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Discussion of 3.13 "Waiting in the Wings" - Aired 2/4/2002 (WB-US)

Flannen

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Angel takes the gang out for an evening at the ballet, but becomes suspicious when the prima ballerina seems to be the one he saw dance more than a century ago. When Angel and Cordelia sneak backstage to investigate, they find themselves consumed with an unnaturally sudden and strong passion for one another.
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

PassionBecoming

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Sineya
So, this is the very first episode of Angel I had ever seen, and all I saw was the snippet with Angel and Cordelia in the dressing room. (Having only watched Buffy, I was sure confused!) It was nice seeing the whole story!

-I love how Lorne always calls Angel pastry names! I had that thought one second before Angel told him to stop it. :)
-I had a surprising sense of pride when Lorne said that Cordelia has become a Champion. It was kind of a surreal conversation that Lorne and Angel had - it was like Buffy all over again. Made me sad.
-I found the whole storyline pretty enjoyable. I love dance of all forms and this was a fairly realistic scenerio as far as these shows go. (Guy gets obsessed with a girl. Girl loves someone else. Guy go beserko.)
-Gunn + Tuxedo = Salty Goodness
-The Gunn-Fred-Wesley triangle finally comes to a head. I honestly didn't know which way it would go, and while I wasn't surprised, I felt awful for Wesley.
-The laughing mask guys were freaking CREEPY!!!
-The scene with Angel and Cordelia in the dressing room was HOT. Again, I felt horrible for Angel. Having the feelings he has and then having that going on, with her brushing it off afterwards. Poor guy can't catch a break!
-GRU! That end scene was awful for Angel and Wes, but I was pretty happy to see Gru again! I did not see that coming!

I am very curious to see what happens next. There are some great little plot turns on this show!
 

Jules

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I dont like the development between Cordy and Angel. I just like it a lot better when they have a more sibling relationship. I also dont like Fred and Gunn as a couple. I just dont think they make a very good match. Wes, in my opinion, is a lot better suited with Fred.

I really liked the conecpt of this episode, even though the possessed star crossed lovers has been done in I Only Have Eyes For You on Buffy. I'm glad Angel made that comment to point that out and it wasnt just ignored. I also have mixed feelings about Lorne's comment of Angel having a thing for ex-cheerleaders. The bangel in me loves the little references to Buffy and Angel's relationship, but I just feel that if your going to have Angel move on, dont keep reminding fans, especially us bangel's about his past with Buffy. It makes it hard to let go :)

The ''demons'' in this episode were very annoying in my opinion. I could have done without the laughing/crying noises that they kept making.

I watched the deleted scene of Fred and Wes dancing part of the ballet and it was so funny! I wish they'd put that in because this episode seemed to lack humour.

I've listened to the commentary by Joss Whedon and he mentions some really interesting things:

Amy spent 15 years doing ballet, so this was a way of trying to get that put into the show. The reason he made this episode was to show Amy dancing but that scene got cut. Alexis is also an expert swordsman.

The band that Gunn mentions is actually a real band that Joss' brother plays in.

The scene were Fred is standing behind Cordy talking about love is a copy of the next scene were Lorne is stood behind Angel talking about love. The Lorne/Angel scene was cut short due to time, Lorne mentions the whole ''Angel not being able to have sex'' thing.

Summer had never acted before and she got the part from her audiciene. Joss only saw her dance later.

When Cordy and Angel were in the dressing room, Joss wanted to film Angel in the relection of the mirror over Cordy's shoulder and he had to be reminded that vampires are supposed to show no reflection.

There are 3 babies that are used to play Connor.

The male dancer, whose name is Tim, actually was wearing a cast on his leg because he broke his ankle. They were still able to use him because they focused more on Summer dancing and just used him for lifts.

The episode is very similar to the film Moulin Rouge. It is also able giving the message of not waiting in the wings, which Angel tries to do at the end but is interrupted by Gru.
 
Taake
Taake
and the Connor babies are SO cute!!!

wickedtiger86

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Sineya
I really like this episode. It has a cool fairy tale type feeling to it that I really enjoy. There's the evil sorcerer keeping this poor girl prisoner, and Angel sweeps in and sets her free.

And it has the bittersweet ending like most fairy tales too.
 

