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Discussion of 4.10 "Awakening" - Aired 1/29/2003 (WB-US)

Flannen

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Cordelia has a vision, which reveals that the Beast once knew Angelus. Since Angel has no memory of this, the gang realizes that there is only one thing to do. They must find a way to bring forth Angelus.
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

VisionGirl

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I just re-watched this, & it really struck me how masterful & devious the plot was! The first time I watched it, I was really surprised, I really did not see that coming. Now watching it again, it's clear how corny & idealistic Angel's "dream" was. Even though I didn't quite know what was going on the first time, I did have this sense that everything was "too perfect". I do have some twinges of sadness for the gang that none of them got to experience those good moments.
 

Kana

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I had to watch this episode at least twice to fully appreciate it. First time around I was so emotionally invested everything working out that I missed vital clues that indicated it couldn't be real.

The main point is how easy it all is. Wes and Gunn, suddenly get along. Connor, in one episode gives up Cordy to Angel and accepts he is the true hero and more or less joins the family business.

Angel and Cordy decide to have sex even though it's been the most amazing day ever without any regard to him losing his soul.

When you think of that way, it would be an appalling episode if it were real, but it speaks volumes about Angel's idealism. Is it a little egocentric? Sure, but don't we all have that side to some degree. We all want to be loved, have our friends and family be happy and happy for us, so we can't be too hard on him for that.

Overall, good episode!
 

Jules

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Black Thorn
I get that Connor is a very untrusting person and he's very angry at the word. He's been fed all these lies and manipulated by Holtz for most of his life. But Angel was willing to help Connor no matter that he thought Connor was the one linked to the Beast, yet Connor just wont get over himself to do the same for Angel.

I noticed that the ''person'' Wes went to get to remove Angel's soul was dressed in red and the one who pretended to remove his soul in Buffy was dressed in blue. That was a nice reflection. I also noticed that Angel tells Wes he's never met Angelus, which isnt true. Wes meets Angelus in season 1 after Angel's drink has been spiked, even if it was only for a few moments.

Having Angel and Wes reconcile with each other was the first hint I had that things werent what they seemed to be. Plus everything was just a little easy. The dead monk has tattoos all over him which confirm there's a weapon to defeat the Beast, then Cordy has a vision that tells them were it is and it happens to be right under the city. Also Angel forgiving Cordy and Cordy getting over everything that Angelus had done, Connor and Angel getting over their issues.

I just couldnt get over that Cordy and Angel slept together, even if it was an illusion. I love that he said Buffy's name right before Angelus took over!
 
PassionBecoming
PassionBecoming
He *does* say, "Buffy! No!" right before he turns. I had to go back and listen again!

PassionBecoming

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-"Localized abnormality." That must be it's own weather section in Sunnydale. Heh.
-"I need Wesley." Ugh. Fred.
-Yay for Cordy putting Connor in his place about Angel vs. Angelous. Snotty little know-it-all brat.
-Oh, Wesley is going to get the soul extracted? Why do I have a feeling no good will come of this? (Also, do they not know Willow is all Ms. Magic and maybe could help...?)
-Not being dead is a good victory to have, Gunn! Heh.
-"You're the reason my life sucks." Connor needs another butt kicking, apparently.
-I'm kind of with Angel on this one. Not sure what other option there is, but bringing Angelous into this just seems like sooooo not a good plan.
-Good thing Wesley happens to be an expert welder...???
-The Shaman is going to be locked in there? So what happens if Angelous kills him??
-The Black Shaman is evil. Imagine that.
-Well, that was a convenient vision. *skeptical*
-Cordelia talking to her boobs. Heh.
-Uhh, Wesley is awfully calm after getting a stake through his palm.
-Red glowing. That can't be good.
-a) Cangel gives me the willies. Not sure why. b) Cordy's constant weepy "I'm sorry I manipulated you and your son and am causing further problems between you, I slept with him but really love you, blah blah" crap is getting on my nerves. c) Connor walking in on them necking? Saw that coming.
-"Oooo, can I play with it?" Gotta love Gunn!
-"There's always a choice." "Not for me." Angel and Buffy are just very similar in their thinking.
-And there's Cordy's weepy crap again. Obviously, nobody wants Angel in danger, but there really is no other option, so why make it so hard? Ugh.
-I take it the Beast doesn't know that Angelous is all soul-having now. I'm thinking Cordy was mistaken about evil giving more IQ points.
-Uh, The Beast can just break the weapon that was designed to destroy him? Anyone seen the scythe nearby? Anyone?
-Aww, and then Connor has an "aha!" moment and corrects the Beast. He's a slow learner.
-This Angel/Connor moment reminds me of some Buffy/Dawn moments. It's nice, but why do I get the feeling something really, really bad is looming even if The Beast is dead?
-Even the way Cordelia talks since coming back is just...odd.
-Um, is Cordelia trying to SEDUCE Angel?! Is she out of her mind?!?! Remember the whole Angel not getting pelvic with Buffy rule? Probably applies here, also!!!
-What the frak are they doing????
-Um, now we're back to soul removal? I'm so confused.
-Angelous has a very creepy laugh. Not sure why he's laughing though.

