a break from the super heavy episodes about the baby. And Wes looked pretty badass with just one arm!
 

Cordy_Chase

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How it took this long considering how many times I've watched this episode is pretty rediculous but something has suddenly caught my attention.

When Cordelia attempts to communicate the address of her vision by possessing Angel's body to write on the wall, a shadowy essence interferes, shoving her out before she could finish and I realized that the same shadowy essence, a few minutes later, preceded Skip's entrance.
This is suggestive that it was Skip who had intercepted her message on the wall and is another piece of evidence that this whole thing was phase one of operation Jasmine but it doesn't come together for me. Why would that message or successfully communicating with the team have been such a threat?
That vision would have led them on a wild goose chase since it didn't actually exist and that's if they could even bring themselves to put Cordelia's condition aside to pursue it. Nor was whether or not they could solve a vision really relevant to Skip's argument.

Unless he feared that pursuing that vision would lead A.I to blowing his cover and realizing that Cordelia was being manipulated, but though their not finding anything at that address would be instantly suspicious it's still kind of a stretch that they'd reach Skip and Jasmine from that point. Considering how inconceivably long it took them (particularly Angel) to figure out that Cordelia wasn't really Cordelia during the Jordelia arc, that's kinda giving their observational and problem-solving skills too much credit. After 'That Vision Thing' they'd undoubtedly single in on W&H.

Come to think of it, why did Cordelia even get that vision from the 'what-if'-verse? Although it successful got her focus, she could not have been expected to put that together when deciding to go to the 'what-if'-verse and Skip didn't seem to have that expectation as he'd hooked her by showing her Angel throwing out insults about her to appeal to the Conduit to have the PTB remove the visions from her. So what purpose did it serve?
 
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Cordy_Chase

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Sorry but my fifteen minutes had expired before I realized I'd forgotten this:

There is also a continuity error. Cordelia had managed to get the address written on the wall before the interference and it appears on the wall in the 'what-if'-verse, one of the many flaws of it that gives it away as an elaborate backdrop but then in the final scene when Cordelia wakes up from her mutation back in real time and she and Angel hug, if you take a look behind them, the writing is gone from the wall.
 

Athena

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Not sure if I just missed the explanation for this, but when Cordy goes to her apartment and meets Cynthia.... where is Phantom Dennis?

He was still murdered in the apartment by his mother in the past, so why isn't he haunting the apartment still? Or is it that his spirit is still trapped and therefore he can't get out? If so, why isn't his mother haunting the place anymore?
 

Cordy_Chase

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Not sure if I just missed the explanation for this, but when Cordy goes to her apartment and meets Cynthia.... where is Phantom Dennis?

He was still murdered in the apartment by his mother in the past, so why isn't he haunting the apartment still? Or is it that his spirit is still trapped and therefore he can't get out? If so, why isn't his mother haunting the place anymore?

That was Cynthia's home, 171 Oak in Reseda remember? It was emphasized many times. It's also clarified when Cordy asks Cynthia if her mother is home then again later when Cynthia takes one look at the demon corpse and exclaims: "Oh my god, my mom is gonna freak".
 

Athena

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That was Cynthia's home, 171 Oak in Reseda remember? It was emphasized many times. It's also clarified when Cordy asks Cynthia if her mother is home then again later when Cynthia takes one look at the demon corpse and exclaims: "Oh my god, my mom is gonna freak".

Ok, all this time I thought Cynthia was living at what we know to be Cordy's place, hence my confusion!
 

Cordy_Chase

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Ok, all this time I thought Cynthia was living at what we know to be Cordy's place, hence my confusion!

I find that an intriguing notion but Astral Cordy wouldn't have ignored that while she was repeatedly throwing around the vision information trying like hell to get it across to someone.
Ergo, that would have changed the entire course of the episode and possibly of the series because it would have given away that the vision was from a different timeline which would have changed Cordy's attitude towards it.

I'd have been interested to see how that would play out though especially if it would have screwed Skip and Jasmine over.
 

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Cordy, you can't act...

Fred, don't lie to her...

Poor AI, having to clean everything :(

Cordy is a superhero on the cake :p

Good thinking Cordy.

Vision :(

No Cordy, you aren't dead yet...

Poor Cordy :(

Are you implying that Cordy OD'ed on migraine medication ??? o_O

Gunn, you perv :p

Angel, don't beat yourself up :(

Cordy, you are a genius :eek:

Demon :eek:

What happened to Lorne's horn ??? :eek:

Doyle :(

Cordy, you got a choice...

