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Discussion of 4.06 "Spin the Bottle" - Aired 11/10/2002 (WB-US)

Taake

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The first time I watched the episode I was actually sad for Angel. When I rewatched it I was beyond tired of the drama. Angel didn't know if he was in love? After 3 months in the ocean and all those episodes spent looking for Cordy? He needed Cordelia to tell him? At the end of the episode when he asks "Were we in love?" and Cordy replies "We were" I was just like...oh for the love of f***, cry me a river! Somebody please kill Cordelia already. So yeah, the ending wasn't very powerful for me, more like gag inducing.

Also, you mentioned that you liked my banner in a thread. It was made by the lovely @GwenRaiden :) We both enjoy painships, I mean, Weslah :p
I think he knew he was in love, I always interpreted his "were we in love?" as his way of asking her if she reciprocated his feelings, if they would have had a chance had they only met that night she 'ascended' (now that was gag inducing to me) instead. So, I do cry them a river here :)
 
thetopher
thetopher
Agreed about the ascending. No way Cordelia- THE Cordelia- would do that. Bleugh.

Carrie Hopewell

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I think he knew he was in love, I always interpreted his "were we in love?" as his way of asking her if she reciprocated his feelings, if they would have had a chance had they only met that night she 'ascended' (now that was gag inducing to me) instead. So, I do cry them a river here :)
It only seems like he's in love in season 4 because they milk the love triangle thing for all it's worth. In season 3, he doesn't look in love to me, at all. Mildly infatuated maybe. And he has plenty of opportunities to tell her he loves her, but he never does. Even in his damn dream/fantasy thing or when she tells him directly "I love you". So even in S4 I'm not convinced they're in love.
I get your point and it does make sense in that episode, but even after this he never admits to loving her. And the argument that he's afraid of rejection or insecure or something doesn't work for me. He tells Connor he loves him and the kid never says it back and kind of hates him.
 

Taake

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It only seems like he's in love in season 4 because they milk the love triangle thing for all it's worth. In season 3, he doesn't look in love to me, at all. Mildly infatuated maybe. And he has plenty of opportunities to tell her he loves her, but he never does. Even in his damn dream/fantasy thing or when she tells him directly "I love you". So even in S4 I'm not convinced they're in love.
I get your point and it does make sense in that episode, but even after this he never admits to loving her. And the argument that he's afraid of rejection or insecure or something doesn't work for me. He tells Connor he loves him and the kid never says it back and kind of hates him.
I see your point, I don't think it's the same with Connor though. That's his kid. The only kid he's ever going to have. He loves Connor more than he cares for himself, so saying I love you isn't that hard.

With Cordy it's complicated - they've been close friends, one could see that he's not sure if he's feelings are real, true, deep romantic love or maybe a passing ship, something that really comes out of just a deep, true friendship kind of love. That's not insecurity really, at least not more than situation specific insecurity. He doesn't want to lose their friendship, or hurt her, or mess up what they've had... makes for a potentially costly 'I love you'. If they had ever been able to spend five minutes, being honest with each other, without murder, mayhem, demons or heavenly flights interrupting they could have settled it quickly and been more open with their feelings.

I mean, love can make you kind of insecure. Buffy waffles a lot about her feelings for Angel early on. Even in season 3 she's trying to read his mind to figure out what he feels, although by then she should be pretty sure he does love her, like a lot. So in a way, his insecurity indicates that he does love her, because he is so desperate to know how she feels, to confirm that the feelings that are there between them are real and not just from his end.

And wow, literally never thought I'd be defending Cangel.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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I mean, love can make you kind of insecure. Buffy waffles a lot about her feelings for Angel early on. Even in season 3 she's trying to read his mind to figure out what he feels, although by then she should be pretty sure he does love her, like a lot. So in a way, his insecurity indicates that he does love her, because he is so desperate to know how she feels, to confirm that the feelings that are there between them are real and not just from his end.
I really see your point but you just made me feel queazy. I'm just gonna watch watch Surprise to erase this from my memory ;)

