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Discussion of 4.15 "Orpheus" - Aired 3/19/2003 (WB-US)

tripdastati0n

Townie
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
62
Age
36
This was a fantastic episode . Love willow and faith. My favorite episodes so far are when Buffy characters come on Angel. Sidenote Angel/David look sooooooo old by now. Not even remotely cute anymore. Team Riley! And damn what is up with cordelia. off to the next episode! Really wished Willow and faith could stay but oh well
 

vampmogs

Potential
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
412
Age
32
@Btvs fan I haven't rewatched Orpheus in a few months so my opinions may change but see below;

It's a mixed bag for me.

Angelus is my favourite Buffyverse villain but the way he was written here was really obnoxious and OTT and completely takes away from his more subtle, menacing personality that made him such an effective villain in BtVS S2 and earlier flashbacks. This has been true ever since he was freed from the cage (it's bizarre how differently he was written from that moment onwards) but I think Orpheus is the biggest example of this. Truthfully, I find him really irritating to watch in this episode, which is a shame as I usually crave his scenes.

The flashbacks themselves are just ok. I liked seeing the moment Angel migrated to America and he seems to have relapsed into a pretty sorry and unhygienic state, presumably after having fled from Darla again in the Boxer Rebellion. This comes full circle with the later flashback of 1990's Angel in the NYC alley after he punished himself and wallowed in guilt after having fed from the dead shopkeeper. I did appreciate that they finally bridged the gap between all of the AtS flashbacks and how Angel ended up a weakened, homeless mess as we originally saw in Becoming. But other than that I don't find anything truly memorable about the flashbacks themselves and whilst Faith is there I don't walk away from the episode feeling that she understands Angel any better or learnt anything unique to the Angel/Faith relationship.

The Angel VS Angelus fight was pretty ho-hum. A battle of Angel's split personalities sounds good on paper but oddly it didn't really interest me all that much. And no, I don't think that this proves that they are two entirely separate entities. If that were the case, then "Angel" wouldn't even be in the body as "Angel" is the soul which, as stated in this very episode, was first in the jar and then released into the ether. So "Angel", if he really were a different entity all together/the soul, cannot currently be in Angelus' mind because he's floating around somewhere. It's clear to me that this just symbolic - even more so by the fact that 1990's Angel is pulled out of a flashback from pre-Sunnydale but knows who Faith is.

They set up an interesting ethical debate between Lorne and Wes over Faith drugging herself to capture Angelus but strangely it doesn't actually go anywhere.

I also have mixed feelings about Willow's appearance. A part of me is always excited to see a crossover and Willow appears to have more life in her again than practically the entirety of S7 where she's written to be gloomy and flat. I can justify that on the account of Willow being happy to leave Sunnydale for a while, the natural way we alter our personality depending on who we're interacting with, and Willow's excitement at seeing Wesley and "Cordy" again. But it really makes no sense whatsoever that she's so confident in using magic given that her entire arc in S7 has been the exact opposite. She's performing some serious mojo here and whilst it's fun to see her be such a BAMF, it also clashes completely with BtVS.

I do like that she mentions that she can't go down to see Angelus in the basement because "too many memories." Angelus really did leave such a terrorising mark on the characters in a way other Big Bads never did. I loved the Willow/Angel hug at the end, though. I've always loved their bond.

I always feel it's a bit of a shame that Willow wasn't talking to the real Cordelia here. It's a missed opportunity for the two characters reunite and whilst I like the brief glimpse of them gossiping like old high school buddies ("You hear about Faith?" "Coma again" pfft) it's muted by the fact that it's Jasmine putting on an act. I also have to say that Charisma's acting during their magic battle was pretty terrible.

The Willow/Wesley scene felt a little odd seeing as how they had so little to do with each other in BtVS S3. It was obviously just an excuse to pair Ally/Alexis off together which is fine. And I can rationalise them talking so much even if they weren't close in Sunnydale because they still know one another and nostalgia makes the heart grow fonder. What I wasn't so keen on was the jokey way they bring up Willow's dark past and how she and Wesley compare their darkness as if it's some kind of badge of honour which trivialises the whole thing. I know it's meant to be humorous but BtVS S7 does this a lot as well ("Well, confidentially, a lot of her people are murderers"/"I don't know why any of you trust each other. You've all been evil at some point") and I really dislike it because it's like the writers are pretty much making a mockery of the fact that the show has gotten kind of ridiculous with the endless redemption stories/characters turning evil etc. It certainly lessens the power of those stories in comparison to how seriously Faith's arc was taken back in the earlier seasons when it every man and their dog hadn't went through an "evil phase" yet.