Poor Angel :(

Skip, that's very creepy...

Angel sure woke up on the wrong side of bed...

The Cordy show :eek:

Actress Cordelia Chase.

I don't like the world where Cordy is famous...

That girl practices witchcraft, Willow would probably like her...

What happened to Wes' arm ??? o_O

That AU is horrible :(

Poor Angel :(

Cordy, become a half demon.

Glad to see that half demon Cordy is fine :)

Next time: Something more Fred centric.
 

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Meh. I have some issues with this episode. I like the It's a wonderful life feel to it...the alternate universe is kind of fun. I seriously enjoyed the credits to Cordelia's sitcom...that's about it.

Now, I am probably biased here because of my extreme hatred of all things Cangel...but Ye gods did so much annoy me!! So, Cordelia, a human being, manages for 3 years to have the visions even though it's destroying her brain...but Angel literally goes in a catatonic like psychosis??? Please. He's still a demonic being, he shouldn't have been driven crazy. Angel managed to survive a hundred years in a hell dimension, a hundred years of guilt and despair...but visions and ...excuse me while I GAG...but the fact that Cordelia isn't in his life drives him crazy??? Hahahahahahaha . This is like wish fullfillment fan fiction. If Angel really were in that state, are we lead to believe that Buffy would just let him rot??? That she wouldn't there in a second to help him??? Riiight.

Also, operating on the assumption that this is a whole new reality for Cordelia , who has been a world famous actress for the past few years, I find it really hard to believe that she has this urge to seek out an innocent in reseda...and that she is simply dying to see Angel. This reality Cordelia hasn't seen him since Sunnydale High blew up and barely knows him. Why would she be so interested in seeing him and forcing Wesley to take her to him?? It's like we were supposed to believe that she is this natural radiant saint who just knows in her heart that she has destiny to fight evil with Angel. I'm sorry but that is the stupidest thing ever.

The only thing that would make any of this episode make any kind of sense is that it is a false reality created by Skip to trick her..that everything in this alternate reality is lifted directly out of her self centered mind. she THINKS the world would really be like this without her involvement . Lol. Anyway yeah it was irritating.
 

BuffyBot22

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Meh. I have some issues with this episode. I like the It's a wonderful life feel to it...the alternate universe is kind of fun. I seriously enjoyed the credits to Cordelia's sitcom...that's about it.

Now, I am probably biased here because of my extreme hatred of all things Cangel...but Ye gods did so much annoy me!! So, Cordelia, a human being, manages for 3 years to have the visions even though it's destroying her brain...but Angel literally goes in a catatonic like psychosis??? Please. He's still a demonic being, he shouldn't have been driven crazy. Angel managed to survive a hundred years in a hell dimension, a hundred years of guilt and despair...but visions and ...excuse me while I GAG...but the fact that Cordelia isn't in his life drives him crazy??? Hahahahahahaha . This is like wish fullfillment fan fiction. If Angel really were in that state, are we lead to believe that Buffy would just let him rot??? That she wouldn't there in a second to help him??? Riiight.

Also, operating on the assumption that this is a whole new reality for Cordelia , who has been a world famous actress for the past few years, I find it really hard to believe that she has this urge to seek out an innocent in reseda...and that she is simply dying to see Angel. This reality Cordelia hasn't seen him since Sunnydale High blew up and barely knows him. Why would she be so interested in seeing him and forcing Wesley to take her to him?? It's like we were supposed to believe that she is this natural radiant saint who just knows in her heart that she has destiny to fight evil with Angel. I'm sorry but that is the stupidest thing ever.

The only thing that would make any of this episode make any kind of sense is that it is a false reality created by Skip to trick her..that everything in this alternate reality is lifted directly out of her self centered mind. she THINKS the world would really be like this without her involvement . Lol. Anyway yeah it was irritating.
I like to think that Skip created this AU and somehow left some sort of essence of the Cordy we know from AtS which is the only way this episode could make an ounce of sense.
It baffles me that these visions would do this Angel, like LOL just no. Like you said he was in a hell dimension for 100 years, came back and still knew who Buffy was. Not to mention some of the other theories that with the loss of Doyle he went psychotic, but he was able to just go fight a bunch of demons for a summer after Buffy's death? Idk what fantasy land these writers were in for this episode. Doyle was a great friend to Angel, but he literally was only around for 1/2 of the season. Angel knew Buffy for years and was deeply in love with her. So he can survive her death without a mental breakdown, but not Doyle's? Okay show that's seriously fanwanking at this point...
 
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