Cordy_Chase

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.
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After my second watch of this episode I'm on the fence about it, there are some really interesting elements such as a mention that Angelus was once brought to tears. I'd like to know how that was possible since he was incapable of feeling. The ballet stuck in time was unique, time manipulation isn't something heavily dealt with in this franchise.

At the same time it's an extremely annoying episode in the form of the major denial both Angel and Cordelia express about being in love with each other, particularly when Lorne was trying to discuss it with Angel. He couldn't just say it in confidence to a friend!? It really shouldn't have been awkward anymore at this point; they've been working together for at least two years so they've been through hell and back together and Cordelia isn't fully human anymore so that concern is invalid.

They did have some real good moments in this episode though and HOT. My favorite part was Cordelia offering to be a distraction to the guard and Angel got all jealous about the thought of her putting the moves on some dude.
"Don't be stupid, I'm him and the most beautiful woman is making eyes at me? It's either a bachelor party or a scam."
"What did you just call me?"
"Sorry you're not stupid."
"No after that."
"I think I'll go with my patented sudden burst of violence."

Then the scene right after they were interrupted from screwing each other under the influence by drama masked demons and Angel at one point throws a dagger behind him across the room at one going at Cordy.
"You alright?"
"Yeah, we gotta move."
"You think they're not dead?"
"You just looked really hot doing that."
"Yeah. Run."

LOL, oh these two!

The end was the most infuriating when finally Angel did try to talk about his feelings with her but she threw herself in Groo's arms. Very nice guy but horrible timing! That point in time was pretty much the last chance Cordy and Angel had before the Jasmine crap or was that the intention for bringing Groo back? To make an in my opinion, unnecessary love triangle? I find love triangles in general cliche and overrated though I suppose back when this was made they weren't so overused. It wasn't until 2008 when the Twilight films were made that it really became a trend but still with the Fred/Gunn/Wes triangle there already was to create another one directly after it was still distasteful in my opinion.

Looking at that Wes/Gunn/Fred triangle I feel the wrong direction was taken there as well. I never felt that Fred and Gunn really connected, that he was capable of understanding her like Wes was. How he initially brushed off how frightened she was at the thought of his possibly being dead should have been a red flag there. I would have much rather seen that moment play out with Wes though it seems like it might have needed to be Gunn so that Wes could understand and shed light on Kurskov. Still I would have liked to see what Wes would have done with that reaction from her. Perhaps Wes wouldn't have gone down such a dark road with Fred by his side.

wickedtiger86 said:
There's the evil sorcerer keeping this poor girl prisoner, and Angel sweeps in and sets her free.
Technically she set herself free, Angel just gave her the tip. Ultimately it was her choice to take action and change the performance to break Kurskov's veil.

Overall 3/5 stars.
 
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bespangeled
bespangeled
Everything !

Cordy_Chase

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.
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Sineya
Liked this episode a hell of a lot better when it was called 'I Only Have Eyes For You'. Ah Joss, the master of repeatative and redundant...
Was the episode's name really changed?
Honestly 'Waiting in the Wings' was far more appropriate not just for the ballet but because when Groo appeared in the end and quite literally swept Cordelia off her feet that was a wake up call to Angel that waiting was a mistake. Love can only be patient for so long.
 
Blaze
Blaze
I Only Have Eyes For You is the s2 episode of BtVS, the one where Angel and Buffy become possessed by the teacher and the student and re-live their love story

RomanticSoul

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It's not about the episode name but the episode itself. Been there and done the 'possesed lovers' or whatever you wanna call it. Doing it again makes it repeatative and redundant. And since I for one didn't ever wanna see Angel and Cordy getting intimate it just makes me majorly uncomfortable. And they look weird and uncomfortable doing it.
 

Cordy_Chase

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blaze said:
Blaze: I Only Have Eyes For You is the s2 episode of BtVS, the one where Angel and Buffy become possessed by the teacher and the student and re-live their love story
Oh duh. That was a powerful episode too.

RomanticSoul said:
It's not about the episode name but the episode itself. Been there and done the 'possesed lovers' or whatever you wanna call it. Doing it again makes it repeatative and redundant. And since I for one didn't ever wanna see Angel and Cordy getting intimate it just makes me majorly uncomfortable. And they look weird and uncomfortable doing it.
I happen to think they are very different episodes and enjoy both.
 

thetopher

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I happen to think they are very different episodes and enjoy both.
Agreed. 'IOHEFY' is a pure high-school angst kinda episode. 'WITW' has a more gothic romance feel to it, also the possession is a lot steamier.