What about season 5? She tells him "I always fall for the dumb ones" and his face doesn't even change. The girl you supposedly love, that has been in a coma for months says that and the guy doesn't even smile? Plus, in season 5 Buffy is sort of the implied love interest (ditto in Chosen) although Spike being there influences that obviously.
Also, he has dream sex with Cordy that's the catalyst to perfect happiness (he says Buffy's name at the end which is another thing) and still doesn't confess his love. Cangel in Awakening is pretty much Bangel in Surprise without the "I love you". This means something to me. In his perfect world his girl professes his love but he doesn't profess his? Seems really odd to me. I don't want to go all school girl on you with the "I love you"s and all that but there are times when anyone would have said it, including him, yet he doesn't.
And again, there's nothing in S3. As soon as something goes wrong with the perfect family, his interest in her is gone. Only when she calls him in Tomorrow does he seem excited to hook up with her. To me, it's all about the perfect family, especially in S4 when he has both Cordy and Connor in the same place but can't seem to hold on to them. Connor's gone in S5 along with the possibility of a 'normal' home and Cordy is back to 'just' being his best friend.

There's also the issue that when Cordy becomes Angel's love interest she's no longer acting like Cordy (even in S3) which makes the whole thing feel more forced.
 

Taake

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There's also the issue that when Cordy becomes Angel's love interest she's no longer acting like Cordy (even in S3) which makes the whole thing feel more forced.
Haha, honestly I'm not equipped to defend all of Cangel. They've been my least favorite pair since the shows aired, it was only this last re-watch of Spin The Bottle that started to get me feeling a little bit differently, but it might be limited to that episode. Not sure till I've been re-watching some more. :)
 

Priceless

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Say whaaaaaaat?!!? :eek:

I think, to be honest, when I watched it, it was pretty close to the time I also watched Tabula Rasa. I think to truly appreciate Spin the Bottle, you need to not watch it so close to Tabula Rasa. ;) That's just my opinion though. I think on its own it's up there as one of Angel's best episodes. :)
I think it helped that I have only seen Spin the Bottle once before, so the jokes seem really fresh and the Cangel romance was pretty heartbreaking, and it reminded me how much I love Cordy. But even though this episode was so great it in no way made me want to watch anymore of Angel S4 ;)
 

Cordy_Chase

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This was a very interesting and enjoyable episode, Wesley reminded me of Percy Weasley in Harry potter "I'm head boy!" and the spats between him and Gunn, LOL XD. It was also interesting to have Liam in this episode. We know from flashbacks that he was pretty much a worthless drunk young man who was treated like dirt by his parents but we never met him at 17. When he tells Connor "I didn't ask to be born", wow. Apparently he had been through some kind of depression at that age. Becoming Angel was actually a pretty good thing for him, even if it required Angelus to get there. I also really liked Liam's hate of Wesley because of his being British, very good period characterization. Their introduction where he says the line about the Irish having defeated the Brits was well done. Both were by far the most interesting to see at age 17.

Some things did not add up however in Cordelia's scenario. When she was 17 she was not only in on the Scoobies and familiar with Buffy taking control of the type of situation they were in thus should have asked for her, but also she knew Angel. This actually would have provided a intriguing conflict since Angel was Liam in this instance. By 17 she probably even knew Wesley, Buffy for sure was 17 by the time he had taken over as her's and Faith's watcher.
They still kept her 17 year old self well done though otherwise, the stunt she pulled with Connor was classic.

Another thing that didn't make sense was a few factors with Lorne. His telling the story was very unique and interesting as well as some commentary pretty funny but how was he aware of what was going on while he was unconscious and why had the spell not effected him (other than for writing purposes since he needed to recover the rest of the characters)? He had been just as exposed to it as Fred, Cordy and Gunn as well as even more so than Angel who had been outside.

Despite the flaws I found this story to be far more interesting than the Buffy counterpart where Willow had done a forgetting spell that had gone wrong. In the Angel version the scenario was more specific, detailed and interesting. I am also very glad it didn't take long to get Cordy her real memory back and even more so that they didn't do a whole arc with the Amnesia Cordy/Connor thing. That was burning my eyes! XP
But the whole she needs to be alone thing, come on! She and Angel need to get together already, the evidence is so obvious they can't possibly avoid it again! Hell, it's right there at the end of this episode:
"Were we in love?"
"Yes we were"
I don't like the sound of that 'were' though. Why 'were' Cordy!?
I must amend the perspective in this review (thanx to @sosa lola, whose like of it brought it to my attention).
Something had given me the notion that it was a 17-again spell when, in fact, there wasn't a specified age, all we know is that they were reverted to their teenage personas in which case Cordelia's not recognizing Angel or referencing Buffy is plausible.