I knew there was a reason I didn't get a happy "yay!" feeling after The Beast was dead. Ugh. I am very confused and also, my belief about Joss being evil has become stronger...

---------- Post added at 01:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:47 PM ----------

Having Angel and Wes reconcile with each other was the first hint I had that things werent what they seemed to be. Plus everything was just a little easy. The dead monk has tattoos all over him which confirm there's a weapon to defeat the Beast, then Cordy has a vision that tells them were it is and it happens to be right under the city. Also Angel forgiving Cordy and Cordy getting over everything that Angelus had done, Connor and Angel getting over their issues.
Yup, everything was a little too neat. Ugh.
 

EmilyAlisa

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I always wondered why he said "buffy" when he was losing is soul. My theory is buffy was the only one who could stop him/kill him the last time angelus took drivers seat in angels body, so he's calling out for her to help kill or stop him again. But they got faith, which is the next best thing.
 

Charmander

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Oh enough Connor/Angel/Cordelia angst. This is the kind of silliness that's let the past couple of seasons down. I was really excited to see adult Connor (as I'd heard him described) but he just turned out to be an annoying teenage disappointment. And yet, I like Dawn lol. It's partly Cordelia's fault, but Connor butted into an already established (kind of) relationship between Angel and Cordelia, rubs it into Angel's face when Cordy chooses to stay with him, and then gets mad when he sees Angel and Cordy together. If you're going to be mad at anyone, be mad at her! And I have a pet peeve against people who walk out of rooms during arguments, so that kind of thing just makes me hate him even more lol.
Did he really say Buffy at the end? :rolleyes:Anything to keep some fans happy I guess.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Agreed!

vellavu

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In Angel's dream of a perfect day, in which all Angel's wishes become true:

  • Wesley is not dark. Wesley knows everything.
  • Fred is just a sidekick.
  • Gunn is a kid who likes to play with weapons and does accidental damage.
  • Lorne is almost not there.

Some analysis:
  • Cordy aside, Wesley's change is what Angel wants to see.
  • He doesn't particularly want Fred/Gunn/Lorne to change, and still wears glasses of ignoring/mild disrespect towards them. Especially Lorne. Angel doesn't want to treat Lorne better and he doesn't seem to know his dismissive attitude to Lorne.
  • The excuse he found for his son to give up Cordy was "she's too old for me". Angel seems to be unaware of his own age from day 1.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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I never love David Fury's episodes: his bad guy talk is deplorable ("Uh oh. Daddy's home...I'm in wicked trouble now."), his good guy talk is worse ("I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys") and his episodes are usually lame (Salvage, Peace Out, Power Play!). That said, this episode is also written by Steven S. DeKnight. I just have a thing against David Fury...

I don't like this episode, mainly for two reasons.