Ghosts+Posession doesn't automatically equel 'exact same story', the execution is entirely different.

Otherwise you can dismiss half the Buffy episodes as 'this week a monster is killing students, Buffy must stop it.' Same basic idea, different execution.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Oh I don't know I think there's more going on in IOHEFY than that. Think it's a pretty dark and scary episode with some interesting themes. But I agree its quite a different epi than this.

Cordy_Chase

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Agreed. 'IOHEFY' is a pure high-school angst kinda episode. 'WITW' has a more gothic romance feel to it, also the possession is a lot steamier.

Ghosts+Posession doesn't automatically equel 'exact same story', the execution is entirely different.

Otherwise you can dismiss half the Buffy episodes as 'this week a monster is killing students, Buffy must stop it.' Same basic idea, different execution.
Right. These two counterpart episodes were a stand out example of how BTVS and Angel intentionally represented teenagers vs. adults.
I Only Have Eyes For You was about a disturbed high school boy whom if memory serves had an unhealthy crush on his teacher and then shot her out of envy or rejection, a very naive concept. What I loved most about this episode was the words delivered by the boy via Angelus. They were basically words that Angelus could have owned himself and there is a moment where you almost wonder if the possession brought back a flicker of Angel.
While here, Waiting in the Wings was a secret love behind the back of a sickly obsessed and controlling employer which is a way more in depth and mature subject. It also has the factor of the employer imprisoning the dancer outside the fabric of time forcing her to repeat the same performance for over a century which is why I don't feel like it was a ghost possession in this case. It was more like the essence of that event had gotten tapped in the room if that makes any sense. As you pointed out the possession was far more adult rated containing sensuality that was both raw and borderline soft core porn.
It also had a well done double meaning; the dancer refused her chance with the young man she loved because despite the controlling nature of her employer she valued her career and suffered the consequence. A message that was totally lost on Angel as he'd kept Cordy at arms length despite multiple opportunities and as expected suffered consequences when Groo showed up and then almost directly after that arc the Jasmine shit started with the higher being gig which led to her dying. Sure it may not have made a difference to her fate had he made his move but at least she would have died knowing how he felt and she would have left him with the satisfaction of even a small amount of time loving her or of having tried.

A poetry porn account on Twitter posted this yesterday and it instantly made me think of Groo showing up at the end of this episode:
 
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Give Us A Kiss

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I liked how Cordy tactlessly snored when they were watching the ballet, it was hilarious to watch (but would be really annoying if it were to happen in real life).
 

bespangeled

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I actually thought Wesley might get possessed at the end. Not too big on Fred and Gunn, but I do love Weslah so that works out. Fred and Gunn had no spark for me. Weslah - a roaring fine of both energy and moral conflict! I was also annoyed with the entire Groo arc. Whatever Angel and Cordy decided they felt, I wanted to watch. Again, great conflict. Throwing in Groo was a cheap distraction.
 
Cordy_Chase
Cordy_Chase
Agreed wholeheartedly!

Charmander

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Cordy: "Well, it's a good thing it wears off right away"
*Angel rapidly covers pants* ;)

I don't think Gunn and Fred go together at all. I'd find Gunn and Wes together more believable tbh. I dunno, I must have missed all this supposed buildup...

Oh please! That ending made Cordy look like the most fickle person ever. I liked Groo but he was also a silly romantic interest, and they'd already established that ending. I don't think it should have been brought up again.
 

GraceK

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I have mixed feelings on this episode. It was one of the ones I usually skipped on my DVD rewatches. I like the premise, with the lovers and the ballet...Summer Glau is beautiful and the whole story has this gothic horror to it. I love those parts.

What makes it hard for me to watch is all the Cangel. I have never been so grossed out by a coupling as I am with these 2. There is literally no sexual chemistry between them and knowing their history , it makes absolutely no sense that they would be in love with each other. What makes it worse is all the other characters pushing them together. All this Kryumption talk...it's very clearly forced, at least to me. It's like they figured " hey we have two good looking leads we have to make them love interests!! Even it makes no sense!!". Ugh I can rant for days. Seriously it was very uncomfortable for me to watch cause I just couldn't ignore the six years of character history and investment to believe that Angel and Cordelia could be a thing. I feel like they were trying to make the audience completely forget that Buffy ever existed and that this was an entirely different universe. Which I'm sorry but that is seriously insulting.
 