And Willow being interested in Fred? I mean, it's a little eye-rolly that even Willow can't resist the charms of Fred but given their matching interests and personalities I begrudgingly admit that it makes sense. But I have a hard time believing that the writers seriously want me to be invested in Willow/Kennedy after the way they write Willow/Fred in this episode. Willow shows more interest in Fred and seems genuinely happier in their brief scenes together than in the entirety of the Willow/Kennedy scenes in S7. And I don't believe for one moment that if Willow/Tara were still a thing that they'd have ever went there with Willow/Fred in this episode.

And I have to say - soooooo over the Connor fights by this point in AtS S4. Whilst I get satisfaction out of Faith beating the shit out of him just how many scenes are we going to have of Connor screwing up and fighting Angel or Faith? It's beyond repetitive at this point and it seems like a fight for the sake of a fight. I can completely understand why Vincent K was so bored with the character even if I think he expressed those opinions in a jerk way.

So yeah, a really mixed bag for me. Definitely not the worst episode of AtS but I'm sad that I have so many issues with it considering that it contains Angelus, Faith, and Willow, and should be, like, my favourite episode ever. It's the weakest of the Faith episodes or of the S4 Angelus arc in general.
 

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,589
Age
39
@Btvs fan I haven't rewatched Orpheus in a few months so my opinions may change but see below;

It's a mixed bag for me.

Angelus is my favourite Buffyverse villain but the way he was written here was really obnoxious and OTT and completely takes away from his more subtle, menacing personality that made him such an effective villain in BtVS S2 and earlier flashbacks. This has been true ever since he was freed from the cage (it's bizarre how differently he was written from that moment onwards) but I think Orpheus is the biggest example of this. Truthfully, I find him really irritating to watch in this episode, which is a shame as I usually crave his scenes.

The flashbacks themselves are just ok. I liked seeing the moment Angel migrated to America and he seems to have relapsed into a pretty sorry and unhygienic state, presumably after having fled from Darla again in the Boxer Rebellion. This comes full circle with the later flashback of 1990's Angel in the NYC alley after he punished himself and wallowed in guilt after having fed from the dead shopkeeper. I did appreciate that they finally bridged the gap between all of the AtS flashbacks and how Angel ended up a weakened, homeless mess as we originally saw in Becoming. But other than that I don't find anything truly memorable about the flashbacks themselves and whilst Faith is there I don't walk away from the episode feeling that she understands Angel any better or learnt anything unique to the Angel/Faith relationship.

The Angel VS Angelus fight was pretty ho-hum. A battle of Angel's split personalities sounds good on paper but oddly it didn't really interest me all that much. And no, I don't think that this proves that they are two entirely separate entities. If that were the case, then "Angel" wouldn't even be in the body as "Angel" is the soul which, as stated in this very episode, was first in the jar and then released into the ether. So "Angel", if he really were a different entity all together/the soul, cannot currently be in Angelus' mind because he's floating around somewhere. It's clear to me that this just symbolic - even more so by the fact that 1990's Angel is pulled out of a flashback from pre-Sunnydale but knows who Faith is.

They set up an interesting ethical debate between Lorne and Wes over Faith drugging herself to capture Angelus but strangely it doesn't actually go anywhere.

I also have mixed feelings about Willow's appearance. A part of me is always excited to see a crossover and Willow appears to have more life in her again than practically the entirety of S7 where she's written to be gloomy and flat. I can justify that on the account of Willow being happy to leave Sunnydale for a while, the natural way we alter our personality depending on who we're interacting with, and Willow's excitement at seeing Wesley and "Cordy" again. But it really makes no sense whatsoever that she's so confident in using magic given that her entire arc in S7 has been the exact opposite. She's performing some serious mojo here and whilst it's fun to see her be such a BAMF, it also clashes completely with BtVS.

I do like that she mentions that she can't go down to see Angelus in the basement because "too many memories." Angelus really did leave such a terrorising mark on the characters in a way other Big Bads never did. I loved the Willow/Angel hug at the end, though. I've always loved their bond.