First, the idea of perfect happiness bugs me.
I don't want to define perfect happiness, I don't believe it is definable, and I don't buy the version of it we're sold. I agree with Wesley's words in Not Fade Away: "Don't I go off and have one last perfect day? Smell the flowers, or sky-dive, or have a go with Mistress Spanks-A-Lot... or whatever the hell one is supposed to do in this situation. There is no perfect day for me, Illyria. There is no sunset or painting or finely-aged scotch that's going to sum up my life and make tonight any... There is nothing that I want.".
Although there are many things Angel wants, the concept is the same. Angel's life at this point is in shambles - his friendship with Wes, quasi-romance with Cordy, relationship with Connor - all destroyed, Cordy and Connor are involved, everyone's personal life is a mess, Angel can't save the day. I'm supposed to believe that a couple of apologies, sex and a lot of ego stroking can fix this? Anyone who carefully constructs a day to achieve perfect happiness is bound to be unsuccessful. This is particularly true when you devise a perfect day as imperfect and meaningless as Angel's. When you're so deeply unhappy and have complex issues like Angel does, nothing is ever enough, you can have everything you always thought you wanted and still be unsatisfied - much like Angel in You're Welcome (he gets to save the day, eliminate Lindsey and Eve, have Cordy back, make all of his friends happy and he's still miserable).

Second, the execution of perfect happiness.
Cordy and Connor do nothing but stroke Angel's ego throughout the episode, they are treated simply as plot devices. Cordy acts as Angel's cheerleader, telling him she loves him, that he's her champion, that she only wants him, blah blah. Is this how Angel thinks of her? As the damsel in distress whose only contribution is to believe in the leader and love him? Cordy makes it very clear in this episode that she loves Angel, but Angel never says he loves her back. Shouldn't this be part of the perfect happiness fantasy? A mutual admission of love followed by sex (like in Surprise) instead of a one sided admission of love, (Cordelia's), followed by sex (that only Angel seems to enjoy). Does this mean Angel doesn't love Cordy or that it's not the romance he wants, only her love, the normalcy of a relationship? Both, imo. It's interesting to note the parallels between Surprise and Awakening and the scene where Cordelia tells Angel that she doesn't care about Angelus, finally accepting all of him. The thing is that Surprise was the culmination of half a season. Buffy and Angel had been growing closer for months, Buffy accepted Angel's past and vampiric nature in WML (after initially not accepting it in Lie to Me), Angel was happy with Buffy. Awakening is the culmination of nothing. Even in Angel's mind that's a problem.

And what about Connor? What role does he serve other than reassuring Angel that Cordy was thinking of him while banging Connor (gross) - once more stroking Angel's ego? Connor gives Angel his blessing with Cordy (solving the love triangle issue), and declares that he also wants to be a champion, like his father (showing Angel he respects him). It's hard to believe that in a father's fantasy, Angel cares very little about making Connor happy. This is simply bad writing in my opinion (remember what he does in Home?). I don't believe that in Angel's fantasy he would be so selfish (when it comes to the other characters, sure, but not with Connor).

Let's see what works then: Is Angel's friendship with Wes fixed? Barely, but the apology is a step in the right direction. Is his friendship/romance with Cordy resolved? Kinda. Does Connor stop hating Connor? Yes? Cordy/Connor? Fixed. Are the members of the gang happy? Kinda, because they defeat the Beast, but nothing is actually better for them as individuals. Does Angel get to be a champion, and a half-assed father and lover? Yeah. Does all of this mean perfect happiness? I doubt it. In Epiphany, he also got to solve a lot of his issues and turn a new page after his depression, but there is no perfect happiness. In Tomorrow, he's ecstatic, but no perfect happiness. I think the writers wanted to get Angel to lose his soul and this was the best they could do. Unfortunately. What is supposed to be an intimate look inside Angel's mind reveals nothing we don't already know. He wants a family, to be a champion (duh), for Cordy/Connor to be over (don't we all), for his son to not hate him, and Cordy. The only thing we get from this episode is a very shallow analysis of Angel (who is a much more complex person than this).

All of this plot is entwined with Angel's lame crusade, that get's more boring with rewatches. In conclusion: when you decide to tackle the perfect happiness clause head on, you should do a better job than this.
 

thetopher

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1) It's simple a 'moment' of perfect happiness. That's all it takes, one moment. Doesn't have to be a perfect day or for Angel to forget about all his problems.

Remember when it happened the first time? Angel and Buffy still had to worry about 'The Judge' and that looming doomsday apocalypse thing. Drusilla and Spike were still alive and plotting evil. Wouldn't Angel worry about that?
Nope, it takes one moment- maybe people accepting him for who he is, forgiveness, someone knowing all the horrible things 'he's' done but still loving him/trusting him anyway.