Ethan Reigns

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In BtVS, when Cordy finally kisses Wesley, she licks her lips afterwards as a signal of the lack of chemistry between them and the same thing happens after the spell is broken between Angel and Cordy. Sure, it looks like it could lead to nudity and sexuality and a whole bunch of other items of Puritannical outrage and possibly headed towards soft-core porn but it was obviously just a spell and they both get over it quickly. I agree that the ending where Angel tries to get something going and Groosalug comes in and pre-empts Cangel is one of the most awkward and demeaning scenes ever. Still, it is one of the best episodes of Angel and the story of the neverending ballet is worth telling and the manner in which Angel solved the problem is worth watching.
 

GraceK

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In BtVS, when Cordy finally kisses Wesley, she licks her lips afterwards as a signal of the lack of chemistry between them and the same thing happens after the spell is broken between Angel and Cordy. Sure, it looks like it could lead to nudity and sexuality and a whole bunch of other items of Puritannical outrage and possibly headed towards soft-core porn but it was obviously just a spell and they both get over it quickly. I agree that the ending where Angel tries to get something going and Groosalug comes in and pre-empts Cangel is one of the most awkward and demeaning scenes ever. Still, it is one of the best episodes of Angel and the story of the neverending ballet is worth telling and the manner in which Angel solved the problem is worth watching.
What bothers me isn't the spell...it's everything leading up to it...all the character moments where they are shoving Cordelia and Angel together talking about champions and kryumption.

I love everything else..the ballet is beautiful , those mime looking things are creepy and they obsessive story is a good one. And it's beautifully shot. It's all the Cangel aspects that disturb me.
 

Mylie

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In BtVS, when Cordy finally kisses Wesley, she licks her lips afterwards as a signal of the lack of chemistry between them and the same thing happens after the spell is broken between Angel and Cordy. Sure, it looks like it could lead to nudity and sexuality and a whole bunch of other items of Puritannical outrage and possibly headed towards soft-core porn but it was obviously just a spell and they both get over it quickly. I agree that the ending where Angel tries to get something going and Groosalug comes in and pre-empts Cangel is one of the most awkward and demeaning scenes ever. Still, it is one of the best episodes of Angel and the story of the neverending ballet is worth telling and the manner in which Angel solved the problem is worth watching.
Is it really though?

I don't know if I'm missing something but this episode, to me, feels like complete filler. Whenever I watch the episode, I get the feeling that Whedon just really wanted to do a ballet episode and that's it. If I compare it to I Only Have Eyes For You who has a lot of the same elements (ghost, tragedy without closure, etc.), it really pales in comparison. Maybe it's just me but I don't understand how I'm supposed to care about the ballerina and her lover and why Angel and Cordelia are reliving those moments. What made an episode like IOHEFY special and worth telling was the link that existed between James and Buffy and how it showed what was going on in Buffy's head/heart. The episode also dealt with Giles's grieving of Jenny which was something important going on with the character that we hadn't seen much of. This to me is an episode worth telling even if it seems like a filler. Waiting in the Wings just doesn't do any of that. It doesn't tell me anything I don't already know about the characters I love, it's just a whole bunch of romance angst without much meaning and I couldn't care less about the ghosts.
 

GraceK

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Is it really though?

I don't know if I'm missing something but this episode, to me, feels like complete filler. Whenever I watch the episode, I get the feeling that Whedon just really wanted to do a ballet episode and that's it. If I compare it to I Only Have Eyes For You who has a lot of the same elements (ghost, tragedy without closure, etc.), it really pales in comparison. Maybe it's just me but I don't understand how I'm supposed to care about the ballerina and her lover and why Angel and Cordelia are reliving those moments. What made an episode like IOHEFY special and worth telling was the link that existed between James and Buffy and how it showed what was going on in Buffy's head/heart. The episode also dealt with Giles's grieving of Jenny which was something important going on with the character that we hadn't seen much of. This to me is an episode worth telling even if it seems like a filler. Waiting in the Wings just doesn't do any of that. It doesn't tell me anything I don't already know about the characters I love, it's just a whole bunch of romance angst without much meaning and I couldn't care less about the ghosts.
I love all of this post.
 
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