I've recently been inspired to want to re-watch this episode and I'll post an entire revised review once I do.
 

Give Us A Kiss

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Lorne has got another gig :)

Cordy, you were in love...

Cordy, I don't like Bush either...

Lorne, don't mess with magic...

Cool weapon Wes :D

Angel didn't have to wake up Gunn and Fred for this...:mad:

Yes, it's on...

Connor is 18 ??? I thought he was 15 or 16...he's a bit young for his age...

Wes has a point, AI needs him...

The spell failed...

Fred likes plants so much they make her throw up :p

Old Cordy is funny...

So Cordy reverted back to pre WTTH Cordy ???

Princess Charles, won't be surprised if one day there will be a princess Charles.

Fred, it's not motel hell...

Wes, you know better...

Meanwhile at Connor's life, there is no memory loss of any kind...

Fred smoked weed ??? I'm a little surprised...

And teenage Fred has also heard of Slayer.

Gunn, the white people are not stopping you from doing anything...

Liam, you are a vampire...

Lorne, everyone feels like that at one time or another...

Liam, drop the cross...

How is Fred the tastier one ??? o_O

How doggy ??? o_O

What is Lorne making ??? o_O

Connor is doing something right for once...

What's wrong with Cordy ??? :(

Next time: More about Cordy...
 

Carrie Hopewell

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This episode is strangely melancholic.

Because it’s a Whedon episode, it’s structurally different from other episodes. I enjoy the use of Lorne in this episode. He’s the narrator, and strangely, not comic relief. To me, this is the aspect of the episode that works best.

I like the humor involved when the characters regress to their younger selves. I give kudos to Alexis Denisof for playing young, clumsy Watcher again so effortlessly. Unfortunately, the humor of this episode doesn’t cover up how sad it is. It’s an early season 4 episode and everyone is in the outs. Cordy doesn’t have her memory and has just asked Angel if they were in love; Fred is torn between wanting to forgive Wesley and Gunn; Wesley’s barely speaking to anyone apart from Angel, occasionally; and Gunn and Wesley’s friendship has been reduced to nothing due to Wesley’s actions and both of their feelings for Fred. The most memorable dialogue of the episode is perhaps “What happened to you man?”/“I got my throat slit and all my friends abandon me”.

My biggest problem with this episode is that the humor is so oppressive and stilted. Save for some moments in the lobby, the humor combined with the dark atmosphere creates an almost painful viewing experience. Nothing is right and a bit of humor only makes that fact more pronounced.

The heart of this episode is Angel and Cordelia. As someone who doesn’t buy into that relationship, the premise of this episode: a spell to reveal whether or not Cordelia was in love with Angel, is what makes the episode so ineffectual. Not only because we never get an answer (Jasmine takes over Cordelia for good), but we don’t learn anything knew about any of the characters.

Gunn acts like season 1 Gunn, Cordy is BtVS Cordy, Fred is the same but we now know she smoked weed, Angel is the Liam from the flashbacks, Cordy still wants to bone Angel and Liam wants to bone Cordy because he’s horny. I’d say that the most revealing scene is Liam and Connor talking about Liam’s father, but the fact that this bonding moment is ignored after this episode, and the fact that it happens between Liam and Connor, leaves me feeling cold.

Overall, it’s a 7.5/10 episode.
 

Mr Trick

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Really fun episode. Some great character interactions. Lorne framing the whole thing as narrator was a nice touch too.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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I rewatched this last week (if I ever get my act together I will be rewriting this within a couple of days - so I needed to check it over) there's a couple of things I'm not sure about:
1) why does Cordy smash the bottle in the first place?
2) why does Wesley have to be there? I know Gunn said something about him being the muscle and Wes being the brain and mentioned cards ... so, was it like in Primeval where they were all taking on an aspect?... because that wasn't clearly shown or developed. Or is it just that they want the people who were closest to Cordy there - because their memories of her will make the spell work better?

I mean - obviously Cordy smashes the bottle because otherwise the story wouldn't happen and Wesley is there because he is a regular cast member (and apparently the whole episode was just an excuse to bring dork!Wesley back) but does anyone have any theories (or think they actually know) the in verse reasoning for these things? Because I just don't get it...
 