It took a little longer the first time around; his friends all together, his son coming back to save him from the Bad guy (see 'Not Fade Away' that actually happens) and the woman he loves, the woman who knows him and what he's done (Buffy or in this case Cordelia) can still love him. I think that's a big part of it. They do something that he cannot EVER do to himself; accept him for who he is.

2) It's wish fulfillment so of course Angel's gonna get his ego stroked. The guy doesn't have the highest opinion of himself a lot of the time so he wishes that some people give him some pep, that's okay in my book.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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1) It's simple a 'moment' of perfect happiness. That's all it takes, one moment. Doesn't have to be a perfect day or for Angel to forget about all his problems.
Still it's a moment of "perfect" and not "normal" happiness. I personally can't recall having any moment of perfect happiness.

Remember when it happened the first time? Angel and Buffy still had to worry about 'The Judge' and that looming doomsday apocalypse thing. Drusilla and Spike were still alive and plotting evil. Wouldn't Angel worry about that?
Nope, it takes one moment- maybe people accepting him for who he is, forgiveness, someone knowing all the horrible things 'he's' done but still loving him/trusting him anyway.
Right, but Angel and Buffy's relationship had been building up until that moment and Angel was already moderately happy at that point. I don't believe that someone who is completely miserable has perfect moments of happiness after a good day. And again, what about with baby Connor or teenage Connor in Tomorrow? If it didn't happen then, I find it hard to believe it would happen in Awakening.

Also, Angel had the moment of perfect happiness after the sex, when he was lying blissfully next to Buffy. In Awakening, he had the moment during the orgasm. Imo, if you're having an orgasm then all you feel is the physical pleasure of the orgasm, there is so space in your mind to contemplate the moment and feel perfect contentment and happiness. This is another quarrel I have with the episode.

2) It's wish fulfillment so of course Angel's gonna get his ego stroked. The guy doesn't have the highest opinion of himself a lot of the time so he wishes that some people give him some pep, that's okay in my book.
Getting his ego a bit stroked is acceptable, but it's still a lame ass fantasy that simplifies Angel's character. I think Connor's happiness should be more important to him than his own. Either Angel is just a bad parent and friend who doesn't care about anyone's happiness but his own, in which case his little fantasy is okay, or Angel is none of those things, in which case I disagree with the episode.

Look, the problem with the curse is that the writers never wanted for Angel to revert to Angelus, especially around his son, so for seasons there was nothing that gave him perfect happiness. It was assumed that sex with the person he loved was the trick, but that would make things complicated as well so it stopped being about sex in general. This means that there were a handful of moments that logically should have given Angel perfect happiness but didn't (it wasn't the point of the story), and in Awakening, for the first time since Buffy S2, the writers wanted to remove Angel's soul and, as such, came up with an unoriginal fantasy for Angel. I don't buy it, I think that perfect happiness should be more organic and spontaneous than that, that planning for perfect happiness doesn't work and the entire day feels fake to me - particularly since there are a few episodes where Angel had a better day than the one he dreamed of and no Angelus.

Anyway, this all comes to preferences I guess. If this definition and way to achieve perfect happiness works for you, than the episode is satisfying; if it doesn't (my case), than the episode is inadequate.
 

Out for a walk

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In Angel's dream of a perfect day, in which all Angel's wishes become true:

  • Wesley is not dark. Wesley knows everything.
  • Fred is just a sidekick.
  • Gunn is a kid who likes to play with weapons and does accidental damage.
  • Lorne is almost not there.

Some analysis:
  • Cordy aside, Wesley's change is what Angel wants to see.
  • He doesn't particularly want Fred/Gunn/Lorne to change, and still wears glasses of ignoring/mild disrespect towards them. Especially Lorne. Angel doesn't want to treat Lorne better and he doesn't seem to know his dismissive attitude to Lorne.
  • The excuse he found for his son to give up Cordy was "she's too old for me". Angel seems to be unaware of his own age from day 1.

Really good analysis. I guess we can see that Angel doesn't think much of Fred, Gunn or Lorne. Yet, he highly respects Wes.




This was an interesting episode, but the whole love triangle with Angel/Cordy/Connor is so unbelievable and just weird. That love scene was so awkward between them two.
 

Give Us A Kiss

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Don't watch the news, it's depressing...