I always feel it's a bit of a shame that Willow wasn't talking to the real Cordelia here. It's a missed opportunity for the two characters reunite and whilst I like the brief glimpse of them gossiping like old high school buddies ("You hear about Faith?" "Coma again" pfft) it's muted by the fact that it's Jasmine putting on an act. I also have to say that Charisma's acting during their magic battle was pretty terrible.

The Willow/Wesley scene felt a little odd seeing as how they had so little to do with each other in BtVS S3. It was obviously just an excuse to pair Ally/Alexis off together which is fine. And I can rationalise them talking so much even if they weren't close in Sunnydale because they still know one another and nostalgia makes the heart grow fonder. What I wasn't so keen on was the jokey way they bring up Willow's dark past and how she and Wesley compare their darkness as if it's some kind of badge of honour which trivialises the whole thing. I know it's meant to be humorous but BtVS S7 does this a lot as well ("Well, confidentially, a lot of her people are murderers"/"I don't know why any of you trust each other. You've all been evil at some point") and I really dislike it because it's like the writers are pretty much making a mockery of the fact that the show has gotten kind of ridiculous with the endless redemption stories/characters turning evil etc. It certainly lessens the power of those stories in comparison to how seriously Faith's arc was taken back in the earlier seasons when it every man and their dog hadn't went through an "evil phase" yet.

And Willow being interested in Fred? I mean, it's a little eye-rolly that even Willow can't resist the charms of Fred but given their matching interests and personalities I begrudgingly admit that it makes sense. But I have a hard time believing that the writers seriously want me to be invested in Willow/Kennedy after the way they write Willow/Fred in this episode. Willow shows more interest in Fred and seems genuinely happier in their brief scenes together than in the entirety of the Willow/Kennedy scenes in S7. And I don't believe for one moment that if Willow/Tara were still a thing that they'd have ever went there with Willow/Fred in this episode.

And I have to say - soooooo over the Connor fights by this point in AtS S4. Whilst I get satisfaction out of Faith beating the shit out of him just how many scenes are we going to have of Connor screwing up and fighting Angel or Faith? It's beyond repetitive at this point and it seems like a fight for the sake of a fight. I can completely understand why Vincent K was so bored with the character even if I think he expressed those opinions in a jerk way.

So yeah, a really mixed bag for me. Definitely not the worst episode of AtS but I'm sad that I have so many issues with it considering that it contains Angelus, Faith, and Willow, and should be, like, my favourite episode ever. It's the weakest of the Faith episodes or of the S4 Angelus arc in general.

I agree with all your points. I'd add a few too :).

Angel's lecture to Faith about not giving up and not dying felt completely disconnected from the last 3 episodes. No where was Faith shown to be suicidal or glad for death. Hell the last episode has Angelus forcing her to admit she doesn't want to die at gun point. It felt like the writers couldn't be arsed and so gave us an Angel never give up rinse repeat speech to fill time instead.

Normally I'm a big flashback fan but those did nothing for me. Like you say they didn't add to Faith but they didn't add to Angel either, so who were they for ?

As for CC Not just the acting but the character of evil Cordy is awful (not in the good way) too. She's really dumb and played that way "I bit my tongue". The writers clearly gave it no thought. Take the knife scene, if she had stabbed Willow, what was her next move. How was she going to explain to people that she'd murdered Willow ? Also Willow defeating her so easily and playing her for comedy really lowers her threat factor. Like if Willow had hung around for an extra day, Jasmine might not have even happened !
Don't get me started on the whole Willow magic mess. The writers twisted everything around since S6 with that and it was a mess ever since.
 

thrasherpix

Scooby
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,790
Age
38
Gods, I'm suddenly wondering what Tara would've felt had she still been alive....if she can recognize Buffy is possessed by Faith upon first meeting, what would she have sensed in Cordelia at that moment? :eek: (OTOH, she wasn't able to recognize the Buffybot... :p )
 

Stake fodder

Soulless
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
722
Location
Caught on a root
It was odd that the Orpheus drug took Angelus down before Faith. But I'm glad it led to the first sort-of flashbacks of the season! And I knew they should have called Willow in the first place for soul matters.

I laughed at how Angelus's all-time low point was when Angel saved a puppy. But did anyone else notice that the dog suddenly changed while in Angel's hands, from a puppy to a grown Pomeranian, then back to a puppy? Did a crewmember want a cameo for their dog?