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I rewatched this last week (if I ever get my act together I will be rewriting this within a couple of days - so I needed to check it over) there's a couple of things I'm not sure about:
1) why does Cordy smash the bottle in the first place?
2) why does Wesley have to be there? I know Gunn said something about him being the muscle and Wes being the brain and mentioned cards ... so, was it like in Primeval where they were all taking on an aspect?... because that wasn't clearly shown or developed. Or is it just that they want the people who were closest to Cordy there - because their memories of her will make the spell work better?

I mean - obviously Cordy smashes the bottle because otherwise the story wouldn't happen and Wesley is there because he is a regular cast member (and apparently the whole episode was just an excuse to bring dork!Wesley back) but does anyone have any theories (or think they actually know) the in verse reasoning for these things? Because I just don't get it...
The Cordy bottle thing I see one of two ways; either she felt compelled to do it by the spell itself, or Jasmine (already living inside of her) did it to move her plan along.

The Wesley thing is mentioned in canon - they needed a certain number of people there. Why they chose Wesley is up to you to decide, but Angel had already started admitting to himself the mistakes he made with Wes and was beginning to try and make amends, so perhaps that's part of why he included him. Or...didn't Lorne say that he contacted Wes? Either way, there probably aren't many people in LA that either Lorne or Angel would trust with a spell this personal.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
thanks - I like your Jasmine idea.

spikenbuffy

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2) why does Wesley have to be there? I know Gunn said something about him being the muscle and Wes being the brain and mentioned cards ... so, was it like in Primeval where they were all taking on an aspect?... because that wasn't clearly shown or developed. Or is it just that they want the people who were closest to Cordy there - because their memories of her will make the spell work better?
Maybe he's needed for the spell because he was a close friend to Cordy or because Wes uses magic, IDK
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
thanks - I guess it makes sense to use a close friend.

Myheadsgonenumb

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The Wesley thing is mentioned in canon - they needed a certain number of people there.
I think the line is 'we need to gather the six' - to which Angel replies 'the six?' and then it cuts to Wes on the phone to Lorne (it's Lorne who rings him.) But what I'm not sure is if they need Wesley because they need six people ... or if they need six people because they need Wesley - If you understand? I'm not sure if it's the number of people that's important or that they need just need Cordy's nearest and dearest and that just happens to be the 5 of them plus her (hence 'the six').
Then Gunn starts twittering on about him being the muscle and Angel being the champion and Wes being the brain but Fred is pretty brainy too and something about pictures on cards ... but we never see those cards. It feels like a rehash of the combo slayer spell in primeval - but not explained or shown beyond this one confusing conversation. Which makes me think maybe there were six cards - each representing a part of Cordy - and that was why they needed Wesley. But it's just not clear! which makes it very frustrating to try and adapt.
 

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I think the line is 'we need to gather the six' - to which Angel replies 'the six?' and then it cuts to Wes on the phone to Lorne (it's Lorne who rings him.) But what I'm not sure is if they need Wesley because they need six people ... or if they need six people because they need Wesley - If you understand? I'm not sure if it's the number of people that's important or that they need just need Cordy's nearest and dearest and that just happens to be the 5 of them plus her (hence 'the six').
Then Gunn starts twittering on about him being the muscle and Angel being the champion and Wes being the brain but Fred is pretty brainy too and something about pictures on cards ... but we never see those cards. It feels like a rehash of the combo slayer spell in primeval - but not explained or shown beyond this one confusing conversation. Which makes me think maybe there were six cards - each representing a part of Cordy - and that was why they needed Wesley. But it's just not clear! which makes it very frustrating to try and adapt.
At this point, I think we're in fanon category, because there's no clear evidence in the episode. In my mind, the two things you mention are not in anyway connected, but that doesn't mean that that's what it is. I just think that they need six for the spell, so they get Wesley, not the other way around. I don't think the spell is directly linked to Cordelia herself, but just to someone with memory problems. I don't think it's like Primeval, when the spell only would've worked with those three because of their connection to Buffy. But again, just how I see it :)
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
thanks for your perspective. I don't mind if the spell is vague and no one really knows what the rules are - it's the rules being clear and me misunderstanding them that I'm trying to avoid.

Kratos

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In 2009, this was the first new episode of Angel I watched after forgetting about the series for years. The last ep I had seen was the season 2 finale. I was taken aback by a lot of the changes, but I still enjoyed this ep.

Just rewatched this ep and it’s still very good and one of the standout eps of this season. The dvd commentary is great too.
 
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