Conner, you don't want to meet Angelus...

Cordy, have sex with him, he loves you :p

So they are going to keep Angel's soul in a jar or something, can it escape ???

Connor...:mad:

Wes :eek:

There is no plan B, and that sucks :(

Eternal night sounds and looks depressing :(

Yes Angel, you are being used by the beast without knowing it...

Angel got himself a cage to protect himself from others, it might fail, it might not...

Goodbye Angel...or not...

That's a big tattoo :eek:

A tooth ??? o_O

Cordy, are you possessed ??? :eek:

Why do they need a cave if there is no sunlight ??? o_O

Cordy, don't wear sweaters with sticky fabrics...

Oww :eek:

Wes has a good grasp on many languages, it's a talent of his :)

What's going on ??? :eek:

Cangel, have sex and release the beast...

So, many, stakes :eek:

Connor the vampire slayer ??? o_O

Glad to see that Wes is part of AI again :)

Angel, get it's brain...

No :(

The sun is back :)

I assume that Angel and Cordy will be having sex now...

Angelus is back :eek:

Next time: Angelus under investigation...
 

Cangel1987

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Okay, that episode was at first a little bit strange to be honest. And I was like: What? That's went a little bit fast between Cordelia and Angel - but I have enjoyed to watch that episode - till the moment he whispers 'Buffy' ...
 

telperion66

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Near the end of this episode, Angel has doubts about whether he should sleep with Cordelia after they kill the beast with the sword because of his curse. However, Cordelia encourages and convinces him to sleep with her after he verbally expresses his doubts. I was wondering, even at this point in the story arc, could Cordy have been evil at this point to convince Angel to lose his soul by sleeping with her? This was before she was revealed to be an evil character.

The transition back to the shaman's ritual was a powerful moment at the end of the episode, but had Cordelia not been evil, could the season have continued with the aftermath of having killed the beast and things getting back to normal? In hindsight, I think this would have opened up more possibilities for the writers because after this episode they seemed to struggle for ideas for the rest of the season.

If things had gone back to normal, with the sun back and all, they could have had a much lighter tone for the remainder of the season, for instance like getting back to a Season 1 or 2 vibe. This would have avoided all the evil Cordy/Jasmine crap and provided a more solid foundation for the show going into Season 5. I guess the writers couldn't resist the idea of having Angelus back in the show, but unfortunately David Boreanaz had aged and couldn't produce the same level of performance for the character as we had seen in Buffy Season 2.
 

Grace

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unfortunately David Boreanaz had aged and couldn't produce the same level of performance for the character as we had seen in Buffy Season 2.
I don't know if I would solely blame DB's age. The writing was not as good. Joss wrote or rewrote the most important Angelus episodes in Season 2 (Innocence, Passion, Becoming). Also, the stakes were so much lower. Obviously, they couldn't kill off the main character, and it was highly unlikely that they would have him do anything too bad if they wanted to keep the audience on his side when he had his soul back. And, honestly, I think part of it was just that we knew Angel so much better, had seen him be dorky and light-hearted, so just having Angelus be not-broody wasn't enough. So they went over the top and unfortunately landed a bit too much on creepy uncle.
 
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RomanticSoul

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I don't know if I would solely blame DB's age. The writing was not as good. Joss wrote or rewrote the most important Angelus episodes in Season 2 (Innocence, Passion, Becoming). Also, the stakes were so much lower. Obviously, they couldn't kill off the main character, and it was highly unlikely that they would have him do anything too bad if they wanted to keep the audience on his side when he had his soul back. And, honestly, I think part of it was just that we knew Angel so much better, had seen him be dorky and light-hearted, so just having Angelus be not-broody wasn't enough. So they went over the top and unfortunately landed a bit too much on creepy uncle.
It had absolutely nothing to do with age. It's exactly for the reasons you wrote. Angel is now the main character so there was no way they would let Angelus go on a murder spree like he did on BtVS where Angel was just a secondary character. So we get a lame ass version of Angelus that is all talk and no bite. And they of course make him more uncensored as well since AtS is supposed to be the more adult show of the two. It just didn't work for me.
 

telperion66

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What was the true story, did Wesley's shaman successfully perform the ritual to extract Angel's soul or did he lose his soul sleeping with Cordelia?
 
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