I always thought vampires' hair didn't grow, but clearly I'm wrong, or the writers were ignoring that rule, because Angel's hair definitely grew between the 1920s and the 1970s. Might have been better if it didn't, yikes.

It's great to see Willow on the show, even though she showed up a week before Fred called her on LMPTM. She and Fred had amazing chemistry, definitely necessitating Willow's warning that "I'm seeing someone." Aw, I think Fred just loved having a nerdy female friend, and anyway, she'd be a great match for Willow! Although, it doesn't seem like they'd know each other hardly at all. They only met when Willow came to tell Angel that Buffy had died.

Maybe Willow should have warned Wesley, too, because they had some serious chemistry going on. (I know the actors were seeing each other then, so no wonder!) I loved their comparison of dark periods. It made me think of Amy and Buffy meeting. "Rat. You?" "Dead."

On BtVS, Willow is nervous about doing magic at this point, but not here. I loved the scene between her and Cordelia, with Willow blithely and obliviously crossing Cordy's plans.

Why does Connor not realize there is something seriously off with Cordelia right now? And it seemed rather lame that, at the end, he was just let off with, "Okay, I messed up," after trying to stake Angel.

Angel's back finally, with our further understanding of how much he struggles internally with his blood urges. He doesn't seem to have much to say, though, about his time as Angelus, for instance, that Lilah had been stabbed before he drank from her.

Some others here were discussing whether Angelus is a separate entity that lives inside Angel. I tend to think of the vampires' demons as still within them once they are ensouled, but that the soul controls them. So it made sense to me.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,610
Age
41
Location
London, UK
Yeah I always found Willow's "I'm seeing one" comment to Fred a bit rude. Maybe she just thought it was odd for someone she doesn't know very well to request a hangout like that. But there's no reason to think that Fred saw her as anything other than a friend. I enjoyed their scenes together besides that.
 

Faded90

Scooby
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
854
Age
63
Yeah I always found Willow's "I'm seeing one" comment to Fred a bit rude. Maybe she just thought it was odd for someone she doesn't know very well to request a hangout like that. But there's no reason to think that Fred saw her as anything other than a friend. I enjoyed their scenes together besides that.
I find Willow’s characterisation in this episode really odd anyway when you consider where she’s currently at in S7. S7 she’s a nervous wreck about doing magic as she’s terrified about going dark again and she mentions multiple times her fear of doing that again but here she’s doing powerful magic without a care in the world and making jokes about ‘I was an ultimate evil Lolz’ plus I know the Fred thing is just for a throwaway joke but is Willow someone who just assumes someone is interested in her? I think the writers just got excited to have a BTVS character to play with but it just feels so far removed from Willow’c current character
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Yeah good point. The joke I don't mind because its a way to put a brave face on things, and characters in the Buffyverse are always laughing about dark stuff after the event.

Stake fodder

Soulless
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
722
Location
Caught on a root
Yeah I always found Willow's "I'm seeing one" comment to Fred a bit rude. Maybe she just thought it was odd for someone she doesn't know very well to request a hangout like that. But there's no reason to think that Fred saw her as anything other than a friend. I enjoyed their scenes together besides that.

I know the Fred thing is just for a throwaway joke but is Willow someone who just assumes someone is interested in her? I think the writers just got excited to have a BTVS character to play with but it just feels so far removed from Willow’c current character
In the commentary, the writer said that the idea was to convey that Willow had a crush on Fred. In that case, I would suppose the "I'm seeing someone" was a reminder to herself. But the show certainly made it seem to me that Fred was pursuing Willow - as a friend - more than the other way around. Also, it was supposed to be a joke that Wes, who is so jealous of Gunn and Fred, is completely oblivious to Willow's attraction. But again, I don't think this came through well.
 

Antho

Scooby
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
2,396
Age
27
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Montauban (France)
Maybe this episode was a test to see how people react to Willow and Fred together. They did something similar with Spike/Buffy on Something blue. They probably didn’t like the romantic aspect of it and think that maybe the chemistry between Alyson and Amy was more platonic than anything. And they gave up the idea. That’s how I see it.
 
Stake fodder
Stake fodder
Good point. Maybe they were also considering bring Willow over after BtVS ended.
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